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Old 06-27-2004, 10:20 AM   #1
SueM in MN
It's like combining the teacups with a roller coaster

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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Twin Cities area,Minnesota,USA
Posts: 31,008
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Arrow disABILITIES FAQs - temporary & permanent disabled, 1st trip, next trip, Wish trip

This thread is going to be a place to find information that would be useful to people touring WDW and the general Orlando area with disabilities. It is not meant to answer everything, just to be a place to collect/find helpful information.
To keep it from getting to 200 pages (and not being useful at all), it's going to be a locked thread that I add information. Each post will be a different subject. If you have any information, you'd like to see added, pm me.
NOTE: I update/edit information in this thread as things change. Each post in the thread has a date in the top line of the post. This is a 'time/date stamp' that was generated when the post was first made. It is used by the computer the information is stored on and it never changes. Most of the dates are June 2004, when I started this thread, but all of the posts have been edited at various times since then.
If you scroll all the way to the bottom of that post, you can see when that particular post was last edited.

This is an index to what each post in this thread is about:
  • Post 2: Wheelchair, ECV, Equipment and Accessible Van Rental
  • Post 3: Helpful Links: Links to WDW official websites, other helpful websites and past DIS Board threads
  • Post 4: Riding WDW Buses with a wheelchair or ECV
  • Post 5: ECVs and Cars
  • Post 6: GAC (Guest Assistance Card)
  • Post 7: Information about WDW Resorts and WDW Phone numbers for Contact
  • Post 8: Parking, WDW Boats, Monorails, Specialty Cruises at the parks
  • Post 9: Universal
  • Post 10: Sea World, Discovery Cove and Busch Gardens Tampa
  • Post 11: Basic accessibility lists for each park. Includes Mobility Access entrances from WDW Disabilities park maps, attractions requiring a transfer from wheelchair or ECV.
  • Post 12: Kennedy Space Center - including Random Ninja's review of Kennedy Space Center
  • Post 13: Disney Cruise Line
  • Post 14: DisneyLAND
  • Post 15: Air travel, Orlando specific and some general travel hints

    PAGE 2
  • Post 16: DME (Disney's Magical Express)
  • Post 17: Zero entry pools
  • Post 18: MK attractions and Accessibility. Lists which have a difficult step on and which have a wheelchair car
  • Post 19: Epcot attractions and Accessibility. Lists which have a difficult step on and which have a wheelchair car
  • Post 20: Disney Hollywood Studios and Accessibility. Lists which may be difficult to board and which have a wheelchair car
  • Post 21: Animal Kingdom and Accessibility. Lists which may be difficult to board and which have a wheelchair car
  • Post 22: Attractions where guests must stand unless they have mobility device
  • Post 23: Attractions with Warnings
  • Post 24: Attractions with bright or flashes of light
  • Post 25: More about Wish Trips for children with serious medical conditions
  • Post 26: Attractions that are good places to cool off
  • Post 27: Attractions that may cause problems for people with claustrophobia
  • Post 28: Attractions with moving walkways and stairs
  • Post 29: Contacting WDW with questions, complaints or comments
  • Post 30: Travel to WDW with oxygen

    PAGE 3
  • Post 31: WDW attractions with a long leg cast
  • Post 32: walkers, rollators, leg walkers and other mobility devices
  • Post 33: Cheshire Figment's information about Legoland Florida
  • Post 34: Mobility seating for shows - list of shows/theaters are the location of mobility seating

Keep asking questions and sharing experiences on the boards- that's how we get the most helpful information.
SueM in MN
Moderator of disABILITIES
Link to disABILITIES FAQs thread

Spaceship Earth: We are all passengers together.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans......John Lennon
Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr

Last edited by SueM in MN; 07-19-2014 at 06:00 PM. Reason: updated list
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Old 06-27-2004, 10:47 AM   #2
SueM in MN
It's like combining the teacups with a roller coaster

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Location: Twin Cities area,Minnesota,USA
Posts: 31,008
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Wheelchair/ECV/Equipment Rental

Distances - It's hard to understand how much walking is involved in a trip to WDW until you have been there. People who manage very well at home often find they can't walk the distances involved in a WDW trip and need to use a mobility device.
I've seen threads where people estimated how far they walked each day. Many thought they walked between 3 and 6 miles, but many people who measured actually walked further ; some walk up to 12 or even more. Most walked at least 5-6. On a recent trip, we measured distance each day. We did about 6 miles per day, with some days as much as 9.
** hint - if you don't have a mental picture of how far 3 miles is, measure the distance to a familiar place, either by driving and tracking with your car odometer or using an Internet map site or smart phone app.

  • also called electric scooters or power scooters
  • 3 or 4 wheeled battery powered mobility devices.
    3 wheeled ECVs are more manouverable because they can turn in a smaller space.
    4 wheeled ECVs may feel more stable. Many heavy duty ECVs have 4 wheels.
  • usually have a tiller to steer (sort of like steering a bicycle), a throttle that controls sped and another control for backward or forward. Most find them easy to operate with a little practice.
  • Park rules (and the rental contract for most companies) say that only one person may be on the ECV (only the driver, no passengers). It is very dangerous to let children ride or drive the ECV.
  • People under 18 years of age are not allowed to rent or use WDW park rental ECVs. This is also true for most of the offsite rental companies.
  • Link to thread about WDW rules for ECV use.

  • most wheelchair for rent at WDW parks and offsite rental companies are similar
  • sling seats (similar to a director's chair)
  • WDW park wheelchairs do not have elevating or adjustable footrests or swing away/removable armrests. Wheelchairs rented offsite might.
  • can be easily folded
  • can be propelled for short distances by the person sitting in it; most inexperienced users don't have arm strength for long distances
  • most are adult size. Some larger adult and a very small number of small adult/large child size wheelchairs at the parks.
  • Some offsite rental companies have smaller wheelchairs available.
  • Some offsite rental companies have "Companion Chairs". These have 4 small wheels and are best for smaller users.

Power Wheelchairs
  • driven with a joystick which controls turning, speed and direction all at the same time.
  • look easy to drive, but take a lot more practice to be able to drive one than to drive an ECV.
  • not for rent at Disney parks
  • rental companies usually ONLY rent one to someone who already has/uses a power wheelchair regularly
  • Some power wheelchairs owners choose not to travel by plane with them (afraid of damage).
    Rental power wheelchairs are of common sizes. Guests needing unusual sizes or specialized seating/control features may not be able to rent one.
  • Power wheelchair renters are expected to be experienced drivers and will probably be asked for some settings from their current power wheelchair so that the rental chair can be set up to match.
  • Link to a thread that compares driving an ECV to driving a Power wheelchair.

General information about using wheelchairs and ECVs at the parks
Most lines (queues) and attractions are wheelchair and ECV accessible thru the regular lines.

WDW and DL have the same policies which apply to all mobility devices (not only scooters), whether owned by the user or rented. This is from a pdf file about the policies that a CM shared with me:
  • All wheeled mobility devices must have 3 or 4 wheels and maintain stability and balance when stopped, unpowered, or unoccupied.
  • Training wheels or similar modifications are not permitted.
  • Electric vehicles are to be operated while seated. Devices that require the user to stand while operating them are not permitted.###
  • Electric vehicles must be single-rider and are not to be used to carry passengers.{my bold}
  • Devices should not exceed 36" in width. This dimension is in keeping with the size of our entrance gates.
  • Electric devices must be battery powered. No gasoline or other type of flammable/hazardous fuel is permitted.
  • Mobility aids must not be devices that have been converted from their intended use. For example, pull wagons or coolers on wheels are not permitted.
  • ALL Segways and other motorized stand up devices are NOT ALLOWED IN OUR PARKS ** ###
  • Modified Segways which include a seat are NOT ALLOWED IN OUR PARKS
** this does not include wheelchairs which can be operated in a standing position. Guests using those must lower to a sitting position while in lines and crowded areas.
### Disney recently started renting stand up ECVs. Here is a link to a thread about them, with pictures. I do not have the new language, but the main points are that Segways are still not allowed and any devices designed to be used in standing position must follow point one from above: "All wheeled mobility devices must have 3 or 4 wheels and maintain stability and balance when stopped, unpowered, or unoccupied."
General information about renting wheelchairs and ECVs at the parks
  • Wheelchairs are available for rent, first come, first serve at all parks and Downtown Disney. They may not be reserved ahead of time.
    Power wheelchairs are not available.
  • ECVs can be rented first come, first serve at WDW theme parks and (in very limited number) at Downtown Disney.
  • Park Rental ECVs are heavy duty. Weight limit is 350 pounds. All parks have the same type
    This is a picture of the WDW park ECVs.

  • There is a pretty good supply of wheelchairs, but ECVs are in limited number and frequently are all rented out by mid-morning.
    If all are rented, there may be a waiting list - guests leave a cell phone number and receive a call or text when ECVs are available.
  • Guests must be at least 18 years old to rent/drive ECVs.
  • ECVs and wheelchairs may be used only in the park where they were rented. (You can't transfer them from park to park).
  • If you are planning on returning to the park or visiting another park on the same day, keep your wheelchair/ECV deposit ticket. This will allow you to obtain another wheelchair or ECV, if available, at the next park at no additional charge.
  • Getting a wheelchair at a second park or when you return to the same park is seldom a problem. The parks have many wheelchairs and very seldom would run out. ECVs are limited in number.
  • If you plan to return to the same park later in the same day, ECVs can sometimes be held for you when you leave the park.
  • Length of Stay rental ticket for strollers and wheelchairs allows you to make a one-time payment for as many days of rental that you will need. The first time you rent a wheelchair at the park, you pay in advance for the number of days that you want to rent a wheelchair. Upon visiting a theme park, show your receipt at the stroller/wheelchair rental location and you will be directed through the queue with little or no wait. THIS IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR ECVs.

  • Current costs at WDW parks
    Single strollers: $15/day (no deposit) OR $13/day Length of Stay rental
    link to DIS page about strollers with pictures of park rental strollers
    This is a picture of the WDW park strollers at MK; all parks have the same kind, just different colors

    Double strollers: $31/day (no deposit) OR $27/day Length of Stay rental
    For the length of stay rentals, on your first day, you purchase an individual ticket for each day of your stay. Turn it in at the stroller rental area at a park each day to get your stroller.

    Wheelchairs: $12/day rental (no deposit) OR $10/day Length of Stay rental

    ECVs: $50/day and $20 key deposit that you will get back when the key is returned, so you pay $70 and get $20 of that back with the key return.
-If an ECV/wheelchair from the Magic Kingdom is not available, a guest can be waitlisted by providing their cellphone number. (If the guest does not have a cellphone, they can ask any Cast Member for access to a house phone.) If one becomes available, they can pick it up at the main entrance rental location. (This is from the WDW website and is subject to change)

Downtown Disney (DTD)
Small shop at the old DTD Guest Relations Office next to Restrooms and Toys for the following only:

Rental of
$15 - Single Strollers (plus $100 refundable deposit)

$12 - Wheelchairs (plus $100 refundable deposit)
$45 - EVCs (plus $100 refundable deposit)

The $100 refundable deposit is because Downtown Disney is a relatively easy area to remove things from.

They also sell a selection of baby/infant items as well as First Aid supplies to include Sunscreen and Suntan Lotion.

It is a sales and rental location only, they do not provide Guest Services but it is right next to the companion restroom at the Marketplace.
  • Rental Locations (besides that listed just above for DTD)
    Marketplace: Guest Services (ECVs)
    Marketplace: Wonderful World of Memories (Wheelchairs)
    West Side: DisneyQuest Emporium (Wheelchairs)

    Some of this information is from the WDW official webpage of information for Guests with Disabilities. I had read that there is a very (very - like less than 5 ECVs) limited number of ECVs available to rent at DTD, so if you need one, it's not practical to rent one at DTD. It's also possible that they could stop renting them renting them at any time.
At WDW resorts
The WDW resorts have a limited number of manual (push) wheelchairs available to loan to guests. They are first come, first served and can't be reserved ahead of time.
Meant for people who develop a need while at WDW (injury or illness), not for people who know ahead of time they will need one.
Some DIS posters have had good experience with borrowing from the resorts. Others have found that what was available was either not in good condition or not what they needed (ie, extra wide when they needed regular or vice versa). People have posted that it took anywhere from several minutes to several days to get a more appropriate wheelchair.
Here is what the WDW website's Guest Services page about wheelchair and ECV rental has to say about getting wheelchairs from the resorts:

Wheelchairs are available in limited numbers for Walt Disney World® Resort Guests at each Resort. Contact Guest Services or the Front Desk for assistance. A $315 deposit will be held on the Guest room account charged only if the wheelchair is not returned. Guests wishing to guarantee the use of a wheelchair throughout their stay should contact local area rental companies to make arrangements.

There is a company called Buena Vista Scooters, that started renting ECVs in Spring of 2007 at the Boardwalk in the same area where surrey bikes can be rented. They are listed because some people have asked for a Boardwalk option.
They also will do repairs to personally owned ECVs, power chairs and regular wheelchairs. Their warehouse and shop is on Disney property.

Off-site ECV, Wheelchair, Medical Rental Companies
Renting from off site means the equipment will be available for use at your resort as well as in the parks.
The off-site rental places will usually not rent ECVs for use by someone under 18 yrs old. (A few may occasionally make exceptions for older teens who are experienced ECV drivers - for example a teen with a chronic health problem who has used an ECV before.)
NOTE: Some of the companies have items that may not be on their website. So if you like a company and they do not show exactly what you are looking for, email or call them and ask. The website may show only the most popular or commonly rented.

As of November 1, 2012, WDW Resorts began a new policy regarding ECV and wheelchair delivery to their resorts:
  • Featured Vendors (also called Preferred Vendors) are welcome to check equipment with Bell Services for guest retrieval and return.
  • Non-preferred vendors are welcome to do business on Disney property, but they must hand the equipment directly to the guest, and collect the equipment directly from the guest.
    link to thread discussing change to policy
  • Here's some key facts:
  • Disney is trying to limit their liability for leased property on their property.
  • Disney used a 3rd party company to collect information about companies that do rental business on Disney property.
  • Bid packets were sent to a number of primarily ECV rental companies.
  • The approval process included business verification, insurance verification, and equipment inspection.
  • Bidding is now closed, and current contracts last for 2 years.
  • I have also heard that Disney had 2 other goals - one was to limit the speed of the scooters and the other was to limit the size (to make sure they fit on buses and in queues).
    I have heard that the Preferred Vendors also agreed that a certain percentage of their scooters would meet the speed and size guidelines.
    Some very well known and recommended companies were not able to replace their fleet of scooters at this time and did not meet the guidelines for Preferred Vendor for that reason.
++ power wheelchairs for experienced renters
This is a list of the Preferred Vendors in alphabetical order:
  • Apple Scooter
    Apple rents scooters, manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs ++, single and double strollers.
    They do rent smaller, 16 inch wide wheelchairs, suitable for smaller people (and children) between 80 and 135 pounds.
    Apple has many good reviews from DIS posters and is a long time favorite.
  • Best Price Mobility
    Toll Free: 866-866-3434
    Best Price rents scooters, manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs ++, single and double strollers. Little feedback from DIS posters
  • Buena Vista
    (407)938-0349 or toll free (866)484-4797
    Buena Vista rents scooters, manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs ++, transport chairs, single and double strollers, lift chairs, knee walkers and some respiratory equipment.
    They also service and repair personal equipment.
    Buena Vista has many good reviews from DIS posters and is a long time favorite.
  • CARE Medical:
    Phone (407) 856-2273 " Toll Free U.S and Canada (800) 741-2282
    CARE is a full Service Medical Company, has many good reviews and has been a long time favorite of DIS posters.
    They rent ECVs, manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs++, walkers, companion chairs, strollers, special needs strollers, bath equipment (including pediatric bath chairs), commodes, reclining chairs, hospital beds, oxygen & respiratory equipment, among other things.
    CARE also repairs personal equipment.
  • Scooterbug
    little feedback from DIS posters.
    They rent ECVs, standing ECVs, manual wheelchairs, single and double strollers (weight limit to 60 pounds).
    From what I can tell, this company provides strollers, wheelchairs and ECVs for the WDW parks; and probably pool chairs. They also rent the large grey ECVs that can be rented in the parks, plus a form of Standing ECV that guests can drive from a standing position. Here is a link to a thread about them, with pictures.

Vendors not on the Featured Provider List:
The specific companies are listed because DIS posters have used and recommended them over the years. The companies with little feedback are listed along with that information.
We will NOT list a company on the FAQs thread without a significant number of recommendations from established posters. Also, some companies encourage/promote allowing children to ride as passengers on scooters. We will not knowingly post a link to any company that encourages behavior that is unsafe and companies that manufacture ECVs specifically warn against in their instruction manuals.
  • RANDY'S Mobility
    According to information from Randy, they have a London, England phone # that connects directly to their US. Office.
    US. & CAN. (321-281-6603)
    UK. (02030062368)
    Randy's has been a long time favorite of DIS posters.
    Randys rents ECVs, manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs ++, and Joovey strollers, including Joovey Caboose where one child can stand behind. Randy's will sometimes rent ECVs to older teens on a case by case basis.
  • Walker Mobility:
    Walkers rents ECVs, manual wheelchairs, Power wheelchairs ++, single and double strollers.
    They do rent smaller, 16 inch wide wheelchairs, suitable for smaller people (and children) between 80 and 100 pounds.
    Walker is a longtime favorite of DIS Board posters and Walker Mobility is also a wdwinfo.com sponsor
  • Scootarama
    Scootarama rents scooters and power wheelchairs (which they, confusingly, call another type of scooter).
    Not as much feedback as Randy's, Care and Walker, but people who did post about them reported they had no problems.
  • Scooter Vacations
    UK 02079 932302
    Scooter Vacations rents scooter of various types.
    Not as much feedback as Randys, Care and Walker, but people who did post about them reported no problems.
  • Scootaround
    Not as much feedback as Randy's, Care and Walker. Scootaround rents ECV, wheelchairs and walkers/rollators. They also rent power wheelchairs, including higher weight capacity.
    They are a nationwide company.

Strollers, Baby Equipment & Special Needs Strollers
As of September 1, 2013, WDW Resorts named Featured Stroller/Baby Equipment Vendors.
Baby equipment includes items like cribs, rented baby toys, booster seats, high chairs, car seats, diaper genies, changing tables rented from a vendor.

It does not include items like diapers, formula, baby food, pacifiers, which can continue to be dropped off be vendors.
  • Featured Vendors (also called Preferred Vendors) are welcome to check equipment with Bell Services for guest retrieval and return.
  • Non-preferred vendors are welcome to do business on Disney property, but they must hand the equipment directly to the guest, and collect the equipment directly from the guest.

Some of the Preferred Vendors listed above for ECVs and wheelchairs also rent Strollers.
This is a list of the Preferred Vendors who rent only Baby Equipment in alphabetical order:
  • Kingdom Strollers
    single and double strollers, BOB stroller with weight to 70 pounds and height to 47 inches.
    Kingdom Strollers is well known and well reviewed by DIS posters.
  • Magic Strollers
    single and double strollers
    Magic Strollers is well known and well reviewed by DIS posters.
  • Orlando Stroller Rentals
    single strollers and double strollers, including one single stroller with a weight limit to 65 pounds and one to 75 pounds.
    glider board attachments that allow a child of up to 45 pounds to stand behind the stroller.
    They also rent Special Tomato Jogger, which is a special needs stroller with a weight capacity of 110 pounds.
    Orlando Stroller Rentals is well known and well reviewed by DIS posters.
  • Several of the Featured ECV Providers also rent single and double strollers; they are also Featured stroller providers.
A Baby's Best Friend - NOT a Featured Vendor
Wide variety of items, from single and double strollers to cribs, bassinets, backpack carriers, toys, rocking chairs and more.
They also rent wagons, which are NOT allowed in the parks.
Although they are not a Featured Vendor, they are well reviewed on the DIS site.

Accessible Vans and taxi
We have little feedback about these companies. Check when making a reservation about how and where the van will be delivered to you and how it will get back to the rental place.
Accessible Taxi vans
The company used most often by DIS posters is MEARS, which includes buses and taxi vans. Mears taxicabs operate under the Yellow Cab Company, Checker Cab Company and City Cab Company brand. You can use these accessible taxis to get to places within WDW and also to get to other nearby locations like Universal or Sea World.
Taxicab Dispatch: (407) 422-2222
SueM in MN
Moderator of disABILITIES
Link to disABILITIES FAQs thread

Spaceship Earth: We are all passengers together.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans......John Lennon
Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr

Last edited by SueM in MN; 09-06-2014 at 12:17 PM. Reason: Re-wrote and added stroller info
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Old 06-27-2004, 11:07 AM   #3
SueM in MN
It's like combining the teacups with a roller coaster

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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Twin Cities area,Minnesota,USA
Posts: 31,008
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Helpful links

Links to Official Disney website
  • WDW Disabilities FAQs General info about resorts, parks, etc. and you can do Searches for more information. There is also a 'Contact Us' link for email to WDW.
  • WDW Main page about Disabilities
    The Main Page includes information, with links to further information, about different services for guests with disabilities.
    At the bottom of the page, there are links to the internet version of the Official WDW Guidebooks for Guest with Disabilities for each park

    Since early 2009, the Guidebooks available in the parks are actually GuideMAPs. They are similar to 'regular' park maps, just with additional information. You can find the disability parkmaps with the other park maps at the park entrance, at Guest Relations in any park, from the ECV/wheelchair rental areas in the park and sometimes at your WDW resort.
    The disability maps have a black border on the top, which the other maps don't have.

    For anyone who needs PLAIN TEXT versions, the following are links to WDW website plain text pages:
  • Mobility Page Includes a list of rides/attractions with Mainstream Access (where wheelchair/ecv users wait in the same lines with everyone else). List of attractions where you may stay in the wheelchair/ecv for the whole attraction and attractions where a transfer needs to be made.w
  • Visual Disabilities Page. Basic information about services available for people with visual disabilities.
  • Hearing Disabilities Page. Information about captioning, assistive listening and sign language interpretation.
  • Service Dog Information Page.
  • MK Guidebook
  • AK Guidebook
  • Epcot Guidebook
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Guidebook
  • Blizzard Beach Guidebook
  • Typhoon Lagoon Guidebook
  • Link about handheld devices for visual and hearing disabilities (DL, but same device used at WDW). Includes pictures and a video of audio description for the blind.
  • WDW page about Special Dietary Needs
WDW General Information (Un-official Links)
Park and Ride Information
  • www.wdwinfo.com - the parent site of these Discussion Boards. There are pages of information about all the WDW parks, resorts and attractions. There is also a great photo album including photos taken by wdwinfo staff and also photos from DIS posters.

See POST 11 of this thread for a list of attractions that have moving walkways or stairs. Post 11 also includes information about Mobility Entrances and which attractions require a transfer.

AccessibilityVehicle and Seating Photos, videos
  • Link to the DIS Photo album with many pictures showing seating, accessibility and some resort pics. I have put comments for most the photos explaining what it shows/how it works. Just look for my name on the list and click to open my album.
  • You can also go to the wdwinfo photo home page and enter wheelchair into the search to get any photos people have added that tag, name or description to
  • Ride Vehicle and Seating Photos - from Allearsnet.com
  • Interactive Video Tour: Someone posted a link to this video on the Theme Parks Board and I thought it would be great for people with various disabilities: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yanxLYu8dto
    It starts out entering MK, so you can see the entrance turnstiles, how to put in the ticket and do a finger scan. It goes on thru MK, filmed as though you are walking through the park. The interactive part is that when you get to an attraction, you can click the video and will actually be transported to a video of that attraction. Many of the attraction videos show part of the queue and a taste of the attraction.
    I thought it would be great for people with physical disabilities who might be concerned about what the ride car looks like and how you board. For kids with autism or other special needs, they could decide whether to ride it not.
    Even though it might look at first like it will just be one park, it actually hits all the parks.
    2 important points - some of the entrances and queues have been changed a bit. For example, interactive queues were added to Haunted Mansion, Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan. Also, any references to Toontown are out of date. Toontown was torn down to create a Fantasyland expansion.
    The entrance to the parks shows the old park passes with magnetic strips. All park tickets have now been changed to RFID enabled cards or Magicbands, so the entry process is different.
  • Thread about new picture book about MK by Kevin Yee.
  • VERY Good youtube video of the entire Bugs' Life show. Spoilers, but if someone in your group has trouble with bugs, 3D things coming at them, dark or loud noise, you may want to watch.
  • Link to Small World reopening thread Oct 2010
    Page one has some pictures and page two has a link to a video that shows the whole boarding process.
  • Link to Scrapbookers thread with many pictures of rides, signs, and assorted WDW pictures
FantasmicServices - Restrooms, Companion Restrooms, Baby Care CentersAccepting an ECV
Meeko's Character Journal - COOL Website with many character pictures. May help prepare your child to see the characters

Just for Fun - pictures of people with disABILITIES enjoying WDW

Link to Toy Story Mania Thread: It was 2 threads that were merged together, so the first few pages might be a little confusing. It starts out from April of 2008 when the ride was first opening until Dec 2008. There are 12 pages and the first 4 pages contain a lot of guesses on how it will work (with some pictures from the sneak peek on page 4). Page 6 contains some very good pictures of the handicapped boarding area and the wheelchair accessible ride car, but many of the later pages also either have pictures or links to pictures.
Link to a youtube video of TSM that shows the entire standby queue. The bypass for the stairs is just after the people in the video get their 3D glasses. The regular line continues up the stairs. The handicapped accessible line goes off the picture up a ramp to the right.

DisneyQuest at Downtown Disney
  • Allearsnet has a good page of information about DisneyQuest, which includes a link to a recent photo album. The main page does include a list of wheelchair accessible attractions.
  • WDWinfo (the parent for these boards) also has a page about DisneyQuest. It doesn't include as much accessibility information, but does include good descriptions and also a link to a page of pictures.
  • Posters have written that DisneyQuest can be loud and confusing, partly because of all the activity and stimulation. But, it is also a large, 5 story building with a kind of confusing floor plan. Some have written that their children with ADD/ADHD or autism loved it and others found it too stimulating.
  • Overview video of DisneyQuest - music background, not sounds of DQ
  • DisneyQuest Tour Video 1: Score Zone - not the best quality, but gives a good overview of sound, activity. Tour 1,2,3,4 are by same author. Filmed by kids, for kids
  • DisneyQuest Tour Video 2: Explore Zone
  • DisneyQuest Tour Video 3: Replay Zone
  • DisneyQuest Tour Video 4: Create Zone

Link to ADA Website

Link to ADA Information for Businesses - gives some insight into what is considered reasonable accommodation
Specific Concerns or Conditions
One hint: some of the 'specific' links may also be helpful to people who don't have that condition, for example:
  • Hints in an ADHD thread might also be helpful to people dealing with ASD
  • Hints in the Communication Devices links might be useful to anyone who needs a visual plan for touring
  • Hints in the Anxiety thread might be good for people with OCD, ASD, ADD, Panic, etc.
  • So, look around and hope you find these helpful. Please send a PM or email to me if you find a thread you think should have a link here

ADD/ ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorders)
Many good hints re: ADHD

Allergies, other than food
Latex allergies
Allearsnet latex allergy page

Short thread, but lots of good hints
Aug 08 thread about doing WDW with someone with Alzheimer's (info on rides with moving walkways)
July 08 thread about doing Alzheimer's (3 pages)
June 08 thread about doing Disney with Alzheimer's (short, but good info)

Hints for dealing with anxiety in WDW

Autism (ASD)
Orlando Stroller Rentals rents a variety of strollers, including a Special Needs version of the Baby Jogger that is made for people up to 100 pounds.
Orlando Stroller Rentals also rents the Big Leap GPS locator, which can be placed on your child so that you can find him/her if they wander off.
KathyRN Family's Trip Report: Adventures in Autism
Autism and pin trading
Hints on Autism
Autism and diet
Hints for Autism and Air Travel
Autism hints 1/08
More autism hints; some shirt designs
several shirt design ideas - big jpgs
big autism designs for shirts, more hints
Thread about new picture book about MK by Kevin Yee.
ALSO, See the link to a WDW video tour above under WDW General Information.
Link to Scrapbookers thread with many pictures of rides, signs, and assorted WDW pictures. Useful for social stories or schedules.
Disney for Families with Autism Website
HINT: If you plan to travel by air, you may also want to look at post #15 of this thread, which includes links to Orlando airport and TSA websites with pictures.

Blindness, visual impairment
3D movies for people with vision in one eye
Hint from a poster named gismo1554:
"For visually impaired individuals getting around World showcase in EPCOT can be a nightmare. There are patches of darkness around the park most notably in Japan and the African exhibit. They have tried to improve this over the last year but I would recommend taking a small torch to aid you. I carry one with me everytime I go because I know how hard it is at night around the park. It can also be useful in other parks but World Showcase is the worse place I've found to be able to get around."
Ocular Albinism/Nystagmus
Trip report of family with visually impaired 4 yr old.
Planning thread for visually impaired 4 yr old
Rides with dark entrances
Disney recently rolled out a new "Audio Description" device to provide desciptions to guest with visual impairment.Casts and broken bones
Trip report from a woman who went to WDW with two (yes 2) broken arms!

Communication Devices, PECS
Thread about making Communication Boards
Thread with links in post one to find pictures of communication pages for each park
Link to Scrapbookers thread with many pictures of rides, signs, and assorted WDW pictures. Useful for communication, social stories or schedules.
Link to report of park experience of Dynavox user
Thread about PECs
mousescrapper's special guidebook for her son
Marie S's Going on an Airplane PEC book
Marie S's WDW Visual Schedule and Choice PEC book
DisMomAmy's Visual Help Cards
Thread about new picture book about MK by Kevin Yee.
HINT: If you plan to travel by air, you may also want to look at post #15 of this thread, which includes links to Orlando airport and TSA websites with pictures that would be useful for social stories.

Crohn's Disease
thread with good advice and some links
The dietary information, further down in this post may also be helpful.

Cruises (see also post #13 in this thread, which has more cruise information)
cruises and insurance for pre-existing conditions

Cystic Fibrosis
Helpful hints for Touring with CF

Diabetes information page from allears.netVery good information
Diabetics and GACs (started Jan 2006).
Insulin pumps and WDW
THread about counting carbs from June 2010, includes links to some past threads
People with Diabetes and the meal plans
Living with Diabetes
Carbohydrate Counting Thread
Diabetes and eating at WDW
Diabetes Discussion 8/07 from Theme Park Board - good links
Insulin pumps on rides 11/07
Insulin pump in water parks
badshoe's page about diabetes on allearsnet
WDW with child with diabetes - pretty long thread started early 2009

National Kidney Organization website. They have several good articles - travel and handling heat and sun. During the summer months, they are linked thru rotating pictures on the home page. At other times you should be able to find them by searching the site.
Aug 2011 thread about dialysis with lots of good information
Thread about dialysis with links to other threads about dialysis.
Aug 2009 thread with some dialysis experiences.

Diets for allergies and other special needs: WDW Information
  • Contact Information for WDW
    NOTE: Products change frequently. Food that is safe on one trip may not be safe at the next, so please keep that in mind while reading threads about foods.
  • As of 1/09, there is a specific department to support Guests' Special Dietary Requests. This is the email address for that department: special.diets@disneyworld.com
  • Also, as of 1/09, there is a WDW page about Special Dietary Needs on the WDW website. It includes some links for frequent requests and information about which restaurants are most likely to have the greatest ability to meet special needs. It also requests that people with more complicated needs or allergies contact WDW using the email address listed above.
  • Food supplies change frequently and food that is 'safe' on one trip may not be 'safe' on another trip, so it is best to check by email for complicated needs or at the restaurant for less complex needs on each trip.

Electromagnets on WDW attractions
including info about electomagnets and insulin pumps

Most people think of strobe lights when they think of seizures, but most people with seizures don't have any problems with strobe lights.
WDW doesn't actually use any lights that are technically strobe lights (i.e, fast, regular flashes of light) and they do not have any warnings for seizures and/or strobe lights on any attractions. Where they do have flashing lights, they are always irregularly flashing, which is a different situation.
Most true strobe lights flash many times per second, but slowing to 5 flashes per second or less means that the majority of even photosensitive epileptics are not going to have a problem. Only about 3-7% of people with epilepsy are photosensitive and have problems with lights; of those, only about 5% would have a problem with a light flashing 5 times per second or less.
Good article from the Epilepsy Foundation about epilepsy and lights/photosensitivity.
This is something to talk to your doctor with, but in for most people with epilepsy, the lights at WDW won't cause any problems. Some of the linked threads about epilepsy have information about lights in different attractions and other hints for avoiding seizures at WDW.

If you do encounter flashing lights and are concerned, the Epilepsy Foundation recommends covering one eye and turning/looking away from the direct source of light. The reason for covering only one eye and looking away from the direct light is to prevent both eyes from sending exactly the same information to the brain.

Things that are very important to be aware of are sleep deprivation, dehydration and getting off schedule with medication. All of those things can lower the seizure threshold (how easy it is for a seizure to occur). It's very easy to get off schedule or forget medication while on vacation. One things we have found that helps with this is to actually use an individual dose medication container and an alarm (on our phone or iPod) as a reminder for medication times.
Stobe Lights and Epilepsy
Epilepsy at WDW - post #24 on page 2 has a list of attractions with flashes of light.

Fibromyalgia - including hints for using mobility devices

Hearing Impairment
Thread with link to story about Sign Language Interpretation at WDW
Thread about handheld assistive device that provides services for guests with hearing impairment such as captioning.
Link to blog on allearsnet.com which talks more about the handheld assistive device.

Heart Conditions
Thread about G forces on roller coasters
Thread about WDW with a Pacemaker

Make a Wish and other Wish trips
  • You can find more information on post 25 on page 2 of this thread.
  • Give Kids the World Website (many families on Wish trips stay there)
  • Make A Wish Website (this is the best known Wish granting organization)
  • Cancer.net list of resources - has some resources for adults and some strictly for children. Some are very specific about the population they serve.
  • Wish Trippers UNITE! Volume SIX! - - A thread here on the disABILITIES BOARD for information/support/planning/tips for people going on WISH trips. There are links to many, many WISH trip reports in post #1 - these are updated as new trip reports are received. There are links to resources in post #2 - so be sure to visit the first page before jumping into the discussion.
  • Organizations for WISH type trips for adults
    Dream Foundation - this is the best known of the adult wish granting organizations
    Dream Lives On
    One Gift - Happiness Unlimited - this organization is only for cancer patients
    Fairy Godmother.org is still listed on a lot of resource lists, but their website is no longer operating and the organization closed October 31, 2008)

2010 thread about travel with Ostomies
There are Companion Restrooms in all the parks and at Downtown Disney. These are individual rooms with a sink, toilet and a locking door. Some of the Companion Restrooms also include a baby changing table which you could use as a surface for supplies if you need. There is more information in this post under SERVICES.

AK is the newest park and most of the restrooms at AK include a handicapped stall that includes a sink in the same stall with the toilet. Thats kind of hit and miss in other places since restrooms were not built that way originally and it was added as bathrooms were remodeled or updated.

See post 30 on page 2 of this thread for more information.
Portableoxygen.org - helpful website with much information and links
Website about oxygen and air travel
Thread about Portable Oxygen Concentrator

Plantar Fasciitis
Thread with a lot of good hints for avoiding foot pain

'Pooh Sized' Guests - hints for the parks
"Everything Pooh sized" thread
"Doing Disney Overweight" thread
"Pooh Sized Persons at the Waterparks" thread
Allearsnet.com WDW At Large page

Service Animals
Department of Justice FAQs for Businesses about Service Animals
TSA FAQs about travel with Service Animals
Air Carrier Access Act Service Animals Guidelines 2009
Service Dog Central website -difference between Emotional Support Dog and Service Dog (The website is somewhat like wikipedia - edited by readers).
Service Animals: link to specific part of WDW Guidebook for Guests with Disabilities. Includes list of rides that SDs are not allowed on.
Thread about Service Animals
Another thread about Service Animals in the parks

COOL thread with pictures of Service Dogs in the parks

Wheelchairs (power and manual)
SueM in MN
Moderator of disABILITIES
Link to disABILITIES FAQs thread

Spaceship Earth: We are all passengers together.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans......John Lennon
Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr

Last edited by SueM in MN; 04-30-2014 at 12:22 AM. Reason: Fixed link
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Old 07-10-2004, 06:22 PM   #4
SueM in MN
It's like combining the teacups with a roller coaster

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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Twin Cities area,Minnesota,USA
Posts: 31,008
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Riding WDW Buses with a wheelchair or ECV

This information is from personal experience, things other DISers have posted and contact with bus drivers.

I have been informed by a WDW bus driver that new operational guidelines for buses go into effect on Oct. 1. Any ECVs must fit completely in a 30x48 space without turning the wheels to fit or they will not be transported on the WDW buses. This includes any bags, backpacks or baskets; if they intrude to the point of making the ECV longer than 48 inches or wider than 30 inches, they will need to be removed.

This should not affect most ECVs - there is one particular one, the Dream, which is larger and will not fit without turning the wheels. A spokesperson for the company that rents the Dream says that they have been told that the Dream scooter can not be used on the buses with lifts, but will be allowed on the buses with ramps.
Other ECVs should be OK. Even the park rental ones, which make most ECVs look tiny are only 26 inches wide and just a hair under 47 inches long.
30"X48" is the ADA standardhttp://www.access-board.gov/transit/html/Transfig1.html

If your ECV does not fit those dimensions, the driver is to call for a transportation manager who will explain alternate arrangements.
A wheelchair party is considered to be 5 people plus the person with a disability. If you party is larger, the rest should wait in the regular bus line.

Q: What buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts?
A: All WDW buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts or ramps. On occasion, a lift will malfunction, and cannot be quickly repaired. In these instances, Federal laws allow the bus to remain in operation for up to 48 hours, with the wheelchair logo removed. The logo is placed on the front of the bus, at the left hand edge of the marquee.
Q: What types of lifts are used?
A: There are currently four types of lifts on WDW buses. The first is the "factory installed" model, on the older buses. The second is the "retro fit" model, an after market unit added to some of the not-so-old buses. These two are simillar in function, although the retro fits are a bit easier to use, feature a larger loading platform, and are newer and generally more reliable. The third "lift" is the ramp on the low floor (new) buses. The fourth is a Fold Out type ramp, which can be manually deployed if the mechanics malfunction. These fold out lifts are the next generation, and are expected to be installed new buses as they are ordered.
Q: What can be accomodated on the lifts?
A: Wheelchairs and ECVs can be no larger than 30 inches wide and 48 inches long.
The factory installed lifts can accomodate virtually all standard wheelchairs, and most electric wheelchairs. They can also accomodate most smaller ECV's. The retro fits, with the larger platforms, can accomodate virtually any wheelchair, and most ECV's. Larger, custom made ECV's, however, may not fit on the platform. The Low Floor buses, with wheelchair Ramps, can accomodate virtually any Wheelchair or ECV, as long as it is no larger than 30 by 48.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (49 CFR Parts 27, 37, and 38) defines a "common wheelchair" as a mobility aid belonging to any class of three or four-wheeled devices, usable indoors, designed for and used by individuals with mobility impairments, whether operated manually or powered. A "common wheelchair" does not exceed 30 inches in width and 48 inches in length measured two inches above the ground, and does not weigh more than 600 pounds when occupied.
Anything larger than 30 by 48 inches will not be loaded onto the bus (and that includes any pieces attached to or hanging from the wheelchair/ECV).
Q: How many wheelchairs can be accomodated?
A: Provided that you are able to transfer out of your chair to a standard seat, WDW buses can accomodate ANY number of wheelchairs that can be folded and safely stowed. For those who are unable to utilize the standard seats, each bus in the fleet has Two Tie Down Wheelchair stations.
UPDATE July 09: Recently, it has been reported that a few buses have spots for 3 wheelchairs/ECVs. Link to a thread with more information and pictures.
Q: What if there are more than two guests in my party who cannot transfer to a standard seat?
A: Contact Guest Relations, or a Bus Supervisor, or ANY bus driver, and ask for one of the "Special Services Buses". There are two buses reserved for larger parties, with multiple wheelchairs. Each special service bus has FIVE wheelchair stations, and plenty of seating. These buses are especially helpful for groups visiting from schools for the disAbled. They can usually arrive within 20 minutes of being requested (although you are much better off making your request well in advance--a driver is not assigned to one of these buses until its needed), and will take you and your party wherever you need to go. There is no charge, and you may make arrangements, if needed, with your driver for future pickups.
Q: What if I have a child in a stroller-type wheelchair?
A: Strollers modified for medical use are considered wheelchairs, and may be strapped in to the wheelchair stations. These are often called "Special Needs Strollers". If the stroller is required by your child for medical reasons, and the child is unable to transfer to a standard seat, you may request a small tag from your Resort's Guest Relations--this tag may make it easier to let the driver identify the stoller as a wheelchair, but it IS NOT NECESSARY. Drivers are to "take your word for it" when you tell them the stroller is medically needed.
Many special needs strollers "tie down" points built in by the manufacturer. These have been tested and are safe for use in motor vehicles during transport. If you are using a regular stroller as a mobility device, the bus driver may take your word for it and allow it to be fastened down.
But, unless your stroller is designed for transport, your child should still get out of it on the bus for safety and the stroller should be folded and not be tied down with the wheelchair tiedown straps.
Some Special Needs strollers are designed for transport and have their frames strengthened for that purpose. Using the tiedown straps on a stroller that has not been designed for transport might cause the stroller frame to bend or break. It is not safe or legal for a child to sit in a regular stroller on a moving bus.

Q: I have a child (or children) who have certain, special needs, and must utilize a wheelchair. Can I contact the Bus Department to make sure that everything goes smoothly for my family?
A: Absolutely. Contact Guest Relations, and let them know that you'll be relying on the Bus Department for transportation. They will pass it along to Bus Operations, who will then add your family's name to the daily briefing sheets for the duration of your visit. Drivers will then know to look for you at your resort, and make sure that your use of the Bus System is as flawless as possible.
Q: The driver wants me to wear a seatbelt. May I refuse?
A: Yes, you may refuse. But be aware that your refusal may result in the driver advising you that you are far safer with a seatbelt on, and practically insisting that you wear it. Disney company policy is not to force a guest to wear the seatbelt.
Q: I can transfer to a standard seat, but I feel that that takes up even more seats from other passengers. May I remain on my ECV during the bus trip?
A: Yes, you may, however no one ever need feel ashamed about taking up "too much room". Drivers should be happy to assist you in whatever way possible. If you elect to remain on your ECV while on the bus, please keep in mind that this is NOT a very safe option. If you do ride on the ECV, remember that there are seatbelts available, and there are drivers who will, despite company policy, refuse to drive the bus with a passenger on an ECV who is not wearing a seatbelt. They will not be disciplined by the company for such a refusal, as Federal Laws override company policy. In this case, Federal Law requires the driver to refuse to even move the bus if he/she feels there is a safety hazard on board. Bottom line: ECV's are notoriously top heavy, and any extra protection you can afford yourself while on the bus should be taken full advantage of.
There are signs on many of the buses that tell people using ECVs to take a seat rather than remaining on the ECV.
Q: I have certain disAbilities that affect my mobility--although I am do NOT require the use of a wheelchair. May I use the lift if all I require are crutches, or a cane? May I use the wheelchair lift if I have conditions such as arthritis, or if I'm recovering from surgery, etc?
A: Anyone who needs it may request the use of the lift to assist them in boarding.
What can I do to help make use of the bus go smoothly?
Tiedowns:If you are using your own wheelchair or ecv, make sure you know where some safe tiedown points are on the front and the back. Tiedown points should be sturdy parts of the wheelchair/ecv frame (not parts like swing away footrests or armrests). If you don't know, you can ask your equipment supplier.
A good idea is to use some brightly colored tape to mark safe points. It's very easy to tell the driver, just look for the hot pink tape instead of trying to explain (when you are sitting in the chair) that the black horizontal tube above the other tube in the back of the chair is a safe point.
Practice:If you are not experienced in backing up, practice a bit before your first bus ride. That will make you more confident and the loading will go more smoothly.
How do I attract the attention of the bus driver?
You need to be where the driver can see you so that he/she knows you want to board the bus. Some bus stops have a wheelchair/handicapped symbol that you can wait by. For "unmarked" bus stops, have your group out in the open (but off the roadway) near where the back door of the bus will be when it stops. At stops with buses going to multiple destinations from the same stop (like at the resorts), let the driver know whether you want the bus or not by nodding or shaking your head.
Can my whole party board with me?
If the bus has a lift, only the person with a wheelchair and one other member of your party may go on the lift.
As for the other members of your party, please be considerate of other guests who are waiting for the bus. In general, WDW considers a party of 6 (5 plus the person with a wheelchair/ECV) to be party. If there are few people waiting for the bus when you arrive with a party of that size or smaller, the bus driver may invite you to board at the back door after the wheelchair/ECV is loaded.
If your party is larger or you can see a long line of people waiting for the bus when you pull up, it's considerate have the other members wait in line for the bus or to wait for the next bus.
It will be much easier and less stress for everyone if you can avoid taking the buses at the busiest times (like right at park closing). Taking a leisurely stroll out of the park will usually help you avoid a long line at the bus stop.

If you get to the bus stop and see a long line, here are some considerate ways my family (SueM in MN) have used to handle it:

If you have a small party; keep track of the last person in line when you arrive in the area. Wait off to the side until you can see that party would get onto the next bus (you don't have to wait until they get to the door of the bus), then go to the wheelchair boarding area with your party .
If your party is larger, have the other members of your party get into line. When you can see that they would be able to get onto the next bus, then go to the wheelchair boarding area.

I've heard people sometimes have problems with drivers not letting them on. If that happen, what do I do?
Posters have reported problems recently (link to thread from May 08) with a few bus drivers saying their bus is full when it's not and refusing to load them on the bus.

Hopefully, you won't need to use this information, but here's what we have done (with some additional suggestions from other DIS posters).

If you have a cell phone, program in:
  • the main phone number for your resort (note: this actually connects you to a call center, not the front desk at your actual resort)
  • the main WDW Operator/Information line: (407) 824-2222

Carry something to make notes on (paper and pen, a PDA, etc.)

if you do have a problem with bus, boat or monorail:
  • Call one of the numbers above, preferably while you are still at the stop (perhaps even while the driver is loading other guests)
  • Ask to be transferred to the SPECIFIC transportation supervisor for the way you are traveling (Bus Transportation Supervisor, Monorail Transportation Supervisor, Boat Transportation Supervisor)
  • Explain that you have a problem you need immediate assistance with

Taking pictures of the situation was one great suggestion. That would give you a record of:
  • the time and date (make sure ahead of time your cell phone or camera has the correct date/time)
  • bus number or monorail color, boat type, etc.
  • general idea of condition such as how many people were in line, etc.

When you call, you want talk to the Transportation Supervisor for that shift (not someone at your resort or at the park, who would have to relay the message); you want to get as close as possible to the person who's job it actually is to take care of problem.
When you talk to the Supervisor have these things ready:
  • the station or stop where you had a problem
  • where you were traveling from and going to
  • the time, as close as possible
  • optional, but very helpful
    = bus number and driver's name/description
    = monorail color and name or description of the CM
  • a short description of what happened
    (I tend to not be short, but short is really important. If you get too bogged down in details, they may not understand. It's better to be brief and add more information than confuse the CM to start with)
  • write some notes about the situation so you can refer to it afterwards if contacted for more information. (it might help to write the notes out before calling to get your short description ready)
  • how to reach you for more information - cell phone, hotel, room number, date leaving, etc.

If you don't have a cell phone, you can call from your resort after you get back. There is a button on the room phone labeled "Front Desk". (Some resorts may also have one labeled "Transportation"). You can use that number and follow the other suggestions listed above.
You can also report a problem to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Office of Civil Rights on their toll-free Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Assistance Line at 1-888-446-4511 [Voice] or by e-mail at FTA.ADAAssistance@dot.gov.

Link to Federal Transit Administration page about travel with wheelchairs
thread about bus regulations.
thread about boarding buses with a wheelchair
thread including bus pictures
thread about buses that includes some links to regulations about bus access
SueM in MN
Moderator of disABILITIES
Link to disABILITIES FAQs thread

Spaceship Earth: We are all passengers together.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans......John Lennon
Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr

Last edited by SueM in MN; 09-24-2011 at 11:39 PM. Reason: changed number
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Old 07-10-2004, 06:49 PM   #5
SueM in MN
It's like combining the teacups with a roller coaster

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Posts: 31,008
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ECVs and cars

A lot of people wonder how to get the ecv they are renting into their car. A DIS poster named Cheshire Figment provided this excellent information:

NOTE: Most ECVS can be broken down into pieces for travel/placing into cars or trunks. Usually the largest piece will be less than 50 pounds. If you are renting an ECV and plan to transport it by car, be sure to mention that when making your rental arrangements.

In rental cars (from National) a Buick Century's trunk will accept a broken-down ECV but fairly tightly. A LeSabre will have no problems at all, and a Park Avenue will allow a lot of additional items. The author's car is a 97 Ford Taurus four-door sedan. To get it all in the trunk can be a fight (but can be done), so I find it easiest to set the seat on the back of the car.

Make sure the car is a four-door and not a two. You will see why as I explain below. Some of these instructions will not make sense until you see the actual equipment.

First is the seat; this comes off by pulling straight up. Some wiggling might be necessary. The back of the seat does fold forward, but there is a post of about 8" length at the bottom. This can go in the back seat easily, but you want to do that only if there is need.

Then come the two battery packs. The have "quick-connect" plugs which just pop off. the packs are about 9" cubes, with straps around them. The straps can be used as handles. I would suggest putting them on the floor in the back. One of them should be in a corner up against the seat back. The other should be directly behind the first toward the back of the car.

There is a power/control cable connecting the rear wheel/motor assembly to the rest of the ECV. Turn the knurled knob (toward the back of the ECV when looking down) where it goes into the rear wheel/motor assembly and it comes off. there is a "T"-Handle which you pull up which separates the rear wheel/motor assembly from the main body.

The rear wheel/motor assembly has a rod type of handle across the top; Use this to put he assembly in the car. Put this to the front of the trunk, next to the battery packs.

There is a single lever below the left tiller handle which pulls up. This allows you to lower the tiller all the way to the floor (have it turned slightly off-center when lowering so it does not stop on the support post for the seat. I would suggest one hand at the very front of the floor and the other on the post support so you have no change of pinching you fingers when you put this in the car. The front of the ECV should be directly against one of the side panels of the trunk. Note that sometimes there is a better fit depending on which side of the car the ECV points at.

There should now be room to put the seat in the trunk. If a small trunk and the seat won't fit, put it in the back seat of the car.

Several notes for when putting it back together. Again, these will not make sense until you see the ECV in pieces.

There is a wide "slot" on the front of the rear wheel/motor assembly. Let the assembly sort of tilt backwards and place the rear of the main body into this slot. You will then lift the "T"-Handle, allowing the rear wheel/motor assembly to rock forward, and then release the handle to lock the two pieces into place.

Lift up on the tiller and locking lever until the tiller is vertical at the angle you want.

Take the plug from the body which goes to the rear wheel/motor assembly. There should be a (yellow) paint spot on it, that spot goes to the very top. Push the plug in and then turn the knurled knob (to the front when looking down) until it clicks into place.

Put the two battery packs into the wells on the floor. Note that the connectors will be facing to the rear and next to the post. There will probably be some advertising on the side of the case; that goes to the outside.

Then put the seat post into the tube and you are ready to go. Note when putting it in turn it from side to side a bit until it locks into place.

As last note; there are two controls on the rear wheel/motor assembly; they will be toward you on the right when you are behind the ECV. One is an electric automatic brake release and the other allow freewheeling. To operate the ECV the toggle switch must be forward and the knob all the way down. To manually push the ECV the toggle switch muust be to the back and the knob must be pulled up about 2 inches.

Note when you turn the key on, if the meter on the control panel does not move (and neither does the ECV) check the switch positions, and that both battery packs are pluged in as well as the cable. Once in a great while something needs jiggling.

Note the charging unit can live in your room and be plugged into the wall all the time.
SueM in MN
Moderator of disABILITIES
Link to disABILITIES FAQs thread

Spaceship Earth: We are all passengers together.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans......John Lennon
Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr

Last edited by SueM in MN; 05-15-2005 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 10-12-2005, 10:47 PM   #6
SueM in MN
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GAC (Guest Assistance Card)

ON October 9, 2013, the GAC is changing to DAS (Disability Assistance System). You can find out more about that on this thread for WDW:
and on this thread for Disneyland Resort

A good couple of reminders:
Everything is going to be new for guests using the new program, but also for CMs, so please everyone be patient with CMs and other guests.

There are people (like the protesters that are apparently coming to DL) who are hoping the program fails and really not giving it a chance. I just hope no one gets hurt out of all this.

One final reminder, the first few days and weeks are going to be the hardest because everything is just getting settled. It probably won't be all worked out for a while. Anyone going in the near future should expect waits and some snafus - expecting everything to roll out completely smoothly would be kind of like going shopping on Black Friday and expecting the stores to be completely empty - it's just not going to happen.
The GAC information in this thread is out of date and will be edited this weekend to reflect the change to the DAS

What is a GAC?
We use GAC as an abbreviation for Guest Assistance Card.
It's really exactly what it sounds like -
a Card that tells the Cast Members (CMs) what kind of Assistance a disabled Guest needs. The disability can be temporary or permanent.
This is a reply someone got recently when they wrote WDW requesting information about GACs:
Thank you for contacting the Walt Disney World Resort.

We are pleased that you and your family will be vacationing with us and we appreciate your desire to make your visit as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

The Guest Assistance Card is a tool provided at all four WALT DISNEY WORLD Resort Theme Parks to enhance the service we provide to our Guests with disabilities. It was designed to alert our Cast about those Guests who may need additional assistance. The intent of these cards is to keep Guests from having to explain their service needs each time they visit an attraction.

The Guest Assistance Card is available to our Guests with non-apparent, special assistance needs. However, the intention of this card has never been to bypass attraction wait times, or to be used by Guests with a noticeable service need.

Guests with an apparent mobility concern, such as Guests using wheelchairs, canes, crutches, etc., or Guests with service animals, do NOT need a Guest Assistance Card. These Guests should be directed to follow the attraction entrance procedures for guests using wheelchairs, as outlined in the Guidebook for Guests with Disabilities.

A Guest with a specific need for assistance can request a Guest Assistance Card at any Theme Park Guest Relations location. To accommodate the individual needs of our Guests, we ask that all Guests discuss their assistance requests with a Guest Relations cast member prior to the card being issued. The Guest Relations Cast Member will discuss the available service options with the Guest and provide written instructions for our cast on the Guest Assistance Card. The Guest will be directed to present the Guest Assistance Card to the Greeter or first available Cast Member at the attraction and await further directions for their experience.

Disney doesn't publish anything official in written format or on the internet about Guest Assistance Cards. The information that follows is not 'official', but is as complete, up to date and accurate as possible. It was written with assistance/information from personal experience, experience of other guests and information from Guest Relations CMs.

Where do I get a Guidebook for Guests with Disabilities?
Post #3 of this thread has links to the online version of the Guidebook. Once you are in the parks, you can find the Guidemap for Guests with Disabilities with the other maps at the park entrance, at Guest Relations or at the ECV/wheelchair/stroller rental area. The Guidemap looks like the 'regular' park maps, but has additional information for guests with disabilities.
It's best to pick one up on each visit (or every few months, if you visit often) because things may change.

Can I write ahead of time and get a GAC? Where do I request one?
No, you can't write or call ahead to get one.
To request one, go to Guest Relations at a Theme Park and talk to the CM there about your problems and needs.
If you are requesting the GAC for someone else (like your child, for example), that person does need to be with you when a GAC is requested, even if they can't talk. The GAC is actually issued in the name of the person with a disability. That person does need to be present when the GAC is requested and when it is used.
Most people go to Guest Relations in the parks to request a GAC, but you can also go to the Guest Relations area located at the park, but outside of the gates.
GACs are not available at Downtown Disney, at water parks or at your resort; you need to be at a place with park Guest Relations CMs (the people at Downtown Disney and the resorts are not park Guest Relations CMs).

Where can I find Guest Relations at WDW?
Each park has a Guest Relations location inside and outside of the park that will be open during park hours. You do need to go thru the security bag checkpoint to get to the outside of the park Guest Relations, but you don't need to go thru the turnstiles to actually enter the park. Even though they may not sound easy to find, once you are actually in the park area, they are pretty obvious if you are looking for them. They are in the 'wall' of the buildings that make up the outside wall of the park.

At MK, the outside of the park Guest Relations is to the right when you face the front of the park after you go thru the bag check point. The inside of the park Guest Relations is on the left in City Hall after you pass under the train station.

At Epcot, look for the exit from the monorail. It's pretty much straight across from that on the right side of the park entrance. The bag check is closer to the left side of the park entrance, so after you go thru the bag check, go right past the ticket booths and you will find it. The inside the park Guest Relations is to the left, after you pass Spaceship Earth.

At DHS and AK, the outside of the park Guest Relations is to the left as you face the park entrance. This is after going thru the bag check, but before going thru the turnstiles.
At both parks, the inside the park Guest Relations is also to the left, soon after you pass thru the turnstiles.

Do certain diagnoses qualify for a GAC?
Having any specific diagnosis doesn't qualify or not qualify someone for a GAC; there is no list of "appropriate" diagnoses for a GAC. Also, the CMs do not have medical training, so a specific diagnosis does not really mean much to them.
The GAC is based on needs that the person has related to a disability, not what their diagnosis is.
The diagnosis is not really that important because people with the same diagnosis can have very different needs.
The GAC is given based on needs and the accommodations that meet those needs. This is not a Disney rule, this is the way that the ADA is written. According to the ADA, accommodations are not given based on the diagnosis or specific disability; they are given based on needs that are related to a disability.
For example, my youngest DD has cerebral palsy as her main diagnosis. Some people with cerebral palsy don't really need anything special; some might walk with a cane/crutches or use a wheelchair, but don't need anything besides an accessible line. Those people would not need a GAC.
Some people, like my DD, have additional needs that are not met just by having her wheelchair in line. I go to Guest Services and explain my DD's needs to the CMs there to get a GAC issued to her to help meet her needs.

Do I need a letter from the doctor?
You don't need a doctor's letter and the CM is likely to not want to look at it, partly because the letters are often not very helpful to the CM.
Some people DO feel more confident asking for a GAC if they have a letter, but a letter is not required. According to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) you can not be required to provide proof of a disability.
You can choose to show proof, but can't be required. If you do have a letter, it should reflect your needs/problems related to your disability, not your diagnosis. (For example, a letter that says "My patient has xxxxxx and can't wait in lines. Please extend every possible consideration." is not helpful.) A doctors prescription has no legal standing and will not be honored, since WDW is not a medical facility.

If you choose to get a letter from your doctor:
- make sure it talks about the needs you have that you might require assistance with in the parks.
- realize that Disney CMs (Cast Members) can't help with transfers or personal care.
- be aware that some doctors might charge for an office visit to gather information for the letter or may charge to write the letter. Writing a letter does take some of the doctor's time. While many doctors may chose to do it as a service to their patients, some DIS posters have reported being charged for a letter. If this would be a problem for you, you will want to check it out ahead of time.
- be prepared that even if you bring a letter, CMs may not want to look at it at all.

I have a wheelchair, rollator, walker or ECV. Do I also need a GAC?
Not unless you have other needs.
The CM can see the wheelchair, ECV or other mobility device and will know you need an accessible entrance/line/boarding area.
Some people need other things besides the mobility device; those people might benefit from a GAC. If you don't have other needs and ask for a GAC, the CM usually give one that allows use of the wheelchair accessible entrances. Since you are using a mobility device, you already have access to those entrances without a GAC.
When CMs see a mobility device user present a GAC that says "may use wheelchair entrances", some start to expect everyone who is traveling with a mobility device to present a card. This is not how the system is supposed to work.
If you have any problems with access to the accessible entrances, first check the Guidebook for Guests with Disabilities to make sure that you are in the correct place. If you still have problems, ask to speak with a supervisor.

I heard most attractions have special 'wheelchair' or 'disabled' entrances. Do they?
Most attractions have Mainstream Lines, which means that the regular line is wheelchair accessible. Animal Kingdom and the Studio were built with mostly Mainstream Lines and guests with special needs wait in the 'regular' line most of the time in those parks.
Magic Kingdom and Epcot were not built with Mainstream Lines, but they were added, as much as possible as attractions were added or renovated.
A few attractions at MK and Epcot have special entrances because their 'regular' entrance is not accessible. The Guidemap for Guests with Disabilities will tell you which attractions have a separate entrance and how to access it.
There are also some attractions in each park where part of the line is not accessible (sometimes because of stairs) or the boarding area for guests with disabilities is different. This is usually because of moving walkways or the 'regular' entrance being on one side of the ride track and the exit on the other.
For these types of situations, you will usually find a marked handicapped access point or a CM to direct you close to the 'obstruction' or boarding area. You will usually wait in the regular line until that point.
Moving walkways are usually slowed, not stopped; if you need it to be slower or even stopped, tell the CM. Just showing a GAC won't tell the CM specifically what you need.

I don't want to use a wheelchair or ECV, can't I just get a GAC that allows me to use the wheelchair accessible entrances?
It depends on your needs.
If you can walk distances and up ramps fine, but can't climb steps, then a GAC might help you. Using the wheelchair accessible entrance will allow you to avoid stairs. For those attractions with moving walkways, you will also board at a place that allows the CM to slow or stop the moving walkway.
If you have a problem with walking distances, it's important to know that using the wheelchair accessible entrances will usually not be a shorter distance to walk; there just won't be stairs. Many queues are very long and some have ramps going up and/or down. For example, the queue for Soarin' in Epcot is over 1/4 mile from the entrance to the boarding area and an equal distance to get out again!
Many people don't realize how far guests walk in a day at WDW, here's a thread from the Theme Parks Board where posters estimated how far they walked. The distances are why WDW recommends an ECV or wheelchair for people who are concerned about stamina or endurance.
My family actually measured the distances we walked each day on a trip in April 2013 - we averaged over 6 miles per day and some days were closer to 9!

How do I figure out what the needs are?
Think about what sorts of things happen in a day at the park and how they would affect the person with a disability. Those are the types of things you want to be able to discuss with the Cast Member at Guest Relations. Some things to consider:
  • Some attractions have quieter waiting places; they are often a roped or chained off area to the side of the regular waiting area, often not a separate area. There are usually no seats in the areas, but they are wheelchair accessible. This is an example of one of those spots - this one is at The Circle of Life at Epcot in The Land. The 'regular' waiting area is to the left of the picture and the handicapped area is to the right, in a roped off part of the same room.

    Not all attractions have these types of waiting areas and it is possible that the waiting area may not be available, even if there is one - it could be filled, or being used for another reason (such as a medical emergency involving another guest).
  • Some children with disabilities might need to bring a stroller in line; either because they can't/won't walk in line or to give a 'safe haven' where they would not be so close to other people. A GAC could allow the stroller to be brought into lines and be treated just like a wheelchair, being brought into the Mainstream Lines. and to boarding areas.
  • Does the person need a place to lie down once in a while to rest or just an air conditioned place? First Aid in any park has cots for lying down; no need for a GAC to do that.
  • Is the person on medication or have a condition that may cause overheating or problems with being in the sun or heat? If so, a GAC might help with that (although most lines are shaded and many lines are indoors, so a GAC would not do a lot). A GAC may say that the person can wait out of the sun when the queue is in the sun for a prolonged period of time. Since most queues are shaded, this need is often met without needing a GAC. Guests with these types of issues also need to think about protecting themselves during the time they will be in the sun going between attractions and getting from place to place.
  • Does the person with an invisible disability need extra time getting into/out of ride vehicles for those rides with moving walkways? Do they need to avoid stair. If so, a GAC might help someone who can walk by allowing boarding at the wheelchair boarding spot for those attractions. (NOTE: Wheelchair/ECV users board at the exit for those moving walkway rides without needing a GAC, but they usually wait in the regular line with everyone else until close to the regular boarding area).

My child doesn't have a wheelchair, but needs to stay in the stroller. Is this allowed?
Strollers are not usually allowed inside buildings or in most queues, but can be if needed for a disability.
Some children require a stroller because they can't walk or just need to 'security of the stroller to help calm or help contain them in line. Some children have a special needs stroller that looks a lot like a regular stroller and could easily be mistaken for a regular stroller.
To use a stroller in lines, you will need a sticker tag and/or a GAC from Guest Relations that allows the stroller to be used as a wheelchair.
A tag or GAC may be necessary even with large special needs strollers - in the past, most people who needed these owned them. An Orlando company started renting them out in 2008 and people have been renting them for their older children without disabilities who don't want to walk. Because of this, they may no longer be recognized as "Special Needs Strollers" without the sticker and/or GAC.
With a 'stroller as a wheelchair', you will be able to:
  • take the stroller in all lines and buildings, even if strollers are not usually allowed
  • use wheelchair entrances. Few attractions have actual 'wheelchair entrances.' Since most lines are wheelchair accessible in the regular line to the point of boarding, you will usually be in the 'regular' line. (see post 11 of this thread).
  • use the stroller until boarding. The child may need to be removed to board a ride, but you can leave the stroller at the boarding area. You won't need to fold it, but should take anything of value.
  • use the stroller in shows and sit in the wheelchair seating areas. The child may need to get out of the stroller and sit on an adult's lap if the stroller seat is too low. Most shows have limited numbers of wheelchair spots, so wheelchair spots are sometimes filled before other seats are filled.
  • use wheelchair areas for parades. Wheelchairs and strollers are usually parked very close together across the front of the viewing area. If your child needs to be away from others, this may not work for you, or you may need to park behind the front row to get more space. Areas sometimes fill quickly, so arrive early.
If you have a park rental stroller, you will need a new sticker each day. If it is your own stroller, the sticker will be dated for the length of your stay and you will have a GAC that says the stroller is being used as a wheelchair. If your child has additional needs, they would also be noted on the GAC.

I have problems with standing in line or with walking. Why did WDW suggest a wheelchair of ECV (motorized scooter)?
Disney calls these "Stamina or Endurance Concerns" and the official response is to suggest a wheelchair or ECV.
If the person has problems with standing in line or with walking, a wheelchair/ECV would be a better solution than a GAC. A trip to WDW includes a lot more walking than just what you do in line. Even using a GAC, there will most of the time be no place to sit while in line. The distance walked is not usually less with a GAC than without one, so someone who is concerned about walking or standing would do better with a mobility device and/or planning their day to hit the most popular attractions at the least busy times.
Most of the lines where you will actually standing still for long periods are the lines for shows and movies. Because those 'load' large numbers of people at a time, people have to stand waiting for the next show to 'load'. Having a Fastpass or a GAC won't change that - if each show is 14 minutes, you are going to be somewhere for 14 minutes. In many shows, much of the time in that place will be a preshow area. If you don't have a mobility device, you will generally be standing during that time.
Post 22 on page 2 of this thread has a list of attractions like that where guests will need to stand.

With an ecv or wheelchair, you will always have a place to sit and can conserve energy for fun, instead of just getting around. There is information about ecvs/wheelchairs farther up in this disABILITIES FAQs. All atttractions are wheelchair accessible and most lines are also ECV accessible in the regular line.
NOTE: The person renting or using a WDW park rental ECV must be over 18 yrs old and no passengers are allowed. WDW policy says that even with non-park owned ECVs, only one person is allowed on the wheelchair/ECV (no passengers).

We have 6 in our party; can we all use the GAC?
The GAC is for the use of the person whose name is on the GAC, for attractions that person is going on. So that person needs to be with when you use it.
The GAC is usually given for up to 6 people (5 plus the person with a disability). There may be some situations where you are asked to split into smaller groups. When that happens, it's usually because the waiting area or seating area for people with disabilities is too small/crowded for a large party. Sometimes a ride car only holds 6.
In certain situations, a GAC may be given for more than 6 people - for example, if a family is 2 adults and 5 children, they would make an exception and give the GAC for a total of 7. Anything over 6 people is an exception to the rule.

Do I need to get one for each park?
You can request a GAC at any of the theme parks. You DO NOT need a GAC for each park and the GAC is usually issued to be valid for your whole vacation.
The GAC issued at one park is valid at all parks, but the theme park GACs are not used at the water parks.

If I had a GAC on my last trip, can I just bring it back and use it again? Or can I show the old GAC as proof that I need one again?
The GAC has an expiration date and is not valid after that date.
You can bring your old GAC back on another trip to show to CMs in Guest Relations, but they may not want to look at it and you will still need to explain your needs in order to get a new GAC.

If i have a GAC does that mean I go to the front of all the lines?
In general, the only people who go to the front of lines are children with serious, life-threatening conditions who are on WISH trips.
The GAC is not meant to be a pass that gives immediate access. In fact, in around 2000, they renamed it to Card because when it was called a Pass, people thought it mean front of the line access. It says right on the card that it will not provide immediate access (won't shorten or eliminate waits in line).
In some cases, you may wait a shorter time, sometimes longer and often the same amount of time, but in a place better suited to your needs.
In general, it tends to even out over the day so that the total time waited is generally going to be fairly similar to other guests.

Are there different levels of GACs?
There are not different levels of GACs, just different stamps that Guest Services can add to the GAC to tell the CMs at attractions what assistance the guest needs.
Because what is stamped on the GAC is based on needs, not all GACs say the same thing and not all are handled the same way.
Here are examples of some of the things that might be stamped on the GAC:
  • a less crowded place to wait - although not all attractions have a less crowded or quieter place to wait. You still may be waiting with a quite a few people with special needs. At Nemo at Epcot in the Living Seas, there is a waiting room where guests with special needs wait. We have been there when we were the only group in the room, but also when there were over 30 people in the room.
  • a place out of the sun (for those times when the line is in the sun for a prolonged period of time). At WDW, this was helpful when the parks were new because there was not much shade. Since then, the trees have grown and many lines that were in full sun now have roofs over the entire line.
  • using a stroller as a wheelchair - covered in more detail above.
  • avoiding stairs - there are a few attractions with stairs in the line. See post 11 of this thread for a list of attractions at WDW which have stairs.
You don't need to remember or ask for these specific stamps. Just be ready to explain your needs/problems. The CM will determine what stamp(s) would best fit those needs.

Do the CMs at each attraction have to provide what it says on the GAC?
Even if you have a GAC, not all accomodations are available at each attraction. Some attractions may not have a place to sit, a quieter waiting place or have exactly what you need.
Sometimes the accommodation is available, but is not available at the time. This can happen because of things that are not visible to guests.
They can include things like staffing at the attraction, how busy the park and that attraction are, time of day, time of year, how many other guests with special needs are already waiting and if the area is being used for other reasons (for example, a medical emergency).

What happens when I use the GAC? How do I use it?
if the line is short or you don't think you need assistance at that attraction, you don't need to use the GAC. Just get into the line with everyone else.
Many people handle the GAC like an insurance card, not necessarily needed or used all the time, but there for when it's necessary.
To use the GAC, show the GAC card to the first CM you see at the attraction. That CM will direct you.
Even with showing the GAC, you may still have to explain a bit about your particular needs because the CM needs more information to figure out exactly what you need.

Is it treated exactly the same each time and/or at each attraction?
No. Even on the same attraction, the GAC is not always handled the same each time.
Exactly what happens depends on how busy it is, how many other people with special needs are there at the time and staffing.
Some times you may be sent thru the regular standby line, ocassionally another access; Occasionally the person with the GAC and a member of their party will be given an alternate place to wait while the rest of the party goes thru the standby line - and then meet up with them when they get to the front. Sometimes you might be given a slip and told you can come back at the time written on the slip (usually equal to the standby time); ocassionally, you might be taken right in. It depends on what they call "attraction considerations" (which is basically the things I listed in the second sentence).

What happens will also depend on the stamps on your GAC. For example, if the GAC is for a place to out of the sun, you will be routed to the regular line if the sun is not a problem when you arrive at the attraction.

If you come back later, you may be handled differently. Even on the same attraction on the same day. People sometimes think that means one of the CMs did something 'wrong'. What it usually means is that conditions were not the same both times.

Can I use the GAC at restaurants to let them know my needs?
GACs are used for attractions and are not used for restaurants. The information on the GAC would usually not be useful to the CMs in restaurants.
If you have food allergies, there are some links to information in post 3 of this thread.
If you have specific needs for location or type of table in table service restaurants, tell the CM when you check in for seating.

What about Character Greetings? Can I use the GAC for those?
In general, GACs are not used for character greetings that are outdoors. For those outdoor greetings, if you have specific needs, there is always a CM 'handling' the characters. That CM might be able to make some accommodations for your needs, but they have very few things available. The best that can be done might be for some members of your party to wait in line while the person with a disability waits outside of the line.
One example of these types of greetings would be the characters outside in Epcot in World Showcase.

Depending on what accommodations you need and what is available, you may be able to use your GAC at Character Greetings that are in permanent indoor locations. These are considered attractions and are listed on the park maps as attractions. Examples of this are the Theater on Main Street in MK, Camp Mickey Minnie at AK and the Epcot Character Spot in Future World in Epcot.
If Fastpass is available, you will most likely be told to use Fastpass.
Check with CM at the entrance to explain your needs and find out what assistance may be available. Be aware though that many locations do not have any accommodations available.

GACs are specifically NOT allowed to be used for celebrity meet and greets, special limited appearances by characters and special events, such as Star Wars and Soap Opera week.

What can I do to avoid or shorten our wait for attractions?
Fastpass is a good way to avoid waits in line. You don't have to be present to get a fastpass, you can send one member of your party ahead with all the park passes to get fastpasses. When you report back to the ride at your fastpass return time, your wait will generally be 15 minutes or less.
Link to DIS site page about Fastpass and how to use them

Many people find that having a plan is very helpful for the person with a disability because they know more about what to expect when.
Also, even using a GAC or Fastpasses, if you know where NOT to be can be VERY helpful; maybe even more helpful than the GAC because it helps avoid crowds all over, not just in attractions. Getting into attractions with accommodations is only part of the solution.
If you are at a busy park, it is busy everywhere, which means longer waits for things like eating and using the bathrooms. The more people there are, the more difficult it becomes just to get around and to avoid all the general 'busy-ness' of the parks. That 'busy-ness' can be just as difficult for many people to deal with. Many people have reported good luck with www.easywdw.com, ww.touringplans.com, TourGuide Mike, or Ridemax, using their advice to avoid waiting for more than a few minute. Those sites have hints on tour planning to avoid busy areas.
There are also Smartphone apps (like for iPhone or Android phones) that include things like current waiting times for attractions in the park. One good one is put out by a company called Undercover Tourist. Disney also has one called My Disney Experience.

I've heard Disney is discontinuing or changing GACs when Fastpass Plus comes. Is this true?
No. There are threads about every 6 months with rumors about changes to GACs; especially since Fastpass Plus was announced.
No one knows how Fastpass Plus will work for guests without disabilities, much less for guests who have special needs.
There are requirements in the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) that guests with disabilities be handled in the 'main stream', without special treatment as much as possible. The idea is to put things into place so that people's needs related to their disabilities are handled in the mainstream as much as possible. Disney has made quite a few accommodations into their attractions and many people with disabilities do not need anything more than that.
Some of the changes that might be coming with Fastpass Plus might be helpful for guests with disabilites. For example, some Disboards posters feel that the ability to arrange times for attractions ahead of time would be helpful to the them because they can make a predictable schedule to follow. Others are concerned with arranging times ahead of time may not work for them because their condition is unpredictable.
Since no one knows exactly how Fastpass Plus will function, it is hard to tell how it will affect those with disabilities.
However it works in the 'mainstream', there are people who still need more than is provided in the mainstream. That is where GACs fit in and will probably continue to fit in.

If I see a GAC for sale on ebay, how can I report it?
GACs are issued to an individual person, whose name is on the card. They are not transferrable and not for sale. Using Disney's name and trademarks to sell something that Disney gives out for free is piracy and selling it is fraudulent (or selling something else and giving the GAC as a "free gift")

It is best NOT to contact the seller. Anything you write to them is not going to change their mind. The seller could report you to ebay for harrassment. Since the seller has a way to contact you, they could harrase you by email or could even get access to your address and phone number.
To report to ebay:
Copy the auction number, then go to eBay's Report a Listing. Choose report it as a Fraudulent Listing, with the category of fraudulent and did not bid.
Click on the next screen How do I report a fraudulent listing? and then on the next screen, click on Contact us near the bottom. The following screen asks for the number and also gives a large block for a narrative description of the problem.

To report to Disney:
email address (tips@disneyantipiracy.com) or Antipiracy voice mail hotline, 818-560-3300

Antipiracy Group, Corporate Legal
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, California 91521-0527
SueM in MN
Moderator of disABILITIES
Link to disABILITIES FAQs thread

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Last edited by SueM in MN; 10-08-2013 at 11:52 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 12-17-2005, 08:39 AM   #7
SueM in MN
It's like combining the teacups with a roller coaster

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Join Date: Aug 1999
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Information about WDW Resorts and Phone numbers for contact:

A new provision of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) involving resort and hotel reservations will be effective beginning March 15, 2012.
It will require hotels/resorts to:
  • allow accessible rooms to be booked in the same ways for people with disabilities(phone, internet) as for people without disabilities
  • have access to information available about those rooms that are descriptive enough for the person to decide whether the room will meet their needs (including photos or other images)
  • include information about which features which rooms have, including which are accessible with roll in showers and which have tubs with grab bars
  • reserve and hold a specific room for that specific guest with a disability. Those specific rooms must be actually removed from the reservation system (to avoid double booking and ensure that when the guest arrives the room they needed was available for them)
  • hold accessible rooms back for reservation by people with disabilities until all non-accessible rooms of that type/class have been rented.
  • Here’s a link to a really good summary of the new changes:
  • http://www.adahospitality.org/conten...g-Reservations

All Walt Disney World Resorts offer rooms that accommodate Guests with disabilities. Features vary depending upon your selected Resort.
For information specific to individual resorts, please call:

Special Reservations Line: (407) 939-7807
This is the number for making all types of special needs reservations - rooms and tours.

(NOTE: WDW no longer lists this number on their website Guidebook for Guests with Disabilities, although it is in printed guidemaps we picked up at the parks in April 2014).

TTY Line: (407) 939-7670

When you call any of the other resorts, you don't actually end up talking to someone at the resort; you talk to someone at a call center, who is not at the resort.

Note for people using travel agents: If your reservation was made thru a travel agent, the agent will need to make any special requests for you or contact Special Reservations for you. If you call Special Reservations yourself, the CMs may tell you that you must go thru the Travel Agent. Some very accomidating CMs might take your requests, but the usual is to refer you back to your travel agent.
That is because the Travel Agent actually owns your reservation until a few days before you arrive.

Accommodations for Guests with disabilities may include the following:

Wider bathroom doors
Roll-in showers
Shower benches
Hand-held shower heads
Accessible vanities
Portable commodes
Bathroom rails

Bed rails
Lower beds and rubber bed pads
Open frame beds

Door knock and phone alerts
Bed shaker alarm
Text Typewriter (TTY)
Strobe light fire alarm
Phone amplifier

Buses with wheelchair lifts
Double peep holes in doors
Refrigerators (may include an extra charge)
Closed Captioned television
Braille on signage and elevators

Designated parking areas for Guests with disabilities are available throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. A valid disability parking permit is required.

At locations offering valet parking, vehicles displaying a valid disability parking permit will receive complimentary service (instead of the fee).

This information is copied from the official WDW Guidebook for Guests with Disabilities webpage.

Other helpful information, including links to other pages or threads on this site.

WDW Accessible Room Location thread.

Polynesian Resort with Disabilities Thread (thank you Tikiman for including info on your great website).

Autism Spectrum: Choosing a room

One question that comes up frequently is:
I'm renting an ECV or wheelchair, do I need a handicapped room?

If you are able to walk around your room, usually, the answer is no. Handicapped accessible rooms are no bigger than other rooms.
People think of roll in showers and fully wheelchair accessible when they think of handicapped accessible. NOT all handicapped rooms are fully wheelchair accessible. Some are and have the roll in shower, but some have raised seat toilets and bathtubs with grab bars.
The ADA requires hotels/resorts to have a certain number of handicapped accessible rooms/units (based on the total number of rooms in the hotel), but only about 1 out of every 5 handicapped rooms is required to be fully wheelchair accessible.

There are 2 types of handicapped accessible rooms. In general, they are the same overall size and have the same size doors to come into the room from the hallway as the non-handicapped accessible room.

Door rooms are at least 32 inches wide and an average ECV or wheelchair is much narrower than that - more on the order of 24 inches. If you are concerned about the size, call the equipment company you are renting from.

Type one handicapped accessible room is exactly like a non-accessible room except that it has grab bars by the combination tub/shower and the toilet. The toilet has a raised seat and there will be some type of built in seat for the tub. Someone who can't step over the side of the tub can sit on the seat and then swing their legs over into the tub. You can also get a freestanding shower/bath bench from Housekeeping or a rental place (see post 2 of this thread)and do the same thing.
Example of handicapped accessible bathroom. Grab bars on back and side. This one is from Coronado Springs

Built in seat at end of tub (Coronado Springs)

The bathroom door may not be wide enough to get a wheelchair or ECV into the bathroom. There may also not be room to turn around in the room. For most people renting an ECV, that is not that much of a problem because most can walk around the room.
Most people move the table and chairs near the entrance of the room to make a space to park the ECV in the room and charge it. Bringing a power strip is helpful so you don't need to park as close to the outlet.

Type two handicapped accessible rooms are fully wheelchair accessible.
They have a roll in shower with grab bars, a seat you can pull down to sit for showering and a handheld shower head.
Roll in shower room example - OKW studio

Other side of the OKW studio roll in shower bathroom

They also have a raised seat toilet with grab bars and a place to park a wheelchair near it, a sink you can use while in a wheelchair. The bed is also lower, to make it easier to transfer to/from a wheelchair.
The room itself is usually the same size as a non-accessible room. The space is just arranged differently to make the bathroom large enough for a roll in shower. The space for that is 'taken' from the bedroom area, so the bedroom area is smaller and the bathroom is larger. Many of the 'fully accessible' rooms have a single King size bed so that they have enough room to get around with a wheelchair.
The bathrooms in Disney Vacation Club 1 and 2 bedroom villas are large enough to have a roll in shower without changing the size of any rooms. The master bedrooms of DVC villas also have a whirlpool tub.

So, unless, you need some of the 'features' I mentioned, you probably don't want to request a handicapped accessible room. There are less of them, which means less choice of location.
If you do need a wheelchair accessible room, you need to arrange it thru Special Reservations. The CM making the reservation will actually call Special Reservations, make sure there is a room available and block a specific room for you.

Link to Department of Justice web page with quick list of requirements for ADA accessible resort rooms.
SueM in MN
Moderator of disABILITIES
Link to disABILITIES FAQs thread

Spaceship Earth: We are all passengers together.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans......John Lennon
Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr

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Old 02-05-2007, 08:55 AM   #8
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Parking, WDW Boats, Monorails, Specialty Cruises & Taxis

The handicapped parking areas and some of the bus areas have courtesy shuttle wheelchairs that can be used to get from that area to the wheelchair/ECV rental area in the park. There is no guarantee any will be available.

Handicapped Parking for the WDW parks/resorts
  • Handicapped Parking Permits
  • If you don't have a Handicapped Parking Permit, check the Department of Transportation or Motor Vehicles website in your state. Many states have the form available online. You would still need to print it and have your doctor complete it, but you may qualify for a temporary permit.
  • If you have a Handicapped Parking Permit, bring it with to park in Handicapped parking at resorts and parks.
  • All states have reciprocity with Florida; a valid Handicapped Parking Permit from one state is recognized as valid by Florida.
  • For travelers from the UK, this is a link to information about use of Blue Badges in Florida
  • Handicapped parking lots/Medical Parking
  • To use handicapped parking lots at the parks, have your parking permit visible and show it to each CM (Cast Member) you come to.
  • All of the parks have handicapped parking available. WDW calls these lots "Medical parking". This is the closest parking area to the park entrance, but may still mean a fairly long walk.
  • The spots that are the closest to the entrance are marked with handicapped signs or with blue paint. Only guests with a valid government issued Handicapped Parking Permit may park in these spots. The County police do patrol and you can be ticketed if you park in one of those spots without a valid handicapped parking permit.
  • Some of the handicapped parking spots are labeled "Van Accessible" or have a wide cross-hatched spot next to them so that a lift or ramp can be put down from the van. If you don't need this feature, please don't park in those spots, if possible. Someone with a ramp or lift van is not able to use a regular handicapped parking spot.
  • Some spots in the Medical parking lots are not marked and can be used by people without a Handicapped Parking Permit. CMs also save some spots at the front of the regular parking areas for people with wheelchairs or ECVs who don't have parking permits. Explain your needs to each CM that you come to and they will direct you.
  • Handicapped parking lots are very large and if you are on the end of a row or the back row, you will have a fairly long walk to the park entry. If you don't have a wheelchair or ECV with you, there are some courtesy wheelchairs available in the handicapped lots. There is no guarantee there will be one available when you get there though.
  • Sometimes, especially at Epcot, the regular handicapped area is full or they have moved Handicapped Parking temporarily, so it is best to go where the CMs direct you, rather than just following the pavement markings that you followed before.
  • Parking lot trams
  • The regular parking lots are served by parking lot trams; the handicapped parking lots are not.
  • Parking lot trams are not wheelchair or ECV accessible (folding wheelchair or special needs stroller can be folded and held on the tram, if you are able).
  • If you don't have a wheelchair or ECV with you, Disney actually recommends parking in the regular lot and using the parking trams if you are able to step up onto the tram and ride it. Trams drop guests off as close as possible to the park turnstiles.
    Parking lot CMs save spots on the end of the row closest to the tram stops for people with mobility disabilities.
  • Specific Information about MK
  • When going to MK from a WDW resort, the bus is usually the best way to get there.
    If you are staying at a WDW resort, you will have the least walking by taking the bus when going to MK. The MK bus drops you off at the park, close to the entry turnstiles.
    If you park at MK, you will need to get from the parking area to the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC). From there, you either take a boat or a monorail. The boat is a longer walk, but is more level. Using the monorail at TTC and MK involves going up a long steep ramp to get to the monorail boarding area at the TTC and down one at MK.
  • Drop off points and TAXI service for Parks
    Ask about front drop off points at the payment booth when you enter the parking area.
    As you drive in, tell CMs you see that you want to drop someone off and they will direct you to the correct place.
    Magic Kingdom All guests not using WDW buses or resort monorails will end up at the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC). Taxis drop off and pick up in the drop off lot at the TTC.

    Epcot - taxis drop off and pickup in the bus loop 1-8

    Studios - taxis drop off and pickup in the parking lot opposite from the charter lot

    Animal Kingdom - taxis drop off and pickup at the HC / charter lot.
  • Resorts
  • Handicapped parking lots are patrolled by County police and they will ticket cars not displaying a valid handicapped parking permit if you are parked in a marked handicapped spot. The actual handicapped spots have a sign or are marked with blue paint.
  • Some of the handicapped parking spots are labeled "Van Accessible" or have a wide cross-hatched spot next to them so that a lift or ramp can be put down from the van. If you don't need this feature, please don't park in those spots, if possible. Someone with a ramp or lift van is not able to use a regular handicapped parking spot.
  • Valet parking at the deluxe and DVC resorts is free for people with Handicapped Parking permits, although tips are appreciated.
    This is not really a 'perk', it is so that the resort doesn't have to have as much handicapped parking right near the door.

The monorails are wheelchair and ECV accessible.
When you get to the monorail station, look for CMs or signs with wheelchair symbols to direct you. There are specific wheelchair loading areas for the monorail - the CM will put up a small ramp so you can roll right in. They are supposed to radio ahead to the next station to let them know you need the ramp put out.
Monorail loading area for wheelchairs at TTC (note the ramp stored upright on the left side of the picture)

CM putting ramp in place

Monorail car at station with wheelchair ramp in place

Monorail stations are about 2 floors above the ground. From the MK resorts, you will enter on the same level of the building as the station.
At MK and the TTC, you will need to go up a long steep ramp (and down a long steep ramp to get off). There are no elevators at MK or the TTC.
Steep ramp at MK; you start at the level of the railing and go down a steep straight ramp to ground level

The monorail station at Epcot does have a longer, but less steep ramp and also has elevators. When getting on at Epcot, look for the wheelchair symbol on your right before entering the ramp. When getting off, ask a CM if you don't see the wheelchair symbol.

These boats are wheelchair/ECV accessible:
  • Ferryboats to and from the TTC to MK
  • Motor Cruisers are large boats that go to and from resorts at MK are usually accessible, but may not be if the water level is very high or very low (which doesn't happen often).
    Boat captains have some interesting ways to overcome this if the difference is not too large. We have been on boats where all the other passengers were unloaded first; the almost empty boat floated higher in the water. That made the distance close enough that a small portable ramp could be used to get off the boat.
    If there is too much difference in water level between the dock and boat, wheelchairs and ECVs can't be driven on. They do provide alternate ways to get the the parks if this happens.
  • Friendship Boats at Epcot, MGM and the Epcot resorts
The Disney Park Rental ECVs can not get on the Friendship Boats in the Epcot Lagoon. The bumpers keep locking up on the connecting ramps, and they have been trying for months and cannot solve the problem. This only applies to the Disney park rental ECVs.
This is a picture of the Disney Park ECVs; note the bumpers

Driving a wheelchair onto a Friendship Boat

Friendship boat inside wheelchair area (you can also park outside). Sorry the picture is so dark
  • Large roofed boats that travel between OKW, SSR, PO-Riverside, PO-New Orleans and Downtown Disney.
Picture of large roofed boats that go to Downtown Disney:

Ramp at boat from OKW to Downtown Disney

Wheelchair space on OKW boat

Boat dock at OKW

These boats are not wheelchair/ECV accessible:
  • Motor Launches - Small boats that go between MK and the MK area resorts.
Link to thread about MK boats (WL and FW)

Specialty Cruises:Fireworks Cruises at MK and Illuminations Cruises at Epcot
There are pontoon boats at MK and pontoon boats and a special cruiser at Epcot. ECVs can be parked and left at the dock or may be able to fit on the pontoon boat.

The pontoon boat door is wide enough for a standard width wheelchair.
The chair can be placed on the boat in the front center between the seated party. The maximum number of guests is 10 including adults, children and the wheelchair.
Policy is that all children 12 and under must wear a life vest.

The special cruiser is called the Breathless and is a reproduction of a 1930s classic run about boat. It is not wheelchair or ECV accessible. It is similar to a speedboat, rides low in the water and requires a step down into the boat.
Here's a link to a page with information about the Specialty Cruises.

Here links to further information about transportation:
DIS site page about boats
DIS site page about Monorail
DIS site page about parking
Allearnet.com transportation page

Accessible Taxi vans
The company used most often by DIS posters is MEARS, which includes buses and taxi vans. Mears taxicabs operate under the Yellow Cab Company, Checker Cab Company and City Cab Company brand. You can use these accessible taxis to get to places within WDW and also to get to other nearby locations like Universal or Sea World.
Taxicab Dispatch: (407) 422-2222
SueM in MN
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Link to disABILITIES FAQs thread

Spaceship Earth: We are all passengers together.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans......John Lennon
Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr

Last edited by SueM in MN; 01-08-2011 at 09:16 PM. Reason: reformatted and added links
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Old 06-05-2007, 10:47 PM   #9
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This thread will be added to as time goes on.
For now, it has only a few links:
Link to the Universal Orlando website.
Link to Universal website Accessibility Information

Link to Universal Rider's Guide. This is the Universal version of the Guidebook for Guests with Disabilities. It includes quite a bit of specific information about the attractions, including what abilities riders need to have to ride.

Universal/Islands of Adventure has GAP (Guest Assistance Passes), which work fairly similar to Disney's DAS (Disability Access Service).
You do not need a doctor's note. Just be able to tell them what assistance you need at Guest Services.
At each attraction, you will be able to enter right away if the wait is less than 30 minutes. For wait of longer then 30 minutes, you will be given a Return Time, similar to the standby wait time. When you return to the attraction when the return time has come, you will go in the a Express Pass line, which will be a shorter wait.

Both parks are ADA compliant and, as such, are wheelchair accessible. There is seldom a need for a separate line for wheelchairs as the wheelchair just goes through the regular line.
It's important to know though, Universal/Islands of Adventure do not allow power wheelchairs or ECVs in their lines/attractions.

Universal/Islands of Adventure does have an Express Card that guests can purchase or you can get by staying at a Universal hotel. That allows guests to use an Express Pass entrance to access attractions without waiting, but not all attractions have Express Pass.

VIP Gap (back door access--mostly for Make a Wish Kids or Give Kids the World)

Bill Sears did a very comprehensive report about Universal Studio/Island of Adventure in May 2008. The report includes many ride car pictures and descriptions of transfers.

Harry Potter area at Universal
SueM in MN
Moderator of disABILITIES
Link to disABILITIES FAQs thread

Spaceship Earth: We are all passengers together.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans......John Lennon
Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr

Last edited by SueM in MN; 06-22-2014 at 01:29 AM. Reason: Add link
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Old 08-25-2007, 04:09 PM   #10
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Sea World, Discovery Cove and Busch Gardens in Tampa

This thread will be added to over time.
Link to DIS Board thread about Seaworld.

SeaWorld Accessibility Guide (click here for link), includes locations of family bathrooms at the park, services like Assistive Listening, and pretty complete information about access to their attractions.

NOTE: The link goes to the pdf file of their guidebook. When you open it, it looks blank. Scroll down a ways until you see the text start. The link apparently starts on the inside cover or something, which has no text.

Discovery Cove doesn't have an online accessibility guide; here is what their website says about disabled guests:

"Discovery Cove can accommodate guests with disabilities who are able to maneuver themselves with limited assistance (or with the aid of a personal assistant) during their dolphin experience and in the various wading locations. Discovery Cove also offers specially-designed outdoor wheelchairs with oversized tires for easy maneuvering on the beach. Wheelchairs can be reserved by calling 1-877-4-DISCOVERY."
Link to Discovery Cove website.

This is a link to the Busch Gardens in Tampa general page about touring with disabilities. It includes a list of attractions with warnings and at the bottom of the page, includes links to further information for guests with wheelchairs, hearing impairments and casts/braces. They use a Virtual Pass System for people with disabilities, which sounds like it functions much like WDW's Fastpass system - if you can't wait in the line or need to board somewhere other than the usual, you are given a Virtual Pass that allows you to wait somewhere else.
SueM in MN
Moderator of disABILITIES
Link to disABILITIES FAQs thread

Spaceship Earth: We are all passengers together.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans......John Lennon
Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr

Last edited by SueM in MN; 11-15-2009 at 01:05 AM. Reason: fix link
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Old 09-26-2007, 11:06 PM   #11
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Basic Accessibility and Mobility Entrances

This is a link to an interactive video tour of WDW someone posted on youtube. It shows each park and the interactive part is that when you are viewing the outside of an attraction, you can choose to go inside and ride (through magic of an interactive link to another video).
Most of the attraction videos show the boarding process, including what the ride car looks like.

In post #3 of this thread, there are links to the official WDW Guidebook for Disabilities for each park. In those, you will find a list of attractions with an icon for each one that tells what the access is (must transfer or can stay in the wheelchair).
Link to WDW Parks Main Page about Guests with Disabilities

That page contains links to information for guests with mobility, hearing and vision disabilities. It also contains links to the following park maps (updated November 2012):
Link to Magic Kingdom Map for Guests with Disabilities
Link to Epcot Map for Guests with Disabilities
Link to Disney Hollywood Studio Map for Guests with Disabilities
Link to Animal Kingdom Map for Guests with Disabilities

List of which attractions you can stay in a wheelchair for and which require a transfer:

Magic Kingdom® Park
Blog with pictures about MK from touringplans.com
Can stay in a wheelchair or ECV:
Castle Forecourt Stage Show
Country Bear Jamboree
Fairytale Garden
Frontierland® Shooting Arcade
Galaxy Palace Theater (seasonal)
Jungle Cruise
Liberty Square Riverboat
Mickey's PhilharMagic
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
Shrunken Ned's Jungle Boats
"The Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management"
The Hall of Presidents
Tomorrowland Arcade
Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress (seasonal)

Guests in motorized vehicles, ECVs, must transfer into an available wheelchair at these attractions (if you are already in a wheelchair, you can use it in the attraction and won't need to transfer:
Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
"it's a small world"
Stitch's Great Escape!"
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Tom Sawyer Island Rafts
Walt Disney World Railroad

Attractions requiring Guests to transfer from their wheelchair to board the attraction include:
Astro Orbiter
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Prince Charming Regal Carousel
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Mad Tea Party
Main Street Vehicles
Peter Pan's Flight
Pirates of the Caribbean
Space Mountain®
Swiss Family Treehouse - Guest must be ambulatory
The Haunted Mansion
Tomorrowland® Indy Speedway

Guests may enter and enjoy these attractions in a wheelchair or ECV:
Mexico: Art of Mexico Gallery
Japan: Bijutsu-kan Gallery
China: Gallery
China: "Reflections of China"
Imagination: "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience"
Imagination: Journey Into Your Imagination with Figment
France: "Impressions de France"
Innoventions East & West
Canada: O Canada!
Norway: Stave Church Gallery
The American Adventure: The America Gardens Theatre
The American Adventure: The American Adventure
The Land: The Circle of Life
The Seas with Nemo & Friends: All Attractions
Morocco: "Treasure of Morocco"

Guests in motorized vehicles, ECVs, must transfer into an available wheelchair at these attractions (people using a wheelchair may stay in the wheelchair):
Universe of Energy: "Ellen's Energy Adventure"
Mexico: Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
The Land: Living with the Land

Attractions requiring Guests to transfer from their wheelchair or ECV to board the attraction include:
Norway: Maelstrom
Mission: SPACE
Spaceship Earth
Test Track
The Land: Soarin'"

Disney's Hollywood Studios"
Guests may enter and enjoy these attractions in a wheelchair or ECV:
ABC Sound Studio
American Idol
"Beauty and the Beast" at the Theater of the Stars
Disney-MGM Studios Backlot Tour
"Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" Movie Set Adventure
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Muppet*Vision 3D
Lights, Motors, Action!" Extreme Stunt Show
Playhouse Disney - Live On Stage!
The American Film Institute Showcase
Voyage of the Little Mermaid
Walt Disney: One Man's Dream

Guests in motorized vehicles, ECVs, must transfer into an available wheelchair at these attractions:
Tower of Terror
Star Tours
Toy Story Midway Mania
Rock N Roller Coaster

Attractions requiring Guests to transfer from their wheelchair to board the attraction include:
Rock 'n' Roller Coaster® starring Aerosmith
Star Tours
"The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror""

Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park
Guests may enter and enjoy these attractions in a wheelchair or ECV:
Caravan Stage: "Flights of Wonder"
Cretaceous Trail
Conservation Station
Discovery Island Trails
Finding Nemo - The Musical
Fossil Fun Games
It's Tough To Be A Bug
Lion King Theater: "Festival of the Lion King"
Maharajah Jungle Trek
Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
The Boneyard
TriceraTop Spin
Wildlife Express

Guests in motorized vehicles, ECVs, must transfer into an available wheelchair at this attraction:
Affection section in Rafiki's Planet Watch
Kilimanjaro Safaris
TriceraTop Spin

Attractions requiring Guests to transfer from their wheelchair to board the attraction include:
Expedition Everest"
Primeval Whirl
Kali River Rapids

Mobility Access: Most of the lines are wheelchair accessible thru the regular line (called Mainstream Lines).

The information in italics is the information about Mainstream Lines from the WDW page about Mobility Disabilities:
Walt Disney World Resort strives to provide mainstream access whenever possible; that is, all Guests utilize the main entrance to the attraction. However, accessibility varies from attraction to attraction within Disney Parks. The Guide for Guests with Disabilities and Park Guidemaps use symbols to indicate boarding procedures for each attraction. In addition, Guests should contact a Disney Cast Member at each attraction before entering. Mainstream queues can be found at these attractions at Walt Disney World Theme Parks. (it then goes on to list the Mainstream attractions).

Most attractions for all parks are listed as "Enter through standard queue" for attractions without Fastpass or "Obtain a FASTPASS OR use Standby Queue" on the Guide for Guest with Disabilities maps for each park. There is also a large red box on the maps which says "Guests with any mobility or queue related assistance needs are encouraged to use the Disney's FASTPASS option where ever possible." There is the same explanation about how to use Fastpass as on the regular park maps.
These are the attractions in each park with a different method of access other than the regular line, as listed on the map:

WDW Railroad:Enter using ramp on the RIGHT on Main Street

WDW Railroad:Enter using wheelchair ramp on RIGHT at Frontierland

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: Obtain Fastpass or see Host for options. If FASTPASS is not available, enter thru access on RIGHT

Country Bear Jamboree:Enter thru door on LEFT

Hall of Presidents:Enter through door on RIGHT

Liberty Square Riverboat:Enter through exit on RIGHT or LEFT

it's a small world:Follow directional signs to designated load area

Peter Pan's Flight:Obtain FASTPASS or see host for options. If Fastpass is not available, see a host for options.

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel:Enter through exit on RIGHT

Dumbo:Enter using ramp on RIGHT

Tea Party:Enter through exit on RIGHT

Space Mountain:Obtain a FASTPASS or see a host for options. If FASTPASS not available, enter through queue on RIGHT


Spaceship Earth:Enter through the exit on the RIGHT or LEFT

Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the 3 Caballeros:Enter through the Standard Queue. Follow directional signs to designated load area.

American Adventure:See a host or hostess for access to second floor

Impressions de France:Enter through LEFT side of entrance hallway


Great Movie Ride:Enter through the Standard queue. A host will provide directions in the pre-show area

Studio Backlot Tour:Enter through the standard queue and stay to the RIGHT

Fantasmic:Enter through the standard queue and stay to the RIGHT

Animal Kingdom

Wildlife Express Train:Proceed through standard queue. A host will direct boarding

The Boneyard:Enter through the designated access gate

Everything other than these attractions I have listed say to enter through the mainstream or standby queue.
The maps are very easy to read (although the type is small) and I recommend if they go, that they get one for each park. The access information is listed right on the map with all the other information. There are icons that show which attractions you can stay right in the wheelchair or ECV for the whole attraction and which you need to transfer to a ride car.

Information about attractions with moving walkways and stairs has been moved to post 28 on page 2 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread.
SueM in MN
Moderator of disABILITIES
Link to disABILITIES FAQs thread

Spaceship Earth: We are all passengers together.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans......John Lennon
Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr

Last edited by SueM in MN; 09-23-2014 at 09:04 PM. Reason: Deleted old
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Old 11-03-2007, 01:22 PM   #12
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Kennedy Space Center

We don't have much information about Kennedy Space Center, but here is a link to the information for people with disabilities at the Space Center website.
Because we did not have much, Random Ninja did a really nice review of Kennedy Space Center to add to the disaABILITIES FAQS thread.
Originally Posted by Random Ninja View Post
I was checking the DISabilities sticky and noticed there wasn’t anything for the Kennedy Space Center. So, on my last trip I made a special effort to check as much as I could for special needs. I can’t watch IMAX movies so I didn’t check into that area. SueM, feel free to take any of this.

The HA parking spaces are located at the front of the parking lot. The lots are not big here and there is no tram; you have to walk. If someone in your party can’t walk far, drop them off at the front and then park the car. Wheelchairs are available to borrow with a photo id at the main center and a first come/first served basis at the included bus tour stops. There are special seating areas for wheelchairs at all the shows. Each tour bus can accommodate 1 wheelchair and there is a separate waiting area. Wheelchair guests and their party board first and then the bus drives around to the regular pick up line.

Free strollers are available in the park on a first come/first served basis. The strollers are hard blue plastic and come in baby and kids sizes. If you get one at the main park, you will need to show a picture id. These strollers are not allowed on the bus tours. You will have to leave the stroller at the bus stop and get a new stroller at the next stop. Personal strollers will need to be folded up to ride on the bus.

Kid's strollers

Baby strollers

The visitor’s center has 3 counter service restaurants, 2 food carts, an ice cream stand, and 1 table service restaurant. The table service restaurant is only used for the Lunch with an Astronaut. Make a note of any allergies when you schedule the Lunch with an Astronaut experience. Schedule this as far in advance as you can so the chefs have time to prepare an alternate meal for you. The bus tour also has a CS at each stop in case you get hungry along the tour.

All the CS and a few of the carts have Shuttle Sipper Souvenir Cups that include free soda refills all day. You may be allowed to get frozen ICEE in your sipper too but free refills are not guaranteed.

Shuttle Sippers

The Orbit Cafe is located next to the IMAX theater. It will usually close a couple hours before the park does. There is the typical fast food and salads found here. Those with allergies should ask for the allergy binder. They do not a dedicated kitchen area for allergies so be careful if cross-contamination is an issue. Kids meals come with a choice of french fries or apple slices. You should try to eat at non-standard meal times to avoid extra-long wait times.

Bus Tour
The Bus Tour begins and ends at the main visitor center. I recommend starting with the tour and visiting the main area after lunch. There are backdrops and photographers right before the queue to the buses. They will take a family picture, if there is no line, they will take some with your camera too. Pictures will be available for purchase at the end of the tour.

Each stop is approximately 10 minutes apart and buses are constantly moving. If you miss a bus, the next one should be along in 5-10 minutes. The website says 15 minutes but my experience has always been quicker then that. All buses are air conditioned. Short films will be played on the bus between stops. The driver will pause the film several times during the ride to point out different buildings or animals. It’s rare to not find a manatee/turtle/bald eagle/crane/ or engineer out and about during the bus ride. Drivers will slow down or stop to let you see the wildlife or even to move a turtle out of the road. Take all your belongings with you when you exit the bus as you will be getting on a different bus to the next stop.

The first stop on the tour is the Launch Complex 39 Observation Gantry. This is a small stop but definitely worth it just for the views. If you need a stroller or wheelchair, inform the cm greeting you as you get off the bus and he/she will direct you to the nearest one. There is an elevator to take you to the top of the gantry.

The elevator stops at both floors but the roof has an enclosed, air conditioned area.

Bring quarters for the view machines.

There is an engine placed in the middle of the gantry that is placed well for photos.

On the right before the gantry is a small museum with displays, a short presentation, and a movie room that I have never seen open.

The bathrooms, CS restaurant, and gift shop are on the left. Seating for the CS is all outside. Unless someone is starving, I’d wait to eat at the next stop on the tour. The LC39 CS just has hot dog, pretzels, and snack foods.

LC 39 Snack Pad Menu

The Saturn V Center is the last stop on the tour now that the ISS building is closed to the public. Strollers and wheelchairs are available immediately to the left after you exit the bus. If you have anyone in your party who does not do well with dark rooms, loud noises, or flashing lights, I’d recommend skipping the pre-show movie and show at the Center. You can skip these by using the walkway to the left and entering through the gift shop.

There is a short 15 minute pre-show film first when you arrive at the center. You may have to wait for another bus to come before they let you into the room. It does back up quickly here. There is seating along the back wall but it is very limited. Most of the room is standing only. There are three screens and it does get very dark and crowded.

The doors open at the end of the pre-show to let you into the command center soundstage. Seating here is theater style with long benches. Wheelchair and companion seating is on the first row. If you have someone who may not like loud noises or vibrations, sit at the end of a row so you can take them out easily. There will be a 15 presentation of a Saturn launch, there are no actors here and hearing assistance is available. The windows to the back of the theatre will glow red and shake loudly. Once the show is over, the doors to the main building open.

Saturn V soundstage show seating

Windows in theatre. They glow orange and rattle horribly during the show.

Saturn V Center Exibits

Astronaut Snoopy

Early Space Exploration Vault

Apollo Command Module

Banner and Moon Lander on ceiling

Green Screen pictures

The Moon Rock Cafe is located around section 2 and the seating has a great view of the rocket. Food is served cafetria style similar to the resort CS at the Disney resorts. Everyone gets their food and meets up to pay at the end. Outside seating is available; it’s enclosed so kids don’t end up in the Intercoastal. Let the little ones run around out here. The Moon Rock Cafe does have an allergy binder with the labels from their products. They’ll let you look at if you have any allergies.

Moon Rock Cafe Menu

Cafeteria style food

Yes, beer is available

The exit to the Saturn V Center is through the gift shop. Wheelchair parties will be directed to the left and able-bodied parties line up to the left. The buses stop at the wheelchair line to load those parties first.

Sign to the wheelchair accessible bus line

It's really pretty over there.

Rocket Garden
This is basically a garden with rockets instead of plants, though you will find tons of plants and mosquitos. Bug spray is a necessity in the summer. Best time for the rocket garden is at dusk when it’s not so hot or during one of the two guided tours. The guides are happy to answer questions and usually show up a good half hour before the tour to talk to guests. The whole area is wheelchair accessible. There is one display that is raised up for people to see inside; it’s ramped for wheelchairs.

Shuttle Launch Experience
Finally the KSC listened and they have an actual ride now. This is a simulator designed to take you into orbit, figuratively speaking of course. You must be over 44” tall to ride. You will need to leave your belongings in lockers outside the ride building. It costs a quarter for a locker and you do get the quarter back. Any and all loose items should be left in the locker. There are no places for you to store items on the ride. You can as a CM to hold medically necessary items while you ride if you must bring something in line with you.

"Free" Lockers-Don't forget your quarterback!

All guests using wheelchairs must transfer to the ride simulator. The original line was mainstreamed but the interim line during the Atlantis construction is not. Wheelchair uses will be directed to use an elevator next to the main line.

You must transfer to ride but not if you want to watch.

It does not use spinning like Mission Space in Epcot. Instead it will lift you a full 90 degrees flat on your back and shake you. This is a very intense ride and not for the faint of heart. The seats in the simulator are very short with little elbow room. I am little, only 5’2’’, and I find my bottom barely fitting on the seat so definitely not pooh friendly. You will get to experience about 1-2 seconds of weightlessness as the simulator suddenly rotates from “flat on your back” to “glad I’m strapped in or I’d fall out” as if dips past the outside floor level. Anyone bothered by loud noise, vibrations, sudden movement, motion sickness, claustrophobia, or bright lights should probably not ride.

There is a viewing area to watch everyone in the simulator for those who won’t/can’t ride. Shuttle Launch does have a rider switch option for those with kids too short to ride.The actual logistics of this change depending on wait times/ride operators.

There is a 10 minute pre-show movie. The room has no seating. Kids not tall enough to ride can watch the pre-show and then pass through to the ride viewing area to watch everyone in the simulator. For those with hearing issues, a reflective captioning panel is available in the back of the show area.

Pre-show movie area

The other exhibits at the main visitor's center are all wheelchair accessible. Let me know if there are any other questions I can look up answers to. I tried to put as much as possible in this. I'll add more after future trips.
This is a link to the original thread- you may want to heck it out in case more information gets added.
SueM in MN
Moderator of disABILITIES
Link to disABILITIES FAQs thread

Spaceship Earth: We are all passengers together.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans......John Lennon
Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr

Last edited by SueM in MN; 08-18-2012 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 12-25-2007, 07:40 PM   #13
Cheshire Figment
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Location: Poinciana, FL (20 miles to WDW)
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Disney Cruise Line

Based on a recent cruise, I have started three threads related to DCL. They are:

Accessible Staterooms on DCL which discusses staterooms.

Accessibility Onboard the Disney Ships which has to do with the rest of the ship.

Third section, Accessibility in Ports, is still under construction.
Link to report on "Handicapped Friendly" excursion that was not.

Service Animals on Cruise is fairly self-explanatory.
Link to another Service Animals on Cruise thread.

There may be additional links in the future.

Here is a link to photos of one accessible stateroom (6154)

Link to Dreams Unlimited diagram of the Disney Dream (click on the picture to make it bigger - it doesn't get that much bigger, but you can see the little wheelchair icon).

Link to wdwinfo.com (DIS Boards 'parent' site) about DCL, including pictures.

Lots of photos of ECV on a Disney cruise. Includes pictures of ramps, DME bus lift, offship trip. (NOTE: the ECV in the pictures is one of the largest ECVs made; most ECVs are not this large).

Link to trip report of child with diabetes and mobility challenges
41 WDW Stays Totaling 321 nights between 1987 and mid-2003. (When "commuting" from Northern Virginia.)

Now Working Part Time at Walt Disney World! Currently at Everything Pop Merchandise after nine years in Guest Services/Ticket Sales.

A few very helpful links which are on DisBoards:
Everything About WDW Tickets and this one disABILITIES FAQs

Last edited by SueM in MN; 03-22-2010 at 09:57 PM. Reason: Add link
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Old 01-19-2008, 05:41 PM   #14
SueM in MN
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Questions come up often enough about DisneyLAND, that I thought it was worth a section of the disABILITIES FAQs thread about DisneyLAND.
This is a link to the official Disneyland general page about touring with disabilities. On the left side of the page, you will see links to a page about Mobility, Hearing and Visual Disabilities.

Link to the official DisneyLAND page about touring the park with mobility disabilities.

Disneyland park Map for guests with disabilities:

DCA park map for guests with disabilities:

You can get a copy at the parks, but it's nice to have ahead of time for planning. They do list attractions with a wheelchair accessible ride car.

This is a link to a Disneyland official printable page about mobility access at for guests with wheelchairs/ECVs or other mobility concerns.
It includes information about which rides/attractions are wheelchair accessible and what to do for access.
Disneyland is older and less accessible, although they have added accessibility as areas/attractions in the park were renovated. Disney's California Adventure was built more recently and all attractions have Mainstream (accessible) queues.

Link to the Disneyland official guide for guests with visual disabilities (including information about the handheld assistive device).

Link to Disneyland Guide to lighting effects (which may be of interest to guests with seizures if they are sensitive to strobe lights. It is not very helpful though, since it just says some attractions may have lights - but not which kinds of lights or which attractions).

The information about GACs (Guest Assistance Cards) in post #6 of this thread applies to DisneyLand as well as to WDW. Some of the access is a little different at DL than at WDW since DL is an older park.

ECV and Wheelchair Rental at Disneyland:
Several people, here and on other boards, have recommended:
Deckert Surgical Supply in Santa Ana at (714) 542-5607 (I have never found a website).
Orange County Medical Supply at (714) 956-4690
Both will deliver to your resort.

Link to Disney website page about handheld device for hearing and visual disabilities.
allearsnet.com page with links to attraction seating photos
Link to article (with pictures) about wheelchair accessible Cars Land
DL trip report from ReAnSt with a temporary disability - many pictures.
Pictures of a few DL ride cars from BillSears
Thread in this forum with lots of information.
Thread from DL forum - page 2 has a good list of attractions.
Thread about Gluten Free dining at DL
SueM in MN
Moderator of disABILITIES
Link to disABILITIES FAQs thread

Spaceship Earth: We are all passengers together.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans......John Lennon
Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr

Last edited by SueM in MN; 09-04-2013 at 11:34 PM. Reason: Added link to Disneyland park maps or disabilities
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:46 AM   #15
SueM in MN
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Air Travel

Discussion about TSA screening policies
This is a direct link to the official TSA (Transportation Security Administration) blog area with posts about passengers with disabilities.
It includes 2 stories about why they screen wheelchairs/passengers with wheelchair. It also indicates that the TSA works with a coalition of over 70 disability related groups who have assisted TSA in writing their policies for passengers with disabilities to help make sure people are thoroughly screened, but also treated with dignity and respect (their words).
I don't know whether or not the new patdown rules were brought to this coalition group or not, but if they did it in the past, there is good chance they will work on it in the future.
This is a link to the TSA official blog with general information:

The blog also includes a recommendation for passengers with disabilities to contact one of their Customer Service Managers
prior to travel to coordinate their screening before travel so their needs can be met.
And, if you want to complain or make a compliment, there is a feedback form on the page. So, it does sound like they are taking feedback seriously.

Link to thread/discussion about air travel screening started November 2010.

If possible, take a non-stop flight. A direct flight may sound like it will get there without stopping, but direct flights may stop in other cities to pick up passengers before continuing to your final destination. A direct flight is just one where the flight number does not change.

Links to information about Orlando Airport
Orlando airport website
Orlando - specific page about access for people with disabilities
Orlando - locations of Companion Restrooms (there is also a link in the specific page about disabilities.
Orlando - specific page about arrivals
Orlando - specific page about departures
Orlando - terminal maps and layouts
You can find DME (Disney Magical Express) Welcome Center in the Main Terminal Building, B side, Level 1.
(more info about DME on post 16). The way to DME is well marked with signs. You will pass the car rental counters and keep going to the end of the terminal building.

Links about air travel in general
Link to Air Carrier Access Act information page (ACAA covers air travel, not ADA)
Link to Department of Transportation: Text of Air Carrier Access Act in effect May 13, 2009
Link to new Air Carrier Access Act in effect in May 13, 2009. Page contains many links to parts of the act and may be easier than the previous link to find some things.
Thread about Transportation Disability Hotline: Information about rights
Thread about travel with wheelchair
TSA has instituted new lane arrangements to help streamline the security check process.Here's a link to the TSA page about the new lines and how they work. And a picture of the lines at Orlando airport. The wheelchair line is to the far right.

Link to larger picture.
Link to TSA page about new AIT screening machines

Air Travel with Disabilities and Special Needs
there is a requirement that liquids (mouthwash, shampoo, etc.) be in bottles of 3 ounces or less and each passenger may not have more of these items than will fit in a 1 quart ziplock bag (available for free at the screening station at many airports).
The 3 ounces requirement does not apply to medications. You need to separate the medication and declare it, but that's not a problem.
Link to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Page titled Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions. That is an index page with links to other information.

Air Travel
American Diabetes Association has a good page about travel with diabetes - check out the links
TSA Page: Before You Go: hints for people with disabilities
TSA Page: Tips for the Screening Process - Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions
TSA page about travel with medication and medical devices.
TSA page about travel with CPAP machine.
TSA page: Military Severly Injured Program
TSA page about travel with children with disabilities
TSA page about travel with children - includes hints and video links. The one titled Traveling with Kids shows the entire screening process from taking off shoes and putting things into the bin to what happens if you need additional screening. The one titled Kids-to-Kids is children explaining the same information for other children.

Marie S's Going on an Airplane PEC book

What about Medical Equipment? Does it count as baggage?
As long as it is medical equipment and nothing else is packed with it - it will be counted as medical equipment without charge. With the new charges being added for bags, airlines are giving bags more scrutiny than before. I have heard of people putting a few pieces of their medical equipment into 3 or 4 bags filled with other items and then trying to claim all 3-4 bags as medical. Because of situations like that, airlines are more suspicious of bags claimed as medical. If you have only medical equipment in the bags, you should not have a problem.

Make a list of things you will need and then think about all of the things on your list.
Will you need them all during the flight?
How much/many of each will you need?
What if the flight is delayed?
What will you need soon after arriving?
What if the item gets delayed in arriving to you or gets damaged or lost? How long could you do without it? How difficult would it be to replace?

I would look at each item on your list with those questions. Carry on anything you can't do without for the duration of the flight and at least 8 hours after (longer if you think it would be difficult to replace or if you are arriving late in the day, when getting a hold of someone would be difficult).
Always carry on medication, things that are vital to you and anything that could not be replaced.

What if the airline loses something major?
Airlines don't really lose that many pieces of baggage when you consider how much they transport each day. But, you don't want to take any chance on anything that is vital.
For some items, you can carry what you will need for the first 8-12 hours and then have additional supplies shipped to your resort. You should be able to work with your current suppliers to have the items shipped and that way they will be billed the 'normal' way. If your supplier does not have a branch in the Orlando area, they will probably have already dealt with getting stuff to Orlando and should be able to help you.

Can I take an oxygen tank on the plane?
No. You are not allowed to carry an oxygen tank on the plane. Each airline has a little different rules about how they do things, but the oxygen on a plane must be provided by the airline. Some airlines will not provide oxygen, but all do allow personal oxygen concentrators.
All airlines are now required to allow the use of portable oxygen concentrators that have been approved by FAA (subject to various requirements, such as that adequate batteries are brought). See 14 C.F.R. 382.133. (thanks to jsilvers for the clarification).
You will need to work with your current oxygen supplier to set up the oxygen in Orlando. Your current supplier should be able to help with all the respiratory supplies.
Here's a link to a page that will help with information about travel with oxygen, including information about airlines and links/phone numbers to the airline websites. The links don't take you directly to the website's oxygen information and many don't have an easy way to find it. They all have some information, you just may have to search for it.

Has anyone had their child have a melt-down in flight?
You can't really tell how the child will react until you go. Keep in mind that no matter what happens, you will probably not be the first person that has had a child melt down. And, you may not even be the only one on your flight.
Also keep in mind the things that normally cause meltdowns for your child.
Think about how the child reacts to new things and how you usually prepare them.
With planning, you may be able to avoid the triggers for the most part. And, many of the things that work on the ground will work in the air too.
Sometimes it is recommended to try some medication to calm the child for the flight. If you plan to do this, try it out before your flight. Some people will have a reaction or the medication will have the opposite expected effect on them - you don't want to find that out in flight.
Marie S's Going on an Airplane PEC book may give you some helpful ideas.

What about preboarding?
Some people like to preboard because it gives them an opportunity to get settled before other passengers get on. Others prefer to get on late in the boarding process so they don't have to sit on the plane so long. Depending on your flight/size of plane, you may be on board for close to an hour before take off if you preboard.
Ask the gate agent about preboarding as soon as you get to the gate.

What is gate checking and can I gate check a wheelchair?
Wheelchairs can be gate checked. Ask about this as you check in for your flight. They may give you a gate check tag right away or tell you to check in with the gate agent for gate checking. When you get to the gate, tell the agent there that you want to preboard and ask about gate checking before they start loading. They used to automatically preboard anyone with a wheelchair, but don't always preboard any more unless you ask (some people with disabilities did not want to preboard and felt it discriminated against them to make them preboard).
You will be able to keep your wheelchair until the door of the plane, but wheelchairs are too wide to fit down the aisle. They do have smaller aisle wheelchairs available if you need one (scroll a little farther down for information about aisle chairs).
After getting out of the wheelchair, if there are things that stick out (like cupholders, etc that may be attached) or things that are not screwed or bolted on, it is best to remove and carry them on if you can. My DD's wheelchair seat and back have gel in them, to avoid any problems with them getting too cold or getting pierced during the flight, I remove them and carry them on. Her armrests just lift off, so I lift those off and carry them on too.
I actually carry a large nylon laundry bag to put the wheelchair pieces in after I remove them. The bag folds up very small into a pocket on one of our suitcases and putting things in it helps ensure I have not left anything at the gate. Some people take a picture of the wheelchair with their cell phone or digital camera to prove what condition it was when they left is at the gate. Contrary to popular belief, wheelchairs are not loaded in a separate baggage area; they are packed with other baggage, so damage is possible, although in at least once a year travel for over 20 years, the only damage DD's wheelchair has had was a bent antitip bar.

I've heard that airplanes are required to have space to store one wheelchair on board the plane. How does this work?
All 100 seat or more planes delivered to US airlines since 1992 are supposed to have a closet or alternate FAA approved place to store one folded wheelchair (first come, first serve).
IF the plane has a closet (some airplanes still flying were delivered before that time),
IF your wheelchair can be folded to fit into the area (some are too big)
and IF there is room in the closet when you board, you may put it in the closet/storage area.
Passenger's assistive devices/folded wheelchairs have priority over other over other passengers’ items brought on board at the same airport. If you do not preboard and the space is filled when you get on the plane, then you are out of luck. Even if you preboard, the space may be filled with items brought on by travelers at an earlier stop.

The new Air Carrier Access Act (May 2009) also added this information:
If the wheelchair is too big for the space while fully assembled, but will fit if wheels or other parts can be removed without the use of tools, the carrier must remove the applicable components and stow the wheelchair in the designated space. The other parts must be stowed in the areas for stowage of carry-on luggage.

The closets/stowage areas are usually better suited for 'basic' foldable wheelchairs that will fold and fit into a fairly narrow space. The new guidelines add a size requirement that was not in previously - providing "a space of 13 inches by 36 inches by 42 inches without having to remove the wheels or otherwise disassemble it."
This may be too small for some manual wheelchairs, even if wheels can be popped off.
I have taken DD's wheelchair apart and put it in the on-board storage space, but it really needs to pretty much be totally dis-assembled to fit.

So, if you want to try for on-board storage, ask as soon as you check in, pre-board and be prepared to gate check the wheelchair if it doesn't fit.

Using an Aisle Chair
My DD has CP and can't walk. She also can't sit well in any wheelchair except her own.
She stays in her wheelchair until we board (the one she travels with is a manual wheelchair, but it would work generally the same if we took her power chair).
The wheelchair is taken to the gate right to the door of the plane, where she is transferred into an aisle chair (shown in the pictures below). The chairs from different airlines may look a little different, but the basic design is the same. An aisle chair is basically a very narrow wheelchair that can fit down the aisle of the airplane.

Link to larger picture.

The wheelchair and aisle chair are parked tight next to each other, brakes locked and belts unfastened.

Link to larger picture.

The airline staff do a 2 person lift, with one person taking the top half and the other person the legs. They lift DD the short distance from her wheelchair (at the front of the picture) to the aisle chair in the background. Straps are fastened to keep the arms and legs in place and the aisle chair is rolled into the plane.

Link to larger picture.

The process is repeated in reverse to leave the plane.
My DD gets her wheelchair delivered to the arrival gate when we leave the plane - it is brought right to the door of the plane.
Wheelchairs are put in the plane last and unloaded first, but you may still have to wait until the plane is almost empty before your wheelchair is delivered to the gate. Ask the Flight Attendant to let you know when the wheelchair arrives.
At that point, I usually get off so I can put the wheelchair back together before DH brings DD off the plane.
If you need an aisle chair, they will usually make you wait to get off until all the other passengers have gotten off.

Some people who can ride in an airport wheelchair may choose to get their wheelchair delivered to the baggage claim area. Just make sure the baggage claim tag for your wheelchair is marked for the correct place before you board the plane.
SueM in MN
Moderator of disABILITIES
Link to disABILITIES FAQs thread

Spaceship Earth: We are all passengers together.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans......John Lennon
Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr

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