America's Most Accessible Amusement Parks By Cory Lee

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on August 18, 2015 # Travel

After being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of two, Cory Lee's thirst for adventure never ceased. He went on many trips around the US when he was younger, and then started taking things internationally when he turned fifteen. Since then, Cory has traveled to fourteen countries, all while managing to successfully graduate college and start up his travel blog, where he shares his accessible, and sometimes not so accessible, travel adventures with others. Cory has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, New Mobility Magazine, Lonely Planet, and many others. He hopes to inspire other wheelchair users to roll out of their comfort zone and see all of the beauty that the world has to offer.

Theme parks and amusement parks are extremely popular and this is especially true during the summer months. However, you might be wondering if these parks are only made for people without special needs. If you or anyone in your family has special needs or disabilities, would it be possible to enjoy what these parks have to offer? Well, this is possible because some amusement parks are more wheelchair friendly than others. The following is a list of some of the most popular amusement parks in the United States where you'll have fun whether you are in a wheelchair or not

5. Six Flags

Six Flags is one of the most popular names as far as theme parks and amusement parks are concerned. As a matter of fact, Six Flags currently operates eighteen water parks and amusement parks all across the Northern American region. Each location offers Equal Access Passes, something that allows extra boarding time as well as alternate entrance access. This is also something that allows guests to wait anywhere else in the park instead of having to wait in line for hours in the beaming sun. They'll simply tell you what time to return and when you come back, you'll go straight to the front of the line. These passes are offered to mobility-impaired guests plus up to three companions. Six Flags has many roller coasters and other rides that you won't be able to remain in your wheelchair for, but there are also shows and other attractions if you can't transfer into a ride.

4. Cedar Fair Parks

Another popular name in terms of wheelchair friendly theme parks is Cedar Fair Parks. In fact, you can find these parks in eleven different locations such as Cedar Point, OH, Carowinds, NC and many others. The Cedar Fair Entertainment Company offers close to a dozen parks which are known to be at least somewhat wheelchair accessible. These parks offer Ride Boarding Passes to guests with restricted mobility. With the aid of these passes, guests with disabilities are given the opportunity to skip the line during their designated ride time. Cedar Fair Parks also offers Alternate Access Entrances to mobility-impaired guests on many rides.

3. Sesame Place – Langhorne, Pennsylvania

Of the many theme parks and amusement parks in the U.S., Sesame Place happens to be one that produces and makes use of an Accessibility Guide which includes information regarding the different rides, shows and exhibits offered in the park. It also offers assistance to guests with hearing impairments. Guests with disabilities can also wait at the Abby's Magic Queue, allowing them to enjoy other activities as they “wait” in line. After which, they can then return to whatever attraction they wish to experience at the determined waiting time. Here, one can enjoy a myriad of attractions which include water rides, parades, shows, other kinds of rides, or meet one of the characters of Sesame Street.

2. Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari – Santa Claus, Indiana

Holiday World has been awarded as the cleanest and friendliest theme park in the whole wide world. Taking the time to enter this park gives you the opportunity to enjoy theaters, shops, and restaurants with wheelchair accessibility services. It also offers Ride Guides, which highlight all the accessible rides in the park. This park also comes with a partnership with Easter Seals that offers a discounted “Play Day” which is hosted annually to produce and raise money for disabled children. Rides to enjoy here include The Raven, The Voyage, Thunderbird, Wildebeest, The Howler and The Legend.

1. Morgan’s Wonderland – San Antonio, Texas

Morgan’s Wonderland is the very first theme park in the world that offers full accessibility to all guests. Basically, this park was made and developed for the purpose of entertaining children with various disabilities. In fact, this park also offers free admission to children with disabilities and special needs. Here, one can simply navigate from the park to the playgrounds with the aid of a wheelchair and not have to worry about if a particular ride is going to be accessible. Things to see and enjoy here include Walk and Roll Park, Sanctuary Garden and Memorial Wall, Sand Circle, Music Garden and more.

Visit any of these theme parks and always remember the number one rule of all theme parks: Have Fun!

- Cory Lee,

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.