Accessible Amusement Parks

Posted on - Sunday, August 24th, 2014

My family and I just finished our first family vacation to Disney World!  It was amazing to me how accessible it was.  There were so many people using wheelchairs and other mobility aids, not to mention people that had temporary mobility issues and even baby strollers.  I decided to document some of the new requirements in the 2010 ADA for amusement parks. I was very impressed with Disney for how sensitive and accommodating their parks were for persons with disabilities.





In this newsletter we will discuss the basic requirements that the 2010 ADA Standards require when building a new amusement park or renovating an existing.  An existing amusement park rides are exempted from having to comply.  If you want further information, refer to “Applying the ADA” chapter 7 which is an entire chapter on accessible amusement parks.

Common use areas at the Park

As any public accommodation, an amusement park has common areas that are open to the public which will have to comply.  At Disney World, this was achieved beginning with their transportation and throughout the park.  They had accessible bus stops, restrooms, accessible ramps throughout the park as well as accommodation at restaurants and other public areas.



Designated bus stop loading areas are available at every bus stop 



Every bus is equipped with areas designated for wheelchairs


Accessible restrooms were located everywhere in the park


Ramps were located along all routes, making them all accessible





Pool lifts and other means of entry were located in swimming pool areas at their resorts 


Accessible dining surfaces were available throughout the park


Several of the attractions in Disney World are shows.  They also had accessible seating and companion seating available at almost every show.

Accessible Amusement Rides

The 2010 ADA has an entire section devoted on creating accessible amusement rides.  The scoping states:

234.2 Load and Unload Areas. Load and unload areas serving amusement rides shall comply with 1002.3.

234.3  Minimum Number. 

 – Amusement rides shall provide at least one wheelchair space complying with 1002.4


This ride had a space designated for people with wheelchairs.  A companion seat was also provided alongside it.

This ride has a ramp that deploys and allows a person in a wheelchair to enter the ride. 


This photo shows an accessible loading area onto a boat ride


This photo shows the person in a wheelchair in the designated seat for persons with disabilities.


This is a train ride with a space for the wheelchair 


Companion seats are provided for the designated wheelchair spaces 

– or at least one amusement ride seat designed for transfer complying with 1002.5, 

– or at least one transfer device complying with 1002.6.


  1. Amusement rides that are controlled or operated by the rider shall not be required to comply with 234.3.
  2. Amusement rides designed primarily for children, where children are assisted on and off the ride by an adult, shall not be required to comply with 234.3.
  3. Amusement rides that do not provide amusement ride seats shall not be required to comply with 234.3. 

 The technical Standards have requirements for the following elements of the amusement rides.  They are very detailed and we encourage you to read up on them if you are designing amusement rides.

1002.2 Accessible Routes.  An Accessible route will have to be provided to the loading and unloading area

1002.3 Load and Unload Areas.

Here is a video showing how the load unload areas work

1002.4 Wheelchair Spaces in Amusement Rides

Here is a video showing a spot for the amusement ride together with companion seating next to each other


1002.5 Amusement Ride Seats Designed for Transfer.

1002.6 Transfer Devices for Use with Amusement Rides.

Kudos to Disney World for their commitment to persons with disabilities!

Upcoming CEU opportunities

August 5th- “Applying the ADA and TAS: Avoiding common violations” at AIA Dallas

August 14- “Avoiding ADA Violations during Construction” Metrocon in Dallas Texas

Sponsored by Accessibility Professionals Assocation

August 19- “Applying the ADA in Existing Buildings” Webinar for Green CE

September 9- Procrastinator’s Day Barrier Free Seminar at AIA Dallas

November 6- Early Bird Three Hr Seminar: Applying TAS in Existing and Renovated Buildings” at the TSA Convention in Houston Texas

We are celebrating our 10th year of service to the building industry as a Registered Accessibility Specialist!  Mention this newsletter and receive 10% off your next review or inspection.

If you want to learn more about these standards, be sure to check out my books:

“The ADA Companion Guide”

“Applying the ADA” published by Wiley. 

They are available for sale now. (also available as an e-book)

If you have any questions about these or any other topics, please feel free to contact me anytime.

Marcela Abadi Rhoads, RAS #240
Abadi Accessibility
214. 403.8714

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