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Disney parks will issue lifetime bans for people who lie about disabilities

Guests at the Disneyland and Disney World amusement parks who make false statements on disability needs to gain access services will be banned for life, according to an announcement from Disney.

The Walt Disney Company is tightening its restrictions and heightening scrutiny of individuals claiming disabilities at their parks due to a surge of fraudulent claims seeking to exploit the service.

The company announced Tuesday that guests found to have made false statements in order to obtain Disability Access Services will be permanently banned from its parks.

"If it is determined that any of the statements a Guest made in the process of obtaining DAS are not true, the Guest will be permanently barred from entering the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort," the Disney website now warns.

DISNEY ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO DISABILITY ACCESS FOR GUESTS AT ITS THEME PARKS

It adds that "any previously purchased Annual Passes, Magic Key passes, tickets and other park products and services" belonging to customers found to have lied about disabilities "will be forfeited and not refunded."

DSA, which is free, allows those with disabilities to get a return time for attractions rather than wait in a standard line. 

Previously, DAS was indicated as for "guests who have difficulty tolerating extended waits in a conventional queue environment due to a disability."

Now, the Disneyland and Walt Disney Resort websites state, "DAS is intended to accommodate a small percentage of Guests who, due to a developmental disability like autism or similar, are unable to wait in a conventional queue for an extended period or time."

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The new changes will go into effect on May 20 at Walt Disney World in Florida and June 18 at Disneyland in California, the company said. The existing "DAS" procedure will continue until then. 

In addition to the specification for those who qualify for DAS, Disney also changed the procedure for requesting the service. 

At Walt Disney World as of May 20, all DAS registrations must occur via virtual video chat, and "in-person registration will no longer be available at theme park Guest Relations locations starting May 20, 2024," says the Walt Disney World website. At Disneyland, after June 18, guests applying for DAS can either use a virtual chat or a dedicated "accessibility services" window for same-day requests. 

Those who presently have DAS will have to re-apply for the service, the company indicated. DAS is also now limited to a guest's "immediate family," or a group of no more than four unrelated people, say the websites. 

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In recent years, Disney has struggled to bring down wait times and better organize access to park attractions as ever-increasing attendance and group-sourced exploits have compromised park planners.

Fox Business's Christine Rousselle contributed to this report.

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