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Old 06-24-2009, 05:51 PM   #1
SpecEdismyLife
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GAC Question

Hi there! It has been awhile since we have been to WDW with our son and we will need to get the GAC. Could someone explain how they handle these cards now? Just trying to be prepared he melts down when he has to be in close proximity to others, as he has many sensory issues!

Also, someone posted that the GAC can actually "increase" your wait time. In what cases was this because we will want to avoid using the card for that ride!

Last edited by SueM in MN; 06-24-2009 at 10:51 PM. Reason: removed info
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:02 PM   #2
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We had one back in Nov with my mom and the rule of thumb is to look for the handicap entrance or the exit to the ride to enter.
We never waited longer than the regular lines and we did most every ride at all parks.
Now there were a few times, Dumbo elephants and Magic Carpet ride in MK that we did have to wait several times because of the volume of people with GAC.
Overall it was great for my mom.
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Old 06-24-2009, 08:00 PM   #3
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You ask the CM at the queue, as you show him/her the GAC. They will direct you to the proper accommodation, if there is one. Most of the queues of the newer/refurbed attractions are ADA compliant, so there may not be a quiet place to wait, etc.
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Old 06-24-2009, 10:21 PM   #4
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Agreeing with Schmeck. Don't just look for the wheelchair entrance and take it upon oneself to use that. Get instructions from the Greeter - the CM at the main entrance to the attraction.
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Old 06-24-2009, 10:26 PM   #5
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You won't know in advance which attractions may necessitate waiting longer. Kilimanjaro Safari almost definitely, if you choose/need to wait for a wheelchair-accessible truck. Where there is a special area for you to wait, you may either need to determine what constitutes a reasonable wait, or you may just need to leave if your son starts to melt down.
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Old 06-24-2009, 11:51 PM   #6
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If you want more information about GACs (Guest Assistance Cards), the information in post #6 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread is up to date.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaytieeldr View Post
Agreeing with Schmeck. Don't just look for the wheelchair entrance and take it upon oneself to use that. Get instructions from the Greeter - the CM at the main entrance to the attraction.

In the 'way past' most attractions did have a handicapped entrance because the regular entrance/line was not handicapped accessible. Now, most are Mainstreamed, which means that they are accessible and people with disabilities wait in the same lines with everyone else.
The greeter will tell you the correct instructions for that attraction and for the message that is stamped to meet your needs on your GAC (not all GACs are the same - the accommodations are individualized for each person's needs).
Quote:
Also, someone posted that the GAC can actually "increase" your wait time. In what cases was this because we will want to avoid using the card for that ride!
As was already mentioned, you may not know ahead of time. It is written right on the GAC card that it is not meant to shorten or eliminate waits in line. It is meant to provide conditions that are more appropriate for the needs of the person it is issued to.
Two I know that happen frequently and have happened to us a couple of times recently are Small World and Spaceship Earth (besides the Safari that was already mentioned). Small World and Spaceship Earth are both older rides that do have handicapped entrances. People with wheelchairs or mobility challenges have to use those entrances and waiting areas, but people using GACs for a quieter place to wait also use those areas. At times the wait in those areas can be many times the wait in the 'regular' line. We have been at both attractions where the regular line was a 5 minute wait and our wait in the handicapped area was over 30.
The best rule of thumb is to look at the wait in the regular (Standby) line; if it is 15-20 minutes or less, you may be better off going in the regular line. Also, keep in mind that even if you go back to an attraction the same day with the same GAC, there is a possibility that you may not be handled exactly the same way because of the number of people with special needs who are already in the area/attraction or because of other things that may not be visible to you.

A couple of other things that many people find work well for them is to use Fastpasses; if you have a Fastpass, you will have a more consistent experience and will seldom have more than a 10 minute wait. You can send one member of your party ahead to an attraction with all your park passes to get the Fastpasses.

Another thing people frequently write that they find helpful is knowing when to go to a park/attraction to avoid the crowds. There are services like Tour Guide Mike and RideMax that help with this. Many people have posted that using one of the planning services meant they never waited more than 10 minutes for anything. The GAC only helps in lines, but the park may still be busy and over-stimulating. Knowing which park to be in to avoid the crowds is much more helpful to many people than having a GAC because they don't have to fight the crowds outside the lines.
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Old 07-09-2009, 06:41 PM   #7
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I agree with SueM.
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