There are a number of things that wheelchair users who visit the world-famous Disney should know about. First up is the Disability Access Service, which allows guests in wheelchairs to approach a specific ride and schedule a return time comparable to the amount of wait time the ride had when they approached. This means that if you go to a ride with a 45-minute wait time, you and an allotted number of people from your party can simply come back after 45 minutes and ride the ride.
Unfortunately, Disney no longer offers wheelchair users instant access to rides, due to reported abuse of the policy. Some rides do still have special entrances for wheelchair users, which can help you avoid crowds and often get you quicker access to rides. You and up to 5 members of your party can use these entrances.
To take advantage of the Disability Access Service, most people will need a card which is good for 60 days. You can obtain one at the Guest Relations office near the park entrance. Your wheelchair is considered enough evidence for you to be eligible to participate in the program.
Park maps as well as Disney’s Guide for Guests with Disabilities indicate which rides are wheelchair accessible. You can remain in your wheelchair for some rides, including Toy Story Mania, Jungle Cruise and Kilimanjaro Safari, but one important thing to note is that certain rides may require that you transfer from your wheelchair to another seat. You must do this on your own or with a family member, since Disney staff are not allowed to physically lift or help guests who need to transfer.
Most areas along Disney parade routes are accessible, as well. However, you and up to five members of your party can also take advantage of first come, first serve viewing areas which are designated for wheelchair users.
If you don’t want to bring your wheelchair, you can also rent a wheelchair or electric vehicle on a first come, first serve basis at any of Disney’s four theme parks. Wheelchairs cost $12 for one day or $10 per day for a multi-day visit and electric vehicles cost $50, plus a deposit. One thing to note is that you can’t transfer your wheelchair from park to park; you’ll have to rent a new one at each park. If you’re changing parks or will be visiting Disney for more than one day, make sure to hold on to your wheelchair rental ticket. This page lists all the locations in the various parks where you can rent a wheelchair.
Getting around Disney is easy for wheelchair users: the Walt Disney World Resort Bus System accommodates wheelchair travel, but to make things smoother, call them in advance and let them know where you’ll be staying and for how long. Disney’s monorail system is also accessible via elevator as well as the Disney World Resort hotels which feature ramps and elevators as well as courtesy wheelchairs and rooms specifically designed for wheelchair users.