Holidays

Disneyland Paris In A Wheelchair (part three) – The Magic

This is the third and final part of my Disneyland In A Wheelchair mini series. Catch up on the other parts below if you haven’t already…

Disneyland Paris In A Wheelchair (part one) – The Take Off

Disneyland Paris In A Wheelchair (part two) – I’m here

I left off last time by showing you the brilliantly accessible Riverboat ride and explained that actually there are a few rides at Disneyland Paris made accessible to wheels. There aren’t loads if you can’t transfer out of your chair (like me) but there are a few, and that’s pretty good to me. That’s a step/wheel in the right direction compared to when I was a child.

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A great accessible ride for anybody that likes a bit of competition is Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, in Discoveryland.

This attraction has one ‘cart’ that is wheelchair accessible. It has a larger gap behind it to allow for the back to open and a ramp to be unfolded. I easily wheel into the cart and position myself of the left. To the right is a flip down seat for one other person to join you. There’s only space for two in all the carts so this is no different.

Each armed with a laser gun, the aim of the game is to shoot as many targets as possible whilst riding around in a glow in the dark, fluorescent Toy Story land. Each target is worth a score, the more points you get the higher you are placed.

Even though I can’t actually shoot the gun, it’s too heavy for me to lift, I still enjoyed looking around and shouting ‘over there!’ ‘Shoot that one!’.

I don’t have any photos of the access or me on the ride this time, excitement must have taken over! But here’s a photo from a previous trip a few years back, you can see me in the cart behind…

Love it or hate it, every Disneyland guest has to experience ‘It’s a Small World’, in Fantasyland. You can even access it in your wheelchair, so there really is no excuse!

Heading in through the exit (I’m meant to) I show my Green Card and wait for an accessible boat. When my boat arrives a ramp is placed for me to board. Unlike the regular boats, the accessible one has seats only one side and a graduated ramp the other. I drive to the front of our boat and my chair is clamped down by a member of staff. I put on my neck support and prepare for a bumpy ride. However the journey is very smooth, the only (very small) jolts being if our boat bumps into the one in front or behind.

If you don’t know, ‘It’s a Small World’ is a tour of the world and it’s cultures, by boat (obviously as I’m on one), where you are greeted (stared at) by fairly small (very creepy) dolls. All these dolls are the same, same size, same face. Yet they are situated in various parts of the world in native and iconic costumes. While an extremely repetitive theme tune is played…

It’s a world of laughterA world of tears
It’s a world of hopes
And a world of fears
There’s so much that we share
That it’s time we’re aware
It’s a small world after all
There is just one moon
And one golden sun
And a smile means
Friendship to ev’ryone
Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It’s a small world after all
It’s a small world after all
It’s a small world after all
It’s a small world after all
It’s a small, small world

Repeat until you have no other thoughts.

I’m making it sound very creepy, but the kids love it, and I think it is pretty cool!

On the third morning we planned a surprise for my nieces… breakfast with the Disney characters. It’s advisable that you book this in advance, we booked a few weeks before our trip, via the travel agent. But I did notice some walk ins queuing up on the day, so if you haven’t booked and do fancy a spur of the moment brunch it’s still worth a shot!

This wasn’t a cheap date but in my opinion well worth the treat. It’s not everyday you get to eat breakfast with a bunch of Disney legends now is it?! I enjoyed it just as much as the kids, and seeing their faces was a highlight of the trip. It wasn’t a bad tasting meal either. One of my favourites of the week. A buffet style affair where you could help yourself to as much as you wanted of whatever you wanted. There were your usual continental suspects such as cheeses, ham, bread, pastries and fruits, along with pancakes, porridge and a typical fry up. I focused on the hot stuff while sneaking a couple of croissants in my bag for later. Don’t judge, we all do it at a breakfast buffet! Plus I eat less than your average 8 year old. You could also help yourself to juices and hot drinks, so obviously I had a few brews.

While tucking in to the tasty feast, characters make their way around the tables for selfies, hugs and autographs…

There are two parks at Disneyland Paris (your ticket entitles you to come and go from both parks as often as you want on all days), and today we would visit Disney Studios, which is just a couple of minutes walk from Disneyland park entrance. Stuffed from the all you can eat breakfast we head out and into the other park.

Disney Studios is more the behind the scenes of Disney and Pixar films. For the nerd in us you could say!

Walking through the entrance you are taken through a busy cluster of restaurants and shops. Art Deco shapes and a Hollywood vibe.

Disney Studios is probably the most wheelchair friendly of the two parks, because its focus isn’t rides. There are shows indoor and out, that are on at regular intervals during the day.

These included a Disney Junior show that my nieces loved and moderately entertained me.

A Micky and the Magician show, with Lion King theatre style puppetry, amazing costume, ultra violet magic, Beauty and (the actual) Beast, and some great classic Disney songs. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

On the day that we were due to depart, Marvel arrived at Disneyland Studios. We didn’t manage to catch many of these shows due to timings and needing to catch the train. (Not a huge disappointment for myself as to me Disney is mice, mermaids, lions and princesses.) However one that we did try to watch was a huge disappointment. We arrived nice and early thinking we would get a spot and have a bite to eat before the show began. We all sat down, the others on the ground, me in my permanent seat on wheels. There wasn’t a separate area for Green Card holders (disabled) like there was for the parade etc, but I could see the stage, everybody was lower than me.

That’s until the music started and everybody pushed in, children on shoulders. We alerted a Disney crew member of my difficulties, I couldn’t see a thing. He disappeared and returned a minute later explaining that a viewing area hadn’t been considered for this performance however they would put something in place for the next showing. No good to me as my train home was due soon.

Other people I was with could see the show, and they said I wasn’t missing much, so we left to go find ice cream. But that’s not the point.

Another staple and fully accessible attraction of Disney Studios is ‘Studio Tram Tour: Behind The Magic’. As suggested by the wordy title, it’s a tram tour of the behind the scenes action and special effects.

Again entering through the exit (as is the case for many rides) I am directed to a small waiting area until the tram returned. A massive portable lift is rolled into place ready for me to board the accessible carriage. I reverse park and am safely clamped into place.

An over excited on-screen guide talks us through the tour, telling us of behind the scenes secrets and pointing out some iconic props and vehicles.

We then experience a live action stunt, fire, water, loud bangs and the tram starts rocking. It is a little jolty, so brace yourself if you’re wobbly like me!

Wandering around Disney Studios we come across a new addition since my previous visit. A little Parisian courtyard with cobbles and a water fountain. Within that area is a new ride, I’m not sure how new, but new to me. Ratatouille.

I love that little rat and I love this ride!

It has become my favourite ride of both the parks, favourite that I can access anyway, I can’t speak for the rides I can’t go on. What I loved about this ride is the thrill. I’m a person that likes being scared. Not bad scared, fun scared. I use to love going on more thrilling rides when I wasn’t so fragile. But now, being unable to sit very well, or be lifted, means that I can only go on rides within my chair. As you have read in this mini series and can imagine, these are fun rides. But not very thrill seeker!

Ratatouille is not a thrill seeker ride by any means. My 2 year old niece went on. But it is exciting!

Another attraction brilliantly designed for wheelchair access, I board a cart using a ramp and am clamped down. This time a seatbelt is also placed around me and a safety bar pull down! What danger awaits?!

Modelling very unattractive 4D glasses you are shrunk down to the size of a mouse having a bad day. The carts whizz around a maze of 4D screens, it’s not too fast, and is perfectly safe. It’s the glasses, screens and your mind that cause the speed and jarring excitement.

I want more rides like this.

Everything is slowly becoming so much more accessible than it was when I first visited, 15 years ago. And that, I like.

Getting around the parks has always been fairly easy, most surfaces are smooth (although Fantasyland is a little bumpy), there are pathways, but dropped curbs are in place. All shops and restaurants are level access, no steps in sight. I know this should just be a thing, especially somewhere recently built. But it’s not always a thing.

While on the topic of access around the Disneyland I have to point out that there are no Changing Places toilet facilities in either of the parks. Considering the size and amount of money made daily by Disney I do feel this is unacceptable. There is no excuse not to build one or adapt one of the already in situ large disabled facilities.

If you do not require a Changing Place and can manage in a ‘regular’ disabled loo (like myself) then there are plenty around. In fact every block of facilities has an accessible toilet. Mostly situated within the regular female (and I assume male although I didn’t go in there!) toilets. These are extremely spacious and clean, most better than your average accessible loo I’ve wheeled across in England.

Toilet talk over, Disney is not all about the rides and the entertainment. Disneyland is a truly stunning place. I could easily spend an entire day just wheeling around at a leisurely pace taking in the beauty. So much detail goes into everything. All man made, yet it looks so authentic. It’s like one giant artwork you can live inside. Within each land you get immersed in a totally new world!

I shall leave you with a random selection of fairytale beauty.

Have you been to a Disneyland anywhere? I would love to hear your highlights, favourite rides and shows, or tips and tricks?

21 thoughts on “Disneyland Paris In A Wheelchair (part three) – The Magic”

  1. Fantastic posts! I have linked to themon the Paris page of wheelchairworld.org so that other wheelchair using travellers can read your experiences. http://wheelchairworld.org I have also visited Disneyland Paris myself and I did not organise it. Travel agent so it was a lot cheaper – happy to help you if you need more information about doing it this way if you want to do it like that in future 🙂 just use the contact us form on Wheelchair World.org!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It looks like you had an amaaazing time.

    Your niece must have been soooo happy to have breakfast with the characters!! That is totally worth the expense!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “It’s a Small World” is lodged in my head for what I’m sure will be the next sixteen hours, but that’s okay–I love it! I enjoyed your commentary and learning more about the Disney parks in Europe. The photos make it look uncrowded, so that had to be a plus for you. I’ve only been to Disney in Florida, and the crowds are crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Is the tune still in your head? It’s back in mine!
      We stayed at Disneyland Wednesday till Sunday. Most of my photos were taken in the first few days. I have to say the weekend did get busier, ride queues going from 15 minute waits to sometimes over an hour! But I know that’s still fairly quiet compared to some Disney’s during certain seasons!

      Liked by 1 person

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