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Top 10 Accessible Attractions in Orlando
By: Sara Toth Stub | Mar 19 2018
Whether you are seeking theme parks filled with roller coasters and cartoon characters, tropical landscapes or great shopping, Orlando is a great place to spend a weekend or a longer vacation. It is the most popular tourist destination in the United States, with new attractions opening all the time. Many of the top attractions strive to accommodate visitor needs as much as possible, including those with disabilities. Its suburban nature also means plenty of space for parking, sidewalks and accessible outdoor areas.

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival | Visit Orlando

1.Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom
1180 Seven Seas Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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Rising 17 stories into the Florida sky, Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort serves as a landmark for park visitors and provides an entryway into Fantasyland. | Visit Orlando

This is, perhaps, the most famous theme park in the world. It overflows with rides, entertainment, and characters from the Disney movies. There are rides and attractions for people of all ages, and many would say that one day is not nearly enough to fully experience this magical place.

Guests using wheelchairs or scooters do not need to wait in line for rides and attractions; rather they can simply request a time to return, along with other members of their party. People who do not use wheelchairs or scooters, but who cannot, for whatever reason, handle waiting in line, can also request return times, but this can only be done after they register at Guest Relations for Disability Access Service.

This registration process, which can only be done on site, requires having a photograph taken and agreeing to certain terms. Once registered, this access is valid for 60 days at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

Guests using wheelchairs or scooters do not need to register; they will automatically be granted return times for rides. Some Magic Kingdom attractions allow visitors to remain in their wheelchairs for the duration of the ride, and some others require visitors to transfer directly to seats on the attractions, or to another provided wheelchair that takes them on to the attraction.

Only four rides at the park require that visitors be ambulatory, or able to walk on their own. See this listing of all Magic Kingdom attractions and how they cater to guests with disabilities. Visitors can rent wheelchairs for $12 a day, which they can take to multiple theme parks, or electric conveyance vehicles for $50 a day, plus a refundable $20-deposit, and which cannot be taken to another park.

For guests who are deaf or hard of hearing, the Magic Kingdom offers handheld wireless devices that display text, as well as assistive listening systems, which come with headphones to amplify sounds, including announcements, throughout the park. These can be rented for a refundable $25 per day. Video screens in the park that include captions are designated by CC, and an attendant can activate this function. There is sign language interpretation for all live Magic Kingdom shows on Mondays and Thursdays. Those visitors who are blind or have low vision can also obtain, for a refundable $25, a handheld device that describes visual scenery. Braille guidebooks describing the park are available, and Braille maps are located at the Guest Relations center.

Service animals are permitted at the park, but must be on a leash or harness at all times. The Magic Kingdom offers a dedicated parking lot for visitors with disabilities that is close to the park entrance, and does not require using the tram to access the park. Those using wheelchairs or with mobility disabilities are advised to park here. Entrance to this lot is granted to vehicles with a valid disabled parking permit. The main parking lots, which require visitors to ride a courtesy tram, accessed by a step, also offer parking spaces for cars with disabled parking permits.

The Magic Kingdom can be reached by Walt Disney World resort buses, which are all equipped with lifts and can accommodate wheelchairs with a footprint of up to 30 by 48 inches. The monorail system also takes guests to the park, and is accessible by using elevators or ramps. Some, but not all, of the water taxis and ferries that connect the Magic Kingdom to other parks and parts of the resort are accessible.

Visitors with any questions about accessibility can call guest relations: (407) 560-2547 or email Disability.services@disneyparks.com.
2. Discovery Cove
6000 Discovery Cove Way, Orlando, FL 32821
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The dream of getting up-close with a bottlenose dolphin comes alive at Discovery Cove in Orlando. The opportunity to swim and play with dolphins highlights the variety of intimate animal encounters. | Visit Orlando

This theme park is an exciting place to swim and snorkel with dolphins and fish, and explore lagoons and beaches. Entering this park feels like entering a tropical paradise.

Most attractions, including wading and swimming pools, are accessible for those who can maneuver themselves, or move with help from others. Entry to most bodies of water is via natural shores and slopes, rather than steps. The park provides all-terrain wheelchairs that can be pushed on sand and other uneven surfaces and rolled into the water; these can be reserved by calling 1-877-557-7404.

As far as swimming with dolphins, visitors must be strong enough to securely grasp the dolphin’s fin and body.

Service animals are only permitted in certain areas of the park. Service animals are not allowed in the Aviary, Grand Reef, Serenity Bay, Wind-Away River, Freshwater Oasis and Dolphin Lagoons. Guests may board their service animals at the Pet Care Center at the nearby Sea World for a fee.

Accessible parking is available in the main parking lot. Many hotels are also complimentary and accessible shuttles to Discovery Cove.
3. Universal Studios Islands of Adventure
6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819
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The High In The Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride! takes riders on a journey high above the colorful rides and attractions below. | Visit Orlando

This is a place where you can experience the worlds of various movies and cartoon characters from Dr. Seuss to Harry Potter to Spider Man. Many of the cutting-edge rides and attractions are interactive, allowing visitors to enter and experience the worlds and scenes depicted in movies. New attractions are constantly being added.

Most attractions are accessible. Lines to all attractions in the park can accommodate wheelchairs, and all live shows offer accessible seating areas, although sometimes an alternate entrance is used. Some rides allow visitors to remain in their wheelchairs, and some require transferring to seating within the ride vehicle. None of the rides can accommodate electric wheelchairs or other electric mobility vehicles. Standard non-electric wheelchairs are provided on some rides that those in electric wheelchairs can transfer to for the duration of the attraction.

Oxygen tanks are only permitted on a few rides. Most attractions allow visitors using canes to hold them for the duration of the ride, although in some cases, canes must be left with an attendant. In cases where people cannot wait in a line longer than 30 minutes, due to disabilities, they will be given a time to return; but guests must register for this option, called the Attractions Assistance Pass, at guest services near the entrance of the park. This pass is good for two weeks, and can apply to a party of up to 6 people. Wheelchairs and electric conveyance vehicles are available for rent near the entrance to the park. It is recommended to reserve as ECV at least one week before your visit by calling Guest Services at 407-224-4233.

For guests who are deaf or hard of hearing, the park offers assistive listening devices and printed scripts of each attraction, which can be picked up in the lobby of Guest Services. Sign-language interpretation at live shows can be booked at least one week ahead by emailing SignLanguageServices@universalorlando.com. For guests who are blind or have low vision, braille and large-print descriptions of each attraction can be picked up at Guest Services. For more information about accessibility services, contact guest services at 407-224-4233, or send an email. There is accessible parking, and the park can be reached by shuttles from many hotels.
4. Universal Studios
Universal Orlando Resort, 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819
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One of the most hilarious and heartwarming theme park experiences ever created - Despicable Me Minion Mayhem - is now open at Universal Orlando Resort, bringing minions, mayhem and tons of laughter to Universal Studios. | Visit Orlando

This theme park offers lots of fun, and a glimpse into life at a working film and television production facility. It is owned and operated by media conglomerate NBCUniversal. Many of the attractions in the park were developed with the help and input of film creators, such as Steven Spielberg, who helped design E.T. Adventure and Back to the Future: The Ride.

Like at its local sister theme park, Islands of Adventure, lines to all attractions in the park can accommodate wheelchairs, and all live shows offer accessible seating areas. Some rides allow visitors to remain in their wheelchairs, and some require transferring to seating within the ride vehicle. None of the rides can accommodate electric wheelchairs or other electric mobility vehicles. Standard non-electric wheelchairs are provided on some rides that those in electric wheelchairs can transfer to for the duration of the attraction.

Most attractions allow visitors using canes to hold them for the duration of the ride, although in some cases, canes must be left with an attendant. Oxygen tanks are only permitted on a few rides. In cases where people cannot wait in a line longer than 30 minutes, due to disabilities, they will be given a time to return; but guests must register for this option, called the Attractions Assistance Pass, at guest services near the entrance of the park. This pass is good for two weeks, and can apply to a party of up to 6 people. Wheelchairs and electric conveyance vehicles are available for rent near the entrance to the park. It is recommended to reserve as ECV at least one week before your visit by calling Guest Services at 407-224-4233.

For guests with hearing disabilities, the park offers assistive listening devices and printed scripts of each attraction, which can be picked up in the lobby of Guest Services. Sign-language interpretation at live shows can be booked at least one week ahead by emailing: SignLanguageServices@universalorlando.com. For guests who are blind or have low vision, braille and large-print descriptions of each attraction can be picked up at Guest Services.

There is accessible parking, and the park can be reached by shuttles from many hotels.
5. Disney’s Animal Kingdom
2901 Osceola Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32830
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Disney magic brings dinosaurs back to life for the most thrilling of adventures in DinoLand U.S.A. at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Aboard time-traveling vehicles, guests are whisked back 65 million years on a lurching, twisting journey to save the last dinosaur from extinction. | Walt Disney World

This theme park is home to more than 2,000 animals. It offers exhibits, rides and other attractions dedicated to the themes of nature and conservation. Here you can view giraffes on an African safari and ride the rapids of a river through a scenic jungle landscape.

Guests in wheelchairs and electric mobility vehicles can avoid lines by receiving a return-time for each attraction. Those not in wheelchairs, but who are otherwise unable to wait in line can also register for this Disability Access Service at Guest Relations. All rides and attractions are wheelchair accessible, although some do require visitors to transfer out of their wheelchairs to other seating.

For guests who are deaf or hard of hearing, Animal Kingdom offers handheld wireless device that displays text, as well as assistive listening systems, which come with headphones to amplify sounds, including announcements, throughout the park. These can be rented for a refundable $25 per day. Video screens in the park that include captions are designated by CC, and an attendant can activate this function. There is sign language interpretation for all live Animal Kingdom shows on Tuesday and Saturdays.

Visitors with visual disabilities can also obtain, for a refundable $25, a handheld device that describes visual scenery. Braille guidebooks describing the park are available, and braille maps are located at the Guest Relations center.

Service animals are permitted at the park, but must be on a leash or harness at all times.

Animal Kingdom offers a dedicated lot for visitors with disabilities that is close to the park entrance and does not require using a tram or any other transportation to access the park. Entrance to this lot is granted to vehicles with a valid accessible parking permit. The main parking lots, which require visitors to ride a courtesy tram, accessed by a step, also offer parking spaces for cars with accessible parking permits.

Animal Kingdom can also be reached by Walt Disney World resort buses, which are all equipped with lifts and can accommodate wheelchairs with a footprint of up to 30 by 48 inches. As far as getting around the park, visitors can rent wheelchairs for $12 a day, which they can take to multiple theme parks, or electric conveyance vehicles for $50 a day, plus a refundable $20-deposit, and which cannot be taken to another park.

Visitors with any questions about accessibility can call guest relations: (407) 560-2547 or email Disability.services@disneyparks.com.
6. SeaWorld Orlando
7007 Sea World Dr, Orlando, FL 32821
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Guests to SeaWorld Orlando’s Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin will be among a large colony of penguins including kings, rockhoppers, gentoos and Adelies in their 30-degree habitat. | Visit Orlando

At Sea World, you can experience thrilling rides and marine exhibitions. The marine animals here range from the penguins of Antarctica to stingrays of the tropical world. Many exhibits are interactive, allowing you experience these animals and their environs first-hand.

Most rides and attractions are accessible. Guests with mobility disabilities can register at Guest Services for the Ride Accessibility Program, which allows them to receive a return time to enjoy rides rather than wait in a line.

All shows and performances offer accessible seating for guests with mobility disabilities plus one companion. Guests can remain in wheelchairs for some of the park’s rides, and for others they need to transfer to a wheelchair or other seating arrangement built into the ride. Some rides have a separate entrance for guests in wheelchairs.

According to SeaWorld’s Website, all restrooms are accessible, and the park also contains some companion restrooms. Many of the park’s restaurants are set up cafeteria-style, and lines may be too narrow to navigate in wheelchairs. If this is the case, an employee can provide table service. SeaPort Pizza offers a wheelchair accessible order window, and full-service dining is available at Sharks Underwater Grill.

Wheelchairs are available for rent from the park on a first-come, first-serve basis, or you can reserve one up to 24 hours in advance by calling 1-888-800-5447.

Service animals are permitted, and are even allowed on some of the rides.

The parking lot includes accessible parking spaces for those vehicles with valid permits, and courtesy wheelchairs are provided to help visitors get from the parking lot to the main wheelchair rental location. The park is also served by shuttles from many local hotels.
7. Harry P Leu Gardens
1920 N Forest Ave, Orlando, FL 32803
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Harry P. Leu Gardens features three miles (five kilometers) of paved scenic walkways that take visitors through 50 acres (20 hectares) of southern-styled gardens. | Visit Orlando

These botanical gardens feature 50 acres of bamboo, palm trees and other tropical landscapes, as well as a museum inside a century-old house on the property. This is a nice and calming place to take a quiet break from the world of theme parks, and experience some of the plant and animal life native to South Florida.

The park is also home to many inclusive educational programs about gardening and conservation. The site, with many paved paths winding through gardens, is wheelchair accessible. Wheelchairs are available for visitors to use on a first-come first-serve basis, but cannot be reserved ahead of time.

The site includes an area called the Enabling Garden, with plants and grass in raised beds, so they can be more easily viewed and accessed by people in wheelchairs.

Service animals are permitted.

There is accessible parking in the garden’s lot. The site is not reached easily by public transportation.
8. The Orlando Eye
8401 International Dr #100, Orlando, FL 32819
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I-Drive 360 with Orlando Eye | Visit Orlando

This 400-foot tall observation wheel gives you a view of the city’s skyline, its theme parks and lush surrounding landscape. This is one of the newest attractions in this dynamic and constantly-evolving city, having opened in the spring of 2015. Because the wheel’s capsules are enclosed, and it moves slowly, it gives passengers a smooth and gentle ride so they can focus on the amazing views.

All wheelchairs, including motorized ones, that are no wider than 36 inches are permitted to enter the capsules, regardless of weight. Each capsule can only accommodate one wheelchair. Each paying visitor using a wheelchair is allowed to bring one companion on board for free.

Visitors requiring oxygen can take their oxygen tanks onto the ride. Service animals are also permitted.

For more information about accessibility, please call 866-228-6438. There is accessible and free parking in the garage next to the Eye.

The I-Ride Trolley, which serves various sites along International Drive, also stops close to the Eye. The trolley can accommodate two wheelchairs.
9. The Escape Game
8145 International Dr #511, Orlando, FL 32819
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Escape Game | Escape Game

This one of a growing number of so-called escape rooms. It is an attraction where a team spends an hour working together solving puzzles and sometimes completing physical tasks like mazes to get out of a locked room. (Of course there is also an emergency exit).

Two of the venue’s game room are accessible to wheelchairs. Management at the Escape Game can also provide other assistance, such as flashlights when lighting is dim, and written scripts of any videos. All cues and directions are presented on screens, but management can also announce them on a speaker, if needed.

It is best to call ahead, to (407) 697-1672 or send an email through their website to make arrangements for any special needs.

There is accessible parking in the Escape Game’s parking lot. The I-Ride Trolley, which serves various sites along International Drive, also stops close to here. The trolley can accommodate two wheelchairs.
10. Orlando Science Center
777 E Princeton St, Orlando, FL 32803
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Guests can explore the mysteries of the outer limits through the largest publicly- accessible refractor telescope in the state of Florida. | Visit Orlando

This museum is great for the scientifically-curious. It offers a planetarium, various hands-on exhibits and a giant screen digital adventure theater. While it is always an interesting place, it is an especially great option for rainy days.

The building and most exhibits are accessible. The box office for the 8-story domed theater offers large-print show schedules as well as printed scripts for each show. Two weeks of advanced notice is required to ensure translation services into American Sign Language; to arrange this, call 407.514.2029 or email dgordon@osc.org.

There is wheelchair accessible access to the theater on the third floor, where there is also a seating area for those who wish to remain in their wheelchairs, along with a companion, during the show. Restrooms on all levels of the center are accessible, according to the science center’s website.

Service animals are permitted.

Accessible parking is available in the four-story garage, with spaces on each level for those with permits. The garage is equipped with elevators in order to access the sky bridge to the science center located on the second floor of the garage.

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