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How to Holiday with Assisted Travel Needs in Florida

  • By Christopher da Costa
  • Published 18 May 2022
  • Revised 24 July 2023
How to Holiday with Assisted Travel Needs in Florida
  • By Christopher da Costa
  • Published 18 May 2022
  • Revised 24 July 2023
How to Holiday with Assisted Travel Needs in Florida
  • By Christopher da Costa
  • Published 18 May 2022
  • Revised 24 July 2023
The Sunshine State is a dream holiday destination packed with adventure, and at Ocean Florida, we’re here to make sure no one misses out. Whatever you need to make your trip a reality, we’ve got the goods. From airport assistance to getting around the parks, here’s all the info you need to start planning your accessible holiday today.

Assistance at the airport

To ensure a seamless start to your holiday, we offer a complimentary Meet & Greet Service at your UK airport of departure. Take the stress out of airport processes by allowing an expert to handle everything for you. Three hours before your flight, a friendly concierge member will be waiting for you at the designated meeting spot. From the moment you arrive curbside until boarding, they will be there to assist you every step of the way.

Whether it's guiding you through check-in, helping you breeze through security, or ensuring you reach your boarding gate on time, your airport concierge has got you covered. Should you wish, they can also arrange for your access to an airport lounge or provide recommendations for exploring the airport's shops and restaurants. Rest assured that you'll be in the best hands, leaving you with nothing to worry about but showing up.

We know that not all disabilities are visible. So to make sure your airport experience runs smoothly on the other side, we’d recommend filling out a disability notification card, which you can hand over to customs and immigration on arrival. The security and immigration lines are manned by TSA (Transportation Security Administration) agents, so you only need to show them your card and they’ll know how to help. Your airline will also have a dedicated contact for arranging any special needs at the airport and on your flight. Read on to find out more about how to reach them below.

Adapted vehicle hire

We want to make sure getting out and about in Florida is as straightforward as possible. You can book your adapted vehicle hire via Ocean Florida, so you know you’ll be able to get on the road safely. The Dodge Grand Caravan is a great option – it’s wheelchair accessible, thanks to a remote-powered ramp and a lowered floor. 

Although the UK disability badge, commonly known as the Blue Badge, is not officially recognised in the USA, we can assist you in applying for a disabled parking permit online. As an out-of-country visitor, you can find detailed information on how to apply for this permit here.

With your disabled parking placard in hand, you'll be able to park in designated accessible parking spaces at prominent attractions such as Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando, all conveniently located near the theme park entrances.

Equipment hire

If you're looking to rent mobility equipment in the USA, we offer a variety of mobility electric scooters for hire, complete with insurance coverage. Choose a foldable option, perfect for easy storage in your car boot, or opt for a heavy-duty model if you need extra support and comfort. Wheelchair rentals are also available at the Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando at a cost.

Accessible bicycle travel in Florida

Theme park accessibility

All the movie magic at Walt Disney World Resort is very much still on the cards. You just need to get yourself a DAS (Disability Access Service) card, which covers your whole family if a member of your party has a disability. The best way to do it is to pre-register in advance, so you don’t have to stop at Guest Services on arrival at the parks.

With a DAS card you'll be able to choose return times, so you don't have to wait in line. Since 2021, Disney has made the process even more seamless by integrating the DAS service into the My Disney Experience app, meaning less back and forth between the rides.

As well as using DAS, you can hire wheelchairs and ECVs (Electric Conveyance Vehicles) throughout the parks. Plus, there are dedicated accessible parking spaces, which are about as close as you can get to the main entrance. Universal Orlando Resort™ offers a variety of services for guests who need extra assistance when visiting their parks.

You can get the full lowdown on accessibility in Universal parks online – ranging from info on wheelchairs to cognitive or vision disabilities. Their resort shuttles all feature a wheelchair lift and all attraction queues are accessible to guests using wheelchairs, apart from one – Pteranodon Flyers™ in Universal’s Islands of Adventure™. It’s worth checking out their handy Guide for Rider Safety and Accessibility for a more detailed breakdown of each attraction and ride.

Universal also offer an Attraction Assistance Pass, which works really similarly to Disney’s Disability Access Service (or DAS). So, if you or any of your family have a cognitive or physical disability, you can wait in a different, much shorter queue, like the Universal Express queue, or be given a set time to come back. The only difference between Universal’s offering and Disney’s is that the Attraction Assistance Pass is issued at Guest Relations when you enter the park, so it can’t be done ahead of time.

Accessible theme park holidays in Florida

If you plan to visit SeaWorld Orlando, enlist in their Ride Accessibility Program (RAP). By signing up for RAP, you'll receive a convenient list of accessible rides. When you arrive at your chosen accessible ride, simply approach a friendly team member who will provide you with a designated return time, so you can avoid waiting in line.

For those interested in experiencing the captivating animal shows and encounters at SeaWorld, rest assured that accessible seating is readily available in theatres and exhibits. This ensures that everyone can enjoy these incredible experiences comfortably.

And if you're looking to immerse yourself in the entertaining atmosphere of SeaWorld, don't miss out on the accessible seating in the Soak Zone. This way, you can fully participate in the fun and excitement of the water-themed attractions.

How to request special assistance from us

When it comes to assisted holidays, we’re here to lend a helping hand. At Ocean Florida, our Travel Specialists can help guide you through the booking process. All you need to do is let us know if any of your party needs special assistance. This way, we can make sure to send your flight reference number as soon as possible, so you can get in touch with your airline directly for further special assistance. You can call our friendly customer service team for your flight reference number on 0203 814 2198. If you’re travelling on a group booking, we’ll need to contact the airline on your behalf to arrange any special assistance.

For more info on the special assistance your airline offers, check out the links below:

• Air Canada – www.aircanada.com/en/travelinfo/before/specialneeds.html
• British Airways – www.britishairways.com/en-gb/information/special-assistance
• Delta – www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/support/faqs/preparing-for-your-trip/special-needs-faqs.html
• KLM – www.klm.com/travel/gb_en/prepare_for_travel/travel_planning/physically_challenged/klm_cares.htm
• Thomas Cook – www.thomascook.com/special-assistance
• Virgin – www.virgin-atlantic.com/gb/en/travel-information/special-assistance.html
• United Airlines – www.united.com/web/en-us/content/travel/specialneeds/default.aspx
• US Airways – www.usairways.com/en-US/traveltools/specialneeds/mobility.html

Let us help you plan your accessible holiday to the Sunshine State today.

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