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  • [Question] Some questions about GACs

    I will be taking my 5 year old son to DLR in November.
    However, I will be needing to get him a GAC (guest assistance card?) because of his severe autism.
    He is normally alright in lines as long as there are lots of things to look at and they move; standing still can cause him to get anxious and start trying to climb on things or rolling around on the ground. Since I don't want things to escalate to that point (I don't want him to hurt himself or others), I believe the pass would help with him avoiding areas where the congestion of people may be too much for him (Peter Pan is really the only one we had an issue with last year).
    I plan on bringing his IEP, which is a legal document from the school district describing his challenges and goals.
    But I was wondering if the GAC is just a piece of paper, or sticker, or perhaps a button that he can wear to be better identified by CMs?

    I know it does not allow one to get in the front of the line. I'm under the impression that it allows guests with the pass to wait in a different area, right? That would be most beneficial for our family.

    Has anyone had one? And is there something I need to bring other than his IEP?

    Thank you for reading!
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  • #2
    Re: Some questions about GACs

    Don't bring his IEP. They will not look at it. A GAC will allow him to wait in the alternative area. Be forewarned, the wait is often as long or longer than standby. Use fastpass to avoid as many lines as possible. In Space Mountain, he would wait by the restrooms at the exit. There is a place to sit. POTC, the line forms at the exit. If the line it as the Pieces of 8, expect the wait to be 20 mins. If it is down to the Veranda, the wait can be an hour. The problem here is this line stands still. You may move a step forward every 5 mins. In this case, you might be better in the standby queue.

    The GAC would be a piece of paper that you would carry and show to the CM assisting in the accessible area. It would tell the CM the type of assistance you need.
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    • #3
      Re: Some questions about GACs

      Originally posted by Malcon10t View Post
      Don't bring his IEP. They will not look at it.
      If they don't look at documents, how do they decide if they will give you a GAC? I know for legal reasons they are not really allowed to ask for 'proof', but they won't get much out of him by asking him questions since he is non-verbal.
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      • #4
        Re: Some questions about GACs

        When I first got my GAC the only question they asked was, "What kind of assistance do you need?" I don't know the different classifications that they have. But it never hurts to ask.

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        • #5
          Re: Some questions about GACs

          For Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, there is an "alternate experience" called the Marine Observation Outpost, which is a small theater next to the actual ride. You can take him into it and sit down and watch a video presentation in which you will see and hear exactly what you would if you got on the subs. The screen is large and the picture is very high in quality, and the sound system is excellent. They took an HD camera and put it in the sub and recorded it in HD. It's pretty neat actually. There is little or no waiting to go into the theater even if there is a long line to actually get on the subs. I read that Sleeping Beauty Castle also has an "alternate experience" but I have not seen that one.

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          • #6
            Re: Some questions about GACs

            don't you have something from a doctor? even a simple letter. I don't think a CM would even know what an IEP is. My son has one and its kinda complicated if you don't know what you are looking at. They are so busy at City Hall (which is where I think you would go to get it - guest relations) keep it simple. They are very happy to accomadate guests needs.
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            • #7
              Re: Some questions about GACs

              They will talk to you about what the issues are and how to get around them. They will not look at notes from Doctor's or at an IEP. They will advise you the best route. Often, they will advise you to use the Fastpasses and provide information how to do it. If they talk to you (the child will have to be there) they may determine you should use the alternative lines. They will then give you a card and it will have information based on your situation to show the CM at the ride. They will then advise you how to approach the rides.
              If you see a cute yellow lab puppy with a yellow cape, WAVE! It might be us! (Or it may be someone else that lurks here!) Thank you for asking before you pet! Next trip, Dec 22-Jan 3rd.

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              • #8
                Re: Some questions about GACs

                Originally posted by leopardchucks View Post
                If they don't look at documents, how do they decide if they will give you a GAC? I know for legal reasons they are not really allowed to ask for 'proof', but they won't get much out of him by asking him questions since he is non-verbal.
                Originally posted by Malcon10t View Post
                They will talk to you about what the issues are and how to get around them. They will not look at notes from Doctor's or at an IEP. They will advise you the best route. Often, they will advise you to use the Fastpasses and provide information how to do it. If they talk to you (the child will have to be there) they may determine you should use the alternative lines. They will then give you a card and it will have information based on your situation to show the CM at the ride. They will then advise you how to approach the rides.
                They no longer require any "proof" of disability, for the exact reason you said, legal. All you have to do is say that you need one for such and such reason and they will give it to you.

                As Malcon10t said, just explain that your son is autistic, and most likely they will have additional information for you in addition to giving you the GAC. This is something that comes up frequently in the park, and they have a lot of helpful hints for you.

                Of course no one knows your son better than you. Take your cues from him. I'm assuming you have taken him to the park before, so you can tell when he's pushing the edge, needs a break, needs redirected etc. If he needs a place to chill for a while and get away from the sensory overload, I'm guessing the Gallery might be a good place to go for a few minutes. I haven't been in there but it might be a bit more quiet. The lobby of the Opera house was also a good place to go, but I think its still closed.




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                • #9
                  Re: Some questions about GACs

                  Don't forget, you can also use the first aid station for a place for her to recoup if he melts down. My daughter is Aspie, and while we never used a GAC her, I just followed her signs and made SURE she never got overly tired or hungry (2 areas that caused her major meltdowns.)
                  If you see a cute yellow lab puppy with a yellow cape, WAVE! It might be us! (Or it may be someone else that lurks here!) Thank you for asking before you pet! Next trip, Dec 22-Jan 3rd.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Some questions about GACs

                    Only you can judge what your son can and can't do. That said, we went along with a family that had a child who was very high on the autistic spectrum and the only thing that saved their bacon was the ability to retreat to quiet spots. The GAC card they got didn't help them much. They found that it was best to have a member of our party go through the stand-by line and do the rider-switch or have them meet us when we got to the front by going through the exit, because the GAC lines could be just as tightly spaced and boring as the normal queue. By doing it this way, the child could be outside, where it wasn't so tight and confined, and occupied by the atmosphere. We also told them about all the quiet spots in Disneyland. Yes, there are a few if you know where to look. The passage between Fantasy/StorybookLand and the Ranch is often less crowded than other spaces. Some of the side streets on Main Street are good for a rest. Also, he may be fascinated by the Fire Station on Main Street and some of the other less visited spots.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Some questions about GACs

                      Originally posted by fourmountain View Post
                      because the GAC lines could be just as tightly spaced and boring as the normal queue.
                      It is true. The regular queue is themed whereas the HA queue is not. It is often quite boring. But there are usually fewer people in the area.
                      If you see a cute yellow lab puppy with a yellow cape, WAVE! It might be us! (Or it may be someone else that lurks here!) Thank you for asking before you pet! Next trip, Dec 22-Jan 3rd.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Some questions about GACs

                        Thank you all so much for responding.

                        Like I said, he has been to the park before and he seems to do alright. Since he is a sensory-seeker he prefers to have all kinds of things going on around him. Quiet areas don't really have the relaxing effect on him that they might on me. I also have plans to bring a couple of 'goodies' to only bust out at the restless times. (Last year a spinning light-up Buzz Lightyear was a boon for such occasions).

                        But really, I'm hoping to not have to use the pass at all...I don't wanna make those GAC lines longer than they absolutely have to be. I plan on taking advantage of FastPasses and possible rider-switch and just keeping the GAC as a back-up for possibly crazy moments.

                        Disney is so accomodating. For them to go above and beyond to ensure that ALL their guests can enjoy the park to the best of their abilities is truly a blessing. Unsurpassed customer service! I plan on continuing to visit the parks they have made so accessible for my family and am thankful for them not treating us like a burden.
                        For those of you that are curious about my wedding:
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                        • #13
                          Re: Some questions about GACs

                          Originally posted by CMHusband View Post
                          don't you have something from a doctor? even a simple letter. I don't think a CM would even know what an IEP is. My son has one and its kinda complicated if you don't know what you are looking at. They are so busy at City Hall (which is where I think you would go to get it - guest relations) keep it simple. They are very happy to accomadate guests needs.
                          You are right some would know what an IEP was and some wont. WHICH IS WHY THEY DONT ASK FOR IT or any proof for that matter. Even a doctors note is useless because if the Cast Members in City Hall were doctors they wouldnt be working at Disneyland. They want to know what challenges you have while visiting in relation to the attractions (which is the only thing the GAC is valid for) and they will do the best they can to create a solution with the resources available to them.

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