02-09-2001, 05:49 PM
We went to the Annual Passholders Preview on Feb 4. I use a wheelchair as I cannot stand for long period of time. Sometimes I use a cane but as we knew we would be at DCA all day I went with the wheelchair. We checked in with Guest relations to get a guidebook. The park is totally mainstream wheelchair access. All queues, rides etc. When I asked about access if I was just using the cane (at Disneyland the cane allows use of wheelchair access gates or exits for certain rides) We were told we should get a chair because the cane was not enough for a special assistance pass which we were told they did not have. (we did see people with them later in the day on crutches and people in wheelchairs) We first went on Soarin over California. They didn't ask about transfer out of the wheelchair so I don't know if they have a end seat you can slide into or not but with the other options we saw through out the park i think they might have a way to transfer to the seats on the end for someone who cannot walk. From there we went to Califoria Screamin' This is where we encountered our first obstacle. They have elevators to bypass the stairs but this leads to congestion on the loading platform. Only one wheelchair party is allowed on the ride at a time which can push your wait time pass the regular line. We waited an extra 25 minutes at one point trying to work things out. They have at least one car with a transfer seat and can delay a few seconds for loading unlike space mountain where you only have about 30 seconds or so. We then went to Superstar Limo. I transfered but they do have a car that can accomodate a wheelchair. The Orange stinger has a elevator to the platform when the line meets the stairs and no extra wait to load. AGain I don't know if they have a transferable swing. The ferris wheel has the moveable cars and the not moveable cars. wheelchairs can go inside the nonmoveable cars. The Maliboomer may be hard to get into for someone with no mobility because the seats are off the ground. This may also be a problem with the Orange Stinger unless you had someone to really hold the swing still. The Zephyer has an accessible car I think they use a slide board as they asked about that. The best accessible was the grizzly raft ride. They built a dock just for a raft for the disabled. They can pull one raft off the line and you can take all the time you need to get situated. It can be difficult to get down into the raft so this is good. They then release the raft back into the line and wait for you to come back around. The problem with this is that it can add extra minutes to your wait time. We used fast pass but still had about another 20 minutes as they were loading one party when we got there and there was a full raft in front of us. We spoke to one person who said they waited over 45 minutes. One other drawback was the bathrooms. They seemed to be in a lot of places but only had about 10 stalls with 1 handicapped stall and we all know the problem with that. Overall the park is fun and very accessible. But it has its problems. Waiting for extended periods of time past the regular guest may seem mainstream and good for disney but for the quest it can be frustrating and definitely doesn't seem fair or equal. We spent some time with guest relations but don't seem hopeful for improvement anytime soon. Maybe once they encounter enough complaints they will begin to see things through the eyes of the disabled user and not the walking guest. We really pissed one family off when they didn't bring our wheelchair and someone's crutches up to the roller coaster car and we got to go around again while they had to wait. I'm sure the rumor started that we got special access. It will never cease. Any questions, I'll try to answer them the best I can.