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Old 01-04-2013, 07:41 AM   #1
jamnich314's Avatar
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan
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Difference between accessible rooms

Family of six is going in May. We will be booking two rooms, one of which has to be some sort of handicap accessible. The person that needs it is not in a wheelchair so they don't necessarily need a roll-in show but I'm a little confused as to what the differences are between different accessible rooms types.

We are (hoping) to stay at POP Century. They have three kinds of accessible rooms: Florida special accessible, Hearing accessible and Wheel-chair accessible with roll-in shower.

We definitely don't need the Hearing accessible room so I am wondering what the differences are between the Florida special accessible and Wheel-chair accessible? The only real thing of concern is the shower: She can't lift her leg very high so getting into a normal height tub/shower is a real struggle. Does the Florida accessible room have a lower tub?

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Old 01-04-2013, 08:34 AM   #2
SueM in MN
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I don't know why they call it 'Florida special accessible' on their reservation system, but I think it is just to make it stand out more from the accessible rooms with roll in showers. Who knows, maybe they named it that way to make people ask about it.
Hearing accessible rooms have some features built in - like strobe light fire alarms, lights on the phone that flash when it rings and a doorbell with flashing lights. So, you are correct that you don't need one of those.

This is copied from the disABILITIES FAQs thread information about rooms. You can find that thread near the top of the disABILITIES Board or follow the link in my signature.

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 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
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Old 01-17-2014, 07:34 AM   #3
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Apr 2010
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DVC bathroom update

You've been warned! Unfortunately, DVC has dropped the whirlpool tub (Infinity tub) from the 1-bedroom villas in the Villas at the Grand Floridian. You get either the roll-in shower or tub with grab bars next to your toilet and a sink in the bathroom and a second sink (and a roll in closet) in the second "bathroom" area shown on DVC plans.

It was the most disheartening day at a DVC resort when my family and I checked in January 1st. When I inquired why DVC was providing sub-standard (less that the standard level listed on their website) accomodations to their disabled guests I was told that it was the location. I found an accessible room for my family at the Polynesian and moved over there after two nights stay waiting for DVC management to locate accesible accomodations elsewhere for us.

I am not sure if they similarly ruined the 2 & 3 bedroom villas but would believe they followed a similar design criteria (less for the disabled is fine by them).
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