During our Spring Break vacation to Orlando this year, we had the chance to visit SeaWorld. Full disclosure: I was already a huge SeaWorld fan. This was the first trip we have made to SeaWorld though since my son became completely dependent on his wheelchair. I was curious how this would affect our experience. I am happy to say, it really didn’t!
I was impressed when doing my initial research on how well the SeaWorld website informs visitors about accessibility issues. Out of all the destinations we have visited with my son, I think that this was the most helpful, well designed accessibility guide we have come across. It is simple, yet detailed enough to even map out where service animals may break.
SeaWorld has done a wonderful job of mapping out the show stadiums for wheelchair users and their companions. The stadiums have plenty of accessible seating. There is seating for one companion next to a chair user and additional family can use the bench seats right in front. We made sure to arrive at all the shows a bit early and leave right as we knew it was ending to avoid the huge rush of people funneling out of these areas.
My son is not able to ride roller coasters due to his physical conditions, but my oldest and I rode them all while he was at a show with Dad. I cannot imagine even trying to get him on one of these rides! The seating would necessitate someone transferring him into the bucket seats. The coasters at Sea World ranked among our Orlando favorites but are very jerky and I would not have felt comfortable with our chair user riding even if it was allowed.
My son honestly had no issues accessing anything he wanted while here. The exhibits are designed well for visibility of all heights; ramps are plentiful and built into the environment for the most part. It was easy to feed the dolphins, pet the sting rays and Inside the World of Manta was amazing!
One bit of advice would be to get there early. We arrived around noon and the accessible parking was just about full. But that goes for any Orlando theme park!
Next up on our SeaWorld fan agenda will absolutely be to experience the Dolphin Encounter! For now, we will have to drool over our friend, Karin’s visit.