GAC abuse (or not)


#1

This is quite a read but worth it. It explains what’s going on in DL but could be happening at WDW too (TSM anyone?). Is this being abused? Absolutely, and at the expense of many who truly need it.
With the NexGen coming the current use of GAC will hinder the whole program and throw it off. It explains in the article.
What can be done to help the current system without those qualifying losing out on an experience equal to that of the regular guest? Thoughts?

Another change triggered by the huge popularity of Cars Land and Radiator Springs Racers will be coming this winter to the Resort’s Guest Assistance Card program. The Guest Assistance Cards, or GAC’s as the Cast Members call them, are a program about 8 years old that allow those with disabilities that prevent them from being in long lines of people but don’t necessarily confine them to a wheelchair to bypass most lines at most attractions. Many people consider them a “front of line pass”, and a sub-culture of fraud and dishonesty has grown up around the program in recent years, where people with no disability whatsoever or with a vaguely undefined yet blanket condition like “claustrophobia” or a “bad back” now have a GAC. The Guest Relations team manages and distributes the GACs, and they will now post-date them for months in advance for Annual Passholders so that they have them ready to use for every casual visit for months at a time.

The result this summer was that on days with high Annual Passholder visitation rates the line of people wanting to use their GAC at Racers would completely overwhelm the attraction and create a line of 30 to 45 minutes long, clogging the Fastpass lane and demanding that the ride operators at Racers dramatically dial down the number of Fastpasses distributed each day. (And now you know why the Racers Fastpasses are all gone within 60 minutes of park opening; they are only giving out a third of the number of tickets they should be able to as they try and manage the GACs heading into the ride through the same line).

The Guest Relations team was summoned to the Racers ride entrance all summer as they tried to mitigate the problem by forcing GAC holders to return only after the length of the Standby line had lapsed, issuing them a “return time” much like a Fastpass. This process at least prevented those with GACs from just going around and around through the Fastpass line as much as they wanted, as a 45 minute Fastpass/GAC wait time is at least shorter than the two to three hour long Standby wait. The irony of a 45 minute line for people who freely acknowledge they can’t wait in line is not lost on any of the Cast Members from Guest Relations or Radiator Springs Racers.

When word of this GAC phenomenon reached DCA executives and George Kalogridis, after they demanded to know why so few Fastpasses were being given out each morning, the answer took the TDA executives by surprise. Any front-line Attractions or Guest Relations Cast Member has known the GAC program was highly abused and nearly worthless for years, but most executives had no exposure to the problem and had no idea so many GACs were being issued, often for months at a time. Some quick studies were commissioned by the Guest Relations team this summer, and it was determined that upwards of 5,000 people per day, almost all of whom were tracked as Annual Passholders, were going through the Fastpass line at Radiator Springs Racers with a GAC. At an attraction like Racers that was carrying an average of 20,000 riders per day, 5,000 of them boarding the ride with a GAC is a huge impact. After all, a GAC is valid for the disabled person, and up to five of their friends or family, so while there were often 1,500 or more valid GACs in the park at any one time that meant there were thousands more people joining the GAC card holder at an attraction.

The news that thousands and thousands of APs per day this summer had what amounted to an open Fastpass or backdoor access to any attraction at the Resort set off alarm bells in TDA, but not because of the assumption that many of the maladies were fake or overblown by the GAC holder just to get the perk of shorter lines. The TDA executives were most disturbed by the huge numbers of GACs because that would ruin their attempt to install and overlay the upcoming NextGen Fastpass or XPass concepts we’ve been telling you about for a couple of years. The entire NextGen queue project, just about to be rolled out formally later this fall in Walt Disney World, is built on fine tuned statistical models that have no leeway for huge numbers of people also trying to access the Fastpass lines at shows and attractions. With the average GAC-holding Annual Passholder essentially having an open Fastpass for any attraction at any time for their entire family, the NextGen concept would be undermined right from the start in Anaheim. Unless, of course, TDA blew up the existing GAC program and started over with something far more restrictive before NextGen arrives.

The NextGen project in Anaheim is a full 18 months behind the WDW timetable for NextGen installation. Much of the initial construction to add NextGen concepts to queues and waiting areas at Disneyland and DCA will kick off this winter and go through calendar year 2013, with a soft opening of NextGen in Anaheim by the winter of 2014. However, current construction projects at the Resort are taking NextGen into account, with data cables and physical changes already being included in current construction projects like the refurbished Fantasyland Theater and the Princess Fantasy Faire off the Hub.

The goal TDA has given the Guest Relations team is to blow up the current GAC process and come up with something far more restrictive by this winter, and then keep it on a very short leash through 2013 as TDA tries to reset the lofty expectations of those who get Guest Assistance Cards, the vast majority of whom are Annual Passholders. At the same time, Disneyland and DCA will need to take the same steps taken at WDW to limit Fastpass return times only to the actual hour printed on the ticket. NextGen concepts require rigid adherence to the programmed system, and a huge pool of people able to bypass all NextGen requirements with a Guest Assistance Card valid for the entire family simply can’t be allowed if NextGen is to succeed in Anaheim.

This is just insane.
The Party’s Over - MiceAge.com


#2

…Wow…I never thought that the abuse could cause this much back up…if they don’t do something to stop the abuse…it’s just going to get worse and worse…


#3

I read on another board where a family were issued a card for their daughter and dad admittingly said he uses it with his son, without daughter, so that his son could be able to enjoy the parks like avg guests without having to experience his sisters meltdowns. HELLO…i’m sorry but that’s abuse. If there’s nothing wrong with his son they should obtain FP’s like Avg Guests.

This got me to thinking about the alternatives to this program. In DL they’re already suggesting card holders must wait a full stand by time to ride again. If the majority of the attractions have you enter through FP anyway (the one’s that have it) why not EVERYONE obtain a FP and return during their window. If they normally enter through that line and wait with all the other FPer’s anyway then what would be the difference? 15 min is still 15 min whether it’s instant or a return window, right. Once all FP’s are gone for the day THEN card holders enter as it currently is. If an attraction doesn’t have FP’s then keep it as is.

Isn’t the idea of the GAC to allow those in need to be able to enjoy the park the same as the avg guests rather than an “unlimited FP”, which is what they’re finding many use it for?

I truly am not trying to be insensitive about those who need this, just trying to think of ideas to stop the abuse from those who don’t.


#4

I’ve had similar thoughts, Mickeybug, that everyone ought to wait the same amount of time. It doesn’t seem unreasonable or unfair.


#5

Goodness, people are awful. Bad back? Claustrophobia? Really??

The purpose of the GAC was to allow children and adults with disabilities along the lines of Downs and autism to be able to experience the attractions without the frustrating wait in line and occurance of meltdowns. The reason it worked was because these children and adults can’t tour the park like “average guests.” They don’t go at the same pace, they need breaks, they can’t ride all of the same rides.


#6

[QUOTE=LittleMissMagic;1122271]Goodness, people are awful. Bad back? Claustrophobia? Really??

The purpose of the GAC was to allow children and adults with disabilities along the lines of Downs and autism to be able to experience the attractions without the frustrating wait in line and occurance of meltdowns. The reason it worked was because these children and adults can’t tour the park like “average guests.” They don’t go at the same pace, they need breaks, they can’t ride all of the same rides.[/QUOTE]

I agree but like all good things abuse kills it. Makes it really hard for those of us who play by the rules


#7

Am I reading this wrong? The abuse is people riding the attraction multiple times? If so, can’t Disney simply limit the re-riding? You get the pass for a one time ride. or one time every three hours etc…


#8

They’ve got to do something, starting with tightening up who they give the GAC to. Somehow Disney needs to confirm the infirmity of the guest.
Seriously, someone with a bad back can’t wait in line for California Screamin’, but he’s got no problem riding it?
“Houston, we’ve got a problem”.


#9

That is one of the changes they are trying to implement at DL to stop this insanity. On RS they had to start issuing a hand written ticket FP style which would give cardholders a return time equal to that of 1 round of stand-by time. I could see this working since the majority of the problems seem to be people can’t wait in line for long periods of time. As I said in my earlier post, 15 min is 15 min whether you went in unlimited or by return window. The minimal wait in line is still the same and that seems to be the issue so why not inforce the return window. Most legitimate card holders that have commented around have no problem with that. The abusers are the one’s whinning.


#10

The tricky part is, they aren’t supposed to ask what someone’s disability is.

This just really stinks that people are so selfish.


#11

So unthoughtful of other people. Just ugh! I could not imagine someone doing this. I have a friend who seriously needs to use a GAC and will not because she does not want people to think badly of her family. All because of people like this. Ugh!


#12

[QUOTE=LittleMissMagic;1122282]The tricky part is, they aren’t supposed to ask what someone’s disability is.

This just really stinks that people are so selfish.[/QUOTE]

So true.

Another incident a guest while in stand-by saw a family with young children going through the line repeatedly with GAC and overheard one of the boys say “this is so much better, we should bring Grandma with us everytime”, except Grandma was no where to be found. She was outside the ride sitting on a bench resting.

I still can’t believe even after realizing AP holders were the biggest offenders they are issued a postdated card good for several months out.

This is leaving a bad taste with me, especially when so many really do need it including some very good friends of mine.


#13

Sad. …it makes me very sad…


#14

I’ve always thought the GAC system has been abused. We’ve seen perfectly able bodied people having WDW wheelchairs at the front entrance, and then we’ve seen the same people literally abandoning them at the bus stop and hopping on the bus. Also, I don’t know if this still happens, but, a group of eight or more people ( supposedly the family) being able to also jump the line to allow them to ride with the GAC holder. I am sure I heard Universal’s policy was that the GAC holder and one person assisting were the only ones allowed to bypass the regular queue?
I think it’s so unjust and unfair to do this just to get to the front of a line. None of us like queueing in the Florida heat, but hey, it’s one of the busiest theme parks in the world, thats how it goes. And to fake a disability, thus depriving those who really do have a disability of getting on the ride quickly and smoothly, is just deplorable. I do think Disney has to act fast and tough on this one, but even if they do, it wont take the morally deprived long to come up with another way to spoil it for those genuinely in need.


#15

[QUOTE=Soundgod;1122278]They’ve got to do something, starting with tightening up who they give the GAC to. Somehow Disney needs to confirm the infirmity of the guest.
Seriously, someone with a bad back can’t wait in line for California Screamin’, but he’s got no problem riding it?
“Houston, we’ve got a problem”.[/QUOTE]

THANK YOU! DING DING DING - we have a winner!! To get this pass, you absolutely should have to show a note from a doctor etc showing that you require this pass and I also think it should be good for ONE time on the ride only. Disability or not, give me a break with abuse and nonsense. Makes me sick.


#16

Unfortunately due to HIPAA/ADA Disney isn’t allowed to ask at this point for fear of violating privacy acts. This is a grey area to me. No one is saying they have to provide information of what is wrong with them, but I don’t understand why they can’t provide documention that something is actually wrong. But so far I don’t think the issue is the abuse in acquiring the pass itself though as much as it is in how it’s being used once inside the park. It’s the repetitive use as well as the one it was issued to not being the one that actually uses it but rather the rest of the group.


#17

Where’s 6-2-6?

I’m pretty sure the ADA prevents people from being able to ask what someone’s disability is, or the extent of it.

That’s also a big problem with service dogs. I know there is a long-going thread on a cruise board about people who claim that their little purse dogs are service dogs, but all someone is allowed to ask is 1) is the service animal because of a disability? and 2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Pretty sure that’s the problem - Disney can’t legally ask what someone’s disability is, only if they have one. Which is a loophole that the people without disabilities (well, besides being ethically disabled) have found. And now because of the abuse, they’re pretty much forcing Disney to get rid of the GAC card.

Maybe instead of issuing a GAC card which can be passed around from person to person, they should use some sort of wristband or photo ID so that it can only be used by the person who has (or “has”) a disability.


#18

You have to provide proof if you want a handicap parking pass in any state I am aware of, so I can’t see how this is different.


#19

I wonder if HIPAA is actually relevant? I mean, I’m thinking of it this way: No one has to go on a ride… if one wants different accommodation, then perhaps one should volunteer documentation of need in order to get them? I don’t know… just musing…


#20

…that’s a good point…perhaps those of us who DO NOT exploit this pass should keep sending our dissatisfaction to Disney…

What is the real reason that they do not require proof of need? Unfortunately that will make the legit cases provide it too, but…I doubt the legit users will mind…