Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Little RV Does Walt Disney World - Disability Style

I'm writing this post to include information about enjoying Disney as a disabled person. It's doable and Disney goes out of their way to make it as easy as possible. 
Rob on his rental scooter in Germany (Epcot).
 We arrived in the Orlando area on Tuesday afternoon. We are in a Thousand Trails park convenient to the Disney campus. Rob's oldest daughter Meghan, her husband Alex and our oldest granddaughter Amelia are staying just two miles from us. When we were in Connecticut last fall we cooked up this plan to meet up down here and go to Disney World together. Amelia found out about the plans at Christmas! That's an exciting Christmas gift for a five year old.
Alex, Meghan and Amelia
Our first day in the park was Thursday when we went to Epcot. I had done some reading online about Disney's services for the disabled. All of the parks have wheelchair and scooter rentals near the front entrance. Rob has a handicapped parking placard so the parking lot attendants directed us to that area of the lot. We managed to snag a front row parking space. 

We started our slow walk into the park and discovered wheelchairs at the end of our row. Alex grabbed one and he wheeled Rob along as we made our way through the admission lines and to he stroller, wheelchair, scooter rental area so we could rent a scooter. The cost for the scooter was $70 for one day. This included a $20 refundable deposit. 

I know you've always wanted to see us in a giant clam shell!!
Once we had our transportation handled we made our way to Guest Services to sign up our group for the disability program. They linked the five of us together as a group. When we wanted to get into an event or ride our group would go to the line attendant and they would either send us through the bypass line or give us a time to come back so we could avoid waiting in the endless lines. It's a great system. Once we made it to the front of the line Rob could park his scooter and Alex helped him get settled into the ride and away we went. After the ride the scooter was magically moved to a convenient location for us to move on to the next adventure.
Meghan in Norway
We had a great day but finally petered out around 4:00. We left the rest of the family to continue the fun while we headed for the exit. Alex tried to come along and help us get back to the car but I was stubborn and didn't let him. I shouldn't have been so stubborn.
Morocco at Epcot

Getting out and back to the car took some work. We had a bit of trouble finding the scooter rental kiosk but were finally able to return the scooter, get a wheelchair and make the long, slow walk back to the car.  

There is a Disney app for Apple and Android smart phones that directs you around the parks, gives wait time for the rides and locates other attractions but I didn't realize it would have been helpful to me until after we left the park. I had it installed and ready for our second Disney day at the Magic Kingdom on Saturday. 

Entering The Magic Kingdom is a completely different experience. The parking lots are endless but because of Rob's disabled parking tag we were able to snag a spot very near the front of the parking lot. This time we knew to look for a wheelchair to get Rob from the car into the park so we could rent a scooter. We later found out we could only take that specific wheelchair so far and we were told we had to switch it for a different one. Then we waded our way through admission and onto the ferry for the ride across the lake and into The Magic Kingdom. It took us more than an hour to get from our car into the actual park. 
Rob with Alex

Once inside the fun began!  It was Saturday so things were pretty crowded in the park but we managed to wade through. I can't tell you how many times Rob had to stop suddenly in order to avoid mowing down a stray child or a checked-out adult with a cell phone in hand.

Cinderella's Castle is still gorgeous! 
We rode several rides including the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, Splash Mountain and It's a Small World. 
And just like that it was time for our little princess to have a late lunch with the Disney Princesses. 

We said our goodbyes to the kids because they had a very early flight home the next morning. Rob and I left the park and made our way back to the car. We got home about 4:20 PM. It was a long day but we had a great time. Let the recovery begin. 

As I am writing this we are a little more than half way to our home for the next month. Orange Beach, Alabama.  We'll be leaving in a couple of hours and should arrive early this afternoon. 


  1. I have a 16 yr old special needs granddaughter. We have annual passes and go to Disneyland about four times a year. Why do we go to Disney so often? Because no one treats the disabled community as well as they do. The recent implementation of the DAS (disability access system) pass has been a great improvement in cutting down on abuse of the benefit. Used to be groups of teenagers would rent a wheelchair and take turns pushing each other around the parks so they could cut the lines. The new system has really eliminated a lot of that abuse.

    We've always said we would gladly trade healthy people's wait time in ride lines for the disability our girl has, and not just on Disney days, but 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. People don't understand what it means to us to have a little help from Disney in making this challenge just a little easier each time we go.

    Sounds like you had a magical time!

    1. Donna, I love that you can take your granddaughter so often. I bet she loves it. We did have a great time.