The Perfect Accessible Travel Destinations for People with Disabilities
Planning for a vacation can be complicated all on its own. And when you have a disability, there’s much more to consider when looking for a relaxing getaway.
Will there be ramps for wheelchairs and mobility devices? Does the guided museum tour provide ASL interpreters? How accessible is the hotel room or venue?
If you or someone you love have a disability, these are questions you ask yourself not just on vacation, but everywhere you go.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 61 million adults in the U.S. live with a disability, which is just over 25% of the population. That’s a significant amount of people who need some level of accommodation.
“Disability accommodations benefit everyone, not just those with disabilities,” said Daniel Fink in an interview with The New York Times. They have three auditory disabilities and serve on the board of the American Tinnitus Association.
Fink makes a great point. Wheelchair ramps and wider doorways also make it easier for families with large strollers and delivery workers to enter and exit buildings. For them, the easiest accommodation is simply turning down the volume at a restaurant or store.
“Turning down the volume of the rock concert-level amplified sound to background music levels won’t cost a cent!”
Cruises are beginning to pay more attention to accessibility for patrons with wheelchair-accessible cabins with proximity to elevators, additional transportation services, TeleTYpe (TTY), and more guidelines under the Americans With Disability Act.
At CloudBlue, we believe in making travel comfortable and accessible for everyone. To help you decide the best disability-friendly places to travel, we’ve rounded up some of our favorites.
Morgan’s Wonderland (San Antonio, Texas)
Proclaimed as “The World’s First Ultra-Accessible Theme Park,” this park specifically designs all of its rides and attractions with all disabilities in mind.
When their daughter Morgan had a difficult interaction in a hotel swimming pool, Gordan and Maggie Hartman were inspired to create a place where people could come together without judgment and enjoy themselves.
And Morgan’s Wonderland was born!
A fully wheelchair-accessible Farris wheel is just the tip of the iceberg. The Sensory Village lets kids (and adults) run wild with their imagination with interactive videos, simulations, and brain teasers.
You can saddle up on an adaptive swing, play on a pirate-themed playground, and let your creativity run wild at The Sand Circle and Music Garden.
With 25 acres of accessible adventures, there are bound to be hours of fun for you and your family.
Adventure Maui (Maui, Hawaii)
Hawaii is understandably one of the most beautiful places on earth. With sandy beaches and vibrant color around every corner, it’s about as close as you can get to paradise these days. It’s also very accessible for all kinds of disabilities.
Through Wheel the World, visitors can book custom adventures with accessible van rentals, adaptive equipment for kayaking and biking, and helpful guides along the way.
Their multi-day packages are low-difficulty and suitable for all ages and abilities.
For a quiet stay, you should visit in the early spring (April-May) or fall (September-November). If you’re interested in whale watching, the best time to visit is winter (December-March).
You will never have to worry about whether or not your hotel room is accessible again. Stay at the Kohea Kai Hotel which includes step-free areas across the facilities, accessible showers, and adaptive beds.
Disney World (Orlando, Florida) and Disneyland (Anaheim, California)
A world full of wonder and imagination, Disneyland and Disney World have always worked towards park-wide inclusivity.
They’ve upped their accessibility game in recent years so that everyone can enjoy the magic of Disney, no matter what accommodations they need.
Service animals are welcome throughout the park, wheelchairs are available to rent, and assistive services such as captioning, audio description, and assistive listening are offered for rides.
Their Disability Access Service also ensures that those unable to wait in long lines are still able to access all the best rides and experiences. Visitors can also choose between three separate levels of mobility to transfer from Electric Conveyance Vehicles (ECV) or remain in their own device during the ride.
These parks were created to make anyone of any age feel special and bring to life their favorite movies and characters.
Whether you’re headed to Neverland or running into Mickey Mouse, the Disney theme parks are truly a magical place to vacation.
Sesame Place (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Partnering with global leaders and educational organizations, Sesame Place is the first theme park to be designated as a Certified Autism Center.
In addition to the fun rides and activities, all members of the staff have received training in sensory awareness, social skills, and programs that tailor specifically to children with autism.
They have ranked their attractions by levels of sensory stimulation so that caregivers can choose the perfect activities for their child’s needs.
The park also provides free noise-canceling headphones, designated quiet areas, sensory-adjusted dining areas so that visitors can get the most of their visit and stay comfortable throughout their stay.
A city full of history, Berlin is also one of the forerunners on accessibility.
The city received the European Commission’s Access City Award in 2013 for having public transport and new buildings that accommodate many kinds of disabilities, making the city an easier place to travel.
Tourist sites, hotels, and events also uphold these standards to make sure all visitors can access and enjoy everything the city has to offer.
The “Barrier-Free” Berlin construction project promotes the ongoing modification to buildings and public sites for every level of mobility.
The city’s new accessBerlin app is also a great resource to find up-to-date accessibility information when getting around town.
Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas
Having an accessible room is half the battle when traveling with a disability, but you don’t want to be stuck in your room all the time on vacation.
This cruise line has all the perks of a cruise — fine dining, water parks, live entertainment — with adaptable features to make your stay even better.
Staterooms are decked out with lowered sinks, shower benches, and ramps while recreational activities provide lifts at the pool, braille decks, and assisted listening systems for theater productions.
So long as you book 60 days in advance, you can request your own personal sign language interpreter for the duration of your cruise.
You also have your pick of accessible shore excursions so you never have to miss out on the fun on land.
Dream Big for Your Next Adventure
Accessible vacations for disabled travelers are growing more and more by the day, with increasing options to make your trip easier to plan and enjoy all along the way. So why should you have to settle by standing on the sidelines?
We come in all shapes, sizes, and abilities. And your adventures should be just as unique you are.
Cruising with a disability doesn’t have to be overwhelming — using a travel agent can also alleviate stress and help you plan the perfect vacation that meets your needs.
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