Hello, my name is Christine with ChristineAHoward.com. I am happy to be guest posting for Taryn today. Our family has been visiting the Orlando area for many years. This is sort of our happy place, because it is so disability friendly. If you are looking for an awesome place to visit with your family where your whole family can enjoy themselves freely, Orlando is the place.
Why is Orlando the place to be for those visiting theme parks with mobility issues?
Today, most public places are handicap accessible, and this extends to theme parks as well. This is great news for those thrill seekers that have mobility issues. While most theme parks have an accessibility plan for guests, they each seem to work a little bit differently. We have provided a guide for some of the major theme parks across the US and how they work with disabilities.
Walt Disney World
As you might have guessed, Walt Disney World works with disabilities very well. They have a special Disability Access System (DAS) that allows guests to reserve ride times one at a time rather than stand in line. With Disney’s inception of the Magicband, this is no longer a card. Instead it works very similarly to the Disney FastPass+ system and is incorporated right into the guest’s Magicband. One of the best features of the DAS is that it can be combined with FastPass+ to allow users access to more rides and attractions. Additional guests can be added to the DAS. The guest with the DAS access must be present for the other members of the party to use the system.
To obtain the DAS, the guest will go to Guest Relations upon arrival to the first park. A Cast Member will assist that guest with adding this feature to their Magicband. Once at a ride or attraction, find a Cast Member to assist in getting a return time. Unlike the FastPass+ system, the guest may return any time after the reservation time until the park closes. Please note that you can only hold one reservation at a time with the DAS.
There are a number of rides at the four major Walt Disney World parks that allow the rider to remain in their wheelchair which is nice. For example, Living With The Land at Epcot and Under The Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid at Magic Kingdom allow for riders to remain in their wheelchairs.
Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort has a similar system where guests can avoid standing in long queue lines. This can be obtained at Guest Relations at any of the Universal parks. The ride queues do not accommodate ECV type mobility devices, so guests will have to transfer to a regular wheelchair at the queue entrance. Regular wheelchairs for this purpose are available at no additional cost to the guest at each ride. Guests will also need to transfer out of the chair and into the ride, as Universal Orlando Resort does not have any rides where the guest can remain in the wheelchair.
Sea World Orlando also has an access pass called the Ride Accessibility Program (RAP). This program allows the guest and up to 5 additional visitors to schedule ride times in advance to avoid standing in the line. Please note that not all rides need this pass. Rides with typically low wait times will not need the RAP. The guest will simply access the staff member working the exit of the ride and they will assist the guest with accessing the ride.
For the rides with longer wait times, the RAP is necessary. In this case, take the RAP sheet to a staff member working one of the following rides to receive a return time.
- Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin
- Journey to Atlantis
- Turtle Trek
- Sky Tower
- Wild Arctic
Please be aware that not all rides are handicap accessible. Upon arrival, ask guest relations for a list of these rides or attractions.
Legoland Orlando also has a disability pass called the Hero Pass. This will allow the guest and up to five additional guests to schedule return times. Please note that Legoland Orlando has a fairly strict policy involving guests with casts. There are a number of rides that do not allow guests with casts on board, so please make sure to check their website for more details on this if this affects you or your party.
All rides at Legoland Orlando require guests to transfer in and out of the ride. If a special queue line is necessary to accommodate mobility devices, only one person from the party may assist the guest. The other members of the party will continue in the regular queue. The party will then meet up at the ride entrance.
Legoland Orlando has a special form that can be completed ahead of the visit to ensure a smooth visit. They do ask that the form be completed at least seven days before the arrival date in order to process the requests.
It is truly nice to know that the major parks in the Orlando, Florida area are equipped to accommodate guests with mobility issues. After all, everyone should get the chance to experience their favorite rides and attractions.