Disney on Wheels

Being in a wheelchair, my biggest fear of traveling all the way to Walt Disney World was that I would not be able to ride on any of the attractions. Boy was I wrong! When I was younger it was easier as my parents were able to transfer me, now that I am 17 and tall it has become a little more challenging to get me on some of the attractions. For the most part I have been able to ride on everything that I want to. Two of the exceptions being Space Mountain and Splash Mountain; since I am unable to sit unsupported alone I was not able to get strapped into the vehicle safely – besides, I was a little afraid of those rides.

DOW_DAS_cardThe most important thing you need to do upon arriving at your first park within WDW is to stop at Guest Services to receive a Disability Access Service (DAS) card. (In 2013, the DAS replaced the Guest Assistance Card). The DAS is not a “go to the front of the line” card, as you still have to wait in line. It’s more like a special FastPass for people with disabilities. Disney has become a little more strict on giving out the cards, but since I am in a wheelchair and have mobility issues, I am able to receive the card. The DAS card is issued to the guest with the disability along with a photo of the guest. The link below will give more details on the DAS rules and regulations. The card is good for the length of your stay at WDW. So once you have your DAS, card head over to your first attraction and stop at the cast member either near the FastPass lane or by the wheelchair symbol. The CM will write down a time for you to return with your immediate party. Just like with FastPass you can only have one attraction time within a given amount of time. In other words, you cannot go from attraction to attraction gathering times before you actually ride the first one. Don’t forget that the cardholder must go to the CM in order to get a return time. This disallows other members of the party from running ahead and getting quicker times.

Now that you have your return time it is a good idea to know how you will need to transfer onto a ride. The Disney Guide for Guests with Disabilities pamphlet lists all of the rides for each park along with what type of transfer is necessary. There are five types of rides within the parks:DOW_Magic Kingdom guideDOW symbols

 

1.) May remain in your wheelchair/Electric Conveyance Vehicle (ECV)

2.) Must transfer from your wheelchair/ECV to ride vehicle

3.) Must transfer to standard wheelchair from your ECV

4.) Must transfer from ECV to standard wheelchair and then to ride vehicle

5.) Must be ambulatory. This may sound confusing, but the screenshot and link below has a detailed map of the Magic Kingdom along with all of the symbols and definitions.

 

 

I hope this introduction to my series on enjoying attractions has been informative and offered useful links to make your visit to Walt Disney World in a wheelchair a magical experience. Please return next time for my multi-part series where I plan to share detailed information regarding getting on/off attractions from a wheelchair.

Useful Links Around the Web:

Services for Guest with Mobility Disabilities

Disney World FAQ Guests with Disabilities

Magic Kingdom Guide for Guests with Disabilities Pamphlet

Disney Parks Disability Access Service Card

WDW Radio Forums on Planning for Guests with Special Needs

Disney on Wheels Facebook

Disney on Wheels Facebook Discussion

(Title image from the author’s personal collection. Disability Access Service Card and Park Map ©Disney)

Andrew is a 17-year-old junior in high school from Ohio. He was born with cerebral palsy and gets around in a wheelchair. He has been to both US Disney parks, several D23 events and is a DCL gold castaway member. If you would like to contact him feel free to e-mail him at arprince@bex.net or look him up on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/andrew.prince.7161 and on Twitter https://twitter.com/Andrew1arp

Comments

comments

4 thoughts on “Disney on Wheels: Takes a Ride! – Introduction to the Multi-part Series”

  1. Jeannelle Hart says:

    Very informative!

  2. Sue says:

    one clarification about DAS – most guests who are using a mobility device, such as a wheelchair, or who have mobility related issues will not need or be issued a DAS. Guests don’t need DAS to use a mobility device in line and most lines are accessible. This is from the DAS information posted on the Disney website:
    “A Guest whose disability is based on the necessity to use a wheelchair or scooter does not need a DAS Card. Depending on the attraction, Guests utilizing a wheelchair or scooter will either wait in the standard queue or receive a return time at the attraction comparable to the current wait time.”

    You can find the information here:
    https://wdpromedia.disney.go.com/media/wdpro-assets/help/guest-services/guests-with-disabilities/wdw-disability-access-service-card_2014-11-19.pdf

    Some guests have other needs in addition to mobility needs, but the majority of guests who are using a wheelchair do not.

  3. Elysabethe says:

    I love your column Andrew! I think it’s great that you are able to share your perspective with other Disney lovers:) keep up the good work!

  4. Andrew Prince says:

    Thank you for your comments – working on the next post.