Disaster falls in the same category as E.T., but with a slight change. Like E.T., this ride can accommodate a wheelchair, but that spot is on the first row to the left when entering the train. It is not the best spot, and the experience was less exciting with the wheelchair.
Other rides with minimal change were all the ones that accepted wheelchairs, such as it’s a Small World and the river boat at Epcot’s Mexican pavilion (the only change in these rides is that I see everything from a higher height, and when another boat bumps behind my boat, I feel a stronger jolt).
Going down the ladder are the rides where I have to transfer (with help of family members). The first time I rode Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom, I experienced the stretching room. People in wheelchairs have to enter through the exit, so I never saw that room again. Cast members stop the ride so one can transfer. Once seated, it is the same experience.
Going further down the ladder are the rides that are difficult to transfer. When I rode Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom in 1996, it was relaxing and enjoyable; when I rode it again in 2001, it was relaxing and enjoyable except for the transfer out of the boat. The family member who rode it with me could not get me out, and we got lucky that there was a guest who helped us. After that experience I never rode Splash Mountain again. I miss that ride.
Going even further down the ladder are the rides that I don’t feel comfortable anymore. I rode Dinosaur in the nineties; by then I found it exhilarating, but when I rode it again in the 2000s, I felt that I was going to slip out of the vehicle. I was lucky that my brother-in-law was sitting next to me, and he hold me tight. This time I did not enjoy the ride at all.
At the bottom of the ladder are the rides that are impossible to experience again. I enjoyed Space Mountain (MK) in 1996; now I don’t even dare to try. It’s a low vehicle with only one seat per row and very narrow. Very narrow leg room as well. Another impossible ride that I enjoyed in the nineties and became non-accessible for me was Spaceship Earth at Epcot. The disabled had to enter the ride through the exit, and they had to climb stairs! A few years ago they changed those stairs for a ramp, and I was able to experience the ride again.
Being a theme park fan and disabled sucks (for a lack of a better word), but one day I saw something that changed my perspective of life; there was a blind girl in front of me at one of the rides, and even though she couldn’t see the ride itself, she was able to listen to the music and feel the movement of the vehicle. Her imagination must have gone wild. Nevertheless, I felt blessed that I still can see the sights, and it also was a learning experience that no matter what limitations one can have, there is always an enjoyment to be had in a theme park.Tweet
1. Even if you transfer to the Train, you must leave the wheelchair at the station. You can't leave at the next station.
2. Can you feel your legs? You will miss out on some special effects at the 3D theater shows.
3. Most marque rides are thrills. Doesn't that impede enjoyment especially since you can't brace yourself or standup? I would think you're also more susceptible to nausea.
4. Interactive rides like Buzz Lightyear isn't much fun if you can't shoot the laser guns.
5. Many seats are slippery especially the Fantasyland dark rides. You will slip onto the floor if can't sit upright and no one is there to help you.
On the bright side, you can still enjoy the parks.
Anyway thanks for your article and please keep them coming.
What they DID add in the last 10 years is an ADA ride car with a side door which opens wider than the 'regular' ride car. That makes it easier to get in.
Universal Studios parks are accessible too as well. In fact, they put captions right on a second viewer at some of their attractions. For instance, The Simpsons Ride. They also have sign language interpreters there on a daily basis. Disney parks only have interpreters a couple times per week at each park and once at Animal Kingdom. It was wonderful to have the interpreters at the Universal Studios parks on any given day, this way, I didn't have to pick the day I would have to go just to take advantage of the interpreters.
What truly astonished me about the Disney parks was how many cast members knew some sign language. Something that I didn't expect at all. Both Universal Studios and Disney Parks have their pros and cons.
A while ago, they invested in a handheld captioning device that you carry around, it looks like a small tablet of some sort. You have to make a deposit of $25 and you will get it back by the time you return the device. The device is full of glitches, I suspect it's something to do with the radio interference.
Anyway, the SAG probably would work the best if it's modified and made more light so you can carry it around the park. It would be better than the RWC and the CaptiView, and you would not have to ask anyone to activate it as long as they are in the wifi range of the attraction itself. Less work for everyone involved. Just some ideas I had in mind.
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