Holiday in Orlando with my limited mobility (long)

Just got back from holiday in Orlando with the wife and three kids (boys 17 & 15; girl 9). This is our fourth trip to Orlando and I was extremely anxious before we left, as I was not sure how I would cope as I now use two crutches to walk and I have deteriorated somewhat since our last visit 3 years ago, when in the main time I got on fine and only struggled in the larger parks and on the hotter days.

My wife insisted that I use a wheelchair (I’d never used on before) at Manchester airport which initially I wasn’t too happy with. However this was a blessing as we avoided the lengthy queues for security and for boarding. Instead of being embarrassed by having a Dad in a wheelchair, the boys fought over who would push me. At Sanford International airport, again we avoided the queues, this time at US immigration. The same thing applied on the way home at both airport.

Thankfully the weather this time was kinder. It was unseasonably cold for the area, highs of between 65 and 70, for most of the first week. It warmed up after that but this time it never seemed to be too hot.

For the first few days, we stayed at the Universal Loews Carribean Resort and the hotel was connected to the two Universal theme parks, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. The hotel was also linked to both parks by walkways and by boat. As both parks weren’t huge and were fairly flat, we decided to rent a wheelchair, as opposed to the scooter. The walk from the boat to the parks was a bit of a hike, especially to Islands of Adventure. Getting around these parks in the wheelchair was fairly easy whether being pushed or self propelled. The wheelchairs had to be left at the parks which was annoying considering the link between the Universal hotels and the parks.

We then stayed at our friend’s house and went to the Disney parks. The disabled parking at the Disney parks was good and plentiful and was very close to the main entry gates. The Disney parks also had courtesy wheelchairs to easily get you from the car park to inside the theme parks. As Animal Kingdom and Epcot were both big parks, I rented an electric scooter. The electric scooters were great and allowed me a greater degree of independence. The distance though from the car park to the entrance is quite a hike at Magic Kingdom. We also went to both Disney water parks. As my co-ordination is poor and I’m not great with water, I didn’t do much at these parks and mainly stayed in the shade reading my book and listening to the Ipod. The water parks had complimentary wheelchairs and getting around the water parks was very easy.

At all the Disney parks and at Universal, the staff were absolutely excellent. On numerous occasions, we were allowed use either the Fast Pass line or go right to the front of the queues for the attractions. At both, navigating the attractions, the restaurants, the toilets via scooter or by whelchair etc was very easy.

As I didn’t need a scooter or wheelchair for day to day use and as we didn’t go to the parks every day, we rented from the parks, which on the day was more costly at $50 a day for the scooters or $12 a day for the wheelchair.

There were also numerous places where you can rent scooters, wheelchairs or walkers more cheaply, eg, scooters at $150 for the first week and $10 a day thereafter. Wheelchairs at $70 for the first week and $100 for two weeks. Walkers at $50 a week

Diabled parking at supermarkets, malls and restaurants was very good and not once did I see somebody park in a disabled spot without having a disabled badge. The large shopping malls had complementary wheelchairs and going round the malls was very easy (although very boring - I’m not into shopping!). Staff at the supermarket, malls and restaurants, the airports, just like at the theme parks, were excellent and extremely courteous. The vast majority of locals and holidays makers were also considerate and courteous (holding doors open etc) and there was only a very small minority who thought I was invisible.

All in all we had a great holiday and my fears that my increased limited mobility would ruin the holiday for the family were largely unfounded. Apologies for the length of the message. If anybody want to send me a private message to get more information, please do so.


Hi Derek

I’m so glad you all enjoyed a wonderful holiday and that your fears were unfounded. It’s so good to read a positive post and to know that disability need not stop anybody getting out and having a good time. May you and your family enjoy many more exciting times in Orlando or wherever else you choose to go.

Tracey x

Hello Derek

With good planning there is no reason why we can’t enjoy our holidays or anything else for tha matter. It’s always worth doing your homework-the internet’s good for that. Phoning ahead can also have it’s benefits. Glad you had a good holiday.

Best wishes.

I am very happy that you enjoyed your holiday. I was in Orlando with my wife (MS in an early stadium) in March. She loved the lakes and the wonderful weather. We rented a car at and made a few trips around Orlando. We booked our hotel at url=[]orlando.hotelscheap[/url] . Our holiday was great but too short.