Disney on Wheels: Takes a Ride! Part 3 – May 2015
Previously in this series on accessible attractions, I told you that the most important thing you need to do upon arriving at your first park within Walt Disney World is to stop at Guest Services to receive a Disability Access Service (DAS) card. The link below will give more details on the DAS rules and regulations. As of April 30, 2015 Walt Disney World has been testing the use of Magic Bands in conjunction with the DAS card. Once I have further information and confirmation from Disney Parks, I will share with more explanation of the new DAS system.
In the last article, I mentioned the type of attractions at WDW where the ride comes to a complete stop to allow guests to board and exit the vehicles. One such ride at Epcot is Test Track presented by Chevrolet. This is one of my favorite rides because the ride vehicle moves in crazy directions; over bumps, zigzags, brake checks, inclines, etc. Then at the end, you go outside and hit a speed of up to 65 mph in a convertible! Excellent!
On a recent visit in 2014 to Epcot, we entered via the FastPass queue line where we created our simulator car and enjoyed the interactive queue. When we reached the boarding area our family was taken to a separate line for wheelchairs. (Please note, this only works if you are able to transfer from a wheelchair, either alone or with assistance). At that point, we were escorted in two different directions. I rode the elevator with a Cast Member, while my family took the stairs up to the catwalk. After the elevator, I too crossed the catwalk only to get to another elevator down to the special loading area. Meanwhile, a ride vehicle is being moved out of the normal line and “parked” near the seatbelt check station and given a handicap marker on the back of the vehicle. There is a small platform and ramp that leads to the vehicle. For me, my Dad lifts and carries me into the vehicle where I am strapped in my front row seat between two people. A Cast Memeber moves my chair away from the ride until I return.
Now for the fun part – the ride! As I mentioned the ride vehicle maneuvers on a “test” track going over bumps, inclement weather tests, swerving, zigzagging, braking, many other unexpected twists. Then all of a sudden the doors open and the vehicle is sent outside and around the building at a speed of up to 65 mph! After that it is back to reality. Although, a couple of times, I have been fortunate enough to be able to ride a second time without getting out and back in line. This only occurs when the queues are not too long and the Cast Member thinks it will be ok to take another spin.
Once the trilling ride is over, the vehicle marked “handicap” is pulled over to the seat belt check area for unloading. For me, my Dad picks me up and carries me back to my chair.
The Cast Member takes me up the elevator to the exit point for the attraction. After which one can explore various prototype Chevrolet cars of the future, or head back out to Epcot.
I hope Part 3 of Disney on Wheels: Takes a Ride! has been informative and offered useful links to make your visit to Walt Disney World in a wheelchair a magical experience.
(Lead photo ©Disney. On-board photo from the author’s personal collection.)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or look him up on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/andrew.prince.7161 and on Twitter https://twitter.com/Andrew1arp