When I visit Walt Disney World Resort, I stay on property and take advantage of the free accessible transportation options that are available. Be it the buses that run between the resorts and the four parks, water parks, and Disney Springs; the Monorail; or the water transportation options of a water launch or ferryboat. All of these are wheelchair accessible with the exception of the launches from the Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge that run between the resorts and Magic Kingdom. These launches are smaller and require transferring out of a wheelchair and stepping down into the boat.
The buses are very convenient when staying at a Disney resort and most resorts have several bus stations on their grounds so guests have easy access. The stations now include a monitor that lets you know when the next bus will arrive. There is also a designated waiting area for wheelchairs so that the bus driver knows you are needing assistance and the special fold-out ramp. The drivers are very nice and do a good job tying down the wheelchair on the bus. When heading back to your resort, look for the designated stop for your resort. There is an information board at each park at the entrance to the bus station.
The Monorail is my favorite mode of transportation between the Deluxe Resorts on Seven Seas Lagoon and Magic Kingdom, Epcot and the Transportation and Ticket Center. They are very easy to get on and allow you to enjoy a smooth ride. A Cast Member will bring over a ramp to make boarding easier. Sometimes when exiting the Monorail, I just roll off as it is a small drop to the platform and much faster. There are no tie-downs required on the Monorail, but locking a brake is recommended. The hardest part of using the Monorail is the ramp system used to get to the platform. Loading and unloading is on the “second” floor at the stations.
The third option I use on WDW property is the water launch and ferryboats. As previously mentioned I can no longer use the small water launches, but the ferryboats are another fun mode of transportation to Magic Kingdom from the Transportation and Ticket Center. A wheelchair can just roll on and is held in place with your own braking system. The ferries run about every 20 minutes and the ride averages 10 minutes, plus they hold more passengers than any other transportation option, therefore, the lines move quickly. If you are staying at a Disney’s Boardwalk Resort you can use the Friendship Boats that go between the resorts, Epcot, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. These boats are accessible and offer a designated seating area for guests in wheelchairs and their family. I also recommend taking the Sassagoula River Cruise which runs between the Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside and French Quarter and will take you all the way to Disney Springs. Along the Sassagoula you can also take a cruise from Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa to Disney Springs. There is also an accessible water taxi at Disney Springs that runs between three designated areas.
During my upcoming trip to WDW this month I will be researching the new Minnie Van transportation option which has an accessible vehicle. So, watch for that article after the first of the year!
(Screenshots and Sassagoula River Cruise photo © Disney. TTC ferry photo from the collection of Kendall Foreman. All other photos from the author’s personal collection.)
To learn more about Andrew Prince, aka Disney on Wheels, and read his recent posts for WDW Radio, please click on his name at the top of this post.