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Guest Assistance Cards (GAC's)
Who should get them, how to get them and how to use them

This card can help you access various forms of help around the park.  You can get these at Guest Relations.  The card can be issued for length of stay, or for up to three months at a time with an Annual Pass. The card is valid for the holder and up to five companions, though you must specify at Guest Relations the number of people in your party. GACs are issued in various formats according to your need. If you are disabled in any way, whether or not you are in a wheelchair, describe your disability and needs to the Guest Relations cast member. He or she will issue the most appropriate GAC for your condition(s). Although they are not medical professionals, Guest Relations cast members are highly trained in discerning the most appropriate GAC for each situation, although you must stress your needs. Make sure that you fully understand exactly what accommodations your GAC provides.


If you will be using a wheelchair or ECV, you may not need this card. You will automatically be permitted to use the park and attraction park wheelchair entrances, and you’ll be allowed to stay in your chair on rides that permit this. However keep in mind that beyond this, Disney cast members have no obligation to make any special accommodations for wheelchair/ECV users without a GAC.  So even if you’re in a wheelchair, if you have any additional needs it’s best to get a GAC. Some GAC formats provide accommodations that are absolutely unavailable to those without one.


If you will be parking your chair at times and walking into an attraction queue, but you still need assistance, then you may want to get a GAC.  If you have a disability that is not visible or obvious, you may want a GAC.  The GAC tells the cast members what your needs are and can make for a much easier experience.  Without a GAC or a wheelchair you will not be allowed in the special wait areas, entrances or handicapped seating areas.


Issues that GACs can be extremely helpful for include invisible ailments like autism, ADD/ADHD, heat and sun problems, claustrophobia and crowd phobias.  Whenever possible and depending on the specifics of your GAC, the cast members may take you to an alternative queue or wait area that can make things much easier.  Those with other issues such as visual or hearing problems can benefit from a GAC.  For example, you may be able to be seated toward the front of shows. 


The GAC is the only means of using a stroller as a wheelchair. Without a GAC that specifies this, the stroller will not be permitted in queues, rides, etc.


What the GAC won’t usually do is get you to the front of the line; however, this does occasionally happen. At times we’ve actually had wait longer than if we’d gone through the main queue. The GAC can get you various forms of assistance, which may differ from attraction to attraction.  Just approach a cast member at the entrance, show your GAC and make your needs known. 


Occasionally, we’ve gotten a cast member who just wouldn’t help.  You can try asking for a supervisor, which may get you better results. 


Some forms of help a GAC can get you include:


Ø     The ability to use your stroller as you would a wheelchair, taking it through the wheelchair entrances and paths.  


Ø      Use of the special entrances, exits and waiting areas as needed.


Ø  Allowing you to sit in front seating areas of shows if you have visual impairments. Arrive early if you need this accommodation, or wait for the next show. Seats are not set aside specifically for the visually impaired, so they may be full if you arrive at showtime. If the seats are available, however, you will have priority seating.


Ø     Allowing you to wait in a shaded or air-conditioned area if the waiting area is too hot or sunny. This may not always be available.


Ø     The ability to approach a cast member with your specific and unique needs.  They will then usually try to help if your request is possible at that attraction.


If your disability is not visible, you may have a much easier time getting a GAC if you supply some kind of proof of your issue.  Years ago it was easy to get a GAC.  We noticed over time that the Guest Relations staff were getting less willing to hand out the card.  Sarah’s physical issues were not visible, and so after meeting some frustrating resistance we finally started bringing written evidence. We’ve brought doctor’s notes that were written for other purposes, and on another occasion a copy of a legal document confirming Sarah’s disability. Though this is not required, it made things go smoother. 


You may wish to have a doctor’s note written stating the nature of the problem and the need for special assistance.  If you prefer, the note does not have to reveal the actual diagnosis.  In fact, the diagnosis is not needed for the cast member to determine what type of GAC you should be issued. It should focus on the special needs you may have with your condition. 


Be sure to bring the person who needs the GAC into Guest Relations with you. We have heard that there have been people who have tried to fake the need for a GAC.  Guest Relations tries to be certain that the person the GAC is being requested for is really there at the park.  They also want to be sure that there is true need for a GAC, before issuing it.  It can help the process go more easily if the Guest Relations cast member can see the actual person requesting the GAC.


Here’s an example of a note that your doctor might write, and it should be on his professional letterhead and signed by the doctor:


To Whom It May Concern:


I am writing concerning ___________ who has been diagnosed with __________.  These problems cause an inability to [stand, sit or walk for extended periods of time, stand in crowds (whatever your issues are)...]  This will definitely impact his/her ability to wait in lines.  Please provide an alternative whenever possible that will minimize _________.  Additionally, he/she should also be out of the sun and in a cooler environment as often as possible.  Please offer any assistance you can.




Your Doctor’s Name


On occasion we have encountered a cast member at Guest Relations who did not know about the GAC.  Don’t argue or bother explaining.  There’s a whole park out there waiting for you, and it’s not worth the time. You don’t need to spend time demanding your rights or correcting someone.  Once in a while some cast members may be fairly new, inexperienced and/or not thoroughly trained.  Just nicely request a supervisor, who is likely to be knowledgeable and able to help you.   


On occasion at the attractions you may encounter a cast member who does not understand what to do with GAC holders, or who does not handle your issues with the sensitivity required.  If this occurs, just politely ask for a supervisor.  Don’t let it get to you!  You’re there to have a blast, and sometimes people lack experience, maturity or judgment.


One GAC is fine for all four parks on the date(s) specified on the GAC.  You can obtain a single GAC for the entire length of your stay.


(This article was taken from the guide book Walt Disney World with Disabilities). 


©Copyright 2007 Ball Media Innovations, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this website may be copied without permission. 


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