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5 Tips for Enjoying Theme Parks With a Disability

Living in the Central Florida area, I tend to visit theme parks very frequently. My favorite theme parks to visit are Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios because of the themes of the parks, which are Marvel heroes and classic Universal movies. My favorite recent add-on to the parks would have to be the “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” since I am a huge Harry Potter fan.

The thing I liked most when attending Universal for many, many years before moving to Central Florida was that they helped people with disabilities have an excellent experience by making sure we were comfortable and felt welcome there. However, in recent years, things have changed in the theme parks.

When I was a kid, park guests with disabilities had a lot more support and accommodations. Unfortunately, able-bodied people started taking advantage of disability accommodations to get around waiting in lines. This is very upsetting for people like myself who genuinely have a disability and can’t be in the theme parks or under the hot sun all day long. Quick piece of advice, don’t be a jerk!

With spring break coming up, here are some tips on how to visit theme parks successfully when you have a disability.

1. Bring a doctor’s note explaining the in and outs of your disability. This note can also help them help you with navigating through the parks. Unless they’re new, most employees have a good idea of the layout of the park. It can also make it easier for you if you struggle to explain your condition, or have issues with anxiety.

2. Always have your prescribed medicines on hand when you plan to spend the whole day at a theme park. You never know when your disability will decide to act up, for example, in my case, when my cerebral palsy wants to have a party at the parks. Along with your doctor’s note, keeping a note about your medication can be a huge help if you ever need assistance, especially if you’re having issues due to your disability.

3. Analyze the rides and simulators you can get on that are comfortable for you and your disability. I mostly enjoy the rides that have a screen in front of them. It’s like you are in a movie, but you are sitting down with minimal movement compared to the roller coasters with the big drops. It’s always good to understand what you can and cannot handle. There’s nothing wrong with knowing your comfort zone and what limits you can push outside of it if you’re feeling bolder!

4. Take your time and don’t stress about what you can or can’t do. This short period of time is meant for you to enjoy yourself and what the park offers. You can make notes of what activities/rides you want to do next time if you can’t make them this time around. It gives you something to look forward to as well!

5. Bring your own drinks and food if you can’t eat certain things due to your disability. If you’re unsure, call the park ahead of time and explain your situation, and why bringing your own food is vital to you enjoying and going to their park.

I hope my tips can help you make the most of your theme park adventures this upcoming spring and summer. A little planning and preparation can make a big difference in your time at a park.

Getty image by Smaehl.