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7 reasons Walt Disney World is one of the most wheelchair accessible destinations

July 16, 2021
7 min read
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Walt Disney World is one of the top wheelchair-accessible vacation destinations because almost every aspect of Disney World is at least somewhat accessible, giving all guests the opportunity to ride the rides, enjoy the shows, and travel via on-site transportation from park to park.

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Here are seven aspects of Walt Disney World in Florida that make it a fantastic destination for wheelchair users.

Accessible rides in all four parks

Some of the major draws to Walt Disney World are the rides, and there are wheelchair-accessible rides at all four of Disney’s theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Animal Kingdom. Each of these parks has rides in which someone can remain in their own wheelchair throughout the duration of the ride. This is a great feature of the parks, as wheelchair users can board the ride in their manual or motorized wheelchair and enjoy it without having to transfer onto the ride and leave the wheelchair at the loading and unloading zone.

Related: Everything you need to know about visiting Walt Disney World Resort

Some of the most popular and fan-favorite wheelchair-accessible rides include Jungle Cruise, Toy Story Mania, Kilimanjaro Safari, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and it’s a small world.

Related: The most wheelchair-friendly theme parks in the US

The Walt Disney World website also makes it very easy to look up the accessibility of each ride, giving wheelchair users an opportunity to learn about the types of accessibility the rides provide before entering the park. This makes it easier to plan ahead and make choices during your day in the park.

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Accessible shows throughout the parks

In addition to the rides, many people want to go to Walt Disney World for the magical atmosphere, which isn’t complete without a show or four.

Most of the Disney shows, both inside and out, are wheelchair accessible with designated spaces to give wheelchair users a proper vantage point to view the show. This goes for the parades (currently being replaced with pop-up cavalcades) and street shows as well. With a little planning and getting a good spot, the shows and parades are a great way to enjoy the magic of Disney.

The accessibility of these shows extends beyond physical access: the parks offer options for audio and visual accessibility or assistance as well. Shows are specific to the theme park you’re visiting and are typically welcome for all ages.

Accessible modes of transportation

Wheelchair users may know that when they’re traveling, public transportation is often a very wheelchair accessible option compared to finding accessible taxis or rental cars, and Walt Disney World follows a similar approach.

Related: 7 air travel tips for wheelchair users

The modes of transportation Disney provides include the Monorail, buses, ferries, and the Skyliner, all of which are wheelchair accessible. All of these modes of transportation are easy to access for wheelchair users, with an almost seamless boarding process, allowing wheelchair users to remain in their wheelchair throughout the duration of the ride.

This is great because it gives everyone the same space to navigate across parks, to and from a vehicle or resort, and makes it easy for families and groups to travel together throughout the day.

Accessible Disney resorts

Beyond the parks, Disney resorts are noteworthy because they extend the magical experience from the park directly to your room. Offering more on-site fun, from the pools and dining to scavenger hunts and other activities, Disney resorts, in general, have fantastic accessibility — whether you want to splurge and stay at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort or choose one of the more budget-friendly resorts, like Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

Related: These are the most wheelchair-accessible cities around the world

Wheelchair users consistently find that Disney resorts deliver an excellent experience. Pool access lifts are available at resorts, giving wheelchair users a way to enter and enjoy the pool quickly. The rooms themselves have accessible amenities like roll-in showers and easy-to-navigate floor space with smart layouts, making it simple to enjoy your stay and have room for your luggage, guests and at-home necessities.

Related: 7 of the best national parks for wheelchair users

Companion care restrooms throughout the parks

Everybody needs to take a break at some point and Walt Disney World offers a host of restrooms throughout the parks, both standard restrooms and companion care restrooms.

Companion care restrooms are placed throughout the parks and offer a more private and larger space to take care of your needs, either as an individual or with a caregiver, family member or friend. This feature throughout each of the four theme parks makes Disney optimal for wheelchair users, as it’s fairly easy to locate a restroom to take care of your needs no matter where or when you’re in the park.

Disability Access Service for ride queues

Another reason why Walt Disney World is a great wheelchair-accessible destination is because of their Disability Access Service (DAS). This service is for guests who cannot tolerate long lines and gives them the option to visit an attraction at a later time. This service is a very specific option that is not solely tied to the guest’s need for a wheelchair or mobility device, as some wheelchair-using guests can tolerate the standard ride queue.

To use DAS, guests must visit Guest Relations at the main entrance of the park on the day of your park visit to register for the service. Guests who use DAS are given a time or appointment with a ride, which takes the current wait time into consideration, giving them the opportunity to explore the park and take a turn on the ride without waiting in the ride line.

Related: Your guide to visiting Disney World with a child on the autism spectrum

This is a great service because it allows all guests the opportunity to enjoy the rides in the park and works with guests to offer an alternative to the sometimes long and hot lines.

Accessible parking

For those who are driving to the parks, either with a rental vehicle or their own personal vehicle, Walt Disney World does offer accessible parking at each theme park.

Disney has specific Disability Parking Lots, which are a short distance from the main entrances of each park. This provides wheelchair users with a parking spot closer to the entrance for a shorter distance to cover between the car and the park itself. The courtesy tram does not stop at these parking lots, as the tram requires guests to step on and off, and the tram is not wheelchair accessible.

To park in the disability parking lot, the vehicle must have a valid disability parking permit and the standard parking rate applies to these lots as well.

Choosing to park in these specific lots gives wheelchair users access to conveniently located parking for easy use of paved pathways, elevators, and security checkpoints. This is a great option to reduce the time it takes to enter the park, giving you more time inside for fun.

Related: 5 tips for going on a cruise as a wheelchair user

Related: 10 wheelchair-accessible tour companies that are changing the travel industry

Related: The most wheelchair-accessible beach destinations in the U.S.

All images courtesy of the author

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023