Wednesday, July 27, 2011

SoCal Amusement Parks: Accessibility Review

So we have been home for about a month now. But I have GOT to share the news about accessibility of the 3 major amusement parks in Southern California:
  • Disneyland Resort
  • Knott's Berry Farm
  • Six Flag's Magic Mountain
If you are physically disabled and want to visit one of these parks, you are probably going to do what I did. First you'll visit the park's official web sites to look for disability access information. You will be dissatisfied. So you'll do a general Google search for 'unofficial' accessibility information about the parks. You'll find a little bit, like "the park has amenities for people with disabilities. Check with guest services when you arrive." Then you'll panic search with things like, "can paraplegics get on the rides at Knott's Berry Farm?" With that, you'll find all the cases where people have been paralyzed by amusement park rides.

So my goal with the next three posts is to document my personal experience at these three amusement parks. My experience will be relevant to you if you have a disability similar to mine. Here is a brief description of my injury and resulting capability.
  • I am a 40-year-old man in reasonably good health
  • I have a complete Spinal Cord Injury at T4/T5
  • I am paralyzed from the chest down with quite a bit of tone and spasticity that I manage with Baclofen. However, I keep the dosage pretty low so I still have quite a bit of clonus (ankle spasms)
  • I have good upper body strength that allows me to transfer in and out of my wheelchair reasonably consistently.
  • I make my way in the world with an Invacare Crossfire T6 Titanium. It's a manual rigid frame wheelchair.
What follows will be my experience. I hope your experience in these parks is as good or better than mine.


Ashley said...

Mr. Townsend -

I would like to promote your blog on in return to republish your access review on Disneyland. You and your website will get full credit. What do you think?

Please email me to discuss,

Jennifer said...

I thank you very much for your post. Mu physical disability is very different from yours (I have some muscle and breathing issues) but this will be the first time I am travelling to amusement parks as a disabled person and it is very difficult to find information on how easy (or difficult) this will be. Thank you very much for your posts - I am still looking for the Six Flags one as that is my first stop. I LOVE rollercoasters so I want to be able to get on them!