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Old 05-08-2012, 11:30 PM   #1
Laneyg
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What to expect with a GAC

We'll be going to Disney World in 10 days My dad needs double knee replacement surgery and will be riding an ECV. He can't stand for long periods of time.

I don't really understand - are there some rides that will let you in an alternate entrance or a different line or something? All rides? All of the time? I am just trying to have a grasp on this before we leave. Should we still get fast passes for things, or will it be necessary?

We are a party of 8. 5 adults, 3 kids. Seems like I've heard that only a party of 6 can stick with the one with a GAC. Are they ever lenient on this?
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:35 PM   #2
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Check out the amazing FAQ on here, which answers most (if not all) disability questions: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=595713
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:50 PM   #3
Laneyg
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Thanks - I looked over the FAQ's and they are quite overwhelming! I found things that said "some rides" have "bla bla bla" and everything says that a GAC is not to be intended for someone to bypass the line, which I totally understand, but in reality, doesn't it? So I'm just trying to understand how to make a plan of action but I'm not finding clear info. Different sites say different things, or at maybe I'm just understanding them differently.

Specifically for our case, he will be in an EVC and can stand and walk enough to get himself onto a ride. He has major issues with stairs and also just standing, especially for long periods of time.

We wouldn't need special seating at a show - I think (not knowing the layout or anything of how you get into a show) that he could walk into the seating area and sit down, so nothing special there.

Thanks again!
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laneyg View Post
Thanks - I looked over the FAQ's and they are quite overwhelming! I found things that said "some rides" have "bla bla bla" and everything says that a GAC is not to be intended for someone to bypass the line, which I totally understand, but in reality, doesn't it? So I'm just trying to understand how to make a plan of action but I'm not finding clear info. Different sites say different things, or at maybe I'm just understanding them differently.

Specifically for our case, he will be in an EVC and can stand and walk enough to get himself onto a ride. He has major issues with stairs and also just standing, especially for long periods of time.

We wouldn't need special seating at a show - I think (not knowing the layout or anything of how you get into a show) that he could walk into the seating area and sit down, so nothing special there.

Thanks again!
In reality, no it doesn't. Many of the ride queues allow for the ECV to go through the regular line. As for shows, it depends on the show. For many of them, their are stairs involved, so special seating may be better for him. I suggest you thoroughly read the FAQs here. It has extremely helpful info.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:07 AM   #5
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No a GAC really doesn't get you to the front of the line. Most of the lines you will go in the same line as everyone else unless you have a fastpass.

Yes--you do need to still get fastpasses for any ride on which they are offered.

Some rides divert you to a separate waiting area because of stairs etc. You may actually wait longer than people in the "regular" line.

A GAC isn't a perk--it is something that will help cast members meet your needs. In fact most people with ECVs don't even need a GAC--the ECV is all they need and will alert the cast member to direct you to an accessible boarding place.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laneyg View Post
We'll be going to Disney World in 10 days My dad needs double knee replacement surgery and will be riding an ECV. He can't stand for long periods of time.
MCoryB pointed you toward the disABILITIES FAQs thread, which should answer all your questions. Post one of that thread is an index, which lists which post has which information.

With an ECV, he will not need a GAC at all.

Guests don’t need a Guest Assistance Card to bring an ECV or wheelchair into attractions. With an ECV or wheelchair, he will not need a GAC because CMs will direct him to go to the accessible area.

ALL lines are wheelchair accessible all the way to the boarding area, so he will not need to stand.
Exceptions are Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse and Tomorrowland Transit Authority, which require guests to be able to walk. The Treehouse is a walk thru experience with many, many stairs. Tomorrowland Transit Authority has a steep moving walkway ramp (kind of like an escalator without steps) to get up to the 2nd floor boarding area. If he is able to stand on a steeply sloped moving walkway, he will still be able to ride.

There are some attractions which are wheelchair accessible, but not ECV accessible. For those, he should talk to the CM at the entrance and let the CM know he will need to borrow a wheelchair to get to the boarding area.
Quote:
I don't really understand - are there some rides that will let you in an alternate entrance or a different line or something? All rides? All of the time? I am just trying to have a grasp on this before we leave. Should we still get fast passes for things, or will it be necessary?
We are a party of 8. 5 adults, 3 kids. Seems like I've heard that only a party of 6 can stick with the one with a GAC. Are they ever lenient on this?
Most attractions have lines that are accessible thru the regular line (called Mainstream Lines). There are a few attractions where guests with mobility devices will go thru the regular line, but then board somewhere else, because the regular boarding area is not accessible.
There are a few lines that are not accessible, so they have a different entrance.
The attractions have a greeter at the front, who will tell you where to go. You can also get a special park map for guests with disabilities, which lists the way to go for each attraction (Mobility Entrances).
Post 11 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread has information on “Mobility Entrances”
and the special park maps.

For those with different entrances or boarding areas, you may need to split into smaller groups because of the number of guest who can fit on a ride car or the space for guests with special needs is small.
For example, if he wants to be in a wheelchair for It’s a Small World so he can avoid stepping down into the boat, the special wheelchair boat will only hold 7 guests (6 seats and one wheelchair). For Toy Story Mania, the ride car that stops at the accessible boarding area holds a total of 6 people (or by removing a seat, 5 plus one wheelchair). So, your party of 8 will need to split up.

You should get Fastpasses if you want to avoid waits (GACs are not meant to shorten or eliminate waits and the card does say to use Fastpasses if you want to shorten waits).

You will also want to look at posts 18-21 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread, which gives more information about steps up/down and actually boarding attractions.
Post 28 has information about attractions with moving walkways or stairs. Guests with wheelchairs and ECVs will be routed to bypass the stairs, but will want to be aware of the attractions with moving walkways.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:10 AM   #7
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Each park has a disability brochure that you can get at Guest Services when you get your GAC (you can get all 4 parks brochures at one time.)

At each ride that he stays in the EVC, the CM will ask if he's able to stand / walk.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:29 AM   #8
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I am guessing that you may have only looked at post 6 about GACs in the disABILITIES FAQs thread.
An ECV should take care of his problems and he should not need a GAC.
A GAC will not provide a place to sit or make a shorter distance to walk, so an ECV or wheelchair is what he will need.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laneyg View Post
Thanks - I looked over the FAQ's and they are quite overwhelming! I found things that said "some rides" have "bla bla bla" and everything says that a GAC is not to be intended for someone to bypass the line, which I totally understand, but in reality, doesn't it? So I'm just trying to understand how to make a plan of action but I'm not finding clear info. Different sites say different things, or at maybe I'm just understanding them differently.
The specific posts in the FAQs that I mentioned in my other reply should help you the most:
Post 11 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread has information on “Mobility Entrances” and the special park maps. That post lists information for where to go for each attraction at each park. You will want to get a special park map or ask a CM at the entrance to each attraction because WDW does change things sometimes. You can find the special park maps in the kiosks with the regular park maps at the entrance to each park (except for Magic Kingdom - for some reason, they have them only where you rent wheelchairs/ECVs and at Guest Relations).

Posts 18-21 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread, which gives more information about steps up/down and actually boarding attractions. Each of those posts is about a different park and they give very specific information.

Post 28 has information about attractions with moving walkways or stairs. Guests with wheelchairs and ECVs will be routed to bypass the stairs, but will want to be aware of the attractions with moving walkways.
Quote:
Specifically for our case, he will be in an EVC and can stand and walk enough to get himself onto a ride. He has major issues with stairs and also just standing, especially for long periods of time.
Then, he will want to stay in the ECV for the lines. For the lines that are not ECV accessible, he should tell the CM at the entrance that he needs to borrow a wheelchair to use in the line to the boarding area.
As long as he has the ECV or wheelchair in line, he will be routed to avoid the stairs.

He will be able to park the ECV or wheelchair very close to the ride car and walk onto the ride. When he gets off, the wheelchair or ECV will be waiting for him.
For some attractions, they may ask if he can walk a certain distance (how far will vary depending on the ride), BUT he needs to know that some attractions involve standing unless you bring the mobility device with you.
There is more about that in post 22 of the FAQs thread.
Quote:
We wouldn't need special seating at a show - I think (not knowing the layout or anything of how you get into a show) that he could walk into the seating area and sit down, so nothing special there.

Thanks again!
Unless he can stand for 5-10 minutes, walk a distance of 50 -100 feet and then stand again for 5-10 minutes, he will want to use the ECV for shows.

For most shows, you stand and wait in a line, then walk into another area where there is a pre show. After watching the pre show, you walk into a theater to sit for the show. (Again, you will find more information about that in post 22 of the FAQs thread.)
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:43 AM   #9
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The CM at each ride will let you know where to enter.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laneyg View Post
Thanks - I looked over the FAQ's and they are quite overwhelming! I found things that said "some rides" have "bla bla bla" and everything says that a GAC is not to be intended for someone to bypass the line, which I totally understand, but in reality, doesn't it? So I'm just trying to understand how to make a plan of action but I'm not finding clear info. Different sites say different things, or at maybe I'm just understanding them differently.

Specifically for our case, he will be in an EVC and can stand and walk enough to get himself onto a ride. He has major issues with stairs and also just standing, especially for long periods of time.

We wouldn't need special seating at a show - I think (not knowing the layout or anything of how you get into a show) that he could walk into the seating area and sit down, so nothing special there.

Thanks again!
Well, I know this is sort of vague but, "sometimes." Neither the GAC nor the special lines for wheelchairs/ECVs (where they exist) are intended to reduce wait time, but when you have two lines, sometimes one will move faster than the other. Sometimes that will be the wheelchair line. On the other hand, sometimes that line will move *substantially* slower. Like, standby for Space Mountain is 45 minutes but there's a 2 hour wait for the accessible vehicle, that much. Most people seem to find that it balances out.

The bad news is that yes, wheelchair companions/GAC parties are limited to 6. The *good* news is that WDW has been mainstreaming their lines so in many cases you will be able to all stay together in the regular line and not worry about it.

Are there specific rides you're worried about? Maybe someone could give you details on those. (Not me, unless you're coming to California. I'm a DL girl. )
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:08 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Who View Post
Well, I know this is sort of vague but, "sometimes." Neither the GAC nor the special lines for wheelchairs/ECVs (where they exist) are intended to reduce wait time, but when you have two lines, sometimes one will move faster than the other. Sometimes that will be the wheelchair line. On the other hand, sometimes that line will move *substantially* slower. Like, standby for Space Mountain is 45 minutes but there's a 2 hour wait for the accessible vehicle, that much. Most people seem to find that it balances out.

The bad news is that yes, wheelchair companions/GAC parties are limited to 6. The *good* news is that WDW has been mainstreaming their lines so in many cases you will be able to all stay together in the regular line and not worry about it.

Are there specific rides you're worried about? Maybe someone could give you details on those. (Not me, unless you're coming to California. I'm a DL girl. )
The specifics are mostly in posts 18-21 on page 2 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread.
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:20 AM   #12
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People do not like to give out specifics about the GAC on this board. There seems to be a preoccupation with worrying about people "abusing" the GAC. In order to avoid helping potential "abusers," people do not give out concrete information on here (and are often chided when they do).

Much of the GAC you will just have to figure out when you get there. I agree with several PP that the ECV will remove much of the need for a GAC. The ECV can go through most lines, and serves as its own visual sign to the CMs that your dad needs special attention at loading. With an ECV, you are rarely eligible to use an alternate entrance (because he won't need one, because he has the ECV).
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:29 AM   #13
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People do not like to give out specifics about the GAC on this board. There seems to be a preoccupation with worrying about people "abusing" the GAC. In order to avoid helping potential "abusers," people do not give out concrete information on here (and are often chided when they do).

Much of the GAC you will just have to figure out when you get there. I agree with several PP that the ECV will remove much of the need for a GAC. The ECV can go through most lines, and serves as its own visual sign to the CMs that your dad needs special attention at loading. With an ECV, you are rarely eligible to use an alternate entrance (because he won't need one, because he has the ECV).
There are 2 main reasons for not giving out specific information.

One of the reasons is that only Guest Relations can give them out and for anyone here to say - "you will get a GAC with this" is promising something we have no ability to promise. There were also people in th early days of this board who went in to Guest Relations and asked for a card that said "xxxxx" because someone posted about "xxxxx" . When they got back, they posted that GACs were useless because they really needed something else. If they had just talked to Guest Relations about their needs, they would have had a better chance of getting them met.

The other reason is that when someone posts "I had a GAC and I went in here and did yyyy" . There are many reasons why things may be done differently, even for the same person on the same attraction on the same day. For example, if there is a specific boarding area and it is already full of guests waiting, or there is a medical emergency that makes an accommodation temporarily unavailable. For example, just yesterday, we went to Jungle Cruise and they suggested we come back in 30 minutes because of how busy it was.
In the past, CMs have also given out handwritten Fastpasses in situations where they currently have too many guests with disabilities to handle.

There are many reasons and one of the reasons I ask people to not post exactly what will happen is the "Disney can change things at any time". When more specifics were posted, there were also a lot of posts about "Disney CMs not treating me right. So-and-So wrote that people with GACs enter at such-and-such-a place, but they told me to go to this-and-that place instead".
The place they were sent met their needs, but they felt they were not treated correctly because they were sent somewhere else.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
People do not like to give out specifics about the GAC on this board. There seems to be a preoccupation with worrying about people "abusing" the GAC. In order to avoid helping potential "abusers," people do not give out concrete information on here (and are often chided when they do).
I was extremely worried about coming across as someone who was just anxious to know what lines we got to skip. In my internet research, it looks like there are lots of people who even fake a disability to get this. Awful.

It's hard to give off the right tone, especially just in writing on a message board!

Thank you everyone for the advice! Sue, I can see what you are saying too - I guess I would hope that most people would understand that just because someone on here gave them advice, that Disney can always change their policies or whatever....

The FAQ's are great but overwhelming so I really appreciate being pointed to the right threads! I truly hope I come across as someone who is just trying to plan the perfect trip for our family! (And someone who hasn't been to Disney in MANY years so I simply do not know how things work there)!

Thanks again everyone! I could not have planned a trip without these boards!
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:39 PM   #15
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You also have to consider that Disney does not publish ANYTHING official about GACs, so what you read in post 6 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread is 100% more than is officially published.

Even though post 6 of the FAQs thread is not official, I can assure you that it is correct/factual and you will not find anything in it that promises more than what is possible or likely.
I would rather have people expect less and find something more than expect something specific and have that not happen.
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Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
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