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Brian Bennett

[ Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide - Contents ] [ Return ]

Special Assistance from A to Z

This page provides lots more details (listed in alphabetical order, for your convenience) best understand the issues of park touring when you (or someone in your party) needs!

ABC's of Walt Disney World Special Assistance  |  Accommodations Issues  |  Animal Kingdom Attractions  | Assistive Listening Systems  |  Disney / MGM Studios Attractions  |  Epcot Attractions  |  First Aid  |  General Accessibility  |  Guest Relations  |  Hearing Disabilities  |  How Much of Walt Disney World is Really Accessible to folks in wheelchairs or ECVs?  |  Magic Kingdom Attractions  |  Other Information on Special Assistance at Walt Disney World  |  Parades / Fireworks  |  Parking  |  Reflective Captioning  |  Restaurants  |  Restrooms  |  Service Animals  |  Sign Language Services  |  Telephones  |  Video Captioning  |  Visual Disabilities  |  Walt Disney World  |  Wheelchair and ECVs

ABC's of Walt Disney World Special Assistance

Walt Disney World offers a lot of help to folks that need special assistance during their vacation.  Most of the information here is for folks that have accessibility concerns, but folks with hearing and visual disabilities will find some assistance is available at Walt Disney World for them, too.

Accommodations Issues

All of the Walt Disney World Resorts offer accommodations for folks with disabilities. Features vary depending from resort to resort and from building to building.  For information specific to individual Resorts, please call the Walt Disney World Resort Special Reservations hotline at (407) 939-7807 (voice) or (407) 939-7670 (TTY).

Accommodations for folks with disabilities may include the following (you'll want to make sure that the room you reserve has any special features that you rely upon):

  • Wider bathroom doors
  • Roll-in showers
  • Shower benches
  • Hand-held shower heads
  • Accessible vanities
  • Portable commodes
  • Bathroom grab bars
  • Bed rails
  • Rubber bed pads
  • Open frame beds
  • Door knock and phone alerts
  • Bed shaker alarm
  • Text Typewriter (TTY)
  • Strobe light smoke detector
  • Phone amplifier

Plus, the following 

  • Buses with wheelchair lifts
  • Double peep holes in doors
  • Refrigerators (may include an additional charge)
  • Closed Captioned televisions
  • Braille on signage and elevators

Animal Kingdom Attractions

Discovery Island (formerly Safari Village)

It's Tough to be a Bug

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance. Upon exiting the theater, you'll need to turn left to reach the exit ramp.

Tree of Life Garden

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the main pathway.

Camp Minnie-Mickey

"Festival of The Lion King" at Lion King Theater

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance.

"Pocahontas and her Forest Friends" at Grandmother Willow's Grove

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance.

Dinoland USA

The Boneyard

People using wheelchairs should enter through the designated access gate. This attraction is difficult to move around in when using a wheelchair. The upper level and many of the play pieces are available to those who are able to leave their wheelchairs. Not recommended for ECVs.

Dinosaur

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance where a cast member will provide further directions. In the event evacuation from this ride is necessary, you must walk short distances or wait to be evacuated.

Official WDW policy states, "For safety and comfort, guests should be in good health and free from heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this ride."

Cretaceous Trail

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the main pathway.

Triceratop Spin

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the designated entrance gate next to the attraction entrance where a cast member will provide entry to the attraction. People may need the assistance of a member of their party to board.

Primeval Whirl

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance where a cast member will provide further directions.

Official WDW policy states, "For safety and comfort, guests should be in good health and free from heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this ride."

"Tarzan Rocks" at Theater in the Wild

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance and you'll be directed by a cast member to the designated viewing area.

Africa

Kilimanjaro Safari

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance, then follow the signs to the designated loading area, where a cast member will provide further directions. If you're an ECV, you'll need to transfer to a ride vehicle seat or to an available attraction wheelchair. In the event evacuation from this ride is necessary, you must walk short distances or wait to be evacuated.

A view of wheelchair accessibility on the safari ride vehicle.
A view of wheelchair accessibility on the safari ride vehicle.
A view of wheelchair accessibility on the safari ride vehicle.

Official WDW policy states, "For safety and comfort, guests should be in good health and free from heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this ride."

Pangani Forest Exploration Trail

People enter through the main pathway.

Wildlife Express to Rifiki's Planet Watch

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance. A cast member at the load platform will direct boarding.

Rifiki's Planet Watch

Affection Section

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard entrance. Note, too, that animals like wheelchairs since they can scratch themselves against the wheels. Be prepared, in the affection section, to be treated rather "affectionately." Also, you may want to remove (or stow) any blankets, books, or other items that the animals (particularly the goats) may try to chew on.

Planet Watch Pavilion

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard entrance.

Asia

"Flights of Wonder" at Caravan Stage

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance and go down the far left aisle to the designated viewing area.

Kali River Rapids

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance, where a cast member will direct them to the appropriate boarding dock just before the turntable. In the event evacuation from this ride is necessary, folks must walk short distances or wait to be evacuated.

Official WDW policy states, "For safety and comfort, guests should be in good health and free from heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this ride."

Maharajah Jungle Trek

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard pathway.

Assistive Listening Systems

If you have mild hearing loss, you may find an assistive listening system (a light weight infrared sound amplifier which can receive signals from transmitters that are installed in certain locations in the parks) to be helpful.  They are available (a refundable, $25 deposit is required) at Guest Relations in each park.  They operate at the following attractions:

  • Magic Kingdom
    • Castle Forecourt Stage
    • Mickey's Toontown Fair - Judges' Tent
    • Country Bear Jamboree
    • Diamond Horseshoe Saloon
    • Sunny Eclipse at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe
    • The Hall of Presidents
    • Legend of the Lion King
    • Alien Encounter
    • TimeKeeper
    • Carousel of Progress
    • Galaxy Palace Theater
    • The Enchanted Tiki Room
  • Epcot
    • Ellen's Energy Adventure
    • Wonders of Life: Cranium Command; The Making of Me; Goofy About Health
    • Test Track: Briefing Rooms; Demonstration Area
    • The Living Seas: Theaters
    • The Land: The Circle of Life; Food Rocks
    • Honey, I Shrunk the Audience
    • O Canada!
    • Impressions de France
    • The American Adventure; America Gardens Theatre
    • Biergarten
    • Wonders of China
    • Maelstrom: Theater
    • Innoventions: Certain Attractions
  • Disney / MGM Studios
    • Theater of the Stars
    • The Magic of Disney Animation
    • Voyage of the Little Mermaid
    • Backlot Theater
    • Muppet*Vision 3D
    • Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular!
    • Sounds Dangerous
    • Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
    • Fantasmic
    • The Great Movie Ride (preshow only)
  • Animal Kingdom
    • It's Tough to Be a Bug
    • Lion King Theater
    • Grandmother Willow's Grove
    • Kilamanjaro Safaris
    • Wildlife Express
    • Theater in the Wild
    • Caravan Stage
    • Conservation Station
    • Dinosaur (pre-show only)
    • Kali River Rapids (queue entrance only)

Disney / MGM Studios Attractions

Hollywood Boulevard Area

The Great Movie Ride

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance. A cast member will direct folks in the preshow area. People using ECVs will need to transfer to the ride vehicle or a standard wheelchair that will be provided upon request by the cast member at the boarding area.

A view of the standard Great Movie Ride vehicle.
A view of the standard Great Movie Ride vehicle.

Echo Lake Area

Star Tours

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance. Wheelchairs may be brought into the Star Tours vehicle where you will be required to make a diagonal transfer to the vehicle seat. People using ECVs will need to transfer to a wheelchair that will be provided upon request by the cast member at the beginning of the queue entrance.

Official WDW policy states, "For safety and comfort, guests should be in good health and free from heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this ride."

Sounds Dangerous

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance. A cast member will direct folks in wheelchairs or ECVs. This attraction contains segments in total darkness and requires that you wear headphones to fully experience the binaural audio effects.

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular

Contact a cast member before entering the attraction or waiting in line. Recommended arrival time is at least 20 minutes before the scheduled start of the show.

Sunset Boulevard Area

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance. A cast member will direct folks in boarding. People using ECVs will need to transfer to a standard wheelchair that will be provided by the cast member at the attraction entrance. You will be required to transfer from the wheelchair into the ride vehicle within a 30-second timeframe. If evacuation of this ride is needed, you must negotiate stairs and walk through narrow passages or wait to be evacuated.


A view of the standard Rock 'n' roller Coaster ride vehicle.
A view of the standard Rock 'n' roller Coaster ride vehicle.

Official WDW policy states, "For safety and comfort, guests should be in good health and free from heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this ride."

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance.

Official WDW policy states, "For safety and comfort, guests should be in good health and free from heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this ride."

Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should access the theater via the ramp located on the left of the attraction. Recommended arrival time is at least 20 minutes before the scheduled start of the show.

Fantasmic

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance keeping to the far right side.

Mickey Avenue / Backlot Area

One Man's Dream

Contact a cast member at attraction entrance for instructions.

Backstage Pass

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance. People using wheelchairs or ECVs should stay to the right while entering the attraction. Because of the nature of the experience, this attraction can only accommodate a limited number of folks using wheelchairs or ECVs per tour.

Backlot Tour

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance then stay to the far right when entering the attraction and enter to the designated entrance gate. Notify a cast member for boarding instructions. People may leave their wheelchairs or ECVs (which will be folded and loaded onto the shuttle) or ride in a wheelchair- accessible vehicle.

Official WDW policy states, "For safety and comfort, guests should be in good health and free from heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this ride."

The Magic of Disney Animation

People should enter through the standard queue entrance. People utilizing ECVs will need to transfer to a standard wheelchair that will be provided by the cast member at the building entrance.

Playhouse Disney - Live on Stage

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance.

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance.

Who Wants to be a Millionaire - Play It!

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance.

New York Street Area

Jim Henson's MuppetVision 3-D

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance.

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure

People using wheelchairs should enter through the designated access gate. This attraction is difficult to move around in when using a wheelchair. The upper level and many of the play pieces are available to those who are able to leave their wheelchairs. Not recommended for ECVs.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame -- A Musical Adventure

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance. A cast member will direct you to designated seating areas. Recommended arrival time is at least 20 minutes before the scheduled start of the show.

Epcot Attractions

Future World

Spaceship Earth

Enter at the exit of this attraction where a cast member will give you boarding directions. In this attraction, folks move forward in slow-moving vehicles up an incline, and later turn-around to ride backward for a slow return down a very steep incline. If an evacuation of this ride is required, you must be able to walk down (possibly many) flights of stairs or else wait to be evacuated.

Innoventions

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard entrance.

Ellen's Energy Adventure (Universe of Energy)

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance. People using ECVs will need to transfer to a standard wheelchair that will be provided by the cast member at the building entrance. At the conclusion of the pre-show, you should enter the "theater" with everyone else.  However, instead of entering up the carpeted ramps to access seating, stay to the right of the carpeted ramp and wait for a cast member to provide boarding instructions. This attraction can accommodate up to six wheelchairs per show. Due to limited seating, folks using wheelchairs and up to three members of their party can be accommodated in reserved seating. 

The Wonders of Life

Body Wars

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance. People using ECVs will need to transfer to a standard wheelchair that will be provided by the cast member at the beginning of the queue entrance. Wheelchairs may be brought into the Body Wars vehicle where folks will be required to make a diagonal transfer to the vehicle seat. 

Official WDW policy states, "For safety and comfort, guests should be in good health and free from heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this ride."

Cranium Command

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance where a cast member will direct you to designated seating areas.

"Goofy About Health"

People using wheelchairs or ECVs and their group should simply gather around the theater area. A cast member will direct you to designated seating areas.

AnaComical Players

People using wheelchairs or ECVs and their group should simply gather around the theater area. A cast member will direct you to designated seating areas.

The Making of Me

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance where a cast member will direct you to designated seating areas.

Test Track

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance. When you exit the briefing room, a cast member will direct you to the loading area. People will be required to transfer from their wheelchairs or ECVs to the test vehicles to experience this attraction. There is a stationary vehicle available in a private area of you wish to practice getting in and out of the vehicle. If an evacuation of this ride is required, you must be able to walk down flights of stairs and walk through narrow passages or else wait to be evacuated.

Official WDW policy states, "For safety and comfort, guests should be in good health and free from heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this ride."

Journey into Imagination

Journey into Your Imagination

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance and follow the signs when you reach the boarding area where a cast member will provide further directions.

Honey, I Shrunk the Audience

People should enter through the standard queue entrance. People using ECVs will need to transfer to a standard wheelchair that will be provided by the cast member at the building entrance. Due to limited seating, folks using wheelchairs and only one member of their party can be seated next to each other. All additional members of the party will be seated in the row immediately in front. This theater can accommodate eight wheelchairs per show.

The Land

Note: The lower level of the building can be accessed by using the elevator to the left of the Garden Grill Restaurant.

Living With the Land

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter directly to the wheelchair loading area located behind the staircase. People using ECVs will need to transfer to a standard wheelchair that will be provided at the boarding area.

"Behind the Seeds" (Greenhouse Tour)

People using ECVs will be required to transfer to a standard wheelchair that will be provided at the beginning of the tour.

Food Rocks

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance where a cast member will direct you to designated seating areas.

The Circle of Life

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance where a cast member will direct you to designated seating areas.

The Living Seas

Caribbean Coral Reef Ride / Sea Base Alpha

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance. People using ECVs are encouraged to park them outside or transfer to an available wheelchair.

World Showcase

O Canada

Access to the theater is via the path through Victoria Gardens (past the Le Cellier Steakhouse.) A cast member will provide directions on viewing areas in the theater. Because of the unique 360-degree format of this presentation, you may experience the sensation of movement.

Impressions de France

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the left side of the entrance hallway where a cast member will provide further directions.

The American Adventure

The cast member at the entrance will give you directions to an elevator to go up to the second floor. This theater can accommodate 14 wheelchairs or ECVs per show.

Wonders of China: Land of Beauty, Land of Time

A cast member will provide directions on viewing areas in the theater. Because of the unique 360-degree format of this presentation, folks may experience the sensation of movement.

Maelstrom

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance where a cast member will provide further directions. In this attraction, folks must be able to walk up two steps to board and exit the boat. During the ride, the boat will move rapidly up a steep incline and will then move backwards briefly before turning and facing forward again to go down a short, but steep drop. If an evacuation of this ride is required, you must be able to walk down (possibly many) flights of stairs or else wait to be evacuated.

El Rio Del Tiempo: The River of Time

People using wheelchairs or ECVs can enter the Mexico Pavilion through the side door located to the far right of the main entrance.  Then, go through the exit of the attraction where a cast member at the dock will provide further directions. People utilizing ECVs will need to transfer to a standard wheelchair that will be provided by the cast member at the boarding area.

First Aid

First Aid is available in each park as follows:

  • Magic Kingdom - on the West side and at the end of main street (nestled midway between Casey's and the Crystal Palace Restaurant).
  • Epcot - on the World Showcase side of the Odyssey Center between Test Track and the Mexico Pavilion, you'll find the facility at the top of the walkway closest to Mexico.  There are signs to direct you, but you have to keep your eyes open.
  • Disney / MGM Studios - located in the guest services building, just to the left as you enter the gate (next to Sid Cuehuenga's One-of-a-Kind Shop).  
  • Animal Kingdom  - located way to the West side of the  Oasis, just past the Pizzafari Restaurant as you walk in from the entrance of the park.

General Attraction Accessibility

There are several different categories of attractions at Walt Disney World.  Knowing a bit more about those types of attractions can really make it easier to understand how to deal with your particular disability with regard to each attraction.:

  • Shows that are presented in theaters.  These shows may be Broadway-like stage shows, films (or movies), multi-
  • Wheelchair Access Rides (like It's a Small World which has wheelchair accessible boats) that folks can get into without getting out of the wheelchair at all.
  • Static Loading, Easy Access Rides (like the Great Movie Ride) that folks can get into without the ride vehicle moving.
  • Static Loading, Difficult Access Rides (like Space Mountain) that folks can get into without the ride vehicle moving, but with ride vehicles that require significant physical dexterity to get in and out of.
  • Continuous Loading Rides (like Spaceship Earth, Peter Pan, etc.) that require that folks get onto a moving platform to get onto the ride vehicle.

These designations are used throughout this page to describe the attractions.

Here are a few more comments:

  • For most rides, the guest in the wheelchair will have to be able to get out of the chair and walk a short distance to get into the ride vehicle.  If the guest is completely unable to get out of the chair without significant help or has a very difficult time walking, then the number of attractions that that guest can enjoy drops significantly.
  • Due to insurance requirements and legal issues, Walt Disney World cast members are not permitted to physically transfer folks to and from wheelchairs or ECVs.
  • Most rides have a separate entrance for wheelchairs or ECVs (sometimes the exit, where you enter "backwards" and go up to the loading area).  These separate entrances are not intended to be a means for bypassing the queue entrances, but simply an easier means of access to the loading area.  Walt Disney World's standard policy is that up to five members of a disabled guest's party may go along through the separate entrance.
  • Some attractions, such as Alien Encounter, just have you wait in the regular queue entrance.
  • Many attractions, Voyage of the Little Mermaid for example, have a separate waiting area for wheelchairs or ECVs but only allow a limited number per show.

Guest Relations

Guest Relations at each of the theme parks provides several services, including providing general park information, helping folks with priority seating arrangements for restaurants, help with park admission media, guidemaps, entertainment schedules, and information on services for folks with disabilities.

Guest relations is located as follows:

  • Magic Kingdom - located in City Hall on main street's square.
  • Epcot - located in Innoventions East (to the far left of Spaceship Earth as you enter the park) in Future World.
  • Disney / MGM Studios - to the left, just past the main entrance of the park near Sid Cahuenga's One-Of-A-Kind Store.
  • Animal Kingdom - to the left, just past the main entrance of the park.

Hearing Disabilities

Paper and writing implements are available throughout the park if you need to communicate with a cast member for any reason.  Also, packets containing show dialogue and narrations, flashlights, and pen and paper are available for many shows and attractions.

Cast members trained in sign language can be identified by the appropriate language pin.

Also, note that assistive listening systems, pay telephones equipped with amplified handsets and TTY sets, sign language services, reflective Captioning, and video captioning are available at the parks as well.

How Much of Walt Disney World is Really Accessible to folks in wheelchairs or ECVs?

A commonly asked question about accessibility at Walt Disney World is, "How Much of Walt Disney World is Really Accessible to folks in wheelchairs or ECVs?"

Like many trip planning issues, the question is an easy one, but the answer is a bit more complicated.  Of course, the entire park itself (the walkways, various "lands" or pavilions, restaurants, etc.) is accessible to wheelchairs or ECVs.  However, the various attractions are the complicated part.

Attractions, as you know, are broken up into several types (I did a quick count of the attractions at the major parks of each type, but I may be off by a couple here or there as I didn't double check... there is a total of 83):

  • (28) Shows (like the Beauty & the Beast stage show) in theaters.
  • (9) Wheelchair access rides (like the Great Movie Ride) that folks can get into without getting out of the wheelchair at all.
  • (26) Static loading, easy access rides (like the Great Movie Ride) that folks can get into without the ride vehicle moving.
  • (14) Static loading, difficult access rides (like Space Mountain) that folks can get into without the ride vehicle moving, but with ride vehicles that require significant physical dexterity to get in and out of.
  • (6) Continuous loading rides (like Spaceship Earth, Peter Pan, etc.) that require that folks get onto a moving platform to get onto the ride vehicle.

So to answer the question, "How much of the park including rides, etc., is accessible by customers in wheel chairs?"...

If we just go by the number of attractions (knowing, of course, that the vast majority of the parks -- including restaurants and so on --  is at least "accessible" via wheelchair), and if we assume that the guest is completely unable to get out of the wheelchair, then I'd say the answer is (28+9)/83=45%.  If the guest can get out of the wheelchair and walk for short distances and deal with easy access, then I'd say the answer is (28+9+26)/83=76%.  If the guest can get out of the wheelchair and walk for short distances and deal with more difficult access including moving platforms, and so on, then the answer is 100%.

Magic Kingdom Attractions

Main Street

Click here to take a great photo tour of Main Street!

Walt Disney World Railroad

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter up the ramp located next to the Main Street Gallery where a cast member will provide further directions.  Note that the Railroad cannot accommodate ECVs.

Main Street Vehicles

Boarding locations may be found throughout Town Square and in front of Cinderella Castle. Folding wheelchairs or ECVs may be placed in most of the vehicles for the one-way trip.

Adventureland

Click here to take a great photo tour of Adventureland!

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the designated entrance gate next to the attraction entrance where a cast member will provide entry to the attraction. People may need the assistance of a member of their party to board.

Tropical Serenade - Under New Management!

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter the pre-show area through the designated gate on the right side of the turnstiles. A cast member will then direct your party.

Pirates of the Caribbean

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance. A cast member will assist your party at the turnstiles. You then then wind your way through a "cave" to the loading area. Folding wheelchairs may be lifted into the boat (nonfolding wheelchairs and ECVs may be exchanged for folding wheelchairs at the entrance.) A limited number of the folding wheelchairs are available, so a brief wait may be necessary. People must negotiate two steps as they board and exit the boat.  During the ride, the boats will accelerate rapidly down a short, steep waterfall. An elevator is available at the unload area to exit the attraction.

Swiss Family Treehouse

This attraction requires walking up and down many, many, many (some say 128) stairs.  Bottom line, if you need to be in a wheelchair or ECV, you'd be best off to skip the Treehouse.

Jungle Cruise

People using wheelchairs or ECVs can enter using a ramped pathway. A cast member at the unload area on the far left will provide instructions for boarding. Because of the bobbing nature of the boat at dockside, a member of the party may need to help folks step down to board and exit the boat.

Frontierland

Diamond Horseshoe Saloon Revue

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should use the ramp to the right of the Saloon to reach the entrance doors.

Frontierland Shootin' Arcade

Locate the ramp to the left of the arcade. There are a couple of gun positions that can accommodate folks in wheelchairs or ECVs.

Country Bear Jamboree

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter the attraction through the designated door located on the far left side of the main entrance. Notify a cast member for assistance.

Tom Sawyer Island

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the exit and follow the path to the loading area.

NOTE: Tom Sawyer Island is not recommended for folks using ECVs as there are many stairs, bridges, inclines, and narrow caves that will make moving around very difficult.

Splash Mountain

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance until their party reaches the designated access gate where a cast member will provide boarding directions. If an evacuation of this ride is required, you must be able to walk down flights of stairs and walk through narrow passages or else wait to be evacuated.

Official WDW policy states, "For safety and comfort, guests should be in good health and free from heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this ride."

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should locate the two exits at the far right of the attraction. Continue to the loading area, staying along the wall area of the pathway. A cast member will direct boarding. If evacuation from this attraction is necessary, you must walk short distances or wait to be evacuated.

Official WDW policy states, "For safety and comfort, guests should be in good health and free from heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this ride."

Liberty Square

The Hall of Presidents

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter the lobby through the door on the right side of the turnstiles where a cast member will provide further directions.

The Haunted Mansion

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance until their party reaches the designated access gate where a cast member will provide further directions.

Liberty Belle Riverboat

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should locate the exit ramp on the far left or right side of the landing and enter to the dock area where a cast member will provide further directions.

Mickey's Toontown Fair

Goofy's Barnstormer

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance where a cast member will provide further directions.

Official WDW policy states, "For safety and comfort, guests should be in good health and free from heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this ride."

Donald's Boat

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance.

Character Greetings

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance.

Fantasyland

Cinderella's Carousel

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should wait at the exit gate located to the right of the entrance and notify a cast member for further directions. People must be about to sit on one of the carrousel horses or in the non-moving chariot to experience this attraction.

Mad Tea Party

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should wait at the exit located on the right of the operator's control booth where a cast member will provide further directions.

NOTE: Because of the centrifugal force produced by the spinning tea cups, individuals with difficulty maintaining an upright-sitting posture should not ride this attraction.

Dumbo

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the designated entrance gate next to the attraction entrance where a cast member will provide entry to the attraction. People may need the assistance of a member of their party to board.

Legend of the Lion King

This show is now closed.  A new 3-D movie attraction, staring Mickey Mouse, will be opening in 2003 in this theater.

Peter Pan's Flight

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter to the designated entrance to the left side of the queue entrance where a cast member will provide further directions. People must be able to step onto a moving walkway and board the moving vehicle traveling at the same speed. The moving walkway cannot be stopped at this attraction.

It's A Small World

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should contact the attraction greeter for information on boarding options. Boats that can accommodate wheelchairs are available at this attraction.

A view of the wheel-chair accessible vehicle.
A view of the wheel-chair accessible vehicle.

Snow White's Scary Adventures

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter to the designated entrance gate at the far right where a cast member will provide further directions.

The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance where a cast member will provide further directions. People with the ability to do so will be asked to transfer to a standard vehicle. People who remain in their wheelchairs may wait for an accessible vehicle.

Tommorrowland

Space Mountain

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance of this attraction where a cast member will provide further directions. Be advised that folks must be able to step down into the ride vehicle. In the event that evacuation from this ride is necessary, you must maneuver across catwalks and down a series of ladders or wait until you can be evacuated.

Official WDW policy states, "For safety and comfort, guests should be in good health and free from heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this ride."

Astro Orbiter

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance where a cast member will admit you past the turnstiles and direct your party in boarding the elevator. On the upper level, a member of your party may need to assist you with boarding.

Tomorrowland Transit Authority

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance. To experience this attraction, you must first walk from a steeply ascending moving ramp to a moving turntable. People then board a moving vehicle from a walkway traveling at the same speed.

Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance where a cast member will provide further directions. Ramps are located at both the entrance and exit of the attraction.

Tomorrowland Speedway

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance until your party reaches the designated entrance gate where a cast member will provide further directions. To ride this attraction, folks must have the ability to step up to board and exit the race cars. Note that during the ride, cars may be bumped from behind. To drive a vehicle, folks must have adequate vision and ability to steer and depress the gas pedal.

Official WDW policy states, "For safety and comfort, guests should be in good health and free from heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this ride."

Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance until your party reaches the designated entrance gate where a cast member will provide further directions.

ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance where a cast member will provide further directions.

In this attraction, you will be confined by a restraint system that applies pressure to the head and shoulders. Persons who develop anxiety in dark places or those with neck or shoulder conditions should not experience this attraction.

Official WDW policy states, "WARNING: Electromagnetic fields in use. People using electronic medical devices that could be affected are advised against entering this attraction."

The Timekeeper

People using wheelchairs or ECVs should enter through the standard queue entrance where a cast member will provide further directions.

Other Information on Special Assistance at Walt Disney World

I strongly recommend that you check out these sites for more information on special assistance and accessibility:

  • Disney.com's own "folks" page, which is a tremendous resource with attraction access information as well as tons of other helps.
  • Deb Will's Walt Disney World Information Guide and scroll down to the section labeled, "Need Special Assistance?" (which is about 3/4ths of the way down the page)

 

Parades / Fireworks

There are designated wheelchair areas for watching parades, fireworks, IllumiNations, Fantasmic, etc.  However, it's usually important to grab a spot early because they do fill up quickly.

The official policy of Walt Disney World states that "viewing spaces cannot be reserved or guaranteed. Parties larger than six may be asked to separate and reunite afterward."

Parking

There is designated handicapped parking throughout (at each resort, Downtown Disney, the miniature golf courses, and so on) Walt Disney World.  Disability parking permit are required to ensure that enough spaces are available for those visitors that need them.  If you are able to walk short distances, the Disney folks would rather that you park in the main lot areas and ride the trams from your car to the entrance.  However, there is a limited amount of designated handicapped parking in the theme park parking lots for those folks that are unable to use the trams or who have their own personal wheelchairs or ECVs.

Reflective Captioning

Reflective captioning using LED displays, are available free of charge at some attractions. To use this system, you must contact a cast member at the attraction. This service is currently available at:

  • Magic Kingdom
    • Country Bear Jamboree
    • The Hall of Presidents
    • The TimeKeeper
  • Epcot
    • The Living Seas - Theaters
    • The Land - "The Circle of Life"
    • The Land - Food Rocks
    • Imagination! - "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience"
    • Wonders of Life - Cranium Command
    • Wonders of Life - "The Making of Me"
    • The American Adventure
    • Canada - "O Canada!"
    • China - "Wonders of China"
    • France - "Impressions de France"
    • Norway - Maelstrom Theater
  • Disney / MGM Studios
    • Jim Henson's Muppet*Vision 3D
    • Voyage of the Little Mermaid
    • The Magic of Disney Animation
    • FANTASMIC!
  • Animal Kingdom
    • It's Tough to Be a Bug

Restaurants

Without exception, all the restaurants are very accommodating when it comes to accessibility.  However, there are issues to be aware of:
  • In almost all restaurants you may have difficulty navigating a wheelchair or ECV through narrow paths around tables (especially at the counter service restaurants where walkways are not intentionally made wider for the restaurant wait staff).
  • It may be very difficult (or even impossible) to get through the narrow queue entrances that are at most of the counter-service locations. You may require assistance from another member of your party (or else ask for help from a cast member, as they will provide assistance as well.)
  • Some restaurants, Yakitori House in the Japan Pavilion at Epcot comes to mind, require that you go on a bit of a hunting trip to find a path to the counter and seating areas, but once you know your way around, it's not difficult to get there.  (Incidentally, the way up to Yakitori house is via a ramp that starts right in front of the temple and winds through the Japanese garden directly between the temple and Yakitori House up on the hill.) 

Restrooms

Most restrooms throughout the Walt Disney World Resort have facilities designed for access by folks traveling in wheelchairs or ECVs.

In the theme parks, companion-assisted restroom facilities are available at First Aid as well as at these locations:

  • Magic Kingdom
    • The lower level of Cinderella's Royal Table
    • Splash Mountain
    • Mickey's Toontown Fair
    • Transportation and Ticket Center East Gate
  • Epcot
    • FutureWorld East Block opposite Test Track
    • FutureWorld West Block opposite the Land
    • Near Canada
    • Near Morocco
    • Near Spaceship Earth
  • Disney / MGM Studios
    • Opposite the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™
    • Opposite Star Tours
    • FANTASMIC!
    • Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Animal Kingdom
    • Safari Village opposite Flame Tree Barbecue
    • Harambe Village in the Mombasa Marketplace
    • Chester and Hester's Dinosaur Treasures in Dinoland

Service Animals

Service animals are welcome throughout the parks with certain limitations. First, service animals must remain on a leash or harness at all times. Second, folks with service animals must follow the same attraction entrance procedures as those for folks with wheelchairs or ECVs.

Service animals are not permitted to ride certain attractions in which case, the animal must be attended to at all times.  Those attractions are:

  • Magic Kingdom
    • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    • Splash Mountain
    • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
    • Mad Tea Party
    • Peter Pan's Flight
    • The Barnstormer at Goofy's Wiseacres Farm
    • Astro Orbiter
    • Space Mountain
  • Epcot
    • Body Wars
    • Test Track
  • Disney / MGM Studios
    • Star Tours
    • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
    • Rock 'n' Roller Coaster
  • Animal Kingdom
    • Dinosaur
    • Affection Section at Conservation Station
    • The aviary area of Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
    • The aviary area of Maharajah Jungle Trek
    • Kali River Rapids

Special procedures are in place for boarding the following attractions if you have a service animal, so you should check with a cast member for instructions at the following attractions:

  • Magic Kingdom
    • Cinderella's Golden Carrousel
    • Snow White's Adventures
    • Alien Encounter
    • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Epcot
    • Spaceship Earth
    • Honey, I Shrunk the Audience
    • Maelstrom
    • Innoventions
  • Disney / MGM Studios
    • The Great Movie Ride
  • Animal Kingdom
    • It's Tough to Be a Bug
    • Kilamanjaro Safaris

You can use specific backstage locations for service-animal relief areas.  You need to contact a cast member for assistance:

  • Magic Kingdom
    • Backstage behind the gates next to Tony's Town Square Restaurant
    • Backstage behind the gates next to Pirates of the Caribbean
    • Backstage behind the parade gates near Splash Mountain
    • Backstage through the gate next to the restrooms at Pete's Garage in Mickey's Toontown Fair
    • Backstage between Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress and Ursa's Major Minor Mart
  • Epcot
    • Main Entrance near the Kennel
    • Near the Universe of Energy to the left
    • Next to Imagination! by the gates to the right
    • Next to Mexico on the right by the gates
    • Near the American Adventure to the right
    • International Gateway behind the World Traveler
  • Disney / MGM Studios
    • Main Entrance near the Kennel
    • Backstage gate next to Star Tours
    • Backstage between the Backlot Theater and the Courthouse
    • Backstage behind Theater of the Stars
    • Backstage gate near Soundstage 3
    • Backstage near the restrooms at Animation Courtyard
  • Animal Kingdom
    • Main Entrance Kennel Area
    • Backstage behind the gates near Chester and Hester's Dinosaur Treasures
    • Backstage behind the gates near Kilimanjaro Safaris
    • Backstage behind the gates between Pizzafari and Creature Comforts
    • Backstage behind the gates to the right of Conservation Station
    • Backstage behind the gates near Maharajah Jungle Trek

Sign Language

Walt Disney World Resort provides Sign Language translations for live shows with a minimum of seven days notice on a rotating schedule:

  • Magic Kingdom Park - Mondays, Thursdays
  • Epcot - Tuesdays, Fridays
  • Disney / MGM Studios - Sundays, Wednesdays
  • Animal Kingdom - Saturdays

You can make reservations for this service by calling Walt Disney World Resort Information at (407) 824-4321 (voice) or (407) 827-5141 (TTY). You will then be contacted prior to your trip a show schedule.

There is no cost to our folks for this service.

Smoking Restrictions

For everyone's comfort and safety, smoking is prohibited in all waiting areas, attractions, stores, dining areas, restrooms, and locations designated for parade and show viewing.

Telephones

Pay phones equipped with amplified handsets are available throughout Walt Disney World.

Pay phones equipped with a text typewriter (TTY) are available at the following locations:

  • Magic Kingdom
    • Transportation and Ticket Center east gate
    • Main St. Railroad Station lower level
    • First Aid
    • Frontierland/Adventureland breezeway (between The Diamond Horseshoe and Island Supply)
    • Splash Mountain
    • Enchanted Grove
    • Peter Pan
    • Ursa's Major Minor Mart
  • Epcot
    • Bus parking
    • Spaceship Earth - Global Neighborhood
    • Innoventions East breezeway
    • Innoventions West breezeway
    • Odyssey Center
    • China Plaza
    • The American Adventure - Liberty Inn
    • Morocco
    • International Gateway
  • Disney / MGM Studios
    • The Hollywood Brown Derby
    • Opposite Star Tours
    • Kennel
    • First Aid
    • Opposite Studio Catering Company
    • Opposite the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Animal Kingdom
    • Main entrance next to Guest Relations
    • Safari Village opposite Flame Tree Barbecue
    • Restaurantosaurus
    • Harambe Village in Tusker House
    • Conservation Station
    • Asia area restrooms

A TTY is also available at each Guest Relations location.

Video Captioning

Closed Caption-ready monitors, designated with a "CC" Symbol, can be activated by remote controllers (a refundable, $25 deposit is required) that are available at the Guest Relations.

Video captioning is currently available at:

  • Magic Kingdom
    • Carousel of Progress (Pre-show only)
    • TimeKeeper (Pre-show only)
    • Alien Encounter (Pre-show only)
    • Mickey's Toontown Fair - Judges Tent
    • Space Mountain (Pre-show only)
  • Epcot
    • The Land - "The Circle of Life" (Pre-show only)
    • The Living Seas - Sea Base Alpha
    • Wonders of Life - Frontiers Exhibit Area
    • Test Track (Pre-show only)
  • Disney / MGM Studios
    • The American Film Institute Showcase
    • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Pre-show only)
    • Backlot Tour (Prop Warehouse-Shuttles queue entrance only)
    • MuppetVision 3D (Pre-show only)
    • Star Tours (Boarding area only)
    • ABC Commissary
    • Backstage Pass
    • The Magic of Disney Animation (Video wall only)
  • Animal Kingdom
    • Dinosaur (pre-show only)
    • Conservation Station Interactive Area
    • Kilamanjaro Safaris (queue area only)
    • Pangani Forest Exploration Trail (designated exhibits)

Visual Disabilities

Braille guidebooks are available (a refundable, $25 deposit is required) at Guest Relations in each park.  Also, the parks have audio cassette tapes and tape players available (again, a refundable, $25 deposit is required) that provide a brief description of the attractions. 

Walt Disney World Transportation Accessibility

Most of Walt Disney World's transportation systems are accessible to folks with disabilities.

All bus routes have buses that are equipped to accommodate various types of wheelchairs or ECVs and ECVs.  However, there are a couple of things that you should be aware of regarding accessibility on Walt Disney World's buses:

  • The official "guidelines" for wheelchair/ECV access requires that the wheelchair fit the lift without being forced and that the wheelchair be securely fastened in the wheelchair restraints when the bus is in motion. 
  • Getting the wheelchair on and off a bus is time consuming and not all buses are handicapped accessible so you may have to wait for one to arrive.

Accessibility on Walt Disney World's watercraft varies depending on the type of watercraft and the existing water levels and conditions. 


If the water level varies too much, the distance between the boat's deck and the dock will vary a great deal.

The monorails are fully accessible at the parks and resorts.  However, at some stations, portable ramps must be put in place for wheelchair and ECV access.

Wheelchair and ECVs

You are always permitted to bring you own wheelchair or ECV (or a third-party rental) into the parks.

Alternatively, you can rent wheelchairs at the parks for $5.00 / day (plus a $1.00 deposit.)  They are available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Rental wheelchairs must be left in the park in which they were rented.  They may not be used in-between parks.

Wheelchairs can be rented at the following locations:
  • Magic Kingdom - right at the park entrance on the right-hand side.
  • Epcot - to the left of Spaceship Earth as you enter the main entrance an at the International Gateway (Epcot's "back door.")
  • Disney / MGM Studios - Oscar's Super Service, just inside main entrance on the right as you enter.
  • Animal Kingdom - two locations: Garden Gate Gifts (to the right as you enter the park) and Outpost

Day visitors who are unable to reach the Magic Kingdom Park without the aid of a wheelchair from the Transportation and Ticket Center may rent one at Mickey's Gift Station to the right of the ticket booths. Please note that there are only limited numbers available.  (Note, though, that ECVs are not available at the TTC.)

In addition, because wheelchairs sometimes have a habit of wandering off by themselves, the folks at Walt Disney World have set up a bunch of "replacement locations" where you can get a free rental replacement (as long as you can show your paid receipt from the same day, of course.)  They are:

  • Magic Kingdom
    • Tinker Bell's Treasures
    • Frontier Trading Post
    • Ursa's Major Minor Mart
  • Epcot
    • Germany
  • Disney / MGM Studios
    • Tatooine Traders
    • The Writers Stop
  • Animal Kingdom
    • Creature Comforts
    • Mombasa Marketplace

If you're planning to visit more than one park on the same day, hold onto your receipt from the first park you visit. Then, you can obtain a free replacement at no additional charge.  Be aware, though, that there is always risk that there won't be any more wheelchairs available at the second park.

A limited number of Electric Convenience Vehicles (ECVs) are also available at the parks on a first-come, first-served basis at the same locations as the wheelchair rental places. Cost for an ECV rental is $30.00 / day with a $10.00 deposit. You must be 18 years of age or older to rent an ECV, and quantities are limited (and reservations are NOT accepted). ECVs are available only on a same-day basis and may be used only in the Park where they are rented. However, ECVs will be held if folks wish to leave and return to the same Park.

Walt Disney World Resorts also offer wheelchair rentals to their folks. Quantities may be limited. Please contact the front desk for assistance.

One last thing... there are at least three third-party companies that rent wheelchairs and/or ECVs in the Walt Disney World area.  You can contact them directly if you'd like to consider renting for the duration of your trip:

 
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