We recently visited Disneyland Paris for spring break. In the United States, we often use the Disability Access Services (DAS) system for two of our kids when we visit Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland. Disneyland Paris offers similar access for disabilities, but be warned, it doesn't work like the one in the states, primarily because the medical laws are different.
The Disneyland Paris Access Card
Disneyland Paris offers Access Card (Priority Cards and Easy Access Cards) for guests with cognitive and mental disabilities, and per their website, that includes:
– Reduced mobility or visual impairment (blind)
– Cognitive disabilities – including those on the Autism Spectrum *
In the U.S., we use the DAS system for our kiddo with SPD, ADHD, and anxiety who is on the spectrum. We will sometimes use it for our other who only has ADD and anxiety.
Documentation Required for the Disneyland Paris Access Card
In order to use the Access Card, you need to provide documentation, do plan to come prepared. Unlike the U.S., where the won't generally ask for anything because of HIPPA Laws, the EU has a whole different set of rules, so read the Disneyland Paris Website ahead of time.
However, be prepared to be denied even with credible documentation. We were. We brought everything and anything that we could think of that would document my daughter's cognitive disabilities: actual diagnoses from doctors, IEP, and a note from therapist confirming the need for her services at school and current treatments.
Here's the list of suggested documents, which they specify is not an exhaustive list:
Priority Card: for disabled guests (anyone who is officially registered as disabled).
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Attendance Allowance award letter (AA) all dated within the last 12 months.
- Personal Independence Payment letter (PIP) dated within the last 12 months.
- A current and valid Blue Badge
- Letter from General Practitioner (GP) or consultant, signed and stamped (dated within the last 12 months) confirming the need for a full-time carer or certifying that the person has a permanent disability.
This does not need to be a letter of diagnosis.
Easy Access Card: for guests with a temporary illness and for expectant mothers.
- Letter from General Practitioner (GP) or consultant, signed and stamped (dated within the last 12 months) certifying that the person has a temporary illness or is pregnant.
Note, there isn't anything on the list of suggested documents to bring for cognitive disabilities including those on the Autism Spectrum, so we brought all the documentation, as I mentioned above, that fell in line with the other types of documentation as best we could, because on the top of the page, it says to receive your card, it tells you where “To receive a Priority Card, you must present your disability card or a medical certificate,” so we brought all he “medical certificates” that applied.
Because we aren't EU citizens, we don't carry a magic “Blue Badge” that lists whatever disabilities a person has for parking (they kept telling us that would have been sufficient).
But our medical documents were not sufficient because they aren't from an EU doctor. It didn't matter what they said, it didn't matter that we had multiple pieces all saying the same thing. The people in front of us and behind us had the same issue. They offered to ask the manager, so we said sure, but they came back with the same answer: our United States medical records were not sufficient, and neither were the supporting documents, despite the fact that they listed one of the specific conditions on their website as a valid reason for obtaining an Access Card.
It appeared, at least the day we were there, that anything short of a documented physical ability (because they also denied the girl with a foot issue in a wheelchair who did not have documents they liked) the Access Card.
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What to do if you are Denied for the Disneyland Paris Access Card
So, obviously, we stayed. We were told we could try again the next day because it's at the discretion of the cast member. We did request one again at Walt Disney Studios the next day with the same lack of success.
We were there during an off-season, so several rides were closed, as well as many restaurants (which is usually a nice place to chill when you need a down moment). We made the best of our time but after two days opted not to do a third without the use of the Access Card because the lines for most of the rides were just too long for my spectrum child. France also allows smoking in the parks in allllll the places, so that can be an extra challenge if you have a child who is bothered by the smell of cigarettes, making it that much more challenging to find a quiet, smoke-free place to relax when you need a moment or six. That said, closed rides, such as The Phantom Manor, above, made for a good quiet spot to wander around and chill out quietly when you needed a break from the chaos of lines and people.