Disability-Friendly Vacations

May 06,2016

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Paige MadorShare This PostIcon

With summer just around the corner, now is the time for everyone to be planning their vacations and fun day trips!  When a family member has a developmental or physical disability, it can often add stress and uncertainty to this usually fun and exciting time.  There may be extra planning involved – is the hotel room accessible?  Will the amusement park be too over stimulating for someone with autism?  How will I roll my wheelchair at the beach?  The good news is, many destinations, travel agencies, and attractions have listened to the concerns of the disability community and have made many adaptations to create a more inclusive environment.  This week, we’d like to share with you some awesome travel destinations and other resources for people with all different types of disabilities.

  1. Autism on the Seas – This organization works with cruise lines like Royal Caribbean to accommodate children and adults with special needs.  Although the focus originated from the needs of people with autism, they work with individuals with a variety of disabilities.  The organization provides trained staff to various cruise lines to work with travelers and assist them with accessing all the amenities of the ship, as well as excursions.  They also have a financial assistance program!  Click here to view an awesome informational video.
  2. National Ability Center – These programs are for the adventurous at heart!  The National Ability Center in Park City, Utah is an incredible adaptive recreation program that offers activities like kayaking, skiing, horseback riding, rock climbing, and much more for people with physical and developmental disabilities.  This organization is the holy grail of adaptive sports equipment, providing opportunities for people with spinal cord injuries, amputations, intellectual disabilities, blindness, and beyond.  Their employees are highly trained professionals, many of whom have disabilities themselves.  Families are also encouraged to participate, creating a more inclusionary environment.  The program is proud to be able to keep its program fees quite low, and scholarships are also available.  Click here to visit their Facebook page.
  3. Disney World – The most magical place on Earth has an excellent reputation for accommodating guests with disabilities.  They’ve even developed a Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder which includes detailed information about what to expect on each ride at the park, such as loud noises, flashing lights, water, darkness, or bumps.  Break areas, companion restrooms, wheelchair rentals, and more are also available.
  4. Trips Inc. – This organization has been providing all-inclusive vacation packages for adults with cognitive and intellectual disabilities for almost 25 years.  Trips include New York City, Alaska, Yellowstone National Park, Hawaii, Iceland, Las Vegas and more.  Their certifications as a professional travel company, reasonable prices, and exceptional accommodations have won the praise of many individuals with disabilities.  Click here to read testimonials from travelers and their families and also be sure to check out their informational video about their program and the dignity of risk.
  5. Smugglers’ Notch – Located in Cambridge, Vermont, this family-friendly resort offers activities for every season.  The summer season boasts pools, waterslides, camps, and more.  The best part?  An adaptive recreation program with activities like horseback riding, hiking, and swimming that excels at inclusion.  Adaptive skiing is available in the winter seasons as well.  Click here for more information.

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