The passes (assuming you can get one) are better than in the US parks. They also aren’t being abused, because you need the proof. The only downside is if you have a condition not covered or recognized or if you don’t have proof of your condition. At every restaurant (in hotels, etc.), in every shop you can skip the line. Its amazing. You get reserved spaces for parades and fireworks (you plus 2 people), as well as the faster line (you plus 4 people). No return times, just a smaller line that rarely takes more than 15 minutes and usually more like 5.
You apply for a disability access card here. I highly recommend looking at this as soon as you know you are going. I put in a sooner date so I could see everything required, then didn’t finish. You can finish the process 30 days before your first day at the park.
There are several tiers of cards and they determine what you need with the information you provide.
You will need to provide one of these documents both scanned and sent in advance and bring them in person (no photos, only originals) along with your passport:
- Disability card issued by the US Department of Veterans Affairs
- Parking Card for Disabled People
- Other official disability documents issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- VA Disability Compensation Benefits
- Parking Badge; permanent or temporary (with paperwork)
- Access pass : America The Beautiful
You must bring the physical paperwork/cards/permits with you, no photos.
I used my America the Beautiful card. They seemed slightly confused (but are required to accept it) so I also presented my parking badge with paperwork, which they were more familiar with. You need to show your passport together with your proof of disability.
If you do not have one of these things you need a doctor’s note. There is a list of accepted chronic diseases. The person I spoke with on the phone says the doctor’s note should say “my patient _______ has number 9. disability “Severe neurological and muscular disorders”, but should not go into any more detail.
There are different “tiers” of disability:
If you have Grey, Blue or Orange you cannot ride Peter Pan or Crush’s Coaster, but can go right up to the ride in Star Tours (Crush, Autopia and Star Tours are the only rides that make you walk up to the ride if you have a Purple Card). That said, Utopia let me take my chair right to the ride, Star Tours didn’t, even though they weren’t busy at the time.
If you are staying at a Disneyland Hotel you can pick up your access card at check in. Otherwise you need to go to guest services inside the parks
I got a purple (because I said I could climb ladders, which I can do for a short time in an emergancy). This meant the for Star Tours I would have to walk a crazy distance to the ride (which I decided not to do), but that I could go on Crush’s Coaster and Peter Pan (which you need to be able to climb ladders to evacuate). Crush’s coaster requires walking(moore on that later).
I did have a hiccup in picking up my card though. When I went to get my card it was grey (no transfer). This was because I selected that I couldn’t _quickly_ transfer with help. They should change that wording. It just means “transfer with help”, they give you all the time you need. When I pointed this out they changed the card for me to purple. (I answered I could transfer and climb ladders) and had a wheelchair).
The first place you will use it is entering the parks. You can skip the line and go in at the right side by the wheelchair symbol.
All the rides mark your accessible entrance with a little wheelchair sign. They are easy to see. Mainly you enter through the exit or a special fast line, but you can ask a cast member at the entrance where you go if you don’t immediately see the sign. People with non-mobility disabilities might sometimes enter the priority line in the front.
Viewing areas for both shows and parades are marked with signs like the one below on the ropes roping them off.
Getting there and back
We took the RER train from Chatelet Les Halles station (which was accessible) to the Marne-la-Vallée Chessy (Disneyland) Station on the same line (also accessible). Note: NOT ALL RER TRAINS ARE ACCESSIBLE, even if they are marked accessible. If you aren’t sure, go to the nearest one. They may have to call the other stations to see if they are (that day). When we tried to go to Versailles from the Muse D’Orsay RER station (supposedly accessible) they didn’t have a spare guy to deploy the ramp and so it wasn’t. The Chatelet Les Halles station is bigger and seems to have all the resources, and the Marne-la-Vallée Chessy (Disney) station also seems to be always accessible from everything I have heard.
When you take the RER train you need to go to the service counter to buy your tickets and request wheelchair service. Don’t buy tickets until you know you have the service.
They will tell you to wait and will call a guide. The guide will show you to your train and deploy a ramp for you to use getting on. The station will call the Disney station and tell them you are coming and a second person with a ramp will meet you there and deploy that ramp. Your traveling companions will either have to stand or go up or down a level to sit. The wheelchair section is in the middle of the two floors of the train. You also exit the way you came in if you left from Le Halles (right side of train). This means if you don’t want to back out you should turn around.
Alternately, you can book a G7 taxi (get the G7 ap) ahead. This is how we returned. Don’t count on getting one if you don’t book ahead, they are often unavailable.
Note- headroom is limited if you have a larger power chair. You may need to tip back the seat or lean forward. If you were to try to sit upright your head would go to one side.
The Official Disneyland Paris AP
Get it. You need it for maps, characters, booking dining, schedules, etc. They don’t pass out paper maps. There is an Activities section where you can select “wheelchair accessible” and it shows you everything you can do without transferring.
I highly recommend staying at one of the Disney Hotels that are right by the park entrance. These are the Disneyland Hotel (currently being remodeled, but back soon), in order of closeness they are the Art of Marvel New York Hotel, the Sequoia Lodge hotel and the Newport Bay Hotel. Also in walking/rolling distance are the non Disney Yellowstone, Monterey and Yosemite Lodges, but I don’t know how they are for accessibility.
If you want an accessible Disney Hotel room you need to call tel:407-828-4554 during Paris hours to book it (so morning in the US). They don’t have the option on the website. Book a package and you can reserve restaurants 12 months in advance. There is a discount for tickets if you get them at the gate as disabled, but it is a wash with the reduced prices for a hotel package.
You don’t get sent tickets or get tickets on the ap. When you arrive you get a card that is your roomy and your park ticket and your meal plan card.
Disney hotels are generally great at accessibility. We stayed 2 nights at the Newport and one at Marvel. Marvel was way better. Newport had a tiny (barely fits a scooter or large power chair) elevator that was the only non-hotel-staff way to get from the bottom floor (walk to parks, hotel restaurants) to the lobby floor (where reception and elevators are). It always had a long line of chairs, scooters and strollers. It’s a real pain. One time it was broken and we had to be guided through the hotel to an alternate way down by staff.
The Newport is a little in need of a revamp (just looks slightly tired), but it has cute Disney theming throughout. I stayed in an accessible room and there was a flip-down shower seat and room to transfer to the toilet in the bathroom. You can also get a portable seat for the shower for other rooms.
The Marvel hotel was way better. No accessibility issues, and closer to the park. In the Marvel Hotel I wanted a bath, so got a regular room. There is plenty of space to park the chair and good, comfortable beds. We were able to have my daughter, us and the chair in there without an issue, but I am semi-ambulatory. The rooms are amazing, super modern and stylish. Everything in the hotel looks like Tony Stark’s house. There are Iron Man suits in the lobby and the hotel bar is amazing. It has windows (screens) with a view of the NYC skyline that changes throughout the day (day to night) and has characters going through it (Iron Man, Spiderman, Quin Jet, etc.).
Are wheelchair accessible and come every 10-15 minutes. They work fine. That said, if you are in one of the close hotels I mentioned above you don’t need them. I do NOT recommend taking them unless you absolutely have to at the end of the park day! It’s a bloodbath. Chaos, people not letting you on, taking the wheelchair spaces, etc. I heard many stories on the Disneyland Paris Disabilities Facebook group and opted not to try.
You can get a meal plan with the hotel, but based on getting the full one and not being able to use it and needing to supplement it with cash, if I did it again I’d just get the breakfast plan. The others aren’t worth it. For any restaurant you go to if you have the plan you show your magic pass (hotel key/park ticket/meal plan card) when you check in.
If you stay at a Disneyland Hotel you get to book 12 months days in advance. I’d book ahead and try to get restaurants as soon as you book. Without a hotel package it is 30 days. Your chances of getting one of the good restaurants is low. You can sign up for alerts for when a reservation opens for a fee on https://www.dlptables.com.
Auberge de Cendrillon character dining was really good. Food was great, we saw Merida, Cinderella, Aurora, Snow White, and two of Cinderella’s Mice. Accessible bathroom was tiny- not recommended. Food was good. *requires booking ahead
Captain Jack’s is similar to the Blue Bayou in that it is inside the Pirates Ride. Food was okay. Cocktail was barely alcoholic. Accessible bathroom was fine. *requires booking ahead
Remy’s was wonderful. Great atmosphere. I heard that the food used to be bad but more recently heard better things. It was very good when we went. Probably the best restaurant in both parks food + ambience wise. *requires booking ahead
DON’T eat at the Rainforest Cafe in the village! Cute as the atmosphere is. It was absolutely disgusting. “Cocktail” had less alcohol than vanilla flavoring and tons of syrup. It was gross. We left the food on the plate and ate back at the Newport Bay hotel in the bar (which was fine- sandwiches, decent cocktails, etc.).
Marvel Hotel Bar was great. Best cocktails we had in the whole trip (including in Paris proper). Great ambience- very Tony Starkesque. Small plates of very good food.
There were a number of rides where you could take your wheelchair on listed here. Because I had the purple card this wasn’t always offered, but I used did it for Astro-blasters, Cars Road Trip and Spiderman.
I found the Avengers Assemble coaster VERY rough on my body. Would not repeat.
The haunted mansion ride just starts you at the moving chairs by entering the exit. You don’t get to see the stretching room or the hallway.
Make sure your chair is securely tied down for Cars’s Road Trip! The ride shakes the whole car sideways/tips it violently. If this is not for you do not ride this ride! On their first try the cast member tried to hook onto my LED strip instead of the actual tie-down point and broke my LEDs. If he had succeeded and not broken it and I didn’t notice my chair might have toppled. Make sure they use the proper tie downs and racket securely! You board via a lift.
Crush’s coaster was a really hard walk/stand for me. Down a flight of stairs, down a long hall, up a flight of stairs, and then waiting in line standing (or sitting on the ground). I did it twice, and it was worth it, but standing in line was the hardest. The ride is amazing if you can do it. For Peter Pan the line is normal (enter through the disabled/back entrance).
For Parades, ask cast members where the viewing areas are for disabled and get there at least a 30 min early. 30 minutes before they fill the rest of the section with non disabled. You can only bring 2 other people with you for parade viewing. We watched the parade from the viewing area to the right/front of the castle. There is a little stage area you face and you enter through a thing in the middle of the walkway.
For the nighttime show in Disneyland the section is to the left of the castle. You enter it by going right up to the Frontierland gate (but not through it) and turning right and keep going until you see the cast members. Do not try and get through the crowd in front of the castle- it’s a back entrance. Again get there at least 30 minutes before. It fills up. An hour is better. You can only take 2 other people with you for nighttime show viewing.
For the Studios nighttime show, the disabled viewing is right by the Stitch Experience. Don’t think you won’t see here- even though it is in back, it’s a great view. You get to see everything from there and it is protected from the crowds crushing you and there is a bare space in front of you so it’s easier to see. Again, only 2 people can come with each disabled person. When we saw it the drones were canceled because of wind, which apparently happens often, but it was still a good show.
You can see both the stained glass in the gallery of the castle and the dragon below. There is an elevator that will take you to both from the main floor, but there is also a path to get to the dragon.
We saw the Lion King at Disneyland (musical, dance, acrobatics). There is a separate line for accessibility. You need to get there 30 minutes or more ahead to enter as disabled and get the front seats. They put the wheelchairs in front of the front row and your companions in the seats behind you.
We also saw Stitch at the Studios Park (go 30 minutes ahead, wait in accessible area, enter first and get a wheelchair space that is reserved). It was cute, mostly targeted for youngest guests. A little like the Crush interaction at DCA in CA.
The best one was Mickey and the Magician– great magic tricks onstage as well as impressive singing and dancing. Don’t miss it! Again, strive more than 30 minutes ahead for disabled seating, separate line. Wheelchair seats are in the back of the front section. If you have a regular or small power chair you go forward of the aisle. If you are in a large power chair or scooter you go in the spaces to the back of the center aisle. This is to keep the path clear for the performers during the show.
Generally, while the stall is usually at the end, the accessible bathrooms are way better than in the US. They are usually much bigger with room to transfer and contain a sink. If you are in a wheelchair just go past the line and right up to the wheelchair bathroom (generally in the back). This is understood over there. There are a few places where there is an accessible bathroom by itself without being inside the regular ones.: one by the Tower of Terror exit/gift shop in Walt Disney Studios and one in the arcade (covered area that runs alongside main street) on the left side of main street if you are facing the castle in Disneyland. Don’t use the ones marked only as Family. They are not designed for us. They have tiny low toilets for kids. The only really tight bathroom I encountered was inside the Princess dining restaurant in Disneyland (Auberge de Cendrillon). I recommend avoiding that one. The one inside Remi’s in Walt Disney Studios is great, and the one in Captain Jack’s (Disneyland) is fine.
Photos and Characters
We did not see a single Disney photographer in the wild. There was one listed on the map for all of Disneyland Park. We saw few characters in the wild (Mary Poppins and a penguin were out signing and doing photos with no line, Jack Sparrow was on some sand on the Island out of reach). You need to look on the ap. They are generally tucked away from view with a line. You can get priority to sign up for a return time for characters. I did not do this.
My understanding is you go to one of the character locations on the apps map and sign up there, but should do it first thing as you enter the parks to get on the list. Ask a cast member as soon as you enter the park.
There were photos for most rides which you can add with the photo pass, but you need to add them there at the site. You can’t take a photo of the number and add it later from home. Take a photo of the number, and take it to the counter of that ride, they will put it on your pass.
I HIGHLY recommend seeing the Castle- upstairs, down in the dragon’s den, the gift shops- everything! It’s gorgeous! The stained glass was done by the man that was commissioned to restore Notre Dame (before it burned). The tapestries are hand woven! One of them has fiber optics woven in for magical sparkles!
There is an elevator to the left at the back of the castle that takes you both up to the gallery and down to the dragon. You can also see the dragon by entering via paths around the castle.
Leaving at the End of the Night
PREPARE FOR THIS. Unlike WDW or CA Disneyland, these parks let out all at once. Everyone leaves after the nighttime show AT ONCE! It’s an absolute mess. Hanging back and waiting for them to go first is a good idea if you aren’t already in front of the crowd. If you do not need to do not take the shuttles to and from the hotels when leaving. They will be packed and people are not sensitive to leaving space for a chair or letting you get on. Also people smoke the second they leave the park and you are trapped in a crowd of smoking people.
Likewise, you don’t want to try to get your cab or train back to Paris after the parks close. When we heard the horror stories on the Disneyland Paris Disabilities Facebook group we opted to change our hotel reservations and add a night (why we ended up staying at two different Disney hotels). That way we left in the morning and it worked great.
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