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Old 03-15-2014, 12:58 PM   #1
DIS Veteran
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: An island, off the Left Coast of Canada
Posts: 1,080

Recent DAS Experience - DL/DCA

We just got home yesterday from a 6 day trip to DL/DCA and I wanted to post my thoughts and experiences using the DAS with our ASD son.

I'll preface this by saying that this was our 5th trip with him and the other 4 times we used the GAC so I have something to compare this trip to.

We arrived a bit before 11:00am on Saturday and went right to DCA. Went to GR and there was no one in line. We got the DAS without any issues at all, we were just asked what accommodations were needed and how many people in our group. I did find out that if there are more than 4, they need to see everyone in GR. (This was an issue since the first two days there were just 3 of us but we were meeting up with 2 friends after that so we were told to get the DAS re-issued when the other 2 were with us.) We got our first return time at GR and went on with our day.

Our first morning we were in the parks from 10:50am - 3:10pm and we got return times for RSR, TSMM, Goofy's SS and Soarin' and we rode Mater, Monsters, saw Muppets 3D, LM, Silly Swings and DS rode Jumpin' Jelyfish between our return times without any problems. It truly could not have been a smoother day, with the exception of my blisters! When we left to check into the hotel at 3:!0, we got a return time for RSR. We went to the hotel to rest and were back in the park around 6. Rode RSR and got another return time for TSMM.

There were no lines waiting at the kiosks for RT and except for the extra walking, it was a breeze!

The next morning (Sunday) we went to DL and got there around 8:15am. Rope drop was at 8 but I suspect the time change messed with a bunch of people because the park was SO empty! Went to GR and got our first RT for Peter Pan and went off to ride ST. We literally walked right on! No wait at all and we went immediately to Space and walked on that as well. DS had by this time fallen in love with Space so we got a FP for that and once we could get another FP, we got one for ST. Walked on Buzz then used our RT for PP and got another one for Mr. Toad. Rode that and got another RT for Alice. Once that was done, we got a RT for HM and wandered to New Orleans. All of this BTW was all done by 11:00am. At 11, the park got insanely busy! We got another RT for Space and after we used that, we called it a morning and left the park for a mid day rest. We made sure to get a RT for Buzz before we left and we used that when we got back later in the afternoon. We did F! dessert package that evening and while the seats were nice to have, I'm not sure we will do it again.

We used a combo of RT and FP that afternoon to rise Buzz, Pirates and Space before we called it quits. The kiosks had short lines in DL, no more than 3 people at any time.

Monday (which was my birthday!) was an unmitigated disaster, but not because of the DAS. My husband had obviously gotten too much sun so was sick in the middle of the night. We had arranged to meet our 2 friends at Minnie and Friends breakfast at 10:10 but they GROSSLY underestimated how long it would take to drive, park, get through bag check and then through the gate so they ended up meeting us closer to 10:45. We were seated in an area that the characters seemed to skip so we only saw a few. DH was feeling like hell so he left right after breakfast and went back to the park. My friend's DD is ADHD so is the exact opposite to my son. We say that he is the flower and she is the bee buzzing all around him, driving him nuts! Lesson learnt for the future, we travel best with just the three of us! We ended up riding SM twice and ST once and by then it was around 2 so we left and went back to the hotel to rest. We had reservations at Blue Bayou for 5:10 and we waited for a water side seat. None of us enjoyed the food and to be honest, I doubt we will go back. We enjoyed WCT and CC a lot more.

Tuesday we went back to DL and although we did not ride quite as many rides as the first two days, we still used the DAS in combination with FP and we had a good day. Wednesday was our last full day and we did DL in the morning and DCA in the afternoon. The parks were quite busy but again we managed to use the DAS/FP combo quite well. Between the DAS and FP, we managed to ride Space 4 times!

We were leaving Thursday afternoon so we planned on going back to DL until noon but at 2:45am our son woke us up saying that he had made a mess in the bed. Turned out he had been sick and thrown up all over his bed. Bundled him into bed with us for the rest of the night and in the morning he said he wanted to go back for a few rides. I got him some toast and after half a slice he threw up again so no park for us! He threw up on his last clean outfit, so I grabbed a taxi to Target for new clothes and some Dramamine. We ended up sitting in the hotel room until we had to check out at 11:00am, then getting to the airport 4 hours before our flight.

We have APs so we were SO looking forward to getting to ride BTMRR on our last morning there, we have missed it now 3 trips in a row. Oh well, maybe next time.

So, the good, the bad and the ugly of the DAS in California:

Good: The DAS cuts down on FP lines dramatically. Now, when we go back to a ride the FP line is not crazy long. The kiosks are helpful and if you are smart and do even the tiniest bit of planning, you can ride a whole bunch of rides in a short period of time. DAS/FP combo is great! The CMs were amazing. They were all very helpful and cheerful. I made sure to tell them how the DAS was working for us and they were really grateful for some positive feedback. We never asked for nor were offered any extra accommodations because quite frankly, they were not needed.

Bad: There need to be more kiosks and they need to be more easily identified. All of the kiosks but one had a green umbrella and one had a red one but the umbrellas were not always up so it was a bit more difficult to spot them. They definitely need one in Toontown and one in Frontier or Adventure, my ideal spot would be right around where the Mark Twain is.

Ugly: Really, there was nothing ugly about it. Well, except for my blisters! You will have to think a bit more about what you want to ride but it's really not a lot of planning.

DH says: Here is what to expect when you get the DAS.

1. be prepared when you got to get the pass to be able to explain what your needs are not what your diagnosis is. They just need to know how you need help. Their line if you want to get through lines fast, get a FP. The DAS does not do this.

2. be prepared for extra walking. If you are planning on using the DAS all the time, this will require an extra walk back to the kiosk which sometimes can be efficient. If you are moving from one land to another or one park to the other, you can absorb some of the waiting time be walking to where you want to go but if you are staying in the same land, you will walk to the kiosk, get a RT, wait for the time to be up and ride.

3. He agrees that there are gaps in the spacing for the kiosks.

4. on the plus side, there are fewer DAS than there were GAC which means that when you go to use your RT, there are fewer people waiting. Peter Pan and Pirates are the most noticeable ones. Before with the GAC there would be 10+ groups waiting at the exit for PP which could result in a more than 30 minute wait. We never used the GAC for Pirates because the wait there was always more than the stand by time.

For us, the DAS worked exactly as it should have. For a family with a child with over stimulation issues like our DS, it works. We get a RT, do something else while you wait and then ride. We were able to avoid the crowded, tight lines which are always an issue for our son and because there are fewer people in the return lines, we didn't end up in a crush of people using GACs.

There you go, this ended up a lot longer than anticipated but if there is anything I left out, please feel free to ask questions!
When life hands you lemons, ask for tequila and salt!

Aug 1999 Honeymoon DLH, Aug 2011 DLH, Mar 2012 PVI
Apr 2013 DI&S, Sept 2013 Castle Inn, Mar 2014 DI&S
Aug 2014 PVI, Feb 2015 GCH
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