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Accessing theme parks for those with disabilities
|Tony Phoenix and Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, editors|
Disneyland > Getting Around
Disneyland has implemented several policies to make the park more accessible to guests with mobility impairments. The most notable and the one that is the most frequently used is the special access to the various attractions. The methods for utilizing these special entrances are contained in a booklet published by Disneyland: the Guidebook for Guests with Disabilities.
Much of the information contained in the official guide is included here, plus some things Disney will never tell you. We have also corrected, in this guide, some misprints that continue to appear in the official guide.
For guests not using an adaptive device, you will need to obtain a Special Assistance (SA) pass from City Hall. Just ask a cast member in City Hall for this pass. Be aware that you may need to show some proof of disability to be issued the pass. Generally accepted proof of disability is a state issued disabled ID, letter from your physician, leg cast or brace, crutches, or some other proof. This is done to help prevent abuse of the pass by those who do not have a legitimate need.
For guests using a wheelchair, cane or walker, your adaptive device should serve as your pass for using the disabled entrances. In reality, this does not always work for guests using a cane or walker, as some cast members are not aware of the park's policy. If you are hassled by a cast member, ask them to call City Hall to verify the policy, or ask to speak to their manager. If it continues to be a issue, note the names of the cast members involved and let City Hall know about the problem. If you want to just avoid the problem all together, take three minutes when you enter the park and obtain a Special Assistance pass from City Hall. No, you shouldn't HAVE to do this. But, this guide is all about making your day at Disneyland easier. Wouldn't you rather spend three minutes at the start of your day to avoid the hassle of untrained cast members?
It is important to understand that having a SA pass does NOT mean that you will not have to wait in line. Several rides have boarding limitations (Space Mountain only permits one disabled guest to ride at a time, for evacuation reasons) or are popular enough to have a back up - such as Pirates of the Caribbean. In some instances, the disabled access line might be longer than the regular line. The key here is to remember patience. If you need a chair to sit in while waiting, ask. The cast members will generally try and accommodate you in this. Please note however, that the availability of chairs seems to differ depending on which cast member you speak with.
Disabled guests may be accompanied by no more than 5 (five) other people when using the disabled entrances. If your group is larger than this, you should enter through the designated disabled entrance (with one or two members of your party) while the remainder of your group proceeds through the regular entrance. Once they are through the line, you should be able to rejoin them and experience the attraction together.
In general, even when wheelchairs use the standard queue, ambulatory guests with a SA pass should still proceed through the exits. If you have any questions, contact a cast member at the attraction.
A limited number of electric scooters and wheelchairs are available for rental at the park. They can be rented at the stroller/wheelchair rental on your far right as you enter the park. Be advised that they may request some proof of disability in order to rent a chair. A leg cast, photo id, or physician's letter are all examples of acceptable proof. They are doing this to cut down on the teenagers renting them to avoid the lines and to ensure availability for guests who have a legitimate need. Guests staying at the Disneyland Hotel or Disneyland Pacific Hotel can borrow them from the hotels for no charge. Contact the front desk for additional information.
The following are the rental prices for chairs as of April 2, 2000:
Third Party Rentals
Scoot-Around North America offers third party rentals in the Anaheim and is delivered directly to you at your hotel or home. For some people, this may be more advantageous when you keep in mind that you cannot take wheelchairs or scooters rented at Disneyland out of the park. Delivery and pickup is free to any address in Anaheim and to Disneyland. They can be reached toll free at 1 (888) 441-7575 or at Scootaround.
The following lands have sidewalk curbs: Main Street, Frontierland, Critter Country, and Toontown. Be on the lookout for those wonderful ramps!
Service animals are welcome throughout the park but must be leashed at all times. The following attractions do not permit service animals to ride; however, a cast member will wait with your service animal while you are on the ride.
Disneyland recommends that service animals not ride on the following attractions though they may accompany you if you choose. If you leave them at the boarding area, a cast member will wait with them. (In my experience, most service animals generally do fine on these rides. I met one dog a few years back that loved riding Pirates of the Caribbean!).
Braille guidebooks and audiotape tours are available at city hall. You may be required to leave a deposit.
TDD phones can be found outside the gate near the kennels and in Tomorrowland near the Space Mountain exit. All phones can be amplified by pressing the # key or by using the special volume button found on some phones.
Assistive listening devices can be borrowed from City Hall (with a deposit) and work with the following attractions:
Other offerings for people with hearing disabilities include:
Written Aids: Guest Assistance Packets containing attraction dialogue, and narration, flashlight, and pencil and paper are available for many attractions and shows. A listing of these attractions can be obtained from City Hall and the Information Board.
The narration is printed in easy-to-read 24 point type. Below is a picture of one of the packets.
Sign Language Interpretation: ASL interpretation will be provided free of charge at live shows (and certain special programs) with at least one week's notice. Contact Guest Relations at (714) 781-4560 to request this service.
Reflective Captioning: LED displays at the back of the theaters in the Country Bear Playhouse, Honey, I Shrunk the Audience and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln reflect the dialogue on an acrylic panel, or ĪReader Boardā, set in front of you. This is similar to a teleprompter. Below is a picture of the reader board with a simulated projection. (Unfortunately, our camera was having trouble getting a good picture of the text.)
Video Captioning: The preshows in Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, Space Mountain, and Star Tours provide video captioning. To activate these systems, request an activator from City Hall. A deposit is required.
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