March 22, 2017

Disney & Disabilities: Accessibility at Magic Kingdom!

Hello friends! Since I shared my experience with my sister on our last trip, I thought I would go a little more in depth with accessibility at Walt Disney World. If I didn’t know as much about Disney as I do, I wish I could find a resource that gives me ALL of the information, so over the next few months that’s what I’m going to try and create. I want to lay out what is accessible at each park, and eventually create a landing page with links to each post. So welcome to the continuation of the Disney & Disabilities series on A Disney Obsession! I’ve also created an Accessibility blog post category, which can make these posts easier to find.

Today I’m going to start with accessibility at Magic Kingdom! I’ll lay out which rides guests can remain in their wheelchair, and which ones they are required to transfer. Also if you know someone who rents a scooter, I’m pointing out which attractions they are required to transfer to a wheelchair before riding. This post may be short, but I’m getting right to the point today! 🙂 Without further ado, let’s get started!

Accessibility at Disney

Guests May Remain in Wheelchair

Country Bear Jamboree

Jungle Cruise

Liberty Square Riverboat

Mickey’s PhilharMagic

Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade

The Hall of Presidents

It’s a Small World

The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh*

Under the Sea: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure*

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin*

Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin*

Main Street Vehicles*

A Pirates Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Stitch’s Great Escape*

Enchanted Tales with Belle*

Walt Disney World Railroad* (all stations)

 

 

 

 

 

*guests in ECV (Electric Convenience Vehicle or scooter) must transfer to a wheelchair

 

Pinocchio Statue

Guests Are Required to Transfer

Astro Orbiter

The Barnstormer

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Dumbo The Flying Elephant

Space Mountain

Mad Tea PartyPirates of the Caribbean

Haunted Mansion

Prince Charming Regal Carousel

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Splash Mountain

Tomorrowland Speedway

Peter Pan’s Flight**

**due to the nature of the ride, cast members are required to ask you that in case of emergency, the person in the wheelchair can be lifted or would be able to climb down a ladder.
Splash Mountain

Guests Must be Ambulatory

Swiss Family Treehouse

Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover

Tom Sawyer Island

Castle view from a treehouse

Entertainment

All parades have accessible seating, so just show up early and you will be let into that area. For character meets and greets, guests can of course remain in their wheelchair or scooter. And lastly, for stage shows and fireworks, guests can remain in their wheelchair or scooter.

Fireworks

I hope you enjoyed this post, and enjoy learning more about the relationship between those with disabilities & Disney! If you know someone who might benefit from this post series, please help to spread the word! I appreciate it 🙂

Disney & Disabilities post Series

Disney & Disabilities: a GREAT relationship

Disney & Disabilities: Accessibility at Magic Kingdom (you’re here!)

If there’s something you’d like to see added to this list, please let me know and I’ll add it in!

Thank you so much for reading!

 

Kelsey
March 1, 2017

A Guide to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Hello friends! Today I thought I would share a post and video all about my new favourite Walt Disney World resort! We stayed at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort in November (specifically the Villa’s at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort aka the Disney Vacation Club studios), and I fell head over heels for this resort. I’m going to take you through all of the restaurants and dinner shows available at the resort, so maybe you can fit something into your next trip! I’ll also let you know if the Disney Dining Plan is accepted. Okay, let’s get started!

How do I get there?

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is located on the monorail loop, and is located directly across Seven Seas Lagoon from Magic Kingdom. If you are staying at another Disney park, or just want to visit the resort, how do you get there?

The only resorts you can travel from and get directly to the Polynesian are Grand Floridian and The Contemporary, and you’ll get on the monorail to get there. From Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, and Disney Springs, you’ll hop on the Polynesian bus. From Epcot, you can take the monorail to the TTC (Ticket and Transportation Center) and either walk to the Poly, or transfer monorails. From Magic Kingdom, hop on the resort monorail, or the direct to TTC monorail, transfer to the resort monorail, or walk. If you have a reservation and a vehicle, you can park at the resort.

All of the restaurants are located in the Great Ceremonial House, with the exception of Spirit of Aloha. But don’t worry, the Great Ceremonial House is where you check in for the dinner show.

The restaurants

‘Ohana-  is open for breakfast and dinner. This is probably the most popular restaurant at the Polynesian, because it’s family friendly and offers a character breakfast. We went to ‘Ohana for dinner on our last trip, and really enjoyed it! It’s open for breakfast or dinner, and is all you care to enjoy family style. Plates of food are brought to your table, and you can request more of anything. At breakfast you can meet Mickey, Pluto, Lilo & Stitch, and you can enjoy your regular breakfast food, plus the very popular POG juice. I ate breakfast there in 2007, and all I can remember is Stitch trying to eat our table. For dinner, you can enjoy shrimp, chicken, pineapple bread and THE BREAD PUDDING. I miss that bread pudding. Normally I’m not a fan, but I am so glad I gave it a try. For the adults, try the Lapu Lapu! You can check out the menus here. ‘Ohana accepts the Disney Dining Plan for 1 Table Service Credit for either breakfast or dinner.

Tambu Lounge- This lounge is located right beside ‘Ohana. It’s not the quietest location (because it’s right next to ‘Ohana, but if you are waiting for a table you can grab a drink here. Here’s the menu! The Tambu Lounge does not accept the Disney Dining Plan.

Kona Café- Kona is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s very popular in the mornings for Tonga Toast (it comes with a sauce you can’t get at Capt Cook’s). The Kona coffee is also popular. We ate lunch there and everyone enjoyed their meal! Their sushi is also very good, and it is made fresh at the sushi bar near the entrance to the restaurant (Kona Island). You can check out the menus here. The Disney Dining Plan is accepted, and uses 1 Table Sevice Credit.

Kona Island- this is where you can grab some sushi and other food served at Kona in a quick service setting. You can find more information and the menu here. The Disney Dining Plan is not accepted at Kona Island.

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto- If you are over 21, I’d definitely suggest trying to get in to Trader Sam’s! You can put your name in if there’s a wait (which there most likely will be because of it’s size). You can see the menu here. The Disney Dining Plan is not accepted.

Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace- We actually grabbed a drink here after we put our names in at Trader Sam’s and got a buzzer. The Spikey Pineapple (basically a dole whip with rum) is pure gold. I really like the atmosphere of this place, but it can’t match the fun of Trader Sam’s. Here’s the menu. The Disney Dining Plan is not accepted here.

Capt Cook’s- We grabbed something for breakfast every morning here, and my favourites were the Tonga Toast and Breakfast Burrito! It’s where you can fill up your rapid refill mugs if you are staying at the Polynesian, and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menus can be found here. The Disney Dining Plan is accepted, as a quick service credit. You can also use snack credits here.

Oasis Bar- On our last day we spent some time hanging around the pool and cashing in our last quick service meals. We were shocked with how expansive the menu was for being beside a pool! You have to be staying at the Polynesian to get into the pool (by using your magicband), but if you are it’s a nice place to relax! This is considered the quiet pool (the Lava Pool is the main pool). Here’s the menu. The Disney Dining Plan is accepted here, as a Quick Service credit.

Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show- Spirit of Aloha is one of two dinner shows at Walt Disney World. I did this on my first trip to Walt Disney World, but I was 5 and don’t remember it. My parents do have on video me going up on stage with other kids to do the hula, and me wandering around after because I couldn’t find my parents. But my sister thought it was hilarious, and I found them eventually, so it’s all good. Back to the dinner show. Here’s the menu and a little bit more information. The Disney Dining Plan is accepted, but this show uses 2 table service credits.

Pineapple Lanai- It’s the only place outside of Magic Kingdom you can get a Dole Whip! The menu mostly consists of the Dole Whips and variations, but you can find that here. Pineapple Lanai accepts the Disney Dining Plan, as snack credits.

Barefoot Pool Bar- is just that, a bar by the pool! It’s by the main Lava Pool, and you can see the menu here. The Disney Dining Plan is not accepted.

If you’d like to hear a little more about the Polynesian, check out the video below!

As you can probably tell, I absolutely LOVE the Polynesian. I’m so happy it’s our home resort for DVC. If you think you might want to make a dining reservation for your next trip, this post guides you through everything! What’s your favourite thing about it? Let me know in the comments!

 

Thank you for reading!

Kelsey
January 18, 2017

Disabilities & Disney- A GREAT Relationship

Hello everyone, and Happy Wednesday! Since I was recently in Walt Disney World, I thought I would share a bit about our experiences travelling with my sister (who is in a wheelchair). I’ve shared some of the accessible ride vehicles if you’ve watched my Disney Vlogs, and I tried to capture as much of that as I could. I’ve mentioned before that we don’t go to Universal Orlando because of their policies for people with disabilities, and how Disney is SO much better. Today I thought I would share some of the things we experienced on our trip. As you can probably tell by the title of this post, it was all good!

Because there is one person in my life that allows me to learn all about this side of Disney, I thought I would take a minute to introduce my sister, Alexandra!

Alex has Cerebral Palsy, and has her own custom (green because she loves the show “Arrow”) wheelchair. She can’t walk or talk, or use her arms in the way we can, but she has a computer she uses to communicate. Alex is also great at using facial expressions to get her point across. She needs someone to help feed her and lift her, but she is always happy! Alexandra is on a puree diet, meaning her food needs to be blended into a hummus like consistency.

I’ve talked about her here and there on the blog, but I thought sharing some key things about her for the purpose of this post might be helpful. I asked her (just like I did in the Universal post) about how she felt about the experience she had at Disney and she said:

“I think Disney is very good, Disney food is really best, Disney rides is really amazing”

Keep in mind she doesn’t have the best grammar, but you can definitely understand what she means!

Our Last Trip (2012)

We hadn’t been to Walt Disney World with Alex 2012, so we weren’t sure what might have changed since our last trip. Luckily, the only thing that changed was the system used for guests with disabilities to access attractions. We had warning about this, and I had read all I could about the new system to be prepared. The old system was a card that had a stoplight on it, red, yellow or green. Our was always green which meant we would just walk up to a FastPass line as go straight through. Now things are a little bit different.

Disney’s Disability Access Service (DAS)

This was the first thing I knew I wanted to take care of when we arrived in Magic Kingdom. The urge to see Cinderella Castle won out, but we headed to guest Services shortly after. When you visit Guest Services, you mention that you want to set up the Accessibility Services, and they will take a picture of the guest with a disability, scan the magic band of that person, and everyone in your party. Once that is done, you are good for the duration of your trip! The new system uses “come back times” based on the wait time, so you can spend the time doing something else. I think for people with sensory issues or those that have trouble waiting in line for a long time, this is a great solution. The best thing about it in my opinion, is anyone can go to get a time. I would be a “runner” (I’m a little aggressive when it comes to getting things done in Disney :D) and go to a ride, say I would like a come back time, they would scan my band, and say when we could come back. If their scanner wasn’t working, they would hand us the card below.

 

When it was time to go back, the person the “account” is associated with needs to scan their band first, so I would take Alex’s off her wrist (it’s difficult to line her arm up with the touch point for FastPass+), and then everyone else could enter.

Some important notes about the program:

  • You can only get a come-back time for one attraction at a time
  • to “cancel” the come back time, you need to visit the attraction
  • the time does not expire!

That’s about it when it comes to the new program!

Accessible rooms

Walt Disney World was actually the first place we ever reserved an accessible hotel room! We generally request a room with a roll-in shower because that works best for us. I show some of the differences in room in the Disney Vlogs that are currently running on Friday’s on my channel. Alex doesn’t utilize the accessible buttons herself, but it does help getting her out the door!

meals

When I made our dining reservations for our trip (right when the window opened up), I made a note of an allergy or dietary restriction. When we arrived at a restaurant, the little print-out of out reservation had a red ALLERGY stamp on it, so either a manager or chef was required to visit our table. I will admit we didn’t say anything during our first meal. But, at Tusker House on Day 2, we were so impressed when we explained to the chef that Alex is on a puree diet. He said “okay, what does she want? We’ll make it happen”. Normally in a restaurant they say they don’t have a blender, so this was AMAZING! She loved getting to eat whatever she wanted in the consistency that was easiest for her. It was such a great experience for us, and it definitely felt like a weight had been lifted, because I was definitely worrying about it.

Goofy LOVED Alex at Tusker House!

Transportation

This was our first time staying at a Monorail loop resort, and it was great! The monorail was much easier for Alex because her chair doesn’t have to be tied down, and the Cast Member always asked where we would be getting off so someone could assist us. The two(?) time we took the bus, it was easy, and short! The Magical Express is also wheelchair accessible, so we just had to wait to the side for a minute before boarding, and they took care of us first. Transportation at Disney when it comes to Alex was top notch!

This is Alex and her worker Megan.

a few extra tidbits

  • Space Mountain is the only attraction Alex can’t go on, because the seating is single file. The version in Disneyland isn’t so she could ride it there!
  • The Peoplemover ramp cannot accommodate a wheelchair, so if Alex wanted to ride we would have to lift her. We didn’t this time because we weren’t sure how long the line would be when we got up there, but she was fine with that!
  • When we went to ride Peter Pan’s Flight the Cast Member had to ask us if we could carry Alex down a ladder in case of emergency. That was something I hadn’t even thought about, but because the ride track is above you, it makes sense!

 

If you’d like to hear a little more about our experience (I think I explain it better talking than in text), check out the video below!

I hope this post helped to show how accessible theme parks can be, and part of why we love Disney so much! If you have any questions about anything I mentioned in the post, please leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer!

 

Thank you so much for reading!

 

Kelsey