Why Aren’t Newer Disney Attractions More Accessible?

Just one of the things that has astonished me to understand in latest years is that some of the Walt Disney World points of interest that I wrestle most with accessibility due to my wheelchair and bodily disabilities, are not the older typical points of interest but types constructed in the late 90s or even in the final handful of decades.

In my past write-up I wrote about accessibility challenges with traditional Disney World points of interest. I bundled Check Keep track of as this is a perennial favored, but only understood after the point that it was crafted in 1999. This is nine several years just after the Us residents with Disabilities Act was signed into regulation, but also many years following a budding recognition of accessibility wants. It shocked me that this kind of an accessibility-challenged attraction was developed that late. However, more analysis uncovered various more.

Even even worse, some of the modern (and fantastic) new points of interest in a number of of the parks have some severe accessibility difficulties. It’s disappointing that accessibility was possibly not nicely-considered or was a late-in-the-sport issue ensuing in lousy entry. 

Underneath I highlight these newer accessibility difficulties, starting up with some visitor favorites built in the late 90s.

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

I’m a coaster lover and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is a favourite, but it is a very tough transfer. It demands both the capacity to step down minimal into the motor vehicle or utilizing a transfer phase. However, even with this additional phase the transfer is reduced and requires a important carry to get again into my wheelchair. After in the journey auto I come to feel relaxed and safe, but the problem of the transfer means this one particular isn’t feasible for a important selection of persons with mobility disabilities.

Adapted boarding with phase transfer stool at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

Kali River Rapids

I have never ever been on the Kali River Rapids attraction and the major purpose is that while it is described as “must transfer” in the accessibility advice from Disney, the information and facts is mistaken. It is not basically a transfer journey, but as an alternative calls for the visitor be in a position to stage down various ways. In “disability lingo,” which is what individuals of us with disabilities examine those people descriptions for, transferring would mean currently being in a position to slide from a wheelchair onto a automobile seat, which is not doable the way this car or truck is at this time developed. I have read through on message boards on-line that there is some form of ramp that a individual with a disability could slide down to enter. This seems just a tiny way too Wiley Coyote-ish for my comfort and ease. As well as, defying gravity to slide again up may well be a bridge as well significantly for numerous. Like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, this attraction was opened in 1999 and did not appear to be to have significantly consideration of mobility disabilities.


DINOSAUR is a favored of equally my partner and myself, but however in the latest decades the lift needed from my wheelchair into the car has gotten to be also significantly to summit. Even at the specific boarding location, having in calls for stepping up two huge steps or a large lift. Earlier I experienced enough power to press off with my legs and my spouse would swivel me up. But my condition has progressed and this has turn out to be as well bodily tough. With the peak of the vehicle, I’m not absolutely sure what could be carried out apart from for the chance of putting in a raised platform. My partner states he can assume of a way a transfer alteration would be possible in the accessibility boarding place, which just signifies that consulting with people today with an engineering mentality and some understanding of accessibility needs could go a extended way for increasing accessibility.

Na’vi River Journey

To my fantastic disappointment, this newer attraction (Na’vi River Journey) as part of Pandora in Animal Kingdom is demanding to board. It is a gorgeous and calming boat trip, yet it requires a large move down alternatively of a clean transfer to get into the car. An incorporate-on action transfer bench is available so we use that to carry me down and up action by phase, but it normally takes a ton out of me. If the seat experienced a hydraulic carry or increase-on to that effect that I could transfer in excess of and lessen, it would be so much swifter and less difficult. On our initial take a look at to this journey, we ended up astonished and appalled that it was designed so hard for the numerous people today with mobility disabilities who would otherwise enormously delight in the knowledge. With practice we enhanced our abilities at this advanced transfer, but I never definitely feel that need to have been needed. There is a boat on Smaller Globe, which was created about a kazillion yrs ago, that can accommodate a wheelchair, but by some means on this model-new experience they couldn’t determine it out (observe: this was my husband interjecting yet again).

Step transfer bench for adapted boarding of Na'vi River Journey boatAction transfer bench for tailored boarding of Na’vi River Journey boat

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

I so looked forward to using Seven Dwarfs Mine Train before it opened, but every single time I journey it I know I will experience ache through the transfer and for the duration of the working experience. Though the attraction is so amazing and incredibly detailed to mirror a favorite Disney film, the auto design didn’t appear to think about folks with mobility disabilities. The last car has a facet door that opens, but a rider with mobility troubles continue to has to stage down or be lifted down to the seat. In my situation, my spouse helps me sit and then the entertaining begins—cramming my limited, but not versatile legs into the car or truck. I in fact have to slide more than to his seat, place my legs in as finest I can into my seat place, then slide back again around prior to pulling the safe bar down. No subject how I sit my ideal leg is in agony for the reason that it just does not bend sufficient. This ache is the only cause I’m glad it’s a really swift and shorter experience. Continue to, I stiffen up and then have trouble acquiring back out. As considerably as I adore this attraction, I can only muster a single take a look at throughout a 10-day vacation for the reason that I know the issue and ache I will knowledge. It’s this sort of a disappointment in a ride that is so new and in comparison to other Disney Entire world coasters that have less complicated transfers and still provide the enjoyable (speaking about you Expedition Everest and Slinky Pet dog Sprint!).

Side door open on last Mine Train car for adapted boardingSide door open on last Mine Coach vehicle for adapted boarding

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

I absolutely adore Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, but am heartbroken that, as a brand name-new just one just opened in 2020, it is so challenging to transfer. Boarding needs stepping down or employing a transfer phase bench, but there’s incredibly little home for maneuvering and would be so considerably more simple if it had a facet doorway that opened. Even far better, would be for the car stage to be in far better alignment with wheelchair top so that if a facet door opened you could have an straightforward slide transfer. It perplexes me that this was not prepared or thought about for a brand name-new trip that is extremely family members-welcoming and an all around delight. I’d enjoy it if on all new attractions the height of the seat in the car or truck was in alignment (or near assortment) of normal wheelchair peak. This is easy to know as wheelchairs typically tumble into a vary for common peak and should really be uncomplicated to plan with the style and design.

Transfer bench for adapted boarding in the back row of the Railway vehicleTransfer bench for tailored boarding in the back again row of the Railway auto

TRON and Guardians stress and anxiety

As a coaster lover, I am so seeking ahead to the arrival of TRON to Magic Kingdom and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind to EPCOT. I enjoy all these films, their visible models, and coasters in typical they each sound so neat, first, and entertaining. But I am nervous, terribly anxious, that I will be unhappy by two new and inaccessible points of interest. For case in point, I’ve appeared at the TRON automobile design and style used in the Shanghai Vacation resort and don’t consider the authentic is obtainable. (China is perfectly recognized for not staying available, intrigued in building items available, nor intrigued in inclusion of individuals with disabilities. So, I wouldn’t have several expectations of accessibility in these parks unless of course Disney insisted on it them selves.) The automobiles appear like bikes, which isn’t itself a trouble as Disney created a comparable journey automobile available with Flight of Passage by furnishing a transfer wheelchair for boarding. On the other hand, if they run side by facet as in the style and design and can not be boarded from at the rear of, this option wouldn’t function. Furthermore, if the rider has to bend down to grip the handlebars it would be a problem for people today with rigid backs and necks to see and appreciate the trip. My incapacity entails this situation, so I often compensate by bending as a great deal as probable in other areas where by I can. I seriously hope that Disney Imagineers have enhanced TRON style and design with accessibility in mind. On top of that, even though the early appear I have viewed for Cosmic Rewind motor vehicles seems to be accessible, I really hope it is in actuality and does not disappoint.

Never ever Predicted New Attractions to be Additional Inaccessible

Even much more than traditional Disney Planet points of interest acquiring accessibility issues, I’ve been startled and let down to expertise so many problems with newer ones. It appears to be that possibly access was not deemed or was included-on at the last moment as an alternative of being considered through from the starting.

Accessibility really is not something that can be glued on at the conclude. The ramps that are afterthoughts are always misplaced or insufficient. While when accessibility is baked in from the start out you conclude up with stunning and seamless answers, this sort of as the ramp that winds up each individual degree of the Guggenheim Museum.

My hope is that going forward Disney will employ the service of Imagineers with disabilities or check with with attendees with disabilities (even superior: let’s do both of those!) to weave in accessibility from the commencing and through just about every period of style and design, progress, and construction for new sights. In an era the place design and technology are sophisticated, there’s no longer any reason for accessibility to be an afterthought nor a obstacle for generating and enjoying an remarkable Disney expertise.