Disney World, Florida is wonderfully accessible. It’s possible to wheel right onto a large percentage of the rides and seating for the shows is usually very good. Disney has accessibility guides that can be downloaded. Paper copies can be obtained at the park. Each ride has a symbol signifying the degree of accessibility.

There are five degrees: may remain in wheelchair/ECV, must transfer to standard wheelchair, must transfer from wheelchair/ECV to ride, must transfer to a standard wheelchair then to ride and must be ambulatory. If you use a scooter or electric wheelchair consider using a manual chair when in the park. Some of the rides can not accommodate anything larger than a manual chair. Unless you are extremely good at transferring or can stand for a short period, skip the rides where you must transfer out of the wheelchair into the ride. Most of the rides where that is required are either thrill rides where you need full body strength to stay upright or they were built with small entranceways to the ride cars which makes transferring very difficult. There are so many other things to see and do that you won‘t feel like you‘re missing anything.

The Disney World complex is actually four separate parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. Magic Kingdom, the original park built in 1971, has the largest number of rides that are totally inaccessible to anyone who can’t stand and walk. Some of the other rides have obstacles in the line queue so wheelchair users bypass the line. Up to five people accompanying the person in the wheelchair also bypasses the line – very handy when the park is busy. Animal Kingdom is the newest park and almost everything is accessible. Some rides at Hollywood Studios have special cars that transform to accept wheelchairs. Besides the provisions made for the rides, there are also special wheelchair spaces for watching the parades and fireworks. All of the parks have numerous companion-assisted restroom facilities.

Planning a trip to Disney World is a little overwhelming because of all of the choices. The ticket price per day gets cheaper the more days that you buy. The tickets are good for two weeks from the first day that you enter the park so if you buy a multiple-day ticket you can rest in between visits. If you think that you’ll go to more than one park in a day buy the park hopper option which will allow you to watch a parade in one park, catch rides in another, and see the fireworks in a third, all in the same day. Staying overnight at one of the Disney properties has some advantages – convenient free transportation from your hotel to all of the parks, free parking in each parking lot if you decide to drive, and extra hours in the park. The best times to visit are January and early February for cool weather and small crowds. The first two weeks in December are good too.

Since we have a RV we stay at Fort Wilderness. Like all of the other Disney accommodations, it’s more expensive than off-site campgrounds but the convenience of being right in the park complex makes up for the added cost. We drive to each park and use the motorhome for meals and short breaks. The campground has a lot of amenities but we’ve never had enough time to check them out. Some people stay at the campground to enjoy the beach and pool and don’t even go to the parks. If you would rather stay outside the Disney complex there are two public campgrounds fairly close to the park – Moss Park and Lake Louisa. Both have very good accessibility at the campsites, restrooms, and showers.

Part of the fun of a vacation is planning and Disney makes it easy with a free DVD

Karen (11 Posts)

My husband and I live and travel fulltime in our small RV. In 1993 I was injured in an accident, permanently damaging my spinal cord at T11/12. Since information about wheelchair accessibility is sometimes hard to find I decided to start a blog detailing the conditions at the places that we visit.

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