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Old 01-16-2013, 11:30 AM   #1
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new blog: Guest Assistance Cards Vs. FastPass+: Let the Battle Begin

http://www.disunplugged.com/2013/01/...-battle-begin/
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:20 PM   #2
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I had never heard that about the tour groups. What a shame people abuse something that is so beneficial to those who truly need it. I often wonder how some people sleep at night.

I know a few people who needed to use GAC cards when they went to Disney and they all said it would not have been possible for them to do the parks without them. I don't know what the answer ... Disney can't legally ask anyone what their disability is (and I don't think they should regardless of it being the law) so how do they stop the selfish fakers without taking anything away from those who need it?
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
While Disney always emphasizes that they are NOT a FastPass, many times their use leads you straight into the FastPass line or wheelchair entrance.
* * *
Guest Relations’ cast members were stationed outside the entrance of the attraction, giving people with a GAC a return time based on the current stand-by wait time.
There's a solution right here. Nothing in the ADA entitled individuals with a disability to preferential treatment. The obligation is to make reasonable modifications to policies. If Disney is treating GAC cards as fastpasses then the easy solution is to cease the practice.

One important distinction to remember, even if the ADA prohibits Disney from inquiring into the nature of a disability, it does not prohibit Disney from requiring some basis for making a specific policy modification (here GAC = fastpass) is necessary. It's kind of hard to imagine how anyone can modify a policy without being able to ask what kind of a modification is necessary in the first place. Frankly, assuming everyone with a GAC must be ushered to the front of the line is the kind of patronizing view of a disability that is inconsistent with the ADA.

The DOJ's ADA regulations have long permitted inquiries where the requested information is reasonable and limited to the need for the modification or aid requested. This could be a doctor's note, a handicap parking tag or something as simple as a request by the guest not contradicted by observed facts.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:01 PM   #4
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There's a solution right here. Nothing in the ADA entitled individuals with a disability to preferential treatment. The obligation is to make reasonable modifications to policies. If Disney is treating GAC cards as fastpasses then the easy solution is to cease the practice.

One important distinction to remember, even if the ADA prohibits Disney from inquiring into the nature of a disability, it does not prohibit Disney from requiring some basis for making a specific policy modification (here GAC = fastpass) is necessary. It's kind of hard to imagine how anyone can modify a policy without being able to ask what kind of a modification is necessary in the first place. Frankly, assuming everyone with a GAC must be ushered to the front of the line is the kind of patronizing view of a disability that is inconsistent with the ADA.

The DOJ's ADA regulations have long permitted inquiries where the requested information is reasonable and limited to the need for the modification or aid requested. This could be a doctor's note, a handicap parking tag or something as simple as a request by the guest not contradicted by observed facts.
Interesting...does this mean that Disney could ask for a doctor's note just saying that the person requires assistance, but doesn't specify their condition?

Although...while the blog talks about the growing abuse of GAC cards, I honestly cannot think of a time when I ever saw someone using a GAC where I thought to myself ... "Gee, sure doesn't look they need a GAC to me." Granted, I am probably way less likely to judge something like that, but so many posts make it sound like this is a constant, obvious thing that they observe it practically every time they see someone with a GAC. I have a hard time believing that is really the case. IMHO the percentage of abusers is very small, but the "group of 20 jumping to the head of line with one person who has a GAC" gets a lot more press than anyone talking about how great it is that the GAC is there for people who need it.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:04 PM   #5
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Interesting...does this mean that Disney could ask for a doctor's note just saying that the person requires assistance, but doesn't specify their condition?
You can't require a Doctor's note in every instance. You can require credible assurance that a policy modification is necessary.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:40 PM   #6
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Thank you all for the focused discussion. This is the type of discussion I was hoping to have when I wrote the article.

You're all pretty much on the game. The solution is to do what they did at RSR, if needed.

However, I do think it is abused to the point of causing a problem. It was causing 1/3 less fastpasses to be distributed per day at RSR due to the number of GACs going through the line. When execs inquired about this, they learned of the abuse. Having said that, DL has a much larger local base who know and exploit the system. However, WDW has much higher attendance. I am willing to bet George K is going to take a look at this, having examined it himself at DCA.

As far as not noticing people, keep in mind what you see is only a snippet in time. I've had people tell me with a straight face they have never heard of the monorails being down. I, on the other hand, have seen literally a snake of people walking to the TTC on Christmas Day, July 4th, and a fire on the ground from parts falling out and starting a fire. Clearly, they are never down.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:31 PM   #7
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Tommy, it was a very enjoyable article to read.
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:45 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by zulemara View Post

However, I do think it is abused to the point of causing a problem. It was causing 1/3 less fastpasses to be distributed per day at RSR due to the number of GACs going through the line.
Just out of curiosity, where did this percentage come from?
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:46 AM   #9
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Just out of curiosity, where did this percentage come from?
someone with direct knowledge of the situation. That's what caused the execs to take a look at things.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:52 AM   #10
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someone with direct knowledge of the situation. That's what caused the execs to take a look at things.
One gets the impression that Tommy would meet his source by placing a flowerpot with a red flag on the balcony of his apartment resulting in a meeting at the bottom level of an underground parking garage just over the Key Bridge in Rosslyn, Virginia.

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Old 01-17-2013, 11:13 AM   #11
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I realize that every system, everywhere will be abused at some point. There are dishonest people in the world who think that everything is "owed" to them.

However, the reason this makes me sad is for the individuals who legitimately need the assistance and might not be able to receive it as easily one day. I have Multiple Sclerosis. I'm also a healthy 32 year old woman with no external signs of the disease. However, there are days when the disease gets the better of me and I need help with everyday life. If this were to happen at Disney, IMHO, I would have NO problem explaining to Guest Services the nature of my disability and wouldn't mind coming prepared with a doctor's note or some kind of proof. I would even go so far to say that, if done privately and respectfully, most people who have a disability and need assistance wouldn't mind providing that proof to keep the system in-place and easy to use. There's a form you fill out and request assistance ahead of time with dietary restrictions, why can't this be the same way?
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:10 PM   #12
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The fact that fakers abuse the GAC and ruin it for people who are genuinely in need of it to make their visit possible is disgraceful. I am not from the US but my wife is but we're really knowledgeable about the ADA because although we have disabled kids, we live in the UK. While it may not be legal to ask for proof of disability, there may be some way to deter people who are not willing to "VOLUNTEER" evidence.

It shouldn't be a fast pass system anyway. My understanding when we considered it with our severely autistic daughter was that it just offers a quiet or less crowded place to wait. The solution could well be that they adopt an approach of if you have a GAC, you get to wait in another area for the current wait time. So lets say TOT, if the standby time is 30 minutes, a GAC holder can wait somewhere until the 30 minutes expires.

If a GAC is being treated as automatic FP to every ride it's no wonder people are abusing it.
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:32 PM   #13
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The GAC card was never intended to be a fast pass. In fact, on the back of the card it reads:

"At attractions offering Disney's Fastpass service, Guests should obtain a Disney Fastpass return ticket."

The question I have, is when did cast members begin to allow this rule not to be followed?
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:14 PM   #14
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The GAC card was never intended to be a fast pass. In fact, on the back of the card it reads:

"At attractions offering Disney's Fastpass service, Guests should obtain a Disney Fastpass return ticket."

The question I have, is when did cast members begin to allow this rule not to be followed?
It depends on the stamp on the card and the attraction. Each attraction handles things their own way based on what the system is. For instance, I was with a friend who recently had been very very sick with a muscle disease caused by medicine she was put on as a result of a fall(long, yet entertaining story). Anyway, her disability was being unable to do really...anything for an extended period of time. She could walk as long as she did so swiftly and in bursts, thus eliminating the need for a wheelchair. Yet standing for long periods with slow movement was also an issue. So we got a GAC. They suggested a wheelchair, but as I said, a wheelchair and the challenges that go with it wasn't necessary for her condition. The GAC let us into the FP line at every attraction we went on at EPCOT that had one. Soarin sticks out in my head as I remember her truckin along in the FP lane, talking about how much up and down the queue has. Of course if the wait was short on a ride like SSE we just went in the main entrance.

It's not the CMs, it's the ride and how it gets handled because there are people who legitimately can't deal with the long queues for one reason or another. There are also those who are sensitive to lights, sound, etc. So it depends on the stamp on the card which determines what kind of accommodation you get.

At RSR, it was largely AP holders using the "I can't wait in line" disability to be let into the FP line. The solution then was to let them come back at a later time in accordance with the current stand-by wait time. I think this could be a solution which covers the wide range of disabilities while at the same time making sure the FP line doesn't get over-ridden with GACs

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Old 01-17-2013, 02:18 PM   #15
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Soarin sticks out in my head as I remember her truckin along in the FP lane, talking about how much up and down the queue has.
Very interesting. We went with my mom last month who was on a scooter for various medical problems she has. She has a handicap placard as well. I remember our waiting in the regular line on Soarin. In fact, really the only place I remember being directed to the fastpass line was in Fantasyland at MK. The rest of the places, it almost seemed more trouble to have the scooter with us, ie it would have taken the same time with much less of a problem with parking and maneuvering. Obviously, part of the problem with the system is in the lack of consistency.

We go to Disneyland all the time. I would say the problem is very different there. Often the handicap accessible lines for Peter Pan and Small World are 15 parties deep. I can't say how much it's "abused," but I've definitely been party to incidents that made me think it was and upset me... teens calling people waiting in the regular line "suckas." In fact, I would say parent-less teens make up a good portion of the those using the GAC line at DL, IME.

It does seem like forcing GAC holders to use fastpasses where available (maybe accepting late returns) and providing a quiet waiting room with seating should cover most of the issues. I don't think the free for all it is at DL works. And I can't figure why a group of 15 would ever be eligible. It used to be 6 total in the party at DL; maybe it's changed, but that seemed very reasonable to me. It's not as if 15 people can all sit together on most rides anyway.
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