Our family decided to wait until October 10th, the day after the DAS launch, to visit WDW. We wanted to avoid potential crowds and hear how the new service worked for other families before heading to the parks ourselves. The Magic Kingdom guest relations portion of this blog is rather lengthy because of the surprising behavior of the cast member and our desire to make sure your family is prepared for different scenarios.
Our son was very happy arriving at Magic Kingdom and we immediately went to Guest Relations to secure his new DAS card. The wait was only 5 minutes before we were helped. The Cast Member (CM) asked general questions about our son’s needs. We shared he had difficulty waiting more than 15 minutes for an attraction and he likes to ride some attractions multiple times in a row. The CM said "he can't do that any more" in response to our son's need to repeat rides. The CM also explained the basics of the new DAS system without addressing the concerns we just expressed. We asked about the “Re-Ad” pass to help with riding attractions multiple times. The CM responded bluntly there was no such thing. We politely explained that Disney was giving them to some DAS guests on October 9. CM excused herself and spoke with another cast member. At this time, my husband took my son to the side to keep him distracted while he waited for his DAS. CM returned and asked which Cast Member had given me “Re-Ads” yesterday. I said I saw it in an online video. CM rolled her eyes and said the video was incorrect. She continued saying that WDW did not have them. I politely tried to explain again that my son is used to riding some rides multiple times in a row. CM’s response was “He can’t do that with the new system. He can’t do that anymore.”
CM proceeded to add him to the Disney DAS database. She took our son’s picture with a tablet (like an iPad), explained how to use the pass and asked for my signature on the back of the DAS. To clarify, I asked if the DAS return time was calculated by taking the attraction’s stand-by line wait time minus 10 minutes. The CM confirmed that was correct. I asked if she could explain what the “Re-Ad” was that I saw in the online video. She said they don’t exist but she would give me some Fastpasses. She offered me 3 “Attraction Re-Entry Passes” good for five people to enter the Fastpass line. (This was the “Re-Ad” pass I had asked about.) I expressed my sincere gratitude for her assistance. We spent a total of 15 minutes in guest relations processing my son’s DAS card from the time a CM started helping us. (Note: the DAS has a QR Code that is designed to be used when the DAS card is renewed to save time and not have to go through this process again.)
My husband and I were surprised by the lackluster and insensible attitude of the CM regarding my son’s need for additional accommodations in conjunction with the DAS card. This is not what I expected from WDW cast members.
While our experience in Guest Relations was not the best, the cast members at each attraction were very nice, accommodating and knowledgeable about the new DAS system.
Prior to our visit to Hollywood Studios, we read additional reviews from parents regarding the new DAS system. We arrived at Guest Relations and met the Cast Member after a very short wait. He was particularly helpful and accommodating, a great relief to us especially after our experience with the Guest Relations CM at Magic Kingdom. We showed our son’s DAS card and expressed his needs regarding shorter wait times and riding attractions multiple times. CM asked which rides he liked to repeat. After I completed a form, the CM then left briefly and returned with Re-Entry Passes to accommodate the number of times our son would want to ride Tower of Terror and the Great Movie Ride. His customer service was exemplary.
The cast members at the attractions get an “A”, especially the cast member at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. My husband explained to the CM that our son only liked to walk through the Fastpass queue line and not ride (we also don't ride), she allowed us to do so and our son enjoyed walking through this attraction as usual.
Overall, the wait times at Disney’s Hollywood Studios were longer than Magic Kingdom’s. It was Columbus Day weekend and the park was busy. The DAS in combination with the Re-Entry Passes were needed for our son to enjoy the short time he stayed at the park. Without the Re-Entry passes, he would have asked to leave soon after we arrived.
At Epcot, the crowds were heavy due to the Food and Wine Festival. Like Hollywood Studios, the Guest Relations cast member was wonderful. The Cast Member shared with us her background in special education and immediately understood our son’s needs. She took his DAS card and asked questions about his specific needs at Epcot. She returned with Re-Entry Passes to accommodate his needs for Test Track and Soarin’.
To our surprise, our son headed to Mexico in World Showcase rather than Test Track. We coaxed him to walk by Test Track to secure a DAS return time. The stand-by line was 90 minutes. We knew this wait would be impossible for him and obtained the 70 minute return time. We continued to Mexico and used the Re-Entry Passes because the noise level in the Mexican pavilion was high and his anxiety was growing.
After that, we enjoyed three other activities in World Showcase and then our son asked to leave. We walked by Test Track to see if he would ride but he was insistent on leaving. We returned to guest relations and gave them the unused Re-Entry Passes.
Animal Kingdom was the last park my family visited. We arrived at 2:00 p.m. and our wait was only five minutes before we were helped at Guest Relations. The CM was very obliging and took our son’s DAS card. We also offered his ID and annual pass. To our surprise and hers, the CM could not find any record of our son receiving Re-Entry Passes during his visits to the other three parks. The CM had to re-enter my son’s information regarding his need for additional accommodations along with the DAS. She combined my son’s, my husband’s and my ID onto his DAS card account in the computer. The CM also provided us an “account” number which is supposed to list all our information regarding my son’s unique accommodations. This re-entry process took about 20 minutes. With my son’s anxiety growing, I went outside with him while my husband finished the DAS process. The CM provided Re-Entry Passes but not at the quantity equal to how often he repeats rides. The CM also wrote on the DAS the attraction return time for Dinosaur before we left guest relations, therefore helping reduce the time we would need to wait for the first attraction.
My son’s anxiety level was elevated due to the wait at Guest Relations and we had to move quickly through the park to avoid any sudden noises that could result in a meltdown. Arriving at Dinosaur, we immediately used Re-Entry Pass to enter the ride since there were children very loud outside the entrance. As predicted, my son wanted to ride several more times and we used the DAS return time and Re-Entry Passes for his second and third consecutive ride.
Our son next headed to Expedition Everest next as part of his usual routine. Stand-by wait times were 30 to 45 minutes and the Re-Entry Passes became essential. They were also necessary at Kari River Rapids and Kilimanjaro Safari which had wait times as high as 80 minutes.
Animal Kingdom was more crowded than expected and the Attraction Re-Entry Passes were critical to my son enjoying the 4.5 hours our family spent at Animal Kingdom.
From this report, you will notice two things. One consistent thing about the DAS experience across all parks was the inconsistency. Each DAS experience at guest relations was different from the other. This difference peaked during our fourth WDW visit at Animal Kingdom. The other consistent thing from our visits was the cast members in guest relations were fantastic with the exception of our first visit to Magic Kingdom. All the cast members at the attraction entrances were knowledgeable about the new DAS system and very friendly.
From these four visits to different WDW parks, our family learned quickly how critical the DAS Attraction Re-Entry Passes used in conjunction with the DAS card will be to the success of my son’s visits to WDW. As WDW continues to work out the ‘kinks’ of the new DAS system, our family hopes they do not discontinue the Attraction Re-Entry Pass accommodation. While it is very inconvenient to visit Guest Relations every single visit to WDW to obtain this additional accommodation (our family visits a WDW park between 25 to 35 times a year), our son would simply not be able to visit the parks without these Re-Entry passes.
I hope you found this detailed overview of our visits to the four WDW parks using the new DAS card helpful as your family plans to visit WDW in the future.