MAGIC KINGDOM- Wheeling around the World: A Second Look at Vacationing in Disney with those in Wheelchairs and Scooters
It was about a week ago that I vacationed with a nice group of people. Diane and her crew asked me to help with their Uncle Al, who was wheelchair bound for the Parks. Two others of our party of 8 people needed scooters, so we were at the mercy of the Parks and what they had in store for the “wheels.” Here is my experience with it, enjoy!
I thought I would break this down into Parks (and separate blog posts) so it is easier for you to get an idea of how it went down. Also for reference sake in the future, you can look up a specific section of this post to see how to handle it. I want to make clear I will be listing only the attractions we personally rode and dealt with. I am also going to be using stars to give you an idea of how they tested on the “wheels” compatibility and access. 1-5 – 5 being EXCELLENT and 1 being poor.
“Peter Pan”- I’m starting with this one because this is the one that almost gave me a heart attack. The nice thing on this ride is that wheel chair access gets you into the fastpass lane and you beat most of the line. The downside is that I was by myself when I attempted to move Al from his wheelchair onto the MOVING platform. Yes, the MOVING PLATFORM. They did NOT slow it down, and we almost lost Uncle Al. He was like someone on rollerskates for the first time, he couldn’t find his balance on it- and I was terrified he was going to fall. He used his cane to get into the ship, and thankfully we both got in before they were ready to fly. Case and point? Make sure the CM’s SLOW THE BELT DOWN as it will make or break the ease of getting into it. I give this attraction three stars because the belt wasn’t slowed down. ***
“It’s A Small World”- Easy access for both scooters and wheelchair in and out of the attraction, along with being able to transfer right at the boat. Besides the ramp to push him back up on, I would give this attraction four stars. ****
“Ariel-Journey of the Little Mermaid”- The newest ride in the Fantasyland Expansion, it was open during the Halloween party while we were there. The queue was easy to get through with scooters and wheelchair, and they parked all three before transferring everyone to the moving belt. Yikes, another moving belt, I wasn’t as confident as I was before Peter Pan. They held remotes and the CM’s were able to slow the belt down to a crawl, SO HELPFUL!! We got him on and off with no problem, and the wheels were very close by to get back in and then wheel back out of the attraction. FIVE STARS for you Ariel!! *****
“Pirates of the Caribbean”- Left or Right side, either are wheelchair friendly, but not for scooters or strollers. You must park it and walk in, if you can, which this one can be a bit of a journey if you are struggling. I was able to wheel Al to the boat area and transfer him right from the chair to his seat in our row. Again, any way you can have someone in and out of the boat rides to lend a hand, it’s a big help for the person having a hard time getting in. Five stars. *****
“Haunted Mansion”- Whether you go through the Cemetery or not, both are accessible. Everyone goes into the same entrance, but once you are in the first room, they have you and the wheels wait until everyone else fills the stretching room, then your party enters. Once everyone leaves that room for the doom buggies, you enter a hallway. Ironically they take you BACK outside to the exit area where the tombs are, and that is where you park everything. They then walk you into the exit area of the ride and slow down the belt to get into your “Doom Buggy.” It worked well and we were able to get out easy enough- I just had to ask them right away to slow it down. Because of ANOTHER moving belt, I would give it four stars. ****
“Big Thunder Mountain Railroad”- Wheels go up and around to the exit area, which is in the far back, where they line you up outside first. Once the CM comes out, they guide you to another “Corral.” This one literally has a gate where they hold you, and they smush you together with everyone else. I have to tell you all, there isn’t much room when you have a wheelchair and two scooters, but, whatever. They were able to all transfer onto the coaster and then find their wheels after the ride. Three stars for the whole “corral” thing. ***
“Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party”- I was most impressed by the parade viewing area they reserve in Liberty Square for any of the parades, but because this Party only has two parade times, spots were treasures to be found. We parked everyone about 30 minutes before the parade, and it was a perfect view and spot. I did find that once it got closer to the parade, the vultures swooped in to try and steal these reserved areas. Ugh, people. The Party as a whole I found fine to get around with the wheels, and the only tight spot was the candy areas. Some were in areas that weren’t as easy to come and go in. I’d give it four stars. ****