Orlando is a sprawling land of crisscrossing highways (often under construction) and toll roads. Renting a car is smart if you want to make side trips beyond the parks. If you stay at a theme park hotel you’ll get free parking. If not, expect to pay at least $15 per day.
On the other hand, if you plan to visit, say, only the Disney parks, then taking a taxi, shuttle or ride-sharing service to your hotel will work just fine. Once you’re there, you’ll find that the major hotels and big-ticket parks run shuttles to and from the theme parks. Plan for patience: Shuttles aren’t known for efficiency.
The ADA-compliant LYNX bus system covers 76 local routes across the City of Orlando and Orange, Seminole, Osceola and portions of Polk and Lake counties. A single ride costs $2, and it includes one transfer. Those 65-plus get 50 percent off.
If you choose to visit downtown Orlando, LYMMO is one free way to get around. The buses pick up every 5 to 20 minutes from prime downtown spots such as Lake Eola and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts every day.
It’s not hard to find taxis at the airports and hotels. Elsewhere, however, you’ll need to call ahead for one. Options include Diamond Cab Company and Mears Transportation, which both have wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
Lyft and Uber are available throughout the city, 24/7. Orlando has also started to use passenger loading zones throughout the downtown area, making it easier to catch a ride and improving pick-up convenience.
If you are staying in the International Drive area, the I-Ride Trolley Service, which covers several miles of prime touristy area, is a solid option for $2 (25 cents for those 65 and up). Hop on in search of retail therapy, restaurants and attractions. It has a wheelchair lift system.
The number one thing to remember: Traipsing around the parks can be tough on your feet, even though the terrain is flat. Plus, the wait time for attractions can sometimes be upward of an hour. If you have trouble walking for long stretches or standing in line, all parks offer wheelchair and motorized scooter rentals on a first-come, first-served basis. During crowded times, however, they can run out. The rides available to wheelchair using visitors vary by park.
Each park also has a program to help those who are unable to stand in line. Walt Disney World’s Disability Access Service allows guests to schedule a time at a specific attraction to avoid lines. Set this up at the park’s Guest Relations lobby. Stop by Guest Services at any Universal Orlando Resort park to get an Attraction Assistance Pass for a similar service. SeaWorld offers a Ride Accessibility Program, which allows the guest requiring assistance and up to five others in the party to take part in the Special Access program.
Shows offer special seating for those in wheelchairs. Assistive-listening devices, Braille scripts and sign language interpreters are available, too. Many attractions are accessible, but some require you to transfer out of your wheelchair. Furthermore, park buses, monorails and most boats are all wheelchair accessible.