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Accessing theme parks for those with disabilities
|Tony Phoenix and Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, editors|
Disneyland has implemented several policies to make the park more accessible to guests with disabilities. The policies are contained in a booklet published by Disneyland: the Guidebook for Guests with Disabilities.
This guidebook is an indispensable help for your visit to Disneyland, and answers many of your questions. You can obtain a copy of this guide from the following locations:
The First Aid office is an important location to know for people with disabilities. Aside from the obvious emergency medical care, they also offer assistance in a number of areas.
You can store medications that need to be kept cool in the refrigerator here. You can also leave medical equipment and materials with them. They are kept in a cabinet with your name on in until needed. For those guests who need to perform injections, you can request to use one of the examination rooms to perform the injection. They even provide a sharps container.
First Aid has two accessible restrooms, one of which also contains a single bed. For those guests who need assistance from a member of the opposite sex in using the restroom, California law does permit you to use either any men or women's restroom. Disneyland, however, takes a dim view on someone above the age of 6 being in the 'wrong' restroom. They request that you use the restroom found at First Aid. Keep in mind that this can require a long trek if you are in Toontown or near Splash Mountain.
Several beds are available in a semi-quiet area in the back. If you need to lie down for a few minutes, this is a great place to do it. The beds may be full, so understand if they are not available for you to use.
If you are injured anywhere in the park and do not feel that you can get to First Aid without assistance, have a member of your party contact the nearest cast member and inform them. They will contact First Aid and a nurse will come to you no matter where you are.
Not all restrooms are created equal. Not all disabled ╬accessibleÔ restrooms are usable, much less nice. Some I wouldn't force my worst enemy to use. Others, we go out of our way to use.
The ultimate guide to Disneyland restrooms is maintained by the ever-cheery team of Adrienne and Kevin Krock. The Happiest Potties on Earth can be found by following this link. Their site contains a comprehensive listing of restrooms throughout the park, as well as recommendations for the ones to miss and the ones not to be passed up. While definitely tongue-in-cheek, there is a wealth of information here that can make your day so much more pleasant.
Baby Care Center
The Baby Care Center is well equipped to allow disabled parents take care of their children. Unfortunately, Disneyland doesn't seem to know or acknowledge this. We have had repeated problems with the attendants even letting us in the front door because of my wheelchair. If you can get past the cast member at front door, you will find changing tables at a perfect height for wheelchair users (at least, they were perfect for me - I can't make the same guarantee for those who are shorter in stature).
Beat the Heat
The summer (and spring and fall) heat can really be a problem for us. Here are a few tricks we have learned to beat the heat while at Disneyland.
Neck Towel - Heavy-duty towels can be found at the diaper changing stations in restrooms throughout the park. Wet one of these down and place it on the back of your neck. They can drop your body temperature several degrees.
Misters - Bring a mister from home, or even a spray bottle filled with water. The mist is wonderful at cooling.
Take the Air Conditioning Tour. or, enjoy the indoor attractions in the middle of the day. The Enchanted Tiki Room, Mr. Lincoln, Innoventions, it's a small world, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Haunted Mansion are just some of the attractions that will keep you cool.
For more hints on beating the heat, visit our article on the subject here.
Plan your day in advance and work your way around the park in a methodical manner. This will save everyone from getting tired. Visit Toontown early in the day before it gets hot and the crowds get larger. If you visit it later in the day, you will find that it will take more out of you physically.
Be patient- there are always problems and frustrations. Remember that you are there to enjoy yourself!
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