Welcome to Theme Park Insider! Join the community or log in
Theme Park Insider
Facebook Twitter YouTube Email Newsletter

Top 5 rides for disabled people (and the worst)

Easy transfers or no transfer at all + clever ideas.

From Daniel Etcheberry
Posted December 20, 2012 at 7:33 PM
1) Forbidden Journey: a second loading area where the bench stops and one can take all the necessary time to transfer. It must had cost a lot of money to build an additional loading area. Thank you Universal!

2) E.T.: Universal did it again! How nice to be able to get into the ride with my own wheelchair.

3) Toy Story: It has a separate loading area, and I can stay in the wheelchair. Even better, the shooting device is easy to use even if one has no strength in the hands (like me).

4) Men in Black: The wheelchair is secured inside a moving device that slides into a special vehicle with space instead of seats. Clever idea!

5) Jungle Cruise: It used to be very difficult to transfer until Disney added a clever device that rotates and goes up and down. Now one can stay in the wheelchair. A caveat: the skipper will make you the center of attention when they bring you down. In my case she screamed "the tower of terror!" Funny but everyone was looking at me :^0

And the worse...

1) People Mover: public transportation from the future where one has to be ambulatory to use it. I wonder if ADA will be found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in the future!

2) Peter Pan (MK): one has to be ambulatory to ride it since they do not stop it (unlike the Hunted Mansion where they do stop it for transfer).

3) Indy / Dinosaur: those vehicles move so much that it's impossible for me to keep my body in an upright position. Disney should provide some kind of upper body restraint (like the one provided in the now defunct Corkscrew Hill at BGW)

4) Splash Mountain: try one day to transfer to those logs without using your legs, and you will understand what I mean.

5) Pirates of the Caribbean: my second favorite ride. Too bad it is so difficult to get out. And those rails make things worse!


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Dominick D
Posted December 20, 2012 at 7:41 PM
A couple notes:

1. They can stop Peter Pan. It's happened plenty of times before.

2. Adding upper body restraints to Indy and Dinosaur IS NOT a good idea. This will prevent people under 48 inches from riding. Sorry if this is mean, but you make it like everything needs to be for you and your needs.

From Daniel Etcheberry
Posted December 20, 2012 at 8:12 PM
Dom,

The restraints that I'm talking about are not permanent; at BGW they put it once I'm seated, and then they take it away when the ride is done.

I remember asking the cast member at Peter Pan if they could stop the ride, and she said no. That happened a few years ago.

From Andrew Dougherty
Posted December 20, 2012 at 8:23 PM
If think Jurassic park would be a COMPLETE nightmare to get out if with a wheelchair.

From Dominick D
Posted December 20, 2012 at 9:06 PM
OOOH. Sorry about that. Anyways, you should ask about Peter Pan again, the last couple of times I've been on they stopped the ride to let on a disabled/handicapped person.

From Matt Babiak
Posted December 21, 2012 at 4:55 AM
About a year or 2 ago they started stopping it. Before that it was wheelchair hell! My dad never even got on to the ride, he just gave up trying to get into a moving vehicle and left.

From Daniel Etcheberry
Posted December 21, 2012 at 9:12 AM
Well, well, well, that's great news for me since I never rode Peter Pan in my life. I'm just waiting for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (hopefully easy to transfer) to open to go back again to MK.

Andrew,

Yes, it is very difficult to get out of Jurassic Park's boat. Any boat that is not wheelchair accessible is a nightmare. When a boat ride has drops, it is not wheelchair accessible; It wouldn't be safe.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted December 22, 2012 at 6:32 PM
I would think any boat rides would be bad.

From Dan Babbitt
Posted December 23, 2012 at 1:32 AM
Rock N Roller Coaster is bad I believe while Tower of Terror is relatively easy to transfer.

Toy Story Mania has seperate vehicles for Guests with Disabilities.

From Daniel Etcheberry
Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:30 AM
Sometimes rides are wheelchair accessible but the spot where the wheelchair goes has the worst view. At the studio tour in Universal Hollywood, that spot is on the first row; when the tram goes through King Kong 360, all the action is behind me since I'm looking at both ends of the screens. At the Movie Ride in DHS, that spot is on the last row, so I always see the AA of the Wicked Witch from a distance far enough as to not be able to see her face well enough.

From cynthia henisey
Posted January 18, 2013 at 2:52 PM
At Disneyland: I think Small World has a special boat where you stay in your wheelchair. And Space Mountain has a set up where the car pulls off to the side for loading then slides right back into place.

From Carrie Hood
Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:14 AM
I can agree on the Peter Pan problem, our last trip I found myself in the unlucky situation of being forced into a wheelchair due to being an awesome klutz! One freshly broken foot plus loads of walking, it just doesn't work.
Now standing wasn't a problem but one can only hop around so fast, it took me two tries to catch a car on Peter Pan in 2010. They didn't stop it then either, I just kind of got a "Good Luck Lady" look from the CM.

I didn't have too many problems with the boats (Except Jungle Cruse which which my poor husband pretty much had to lift me into) though but I can't imagine trying to get into them without at least one properly working leg!

From Beth Olliges
Posted February 11, 2013 at 11:44 PM
My worst accessibility experience was on Soarin' at Epcot. I had a badly sprained ankle, and was using a scooter to get around the parks. When I drove my scooter up to the entrance of Soarin', a very unfriendly CM told me I'd have to take my scooter back upstairs and outside the building to a designated parking area, then walk back down and through the queue. That didn't even seem legal to me, but he refused even to let me park the scooter anywhere near the attraction's entrance. Don't the park maps show the "must transfer" icon for this ride? That would seem to imply that you could take your scooter or wheelchair through the line and transfer to the ride itself.

Ironically, my best experience was on another ride where I had to walk through the line (fortunately, I'd brought a folding cane) -- Star Tours: The Adventures Continue! A very helpful CM showed me where I could park the scooter and said to show my scooter key when I came back to the entrance and they'd let me use a special line. (I can't recall if it was the FP line or a separate handicapped line). Unlike Soarin', this walk wasn't too bad, and the CMs were very kind.

From sarah g
Posted February 13, 2013 at 8:22 PM
Sadly, Peter Pan's Flight is NOT able to stop the belt, nor does it have the technology to slow it as other omnimover type rides can. The cast was correct in telling you no, unfortunately. Remember, a large reason for this involves "what if" scenarios. If the ride is to malfunction and the cast needs to get you off the ride, they need you to be able to exit, as I'm sure you would want to!!
Luckily, the newer rides are built with more flexible capabilities for guests with disabilities.

From Jordan P
Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:53 AM
There's nothing keeping them from stopping the belt on Peter Pan. It used to be done all the time. It's not that they can't stop it, they just don't want to anymore.

From sarah g
Posted February 17, 2013 at 8:14 PM
no, they cannot stop the belt. i mean, i suppose if you want to get super technical about it, it physically CAN be done, but the policy is not to stop it. the cast isn't being insensitive.

two things to consider:
-peter pan's flight is an extremely old ride. every ride stop runs the potential for an unrecoverable stop, which means an evacuation. hassle for guests, and a very long down time. not to mention, the guests with disabilities who were not able to walk on a moving belt are now expected to climb out of a suspended boat and get down a ladder.

- every "belt stop" is also a ride stop. so, there are who knows how many boats suspended in the dark, with people talking over the loudspeaker to stay seated and whatnot. it totally breaks the show, and ruins the experience for everyone else.

From Jordan P
Posted February 18, 2013 at 2:06 PM
I wasn't being technical. "They" refuse to stop the belt, despite the fact that it can be stopped. I didn't specify who "they" are, but it makes no difference. The guest experience remains the same.

As for the ride being old, that's not an excuse for it being inaccessible. If there's that much potential for a malfunction, it's time for a replacement.

From Sarah Meeks
Posted February 18, 2013 at 11:47 PM
X2. There aren't any steps and it's not too hard to get on. Also Space Mountain because it has that spot where if you're in a wheelchair, you can get on and the train slides over.

From Skipper Adam
Posted February 19, 2013 at 9:06 AM
Small World, Pooh, Mermaid rides (which wasn't easy to do since the Wheelchair vehicle stays level whilst all the other vehicles tilt) and the Mexico Ride all can take chairs on them.

From Daniel Etcheberry
Posted February 19, 2013 at 12:24 PM
Actually, Disneyland's Peter Pan is the same ride, and they do stop the boats for everyone, not just for the disabled, without stopping the boats that are inside the ride. At Disneyland, the disabled enter through the exit, and then they board the boat; in MK you have to be ambulatory because there is a belt and they don't stop it. I suppose they did that to make a faster loading. Problem is that they did it at the expense of the disabled.

From sarah g
Posted February 19, 2013 at 7:30 PM
all i'm saying is there isn't any easy answer for peter pan's flight. there are huge pros and cons to every solution. sure, the cast could stop the belt for every guest that needs it, and make the ride more accessible for non ambulatory guests (pro). at the same time, this will cause a plethora of ride stops that intrude on the show (being stopped suspended in mid air, in the dark, for an unknown amount of time while cast members talk over a loudspeaker- con). this will also cause longer ride times, which we all know results in longer wait times. to another point, sure, maybe peter pan's flight is due for an epic refurbishment. i don't think anyone will argue that. but it still leaves the issue of needing the fire department to assist with evacuations of non-ambulatory guests, which is not only tedious and creates longer downtimes, but can be embarrassing for the guest. there is no simple solution that will please everyone.

This discussion has been archived, and is not accepting additional responses.

What's it like to work at Disney World?

Working at Disney World

Insider's Pick: Ever wondered what it would be like to work at the Walt Disney World Resort? Stories from a Theme Park Insider offers more than 100 pages of fun, insightful, and even sometimes touching stories from people who've worked at Disney World's Magic Kingdom. It's a great way to get in the mood for your next trip to Orlando, or just to keep the memories of a Disney World visit alive.

Get it! In paperback | For Kindle | For iBooks