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Exploring the Accessible Delights of Orlando, Florida

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Donwtown Orlando, with the lake. Orlando, Florida by traveler1116 from Getty Images

I remember traveling with my family to Orlando, Florida In the mid 70s. It was about a year after Disney World opened. This was the very first time that my brother and I flew in an airplane. It was so exciting! We stayed at a hotel that was close to Disney World and we took the free shuttle to the park each day.  It’s a trip I will always remember.

Accessible Orlando

Since then, I’ve been to Orlando on business and pleasure numerous times and things have certainly changed over the years.  Thousands of businesses and dozens upon dozens of neighborhoods have been built and now connected by highways.  Orlando, Florida, is also famously known as the “Theme Park Capital of the World.”  It’s become one of the most populated cities in the country and welcomes millions of tourists each year with its array of world-class attractions and entertainment options.  But above all, it’s one of the most fun, lively, and easy-to-get-to places in the world, and it’s almost entirely accessible!

Orlando is a must do

I love Orlando and everything it has to offer. From accessible hotels and resorts, to options for accessible taxis and private transportation, Orlando is a “must do.”  It’s just about a 2 hour drive to either the gulf coast or Atlantic coast of Florida where you can be on Clearwater Beach, Madeira Beach, Daytona Beach, or Cocoa Beach – just to name a few.  I look forward to getting back to Orlando very soon and to experience even more! 

Here are my recommendations for an easy, accessible, and fun trip to Orlando.

Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Resort, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, does a fantastic job to accommodate visitors with disabilities. From accessible transportation and parking to wheelchair-accessible attractions, Disney’s commitment to accessibility and inclusivity is evident throughout its theme parks.

The resort offers Disability Access Service (DAS) for those who need assistance with queuing, and a Disability Access Service Card can be obtained at Guest Relations. For people with disabilities who use a wheelchair, Disney offers a number of attractions where you can remain in your wheelchair to enjoy the experience.  With accessible accommodations, dedicated accessible entrances, and assistance from helpful cast members, Walt Disney World Resort must be on your list when traveling to Orlando.

Universal Orlando Resort

Of course no trip to Orlando would be complete without spending some time at Universal Orlando, another renowned theme park destination dedicated to providing accessibility to all its visitors. The resort offers a comprehensive Accessibility Guide, available online and at guest services, which outlines accessibility features and services at each attraction. Wheelchair-accessible queues, accessible restrooms, and assistive listening devices are available throughout the parks.

Universal’s attractions also offer a Virtual Line system for reduced wait times, and guests with disabilities can request an Attraction Assistance Pass for further assistance. If you use a wheelchair, accessible attractions are limited and you must be able to transfer out of your wheelchair to a seat on the attraction to enjoy the experience. For more specific information about accessibility at Universal, check out my article dedicated to this amazing destination.

The Harry P. Leu Gardens

If you’re looking for something a bit more relaxing than a theme park, check out the serene beauty of The Harry P. Leu Gardens. These stunning botanical gardens offer wheelchair-accessible paths that wind through 50 acres of lush landscapes and themed gardens. The gardens feature a variety of plant species, including camellias, roses, and tropical plants, providing a feast for the senses. Accessible parking spaces, restrooms, and friendly staff make the gardens an enjoyable experience for visitors of all abilities.

The Orlando Museum of Art

The Orlando Museum of Art showcases a diverse collection of contemporary and traditional art. The museum provides wheelchair-accessible entrances, elevators, and spacious galleries for easy navigation. In addition, the museum offers assistive listening devices and accessible programs for visitors with disabilities.  

Lake Eola Park

Located in downtown Orlando, Lake Eola Park offers a scenic and accessible escape from the crowds and noise in the city. The park features a wheelchair-accessible path that circles the lake, allowing visitors to enjoy the serene waterfront views and observe the resident swans. And, they recently installed a wheelchair lift to assist people into and out of the swan boats.  With designated accessible parking spaces, restrooms, and accessible playgrounds, Lake Eola Park provides a welcoming environment for individuals of all abilities.

Orlando, Florida, embraces inclusivity by providing a range of accessible attractions and experiences. From the magical world of Walt Disney World Resort and the thrilling adventures of Universal Orlando Resort to the serene beauty of The Harry P. Leu Gardens and the artistic offerings at the Orlando Museum of Art, there are countless opportunities for people with disabilities to create unforgettable memories.  

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