Back in 2015 I started a series called “Disney on Wheels Takes a Ride!” about accessible attractions. Here’s a little background:
The Disney on Wheels Takes a Ride! series started with this intro “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.” You can read more of the introduction post and the entire series, up to this point here.
Having recently ridden on a few “new-to-me” attractions, I thought I should bring this series back to the WDW Radio Blog with a few updates.
Rise of the Resistance
Back in March of this year, I was able to secure a boarding group for this highly sought after attraction at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I was excited to finally be able to experience what everyone had been talking about. Being in a wheelchair, I entered through the attraction entrance on the right side which appeared to be a shorter queue than the one to the left. Not being a Star War’s enthusiast, I really appreciated all of the details and thrills of the attraction. I was immersed in the experience as I was on a Resistance Intersystem Transport Ship and intercepted by the First Order and tractor beamed aboard a Star Destroyer. Once inside the Hangar Bay I was amazed by the Storm Troopers and a Cast Member told me to take my time as I looked around and took a few photos. I was then escorted into a holding cell and interrogated like the rest of the prisoners before entering my vehicle for our thrilling escape.
We were then escorted to a room with the escape pods where I was given plenty of time to make the transfer from my wheelchair onto the vehicle. There was a side panel that the Cast Member unlocked and swung open, creating a wider entry point for those needing more room to transfer. Since I am unable to walk, my mom lifted me and placed me into the first row seat of the vehicle. I believe that if you can walk a short distance that it would be easy to transfer into the vehicle with not having to step up or down to enter. Once I was buckled into the First Order Transport Vehicle piloted by a black and red R5 droid, I was off on my way to escape the Star Destroyer and return to Batuu. I do not want to spoil the details of the attraction for those who have yet to experience it. After I was back outside and safely on Batuu I was given as much time as needed to exit the vehicle. A Cast Member was waiting with my wheelchair and my mom lifted me out of the vehicle and back into my wheelchair.
Star Tours – The Adventure Continues
For some reason, during my many trips to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I never thought I would be able to ride this attraction — I’m not sure why I thought that. My mom took a solo trip earlier this year and rode the attraction alone. After experiencing it, she said she could transfer me to the ride vehicle so that I could experience this older attraction. Because of my wheelchair I had to enter via the old FastPass lane, but I was still able to see some of the preshow with R2D2 and the Starspeeder 1000.
Once I was at the vehicle entrance I was told to wait at the first door for the doors to open. It was a tight fit for my manual wheelchair to get close enough to the seats. This is due in part to the vehicle being a starspeeder/flight simulator with four doors that open — one door for each row. The front row has an armrest that swings out of the way to allow for an easier transfer. Again, my mom had to lift me out of my wheelchair and place me in the seat. The seats are individual padded seats with armrests between each seat, which is great for holding on during the ride. The premise of this attraction is that you enter a spaceport and board a Starspeeder, but for some reason the ship takes off early with C3PO in command. Each flight has a Rebel Spy chosen by the Cast Member prior to flight. I was chosen as the Spy and my photo was shown at in part of the ride so people knew who to conceal. Because this attraction is a 3-D flight simulator, there is a lot of movement both side to side, up and down, and front to back. I really enjoyed the flight as I was out of my wheelchair and could really feel like I was on a spaceship flying through the galaxy. After we landed “safely,” the Cast Member brought my wheelchair in and I was lifted out of my seat and back into my wheelchair. The wheelchair was able to roll in front of the first row so that I could exit the simulator like all of the other guests. If you are able to walk a few short steps, you should be able to transfer to the seats quite easily. I highly recommend this attraction, even if it’s just for the thrill of feeling like you are flying through space.
As I previously mentioned, these attractions are not new to Walt Disney World or Disneyland. I am writing about them as I have just recently been able to ride on them and wanted to share my experience of transferring onto the vehicles with others who might want to know how transfers work.
Join me next week for the second part of my 2021 adventures in Disney on Wheels Takes a Ride! We’ll experience Slinky Dog Dash, and Alien Swirling Saucers!
All photos and Disney on Wheels logo are personal property of the author. The attraction accessibility information is copyright Disney.