After injuring my knee and learning what it was like to be disabled at Disney I really wished there was a guide to using a Mobility Device around the parks. How to navigate the crowds when you’re disabled at Disney and using a mobility device (Wheelchair, Scooter, Walker, Cane, etc) was more difficult then I would have imagined when I first started. This was actually the trickiest thing to learn over many trips.
Navigating the Parks with a Disability Using a Mobility Device
Wheelchairs and Scooters
The first thing is, unfortunately, other guests are not going to be any more aware of you and your mobility device then they are of able bodied guest.This means you may be in a wheelchair and someone tries to walk through you, stop in front of you suddenly, or cut you off.
Honestly being in a wheelchair or scooter was the hardest because of being so much lower than the crowd. Especially on very crowded days you can be completely overlooked. I lost track of the number of people who ran into me because they didn’t look down. My advice for this is to decorate your wheelchair or scooter and at night add lights that bring attention to you. once I added lights and decorations I found people started to notice me and fewer ran into me.
Whether you’re in a wheelchair or a scooter you’ll find Disney is a lot hillier than it appears. If someone is pushing you in a wheelchair this can make a trip to the park a full body workout for them. if you’re in a Scooter you have to remember that there is no break, you just take your hand off of go. Give yourself room to stop and be careful about speeds.
Whether you own your own wheelchair or scooter or are renting on I recommend a few things to make your trip to Disney better. Bring a large beach towel
Where to rent a scooter?
The Scooters you rent through Disney have a governor on them to control the speed but the ones rented by outside rental companies can go faster. Practice driving it at your hotel or in the parking lot to get comfortable stopping, going and making turns before driving them at the park.
Recommended Scooter Rental Places
If you’re staying for multiple days renting from an outside company can be less expensive. They’ll deliver to your hotel and as long as you are using Disney transportation and staying on property you don’t have to worry about loading in and out of your vehicle.
If you’re just there for the day and need a scooter I would rent one from the park. Rentals are right at the front of each park, charged up and ready to use. The price may seem steep, but part of it is a deposit that you’ll get back at the end of the day when you return the scooter.
Using a Cane or Walker
Most of the time I’ve been able to get around using a cane or walker. With these you have the same issues of other guests not looking out for you so the number one piece of advice is to by hyper aware of your surroundings. Being disabled anywhere is tough but being disabled at Disney adds a few extra challenges you have to look out for.
One of my issues using a cane was people stopping short in front of me, causing me to change direction or twist. Both of these actions would cause a lot of pain so I had to be my own watchdog and do my very best to keep space between myself and the person or group in front of me.
But there were good sides to using a cane or a walker too. Because I enjoy Disney Bounding so much I tried to decorate my walker or cane to match my Bound. This led to some great cast and character interactions and an even more magical experience.
Disabled at Disney: Reminders
The most important things to remember about enjoying the magic when you’re disabled at Disney are:
- Get your DAS pass as soon as you get the park
- Pick up a Disability Map of the park you’re in
- Plan your day to allow extra time
- Stay aware of the people around you
- Ask questions to see if you can get on a ride
- And have fun!
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