Disney’s theme-parks now includes Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in California, Disney World in Florida, Tokyo Disney Resort, Paris Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland.
Each park around the world has similar rides and uses technology to make them accessible. Almost 50 percent of the rides and attractions at Disney Parks allow you to remain in your chair. Very few rides have absolutely no access.
Aulani is island resort located on the oceanfront in the Ko Olina Resort area of Oahu, Hawaii.
The resort has unique designs to meet the needs of people with disabilities. This includes several pools and hot tubs all equipped with lifts. The Waikolohe Pool has zero-depth entry points for guests to roll right into the water.
The resort provides sand wheelchairs for guest use and accessible paths of travel throughout the property. With an on-site snorkeling reef, a lazy river, and a plethora of accessible splash zones, there is something for everyone. There are several ADA rooms, and accommodations in every shop and restaurant.
Many of the excursions can accommodate people with disabilities. However, it is important to contact Pleasant Activities Excursions directly so they can confirm with the actual tour operator that your needs can be met. Go to: aulaniexcursions.pleasantactivities.com
Disney Cruising with a Disability
Today Disney Cruise line has four ships that sail to Alaska, the Bahamas, the Caribbean and several other destinations. According to the Cruise Critic, Disney rates in the top three of cruises for people with disabilities: “Especially good for families with disabled children, the Disney Cruise line adheres to the philosophy that any child should be able to participate in youth programming, regardless of ability, and youth counselors have experience working with children with disabilities, including autism and behavioral challenges.”
All Disney ships have state-of-the-art, wheelchair-friendly accommodations that include wide bathroom doors, bathtubs with grab bars and/or roll-in showers. Some rooms sleep up to five guests, which is great for families. The cruises in the Caribbean and Bahamas dock at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. The island can be accessed easily by visitors with mobility impairments. The ships dock right at the island, so there is no need for tendering to shore in a ferry boat. This makes debarkation a breeze. Paved pathways provide access throughout the island, and wheelchair users can borrow special wheelchairs provided by Disney to access the sand and water.
Disney World is piloting the new FastPass+ system and MagicBands. These technologies are collectively known as Disney Next Gen and allow visitors to plan, schedule and execute their entire vacation via the Web or smartphone app.
Here are a few of tips:
• Use FastPass+. This program allows you to make appointments ahead of time for up to three of the attractions you most want to see.
• Do some research to find out which attractions have alternate wheelchair accessible entrances. Don’t waste one of your FastPasses on an older attraction where the main entrance isn’t accessible.
• If your disability isn’t visible or if you require more than wheelchair access, stop at guest relations first. A cast member will help you figure out what types of accommodations you need and then issue you a DAS card.
For more info on FastPass+, go here: disneyworld.disney.go.com/plan/my-disney-experience/fastpass-plus