I wrote this post when I first started my blog. And it all remains true! And since it’s been so long and there are so many new readers on the site, I wanted to share it again. Disney in a wheelchair is still a magical experience.
My first three trips to Disney were just like any typical kids. I ran around everywhere, jacked up on sugar and sheer excitement. My fourth trip was a little different. After having a tumor removed from my spinal cord, I had to use fore arm crutches and wore braces on my legs. I used a wheelchair at the parks because walking would have been a huge under taking. Not too much changed though. I could still ride most everything. The same was true of my fifth and sixth visits.
But number seven is where my touring really changed. After many years, I started using my wheelchair full time. No more walking. This meant that there were now limitations to what I could and could not do at Walt Disney World. Limited. Limitations. Those are not words I like to use but on most days it is how I feel. I wake up get into my wheelchair and try not to think about what I can’t do. But there are days when none of that matters and I almost feel like everyone else. Those are the days I spend at Walt Disney World. On that sixth trip I found out I can have just as much fun.
I didn’t focus on what I could no longer do but decided to experience what I could to the fullest. We made sure that I caught every parade and went to more shows. Taking the time to enjoy my food rather than hurrying through every meal to run to the next ride. I did things I thought were silly before like the shooting arcade in Frontierland. And I made sure to enjoy the attractions I could ride. Thanks to accessible vehicles I can still ride Big Thunder Mountain and Expedition Everest. Some rides I can even stay in my chair like Toy Story Mania, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and “it’s a small world”.
People are always asking me why I want to go to Walt Disney World so much. “Weren’t you just there” is a question I often get. Or they simply just can’t figure out why I love it so much. I can only speak from my experiences but I feel like Disney has done as much as possible to make sure everyone can experience the magic. They train the Cast Members in a way that creates a level of respect and understanding that I very rarely find other places. I love to travel and I love visiting new places but I never, ever feel like I am treated at the same level as when I am at Disney. (This extends to Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line!)
I often talk to my husband about our real life versus our Disney life. Problems that I have in my real life have never happened in my Disney life. When we check in to resort and the reservation is in my name they talk to me and not my husband. Almost never happens in my real life. In my real life I go to a restaurant and the host will lead us to a booth. I explain we need a table, again, and they give me a blank stare. This never happens in my Disney life. I guess the point is Disney makes me feel like a person, not a person in a wheelchair.
People always say to stop and smell the roses, and sometimes you are forced to make that stop. Walt Disney World is a different experience for me now but it is still one that I enjoy, maybe now more than ever. Walt Disney’s dreams for his parks was accomplished. He helped create a place where anyone can go and have a magical experience with their families. Sure there are things that are too hard to do or I simply can’t ride but I don’t care. Nothing, and I mean nothing stops me from having the time of my life at Walt Disney World, it is a place of unlimited possibilities.