Friday, September 20, 2013

Touring Disney Parks Handi-Capable

Touring Disney Parks Handi-Capable

At this time policies on how Disney grants access to those with disabilities at the parks is changing. In the immortal words of Douglas Adams, “Don’t Panic and keep your towel with you!” No matter what happens those with needs will have some level of assistance. Children and adults with ADHD, Autism and Panic Attacks will be accommodated. Those in wheelchairs may find that they MAY have to wait a little longer. At Disneyland I do not believe that will be the case. I believe if some of the rumors are true (and I do not think they are all true but have been unable to verify or get good info from Disneyland) the lines for wheelchairs may actually be shorter! Those with ADHD, Autism and Panic Attacks that are able to stand in the Fastpass lines for 20-30 minutes will be sent there reducing the lines for wheelchairs where they now go. This may benefit the majority of people. Everybody with disabilities MAY have shorter lines because they are not all clogging up ONE area. This is all I’m going to say about the possible new system until I know it is a reality!

Ok now that the upcoming possible changes have been discussed let’s move on and talk about what will not change.

Disney will always give you some level of accommodation based on your expressed need.

There is a place to store medication that needs to be refrigerated. Just stop by First Aid at any Disney park and ask them to keep it for you.

There are special cars or loading areas on rides like the following for those with mobility issues. These have wider doors or special loading areas.
Dumbo                         Haunted Manson                    Space Mountain
Luigi’s Flying Tires                 Radiator Springs Racers

Some rides like the following have cars that can accommodate a wheelchair or ECV
It’s a Small World                 Jungle Cruise
Toy Story Mania                    Mickey’s Fun Wheel               Monsters Inc.
Ariel’s Under Sea Adventure

Shows and parades will still have special viewing areas for those in wheelchairs and their companions. These are not always the best viewing spots. I will be honest for the parades they are good. For the Hyperion Theater the handicapped seating is in some of the best locations in the theater! The Disneyland Fireworks and Fantasmic are the worse for handicap viewing in my opinion. World of Color is hit and miss.

Service dogs will continued to be welcomed. Disney has grass areas dedicated as “service dog relief areas” where you can take your dog when needed. For some of the more popular rides there are large dog crates at the loading area where you can crate your dog while you ride. Service dogs are welcomed in the parks restaurants as well as long as they are clean and well behaved.

There are assisted listening devices for the hard of hearing. Some shows and attractions have portable screens that display closed captioning of the show. In other shows and attractions you will find head phones to help.

Those with visual disabilities will find a recording device is available. It will tell you where you are and what attractions are around you. It will describe what is around you.

Those with what I call invisible disabilities such as ADHD, Autism Spectrum, Panic Attacks and such will also be accommodated. This will not nor has it ever been go straight to the front of the line disability. Disney has and continues to find creative ways to help those that can’t take being confined to long lines deal with the problem. Calm areas to wait in that give space to move about while you wait do help. It MAY be better handled with the new changes. We will have to wait and see.

If your child or adult companion has a problem with crowds and loud noises and gets over stimulated you can always find a quiet spot. First Aid is an obvious place to go. If your child is young the Child Care Centers located in every park is a good place to head. You don’t have to go to any of these areas. Parts of Tom Sawyer’s Island are quiet at Disneyland. Paradise Gardens in Disney California Adventure is a calm place between sets of music by the live bands. On the other hand the music can be calming as well. You can move away from the music and find a spot. You get the idea.

No matter what your physical disability if you have a physical problem head to First Aid located in every Disney Park. If you can’t find it ask a Cast Member, they will be happy to assist and make sure you get there. If you have an emergency just stop any Cast Member and they will get the help you need quickly.

As policies change I will post updates. Be careful of knee jerk reactions to rumors. Verify information before becoming upset. If you find that the new policy does not give you the assistance you need speak up! Make sure you know what the policy is and if you are to go up the Fastpass line or wait in the wheelchair lines. If you are in the park and have a problem ask for a Guest Relations Lead. If you are home go to their website and send them a message.

I think my main message right now is stay calm. There ARE going to be problems and misunderstandings if/when they roll out a new program. Some people that need help are not going to get it at first. Those that should not get assistance will get it. Disney is making changes (and because of the few creeps abusing the old system they must) and they will have to “plus” the system as they go. There is no one size fits all disability accommodation plan and cannot be. Not all disabilities need the same level of assistance and then there are combinations of disabilities making things even more difficult. Disney is a smart and caring enough company to know that. Disney wants happy guests so give them time to work out the kinks. Other “amusement parks” do not accommodate as well as Disney does, especially left out are those with invisible disabilities.

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