Guide to staying in a wheelchair at Disneyland

I had fun on my first visit to Disneyland in February 2018. This is my guide to what’s possible while staying in a wheelchair. I use a manual wheelchair and was travelling with my Mum. It was a hot day with sun and blue sky.

The map outlines where attractions are located and symbols indicate the access requirements.

Getting to Disneyland

I would recommend staying at a Disney hotel or nearby.

We stayed at Sheraton Universal. In LA traffic it took us about an hour to get from our hotel to Disneyland. We booked a Super Shuttle which allowed me to stay in my wheelchair. It is pre-paid and cheaper than a taxi. We had organised a pickup at a nearby McDonalds because we didn’t have an American mobile phone number to be contacted on.

Buying tickets & entering the park

Tickets are best purchased either online, through your hotel or at the ticket kiosks before lining up.

Disneyland is expensive. There are no discounted tickets for those with disabilities and it doesn’t offer value for money if you need to stay in your wheelchair and cant’t transfer or walk.

There is a security bag check. I asked to have my backpack remaining on my wheelchair and this was allowed.

It was hot lining up to get into the park. I would recommend wearing sun protection.

Getting around

I used my own wheelchair. Overall I found it relatively flat with pleasant terrain to push on.

Bathrooms

There are plenty of wheelchair accessible bathrooms in the park in both the men’s and ladies restroom (bathroom). In the ladies bathroom, go right to the very end where there will be some larger cubicles.

The bins are small for sanitary items so I recommend carrying a plastic bag if you have larger disposable items that you can then dispose of in a larger bin in the park.

There is no basin or change table in the cubicle. Some do have hooks to hang items such as bags and clothing. I could access the basins once I left the cubicle to wash my hands. Some had more space than others between the cubicle and the basin.

Shopping

There are shops and stalls throughout the park on ground level. I wasn’t able to find postcards but I did purchase a Minnie Mouse key-ring, Minnie Mouse cap, Olaf socks, cookie cutters. I also received a 1st Visit button badge free. When making a purchase I was asked what my favourite Disney movie was (Snow White) and to name three of the seven dwarfs. I answered correctly and was given an Honoury Citizen button badge. I wore my button badges with pride all day.

Attractions

I made the most of the accessible attractions where I could stay in my own wheelchair.

In Tomorrowland there are six attractions that allow the guest to remain in their wheelchair.

  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is an alternate experience because I can’t walk down 10 stairs. We were taken to a separate room made to look similar tot the inside of a submarine and told that we could see the same as those in the submarine. The voiceover was an Aussie accent talking about the Great Barrier Reef. We also saw characters from Finding Nemo including Nemo, Marlin and Dory.
  • Disneyland Monorail has stairs, ramp and an elevator access to and from the platform. We didn’t realise there was an elevator so Mum pushed me up the ramp but I took the elevator back down. There is a ramp with a slight slope to board and disembark. A voiceover will give a tour as it rides around the resort. There is an option to board and disembark from Disney hotels or back where you got on in the resort.
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters was my favourite ride. We were allowed to ride it twice in a row. There is a wheelchair accessible cart where a ramp is pulled out and I’m wheeled up and in. I put my brakes on and weights at wolves behind my wheel. Mum sat right beside me. We held Astro blasters and shot at targets building our scores. I won both games! There’s also an option to spin the cart. We did spin it which made me scream even when I spin it myself. I lent forward and held on to a rail in front when we spun to counter balance my wheelchair so it didn’t flip.

In Mickey’s Toontown there were four attractions that allow the guest to remind in their wheelchair.

  • Minnie’s House was a walk through to meet Minnie and have photos taken. The wait time was 45 minutes. We lined up and Mum took some photos of me with Minnie Mouse. I found it easy to wheel up the ramp and through the house and it was flat to meet Minnie Mouse.
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Long line to meet Minnie Mouse PHOTO Heather Swain
  • Toontown Dining offers a variety of food options with average height counters. We bought ice-creams. Seating is outside with round tables and chairs can be moved to fit around 6 people. It’s hot even with the large umbrellas.

In Fantasyland there are seven attractions that allow a guest to remain in their wheelchair.

  • King Arthur Carrousel has a ramp that allowed me to board the carrousel. A seat was lifted, I wheeled in and weights were put in front of my large wheels. My Mum sat on a horse in front. I felt excluded even though a lady with a knee brace sat next to me a little girl on the other side. There is a carousel at Tokyo Disney Sea in the Aladin themed section but it’s me sitting on a flying carpet and my travel buddy could ride an animal right next to me.
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Carousel PHOTO Heather Swain
  • “It’s a small world” is a boat ride. There is an accessible one where a ramp was loaded, I wheeled up and was moved so I faced forward. I was asked to take my backpack off. My Mum sat on a seat in front. It was a nice smooth ride with nothing inhibiting my view.

Critter Country has one accessible ride where the guest can remain in their wheelchair.

  • The many adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a lovely smooth boat round. I wheeled my wheelchair up a ramp and a platform moved so that I was facing forward. My mum sat behind. We rode around twice. We still had to wait a while before riding.

Frontierland has five attractions where the guest can remain in their wheelchair.

  • Mark Twain Riverboat is a cruise around with a tour guide. We were the first to hoard and the last to disembark. It was a nice smooth ride although hot in the sun. There was a slight step to disembark.

Adventureland has two attractions where the guest can remain in their wheelchair.

  • Jungle Cruise does have a wheelchair accessible boat but unfortunately it isn’t always running and we weren’t able to ride.

Main Street has two accessible attractions where the guest can remain in their wheelchair.

  • City Hall can be found in Main Street next to the fire station. At the end of the day, once we had made our way back to City Hall, we complained about having to pay full price despite not being able to have the full experience. As a result, we were given a full refund and escorted from the park. I wish my feedback is taken on board to improve access and inclusion.

Mum and I gave feedback at Disneyland City Hall suggesting cheaper tickets for those unable to transfer from their wheelchairs and their carers because of the limited accessible attractions. The agreement was for us to enjoy our ride on the Disneyland Monorail and to return before 6pm to have our tickets refunded. We went on the Disneyland Monorail, both of our tickets were refunded and we were escorted out of Disneyland.

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