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Old 05-15-2005, 08:14 AM   #1
SueM in MN
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Thumbs up Other than Disney: places elsewhere you may want to check out!

Sometimes disABILITIES Board posters feel like going places other than WDW or Disneyland. This thread will include links to information people have posted about places other than Disney. As people post their experiences, my plan is to add a link to the thread to this first post in the thread.
This is the thread that made me think of doing this sticky:
Judith M's trip to Arlington National Cemetary.

Densgirl's trip to Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens.

LindaDVC's experience visiting Victory Junction Camp (a camp Hole in the Wall camp for kids with medical/special needs).

riu girl's trip to Marineland Ontario.

Information regarding Hershey Park.
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trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr

Last edited by SueM in MN; 05-14-2006 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 10-18-2005, 10:26 AM   #2
thatgrrl
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How about KSC?

anyone have experience with Kennedy Space Center and Special Needs (autism)?

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Old 11-12-2005, 02:03 PM   #3
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thanks

sue for those links!

next time we go to somewhere like america or we're passing by florida we're check those places out!
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Old 01-30-2006, 02:02 PM   #4
Tracyee
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Can you tell me about Universal and IOA?

Can anyone tell me about their experiences at Universal and IOA? We have taken the kids to WDW 3 times in the last 3 years but they haven't been to Universal yet.

My son (severe CP wheelchair user) has experienced most of Disney including Splash Mountain with a parent sitting next to him. What do you all think about Universal & IOA rides? Will he be able to partake in the rides there?

We will probably split our trip between Universal and Disney but just want to hear first hand about the experiences you all had.

We are booked for Memorial Day Week and are ready for the magic!

Thanks
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Old 03-10-2006, 09:21 PM   #5
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Cruise Line

Where is the best place to search for handicapped questions for the cruise?

Thanks
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Old 03-17-2006, 10:08 AM   #6
cmcd2
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Ioa

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracyee
Can anyone tell me about their experiences at Universal and IOA? We have taken the kids to WDW 3 times in the last 3 years but they haven't been to Universal yet.

My son (severe CP wheelchair user) has experienced most of Disney including Splash Mountain with a parent sitting next to him. What do you all think about Universal & IOA rides? Will he be able to partake in the rides there?

We will probably split our trip between Universal and Disney but just want to hear first hand about the experiences you all had.

We are booked for Memorial Day Week and are ready for the magic!

Thanks

Tracyee,

We just got home last night from Orlando. We spent 2 days at Universal and 3 at WDW with our son Andy, who is 16 and has Muscular Dystrophy. He uses a power chair and has use of only his hands. We rode every ride (except for Suess Landing, he is 16 after all) in IOA and have ridden almost every ride in Universal. Andy is about 5' 10" and 180. Fortunately, I have the physical strength to transfer him, so that is not a factor. If you can comfortably transfer your son, you will have no problems at Universal or IOA. On our first trip there 4 years ago, we were stopped by a person in management in the parking garage to ask us what our plans were. We chatted with him for a few moments and then he pointed to Andy and said "he does not wait in any lines." He told us to go to Guest Services to pick up an express pass that got us in all attractions and on all rides with minimal wait times. On that trip and the half dozen or so since then, Andy is treated like a VIP every time we visit Universal. At WDW he is treated just like another member of the herd. I cannot say enough good about Universal. We love Disney as well, but we just go with lower expectations. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.
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Old 03-17-2006, 10:56 AM   #7
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IOA/Universal access

Thank you for the information. We are really looking forward to it.
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Old 03-18-2006, 11:36 AM   #8
SueM in MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmcd2
On our first trip there 4 years ago, we were stopped by a person in management in the parking garage to ask us what our plans were. We chatted with him for a few moments and then he pointed to Andy and said "he does not wait in any lines." He told us to go to Guest Services to pick up an express pass that got us in all attractions and on all rides with minimal wait times. On that trip and the half dozen or so since then, Andy is treated like a VIP every time we visit Universal. At WDW he is treated just like another member of the herd. I cannot say enough good about Universal. We love Disney as well, but we just go with lower expectations. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.
That is a big change from what we experienced on our last trip to Universal (which was a long time ago because it was before IOA had opened). We went at least twice, stopped at Guest Services both times to ask if they had any sort of GAC (Guest Assistance Card) and explained what DD's problems with waiting in the regular lines were. The answer we got was that the lines were wheelchair accessible and that was all they were required to provide. At some of the individual attractions we asked if it was possible for DD and one other person to wait out of the sun and busy-ness of the line and were told it was not. I know at the same time period, they were accomidating people with similar disabilities to DD's who did not also have a wheelchair. I'm glad if they are doing a good job now.

They do have an excellent rider's guide, with information that is actually helpful in deciding whether or not an attraction is safe for you. Here's a link to their general disabilities page. It does indicate that none of their rides are power wheelchair or ECV accessible, but they have manual wheelchairs at the entrance that you can switch to.
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Spaceship Earth: We are all passengers together.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans......John Lennon
Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr
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Old 04-04-2006, 03:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmcd2
Tracyee,

We just got home last night from Orlando. We spent 2 days at Universal and 3 at WDW with our son Andy, who is 16 and has Muscular Dystrophy. He uses a power chair and has use of only his hands. We rode every ride (except for Suess Landing, he is 16 after all) in IOA and have ridden almost every ride in Universal. Andy is about 5' 10" and 180. Fortunately, I have the physical strength to transfer him, so that is not a factor. If you can comfortably transfer your son, you will have no problems at Universal or IOA. On our first trip there 4 years ago, we were stopped by a person in management in the parking garage to ask us what our plans were. We chatted with him for a few moments and then he pointed to Andy and said "he does not wait in any lines." He told us to go to Guest Services to pick up an express pass that got us in all attractions and on all rides with minimal wait times. On that trip and the half dozen or so since then, Andy is treated like a VIP every time we visit Universal. At WDW he is treated just like another member of the herd. I cannot say enough good about Universal. We love Disney as well, but we just go with lower expectations. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.
Wow, things have changed a lot at Universal Orlando since we visited last summer.

We found then that mostly we waited with our DS (CP & wheelchair user) far longer than people in the regular lines. More than once we were ignored by staff at rides and were lied to regarding ride accessibility on several occasions. We were allowed for him to ride one day and refused the next.

DS was even refused to be allowed to ride after nearly 2 hours of waiting in line at one attraction which their literature and the staff at the ride entrance stated was accessible for him. This was the last straw for me and ruined our visit so much that we didn't use any more of the days remaining on our 7 day passes. Staff at Guest Relations in the park were extremely unhelpful to the point of rudeness and a manager we met at the park exit was little better.

When I got home I wrote a formal complaint and received a very polite reply offering to replace 2 of the days we had lost. We are in 2 minds whether to visit Universal parks again, but your post is encouraging.

We enjoy the treatment we receive at Disney because it does allow us to be 'just like another member of the herd' and treated equally. I have no problem with waiting in line as long as it is comfortable for my DS to do so.

Thankyou for your information.
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Old 10-12-2006, 06:57 AM   #10
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If anyone is planning a trip to Niagara Falls Canada, there is an excellent website covering the accessiblity of the hotels and attractions in the area:
http://www.accessibleniagara.com/
This made it possible for us to visit there in 2004. Very thorough hotel room reviews. There is even a printed guide that can be requested.
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Old 01-17-2007, 09:39 PM   #11
HappyCamperToo
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Does anyone have other places to add to this link? I'm trying to find a non-themepark location for our next vacation, and would love to hear any accessibility comments from places you've seen. TIA
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Old 04-25-2007, 12:20 PM   #12
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Does anyone have any information for Gatlinburg, Tennessee? I did a websearch and the only thing I could pull up was the resorts in the area that are handicapped accessible (which all should be). I'd appreciate any information to save my husband from having to support me the entire weekend. I can walk but have been having seizures lately so I wanted something a little bit more "secure". I'd really appreciate it. A manual wheelchair is perfectly fine since I'll have six adults to help out. Thanks!
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Old 05-29-2007, 04:39 PM   #13
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FDR Jamaica. I posted a review on Trip Advisor. Great for allergies.

Taylor
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Old 06-04-2007, 03:41 PM   #14
BeckyScott
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We just returned from a weekend in Branson MO.

Silver Dollar City does have something very similar to a GAC! Our youngest son is autistic. I didn't know what they would do, but it never hurts to ask. I went to Guest Services right at the entrance. There was a very helpful lady there, I asked about accomodations for "non-visible" disabilities. Really, at that moment, Justin's disability was pretty "visible" he was flappin' it up and singing to himself, so she figured out what was going on with no problem. Gave us a copied letter to show, she filled in some info like the date and the size of party, and told us to use the Disabled Entrance (which for most rides was the Exit) along with a booklet about the rides.

The employees are fairly young and not as experienced as you might find at Disney, but they were really nice about it. Most took the letter to whoever the ride supervisor was, and came right back with it and knew exactly what to do. Our wait time, if I had to guess, was 3-5 minutes, and we were able to wait right by the exit gate where Justin could move around.

I think it might also be a policy to offer an immediate "second round" if you want, they kept asking us if we wanted to go again. We never tested it out, though, once seemed to be enough.

I just wanted to share. SDC is a smaller park and I wasn't expecting them to be equipped to "handle" something like autism, but they obviously have had this happen before and were very gracious about it. A two-thumbs up from us!

We did plenty of other stuff in Branson itself, but nothing you'd need special accomodations for. Everything seemed to be very wheelchair-accessible.
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Old 07-11-2007, 06:36 PM   #15
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Does anyone have any experiences with Dollywood? Its not too far and has VeggieTales...my ds8 with autism's favorite things in the whole wide world...though I am trying to make him a mouse fan too ....any info would be appreciated as I can't imagine going without a gameplan. TIA Mimmy
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