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Accessing theme parks for those with disabilities
|Tony Phoenix and Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, editors|
Disneyland > New Orleans Square
Go to the exit ramp found to the right of the entrance. There is a small walkway that runs parallel to the fence ö this is where you should wait. This allows people to exit the train before you board. The conductor will provide boarding instructions. Guests confined to wheelchairs or who are unable to climb the steps to board the train may use the new wheelchair loading ramp. Note that only two of the trains are equipped to accommodate wheelchairs at this time. Depending on how many trains are operating, you may have to wait up to 20 minutes to be able to board. If you can leave your wheelchair and climb two steps, you can avoid the wait. In this case, you can fold the chair to take it with you or leave it at the station for a round trip. NOTE: There is no wheelchair access at the Main Street Station. To exit there, you must be able to descend a flight of stairs.
Go through the main entrance gate and head to the front porch of the mansion. Wait at the chain for instructions from the cast member. Cast members generally ask people in wheelchairs if they can negotiate the steps in front of the mansion. What they often neglect to mention is that if you say yes, you could be standing anywhere from 5-15 minutes before boarding. If you cannot be on your feet for this long, let them know that fact. Those who cannot walk or negotiate the steps will be taken through a side entrance. People using wheelchairs will remain in them until you board a Doom Buggy. Several new buggies have been added to the ride recently. These special buggies have been cut away on once side, permitting people to slide directly onto the seat or to use a transfer board. I hope to have a picture of this new system soon.
If you took your wheelchair with you into the mansion, you will not exit the ride at the normal location, but will return to where you boarded. To board / exit the ride, you will be required to step into/out of a Doom Buggy from a moving walkway. If you are using a wheelchair, the cast member will stop the ride so that you can enter / exit the vehicles at your own speed. However, if you are using a cane or other adaptive device, you will normally exit the ride by stepping onto a moving walkway. If you suffer from vertigo or other balance issues, this may be a problem. If you feel that you may have difficulty doing this, be sure to inform the cast member at the loading area. They will put a sticker on your vehicle, which will let the cast member at the exit area know to stop the ride so that you can exit the vehicle onto a stationary floor.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Enter through the exit, which can be found between the Pieces of Eight shop and the Blue Bayou restaurant. The disabled waiting area is found on the left. You will generally be loaded into the back row(s) of the boat. If mobility is an issue, ask to be seated in the fifth row or forward. The last row has a much higher, wider lip that must be traversed to load, not always an easy proposition. You are much better going with the next to the last row. The boat has an eight inch edge on the dock side, and you must step 12-14 inches (from dock level) down into the boat itself.
Have one of your party contact a cast member in the Gallery or in the Le Gourmet Shop and inform them that you need to use the elevator. The cast members escort you via an elevator to the Gallery. The elevator takes you to the Club 33 kitchen and from there into a backdoor entrance. DO NOT use the elevator on your own. Scooters using the elevator should know that the kitchen does not have a lot of maneuvering room.
When eating here, make sure the host/hostess knows that you have a wheelchair in your party. The regular entrance had to 6ä steps. The host will escort your group through a side entrance that bypasses the steps. This restaurant is very cramped and will generally result in wheelchairs/canes/crutches being tripped over by guests and servers alike. Be prepared.
Fantasmic! Buffet at the Gallery
There is a 3-4 inch drop from the Gallery to the balcony. There is NO ramp to assist wheelchairs in traversing this drop. Scooters will need to be left in the Gallery. Likewise, power wheelchairs cannot be easily moved down to the balcony. (Despite these problems, I highly recommend doing the buffet if you can afford the extra cost.)
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