disABILITIES FAQs - temporary & permanent disabled, 1st trip, next trip, Wish trip

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SueM in MN

combining the teacups with a roller coaster
Moderator
Joined
Aug 23, 1999
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: DAS (Disability Access Service) - also see linked posts about DAS at WDW and at Disneyland Park
    • 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
    • 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
    PAGE 2
    • 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
    • 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.
 
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SueM in MN

combining the teacups with a roller coaster
Moderator
Joined
Aug 23, 1999
As of October 1, 2019, Walt Disney World will have a single Featured Provider for wheelchairs, ECVs and strollers.
Guests using this Featured Provider will be able to use Bell Services to pick up and drop off their equipment without being present.
Guests are free to use other providers, but will need to arrange to meet someone from the company in person for drop off and pick up.


ADDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2019:
I can confirm that Scooterbug is the exclusive Featured ECV/wheelchair/stroller vendor for WDW and will be the only provider going forward to be able to leave items with Bell Services.
The information on the Disney World Website has been updated at this point to reflect the new arrangement. There is also information regarding grandfathered services for reservations by today from the previous a Featured Providers.
Here’s the link:

The Scooterbug website is also in the process of being updated; keep watching their page for new items.
They rent ECVs, standing ECVs, manual wheelchairs, single and double strollers (weight limit to 60 pounds).
They also provide 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.

General information about renting wheelchairs and ECVs at the parks
  • Wheelchairs are available for rent, first come, first serve at all parks and Disney Springs 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 Dis et Springs..
  • 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)

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
 
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SueM in MN

combining the teacups with a roller coaster
Moderator
Joined
Aug 23, 1999
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
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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.

Accessibility
Vehicle 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:
    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
Fantasmic
Services - Restrooms, Companion Restrooms, Baby Care Centers
Accepting 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 ADA Website

Link to ADA Information for Businesses - gives some insight into what is considered reasonable accommodation
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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
Scents
Allearsnet latex allergy page

Alzheimer's
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)


Anxiety
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
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

Dialysis
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

Epilepsy
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.

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.
Thread about Strobe Lights and Epilepsy
Epilepsy at WDW - post #24 on page 2 has a list of attractions with flashes of light.

Fibromyalgia
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)
Ostomy
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.

Oxygen
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
http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.pdf
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)

 
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  • SueM in MN

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    Note: There is a separate post about Magical Express buses on this thread.

    This information is from personal experience, things other DISers have posted and contact with bus drivers.
    Can all buses transport wheelchairs and ECVs?
    Yes.
    All WDW buses are equipped with wheelchair ramps at the back door of the bus (a few of the very old buses have wheelchair lifts instead).
    Most of the ramps fold out from the bus and can be put up and down manually if they malfunction. Some ramps extend out from the bus and can't be manually deployed.

    What about size of the wheelchair/ECV?
    Ramps (and lifts) can accommodate a wheelchair or ECV that is 30 inches wide by 48 inches long or smaller. All resort bus stops have a box of that size painted on the ground at bus stops.
    (For reference, the park rental ECVs look huge compared to most ECVs and wheelchairs, but are 26 inches wide and just a bit under 47 inches long).
    If your wheelchair is larger than those dimensions, the driver is to contact a Transportation Manager who can discuss alternatives.
    ADA definition for a 'standard wheelchair' includes a weight of 600 pounds or less for the wheelchair/ECV plus occupant. If weight is greater than that, you may need to make special arrangements.
    http://www.disboards.com/threads/policy-about-size-of-scooters-on-buses.2566471/

    How many wheelchairs or ECVs can a bus carry?
    Each bus has at least 2 tie down wheelchair spots where a wheelchair or ECV can be secured.
    Some buses have 3 tie down spots and a few have 4. All tie down spots also have seatbelts with optional shoulder harnesses.
    If 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 held by you or a member of your party.

    The driver wants me to wear the seatbelt. May I refuse?
    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, but some drivers may refuse to drive the bus if a guest refuses the seatbelt, especially if staying on an ECV.
    Although company policy is to allow guests to refuse, 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 onboard.

    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?
    Yes, you may, however no one ever need feel ashamed about taking up "too much room".
    Because ECVs are top heavy, they can tip more easily than a wheelchair, so you would be much safer riding on a bus seat. There are signs on the buses advising ECV users to take a seat rather than remaining on the ECV.
    There have also been Disboards posters who reported their ECV did tip over, even it was securely fastened, so it is safer to heed the warnings!

    What if I have a child in a stroller being used as a wheelchair or a stroller-type wheelchair?
    Although the 'stroller as wheelchair' tags issued by the Theme Parks are meant for park use, most bus drivers will load strollers with those tags using the wheelchair ramp.
    Medical strollers (also called "Special Needs Strollers") are considered wheelchairs, and may be loaded using the ramp and placed in the wheelchair spots.
    Many special needs strollers have "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 or a special needs stroller without tie down points, the bus driver may take your word for it and allow it to be fastened down, but that is not safe.
    If your stroller/stroller style wheelchair is NOT designed for transport, your child should 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.
    Special Needs strollers that are designed for transport have 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.

    May I use the ramp if I have crutches, a cane or other mobility issues?
    Yes, but you probably won't need to. The buses don't have stairs to get on and all of the buses with ramps 'kneel', which tilts the boarding side toward the ground. This makes the step in very small.

    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.
    Getting onto the bus is like parallel parking on the driver side of the bus.

    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. Resort bus stops have a wheelchair/handicapped symbol in a painted box on the ground that you can wait by. 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.
    Parks, Disney Springs and some of the Value Resorts have a marked 'gate' or other way of marking.

    Can my whole party board with me?
    The person with a wheelchair/ECV will board first (with one other member of the party if needed to push the wheelchair).
    WDW considers a party of 6 (5 plus the person with a wheelchair/ECV) to be party. If your party is 6 or smaller, the bus driver may invite you to board at the back door after the wheelchair/ECV is loaded.

    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:
    - split up your party or wait for the next bus.
    - 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 .
    - 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.

    SPECIAL SITUATIONS:
    Two or more guests in a party using mobility devices who need wheelchair spots

    Contact Guest Relations, or a Bus Supervisor, or ANY bus driver, and ask for one of the "Special Services Buses".
    - two buses reserved for larger parties, with multiple wheelchairs.
    - each bus has FIVE wheelchair stations, and plenty of seating.
    - especially helpful for groups visiting from schools for the disAbled
    - there is no charge to use these buses
    These buses can usually arrive within 20 minutes of being requested and will take you and your party wherever you need to go. You are much better off making your request well in advance--a driver is not assigned to one of these buses until its needed. You may make arrangements, if needed, with your driver for future pickups.

    We will have a wheelchair or ECV and be relying on the bus. Can I contact the Bus Department to make sure that everything goes smoothly for my family?

    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 possiable.

    I've heard people sometimes have problems with drivers not letting them on. If that happen, what do I do?
    Over the years, a few posters have reported issues with bus drivers saying their bus is full when it's not and refusing to load them on the bus or saying the ramp is broken.
    Note: On occasion, a lift or ramp 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.

    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, notes app on your smartphone, 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.
     
    Last edited:

    SueM in MN

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    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

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    IMPORTANT NEWS:
    ON October 9, 2013, the GAC (Guest Assistance Card) changed to DAS (Disability Assistance System). You can find out more about that on this thread for WDW:
    http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=49779614&posted=1#post49779614
    and on this thread for Disneyland Resort
    http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=49779677&posted=1#post49779677

    Those threads have specific information about DAS at each park. This thread has some general information about DAS that applies to both WDW and the Disneyland parks.

    Anything you read about GAC on old DISBOARDS threads, on the Internet or in guidebooks is out of date and no longer applies.

    DAS works much differently than GAC did.
    The only accommodation of DAS is being able to wait outside of line. You will still wait, but the majority of wait will be outside of lines, in a place you choose.
    You can find more information about how DAS works in the threads linked above.


    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 DAS? Where do I request DAS?
    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 DAS for someone else (like your child, for example), that person does need to be with you when DAS is requested, even if they can't talk. The DAS is actually issued in the name of the person with a disability. That person does need to be present when DAS is requested and when it is used.
    Most people go to Guest Relations in the parks to request DAS, but you MAY also be able to get DAS issued at the Guest Relations area located at the park, but outside of the gates. The only place guaranteed to issue DAS is Guest Relations inside the park.
    DAS is 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).

    Do certain diagnoses qualify for DAS?
    No.
    Having any specific diagnosis doesn't qualify or not qualify someone for DAS; there is no list of "appropriate" diagnoses for DAS. Also, the CMs do not have medical training, so a specific diagnosis does not really mean much to them.
    The DAS 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.
    DAS 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 DAS.
    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 DAS issued to her to help meet her needs.

    Do I need a letter from the doctor?
    No.
    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 DAS 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 DAS?
    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 DAS.
    When CMs see a mobility device user present a DAS, some may 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?
    No.
    At DISNEYLAND, many attractions were built without accessibility in mind, so they do have special lines/entrances, but are changing over as they renovate and build new attractions. DCA was built more recently and does have mostly accessible lines.
    At WDW, 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. DAS is used for accommodation of waiting outside of lines, so showing DAS won't tell the CM what you need.

    I don't want to use a wheelchair or ECV, can't I just get a DAS ?
    It depends on your needs.
    IN GENERAL, if you need to avoid stairs or need moving walkways stopped, those are handled by talking to CMs at the attraction. If there is a wheelchair accessible entrance or boarding area, they will direct you what to do.
    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.

    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.
    Guests using a stroller as wheelchair do not need DAS unless they have needs that are not met by having a stroller in line.
    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 from Guest Relations that allows the stroller to be used as a wheelchair.
    A tag 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.
    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 OR AN OUTSIDE RENTAL stroller, the sticker will be dated for the length of your stay.

    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 DAS. A trip to WDW or DL includes a lot more walking than just what you do in line. Even using DAS, there will most of the time be no place to sit while in line. The distance walked is not usually less with DAS 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 DAS 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 at WDW 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 DAS?
    The DAS is for the use of the person whose name is on the DAS, for attractions that person is going on. So that person needs to be with when you use it.
    DAS 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, DAS 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 DAS 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 DAS at any of the theme parks. You DO NOT need a new DAS for each park and the DAS is usually issued for up to 14 days for guests with short term park tickets, which is enough to be valid for your whole vacation. Guests with Annual passes may have DAS authorized for up to 60 days at a time (guests with shorter term tickets may also be authorized for 60 days).
    The DAS issued at one park is valid at all parks, but the theme park DAS are not used at the water parks.

    If I had DAS on my last trip, can I just bring it back and use it again? Or can I show the old DAS as proof that I need one again?
    No.
    DAS is now digital and is attached to Magicbsands or digital park tickets.
    Previously, DAS was a card printed with the guest's name and picture on it. Even if you still have one, the paper DAS has an expiration date and is not valid after that date.
    You can bring your old pape DAS back on another trip to show to CMs in Guest Relations. They should be able to use the number or QR code printed on the DAS to more quickly authorize DAS and link it to your Magicbsnds or park ticket. Be prepared to still answer questions about your needs if asked.

    If i have DAS does that mean I go to the front of all the lines?
    No.
    THE only people who go to the front of lines are children with serious, life-threatening conditions who are on WISH trips. They have a special type of DAS, provided by Disney. They receive it through their Wish-granting organization.
    DAS is not meant to be a pass that gives immediate access. It says that right on the information you will sign when DAS is authorized. What it does allow is waiting outside of the line.
    In some cases, you may wait a shorter time than if you were not using DAS, sometimes longer and often the same amount of time, but since you are choosing where to wait, it will be 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.

    Can I use DAS at restaurants to let them know my needs?
    No.
    DAS is used for attractions and are not used for restaurants. The information about DAS would 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 DAS for those?
    In general, DAS is 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 DAS 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, Princess Hall at MK, Character spot at AK and the Epcot Character Spot in Future World in Epcot.
    If Fastpass is available, you will may be better off using Fastpass - if the wait is long, your DAS will be tied up and can't be used for anything else during the time you are waiting.
    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.

    DAS is 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 and DAS is meant to work with Fastpass.
    At WDW, Fastpasses can be arranged ahead of or on the day of your trip. Currently at a Disneyland, they are still using paper Fastpasses that are picked up on the day of your trip. When you report back to the ride at your fastpass return time, your wait will generally be 15 minutes or less.

    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 DAS or Fastpasses, if you know where NOT to be can be VERY helpful; maybe even more helpful than DAS 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.
     
    Last edited:

    SueM in MN

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    Information about WDW Resorts and Phone numbers for contact:

    **NOTE**
    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. Reservations can be made online; you don't need to call to make reservations for rooms with special features, but can call with specific questions).

    (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 October 2015).

    TTY Line: (407) 939-7670


    When you call the phone number for any of the 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:

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

    BED ACCESSORIES
    Bed rails
    Lower beds and rubber bed pads
    Open frame beds

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

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

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

    VALET PARKING
    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.
    ** see note at end of this thread regarding equipment loaned by the resort.
    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. You can also request a Housekeeping remove the table or chairs.

    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 may not 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 request it ahead of time. The CM making the reservation will actually call Special Reservations, make sure there is a room available and block a specific room for you.

    ** You can request both shower benches and toilet seat risers from Housekeeping. You don't need to be in an accessible room. They can't be reserved ahead of time, so there is no guarantee that they will be available, AND there is no guarantee of the exact type or brand or that they will have equipment that meets your needs.
    We have gotten bath benches - they were the very basic, inexpensive bath benches you can get at any home improvement store. If you get any equipment, be sure to check for loose screws/bolts. The bath benches that were brought to us had dangerously loose bolts that Engineering tightened for us.

    For those reasons (and if you need something less basic), I would recommend renting from an offsite medical supply company. CARE is a good one - you can get their contact information from post 2 of the disABILITIES FAQs (this thread).

    Link to Department of Justice web page with quick list of requirements for ADA accessible resort rooms.

    There are a lot of questions about Florida Special Accessible Room/Option for Hearing Accessibility - this is from the Disney website
    This room is equipped with toilet grab bars, an open bed frame and lower toilet height. A portable raised toilet seat is available upon request. Optional communication features for Guests with Hearing Disabilities include: visual alarm; visual door knock/door bell alert; visual telephone call alert; a telephone with volume control; and electrical outlet near telephone jack. TTY equipment is available upon request at check-in.
     
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  • SueM in MN

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    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.
    • If you are concerned about walking distance, you would actually have a shorter walking distance by parking in the regular lot and using the parking lot trams. There are no trams serving the Medical Parking. To use the tram, you need to be able able to step up to get in.
    • 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.
    Monorails
    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.

    Boats
    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

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    Universal

    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

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    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

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    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.

    BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT ACCESSIBILITY:
    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. Only Small World and the Railroad allow you to bring the ECV into line. 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" - can use ECV through the line, but not bring it onto the wheelchair accessible boat. Can transfer to a wheelchair at the attraction to use the accessible boat.
    The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
    The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
    Tom Sawyer Island Rafts
    Walt Disney World Railroad - can bring ECV up to the station and park in an area close to boarding. Can use a wheelchair at the attraction to use the accessible train car.

    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 - can bring ECV in line to within about 75 feet of boarding. Either guest or a member of their party will move it farther away to a parking area outside of the attraction, about 200 -300 feet from the unload area.
    Tomorrowland® Indy Speedway

    Epcot®
    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 Theater
    Imagination: Journey Into Your Imagination with Figment
    France: "Impressions de France"
    Innoventions East & West
    Canada: O Canada!
    Norway: Stave Church Gallery (one side of the building has stairs, the other side has an accessible entrance)
    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 - guests may take the ECV into line and park it at the area they board (also the exit). Some smaller ECVs may fit on the wheelchair boat.

    Attractions requiring Guests to transfer from their wheelchair or ECV to board the attraction include:
    Mission: SPACE
    Spaceship Earth - has a separate accessible waiting area. Guests park there to wait for boarding and walk up a ramp about 60 feet into the boarding area, which is a slowly moving circular walkway. If guest can't walk into the boarding area, a wheelchair can be brought up and parked close to ride car.
    Test Track
    The Land: Soarin
    All of the above except Spaceship Earth have lines that are wheelchair and ECV accessible, but all guests need to transfer to the ride seat.

    Disney's Hollywood Studios"
    Guests may enter and enjoy these attractions in a wheelchair or ECV:
    "Beauty and the Beast" at the Theater of the Stars
    For the First Time in Forever - Frozen Singalong
    Fantasmic!
    Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
    Muppet*Vision 3D
    Playhouse Disney - Live On Stage!
    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 - line is wheelchair and ECV accessible, but ECV users are not able to use the wheelchair accessible ride car.
    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 - the line is both wheelchair and ECV accessible. Near boarding, guests with mobility devices are directed to a special boarding area. Wheelchairs and ECVs are parked there and walk a short distance to board. There is one wheelchair spot per tram where the guest may remain in their wheelchair.
    TriceraTop Spin

    Attractions requiring Guests to transfer from their wheelchair to board the attraction include:
    DINOSAUR
    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:
    MK

    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. Line is accessible to close to boarding.

    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

    Epcot

    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

    Studio

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

    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

    At WDW, there are a handful of attractions that do not have accessible entrances and may give out times to return to the attraction -
    Big Thunder Mountain RR and Jungle Cruise at MK and Spaceship Earth at Epcot do not have accessible entrances and may give out return times. The return time will generally be similar to the wait in the Standby line and will be valid for a 1 hour time window.

    There are a few that have a separate accessible boarding area, but for those, guests wait in the regular line (or Fastpass line if they have Fastpass Plus) until almost at the boarding area, then they move to the accessible boarding area.

    Small World is kind of a hybrid attraction. The regular line is accessible to the last turn on the front side. Guests without Fastpass Plus wait in the regular line until they get to that point. Since the Fastpass line for SW is not accessible, guests with Fastpass go directly to the accessible boarding area.

    In general, for those few attractions listed above, if you have a Fastpass, you will probably be routed directly into the boarding area. Without Fastpass, you will be given a time to return.

    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 getting 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.
     
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  • SueM in MN

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    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.
    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. :goodvibes

    Wheelchairs
    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.



    Strollers
    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


    Dining
    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.
     

    Cheshire Figment

    <font color=red><marquee behavior=alternate>Friend
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2001
    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
     

    SueM in MN

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    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:
    http://adisneyland.disney.go.com/media/dlr_v0200/en_US/help/Disneyland_Disabilities_Guide.pdf

    DCA park map for guests with disabilities:
    http://adisneyland.disney.go.com/media/dlr_v0200/en_US/help/Disney_California_Adventure_Disabilities_Guide.pdf

    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 DAS (Disability Access Service) 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
    http://www.ocmedicalsupply.com

    Scooter Village
    http://www.scootervillage.com


    Several of the companies that are recommended for WDW are national companies and rent at both WDW and DL:

    Apple
    https://www.applescooter.com/Anaheim.asp


    Scootaround - they also provide the in park rentals
    http://locations.scootaround.com/rentals/a/anaheim/

    Links
    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
     
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    SueM in MN

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    Air TravelDiscussion about TSA
    TSA = Transportation Service Administration and they are in charge of security in airports and in the air.
    This is a link to the TSA website: https://www.tsa.gov/
    Since they change their links fairly often, I am only linking to the first page. There should always be a link to information about travel with disabilities on that page, or you can use search. They also have information about travel with medications and medical devices on their website.
    Also, check into TSA Cares, which is a helpline that can help disabled passengers with information and support for navigating the security process. Some airports offer visits/orientation ahead of your trip or can provide someone to assist the day of the trip.

    If possible, take a non-stop flight. A direct flight may sound like it goes directly to your destination 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 Airport - Accessibility information

    There is a link on the Accessibility page about Companion Restrooms, including those with adult changing tables.
    You will also find a link to maps on both the Accessibility page and the general page.

    You will find DME (Disney’s Magical Express) Welcome Center in the Main Terminal, B side on 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
    This is a link to the general information page for the Air Carrier Access Act.

    Air Travel is covered by the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA); it is not covered by the ADA.

    This is an old Thread about travel with wheelchair, but it still has a lot of helpful hints.
    TSA has instituted new lane arrangements to help streamline the security check process.This is a picture of the security lines at Orlando airport. The wheelchair line is to the far right.

    Link to larger picture.

    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, such as travel with medications, medical devices, disabled service members and children with disabilities.
    TSA has a website page about traveling with children.

    American Diabetes Association has a good page about travel with diabetes - check out the links

    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? :scared1:
    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.

    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.
     
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    SueM in MN

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    There are DME -Disney Magical Express - buses available with lifts to lift a wheelchair into the bus. It is recommended that you request a lift bus when making your DME reservations if you will need one.
    If you didn't prearrange it for your trip from the airport to your resort, they will still provide one, but your wait may be longer. If you need one when returning to the airport from your resort, it is vital to prearrange getting one. If you don't, you might risk getting to the airport on time. My family usually asks to leave for the resort extra early to allow for any issues - like a wheelchair bus not coming or the equipment not working.

    Here is a picture of the DME bus lift in its highest position:


    DME Bus steps


    Someone using a wheelchair or ECV can ride it up the lift and then the wheelchair will be fastened down to the floor of the bus.
    A wheelchair or ECV can also be placed underneath the bus in the luggage storage compartment, but the person will need to climb the steps.
    People have posted before that they were allowed to stand on the lift and ride it up for boarding because they were unable to climb the steps. This is no longer allowed for safety reasons after 2008, but you may see older posts saying they did this.
    Only a person seated in a wheelchair, ECV or other mobility device is allowed on the lift. Manual devices need brakes locked. Power devices must be turned off.
    No one may stand on the lift or sit on the floor of the lift platform.


    If you have mobility problems or other disability, but can climb the stairs, the first row of seats is reserved for guests with disabilities.

    If you feel you can't climb the steps, let the CM know when you are making your reservations for DME and again when you check in. They will need to come up with some alternative for you.
    I have seen people using an airport wheelchair to ride up the lift, get out of the wheelchair to sit in a seat and then borrow a wheelchair at the resort to get out.
    On our trips in the last 4 years, I noticed that there were 2 wheelchairs in the under bus storage area. Since we were the first on, the wheelchairs were on before the bus arrived at the stop.
     
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    SueM in MN

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    Zero entry pools are pools which have a gradual ramped entry so that someone can walk or roll into them without having to go down any steps.
    The zero entry pools have a water wheelchair available, but do not leave it out when not in use, so you will need to ask for one if you need it.
    Heres the whole list of zero entry pools:

    Art of Animation
    Big Blue Pool

    Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
    zero-depth-entry Uzima Springs Pool with a waterside (zero entry is at top of picture)


    For DVC guests; Samawati Springs Pool at Kidani villager - zero entry with 128 foot slide and two whirlpool spas


    Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
    Large Spanish fort-themed zero entry pool with a waterslide, waterfalls and water cannons, a wading pool and a whirlpool


    Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
    Courtyard Pool, zero-depth-entry Beach Pool with a waterfall


    Disney's Polynesian Resort
    Zero-depth-entry Nanea Volcano Pool with a waterfall and a waterside


    Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
    High Rock Spring area with a waterfall, a zero-depth-entry freeform pool and a play area with a waterside. Picture shows the toddler slide and zero entry area to the right of the slide.

    The Paddock Pool is also zero entry. I could not find any actual pictures, so this is an artist drawing of how it was to look.


    Bay Lake Tower
    Bay Cove Pool, a zero-entry pool, exclusively for Guests of Bay Lake Tower. The main feature of Bay Cove Pool is a 20-foot high and 148-foot long water slide. There is also a separate ADA approved accessible slide.
    Zero entry area is at top of picture (shows someone lying in the area)


    You will notice that Stormalong Bay is not on this list, although many people call it a zero entry pool. That is because it doesnt actually have a zero entry area other than a zero entry kids area. It is sort of in the main pool, but you cant get into the main pool water from the zero entry kiddie pool/play area.
     

    SueM in MN

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    • See post 28 of this thread for more information on attractions with moving walkways. Guests without a mobility device /obvious need (cane, walker, etc.) will need to explain their needs to the CMs at the attraction to use the accessible boarding area. The are no stairs and moving walkways can be slowed or stopped at the accessible boarding spot.

    Guests may park their wheelchair or ECV with the strollers and walk in line if they wish. But, be aware:
    • Take the ECV keys with you. Remove and backpacks or items you are concerned about anyone taking.
    • The distance walked in some lines is much longer than it appears, so even if the wait is short, the distance may be long.
    • Wheelchairs and ECVs parked with the strollers may be moved by CMs as they keep the area straightened.
    • Some attractions involve a wait without any seats unless you have a wheelchair or ECV (see post 22 of this thread).

    For MK, this is a list of attractions with accessibility information. Guests using wheelchairs can access all attractions to the point of boarding. In some cases, the boarding area will be somewhere other than the regular boarding area. If there is a different boarding area, CMs will direct you where to go.
    All queues, with a few exceptions, are wheelchair accessible to the point of boarding. I put those in bold that guests would be able to stay in the wheelchair or ECV for the line.
    The ones that have a wheelchair ride car are in blue, so those lines are wheelchair, accessible, but are not ECV accessible unless it is in blue bold. The guest with an ECV would need to be able to transfer to a wheelchair to use these wheelchair cars.
    The ones just in black regular type are ones that require a transfer that may be difficult.

    • Magic Kingdom Railroad - about a 12 inch step up into the train car. The train station at Main Street is on second floor level. There is no elevator. If walking, there is a fairly steep set of steps. Guests using wheelchairs and ECVs go up a steep switchback ramp on the right side, as you face the station. ECV users will park their ECV and leave it at the station (I have sometimes seen very small ECVs on the train).
    • Astro Orbiter - about a 12-15 ins step over the side of the car and the seat is very close to the ground. List says to see a CM for assistance with elevator. ECVs can't go up elevator to platform. Wheelchair may in certain circumstances (I.e. If person can't walk).
    • Big Thunder Mountain - fairly level step in, but opening is narrow. The regular queue includes some fairly steep ramps. Wheelchair/ECV access is thru a side entrance and you may be given a return time to come back to ride. Guest needs to ride twice in a row to return back to the same side as they boarded on, where their mobility device will be waiting.
    • Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin - about 4-6 inch step up into ride car. Moving walkway, which can be stopped or slowed. ECVs have been seen in the line at times, but need to be taken outside after boarding if they were allowed in line (very small inside parking area)
    • Carousel of Progress
    • Country Bear Jamboree
    • Dream Along with Mickey (show on the castle stage)
    • Dumbo the Flying Elephant - about a 6 inch narrow step over the side of the ride car. Has one transfer Dumbo where the side of the Dumbo can be swung away for an easier transfer. It is a very low seat to transfer into.
    • Enchanted Tales with Belle. This has allowed ECVs in the past, but is listed as must transfer to wheelchair. Check with the CM at the entrance for your options.
    • Enchanted Tiki Room
    • Hall of Presidents
    • The Haunted Mansion - has a moving walkway, which can be slowed or stopped and a wheelchair can be brought as close to the Doombuggy as you need. Floor almost level with moving walkway.
    • it's a small world - about a 12 inch step over the side of the boat, then about 10-12 inches down to the seat and about 10-12 inches down to the floor. This is a link to a thread about Small World with pictures, showing the wheelchair boat: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2711435
    • Jungle Cruise - about a 6 inch step up to the top of the boat and then about a 10 inch step down into the seat of the boat and another 10-12 inches down to the floor.
    • Liberty Square Riverboat
    • Mad Tea Party - about 6 inch step up over the edge of the saucer, then about an 8-10 inch step over the side of the teacup - narrow opening
    • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin - narrow opening with about a 6 inch step over the side of the carpet.
    • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh - about a six inch step up into the honeypot
    • Mickey's Philharmagic
    • Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
    • Pete's Silly Sideshow - meet and greet
    • Peter Pan's Flight - moving walkway which can't be slowed or stopped. Floor of pirate ship is almost level with moving walkway. The new Fastpass and regular line is wheelchair and ECV accessible to a point about 30 feet from boarding. Wheelchairs might be able to be brought closer for boarding, but there will still be a walk involved.
    • Pirates of the Caribbean - This attraction has a very long queue - even without a wait, you will be walking a long distance if you dont bring a wheelchair into line. Guests with ECVs can park the ECV and borrow a wheelchair to use in the line. About a 6-8 inch step over the side of the boat, about 6 inches down to the seat and another 8-12 inches down to the floor. Steep moving walkway to get back up to ground level at the unload area. There is an elevator down a small hallway to the left
    • Prince Charming's Regal Carrousel - there is a chariot, but it is a step up and a few steps to get to it. The attraction is wheelchair accessible.
    • Princess Fairytale Hall - Princess Meet and greet
    • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - wheelchair can be brought up to the train car. There is an ADA car with a wider opening.
    • Space Mountain -step over the side of the ride car
    • Splash Mountain - Regular line has a flight of stairs. about a 15 inch step over the side of the ride car and down to the seat - narrow opening.
    • Swiss Family Treehouse - MANY flights of stairs, some are twisting, most are narrow and many are steep. Not accessible
    • The Barnstormer - must transfer, step over the side
    • Tom Sawyer Island - island is not accessible, but guests in wheelchairs can go on raft over to island
    • Tomorrowland Speedway - low car with step over side to get in and seat close to ground level. This is coded by WDW as accessible, but may not be ECV accessible.
    • Tomorrowland Transit Authority - not accessible; the station is at 2nd floor level and there is a very steep moving walkway to get there and back down. Ride load and unload includes a moving walkway which is not stopped. Small step up into ride car
    • Town Square Theater - meet and greets
    • Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid - does have moving walkway, which can be stopped or slowed

    In addition, guests MIGHT be able to make a transfer onto the ride car for Haunted Mansion if they can transfer from a wheelchair. It is not that difficult of a transfer because it has a level floor and the transfer car has a door wider opening. You can park a wheelchair as close as you need to park by the ride car with the moving walkway closed. The guest would need to explain what is needed to the CM. Here is a picture of the transfer doombuggy.


    *This is a link to the DIS site (wdwinfo) page which has links to more information about each attraction.
    *Link to MK attraction blog post with pictures from touringplans.com.
     

    SueM in MN

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    See post 28 of this thread for more information on attractions with moving walkways. Guests without a mobility device /obvious need (cane, walker, etc.) will need to explain their needs to the CMs at the attraction to use the accessible boarding area. The are no stairs and moving walkways can be slowed or stopped at the accessible boarding spot.
    Guests may park their wheelchair or ECV with the strollers and walk in line if they wish. But, be aware:
    • Take the ECV keys with you. Remove and backpacks or items you are concerned about anyone taking.
    • The distance walked in some lines is much longer than it appears, so even if the wait is short, the distance may be long.
    • Wheelchairs and ECVs parked with the strollers may be moved by CMs as they keep the area straightened.
    • Some attractions involve a wait without any seats unless you have a wheelchair or ECV (see post 22 of this thread).

    For Epcot, this is a list of attractions.
    I put those in bold the guest would be able to stay in the wheelchair or ECV for.
    The ones that have a wheelchair ride car, I put in blue bold. The guest would need to be able to transfer to a wheelchair.
    The ones just in black regular type are ones that require a transfer that some guests would not be able to make.

    Imagination 3D movie - 3D movie, see map for current movie
    Imagination! - about a 6 inch step up
    Innoventions
    The Seas Pavilion including:

    • Bruces Shark World
    • Nemo ride - less than 6 inch step up into ride car. There is a moving walkway which can be stopped.
    • Turtle Talk
    The Land Pavilion including
    • Living with the Land - there is a wheelchair boat, which is ECV And wheelchair accessible. (The old wheelchair boat was not accessible to ECVs; that boat is no longer in use) - For guests who are transferring, there is a step up into boat
    • Movie - don’t have the name
    • SOARIN - very easy transfer. Ride has seats similar to lawn chairs in rows. Guests who choose to walk in line will find it is a very long walk - over 1/4 mile to get from the line entrance to boarding and a similar distance to get from the unload area out again.
    Spaceship Earth - some guests MIGHT be able to make this. Would require a transfer to a wheelchair, stopping the wheelchair close to the ride car on the moving walkway and a transfer into the ride car. They do have one transfer car with a wider opening. The moving walkway can be slowed or stopped for guests boarding at the accessible boarding spot.

    Test Track - step down into the ride car and down to the low seat. There is a wheelchair transfer spot (the seat belt check area), but this spot may not work for some guests. It involves a step over the side of the ride car, similar to stepping over the side of a bathtub.

    Mission: Space - about a 4-6 inch step up into the space capsule. Sort of narrow opening.

    This is a link to the Epcot Future World page on the DIS site (wdwinfo)

    These are the World Showcase attractions, with a link to the WS page on the DIS site.
    Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico - about a 10 inch step down side of the boat, down to the seat and then down again to the floor

    Frozen - line is wheelchair and ECV accessible, but there is not a wheelchair accessible ride boat. About a 6-8 inch step up over the side of the boat then a step down to the seat.
    Reflections of China - this movie has screens all around for a 360 degree view.
    Guests stand for the show unless they have a mobility device. There are lean rails that you can lean forward or back against, but nowhere to sit unless you have a mobility device. Guests seated on a mobility device will find the best view from the back of the theater.
    American Adventure
    Impressions de France
    O Canada!
    - this attraction recently closed. No information yet on what will replace it.
     
    Last edited:

    SueM in MN

    combining the teacups with a roller coaster
    Moderator
    Joined
    Aug 23, 1999
    See post 28 of this thread for more information on attractions with moving walkways. Guests without a mobility device /obvious need (cane, walker, etc.) will need to explain their needs to the CMs at the attraction to use the accessible boarding area. The are no stairs and moving walkways can be slowed or stopped at the accessible boarding spot.

    Guests may park their wheelchair or ECV with the strollers and walk in line if they wish. But, be aware:
    • Take the ECV keys with you. Remove and backpacks or items you are concerned about anyone taking.
    • The distance walked in some lines is much longer than it appears, so even if the wait is short, the distance may be long.
    • Wheelchairs and ECVs parked with the strollers may be moved by CMs as they keep the area straightened.
    • Some attractions involve a wait without any seats unless you have a wheelchair or ECV (see post 22 of this thread).

    For Disney Hollywood Studios
    I put those in bold that the guest would be able to stay in the ECV for.
    The ones that have a wheelchair ride car, I put in blue bold. The guest would need to be able to transfer to a wheelchair.
    The ones just in black regular type are ones that require a transfer that some guests would not be able to make.

    • Beauty and the Beast
    • Fantasmic! - There is a stroller parking area about 2/3 of the way between the entrance to the attraction and the seating area. Wheelchairs or ECVs COULD be parked there, but be aware that the seating for the show is stadium style, with seating on steps. There are wheelchair/ECV spots at the top row of the theater. Each wheelchair/ECV spot has a bench seat for one companion and the rest of your party will be seated in the rows in front of that. There are a few wheelchair/ECV spots in the very front row, accessed by a ramp to the far left of the seating area.
    • For the First Time in Forever -Frozen Singalong.
    • Indiana Jones Stunt Show
    • Muppet Vision 3D
    • Playhouse Disney-Live on Stage!
    • Rock 'n' Roller Coaster - about 8-12 inch step up over the side of the car
    • Sounds Dangerous - no longer showing this attraction, but theater is used for other movies/shows
    • Star Tours - moving theater. No steps; wheelchair can be brought as close as needed for transfer to theater seat
    • Tower of Terror - there are no steps to get to front row, but other rows are up on to 3 steps
    • Toy Story Mania - this one makes a quick turn after each game and some people find it too jarring. Very small step up to ride car. The special ride car is wheelchair accessible, but not ECV accessible. Guests can drive an ECV within a few feet of the ride car. There is a set of steps in the regular line. Guests with wheelchairs, ECVs or other mobility devices bypass the stairs.
    • Slinky Dog Dash - line is WHEELCHAIR accessible, but listed as not ECV accessible and no wheelchair car. A small 6 inch or so step over into ride car to transfer. There is an ADA ride car where the seat folds down to the side. This allows the guest to sit on that seat part, slide onto the ride seat, then lift their feet in
    • Alien Swirling Saucers - line is accessible, but no wheelchair car. There is a small step up over the side of the ride vehicle. There is an ADA car where the side slides back to open up the side.
    • Voyage of the Little Mermaid
    • Walt Disney - One Man's Dream - a museum gallery exhibit
    New Star Wars attractions are not open yet, but information so far is that the lines will be wheelchair and ECV accessible, but a transfer will be required to the ride vehicles.

    Link to Blog post about ride access at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Includes ride care pictures:
    http://blog.touringplans.com/2014/10/06/guide-walt-disney-world-attraction-vehicles-seating-disneys-hollywood-studios/

    Heres a link to the Hollywood Studio page
     
    Last edited:
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