I recently described my 10 tips for a Disney vacation with a special needs child, to help you ensure that the trip is as magical for all of you. But I wanted to give more details about the totally free Disability Access Service (DAS) card for those of you looking into it.

Or, maybe you don’t even know about it at all, like I didn’t.

Well let me tell you, it’s the biggest game changer for kids with autism or other special needs in the entire Disney Parks, in my opinion. It can literally save your vacation.

Here’s how the Disney DAS card works.

Related: 10 tips for a Disney World vacation with kids with special needs. It can be magical!

What is the Disney DAS card?

The DAS card is designed specifically for guests with both physical and non-apparent disabilities who have difficulty waiting in lines in the park. It’s different from wheelchair or scooter access, which allows someone with a physical impairment to wait in a regular line for a ride.

Instead, DAS lets you basically skip the long wait times in line and, instead, you are free to do what you want until it’s your designated time to return and ride the attractions.

When you have DAS access, it’s added to your profile, and shows up every time you scan your existing ticket card or MagicBand at any ride or attraction.

Disney World with kids with special needs: Get a DAS card added to your ticket

Where do you get a Disney DAS card?

On the first day of your park visit, be sure to arrive early and go straight to guest relations to ask for a DAS pass.

Note: My mother-in-law is a Disney Vacation Club member, and four separate DVC representatives assured her that we needed to go to Disney Springs to check in for our DAS at guest services there. So we did…in the pouring rain, after ten straight hours in the car.

Turns out, they were wrong. Arghhhh!

You can only get DAS added to your ticket at the Disney parks. Don’t make the same mistake we did!

Related: My top 10 tips for a Disney World vacation with kids with special needs. It can be magical!

What do you need to get a DAS card?

You won’t be asked too many detailed questions, thanks to medical privacy laws, but they will take a picture of the person in your group who requires the DAS pass.

That photo will show up on the cast members’ screen any time you use the pass at a ride, to ensure people aren’t taking advantage of the program. So, be smart and be fair. This is not an opportunity to abuse privileges designated for guests with special needs or disabilities just to cut the lines.

(But I know you’re all cool, and you wouldn’t do that.)

How does the Disney DAS card work once you have it?

Let’s say you want to ride the Peter Pan ride, but the wait is 60 minutes. You’ll go straight to the cast member working the FastPass+ line and tell them you need to check in to get a DAS return time.

Be sure you don’t wait in the line itself! Just go straight to the cast member.

Whatever the wait time is for the regular line, you’ll be given a designated return time subtracts 10 minutes from that.

Related: See Target’s new line of adaptive clothing for kids with special needs. It’s beautiful.

What do you do when it’s your return time for a ride?

When your return time rolls around, you simply use the FastPass+ line to ride.

At this point, if you want to rider-switch, to take turns sitting with a non-riding child, you can do that when you arrive at the front of the line.

Just keep in mind, you can’t schedule a return time for another ride until you’ve used the first one. And technically, DAS can’t be used on rides where the DAS guest doesn’t meet the height requirement.

You can get more information about the Disney Parks Disability Access Service Card from their website — or ask me in comments below.