Jim's Wheelchair Traveler Tips & Information
I've been fortunate to have traveled to many corners of the globe. Although planning comes to me fairly easily, traveling in a wheelchair necessitates becoming an even better planner. Experience has taught me many lessons. I've been to hotels where the wheelchair could not fit through doors or into an elevator, and visited too many restaurants without an accessible restroom. While traveling, I've had wheels, axles, the wheelchair frame and footrests break or fall off. And getting into a taxi or renting a car was far easier 30 years ago when vehicles were considerably larger.
With today's car rentals being more compact, it is much more difficult to fold up my wheelchair and throw it in the backseat. Although Hertz and Avis have specialty reservation desks for wheelchair accessible vehicles, neither provides vehicles that easily accommodate independent wheelchair travelers and both are incredibly unreliable.
Today I plan my hotel and restaurant reservations with great care, calling and emailing and following up well in advance. It is now possible to arrange almost everything including taxis and van rentals across the globe in advance. Every location can be put on speed dial before departure. It's also nice to know the location of the local wheelchair repair shop and have access to medical supplies when and where needed. We have attempted our best to provide you with some helpful hints throughout our website including some local contacts below that you might find helpful.
Orlando International Airport
1 Jeff Fuqua Blvd., Orlando, FL 32827
(407) 825- 2001
UCF Rosen College Student Accessibility Comments:
Orlando International Airport is fully accessible within itself; all gates and terminals are accessible through ramp, wide walkways and elevators. All bathrooms have a minimum of one wheelchair accessible stall and the bathrooms are located conveniently through the terminals. Access to the public transportation is clearly marked and simple to navigate. For those Disney Resort Guests utilizing Disney's Magical Express, there is a luggage tag that they can print prior to the flight that identifies their bags to be collected by Disney cast members and transported to the hotel without the guests having to go through the baggage claim process.
There are multiple shuttle and taxi services, all with individual contact information. These include Mears, Disney's Magical Express and Diamond Cab Co. Mears features both roll-in and power lift options, and must be arranged prior or wait times vary (See Transportation Tab - Mears). Disney's Magical Express has accessible vans that have power lifts as well as ramps. Diamond Cab Co. features power lifts and ramps as well. Access to the public transportation options are fully accessible from the plane through the gate all the way through baggage claim and the curbside pickup via ramps and elevators.
Most flight information will require calling 2 weeks in advance. Taxi services such as Mears and Diamond Cab Co. are subject to availability and will need to be called at least 3 days in advance. Disney's Magical Express will provide wheelchair accessible shuttles as long as you've indicated a necessity within your Disney Resort Reservation.
Estimated Fares: Varies by service, Disney's Magical Express Complimentary with Resort stay. Taxi services average $66 to Disney and $55 to Universal.
Booking your Hotel Room
Booking a hotel room online is convenient, but more often than not it results in arriving to the hotel only to find out they did not properly reserve an accessible room, or even worse - they have no accessible rooms in the hotel. Before booking a hotel room, we recommend reviewing our extensive list of certified Orlando hotels plus a directory of wheelchair accessible hotels in and around Orlando. When booking a hotel room, WCJ highly recommends the following:
- Call the hotel directly and "block" your wheelchair accessible room for the desired dates of travel.
- Have the hotel email or fax you a confirmation, noting the accessible room and bring this with you at check-in.
- Call the hotel directly 24-48 hours in advance of your arrival to re-confirm your wheelchair accessible room.
When calling the nationwide reservations call center for many hotel chains, they do not have the ability to "block" wheelchair accessible rooms with individual hotel properties. We recommend you call the hotel directly, and speak to the front desk to properly reserve and block your accessible guest room.
Wheelchair Accessible Airport Transfers
Many of the Orlando hotels and resorts provide wheelchair accessible shuttle services from the airport. Some resorts provide this airport transfer service at no charge while others charge a small fee. You should ask when you call for your reservation. Also check out our Transportation tab which provides additional accessible transportation options.
Pack You Airlines Bags Carefully
Wheelchair passengers are always last to exit the plane, sometimes 30 minutes or more after all other passengers have departed. Since I'm generally the last person to the luggage carousel, I'm always concerned someone will steal my bags (yes, this has happened). As a result, I always pack a special carry on bag with anything I might need for 2 days if my luggage is lost or stolen. This includes critical medical supplies and medications, an extra seat cushion cover, lightweight wheelchair repair tools, handy wipes and plastic bags.
I always bring large black plastic bags to collect my detachable wheelchair parts at the end of the jet way. These should be placed in the over head luggage rack, not in the cargo area.
You should also know that the Air Carrier Access Act mandates that fold up wheelchairs have priority for on-board storage if a closet is available. Keep your wheelchair on-board if possible. Demand your rights!
Medical Supplies, Wheelchairs, Scooters Rentals & Repairs
Sometimes things go wrong. Items get lost or broken, wheelchairs lose a screw or fall apart, or you just need something that you forgot to pack along for the trip. Not to worry, the Orlando area has some great medical supply and wheelchair repair companies ready to give you a hand. Orlando also has several scooter rental companies.
Buena Vista Scooter Rentals
(Scooter and Wheelchair Rentals)
6314 Kingspointe Pkwy. #2
Orlando, FL. 32819
Visit Website< CARE Medical Equipment
(Medical Equipment Rental)
102 Drennen Rd. B-1
Orlando, Florida 32806
Orlando Medical Rentals
(Medical Equipment Rental)
780 N. Central Avenue
Kissimmee, FL 34741
Colonial Medical Supplies
915 S. Orange Ave.
Orlando, FL 32806
Florida Home Health Equipment & Supplies
4700 L.B. McLeod Road Suite 5
Orlando, FL 32811