One of the most popular theme parks in the world, Disney World in Orlando, draws millions of people each year, and a huge portion of those people have some kind of disability. While most theme parks only do the bare minimum for wheelchair access, Disney (so say the bloggers) is the rare exception.
While I haven’t visited Disney World since I was 12 years old (another lifetime and body ago. I was able bodied then, and ran around unhinged, loving every moment of it) I have been to Disneyland since becoming a wheelchair user. And from my personal experience at Disneyland, I can safely say that these bloggers are right. The accessibility at Disneyland really made me feel like I almost wasn’t disabled.
Several of the rides allowed me to stay in my wheelchair while on it, including my personal favorite, “It’s a small world.” Never in my life did I think such a thing existed, but it does at Disney, who invented the wheelchair accessible cab for rides which you’ll see on several of them throughout the park (but not all fortunately, due to safety reasons for some of the more extreme rides).
And the great thing about finding which of these rides you can go one is that the information is incredibly easy to find, thanks to several Disney-themed blogs for disabled patrons. Sure, there are books you can purchase that tell you all of the accessibility features, but personal blogs are so much more fun.
Want to know which rides you can go on (even categorized by Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom)? Want to see video of how you’ll be getting on these rides before you get there? You can, by visiting Disney on Wheels, a blog written by a woman named Melissa who was paralyzed at the age of 11 because of a tumor on her spinal cord.
She’s been a fanatic of Disney since her first visit in 1988 when she was able-bodied. When she returned as a wheelchair user, she was blissfully surprised at how the accessible the park was and how accommodating the employees were. Since returning back in the 90s, she’s been obsessed with Disney. And let me tell you, boy is she thorough.
She has reviewed everything from restaurants at Disney, a comparison of the resorts (value to moderately priced rooms, and their accessibility), her favorite desserts along the way, and of course everything you need to know about the accessibility of each ride. She goes to Disney incredibly often. In fact, she’s there right now for her November trip (follow her on Twitter here).
She and her husband frequent Disney all the time. She has converted her husband, which I think is rather amusing, and even her husband can’t stop raving about how great the people are that work there. He says they set the standard for all other theme parks. Not only do they meet the bare minimum of accessibility requirements, they add way more cool things than required. Love it!
Have you been to Disney as a wheelchair user? What was your experience? What’s your favorite ride?
- Have a child with a disability? Visit Special Mouse, a podcast series on going to Disney with a disability