I went on vacation to California and Hawaii this past summer. It was my first time flying solo across the country. Despite some anxiety about flying, the trip was incredible. I stayed in San Diego my first leg of the trip, with some family friends. One of the days, we drove out to Anaheim to spend the day at Disneyland.
I had done some research the day before going, because I knew there was no way I could visit the park without a wheelchair. I knew there would be way too much walking and standing involved, and I would end up exhausted…we all know being exhausted in any kind of theme/amusement park is no fun. I ultimately decided to rent out an ECV, or electric conveyance vehicle. You know, it’s like a scooter, similar to the ones you might see in various large chain stores or even in your local chain supermarket.
Maneuvering the ECV is worthy of its own blog post, considering I don’t drive yet and was quite awful at doing so in the park, to the point where watching me was actually comical. My awesome family friend gave me a few basic driving lessons during our time in the park. I’m going to spare you from getting into the specifics of all that, because in retrospect it’s a bit embarrassing *insert blush here*.
Anyway, we got to one ride I really wanted to go on, and a staff member told me I could bring the ECV on the main queue. I noticed that patrons with wheelchairs or ECVs usually went through the exit line to the ride, or went through another more accessible entrance. This time though, I listened to the staff member and headed through the ride’s main entrance. I quickly saw that the queue for the ride had rough, literal 90 degree turns (not kidding).
As you can imagine, the ECV was very large and clunky. Remember when I said I was awful at driving the damn thing? Not kidding about that either, and this instance was no exception. I crashed the ECV every two minutes. Eventually, I got so fed up that I left the line. This didn’t just mean that I physically got off the line; it also meant that I didn’t go on the ride itself. I couldn’t go on the ride, because I had left my crutches at the kiosk where I rented the ECV that morning. I literally didn’t have them on me.
Honestly, even if I did have my crutches with me, I would’ve been hesitant to go on the line anyway because of the long wait. It’s extremely tiring for me to stand in one place for too long. I actually find it more tiring than walking a long distance, because at least with walking my body is moving and feeding off my own momentum with my destination as the goal in mind, if that makes any sense.
Now, I was a big Disney fan as a child. I still love Disney. I loved visiting Disney World, love their movies, and still do. My time at Disneyland this past summer was overall a positive and fun experience. So, what I’m about to say is not “knocking them.” I would just like to make an observation: we all know that Disney is a billion-dollar enterprise. That’s just the truth. So with their mountains of money, they could have provided a more accessible space for me and any other person using an ECV or wheelchair, that day or any day of any year.
For anyone who may think, “Oh, it was just one ride; get over it.” Um, no. It’s not just one ride. You’re obviously not considering the bigger picture. I was literally unable to participate in an activity–going on a ride/attraction–because it was inaccessible. Two words: accessibility matters. Now and always. I’ll never stop saying that, because it will never stop being true.