Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off To Disney We Go

Day 1 - It is a mandatory photo opportunity in front of Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom. This is especially true if you’re bringing a little princess with you on the trip. It seems to be extremely crowded all around the castle. So just do your best to get a picture of it.

I was very impressed with how well the Disney parks are set up to accommodate wheelchair users. The staff at Disney was incredible as well. They really went out of their way to help me and my daughter and I’m sure that they would do the same for you and your family.

The aquarium at Epcot was just amazing. I had no idea until we were there that this is the second largest aquarium in the United States next to the Atlanta aquarium. It has over 5.7 million gallons of water with just about any sea animal you would want to see. We met a very nice girl that worked there that offered us a personal tour. There was so much to see that you could spend half the day just at the aquarium. I would not miss the dolphin show. It was fantastic.

We stayed at the Dolphin Resort. We had a great room that was very accessible. I have to admit that the hotel lobby was a bit confusing. I never had so much trouble figuring out which elevator I needed to take. But I guess that was part of the adventure. One of the best features about staying at either the Dolphin or Swan (which are side by side) is that they have a ferryboat that would take you from the hotel to different parts of Disney. Not only was that convenient but it was fun taking a boat ride.

Disney World Day 2 did not disappoint. This picture truly shows how much fun Summer and I were having. (Does my daughter have a straw up her nose?) This is Toy Story Mania It is very wheelchair friendly! Please be advised that although this ride allows power wheelchairs it made a lot of sharp turns. They did not warn me about that. If I had not put my chest strap on it could’ve been a catastrophe. On our trip at Disney World we bumped into the REAL Santa Claus! Summer is the one that pointed it out to me. She had valid points “why” this was indeed the real Santa Claus. First, a white beard with grey in it and, of course, when Santa is not working he vacations at Disney World...duh! Because this was the “REAL” Clause, she told me she was so nervous that she couldn't even talk. She has made an online list that is gigantic but did not tell him anything because it was really him. I was super excited myself because that’s the first time I ever saw the real Santa too.

Here are a few tips I have from my adventure at Disney. Hope they help encourage you to take a magical trip.

  • Bus—All buses are equipped with a standard bus lift (32” x 48”). **Please note** Some motorized wheelchairs exceed these limits.

  • Steamboat—The boats vary in accessibility, but when you arrive at the dock, you can speak to a cast member who will help you board the boat.

  • Monorail—Guests in wheelchairs may access the monorails by traveling up the entrance amp. There are also elevators available at some of the monorail stops.

  • Make sure that you get fast passes. That way you can have a couple things planned each day and fill in the gaps with whatever you feel like.

  • We were able to get a Hoyer lift delivered to our hotel and it was waiting in our room when we got there. This is a very big help.

  • There are home healthcare agencies to choose from in the area that will go to Disney and help you with your needs with getting in and out of bed or anything else.

  • I know that it is a lot more expensive but staying at one of the Disney parks resorts or the one I stayed at (The Dolphin or Swan Resort) really does make an enormous difference. The convenience of it all is well worth the expense.

  • The very first thing you need to do is make sure you have “My Disney Experience” app downloaded on your smart phone. From this at you can check the wait times, your fast passes and use the map to get around. I think I use the map feature more than anything. It was truly a lifesaver.

  • Pick some waters and some snacks beforehand to save you some money and time.

  • Make sure you are dressed for the appropriate weather. In the winter, I make sure I have a beanie and a scarf in my backpack in case I get cold. In the warmer months, I carry a cooling tail in my backpack.

  • Bring a baseball cap to keep the sun off of you.

  • Don’t forget sunscreen.

  • Make sure you have your meds and any supplies that you could possibly need during a day.

  • Depending on your level of injury, you need to do your research about which rides you’re able to go on. Do this ahead of time to save yourself a big headache. The app will tell you what type of wheelchair is permitted (power chair or manual chair)

  • Kilimanjaro safaris at Animal Kingdom is another ride that allows power chairs. This is a huge open air off-road vehicle. The ride was bumpy and bouncy to say the least. If you do not have upper body strength, make sure to use a chest strap. The ride was very strenuous on my body but well worth it.

  • Animal Kingdom in general was a really fun park. You can spend a lot of time checking out all the animals. That is something that anyone can do.

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