A Japan accessible travel FAQ about lines, cast questions, Disability Services & more at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea
Whether you walk through a Disney park on two legs or use a wheelchair, the magic of Disney can shine brightly for any and every guest. I have visited Disneyland in Anaheim, California; Disney World in Orlando, Florida; and Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea in Japan. Not only that, I have enjoyed each park as an above-the-knee amputee.
I use a prosthetic leg and a trekking pole to augment my day-to-day mobility. I handle the scale of a Disney park best by renting and using a wheelchair from Disney’s Disability Services. That way I preserve my walking energy and put it to use where it matters most: Enjoying the park and its many attractions!
We’ll also share the useful phrases I saved in Japanese. These phrases helped me quickly and effectively talk with cast members about lines and attractions.
An on-the-ground guide to navigating and enjoying Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea with mobility impairments
In 2023, our family of four visited Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea in Japan. These amazing parks enthralled us. However, when you visit Tokyo Disney with a disability or mobility impairment, it helps to be aware of a few things.
Join us in our Tokyo Disney FAQ as we answer frequently asked questions about:
- Using a wheelchair
- Navigating Japan’s Disney theme parks
- Ensuring a memorable visit while saving your energy for the attractions
Traveling with a mobility impairment can be challenging. However, these on-the-ground tips can help you have a magical experience at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.
Using a wheelchair at Tokyo Disney Resort (TDR)
What is it like using a wheelchair at Tokyo Disney Resort?
Japanese wheelchairs might be smaller and narrower than American wheelchairs. This Rental Wheelchairs table on the guest services page shows the size and weight limits for different chairs, such as for kids, adults, and larger individuals..
For example, the total load capacity of a basic adult wheelchair is 100 kg, or 220 lbs. Disability Services staff can help you find the best fit.
Getting around the park varies. Sometimes in crowds, people might not notice the wheelchair, and we could usually make ourselves noticed by calling out, “sumimasen,” or “excuse me.” Usually, people were good about noticing the wheelchair and giving us space to navigate. Ramps and inclines helped us get around pretty easily. Sometimes lines had tight turns that were tricky to navigate.
How can I rent a wheelchair?
Guests can rent strollers and wheelchairs from the same area of the parks. Rentals at DisneySea are near the entrance’s large globe on the left. Just inside the main entrance of Tokyo Disneyland, go right toward the back corner, for the TDL rentals area.
How do cast members/guest services treat you in line at attractions?
Cast members are overall respectful and helpful. However, they also want to be very comprehensive in checking your ability and explaining emergency procedures. It could take a long time and we might end up further back in line.
I could explain that I had been on the attraction before and understood its procedures. Then we could go on our way.
A tricky part of using a wheelchair is that I don’t need it all the time. Sometimes I preferred to walk, such as when an attraction had a short line. It could be challenging to get cast to understand that I didn’t have to use the chair and was okay walking.
Navigating Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea
How could a visitor with mobility impairments prioritize attractions?
How you prioritize attractions comes down to the attraction, your level of ability, and what you feel you can navigate. With so many attractions at Tokyo Disney, we approach attractions likes this:
- Which attractions matter most to us? We’ll prioritize those earlier in the day.
- How long are the wait times? Wait times change throughout the day. We prioritize shorter waits and assess longer waits to make sure we feel the wait will be worthwhile.
- What is the accessibility of the line and attraction? This varies. Discuss it with cast members to understand the overall wait, or how to transfer from a wheelchair to the attraction’s seating.
In our experience, Tokyo Disney has moved away from offering return times. (Instead of waiting in line, cast members might assign a time for you to return to take your turn on an attraction.) We typically waited in lines, or occasionally there were attractions that had a separate waiting area. This is going to vary by attraction, circumstances, and cast member. Ask what your options are, including setting a return time.
How do cast members talk with guests who use wheelchairs?
We found cast members to be courteous. Along with having a positive Disney experience, cast members want wheelchair users to understand the attraction, transfer methods, and emergency procedures. (See our guide to phrases below!)
What are some tips for navigating lines while using a wheelchair?
Line experiences vary a lot. Thunder Mountain’s extended line simply went down the middle of the street, with cast or posts to direct where to turn. Aquatopia and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea had inclines we needed to push my chair up or down. Lines for attractions such as Haunted Mansion and Monsters Inc. had an occasional tight turn that was tricky to navigate.
Slopes are a key consideration. From a distance, we could often determine what the terrain would be like. Cast members at the entrance helped us understand the line better..
Sometimes when we encountered a short line, we stashed the wheelchair, and I walked. This often meant less back and forth with cast members as well, since I was walking the line like many other guests.
What if you don’t need a wheelchair all the time?
In our experience, cast members sometimes seemed confused when I left the wheelchair. Maybe they assumed that someone using a wheelchair always needed one for their mobility.
Cast sometimes had a hard time when I would stand up from my chair. While I would explain that I was fine walking, it could be challenging, and wearing, to assert it being okay to leave the wheelchair.
If cast members see you getting out of your wheelchair, they might ask you to get back into it. You can assert that you are okay walking. Sometimes it feels hard to explain that disability is a spectrum, and needing a chair doesn’t mean needing it the entire time. A language barrier can make things tricky. If getting around outside of your chair is within your mobility and comfort level, it’s okay to do so. Cast members can work with you on navigating the line or transferring to the attraction itself.
I don’t know Japanese! How can I communicate when there’s a language barrier?
Spoiler alert: We don’t know Japanese either. In our experience, most cast members spoke at least some level of English. While a language barrier can make it harder to communicate about disability, translation apps such as Google Translate are a big help. So is a little prep on your end.
Cast members work with guests from different countries and cultures. Each cast member we encountered had translation apps and devices that they could use to communicate. This can help communication be clearer. Communication on the app takes time and effort to ensure accurate understanding.
I used Google Translate to type in English what I was trying to communicate. Then I showed the cast member the Japanese translation on my phone.
What are some helpful phrases to translate into Japanese and save in your translation app?
Google Translate allows you to save phrases for quick access. Here are the English phrases and Japanese translations that I found useful:
- I have been on this ride before and understand the emergency evacuation: 私は以前にこの乗り物に乗ったことがあり、緊急避難を理解しています
- I just cannot walk or stand for a long time: 長時間歩くことも立っていることもできない
- I can transfer to the ride: 乗り物に乗り換えます
- I can walk to get on the ride: 私は乗り物に乗るために歩くことができます
- Can I take the wheelchair through the line? 車いすで列を通過できますか
Being prepared with translations made for a smoother and faster experience working with cast. Plus, helping cast members understand that I knew the emergency procedures prevented us from waiting, sometimes for minutes on end, while a cast member flipped through page after page in a procedures manual.
Are there any other facilities available for wheelchair users?
Tokyo Disney parks have larger restrooms available for people who use wheelchairs.
During shows, cast set up roped-off areas with wheelchairs symbols. These designated sections give wheelchair users a clear view of the event.
You can enjoy Tokyo Disney while using a wheelchair
Whether you use a wheelchair often or just under certain circumstances, Tokyo Disney wants you to have an amazing time, just like any other guest. Wheelchairs are affordable to rent. Translation apps can help you navigate language barriers. When using a wheelchair at Tokyo Disney, you can get around well, enjoy the attractions, and have the memorable Disney day that you deserve.