This is a guest post written by Brooke from parkhoppingdisabilities.com. Brooke isa single mom of two boys who was born with Cerebral Palsy. She grew up in Central Florida and has been going to Walt Disney World since age 4 years.
Disney World is the most accommodating theme park for people with disabilities. It is one of the few places where I feel “normal.” This is one of the reasons I started parkhoppingdisabilities.com. I wanted to share my journey with Cerebral Palsy at Disney, and show others they can enjoy their time there with a disability.
What can you expect when traveling to Disney World if you have a disability? Will Disney World transportation be able to accommodate my needs? Will I be able to get an accessible room? Will I be able to comfortably navigate the parks? Here we discuss all of the basics of planning your Disney World vacation if you have a disability.
One of the perks of staying at a Disney World resort is using the free airport shuttle service, Magical Express. If you are flying into Orlando and using this service, you can request that the bus have a wheelchair lift. This request can be made at the time of booking by either yourself or your travel agent.
Disney World now charges a resort parking fee to its guests. But did you know if you are driving or renting a car and have a handicap placard, your parking will be complimentary? A valid disability parking permit is required to take advantage of this perk.
When you are taking Disney World complimentary transportation from the resorts to the parks, it's important to note that the Monorail also has specific cars for wheelchairs and scooters. Some of the boats have areas for wheelchairs and scooters as well. Lastly, all the buses on property are wheelchair accessible and you will get loaded on first.
All of the resorts on Disney property have several types of accessible rooms. For example, there are wheelchair accessible rooms with roll-in showers, hearing accessible rooms, and even hearing accessible with visual alarms and notifications rooms. These rooms can be requested when making your reservation.
You can request a shower seat and TTY equipment at check-in. Service animals are allowed as well. ECVs are available to rent from a Disney Featured Provider. Scooter rental companies will deliver and pick up the ECV to your resort (more on that in a minute).
I could go on and on about all the accommodations at the parks, but let's start with the basics.
Whether you or your party member have a cognitive disability, mobility disability, or suffer from anxiety, you'll want to get the Disability Access Service pass, or DAS for short.
The DAS is designed for Guests who have a hard time standing in the long lines, and it allows them to get a return time for certain rides and attractions. Some people might tell you that the DAS isn’t for wheelchair guests, because the stand by line is accessible. This is technically correct. Disney, however, will not tell you can’t get the DAS. So, if you feel that having it will make your trip more enjoyable then get it!
If you have a little one who has a specialized stroller, Disney will give you a tag to put on it that lets the Cast Members know it acts as a wheelchair and you can take it in the line with you.
They also have break areas for Guests on the Autism Spectrum throughout the parks. If you find you need to take advantage of this perk, just find a Cast Member and ask.
For parades and shows there are areas only for wheelchairs and scooters. On certain days they provide Sign Language Interrupters for the shows.
If you are looking to rent a wheelchair, scooter, or ECV you have a few options. Wheelchairs are available to rent at the parks for the following rates:
- $12/day or $10/day for 2 or more days for wheelchairs
- $50/day (plus $20 deposit) for Scooters or ECVs
Keep in mind if you rent at the parks you cannot rent scooters or ECVs for multiple days.
If you need for multiple days you may want to consider renting through a third party company. Renting from a third party will be less expensive than renting at the parks.
Some local third party rental companies include:
The Bottom Line
There is so much more I can discuss but I hope this gives you a good starting point when you are planning a trip to WDW with a disability. Disney does a great job of making guests with disabilities feel comfortable so they can have a magical time. And as I end all of my posts... Just Do Disney Your Way!
For more from Brooke check out parkhoppingdisabilities.com or find her on YouTube
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See you at the parks,