The Frog Family has visited Disneyland with friends and family members who use a wheelchair. We also have a friend who sometimes uses a walker for short intervals, and other times requires a wheelchair for more strenuous activities. We knew she needed a wheelchair to make it through the rigor of a day at the Disneyland Resort, and we had questions about the best place to park, how to rent a wheelchair (in her case, an electric conveyance vehicle, or ECV) and how to access rides and shows (as well as keep her safe and comfortable). We are sure many other families have these questions as well, so we’ve complied this easy guide for using a wheelchair at Disneyland!
There is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to using a wheelchair, so everyone’s needs and experience may vary slightly. If someone in your party has physical or other health-related limitations, you might be worried about using a wheelchair at Disneyland. We know you have sooooo many questions about this.
We have another friend who brings her own scooter. It's smaller and has better maneuverability than the larger SUVs, but it's also lower and harder to see, so people walk into and over her a lot. Traveling with friends with disabilities really helps us understand some of the issues that go along with using a wheelchair at Disneyland.
One of our friends has a few more serious health problems besides mobility that make waiting in a standard queue very difficult, so she also used the Disability Access Service while at Disney California Adventure and Disneyland. Most people with mobility issues will not need this additional service, but people with other health issues might qualify. Whether your family member has a temporary injury, needs a chair for longer excursions or uses a wheelchair full time, our guide to using a wheelchair at Disneyland should cover all the bases.
If you have a party member who is elderly, overcoming a major illness or maybe facing an upcoming knee or hip replacement, walking around Disneyland may be too much for them. A wheelchair or ECV can really make a difference in being part of the hoppy family memories without overdoing it. When Grandpa Frog (who has joint pain) joins us, we know that renting an ECV helps him to rest and allows us to get a lot more mileage out of him than if he had to hop around all day. Having a safe place to ride and sit can prevent falls and keep him safe.
Answers to Common Questions About Using a Wheelchair at Disneyland
Can I Rent a Wheelchair or ECV at Disneyland?
If you want to rent, Disneyland rents regular manual wheelchairs you can push yourself or have someone else push for you. They also offer electric conveyance vehicles (ECVs). You cannot reserve any wheelchairs in advance, so it’s best to arrive in the morning, because they can run out on busy days. Rent and pick them up just outside of Disneyland Park gates at the stroller rental kiosk, located on the right side when facing the entrance. You can also leave walkers there for storage.
Wheelchair prices recently went up. Manual wheelchairs (max weight 350 pounds) run $15 per day. The ECV rentals (max weight 450 pounds) cost $60 plus tax. Both have an additional refundable $20 deposit with wheelchair return. Guests must be 18 years or older and present a photo ID to rent a wheelchair. You can also rent manual wheelchairs at select Disneyland Resort hotels.
We have hoppy news! The parking trams and Mickey vans from the parking structures returned back in February 2022! During the first nine months of the Disneyland reopening period, the parking trams were not running. During that time you could rent a manual wheelchair or ECV (and strollers) at the parking structures to use it on the long path to get to the parks. Now you can take the tram and rent a wheelchair or ECV outside Disneyland Park. They are no longer for rent at the structures.
Renting Wheelchairs, Scooters and ECVs Off-site
If you need a wheelchair for more than just use at the Disneyland Resort, you can rent ECVs and wheelchairs from other off-site locations. There are rental locations just across from Disneyland. Some services offer delivery to your hotel or even the theme park itself. Their prices may be less than the theme parks’ prices and may work better for multi-day rentals or for use outside the parks. Ask about the price range if you need it for several days. You may need to be present for drop-off and pick-up, depending on your hotel.
A few rental locations are located just across the street from Disneyland. One Stop Mobility is near the Tropicana Inn & Suites. Select Mobility is located at the Best Western Park Place Inn. Dekert Surgical Supply will deliver to your hotel. Scooter Bug is Disneyland's preferred site for wheelchair and ECV deliveries (and strollers) if you are staying on-site. Scooter Bug can leave it at the hotel for you, but if you use a different service, you'll have to meet the company for drop-off and pick-up. Scooter Bug has pediatric wheelchairs.
Where Should I Park?
The Toy Story Lot has disabled parking and uses accessible city buses to transport guests to Disneyland. The parking structures have disabled parking, as well as wheelchair-accessible parking trams (as of Feb. 23. 2021), but you may have a farther walk at this location.
If you are not staying on-site or at a nearby hotel, you’ll want to park in the easiest lot to access the front gates and wheelchair rental area if needed. Even though both the Mickey and Friends Structure and the Toy Story Lot offer disabled parking, the easiest lot when dealing with disabilities is the Toy Story Lot. This is especially important if you are not arriving in your own wheelchair and can only walk short distances, especially with a cane or walker. The disabled parking is very close to the buses. If you do not have a placard, we have found that the general parking usually has a much shorter walk in the Toy Story Lot than the structure lots.
There are dedicated buses with ramps and disabled seating to transport you to the security checkpoint just outside of the front gates on the Harbor Boulevard side of the parks. Wheelchairs will need to be secured. Once you get through security, it's a short walk to the ticket windows, wheelchair rental and/or park entrances. Security is usually at Harbor, but sometimes (before 11 a.m.) you can go through security at the lot itself. That gets you to Disneyland quicker! There are new bathrooms in the nearby Bullseye section of the lot. What a relief!
If you are using a walker or cane or have any difficulty moving, the Toy Story Lot offers you the shortest walk (especially if you do not have a disabled placard). Of course, the Mickey and Friends and Pixar Pals structures have plenty of accessible parking and vans/parking shuttles. You may encounter a longer walk between steps (and sometimes long lines for elevators), so using Toy Story is our best tip for people needing to rent a wheelchair and for those who need the shortest walk or traveling distance possible. There are some courtesy wheelchairs to get guests between the Downtown Disney tram and the Main Entrance/Esplanade, but they may not be used to enter the park.
How Does Using a Wheelchair at Disneyland Affect Rides?
One of the biggest questions may be how using a wheelchair affects access to rides and lines. It’s confusing because there is no single answer! Each ride is different, and even the parks are different in how someone using a wheelchair might access them. Plus, policies change all the time. Many attractions at Disneyland were built a long time ago and have tiny, twisting spaces for their queues and cannot accommodate wheelchairs. You may access those rides via the exit or an access entrance. Some rides in Disneyland Park and most in Disney California Adventure have accessible queues, so you'll use the regular line.
When you arrive at any park, stop by a Guest Relations booth or any Information kiosk or at City Hall or Chamber of Commerce. You can ask for a Guide for Guests with Disabilities. The Guide includes a park map (each park has its own guide and map). A cast member will circle any ride for which you can collect a return time. It can vary per visit, so pick up a new map for each visit.
To collect a return time, you’ll go to the ride itself or an Information Guest Relations kiosk to collect a ride return time that matches the current wait time. The cast member will scan the wheelchair user's park ticket, as well as up to five other party members who wish to ride with them. You’ll still wait the same amount of time as other guests. But you will be free to try some tasty treats, enjoy another attraction, use the restroom or relax in the shade until your return time. We always love some good people-watching at Disneyland (especially while enjoying a favorite snack)!
You can collect a location return time directly from certain rides, including Jungle Cruise, Indiana Jones Adventure (new podium to the left of the ride in former FASTPASS distribution), Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion. Since those areas can get crowded at times, it's much easier to collect the return time from a cast member there rather than traveling back and forth to a Guest Realtions stand each time you want to ride.
Once your wait time is up, follow the signs for the wheelchair-accessible entrance. The cast member there will scan the person using the wheelchair’s park ticket first, followed by the other party members. Once you have scanned your ticket and ridden, you can get a new wait time for your next ride.
At Disney California Adventure, the ride queues are ADA compliant, so for the most part, you will enter the normal line with other guests and wait in the standard line. You might get diverted to separate loading areas when it is time to board. If this does not work for your party (say someone in your party has more health issues than mobility and cannot wait in a line), talk to a cast member at any guest relations kiosk, Chamber of Commerce in Disney California Adventure or City Hall at Disneyland. Guests whose disabilities prevent them from waiting in a normal line may qualify for Disability Access Service (DAS). Talking to a cast member is the best way to assess the options available to meet your needs.
For some rides, you can stay in your wheelchair or ECV. For others, you can ride in a wheelchair but not an ECV (Disney will supply a wheelchair for transferring). Many rides require you to transfer from the chair to the ride seat. You can park fairly close to the ride in order to transfer.
How Do I Find Out About Ride Accessibility?
There are several ways to find out how you can access rides and if you need to transfer. The Guide for Guests With Disabilities lists all the attractions and their accessibility, as well as which ride entrance to use. Some rides allow you to remain in a wheelchair or EVC, but for some you have to transfer from an ECV to a manual wheelchair. Some you have to transfer to walking. Some rides have a transfer seat or vehicle to assist.
There is a new free service called Disney Genie in the Disneyland app. When you set up your day and select the rides you are interested in, it provides a suggested itinerary for your day. You can select to see accessibility options for each attraction at the end of set-up so you'll know what to expect at each attraction. Find out more in our guide to Genie at Disneyland.
How Hard Is It to Transfer?
That really depends on the individual and ride; however, the Disney cast members are incredibly patient and kind with people transferring from wheelchairs to rides. If there is a conveyor belt-type walkway (such as for The Haunted Mansion, The Little Mermaid or Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters), you can have them slow or even stop it to make it easier to get in or out.
Some rides, such as Radiator Springs Racers and Toy Story Midway Mania, have separate loading and unloading areas, so you can take all the time you need. But you do need to be able to step in and out of the ride and remain upright. Cast members cannot lift you in or out. You will need to transfer by yourself or with help from someone in your party. Some rides offer tools, such as a transfer device, which can be used as a portable bench or similar device to assist guests with mobility disabilities when transferring from a wheelchair or ECV to a ride. Rides with transfer devices include:
- Grizzly River Run
- Mad Tea Party (as well as a Transfer Access Vehicle)
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
Transfer Access Vehicles are unique vehicles in the attraction that assist guests with mobility disabilities in transferring from the ECV or wheelchair to the ride. Rides that offer Transfer Access Vehicles include:
- Alice in Wonderland
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Golden Zephyr
- Haunted Mansion
- Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind
- Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters
- Mad Tea Party (as well as a transfer device)
- Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
- Snow White’s Scary Adventures
- Star Tours — The Adventure Continues
- Star Wars Rise of the Resistance (offers only a transfer device)
Can I Stay in My Wheelchair if I Cannot Transfer?
There are a few rides in which you can stay in a standard wheelchair without transferring, but some do not accommodate ECVs. You can consult the listed attractions on the park maps to see icons that depict whether you need to transfer to the ride seat or can ride in a wheelchair/ECV. The wheelchair icon means you can stay in an ECV or wheelchair. There is another icon that shows whether you must transfer from an ECV to a park-supplied standard wheelchair for rides in which you can stay in a wheelchair. Rides that can accommodate wheelchairs include:
- “it’s a small world” (must transfer from ECV to standard wheelchair)
- Jungle Cruise
- Disneyland Railroad
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (must transfer from ECV to standard wheelchair)
- Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer’s Island
- Mark Twain Riverboat
- King Arthur Carrousel
- Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (alternate experience)
- Disneyland Monorail
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (must transfer from ECV to standard wheelchair)
- Red Car Trolley (must transfer from ECV to standard wheelchair)
- Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! (must transfer from ECV to standard wheelchair)
- Toy Story Midway Mania! (must transfer from ECV to standard wheelchair)
- Pixar Pal-A-Round (must transfer from ECV to standard wheelchair)
- Jessie’s Critter Carousel
- The Little Mermaid — Ariel’s Undersea Adventure (must transfer from ECV to standard wheelchair)
- WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure (must transfer from ECV to standard wheelchair)
Is It Safe to Leave My Wheelchair at Disneyland While I Ride?
Your wheelchair is most likely safe. You should, however, take extra steps to secure your belongings and the chair by removing the key from ECVs and taking valuables with you. (The Disneyland ECVs come with a bracelet.) You can fold the seatback down when parking the ECV. That way the sun does not make your seat too hot. Keep your receipt with you just in case. Only park in designated areas, or Disney employees may move your wheelchair. Chances are they will move it even if you do, but most of the time it is to move it closer to you so it is there for you when you exit the ride.
How do Genie+ and Lightning Lane Work When Using a Wheelchair at Disneyland?
Remember how we mentioned the new free Genie service? Well, there are also optional paid services you can use in the Disneyland app to skip the standard queue for select rides. Everyone, including people collecting return times for disabilities, can opt to pay for Genie+ or individual Lightning Lane selections to use the Lightning Lane instead of the standard queue. Lightning Lane is basically the re-branded FASTPASS entrance now that FASTPASS has been retired. (It's a lot to process, so read up on these new services in our Disneyland Genie+ FAQ.)
The Genie+ and individual Lightning Lane selections use a separate system from the disability return times, so they do not affect one another. You can use both at the same time. Using both will really help you maximize your time and skip the lines. You can use a Lightning Lane for a ride or two while you are waiting for your disability return time to become active.
We recommend paying for Genie+, especially to shorten the wait at Disney California Adventure. For an additional fee per day, you can make ride reservations for select rides from your smartphone wherever you are. Throwing a mobility issue into the mix and trying to maneuver a wheelchair through crowds makes Genie+ well worth the price of saving time and the hassle of collecting a return time. Plus, it comes with unlimited PhotoPass downloads! We have hopping good news! We now sell discounted multi-day Disneyland Resort tickets loaded with Genie+, so you'll be ready to go as soon as you enter the park!
Keep in mind that Lightning Lane selections are one-hour return windows and you can only arrive up to 15 minutes late, whereas the disability return time does not expire until you use it or the park closes, offering more flexibility. The disability return times can be used for any ride in the park (including those with Lightning Lane entrances), but only select rides are offered on Genie+ or as individual Lightning Lanes. Knowing that may help you to manage your selections by using Genie+ for rides with a Lightning Lane and your disability return time for rides without a Lightning Lane. You can only hold one disability return time at a time, so it’s smart to use both services when using a wheelchair.
How Does Using a Wheelchair at Disneyland Affect Shows?
Each show may have different policies, so it’s always a good idea to ask cast members in advance. For the most part, cast members usually let people with disabilities get seated and settled in designated areas first before letting in other guests. That way, the guests can either stay in the chair and sit in designated areas with a companion or transfer to a theater seat. Depending on the situation, you may take the wheelchair to the seat, transfer and have a party member park the wheelchair, or you can park outside and walk to your seat.
At the Tale of the Lion King at Fantasyland Theater, head to the far right when facing the stage. Guests with disabilities are admitted before the rest of the audience so they can find the best location for their needs and get settled.
Some shows have areas with companion seats where people can view the show from their wheelchair if that is a better option for them. For example, benches at the Royal Theatre do not have backs or arms. So a person who needs more support might find a wheelchair or ECV to be more comfortable.
The following shows and theaters can accommodate wheelchairs:
- Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
- Enchanted Tiki Room
- Royal Theatre shows
- Shows at Fantasyland Theatre, such as Tale of the Lion King
- Disney Junior Dance Party
- Mickey's PhilharMagic at Sunset Showcase Theater
- World of Color (There is disability viewing near the back, and people in wheelchairs who have joined the virtual queue can also enter the Yellow area.)
What About Viewing Parades and Fireworks?
People using wheelchairs can watch the parades and nighttime shows in any regular viewing area. There may be some wheelchair viewing areas. They are first-come, first-served, and you are not limited to using them. The disadvantage to sitting down in a chair is that it can be hard to see over people standing around you. So if you want the unobstructed view, you might choose to camp out early for that perfect spot.
For fireworks, the back of Main Street, U.S.A. (closer to the train station but in front of the trees) is less crowded than the areas closer to the castle. You can still get that iconic castle view, along with any show elements that may occur on Main Street (for certain shows). A great location to see projection and fireworks without the crowds is near “it’s a small world.” You can also view fireworks from the viewing areas for Fantasmic!
How Do I Use the Restroom with a Wheelchair?
There are larger disability stalls in each bathroom. You can also find companion restrooms with additional space and privacy. Use the Disneyland app to locate the nearest one. At Disneyland, you'll find them to the left of City Hall, Main Street, U.S.A. First-Aid Station, Enchanted Tiki Room, Hungry Bear Restaurant, Tom Sawyer Island, Fantasyland Theatre and two in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. At Disney California Adventure, you can find companion restrooms near the Chamber of Congress, Avengers Campus, Cars Land, Pacific Wharf (near Baby Care Center) and across from The Little Mermaid — Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.
The restrooms in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge are a favorite of a friend who uses a wheelchair. They are spacious and there is more room around the sinks. Hop over to our guide to the best bathrooms at Disneyland for more bathroom tips.
What if My Child Uses a Stroller as Their Wheelchair?
There are places you cannot take strollers, but you can definitely take wheelchairs in the parks. So, what happens when your child with disabilities uses a stroller as a wheelchair? There is a special tag that can be placed on the stroller to indicate to cast members that that stroller is actually a wheelchair and can be allowed in restaurants and in lines for attractions or shows when other strollers have to be parked outside.
Tips for Using a Wheelchair at Disneyland
Here are a few tips for using a wheelchair at Disneyland:
- Try to plan your visit for a less-crowded time.
- Spring for the ECV to save your energy over a standard wheelchair.
- Bring USB phone power cords — the ECVs have USB ports and they charge your phones!
- Arrive early to secure a chair — they can sell out!
- Plan air-conditioned shows during the heat of the day.
- If you have people who are at risk of falling, unable to walk long distances or cannot stand for long, definitely rent a wheelchair.
- Make table-service restaurant reservations in advance and indicate a wheelchair-accessible table on the reservation.
- Be patient: It is definitely challenging to maneuver through crowds with a wheelchair with people stepping in front of you.
- Make yourself more visible. If you are new to using a wheelchair at Disneyland you'll find people's eyes are looking up instead of down, so they don't see you right away. Wear light-up necklaces at night or string some battery-operated lights on your chair or ECV to stand out. Decorate the chair more Disney-like if you want to draw attention to it or attach a balloon to it.
- Consult park maps and the Disneyland app for companion restrooms and important attraction information.
- Consider using Disney Genie+ as well as disability ride return to save time in reserving Lightning Lane access without having to go all the way to the kiosk to collect a return time.
- Never be afraid to ask a cast member for help or information.
- View return times in the Disneyland Mobile app.
- Have a friend or family member wet paper towels for washing hands or bring hand wipes. It can be challenging to access the crowded bathroom sinks from a wheelchair.
- Always present the person using the wheelchair’s park ticket first when redeeming a DAS return time.
- Arrive early for shows to secure handicapped seating.
- Plan breaks, and don’t overdo it!
- If you use a stroller for support due to your disability, you can get a wheelchair tag for it. That allows you to keep it with you in queues and other areas where strollers are generally not allowed.
- Consider renting off-site to save money and make arrival easier or have it to use for your time outside the theme parks.
Overall, our friend had an amazing day using a wheelchair at Disneyland. I mean, she had us frogs there to hop along to help her maximize her time, guide her toward gentle rides she could enjoy and set the perfect pace for her day. On top of that, everyone at Disneyland was helpful and kind. They never rushed her and encouraged her to take her time getting in and out of rides. Her safety and dignity were of the utmost importance to the cast members. That made a huge difference in the whole experience and made for special memories for everyone.
She used Genie+ along with disability return times to accomplish everything she wanted to do. She scheduled shows and indoor meals during the heat of the day to keep cool, and we all took advantage of the USB ports on the ECV to keep our phones fully juiced! We frogs got to experience things we’ve never seen when rolling with her (such as the ride in a Doom Buggy from the Haunted Mansion unloading area back to the loading area), and we got to experience the stretching chamber in reverse! It was hoppin’ fun for all!
Have you used a wheelchair in the parks? Tell us about your experience. Have questions about using a wheelchair at Disneyland? Share them in the comments below!
Related: Overview of Disneyland Disability Access Service (DAS)