Wheelchair-Friendly Vacations

3 Wheelchair-Friendly Vacations

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | January 31, 2015

3 Wheelchair-Friendly Vacations

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.

<!— Cruise —> Amber Nolan

Most everyone has someone in their family that is either disabled or is getting up there in age and therefore going a little slower. Thinking about traveling with someone who is in a wheelchair is not as bad as it sounds anymore.  Resorts and destinations around the world have been creating and updating their facilities to accommodate those who are mobile. When my father was in a wheelchair, these were the places at the top of our list for ease of accessability.

Las Vegas

Vegas may be the best place on this list because of the sheer amount of older people who both visit and retire here. This makes the accessibility pretty much mandatory. It would probably be easier to tell you what in Las Vegas isn’t wheelchair accessible than to list off what is.

There are a ton of mobility scooter rentals and almost every single one of them will deliver right to your hotel.  Every resort has ADA-compliant desks and tables and most machines on the floor are at a height where they can be reached. Elevators are abundant throughout Vegas, even in the older areas of town.

Taxis are required to have wheelchair-capable taxis in their fleet. Word to the wise: if you can get around in a mobility scooter, choose that over a taxi. Cabs are hard enough to come by in Vegas and waiting for a special one can take awhile. Plan your traveling in advance and take the scooter. Every crossover of Las Vegas Boulevard has elevators and the entrances to all of the properties are ramped.

Walt Disney World

Almost every theme park in the United States has disability access, but the most accommodating without a doubt is Walt Disney World. They provide services for guests with mobility disabilities, visual disabilities and hearing disabilities. They have wheelchair and scooter rentals right in the park, assisted hearing systems, text typewriter telephones, handheld and video captioning, Braille guidebooks, and digital audio tours.

They also offer up accommodations for service animals, plus a neat feature called a Disability Access Service Card. This card is available othose guests who cannot wait in a conventional queue. When presented at an attraction, the guest is given a return time for it based on the current wait time. The guest can only reserve a time for one attraction at a time, and it can be used in conjunction with the FastPass Service.

Cruise Ships

Photo courtesy of The Accessible Planet.

There really is no better way to get to multiple destinations than onboard a cruise ship. They serve as your traveling hotel, restaurant and activity center and every day you wake up in a new place. The great news is that cruise lines are pretty accessible for guests with disabilities. Accessible cabins have widened doorways, wheel-in showers, hand-held showerheads, lowered sinks and bath distress alarms.

Almost all cruise lines have access-friendly restaurants, theaters, spas, lounges and open deck space as well as lifts for pools and hot tubs. Guests with sight and hearing disabilities will find Braille signage, audible elevator arrival sounds and infrared listening assistance systems in the theaters. Again, most cruise lines have ability to move scooters and wheelchairs to tenders and from tenders to shore, but check with your individual cruise lines first. Remember, if you are traveling out of the country, there may be trouble getting around. Most cruise lines offer details on which excursions are accessible and which are not.

For more information, the internet is abounding with details, reviews and suggestions for traveling with or as a person with a disability.  Check out the Friendship Circle, The Accessible Planet, or Gimp on the Go for more.


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