If you’re planning on travelling to Los Angeles then here is my guide to what you should know about wheelchair access.
We had a few days in February before flying home to Australia to break up the journey and minimise time spent waiting in airports. It was a pleasant 24 degrees and warm for winter.
Flying to Los Angeles from Vancouver
There are direct flights to Los Angeles from Vancouver and we flew Air Canada arriving in just under three hours.
We stayed at Sheraton Universal. I had booked a wheelchair accessible room; however, was informed on arrival that the usual wheelchair accessible rooms were undergoing renovations. We were put in a Corner King room.The bedroom was crowded with one high and large king bed and a trundle bed. The bathroom was spacious with a hand held shower and a seat was placed in the shower. I could see myself in the mirror and reach the sink but I wasn’t able to get my wheelchair under the sink to spit my toothpaste and used a cup instead.
We were able to get a taxi from LAX to Sheraton Universal but it did take a while. It was expensive in busy LA traffic. I actually rode sideways facing the doors which made for an interesting journey.
We took the free shuttle bus from our hotel to City Walk and Universal Studios (return). It’s wheelchair accessible with a lift at the back and anchor points to hold my wheelchair. The journey wasn’t far.
We took a super shuttle from our hotel to Disneyland (return). I actually sat right up the front next to the driver. I found this a little scary as this is where a driver sits in Australia. The journey took about an hour. The bonus of the super shuttle is that it’s a set price.
To travel to the international airport super shuttle worked with a taxi service to ensure we had a wheelchair accessible taxi. It also meant we had a cheaper set price.
Maps of Universal Studios and Disneyland have maps advising guests with disabilities the requirements of the attractions. It is disapointing that many attractions that allow the guests to stay in their wheelchair are shows and there are only a few rides. I didn’t feel like I could get value for money remaining in my wheelchair.
Universal Studios has some accessible attractions where I could stay in my wheelchair. I enjoyed The Studio Tour, Animal Actors, Special Effects Show, Water World, The Walking Dead Attraction and meeting characters. Other attractions were only possible if the guest can get out of their wheelchair.
Disneyland has some accessible attractions where I could stay in my wheelchair. I was able to meet Minnie Mouse, ride King Arthur’s Carousel, Mark Twain Riverboat and Winnie the Pooh ride. Other attractions require the quest to transfer.
City Walk is wheelchair accessible with smooth paths and an elevator to access the second floor. Shops and restaurants were easily accessible. Bubba Gump was a fun restaurant to have lunch.
Flying LAX to Australia
LA is a very busy place. It’s best to be at the airport with plenty of time to get through LA traffic, check-in, drop off bags and make it through security.
Security is strict at LAX and takes time to clear. I am unable to stand and get out of my wheelchair to walk through so I had to wait around 20 minutes for a female member of staff to be available to pat me down. My backpack had already been cleared and was on the other end with my Mum. I’m not sure what went wrong but my pat down showed something so my bag was searched but cleared. I was taken to a private room for a secondary pat down by a different female member of staff. I was cleared. This whole process took about an hour. It was frustrating knowing that I was fine and I was so relieved and happy to have cleared.
We flew direct overnight with Qantas landing in Sydney in about 13 hours. It is a long flight but there’s plenty of entertainment. Sleep was made easier by Qantas honouring our request to have our third seat free.
It took me around a week to get over jet lag. Sydney was 19 hours ahead of LA.