Is Disneyland Anti-Disability?

The Joyous Living: Is Disneyland Anti-Disability?

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Those of you who followed my short lived Vlog might remember my review of the beautiful Disneyland winter holidays experience in 2015 thanks to the Disney Public Relations Team.  Fast forward a year and a half and I have submitted three requests to Disney to review Disneyland’s accessibility for walkers, wheelchairs and those of us who have troubles with standing long due to auto-immune diseases such as Fibromyalgia. Each time I have been denied without explanation. I have replied immediately asking for an explanation but alas those replies have been ignored by Disney’s Public Relation Team.

So, it got me thinking that perhaps Disney has something against the disabled and that was why I was denied. Why else would I be denied after being accepted just a year earlier with practically the same statistics (and walking)?

Dapper Day 2013.

You wouldn’t think so with the Mouse’s dedication to making Disneyland “The Happiest Place on Earth” (for everyone). However, stranger things have happened. I performed numerous internet searches over the last year and a half that I have been trying to get approved by the PR team. Personally my research interest has changed as my disabilities have changed: from ‘simply’ having Fibromyalgia and not being able to stand for long periods of time in queues to needing to use a walker to needing to use a wheelchair.

When I was researching how best to get around Disneyland with Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I found several message board postings on the topic and several blog posts about the Disability Access Service Card. But there was NOTHING on Disneyland’s website about either disease or any similar diseases. And lets not forget all the lawsuits Disney faces over their treatment of Autistic children.

When I was researching how best to get around Disneyland with a walker, I found fewer message board postings and no blog posts on the topic. And the only thing a search on their website for “walker” brings up is: FAQ: Permitted Items. Ouch! I even emailed Disney Public Relations to ask about how guests with walkers are supposed to get around and if there were limitations on what attractions they could go on, etc. Guess what? I NEVER heard back from Disney. And this was an email I sent twice!

Finally, when I needed my wheelchair, I did another search online. On Disneyland’s website, I searched their Services For Guests With Mobility Disabilities page (under Guest Services) and found only information on which rides were accessible and by which means (i.e. ambulatory, transfer from wheelchair/ECV or wheelchair/ECV accessible) and details on the disabled parking options at the resort. But what about information on restaurant seating availability, parade/fireworks watching areas, etc.?

A Google search led me to even more confusing reviews… One blog (10 down on the first page of results) briefly mentioned the Access Service Card, guide maps and the attraction access categories. Another lady (#4 down on the first page) briefly covered the details found on Disneyland’s website and offered four tips for Disneyland Resort hotels but that was all. And lastly, on TripAdvisor there were two reviews from 2012 and 2013. The 2012 reviewer was helpful in describing how hard it is for wheelchair users to navigate the queues at California Adventure without banging into the chain ropes. She also explained the craziness at Splash Mountain where single riders were picked before disabled guests which was interesting and good to know! The 2013 reviewer was short and to the point saying that the parks were “not set up very well for wheelchair bound persons.”

An interesting article on TIME’s website entitled “Does Disneyland Discriminate Against the Disabled?” caught my attention. A lady who needed a Segway vs a wheelchair/ECV was denied by Disney and her case made its way to the federal appeals court.

Ariel’s Grotto, 2013.

So what now? After 3 requests for tickets to review Disneyland’s accessibility being rejected for no given reason, several e-mails requesting information about guests using walkers/canes, guests who cannot stand for long lengths of time in queues (eg. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Cervical Stenosis) and guests with wheelchairs not being answered, I have to wonder does Disneyland have something against the disabled community? And as a last point, when was the last time you saw a cast member at Disneyland or Walt Disney World using a wheelchair or walker? Yes, there was the lady in a wheelchair who was part of the Aladdin stage show. But what about cast members working restaurants, retail shops and/or attractions?

The Joyous Living: Is Disneyland Anti-Disability? 
I hope this is just a random experience and everyone else who has requested tickets and/or asked questions about disabilities has been accepted and received responses. If I ever can make it to the parks with my disabilities, I will be sure to let you guys know how it goes! Until then,
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  1. Wow! Strong piece. I feel for you as nobody deserves to be excluded from any activities unless it would pose some sort of danger. I would definitely find out about other's experiences and maybe try and take some action in bigger numbers?

  2. That's so strange! Really you wouldn't have thought it would be that difficult for them to make these kinds of accessibility allowances (and it's certainly in their business interests to do so!) I didn't know there was similar controversy with their treatment of autistic people, gosh! So sorry and I hope you can enjoy a wonderful experience there again soon! xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua

    • Right?? Something wrong when all these people are suing. I don't want any lawsuit, just the chance to review Disney in a wheelchair the same way I did when I could walk on my two feet.

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