Long before other organizations started to pay attention to the special needs of people with mobility disabilities, Walt Disney World planned and constructed its property to be friendly to people who need accommodations to enjoy the Disney magic. Perhaps that is why you see so many people with mobility disabilities visiting Disney World; it is a place that doesn’t pose all the typical challenges seen back in the real world.
Here are seven facts about mobility issues at Disney World you should know before you go:
1 – Buses
For those staying in a Disney World resort hotel that isn’t located on a monorail line, a bus is the typical way to get from your hotel to the rest of the Disney locations if you don’t have or plan to use a car yourself. All of the busses that move guests around the various parts of the Disney World Resort can accommodate wheelchairs as long as they can safely fit onto the lift, which is a standard 32 inch x 48 inch size.
2 – Monorails
Monorail operators can slide a metal ramp into place so that guests can get onto and off of monorails. This happens quickly and smoothly.
3 – Boats
Disney owns and operates a fleet of many different kinds of watercraft, so there is no general rule about accessibility for boats. Many of Disney’s larger boats, like the giant steam ships that ferry passengers from the Ticket And Transportation Center to the Magic Kingdom, can easily accommodate wheelchairs. Others, like small two-person sport boats, are not very accessible.
4 – Public Rest Rooms
All of Disney’s public restrooms are handicapped accessible, but they do have various sized stalls. Some also have turns en route to the restroom. If you aren’t sure if a nearby restroom will fulfill your needs, ask a Cast Member. Also, Disney provides many companion restrooms where a friend or family member of the same or opposite sex can accompany the guest with the disability into a private restroom to provide assistance.
5 – Attractions
Many of Disney’s attractions are presented in a theater styled setting and provide relatively easy access. Others operate with moving ride vehicles, which normally mean that the guest must transfer from their wheelchair into the ride vehicle. Ask a Cast Member stationed at the entrance to the attraction for details.
6 – Cast Members Can’t Always Help
Disney has a well deserved reputation for having helpful employees, or Cast Members. However, there is a limit when it comes to assisting guests with mobility disabilities. Probably due to insurance risks and the potential for personal injury, Cast Members are not permitted to help guests transfer to or from wheelchairs. Guests should either be able to do this themselves, or get assistance from a friend or family member traveling with them.
7 – Rentals Are Available
Disney has a limited number of wheelchairs and Electric Convenience Vehicles (ECVs) for rent. You can find them at the entrance to each theme park, as well as in Disney Springs and at Disney Resort Hotels. Wheelchairs rented at one theme park can’t be taken to a different park, but you can take a wheelchair rented at a Disney Resort Hotel anywhere on Disney property. Keep this in mind as you make your plans.
Do you think Disney does enough for people with mobility disabilities?