Picture of Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD

Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD

Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD, the founder of Milk & Honey Nutrition, is a diabetes dietitian (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) renowned for combining her knowledge of diabetes and culinary expertise into easy-to-follow recipes and articles!

Overview

What to Say to Get a DAS Pass for Diabetes & How Does a DAS Pass Work?

Article Overview

what to say to get a das pass at disney with diabetes

Having a DAS pass when going to theme parks like Disney can be incredibly helpful so in this post we’re discussing what a DAS pass is, how to qualify for one, and what to say to get a DAS pass when you have diabetes. 

A DAS pass at theme parks like Disney, allows for accommodations for certain health conditions and developmental disabilities. It can make navigating the park much easier. In the past, the complexities and burdens of managing diabetes would qualify you for a DAS pass in some cases. But, you need to know what to say to get a DAS pass, and recognize that under new guidelines going into effect on May 19, 2024, some people with diabetes may no longer be eligible for a DAS pass.

Note: This post was originally published in February 2024. Disney updated the DAS pass guidelines in April 2024. The new guidelines will go into place on May 19, 2024. At this point in time, it is unclear how the new updates will impact people with diabetes. We have updated this post as of May 9, 2024, and will continue updates throughout summer 2024 as we learn more.

What is a DAS pass?

DAS stands for Disability Access Service. A DAS pass is intended to help guests with developmental disabilities enjoy their time in an amusement park. More specifically, a DAS pass assists those who have a disability that makes waiting in long lines difficult or not possible. Prior to May 19, 2024 there were no descriptive terms listed around the term disability. It was implied that DAS passes were intended for any person with any type of disability that made waiting in a standard line difficult or not possible.

Disney did, however, update the phrasing to now say “due to a developmental disability like autism or similar.

I’ve been to Disney World twice in the last 6 years and did not know this was an option! Having a DAS pass would have made navigating the parks so much easier!

I did however talk to two different families whose children have diabetes and utilized the DAS pass system within the last two years. Having a DAS pass allowed them navigate the park with a lot less stress. And, it made managing their child’s blood sugars much much easier.

All of the tips below are from their personal experiences as well as the Disney Land and Disney World websites.

woman with type 1 diabetes at disney world cinderella's castle

How does a DAS pass work?

A DAS pass eliminates having to wait in a conventional line for an attraction at theme parks. Instead, at Disney, a DAS pass allows you to make a reservation for a specific time at an attraction… instead of waiting in a physical line. We’ll discuss more of the details below. But, you essentially get to make a set number of reservations each day and when you check in for your reservation you join a much shorter in-person line. 

You’re still waiting the same amount of time, just not in the actual line.

Disney DAS pass qualifications

Disney does not list specific qualifications for obtaining a DAS pass. They do however state that “Disability Access Service (DAS) is a program offered at [Disney] theme parks to assist guests who have difficulty tolerating extended waits in a conventional queue environment due to a developmental disability like autism.”

Does having diabetes qualify you for DAS pass?

The previous description of the DAS pass program applied to many people living with diabetes, especially children with diabetes. Being able to access a clean area to administer medication or insulin and ensuring access to water and low blood sugar treatment is crucial to managing blood sugars during the day. And, this can be difficult if you’re stuck in a line that takes 1-2 hours or even longer.  Because of this, diabetes should qualify most people for a DAS pass (in my opinion).

Prior to May 2024, the program did not clarify developmental disability. As this new version of the program rolls out, we will have to wait and see if more people with diabetes start to be denied DAS pass access or if it continues to be a service people with diabetes can utilize.

It’s important to note that Disney is very clear in their DAS policy. If anyone is believed to be misrepresenting themselves or a family member to acquire a DAS pass, they risk being banned from Disney parks for life.

gluten free mickey mouse waffles at disney world

Reasons to get a Disney DAS pass for type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes

If you will be visiting Disney World or Disney Land soon and are living with diabetes or have a child living with diabetes there’s many reasons to consider applying for a DAS pass:

  • Ability to plan your day ahead of time which makes managing blood sugar levels and planning meals and snacks much easier
  • Guaranteed access to clean areas to administer medication or insulin
  • Less stress about the unknown of lines and if you’ll be able to access snacks and water
  • Less exposure to heat which can cause elevated blood sugars and dehydration, increasing the risk for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)

How to get a DAS pass at Disney Land v. Disney World

The process for both US-based Disney parks is almost identical. But, you do need to go through different links to start your registration. 

Disney DAS pass registration

Previously, there were two options for registering for a DAS pass at Disney parks: in person or online ahead of time. Now, under the new guidelines, you must register online and via a Zoom video call anywhere from 2-30 days before your visit.

What to say to get a DAS pass

With DAS Advance Planning Service you talk to a Guest Relations agent via zoom within 2-30 days of your visit. You don’t make a reservation for this call. It’s much like calling customer service and waiting for an agent to become available to help you. They have direct links on the websites linked above to make your Zoom call. 

Insider tip: Because you’ll need to wait until an agent is available, ensure you have enough time to wait and try to make your call earlier in the day to avoid a longer wait time. 

Once an agent is available, they will ask a series of questions. They do not ask for personal health-related information though. The person applying for the DAS pass needs to be present on the call.

You should tell them why you feel you or your child will have difficulty waiting in line and/or why waiting in line would make it difficult to manage your condition. And, you are requesting a DAS pass to ensure you can mange blood sugars effectively and safely while visiting the park. 

You’ll also be asked to confirm the names of everyone in your party in addition to the person requesting the DAS pass.

disney world meal at Tomorrow Land rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans
<em>Having a DAS pass when you have diabetes makes planning your trip and managing blood sugars much easier You can plan your day including your meals to be able to more effectively keep blood sugars in range This was a delicious chicken potatoes and veggie meal we had in Tomorrow Land at Disneys Magic Kingdom <em>

Making your DAS pass reservations

Once approved for DAS, your agent will help you pre-select up to two attraction reservations for each day of your visit. (These will then also populate in your MyDisney Experience App as well.)

You can view the list of DAS pass eligible attractions online for both Disney World and Disney Land.

How to use DAS pass once inside the park

Once you arrive at the park, you can head straight to your first DAS pass selection.

All of your selections and additional information will show up in your Disney App.

Scheduling DAS pass rides at Disney

Once you’ve used your two Advance selections, you can make additional selections for your DAS pass via your Disney app or by heading to the attraction. You’ll be given a return-time window for you and your party to come back and enjoy the ride. You’ll be waiting the same amount of time as someone in line, just not in the actual line. Once you’ve used your selection, you can request another. 

The person with the DAS pass does not need to be present to request it. But, they do need to be present with your party to use it once it’s time for your return window.

millenium falcon walt disney world diabetes das pass
<em>My husband and I at the Millenium Falcon in Hollywood Studios at Disney World<em>

Universal DAS pass

While Disney has it’s own in house program, many theme parks including Universal Studios now partner with an outside organization called IBCCES. Through IBCCES you can apply for the IBCCES Accessibility Card (IAC) at accessibilitycard.org up to 48 hours before your planned visit.

Each park will have different programs but the key first step is to apply and get your IAC before going to the parks. Once you arrive at the park, you can head to Guest Relations and plan your day.

This page covers the step by step process for getting your IAC as well as specific steps once you get to Universal Studios. 

Managing diabetes at a theme park like Disney World

A DAS pass is just one of many helpful tools we may be able to use to manage diabetes and blood sugars while in a theme park. Some other helpful things to bring with you and to consider include:

  • Anticipate lots of walking. Insulin dosing may need to be adjusted throughout the day. 
  • Have temp stable low blood sugar treatments on hand at all times. 
  • Pack protein-rich snacks (You can bring outside food and drink into Disney parks as long as they are not in glass containers.)
  • Ensure you have access to water or other sugar free fluids throughout the day.
  • Wear comfortable closed toed shoes.
  • Plan ahead as much as you can. Knowing what’s coming can make managing your blood sugars much much easier. 
  • Look up restaurants and nutrition information ahead of time. (Some Disney restaurants can provide you with nutrition information, including carbohydrate counts.)
  • Make sure you have extra diabetes supplies and proper insulin storage pouches (affiliate link).

Have you been to Disney World or Disney Land lately?

If you or a loved one has diabetes and you’ve traveled to a Disney park recently, how was your experience? Tell us in the comments along with any tips you have!

what to say to get a das pass at disney with diabetes

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