I am so excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with Hayley from @_through_hayleys_eyes_ on Disney cruise accessibility, traveling on Disney Cruise Line with special needs and while using a wheelchair!
As a pediatric occupational therapist, I love being able to bring this information to my readers so they can better prepare for their Disney Cruise!
My experience has been Disney is amazing with special dietary needs (mine being gluten and dairy-free). I am so excited that Hayley feels the same way about Disney!
Get To Know Hayley
Hayley’s Instagram bio states “The world cannot become inclusive without awareness.” Hayley describes herself as a Disney-loving autistic, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) user who also relies on a wheelchair for mobility.
She is an annual pass holder who is so excited that character hugs are back! She states “I have multiple disabilities physical, medical, learning and behavioral. I am medically complex. I am a huge huge Disney and marvel fan!”
She has over 2600 Instagram followers!
Hayley recently traveled on the Magic and shares her Disney cruise special needs tips!
Who is your favorite Disney character?
Hayley’s favorite Disney character is LOKI! He is my all-time favorite!
What is your favorite part of cruising on Disney Cruise Line?
The magic, it’s something no other cruise line has. They treat you like loved family members from the first second!
Wheelchair Accessibility on Disney Cruise Ships
Are there any special preparations or requests you would recommend making when booking a DCL cruise?
“It all depends on what you need. I always recommend doing disability-specific research to see what you would need, and never be afraid to ask because Disney is very very accommodating!”
I asked Hayley if they made any special requests prior to taking their Disney Cruise. Hayley stated they made several requests. ” I do not remember all of them, but requesting ASL interpreters was our main one”.
Are Disney cruise ships handicap accessible?
Disney has wheelchair-accessible staterooms on all 4 ships.
According to their website, these staterooms include: minimum 32″ doorways, emergency call buttons, open bed frames, ramped bathroom thresholds, bathroom and shower grab bars, roll-in showers, fold-down shower seats, hand-held showerheads, and refrigerators.
Was it easy to book a wheelchair-accessible stateroom?
When asked about the ease of booking a wheelchair-accessible stateroom, Hayley points out a problem I have heard is common. “This is definitely something I want to bring up because abled-bodied people will purposefully book an accessible room because they are bigger, so it can be a frequent problem that they are sold out by people who do not need them.”
We all know that cruise cabins are small and obviously wheelchair accessible (or handicap cabins) are larger. But for those in a wheelchair, they really need that space! As an OT I know that most wheelchairs can not fit through standard doorframes. Please be considerate and only book one of these cabins if you really require it.
What are your thoughts on your stateroom?
Our room was fantastic it had automatic opening doors and a very nice bathroom that had a built-in shower chair, so it was very safe! They were also emergency call buttons that you could use ( you have to call the front desk once you are aboard to activate them). The beds were super easy for wheelchair transfers!
Was there anywhere you found hard to maneuver with a wheelchair onboard?
Yes because of safety procedures they are lips and stuff and the corridors for the hallways are definitely tight and can be very difficult if the room stewards have the carts in the hallways.
Did you have any issues with the elevators aboard the cruise ship?
Not so much of this cruise because it was during the time period that they had restrictions, but there were a few times where it would be full of non-wheelchair users.
Is Castaway Cay handicap accessible?
Disney’s private island Castaway Cay is amazong! And it is very wheelchair accessible! There is a paved walkway all the way to the dining areas, stores, and beaches. Even all the way to the adult beach via an old airstrip!
The path is very long all the way to the adult beach (the family beaches are walkable distances) and many prefer to take the trams.
Personal and electric wheelchairs are able to ride the tram. However motorized scooters are not able to fit on the tram, so plan accordingly.
Another tip is DCL has sand wheelchairs available on Castaway Cay!
Any other cruise wheelchair tips for our readers?
“A huge tip is to do your research, you can never do enough research.”
Thank you so much Hayley for taking the time to answer questions and provide these tips for our readers!
Disney Cruise Line Information
Official Disney cruise line guest with disabilities information page.
**Looking for a better way to travel with your special needs child? Check out Autism on the Seas! Use the code OR-239 to receive $25 onboard credit!**