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Jane
04-27-2001, 02:41 AM
Hi-
I have found the Theme Park Accessibility sites very useful in trip planning, but there is one issue not often addressed, due to it's very sensitive nature. It's a pretty safe bet that she won't see this, so I'm going to ask for help and information and opinions on taking a relative to Disneyland who is very overweight. She's pretty active, and occasionally uses a wheeled walker for support, but I need to know what attractions, rides, or show seats to steer clear of to avoid humiliating Mom. I've read that one of the theaters in DCA is accessed by stairs to the entrance on the third floor?? Is there a handicapped elevator, or should we just not go there, if it's going to be difficult to get in and out? I have heard of lots of height restrictions, but what if we stand in line only to discover we have to either leave Mom waiting for us, or all of us decide not to ride in that case, in front of everyone? She's not freakishly large, but heavy enough that it's a concern. I realize this isn't exactly a disability, as she has some control over this. But we want everyone to be able to have a good time, without fear of embarrassment or her feeling left out.

I expect we'll spend more time at Disneyland than DCA. I have been on many, but not all the rides, so I know about some, but would appreciate info on any particularly troublsome spots. Like maybe rides with safety bars or belts, (what are the cars like on Space Mountain? Star Tours? Autopia? Indy?) or ones with stairs or ramps to climb to get on the ride. Maybe info about rides that may be hard to get onto? Have there been any recent additions of safety restraints that change accessibility to ride vehicles for larger riders? I guess it would be interesting to know the same for extremely tall guests. Not an issue in our family, but perhaps someone may want to know about that sort of thing in planning their trip.

Mom loves the commercials with California Screamin, and wants to give it a try when we go. What do you think, will it work?

I've avoided asking on newsgroups, I don't want to set anyone up for ridicule, which often happens with this subject matter. I am asking for your kind and helpful input. Yes, she is trying to watch her diet and she's walking daily to build up endurance--she's afraid she'll slow us all down and ruin the trip. I'd like to be able to reassure her, and plan accordingly, avoiding places that may not be be the best to go, and focus instead on what she CAN do and enjoy.

Thanks so much for your accessibility information, and I hope you can help us!

AVP
04-27-2001, 06:15 AM
Hi Jane,

Thanks for posting your question! I'll be able to send a more detailed reply later tonight, but I just wanted to let you know that I did see it! :p

In the interim, perhaps other readers can help out on this?

Thanks!

Adrienne VP

EvaBryan
04-28-2001, 06:40 AM
Jane -

I have seen this issue addressed on other newsgroups, and I would never be embarassed about asking questions. Disney fans come in all shapes and sizes, including the very tiny and the large. If anything, WDW and DL seems to be very accomodating to the needs of all of their guests, regardless of their size, so it doesn't hurt for you to ask questions so you can be prepared.

I think I have seen this issue addressed on Deb Wills' site www.wdwig.com and on Rita Aero's site www.readersclubhouse.com. I have been reading these boards for over a year, so I am pretty sure I have seen references. Deb Wills' site is not a newsgroup, but is more of an informational page. Readersclubhouse is a very friendly newsgroup and if someone out there has a similar concern, would be more than happy to answer your questions. If you are prepared, you can often skip the confusion of looking for special accesses ahead of time. Often groups with "differently abled" guests get to skip to the front of the line - an added bonus!!

Good luck to you and your mother.

Eva

34 days and counting!!:p

Lani
05-02-2001, 01:00 PM
Jane -- since you don't mention the range of your mother's weight, it's difficult to know what limitations there may be for her. For example, if she is so grossly obese (in a clinical sense) that she has difficulty walking and must use a wheelchair all the time, then those rides that are molded for individual widths may be a bit of a toughie for her. On the other hand, attractions such as Haunted Mansion are built to hold two grown adults comfortably, so she should have no trouble getting on one. Not only that, but CMs are very accustomed to helping accommodate for special needs riders.

One thing I can tell you -- the Disney parks are in general, much better about providing space for the riders, than some of the other amusement parks. My husband and I recently went to Paramount's Great America in Santa Clara (Northern California, near San Jose), and we were somewhat upset to find that my husband couldn't fit on many of the thrill rides. It wasn't that he couldn't fit into the seat, but the shoulder harnesses required an additional seat belt latch for belts that would not expand in length. Because of his height/weight ratio and his strapping chest ( :D ), the harnesses would fit fine, but would sit a little too high for the belts to latch. As you say, this is an unpleasant experience for the rider!

I suspect AVP will come up with a good list for you of DCA attractions that a) use single-passenger MOLDED seats, and b) use short lap belts or harnesses that provide less give.

EvaBryan -- your tips are helpful and appreciated! I hope we at MousePlanet continue to build our own community of readers and posters right here on MousePad. With a wonderful resource such as Tony and Adrienne who write the access guide, we made sure to provide this room so readers of all access levels and abilities could enjoy their own room here. When recommending organizations or Web sites, I would like to see suggestions for places such as the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (http://www.naafa.org) in addition to just (what some perceive as) our competing Web sites... :p :p

Jane
05-03-2001, 10:53 PM
I knew posting a message/question here was a much better idea than on a newsgroup. I've gotten nothing but very helpful and kind information and I thank all who have replied.

Sometimes when we take Mom places with us she uses a cane, and sometimes she uses a three-wheeled walker for a little support. She's pretty mobile, but needs to rest often--she's 75 years old. She's about 5'5" and I'd guess close to 300 pounds (SSSSSHHHHH!!!! I didn't tell!!!!) She really doesn't look it, and truthfully, sometimes we have a hard time keeping up with her. She wants to go on everything, she's pretty adventurous. But she already is concerned that she'll be a burden or make everyone feel stupid if she can't go on a ride because she can't fit.

What rides do have the molded seats and harnesses or 'unforgiving' belts? We'll just steer clear of those or send the kids.

Once again, I really appreciate being able to find out this stuff before we go so we can plan ahead and all have a really good time without any unexpected problems resulting in hurt feelings. There is so much to experience at Disneyland, and now with DCA and Downtown Disney, I'm sure it won't hurt at all to skip a thing or two, if we know what they are!

Thanks again! :D

Jane
05-04-2001, 02:19 AM
I hadn't thought of checking out NAAFA's website. I went to their discussion boards and searched "Disneyland", and under the "NAAFA Discussion Board" Forum, there was a post similar to mine---hoping to avoid embarrassment with a little prior information. There were a few very helpful replies which even mentioned the sizes of the folks involved, how they fared, and how the ride operators responded to them. They all had pretty positive experiences, and all had nothing but "smiles and help" from the Cast Members. The Teacups and the Astro Orbiter were the only ones that these particular people had any difficulty with, but it wasn't enough to ruin their fun. Mom and I probably wouldn't want to go on those anyway, I'd rather video the kids on those. One woman had some difficulty with the rides with lap bars, but it sounds like they were able to ride. They did tire more than they anticipated. They hadn't realized there was so much walking involved.

Thanks so much for the suggestion of looking at the NAAFA page. They also mentioned a website somewhere specifically dealing with this topic, but couldn't remember where it is. I hope someone else can benefit from this information, or pass it along if you hear of someone who has concerns.

Eight days to Disneyland! :D

AVP
05-06-2001, 05:01 PM
Originally posted by Jane
I knew posting a message/question here was a much better idea than on a newsgroup. I've gotten nothing but very helpful and kind information and I thank all who have replied.

Sometimes when we take Mom places with us she uses a cane, and sometimes she uses a three-wheeled walker for a little support. She's pretty mobile, but needs to rest often--she's 75 years old. She's about 5'5" and I'd guess close to 300 pounds (SSSSSHHHHH!!!! I didn't tell!!!!) She really doesn't look it, and truthfully, sometimes we have a hard time keeping up with her. She wants to go on everything, she's pretty adventurous. But she already is concerned that she'll be a burden or make everyone feel stupid if she can't go on a ride because she can't fit.

What rides do have the molded seats and harnesses or 'unforgiving' belts? We'll just steer clear of those or send the kids.

Once again, I really appreciate being able to find out this stuff before we go so we can plan ahead and all have a really good time without any unexpected problems resulting in hurt feelings. There is so much to experience at Disneyland, and now with DCA and Downtown Disney, I'm sure it won't hurt at all to skip a thing or two, if we know what they are!

Thanks again! :D

Jane,

Sorry for the delay in replying! Here are my general comments just about seat type issues. I'll also refer you to the Theme Park Access Guide that my husband and I write. www.mouseplanet.com/tag. The TAG has much more detailed comments about every ride and attraction at both parks.

Disneyland:

Avoid: Astro Orbitor, Matterhorn Bobsleds and Gadget's Go Coaster.

Consider:
Canoes - no seatbelt, but you have to paddle
Splash Mountain - vertical bench seat (You straddle it), no seatbelts
Indiana Jones - bench seat with dividers, seatbelts (extenders are available)
Roger Rabbit's CarToon Spin - bench seat with lapbar
Big Thunder Mt. Railroad - bench seat with lapbar
All of the Fantasyland Dark Rides - bench seats with lapbars.
Carrousel - bench seat is available, instead of riding on a horse
Mad Tea Party - the cups are kinda small
Space Mountain - molded seats and a lap bar. I've seen people well over 300 lbs ride this, though. It's just a matter of does your mom *want* to ride this.
Star Tours - Molded seats with seatbelts. Extenders are available.

Enjoy: Everything Else!

DCA:

Avoid: Maliboomer, Screamin, Orange Stinger, Jumpin' Jellyfish, Mulholland Madness,

Consider:
Grizzly River Run - molded seats and seatbelts, with extenders. You will get wet
Soarin Over California - bench seat with divders, seatbelts with extenders. Well worth it!
Golden Zephyr - bench Seat with seatbelt.
King Triton's Carousel - bench seats are available
Sun Wheel - bench seats

Enjoy: Everything Else!

Also, depending on how comfortable your mom is with regular movie theater type seats, you may want to know that they are used at:

Disneyland: Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and Honey I Shrunk the Audience
DCA: Hyperion Theater, Golden Dreams, Muppet*Vision 3D and Drawn to Animation.

The remaining theaters use either bench seats or individual chairs.

I hope this helps. Have a great trip and please write back with a trip report. We'd love to update our recomendations based on your experience!

Adrienne VP

Luvbug
06-28-2001, 09:45 AM
Hi Jane,
Have only just discovered this forum so hope my reply is not too late.
I visit Disneyland every year from the UK. When I first went I was terrified of the repsonse I might get as a 390lb person. I have to say it wasn't a problem.:) At my last trip last year, at about 460lb, again there wasn't too much of a problem, the main problem being my extra wide wheelchair. I rode on Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones, Roger Rabbit and all the similar dark rides, Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Star Tours, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean. In fact you name it and I pretty much tried it. So good luck and you and your Mum have fun.

Alison

Lacrosse Boy
07-11-2001, 12:14 PM
It is very nice to see that you people are ki, caring individuals. You are what this world needs more of now. It is not nice to make fun of other people.

Matterhorn Fan
08-06-2001, 05:46 AM
Jane:

You haven't said when you were planning to go, so maybe I'm adding this too late, but I thought I would add this anway.

I find it a little awkward getting in and out of the Autopia cars (they're small and low to the ground). I imagine that anyone who is tall, heavy, or who has hip or back problems might have some serious trouble with this one, even though the seat itself is a reasonable size.