U.S. Accessibility Guide: Entertainment Venues & Attractions
Accessible entertainment from theme parks to theaters
From exciting entertainment to thrilling theme parks, travelers of all abilities will find plenty of ways to enjoy the USA’s top attractions. Whether you’re heading to New York City for a musical or spending a day at a theme park, travelers with accessibility needs can plan a trip with the peace of mind that they can participate and experience these attractions
While most theaters and theme parks across the USA provide reasonable accommodations for guests with a range of abilities, it is important to confirm details with the individual establishments before traveling. With varying requirements and pre-registration needed for certain accessibility options, it is important to call ahead before purchasing tickets and making travel arrangements.
Accessible Travel Options for Theme Parks
From wheelchair services to in-depth guides, the USA’s theme parks are dedicated to providing an inclusive experience for all guests regardless of their ability.
Disney properties including Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort are devoted to all guests feeling the magic from the moment they enter one of their parks. For guests with mobility issues, Disney parks provide wheelchairs and Electric Conveyance Vehicles (ECV). While most rides do require you to transfer from your wheelchair/ECV to the ride, assistance will be provided for those in need. Companion restroom facilities can be found throughout the parks, providing more spacious facilities to accommodate wheelchairs/ECVs and strollers. Parking for guests with disabilities can be found through all of Disney resort parks; however, please note a valid disability parking permit is required. For guests unable to wait in the conventional ride queues, Disney provides the Disability Access Service (DAS) offering alternatives for ride waits. Pre-registration is required, and a cast member will talk you through the process.
At Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando Resort, guests of all abilities will discover a firm commitment to accessibility throughout their facilities. Most of the rides, shows, attractions and escalators can accommodate wheelchairs and guests with other disabilities, and specific entrances are provided for ease of access to the parks. Assistive listening devices are offered for guests with hearing impairments free of charge and can be acquired at the Guest Relations desk. For guests with severe hearing impairments, sign language interpreting services are available with one-week advance notice. Service dogs are allowed in all restaurant and merchandise facilities, as well as attraction queues, but call ahead to confirm before arrival.
With multiple theme parks across the USA, Six Flags provides an Attraction Access Program for guests in the ability community. Wheelchair rentals are available for a standard fee, while trained service animals are welcome within the park, though some restrictions are enforced. Guests with disabilities visiting any of the Six Flags theme parks must register for an IBCCES Individual Accessibility Card to gain access to the accessibility program and accommodations.
New York City Theater Accessibility
If you’re traveling to New York City and planning a night at the theater, Broadway theaters provide accommodations for wheelchair-accessibility and disabled guests. Options vary from theater to theater, so it is important to call the box office before purchasing a ticket to confirm the accessibility options available. This is especially true for older theaters where options may be limited. Most accessible seating in theaters is in the orchestra near the stage; this is especially helpful to guests who can’t climb stairs for physical reasons. Back-of-the-house seating also provides wheelchair accessibility, allowing for an easy exit from the theater after a performance. Theater patrons who have a service animals will be accommodated depending on seat availability.
Guests with impaired vision can still enjoy a Broadway show thanks to audio description services available at select performances. Some theaters provide guests with a pre-performance touch tour for blind or visually impaired theatergoers so they can familiarize themselves with the set. For the hearing impaired, select performances provide open captioning where text is displayed electronically on the side of the stage. This includes the actor’s dialogue and singing, as well as descriptions of sound effects. Some theaters provide assisted listening devices as an alternative to open-captioned performances. Travelers who see Broadway shows frequently or plan to enjoy multiple performances during their trip should consider a free TDF Accessibility membership. Created by the NYC Theatre Development Fund, travelers who can provide proof of disability can get access to membership perks such as substantial ticket discounts. For more information on a TDF membership, click here.
Similar accommodations are available at theaters in cities across the USA.