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Know before you go: visiting Disneyland with a wheelchair

May 26, 2019

First Things First

 

On a recent Disneyland visit, one member of my party required the use of a wheelchair to get around. We have been to the Disneyland Resort lots of times before, but this was our first time visiting while requiring a wheelchair for mobility.  We were a bit lost at first, trying to figure out which attractions were wheelchair accessible and whatnot, but the Cast Members were so helpful and accommodating.

 

Here are some tips and advice you should know before visiting the Disneyland Resort with a wheelchair.

 

Wheelchair & ECV Rentals

 

Guests can rent manual wheelchairs and Electric Conveyance Vehicles (ECVs) at the Disneyland Resort. Wheelchair Rentals is located to the right of the main gates of Disneyland Park. If you are entering the Resort through Harbor Blvd, Wheelchair Rentals will be immediately on your right after going through security.

 

Manual wheelchairs are available for rental at a price of $12 per day, and $50 plus tax per day for EVCs. Rental for both require a refundable deposit of $20. It is crucial that you keep your receipt and rental slip so that you receive your deposit back after returning the wheelchair or ECV.

 

For more information on rentals, and to see a map on where Wheelchair Rentals is located, be sure to visit the Disneyland Resort website.

 

Our Experience

 

We weren’t too sure what to expect on our trip to Disneyland while using a wheelchair, but we ended the day impressed and completely satisfied with our trip. The Cast Members were very eager to help, especially the Fantasyland dark rides Attractions Cast Members. They were able to accommodate us and move us along the queues so smoothly! We didn’t have to worry about the small queue spaces the Fantasyland dark rides are known for.

 

For the Fantasyland dark rides, which are a must-do for our Disney trips, most of them were only a 5-10 minute wait for us, and we entered through the exit. That is the procedure for many of the rides, having to enter through the exit queue. Modern queues for attractions are ADA accessible, but older attractions, such as those in Fantasyland, pre-date accessibility laws, hence the need to board through the exit.

 

The other procedure for attractions whose queues cannot accommodate wheelchairs is to obtain a return time, similar to a FastPass. Once you return to the attraction at your given time (the return time is for however long standby is), you then enter the attraction through the exit or an alternative path. The Haunted Mansion and Indiana Jones Adventure are two attractions that require a return time. Others include Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and “it’s a small world”, to name a few.

 

In addition, many of the attractions required that we transfer from the wheelchair to a ride vehicle. Our party member was able to walk a few steps in order to make the switch, so I can’t speak for those who are unable to make the switch. Be sure to ask a Guest Relations Cast Member for any questions regarding Guests who are unable to transfer.

 

Although we didn’t venture in Disney California Adventure, most of the attractions in DCA allow folks in wheelchairs to enter through the standard queue, or an alternative queue.

 

To see if a specific attraction is wheelchair accessible or requires a transfer, be sure to look up each attraction at the Disneyland Resort website. You can also look at the Disneyland Guide or the Disney California Adventure Guide for Guests with disabilities. A physical copy of each is available at the Resort as well.

 

Wheelchair & ECV Pro-Tips

 

As a word of warning, when crossing the street on Main Street, U.S.A., and coming across tracks on the floor, cross at a 90 degree angle. Otherwise you run the risk of getting the wheelchair stuck in the tracks. Also, the Disneyland Railroad station at Main Street, U.S.A. is not wheelchair accessible, and we had to board through the New Orleans Square station.

 

Additionally, take advantage of the return times if you can. They save a lot of time and make waiting for attractions less stressful. Be sure to have your admission ticket (or Disneyland App if it’s connected to your ticket) ready, as that is where Cast Members scan to add and take off return times for attractions.

 

We did not watch any parades, shows, or fireworks, but I believe there are special areas designed for folks with wheelchairs. Indoor theater attractions such as Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln or the Tomorrowland Theater allowed us to take the wheelchair inside, as there were specially designed spots for them (no transfer necessary).

 

All in all, I thought that having a party member use a wheelchair would be difficult at Disneyland, but it was surprisingly very easy. Cast Members knew the procedures well and how to best accommodate us. They were incredibly nice and treated us as any other Guests visiting the Resort. Even the Guests seemed understanding whenever we moved chairs out of the way, went through exit queues, etc.

 

If you’re hesitant or skeptical about visiting Disneyland while using a wheelchair, don’t be! The Happiest Place on Earth creates magic for everyone, regardless of abilities.

 

Disclaimer: Do not abuse the use of a wheelchair anywhere or anytime. It is incredibly ableist and offensive, and the time and resources spent accommodating someone abusing a wheelchair could have been spent serving someone who actually needs a wheelchair for mobility.

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