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Accessing theme parks for those with disabilities
|Tony Phoenix and Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, editors|
New Picnic Area Opens: As Disneyland makes progress in building Disney‚s California Adventure, the park entrance is being systematically rebuilt. The latest completion is the picnic area, located near the locker building. This wonderful new picnic area is beautifully done. More impressively, every table in this area is usable by guests using wheelchairs.
One Thumbs Down: The previously announced remodel of the Haunted Mansion queue has been canceled for budget reasons. Unfortunately, it seems to be one step forward, one step back.
And One Thumbs Up: Taking lessons from Walt Disney World, Disneyland is finally making the train accessible to guests in wheelchairs. One car of one train (out of the four the park runs) will be modified to allow a guest in a wheelchair to board the train via a ramp. I am being told that the new train car should be in operation in the next 1-2 weeks.
Two Thumbs Up: To the credit of Cynthia Harris, President of the Disneyland Resort, several issues have been access issues have been addressed on her watch. The addition of the elevator to the park‚s Monorail station, the plans to make the Haunted Mansion‚s queue 100% wheelchair accessible in April, and finally re-implemented disability awareness training for cast members are all examples of ongoing improvements. Let‚s all hope she can keep it up!
FastPass: FastPass in a nutshell is a reservation system that allows you to reserve a time to ride selected rides without having to stand in line. For more information, visit the Disneyland Information Guide.
Unlike what you will find at Walt Disney World, guests with mobility impairments are NOT eligible to use the FastPass system at most attractions in Disneyland. The only exception at this time is Roger Rabbit‚s Car Toon Spin. One attraction manager summed it up for me in a un-őDisney‚ like manner: „It‚s too much trouble to have people in wheelchairs using FastPasses.š What does this mean for you? If you can walk, I encourage you to consider using the FastPass system rather than trying to use the designated disabled access. Frequently, you will find that your wait will actually be shorter (especially on Space Mountain). For those using wheelchairs∑Maybe someday?
Restaurant Accessibility: Big Thunder BBQ has finally removed the permanently attached benches at selected tables. This means no more having to try and transfer over to the benches. However, some parents feel that those tables without benches are actually the perfect spot to park their stroller, so these tables may not always be available.
Walt Disney World coming
Knott's Berry Farm coming
Six Flag's Magic Mountain coming
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