After my Animal Kingdom trip, I couldn’t seem to get enough of Disney! Then not long thereafter, we became DVC members at BoardWalk Villas and Riviera.
Whether booking a room at eleven or seven months out, Disney Vacation Club gives you the option to choose disability accommodations. These rooms typically include grab bars in showers, grab bars around toilets, higher toilet seats, wider doorways, and larger bathrooms to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. As for hearing impairments and other types of disabilities, I, unfortunately, do not have experience with those types of rooms.
The problem with these rooms is that availability is extremely limited, leading me to explore how I might manage life in a regular DVC room or villa.
If you should find yourself in this situation, here are some of the things you may expect based on my personal experience:
The showers in the Riviera tower studios are large! I don’t remember them having grab bars; however, they have built-in shower seats and sprayers that detach from the wall, making showering much nicer for those with mobility issues. The room is much smaller, so be aware of this if you have a scooter or wheelchair that needs to fit in the room with you. My scooter folds up, so this has never really been a problem for me. The doorway to the bathroom was an adequate size to fit a walker.
Grand Floridian Villas
We had the privilege of staying at The Grand Floridian Villas this past July at only one month out! We were not able to get a room with disability accommodations but were able to get a regular studio. There were no grab bars around the toilets or showers. However, we were able to request a shower chair the Mousekeeping staff brought to us. I feel the size of these studios was a bit larger than other studios I’ve stayed in, allowing me enough room to keep my walker next to my bed, where I slept closest to the restroom.
I’ve stayed in both one-bedroom and studio villas at the BoardWalk. The studios do not have grab bars in the showers or by the toilets. As a matter of fact, the showers have pretty much nothing to grab onto, making showering dangerous for those with balance and mobility issues. The bed closest to the bathroom is very close to the wall, so if you sleep closest to the bathroom, you will not have room for a wheelchair or walker. I have also stayed in a one-bedroom with family, and they are very spacious with two bathrooms (but only one toilet). One has a walk-in shower, and the other has a tub. Other than the shower being walk-in, I don’t remember anything special about it that might help people with mobility or balance issues safely shower. We are on a waiting list to get a one-bedroom villa that has disability accommodations for this October. I’ll be sure to update you with my experience should that request come through!
Jambo House – Animal Kingdom Lodge
My husband and I were able to get a studio at Animal Kingdom Lodge that had disability accommodations for people with mobility issues. This room had many features that made my stay much easier than most of my stays with DVC. This room included grab bars next to the toilet along with a high toilet seat, grab bars in the shower/tub combo, a spacious bathroom, and a vanity large enough to fit wheelchairs and other mobility devices. There was also a button inside of the room that opens the door for you in case you were using a wheelchair or scooter. From the outside, the door opens for you when you scan your magic band or room key.
Kidani Village – Animal Kingdom Lodge
Kidani boasts one of the only one-bedroom villas that has two full bathrooms. Staying in this one-bedroom villa was one of the easier stays for me because of the enormous master bath with a walk-in shower with a detachable shower head and built-in shower seat. The villa, overall, is extremely large, so I do not think anyone should be nervous about fitting a scooter, wheelchair, or walker and getting around comfortably. This villa has been one of my favorites.
We have stayed in a Polynesian studio twice as of spring break. These newly renovated studios have two bathrooms, one with a toilet and one without. There are times, although I am disabled, I do not feel like I need to book a room with disability accommodations, and I feel like this is one of them. The studios at the Poly are spacious, and the two-bathroom setup helps me tremendously. The bathroom closest to the room has a large walk-in shower with a detachable showerhead and a built-in shower seat. Then there is plenty of room to fit a wheelchair, if needed, in the bathroom next to it, closest to the door. I think the size of these villas provides ample space for wheelchairs and scooters.
Art of Animation
Let’s admit it! Sometimes after spending all of our points, the urge to go back to Disney is so great we whip out our wallets and pay cash. Am I right? Or we simply need to extend our stay for some particular reason, so we pay cash to add a night at a non-DVC resort. If that is your plan and you have a mobility issue, do not book Art of Animation without requesting disability accommodations. The toilets in the Little Mermaid suite are the lowest toilets I’ve ever seen! And on top of that, there are no grab bars to help. This may be for the purpose of accommodating children since this resort is a favorite for parents with small kids. However, if you have a mobility issue, avoid at all costs!
All Star Resorts
Our last stay at an All-Star resort was a pleasant one. We needed to add a night at the beginning of a trip. We requested a handicapped room, and there were grab bars by the toilet and a walk-in shower with grab bars as well. There was a large sliding door wide enough for wheelchair access; however, the sliding door was incredibly heavy and difficult to move. The room was spacious and was plenty large enough to fit mobility devices.
Until recently, I have shied away from swimming pools. Within the last couple of years, however, I have found it necessary to work in some pool time for the purposes of relaxation and heat management! The DVC Resorts, which I am certain have zero entry pools, include Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Riviera. I really enjoyed using the pool at Animal Kingdom Lodge because one side of the zero-entry section is against a wall that I could hold to keep my balance. It was very helpful for me. However, getting a poolside chair near the zero entry is not guaranteed. This is something I believe DVC Resorts could fix to make pool time more accessible for their guests with mobility challenges. Whenever I use the pools, my husband has to help me to the zero entry and into the water.
Miss an earlier part of our DVC With Disabilities series? Check it out here:
3 thoughts on “DVC With Disabilities: Disney Resorts”
I agree that the Polynesian and Animal Kingdom lodges work without requesting an accessible room. I have found that most Disney resorts (non DVC included) do have toilet risers that they can bring to your room. Disney is very accommodating with special needs. However, Aulani is another story. They have accessible rooms(limited), but do not have a companion bathroom anywhere on sight, which was a problem after we checked out and waited for our ride to the airport. One cast member was willing to let us use the cast member bathroom, but when needed, we could not locate her and other cast members said, “sorry.”
The Disney Boardwalk Resort is my home resort. I travel solo in a wheelchair and I alway get the wheelchair-accessible Standard Studio. It does have handrails on the walls next to the toilet and inside the shower. The shower has a flat entrance and is called a transfer shower because it is 36″ square instead of the longer roll-in showers. My room was #1047. Which studio room number were you reporting on, latisha82akers?
I have some back issues and have a scooter while at Disney. I can usually manage without most of the disability accommodations so I have rarely had a room tagged as “accessible”. I do have an odd problem the last few years at both the All Star Resorts and Pop Century, the only two resorts I have stayed in. That issue is how high off the ground the beds are. I can hardly crawl up into the bed. When I sit on the side of the bed, I swear there is a foot between my feet and the floor. I’m exaggerating I know, but it has become an issue that I’m not sure how to address. Are the beds in accessible rooms lower to the floor? I may need to go that route because each trip it seems I have more difficulties with the height of the beds. Thanks for any help. Ella
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