A review and a letter

Inthefastlane

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jun 17, 2016
My dad has a progressive neurological disorder and this is our third trip to DW since we noticed something going on. I have some connections at Disney and wrote an email with suggestions/observations after our trip and posted it on my travel blog if you are interested. It might be helpful to a few people. apparently I'm not allowed to post links yet. But you can Google WhereTheMapGoes.
Plus, you should check out the Rolling with the Magic blog. REALLY helpful.
 
  • RaySharpton

    Retired and going to Disney.
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2000
    My dad has a progressive neurological disorder and this is our third trip to DW since we noticed something going on. I have some connections at Disney and wrote an email with suggestions/observations after our trip and posted it on my travel blog if you are interested. It might be helpful to a few people. apparently, I'm not allowed to post links yet. But you can Google WhereTheMapGoes.
    Plus, you should check out the Rolling with the Magic blog. REALLY helpful.
    Thank you, Inthefastlane, for the links. I really enjoyed reading them and looking at all of the photos. I would like to know the reply from your thoughtful email, too, when it comes back to you. He is Blessed to have you.

    http://wherethemapgoes.com/

    http://www.rollingwiththemagicblog.com/



    .
     
    Last edited:

    kaytieeldr

    Post hoc, ergo propter hoc
    Joined
    Jun 11, 2005
    While your letter is well-written and your suggestions relatively reasonable, most would require a total redesign of the loading area, if not the attraction. Most moving walkways can be stopped completely for entering and exiting. Peter Pan and People Mover cannot, except in an emergency. Restarting either requires a complete reboot.
     

    SueM in MN

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    People have posted information from Rolling With the Magic blog before and, I agree, she does do a good job.
    One thing you will find out as you are on this board, many people have experience and pictures and if you ask questions about specific attractions, you are likely to get both.

    I enjoyed reading your perspective; I’m glad your dad had a good time, but sad to hear it may be his last. I wish you many good memories.
    I have some comments about your suggestions:

    Navi River journey, the People Mover, Buzz light-year, Peter Pan, Haunted mansion.. Basically any slow moving non thrill ride should have a car or two available for Wheelchairs.
    Although, it may seem like all slow moving attractions should be able to have a wheelchair accessible ride car, most of those that don’t have a good reason why they don’t.
    Buzz Lightyear actually does have a wheelchair accessible ride car with an integrated ramp that folds down from the back of the ride car. My daughter has ridden in it many times. It may be that the car was out of order when you went or the size/weight of the power wheelchair could not be accommodated.

    Navi River Journey - I have heard that the boat is too small, both too narrow and too short to have a wheelchair accessible ride car. Having ridden it several times, I do feel that is true. Because it’s a water ride, they could not do the same type of fold down ramp that is used on some of the ‘dry’ rides like Toy Story Mania. I had heard rumors they were working on some type of accessible boat that would still require a transfer - probably a seat the extends out for transfer and then goes back into the boat. I do not know if it was ever more than rumor stage.

    People Mover is one we really miss. When my daughter was little, it was a favorite. Once she got too big for us to carry her up there, she could no longer ride it. There are main 2 issues with having a wheelchair accessible ride car. The most important is that the boarding and unload area is about 20 feet above ground level. Access is via a very steep moving ramp (like an escalator without steps). If there was a way to get wheelchairs up/down, there would still need to be modifications to the boarding and unload area to be able to load a wheelchair.

    Peter Pan has a moving walkway that can’t be stopped except emergency, so it would be hard to get a wheelchair into an accessible ship. Since the ride is suspended, weight would be a consideration and securing a wheelchair well enough to be safe would be very difficult.

    Haunted Mansion has a section where the doombuggy goes backwards. I think that might cause an issue if there was a wheelchair accessible ride car.

    There are other things that I suspect might make a difference. The attractions that have wheelchair accessible ride vehicles all have flat tracks/ride paths. I think that securement of wheelchairs and emergency evacuations would be much more difficult for attractions with ‘hills’ like Haunted Mansion, Spaceship Earth and Frozen.
    And they way Toy Story was designed made it perfect because we were not holding up the rest of the line in any way while they loaded and secured the wheelchair into the cart.
    I love the Toy Story Mania separate loading area.
    I love it even more now, after the attraction queue and entrance changed. When it first opened, using that area was the only to avoid the stairs. That meant it was always busy there and we often waited as long as 45 minutes. There is now another section of the queue that bypasses the stairs. Guests who can’t climb the stairs or have a wheelchair, but can transfer csn use that line. That frees up the accessible boarding area for use by people who need the wheelchair accessible ride car.
    A couple suggestions with rides, any ride that has sperate cars (especially coaster type rides), seems like it could have a sperate, modified car that is easier to get in and out of. The mine train had a spot at the back, for example, that the wall moved to make sliding in and out easier. But in addition, many of these rides would benefit from having this modified car on a separate side track (like in toy story), where a disabled person could take their time transferring without slowing down the rest of the ride.
    Many of the attractions that require a transfer DO have an an accessible ride car where the side opens wider for an easier transfer. If guests ask for the ADA car, the CMs will direct you to wait for it. We’ve only gotten it when we’ve asked for it; the CMs should be more aware of offering it to guests who might benefit from using it.

    The separate tracks are wonderful, but unfortunately, putting them in would require a major reconstruction of the queues and room that most font have.
     

    SueM in MN

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    I see rumors on the internet that these are being done away with in a lot of places, but anything that has a moving entrance to the ride isn’t accessible. Haunted Mansion stopped their moving walkways this time when dad came in a wheelchair, but said they couldn’t two years ago when he came with a walker but walked really slow. These rides were inaccessible because of moving entrance stations: Spaceship Earth, People Mover, Peter pan, Buzz Lightyear, Ariel’s grotto.
    Many new attractions are built without moving walkways, but it’s unlikely that attractions that have moving walkways now will remove them. In many, tests how guests are ‘delivered’ in a steady stream to the boarding area.

    One of the issues with any of the constantly moving attractions is that people on the ride when it stops tend to panic.
    Many attractions have experienced guests trying to get off when the ride stops and there have been injuries.
    A guest was hurt on Spaceship Earth when his ride car stopped at the point where it turns and goes down a hill backwards. Guests have gotten out of the People Mover cars and tried to walk out when the ride stopped.

    Because of safety for the guests on the attraction, the CMs try as much as possible to not stop the moving walkways and just slow them, if at all possible. That is enough for most guests with mobility issues and as long as the ride keeps moving, most guests on the ride don’t panic. So, it’s a balance between the needs of the guests who need it slowed or stopped and those who are already on the ride.

    Haunted Mansion has been stopped for us to get on with our daughter for many trips over many years.
    It’s possible they saw your dad’s walker and thought he didn’t need it stopped.
    We always tell the CM that she can’t walk, we need to bring her wheelchair onto the track to park right next to the doombuggy and we need it stopped. We have not been turned down, although they do sometimes just slow the moving walkway to a crawl.
    I do know that Haunted Mansion is only allowed to be stopped when the ADA doombuggy gets to a certain point in the unload/handicapped loading area. That might be why they couldn’t stop it for your dad. Again, if CMs asked if the person needed the ADA car, that wouldn’t be an issue.

    Spaceship Earth has guests with mobility devices wait at the exit, where they leave their mobility devices. We explain that we need to bring our daughter’s wheelchair onto the boarding area and we want the moving walkway stopped. They almost never totally stop it; it’s usually slowed to a crawl and the CM walking on the track has a handheld ‘kill’ button to instantly stop it if needed.

    I mentioned Peter Pan and Peoplemover in my other post.

    Buzz Lightyear and Ariel’s Undersea Adventure both have wheelchair accessible ride cars with integrated fold down ramps. Both can have the moving walkway stopped, but our experience is that they try to just slow both of those. Some of the CMs are so good at getting a wheelchair on that they can do it with the track just slightly slowed.

    In most cases, power wheelchairs do fit on the accessible ride vehicles. If they don’t, most attractions have a wheelchair guests csn transfer to.
     
  • ttintagel

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 28, 2011
    I'm a little confused by the use of both "Mine Train" and "Big Thunder Mountain" in the letter. Do these both refer to the same attraction, or is there another mine train-themed attraction I'm not remembering?
     

    smiths02

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 13, 2009
    I'm a little confused by the use of both "Mine Train" and "Big Thunder Mountain" in the letter. Do these both refer to the same attraction, or is there another mine train-themed attraction I'm not remembering?
    7 Dwarfs Mine Train
     

    arminnie

    <font color=blue>Tossed the butter kept the gin<br
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2003
    I also have a rare neurological disease - CIDP. Mine started in my toes and is working it’s way up. Less than 3 years ago I could walk 3 miles at a brisk pace.

    Now I am in a power chair. I can stand for about 10 seconds if I have something absolutely still to hold onto. It does not affect my brain or spinal cord.

    I haven’t been to WDW since I got my chair as I had to cancel some trips to pay for a van with a lift and the power chair. But am looking forward to going in December or January.

    My concern is how to I get OUT of the “boat” type cars. I understand the issues with older rides. But I don’t have a lot of confidence that I will be able to get out of the built from scratch Na’vi river boat. I know there’s a transfer step - but none of the pictures inspire confidence that I will be able to get out without a tumble.
     
  • gap2368

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2015
    My concern is how to I get OUT of the “boat” type cars. I understand the issues with older rides. But I don’t have a lot of confidence that I will be able to get out of the built from scratch Na’vi river boat. I know there’s a transfer step - but none of the pictures inspire confidence that I will be able to get out without a tumble.
    ate you working with any PT OT maybe you can show them pictures of the ride the steps to get in and out of and see if they can work on something that would be similar to what you would have to use at Disney and this way you have someplace safe to try this. ( maybe someone that has used the bump step can give you more detail on it for you to share.
     

    mamabunny

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2012
    I also have a rare neurological disease - CIDP. Mine started in my toes and is working it’s way up. Less than 3 years ago I could walk 3 miles at a brisk pace.

    Now I am in a power chair. I can stand for about 10 seconds if I have something absolutely still to hold onto. It does not affect my brain or spinal cord.

    I haven’t been to WDW since I got my chair as I had to cancel some trips to pay for a van with a lift and the power chair. But am looking forward to going in December or January.

    My concern is how to I get OUT of the “boat” type cars. I understand the issues with older rides. But I don’t have a lot of confidence that I will be able to get out of the built from scratch Na’vi river boat. I know there’s a transfer step - but none of the pictures inspire confidence that I will be able to get out without a tumble.
    We were fortunate to be able to experience the "After Hours" events at MK, AK & HS during our trip last month. First thing on our list, of course, at AK was Navi.

    Because the park was so blissfully, wonderfully, delightfully empty, we literally walked/rolled right up to the boats. But once there, I saw that while I *might* be able to get in, it was going to take nothing short of a hydraulic lift and/or several beefy Reedy Creek firemen to get me back out. I don't have the ability to A] stand up that quickly and B] make that series of steps (all but one were just too high) back up and out to the loading platform.

    My daughter rode without me, and I had a pleasant chat with a couple of the Cast Members working the ride.

    I have said it before, and I will say it again - I truly wish for the boat rides that there could be some form of modified seat-lift (the same type of lift that Disney uses at the Resort pools) that would allow Guests to be safely deposited into the boat, and then plucked back out after the ride.
     

    arminnie

    <font color=blue>Tossed the butter kept the gin<br
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2003
    Mamabunny- thanks so much for your input on Na’vi. I fell at home last week. My DH had to call the fire department, and yes it took multiple burly firemen to hoist me back up. Nothing injured except my pride.

    Glad you had a good trip. I have been debating about Dec or January. I’ve been many, many times in December, but haven’t been in January since about 2002. Did you experience any of the Festival of the Arts?
     

    seashoreCM

    All around nice guy.
    Joined
    Aug 25, 2001
    Would you be able to travel with family or a group who could help you get into and out of rides?

    (copied from another forum) Keep in mind that Cast Members are not allowed to physically help Guests with transfers (into and out of wheelchairs etc.) so if you need assistance, someone in your party will need to assist you. Always take your time and never feel rushed.
     

    cmwade77

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2005
    For Spaceship Earth, I didn't know they don't stop the ride when entering at the exit, as it seems we are always with someone with a service animal or there is a service animal boarding with us and they have to stop it for service animals for safety.

    For what it is worth, I think you would really like how they handle Space Mountain at Disneyland, there they pull a car to a separate loading area and you can take as much time as you need to load and unload.

    Haunted Mansion absolutely should have a ride vehicle that doesn't require transferring, but they can indeed stop the ride, again when you go with someone with a service animal this is required, but there are only certain vehicle numbers they stop it at.

    At Disney World, Peter Pan and People Mover are both problematic though and definitely should not be considered accessible.

    I don't know about at Disney World, but I know at Disneyland Buzz does have a wheelchair vehicle that can even accommodate ECVs. Little Mermaid also has such a ride vehicle. I am not positive about Finding Nemo at Disney World, Disneyland does have an alternate experience that is available.

    I have said it before, and I will say it again - I truly wish for the boat rides that there could be some form of modified seat-lift (the same type of lift that Disney uses at the Resort pools) that would allow Guests to be safely deposited into the boat, and then plucked back out after the ride.
    Jungle Cruise can load a wheelchair on and off, small world has the ability to do it as well, there is no reason Navi River Journey couldn't have a boat or two that didn't require a transfer. I understand for Splash Mountain it would be difficult to make a non transfer boat, but Pirates could be done despite the small drop. Then guests and their wheelchairs would be able to be in the boat. The problem with a seat lift is for most attractions it would probably require far too much time to handle.
     

    mamabunny

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2012
    Mamabunny- thanks so much for your input on Na’vi. I fell at home last week. My DH had to call the fire department, and yes it took multiple burly firemen to hoist me back up. Nothing injured except my pride.

    Glad you had a good trip. I have been debating about Dec or January. I’ve been many, many times in December, but haven’t been in January since about 2002. Did you experience any of the Festival of the Arts?
    Good grief, girl! Take care of yourself! I'm so glad nothing but your pride was injured!

    We went *just before* FOA started. We would have actually re-arranged the trip to be there for the first week of FOA, but our daughter had to be in Cupertino (she's working at "The Spaceship" aka "The Big Circle" aka Apple Park for the next 6 months on a special project) right after we got home, so we had our girls trip to Disney, came home, did laundry, and she launched for Cupertino! LOL it was a *bit* hectic, and *very* emotional especially for me - I miss her so very much!

    I really do want to do FOA, but in the absence of that, I absolutely love the first two weeks of January. Christmas was still up everywhere for us (!) and so we got to see all the decorations, even at WL. They didn't take down the tree at the Lodge until the 14th or so of January! The crowds are "better" (MK is still stupidly crowded, and I'm pretty much done with it for now. The worst Guest behavior we saw all occurred at MK) and the CMs are more relaxed and happy because the big crush of the holiday crowds are over. I love early January (really, any time in January - February is the start of Cheerleader season, and that's a hard pass for me) and probably that is when all of my future trips will be.


    Jungle Cruise can load a wheelchair on and off, small world has the ability to do it as well, there is no reason Navi River Journey couldn't have a boat or two that didn't require a transfer. I understand for Splash Mountain it would be difficult to make a non transfer boat, but Pirates could be done despite the small drop. Then guests and their wheelchairs would be able to be in the boat. The problem with a seat lift is for most attractions it would probably require far too much time to handle.
    Oh I am right there with you on this - I am still, frankly, *stunned* by the fact that zero accommodations were built in to either of the Pandora rides. (Seriously - there should be a way to sit in a seat of some sort - perhaps with a seatbelt or harness - for FOP. *S0* many people that night tried to ride FOP, and wound up sitting with me in what one gentleman miserably deemed the "Reject room") I really don't want to see a seat lift as a solution for boat rides, but failing any other option, I think it could be a (relatively) inexpensive, safe option that Disney *could* install fairly easily for those of us who can't transfer to use.
     

    cmwade77

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2005
    Talking with several people on this last trip, it sounds like they are working on fixing FOP so that at least one level can handle larger guests, gusts with disabilities, including those who can't transfer, etc.

    Not sure about Navi River Journey.
     

    DisneyOma

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 27, 2015
    Navi would need to be redesigned so the boats would be big enough to handle a power chair. The center of gravity would be off for anything that raised a seating area.

    My hope is that most new attractions would have the side loop that removed the accessible car from the flow for loading/unloading. Otherwise, there has to be a balance between allowing the attraction to proceed as designed and stopping/slowing it for HC access. I think they allow one or two stops per ride cycle now?
     

    arminnie

    <font color=blue>Tossed the butter kept the gin<br
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2003
    Navi would need to be redesigned so the boats would be big enough to handle a power chair. The center of gravity would be off for anything that raised a seating area.

    My hope is that most new attractions would have the side loop that removed the accessible car from the flow for loading/unloading. Otherwise, there has to be a balance between allowing the attraction to proceed as designed and stopping/slowing it for HC access. I think they allow one or two stops per ride cycle now?
    My big problem with Navi is that this was a brand new ride designed and built from scratch 20+ years after the ADA.
     


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