What are the differences in loading procedures for guests in wheelchairs at Disney World and Disneyland?
Written by Daniel Etcheberry
Disneyland in Anaheim and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando have many "clone" rides between them, but the boarding experiences for the disabled are not always the same on each coast.
Let's consider Pirates of the Caribbean: At Magic Kingdom, wheelchair users enter through the regular queue. At Disneyland, we (I include myself as a wheelchair user) entered through the ride's exit, located next to the Blue Bayou Restaurant. In Anaheim, I waited outside the building for five minutes until a cast member came out to grant me access into the ride's unloading area. At the Magic Kingdom, cast members take our wheelchairs to the unloading area, since we do not return to the same place where we boarded the boat on that version of the ride. At Disneyland, Pirates returns to the same place where we boarded the boat, so there's no need for anyone to move wheelchairs.
At It's a Small World, we have direct wheelchair access to the boats at Magic Kingdom. At Disneyland, the Small World boats use the same mechanism as the Jungle Cruise's boats: one gets onto a platform installed inside the boat, and then they swivel it so you face forward. Finally, cast members lower the platform to the boat's level.
Peter Pan at Magic Kingdom has a moving ramp in the boarding area that cast members never stop, and one has to be ambulatory to ride it. On the other hand, at Disneyland cast members stop the ride.
Space Mountain on the west coast has an alternate loading area for us where we can take all the time in the world to get in and out of the vehicle. The east-coast version does not have that feature. Go West! as the Pet Shop Boys would say.
The alternate loading area for wheelchair guests at Disneyland's Space Mountain. A track platform can slide left and right at this point, allowing a train with wheelchair guests to move off the main circuit to a load area where they can take as much time as they need to get in or out, without slowing other trains.
The rest of the clone rides at the two parks have similar boarding options.
Which park do you find more accessible for persons with disabilities: Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom? Please share your experiences, in the comments.
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