Category Archives: Disneyland

Disneyland Park Accessibility Update January 2019

 

 

 

 

 

Quick update!

Since I last updated the guide there have been a few new updates.

  1. Dumbo:  This attraction’s queue is now fully accessible to mobility aids, both manual and motorized.  All guests enter the same queue.
  2. Matterhorn:  The queue to this attraction has been widened making it easier for mobility aids to use.
  3. The Enchanted Tiki Room: This is my favorite update!! Gone is the awkwardly small and outdoor elevator for those unable to enter via the stairs.  In the entrance area, there is now a ramp to the right of the waiting area for guests to use.  In the past, guests unable to take stairs had to exit via the elevator and back through the entrance, now they exit out the same door and down ramps into the new Tropical Hideaway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to plan the best summer vacation despite having a chronic illness

Does the thought of taking a summer vacation get you excited or does it send chills down your spine?  I loved traveling before I became chronically ill.  In addition to yearly Disneyland vacations, I loved exploring new areas in other states or within the ones that I lived in.  Weekend road trips without a destination were my favorites.

Soon after chronic pain became a part of my daily life I began to loathe traveling. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go exploring, instead it became too painful.  Not only did my excursions increase my pain while away, it would take weeks and sometimes months to recover from them once I returned home.  Not wanting to spend most of my time recovering I opted to stop traveling.

The reason traveling was such a horrible experience for my during those early years of my chronic life was because I had attempted to travel just like I did before my illnesses.  Do you enjoy traveling? Why or why not?  Have you changed the way you plan, prepare, and go forth with your getaways?  By changing how I plan, prepare, and execute my trips I have fallen back in love with traveling.

What am I doing differently?  The most important thing I do is I plan with my illnesses in mind; I like to think of them as my invisible traveling buddies. In my post Packing for your Invisible Traveling Companions I share how I pack for each condition and how I prepare to keep them as happy as possible while away from home.   I also adjusted my expectations.  My posts Unrealistic Expectations and Realistic Expectations both offer advice on making vacation choices that work best for my body and its limitations.   Planning for and accepting that I had to pad my schedule with Vacation Downtime is another reason my traveling experiences have improved. For even more tips be sure to check out The Disabled Diva’s Top Ten Travel Tips and listen in as Shane and I discuss these topics and more in episode #3 Vacationing with a Chronic Illness on my podcast Dish’n with The Disabled Diva. And last but not least find out why I recommend Disneyland over Disney World for people with chronic conditions and where service animals are not permitted in each park.

Enjoy slam dunk poops no matter where you go this summer with a portable Squatty Potty!

No matter what your illness or where you are planning to go, the most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to have your most important medical information on hand.  I am giving away a downloadable Emergency Medical Information Wallet Card.  By keeping this card near your identification your traveling mates and/or emergency personnel will find your information quickly.  With a quick glance a paramedic or doctor will know what medications I am allergic to, what medications I am currently taking, my surgical history, blood type, and more.  Don’t expect your loved ones or traveling mates to remember all of your medical information during a crisis, help them out by downloading your free copy today!

Where will you go this summer?  Planning a Disneyland vacation?  If so be sure to check out my Disneyland Accessible Guide and you too will have a magical experience!

Where service dogs are prohibited at Disneyland and Disney World

Where service dogs are prohibited at Disneyland and Disney World

Dog with suitcase and passport

If you are planning a trip with your service dog to Disneyland or Disney World, you need to be aware that not all attractions permit a service animal.  This is for the safety of both the service animal and other guests.  Below is a list of attractions that do NOT allow service animals.  Besides not going on the attraction, you have two other options.  The first being that you utilize Disney’s Rider Switch service in which one person in your party stays behind with the service animal and then they ride after the rest of the party returns.  The second option is to use the park provided crates located at the boarding area of the attractions that offer them.

*Disclosure: I am not a medical professional. I am not issuing medical advice. Consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or treatments. This post contains affiliate links. Meaning that, at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission from purchases made through my links. These pennies fund the giveaway funds for my Facebook Groups.

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Collapsible dog bowls

Restricted areas:

 Disneyland Resort

Disneyland

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Gadget’s Go Coaster
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue

 

Disney California Adventure

  • Incredicoaster
  • Goofy’s Sky School
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Jumpin’ Jellyfish
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
  • Radiator Springs Racers
  • Silly Symphony Swings
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Guardian’s of the Galaxy Mission Breakout
  • Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies

Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom Park

  • Splash Mountain
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • The Barnstormer
  • Space Mountain

Epcot

  • Mission: SPACE
  • Test Track
  • Soarin’
  • Sum of All Thrills

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™
  • Star Tours – The Adventure Continues

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

  • Affection Section at Rafiki’s Planet Watch
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain®
  • Primeval Whirl 
  • DINOSAUR
Portable dog bed

Portable dog bed

Service Animals Permitted with Caution

Guests with service animals should check with a cast member for boarding information at the following attractions:

Magic Kingdom Park

·Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

·Stitch’s Great Escape

Epcot

·Spaceship Earth

·Innoventions – Certain Attractions

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

·The Great Movie Ride

·Toy Story Mania!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

·It’s Tough To Be A Bug!

·Kilimanjaro Safaris

·Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

·The aviary area of Maharajah Jungle Trek

Knowing what to expect before arriving will only make your visit more magical.  Plan ahead and have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to survive a Disneyland or Disney World character meet and greet

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to survive a Disneyland or Disney World character meet and greet

me and the incredibles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Survive a character meet and greet?  Aren’t those supposed to be fun?  For most people, both adults and children, they are.  It is a chance to meet their favorite characters, get autographs, interact, and have their pictures taken.  But some of us (adults and children) have physical and/or cognitive issues that can easily cause our day to go from magical to maddening.  Some may not like to be touched.  Others may need to be the one to initiate physical contact.  This can be problematic as most characters love to give hugs.  And beware; if one hug could set off a meltdown or cause physical pain, there are some characters that don’t know when to stop hugging or squeezing.  On a few occasions I have exited a meet and greet feeling like I had just been beaten up because the character was overly affectionate. There have been times when I chose to stand to meet a character only to come dangerously close to falling when a character has pulled me in for a hug.  


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, there is a way to meet your favorite character without physical or emotional trauma.  Before visiting the parks, think about how you or the person (adult or child) with the physical or cognitive sensitivities reacts to everyday greetings.  Are they in constant physical pain?  Do they initiate physical contact or are they okay with someone else being the initiator? Will they tolerate a quick hug but nothing more beyond that? Will a prolonged physical touch or a rough hug cause physical pain?  When I am experiencing a high pain day, every touch no matter how light feels like a punch.  I could feel bruised for hours or days from the gentlest of hugs.  Do they have a weak immune system, could receiving a hug from a character that has already had thousands of other bodies pressed against it cause this person to become ill?

 

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Next, write a list of what would make the meeting more magical.  Keep it simple.  No touching, handshake only, be gentle, one hug, etc…   Depending on how many characters you or the guest with sensitivities is planning on meeting, you may want to print out the requests.  This would also be beneficial if the person will be meeting characters with other party guests and not always you.  Whether you print it out or not, make sure that everyone who could possibly accompany said person to a meet and greet is informed of the requests.  When you arrive at the line for your chosen character, you will see that they always have a cast member with them.  Some have several cast members in attendance.  Be sure to inform the first one you see of your requests.  They will then inform the character prior to your turn to meet the character.  

By following this simple tip, you can avoid messy meltdowns and physical pain.  Find out how to have a most magical Disney vacation by discovering what you should know about visiting the parks with a physical disability, chronic illness, special needs, a service dog, and more by reading my Disneyland attraction posts.  Information about Disney World attractions will be coming soon as well as a tool to help handicapped guests in both parks.  Visiting with a handicap of any kind can be daunting, but when you know what to expect in advance you have that much less to stress about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s more to Disneyland besides rides

There’s more to Disneyland besides rides

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I have had several readers ask if it is worth the expense to go to Disneyland if they don’t like or plan on going on rides.  My answer is YES!!  There is so much more to Disneyland besides the rides.  It is entirely possible to spend many days in the parks without ever going on one ride.  I know this from experience.  As someone who suffers from several chronic conditions, there are days when I avoid rides.  Then there was the time when I had an emergency appendectomy on the second day of a weeklong stay at Disneyland.  Instead of cutting our vacation short, we extended it to make up for my days in the hospital and I enjoyed four days in a row without going on rides.

Wondering what there is to do besides the rides? 

Here are a few of my favorite things to do

when I need to take it easy. 

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  1. Watch all the parades. Typically guests who wish to have a front row view of the parades must camp out in the area of their choice an hour or more prior to show time. This not only kills a lot of time, it also gives you an opportunity to people watch and enjoy the sites. I prefer to watch parades from Main Street. One of the reasons for this is because it provides entertainment while I wait for the parade to start. I love watching the horse drawn trolleys and other vehicles make their way up and down the street. I also enjoy the musical offerings that the Dapper Dan’s and the Disneyland Marching Band provide. A little tip for those who want to see the Paint the Night Parade, but don’t want to spend hours sitting on Main Street beforehand, is to reserve a Paint the Night dining package. With these packages you not only get to enjoy a wonderful meal, but you also receive a pass that guarantees you a seat in special reserved viewing sections.
    Click on the picture to see the Soundsational Parade!

    Click on the picture to see the Soundsational Parade!

    Paint the Night

    Paint the Night

     

  2. Take in all the shows. Disneyland offers many theatrical performances throughout the day. There is the comic hilarity of The Laughing Stock Co. inside the Golden Horseshoe or the Fantasy Faire productions. The Fantasyland Theatre always has a fabulous show. I have never been disappointed by any of the productions that I have seen throughout the years. Currently playing is Mickey and the Magical Map. I have seen this production 5 times and plan to see it more! While only guests who are between the ages of 4-12 can participate, guests of all ages are able to enjoy watching the Jedi Training. And let’s not forget the newest production Frozen live at the Hyperion!
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    Mickey and the Magical Map

    Click here to see clips of Frozen live at the Hyperion

    Click here to see clips of Frozen live at the Hyperion

    Jedi Training

    Jedi Training

  3. Meet and have your picture taken with characters. All day long there are characters out and about ready to make your acquaintance. Some have a hug for you, while others chat and go out of their way to being a smile to your face. screenshot_20160711-131458.jpg
  4. Spend hours in the Animation Academy. I have spent many hours in this attraction. There are movie clips to watch and drawing classes to attend. You can also visit the Beast’s library and talk with Crush. screenshot_20160711-131559.jpg
  5. Take time to stroll through the galleries. I love taking time to look at the ever changing artwork that hangs in the galleries. 20160315_121821
  6. Check out attractions that you may not have made time for in the past, such as Great moments with Mr. Lincoln, Mickey’s cinema; It’s tough to be a Bug, and more.

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    It’s tough to be a Bug

  7. Depending upon what time of year you are planning to visit, there may also be holiday related experiences and activities to attend. One example is during the spring when Disneyland and California Adventure have Easter egg hunts!  screenshot_20160711-131703.jpg
  8. Become the family photographer and take photos or video of your friends and family while they are riding outdoor attractions.

    Click the picture to see a POV video of Casey Jr Circus Train

    Click the picture to see a POV video of Casey Jr Circus Train

  9. Eat your way through the parks. Take in the sights as you make your way through the parks by eating all meals and snacks inside them. The food is outstanding and the ambiance of most restaurants is magical!

    Monte Cristo at Café Orleans

    Monte Cristo at Café Orleans, also available for lunch at the Blue Bayou

  10. End your day with a bang by watching the nightly fireworks. To see the display in its entirety, you will want to secure a viewing area on the parade route. However, the fireworks themselves can be viewed from almost anywhere in the Disneyland park. There are also locations within California Adventure that offer a great view!
    A great place to view fireworks is in Tomorrowland

    A great place to view fireworks is in Tomorrowland

    The Disabled Diva’s Unofficial Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide gives details about these attractions and more!  The magic of Disney is everywhere in the parks, not just on the rides!

     

Wishing you a magical day filled with many reasons to smile!

The Disabled Disney Diva

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Renting a wheelchair from Disneyland versus an outside vendor

Renting a wheelchair from Disneyland

versus an outside vendor

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For guests that don’t use a wheelchair on a regular basis, yet need one for extended outings, choosing where to rent a wheelchair from can be confusing.  To help you decide I compiled this list of pros and cons for renting one from Disneyland or from an outside vendor.

Renting from Disneyland

Pro: Wide seats

Pro: Wheelchair and ECV’s have pockets/baskets for your personal belongings

Pro: Wheelchairs have cup holders

Pro: Rental location is conveniently located in the esplanade.

Con:  You will spend more money renting from the park when visiting for 3 or more days.

Con:  Disneyland wheelchairs and ECVs can NOT leave the parks.  Renting from the park is not the option for you if you plan on spending time in the Downtown District, eating at any of the Disneyland Resort Hotels, or if you need to return to your room for a nap.

Con:  Disneyland wheelchairs and ECVs can NOT be reserved.  If you are not planning on arriving early, you may find that there aren’t any available.

Con:  If you do not arrive within the hour prior to park opening, the time needed to rent your wheelchair/ECV will cut into prime park time.  Mornings are the best for getting on rides quickly.

 

 

 

 

Renting from an outside vendor

Pro:  Most outside vendors offer a variety of wheelchair/ECV styles.

Pro:  Most outside vendors offer delivery and pick up of your wheelchair/ECV at your hotel.

Pro:  You can take your wheelchair/ECV anywhere!!! This perk allows for you to return to your hotel for a nap, to visit the Downtown District, or to eat off property.

Pro:  When staying for 3 or more days, your rental cost will most likely be less than if you rented from Disneyland.

Pro:  Reservations can and should be made.

Con:  Choosing an outside vendor.  At the end of this post I have provided links to a few vendors.  I also suggest asking the hotel that you are planning to stay at for recommendations as they may have a deal to give you a discount from a particular vendor.

I hope this helps you in the planning of your first or next Disneyland Vacation! 

The Disabled Diva

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One Stop Mobility Inc.

A Scooter 4 U

PRN Medical Supply

The Mobility Center  

Why I would suggest Disneyland over Disney World to someone who suffers from chronic pain.

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It is no secret that I love Disneyland.  Besides the magical memories made with family and friends, Disneyland provides me with physical and mental therapy.  Because of this I never hesitate to suggest a Disneyland vacation to my friends that suffer from chronic pain.  However, I am not as quick to suggest they go to Disney World.  Before I list my reasons for why I feel Disneyland is a better fit for those who are chronically ill, I want to state that this isn’t a Disneyland is better than Disney World post.  While I’m partial to the park that Walt built, I believe all the Disney Parks are wonderful in their own ways.  Instead this post is to show the differences between the two parks and why Disneyland would always be my first choice, even if I didn’t live nearby.

  1. Proximity of hotels to the parks and ease of going between them. Disneyland sits on less land than Disney World. The Disneyland hotels are conveniently located off of Downtown Disney.   Guests of the Disneyland hotels have direct access through the California Grand to California Adventure. The Monorail is also located near the hotel which allows guests to enter directly into Disneyland. Even without those options, it is only a five to ten (depending on crowds and walking speed), minute walk from a Disneyland hotel to the park gates. Guests staying at a Disney World hotel must take various modes of transportation to reach the parks. I read posts about it taking guests 30 to 60 minutes and some cases longer just to get from their hotel to any of the parks on a daily basis. If it took me that long to get from my hotel to the park gates, I would need to rest when I first entered the park instead of being ready to tackle some of my favorite fast rides that have shorter wait times in the morning.   With Disneyland, their hotels aren’t the only ones within walking distance of the parks. There are 20+ hotels that are located closer to the park gates than any of the Disney World hotels are to their parks. Having more energy while in the park is the result of having less travel time between your hotel and the parks. Close proximity also removes the guilt of needing a nap. At Disney World, the additional travel required increases your time away from the parks. Instead of a one hour nap plus 5-10 minutes of travel time at Disneyland, travel time at Disney World could increase your time out of the parks by two hours! For guests that need assistance getting back to the hotel, this results in someone else in your party losing time as well.
  2. Do more in less time. While Disneyland is smaller in land measurement, it has more attractions than Disney World. Disneyland and Disney World have 20 shared attractions. Disney World has 26 unique attractions and Disneyland has 32. At Disney World these attractions are scattered throughout four different parks, while the attractions are dispersed throughout only two parks in Disneyland. More attractions per park equates to having to walk less between attractions. At Disneyland, there are few attractions that don’t have an entrance to another near its exit.
  3. Waste less time traveling in between parks. Because of the proximity of the two Disneyland Resort parks, you could spend your day alternating between the parks several times throughout your day. At Disney World, you will lose hours traveling from one park to another. It takes less than five minutes to exit the gates of Disneyland and to enter the gates of California Adventure.
  4. Stress less. People who suffer from chronic pain aren’t able to predict how they will be feeling one day to the next. We may have several good days in a row or only experience a few good hours a day.   Guests who plan their vacation at Disney World begin stressing about their stay 6 months prior as this is when they are able to start making restaurant reservations. The only times a Disneyland guest needs to stress about making a reservation for food is if they are planning on visiting on a holiday or high peak period, and that is only if they really want to eat at a particular restaurant. Disneyland offers many walk up food service options along with food carts making it easy to eat well without making any reservations. This is not as easy at Disney World as most of their restaurants require reservations, and they must be made 3-6 months in advance. However, food is not the only thing Disney World guests stress about prior to their stay. Guests with a Disney World vacation package begin choosing their Fast Passes 60 days prior to their visit, and 30 days in advance for guests with a regular ticket or annual pass. At Disneyland there is no need to stress about securing a Fast Pass prior to your visit. The only ride at the Disneyland Resort that consistently runs out of Fast Passes early in the day is Radiator Racers in California Adventure. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to ride or that you will have to wait in line for 3 or more hours. Worst case scenario is to wait for 3 hours on a peak day or weekend, but during the week the average wait time is 1-2 hours. That wait can be shortened by utilizing the single rider line. By not having to stress about where and when I am going to be eating during my visit, I eliminate unnecessary stress. There is no way I could predict a time of day to eat for 10 consecutive days, let alone 5!

I have spoken with many guests that frequent Disney World when spending time at Disneyland.  They agree with me that a person can spend 5 days at Disneyland and quench their Disney thirst.  When asked what the equivalent would be at Disney World, they all replied with 10 days.  As someone who suffers from Fibromyalgia, Psoriatic Arthritis, MS, and more, I can hardly withstand 5 consecutive days in Disneyland.  There is no way I could power through 10 days at Disney World.  I still hope to visit Disney World someday, however for this dream to come true I would want to stay for more than 10 days.  A longer stay would allow for down days.  Because of the difference in climate, I know that I would experience more pain in Florida than I do in Southern California.  For me a trip to Disney World will most likely be a once in a lifetime event, but Disneyland will always be a part of my life no matter where I live.  The climate in Southern California has always been better for me than anywhere else that I have lived, making vacations while dealing with my chronic conditions doable in the past.

It is my opinion that Disneyland is best for guests like me.  Guests who, because of ever changing pain and energy levels, require less structure and more flexibility while on vacation.

Wishing you a day filled with gentle hugs and Pixie dust!

The Disabled Diva

 

 

 

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