Exploring accessibility in Disneyland's New Orleans Square
Written by Daniel Etcheberry
Two years ago I visited Disneyland’s New Orleans Square for the first time. This year I visited the real New Orleans for the first time. Now I can compare both places from the wheelchair point of view; the differences are striking.Tweet
New Orleans Square, near Pirates, before the current round of renovations
The sidewalks in the real New Orleans are uneven, and they are in very bad shape; imagine riding Indiana Jones but without the fun. They are also very narrow at the French Quarter. The pathways at New Orleans Square are wider and smooth.
The attractions at New Orleans are wheelchair accessible; one can enter inside the Steamboat Natchez with the wheelchair (Mark Twain Riverboat is in Frontierland, so it doesn’t count) and cruise the Mississippi River. The streetcars are also wheelchair accessible (with the exception of the St. Charles Line.) On the other hand, Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion at Disneyland are not wheelchair accessible (you have to transfer.)
The restaurants at New Orleans’ French Quarter are housed in old and historic buildings; as a result, some are either too narrow, or they have a step at the entrance. There is even one restaurant that has a Mardi Gras Museum on the second level, but they don’t have elevators (ADA rules don’t apply to historic buildings.) In contrast, the New Orleans Square’s restaurants are wheelchair friendly.
Overall, both places are worth visiting for wheelchair users. Just improve those sidewalks please.
A final note; I highly recommend wheelchair users to fly with Southwest. I have used many airlines, and Southwest is by far the most accommodating airline for disabled people.
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