I'm just going to come out and say it.
Disneyland is hands down, undeniably, the happiest place on earth. Especially for families who have children with disabilities.
My son, Christian, uses a wheelchair. So when we decide to go places as a family, we always take into account the maneuvering that's involved. We certainly don't let anything get in our way and we work around challenges and obstacles, but we definitely prefer places like restaurants, zoos, and parks that are handicap accessible. We're a little biased like that.
There is simply no place like Disneyland. And here's three reasons why:
All of the rides in Disneyland are handicap accessible. All of them. There are different levels of accommodations made on specific rides and Disneyland provides a list on their website with every ride and the corresponding degree of accommodation available. Click here for the list.
What does this special accommodation look like? Some of the rides, like the Dumbo ride and the Teacups, offer larger doors that swing open to provide more room to get a rider in and out.
We were able to transport in and out of the Teacups easily because of the large entry way to the Teacup. He made sounds through the whole ride!
There are also rides that offer full wheelchair accessibility. The Jungle Cruise and It's A Small World are adapted so that Christian can stay in his wheelchair, roll on to a platform and be lowered down into the ride.
It was like he had his own chariot! It was awesome because the platform sits him high above everyone so he can get a good look at everything.
On the carousel, we were able easily roll him on and off the ride.
That blur is Christian on his way off the carousel. See how easy?
There are also separate lines for guests with disabilities. This cuts down on wait times for everyone involved.
The "cast" at Disneyland is amazing! And the experience with Christian was beyond my expectations. They would actually go out of their way to make sure we knew a ride was adapted for Christian. A cast member from It's A Small World saw us walking by and called out to us saying, "Would you guys like to ride It's A Small World?" He can ride it in his wheelchair!"
Something also to mention is the kindness and love they show to all children and guests of Disneyland. Christian was treated no different than any other child. Ariel asked to meet "the prince" when she saw him. He was sleeping so he missed his chance to meet the princess but she went out of her way to come over and meet him.
Goofy even bent down to say hello to Christian and give his hand a kiss.
We don't know if he liked it, but it was still appreciated by Mom.
The magic of Disneyland is still there whether you have a wheelchair, leg braces, a scooter, cane, or crutches. It doesn't go away. The cast of Disneyland is trained to go above and beyond to create the experience for everybody, regardless of ability. Whenever we needed assistance, they were always there to help. It was never a burden. Never. They showed compassion and acceptance and something like that means so much to a mom of a child with special needs. I'm not sure I can really articulate it without crying all over my laptop.
All I can say is that the magic is still there, with or without a wheelchair, and the memories mean more than anyone at Disneyland will ever know.
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