When thinking of wheelchair accessible things to do in Orlando, many immediately think of the major wheelchair accessible theme parks, but Orlando has so much more to offer. From nature experiences in the park to walking trails, museums, and even Gatorland, there’s plenty of things to do that are all wheelchair accessible.
For a relaxing time outside, check out Lake Eola Park in the heart of downtown Orlando. There’s a 0.9-mile sidewalk that circles the lake, which is the perfect way to tour the park. The Lake Eola Fountain is a memorial fountain complete with a nightly live choreographed light show that changes seasonally. Other activities in the park include feeding the birds, enjoying the flowers, attending a concert or play in the park, and experiencing the Orlando skyline. There’s an events calendar on the City of Orlando website that highlights the Sunday market as well as any other monthly events.
The park is handicap accessible from the sidewalk surrounding the lake to the Swan Boat Ride, which can accommodate a wheelchair directly on the boat. Boat rentals are $15 for 30 minutes, with a maximum capacity of 5 people per boat. Rentals are available every day from 10 AM to 7 PM, and even later depending on the season.
Another great outdoor experience is the Seminole Wekiva Trail, a 14-mile paved recreation trail. This trail is one of the best in Florida due to its length and the opportunity it provides to experience Florida’s iconic wildlife. The paved trail is primarily asphalt and has a width of 12 to 14 feet.
The trail is handicap accessible for all wheelchairs, manual to motorized. The paved trail provides a relatively even surface for enjoying the surroundings. Other trail amenities include benches and trash receptacles. Trailhead amenities include bathrooms, refreshments, and drinking fountains. Trail rules include staying to the right, being courteous, and communicating with fellow trail users when passing on the left or stopping.
For a unique experience with the greenery Florida offers, visit Harry P Leu Gardens. Located minutes from downtown Orlando, this 50-acre botanical garden features several exhibits designed to inspire visitors to understand and appreciate plants. The Gardens are open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM with a daytime admission of $10. There are several free admission days throughout the year, around once a month through the spring and summer seasons.
The complete grounds of Harry P Leu Gardens are handicap accessible. Complimentary wheelchairs are available at the Welcome Center, but are available on a first come, first serve basis and cannot be reserved. Visits typically last from one to three hours. You are permitted to bring a small bag lunch to be enjoyed on the patio of the Welcome Center, but picnics are not permitted.
To get away from the city and enjoy the beach, check out Daytona Beach, an hour outside of Orlando along the coast. Daytona Beach has plenty to do from a relaxing day in the sand and surf to food vendors, beachside parks, arts, and shopping. This is one of the best wheelchair accessible beaches in Florida.
Daytona Beach is handicap accessible and strives to provide as many accommodations as possible. Handicap vehicles receive free access to the beach, and beach wheelchairs are available on a first come, first serve basis. There are also several beach access ramps to give easy access to the sand. Beach mobility equipment is available to rent, which includes water-safe chairs and electric all-terrain wheelchairs.
Formerly known as The Orlando Eye, ICON Orlando is a 400-foot tall observation wheel that provides one of the highest vantage points of the city. This experience gives you a great bird’s eye view of the city skyline and is a great way to take in the whole city at once. ICON Orlando is in the center of its own entertainment complex with shopping, restaurants, and other attractions including Madame Tussauds and the Aquarium. The best way to get tickets is the advanced purchase option online, which will save you time and allow you to skip the line. General admission is $28 per person and the ride time is around 23 minutes.
ICON Orlando is handicap accessible and can accommodate wheelchairs with a maximum width of 35 inches and a length of 51 inches. All wheeled devices should have the ability to maintain their balance and be powered at a usual walking pace.
The Escape Game Orlando is an opportunity for
you and your friends or family to work together to participate in an interactive story to solve the case or complete the mission and escape the room. Each game or scenario takes about an hour to complete and has different themes or missions. Admission is $36 per person per game and tickets can be purchased online to book your game time.
The Heist Game is the only wholly wheelchair accessible game room currently offered at the Orlando location. In The Heist, you and your team have 60 minutes to solve the mystery of who stole the painting from the art museum. This game allows for 2-8 players and is an 8 out of 10 on the difficulty scale.
One of the biggest attractions in Florida is wildlife, and Gatorland offers the perfect opportunity to experience alligators, crocodiles, and family fun. Gatorland encompasses a gator park, aviary, and petting zoo complete with animal shows. To take the fun to the next level, there’s a zip line and off-road adventure. The park is open from 10 AM to 5 PM daily no matter the weather with tickets ranging from $20 to $40 per person.
Gatorland is handicap accessible and offers an accessible zip line, which is a unique opportunity for those with mobility challenges to experience zip lining available only at this location. This experience uses a hammock style harness to cradle riders.
The Mennello Museum of Art is home to a permanent collection of works by Earl Cunningham. Other exhibitions change from time to time, and the outdoor sculpture garden is always open to the public. There are many events hosted through the months including tours, family fun days, and weekend specials. The museum is closed on Mondays and major holidays with admission ranging from free to $5 per person depending on age.
The Mennello Museum of Art is handicap accessible, starting with the driveway. The circular driveway allows for curbside drop-offs and pickups, with free parking in the adjacent lot. The front has a covered porch with a ramp and stairs to access the main entry. Throughout the Sculpture Garden, there is a paved pathway which is also a great place to observe the lake. Wheelchairs are available upon request and are free of charge.
The Orlando Museum of Art strives to connect visitors with creativity, passion, and new ideas through their exhibits. The museum presents 10 to 12 different exhibits throughout the year, each with a varying significance from the local levelto the global level. The large galleries highlight paintings and smaller sculptures in a bright and intriguing way.
OMA is completely handicap accessible, and wheelchairs are available at no extra charge. There is also free parking and a hearing assistance system on request. Tickets may be purchased online ahead of time or at the door when you arrive. Visits typically last one to two hours depending on which exhibits you’d like to experience.
The Orlando Science Center is a fun, family-friendly experience that provides interactive exhibits as well as larger than life films to explore different experiments and concepts. The Exhibit Hall covers multiple concepts from nature and animal life to basic science concepts, dinosaurs, STEM, and space. The theaters offer a chance to relax and take a break while still enjoying an educational film on a larger than life screen. Films educate viewers about animals, nature, and the world.
OSC is completely handicap accessible and accommodating. In addition to being wheelchair friendly, specific arrangements can be made to accommodate your needs, including a sensory sensitive expedited check-in with advanced notice. Accessible parking is available on all four levels of the parking garage and there are a limited number of free wheelchairs at Guest Services during admission.
The Orlando Ballet offers a unique opportunity to experience professional ballet in a fantastic performance setting. Each ballet season features a variety of shows from modern dance to classic holiday musicals and something for the family. For those brand new to the ballet, there’s a useful guide to ordering tickets and preparing for your first show.
The Dr. Phillips Center is accessible to the entire community and wants everyone to have an opportunity to experience art firsthand. Seating should be chosen based on accessibility when purchasing tickets. Only wheelchairs may stay in the theater and other mobility devices, like walkers, will be moved by an usher to keep the walkways clear. Accessible parking and valet parking is also available.
Getting out to see a soccer game is a great experience, and the Orlando City Stadium offers an excellent opportunity to join fans and see the action. Both the Orlando City Soccer Club and Orlando Pride play at this stadium which gives visitors and residents alike a chance to see men’s and women’s soccer all in one place.
Orlando City strives to make every game accessible to all fans. Wheelchair accessible seating is available by phone or through Ticketmaster, as well as at the box office window on game days. Wheelchair accessible seats are available in several sections throughout the stadium and at the 100 level. Parking is available in Lot A on a first come first serve basis, and a placard or license plate is needed for entry. Wheelchair escorts from the entrance to your seat are available if you ask for assistance.
A prime destination in Orlando, Walt Disney World is billed as the happiest place on Earth and for a good reason. This location allows visitors to join their favorite characters and watch their favorite stories come to life. It’s a great place to feel like a kid again, enjoy the company of family, and make new memories.
Disney offers a variety of accommodations for guests with disabilities. For those with mobility disabilities and those that use a wheelchair, Disney has provided a guide to the parks and rides to make it easier to navigate which rides allow wheelchairs and which require a transfer. Parking and transportation from park-to-park are also wheelchair accessible.
Another awesome opportunity to experience the settings and worlds of your favorite films is at Universal Studios Orlando. Between the resorts and three theme parks, you can enjoy interactive and immersive experiences that feel just like the blockbuster films they were modeled after.
Universal Studios Orlando values every guest and strives to make each attraction and ride handicap accessible, as the rides make up half of the immersive experience. Many rides are transfer friendly, meaning if you can transfer from your wheelchair to the ride, an attendant can assist in this process. There’s only one ride that is electric wheelchair friendly, but many are manual wheelchair friendly. There is a comprehensive guide available on their website for details about ride specifications and ADA compliance.
Many attractions throughout Orlando have wheelchairs to borrow, mostly for free, but if you’re traveling to Orlando you may not want to rely on borrowing a wheelchair at every location.
Consider renting a wheelchair or mobility scooter in Orlando. Scootaround has a retail location in Orlando and can work with you to provide a rental for a wheelchair, whether it’s manual or powered, for your whole stay in Orlando. Renting from Scootaround will ensure that you’ll have the exact device you need no matter where you go. Plus, you won’t have to call ahead or make an extra stop before you get to enjoy your destination.
Cory Lee is a wheelchair user, travel addict, and accessible travel writer. On his blog, Curb Free with Cory Lee, he hopes to inspire others to roll out of their comfort zones and see all the beauty our world has to offer.