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Disney’s Animal Kingdom on Wheels

February 4, 2012

This article was originally published at Magical Mouse Schoolhouse.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of my favorite parks at Walt Disney World. But it is also one of the more difficult parks to navigate if you are in a wheelchair, so let’s get the negative out of the way first.

It is one big hill.

While most of the hills aren’t too steep they are every where. You are either trying to roll up one or keeping yourself from rolling down one. Even standing in lines for the attractions or characters I was having to keep a tight grip on my wheels. While its not too hard, it does make your arms tired after a while.

It’s narrow.

While most of the major paths are wider, the paths for the trails to see the animals are pretty narrow. It can make it a little hard to get around if the park is crowded. My advice: grab a FASTPASS for either Expedition Everest or Kilimanjaro Safaris and then visit the Maharajah Jungle Trek, Pangani Forrest Exporation Trail, or the Discovery Island Trails early. It will make it easier to navigate the trails and to see the animals.

Now for the good!

Animal Kingdom is one of the most beautifully themed parks at Walt Disney World. Everything from the shops and restaurants to the attractions are beautiful.

Several of the attractions at Animal Kingdom are wheelchair friendly. Kilimanjaro Safaris has a special safari vehicle that allows you to stay in your wheelchair. The Cast Members will help you on board and then strap your wheelchair in since it is a pretty bumpy ride. I have always felt very comfortable riding in the vehicle.

TriceraTop Spin also allows you to stay in your wheelchair as well as the Wildlife Express Train. Just check with Cast Members for instructions.

Expedition Everest has a transfer access vehicle that makes it easier to transition onto the ride. When you are in the queue just alert the Cast Members that you need to use the special vehicle. The side folds down making it easier to get in and out. I have more information about the accessible ride vehicle here.

All of the shows, the Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo the Musical, and Flights of Wonder, have special wheelchair seating areas. I highly recommend getting to the Festival of the Lion King early since wheelchair seating is limited.

After several visits to Animal Kingdom I have a few suggestions for wheelchair users. We usually visit early on in our trip before my arms get too tired. I feel worn out later in the week and I just don’t find the park to be as enjoyable when I am tired. Another suggestion I have is to wear gloves. I don’t use gloves regularly, but I find them really helpful at the Parks, especially Animal Kingdom. They help with getting up the hills and even if you are waiting in line you are having to hold you chair in place. The gloves keep your hands from getting bruised or blistered.

Even with the hills, I love Animal Kingdom. I hope my experience there is helpful. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment, or you can e-mail me at disneyonwheels(at)gmail(dot)com.

  • New Orleans lady
    February 18, 2013 at 3:58 am

    Do you have any suggestions for ECV users. They are so expensive to rent,yet I hate to give other companies money that Disney could make if they lowered their ECV rental prices. It cost almost 400.00 for 6 days rental. This has kept me away from Disney for 4years. MYW plus dining, and ECV rental is too much for me. Then there is transportation to WDW and return home. Any suggestions. Oh, I can’t use a wheelchair because I have hand impairments that prevent my hands
    from functioning properly.