My Visit to an Accessible Theme Park

The words accessibility and amusement park do not usually go together but Morgan’s Wonderland is just that! Morgan’s Wonderland is a theme park in San Antonio, Texas, which provides a fun, clean and beautiful environment free of physical and economic barriers that all individuals can come to and enjoy regardless of age or ability. Every ride has a cart/buggy that accommodates power wheelchairs and the park itself thrives on being sensory friendly.

The Power Wheelchair-Accessible Rides

Coming from the perspective of a disabled adult, I say that Morgan’s Wonderland is geared more towards kids, but I definitely appreciated the concept and wheelchair accessibility. There are no rollercoasters but there are less thrilling rides that many disabled people miss out on. I rode the train, a carousel, the Ferris wheel and the playground swings without needing to be transferred or assisted. I loved being able to roll directly onto the rides. This type of accessibility allowed me to fully participate and enjoy the rides while still maintaining my independence and body autonomy.

Attending Amusement Parks as a Kid

Growing up, a trip to the amusement park meant a day of transfers or being lifted onto rides, while my motorized wheelchair was left behind at the ride gate. I relied on the help of another person to transfer or more likely lift me (because transferring onto rides can be difficult). A person also needed to watch my motorized wheelchair while I was on the ride. Once it became too difficult to lift me onto rides, I had to give up on amusement parks altogether, which means I missed out on numerous outings with friends.

My Favorite Attractions

My favorite attractions were the swings and the adaptive video game room. The swings are adapted so that any wheelchair can swing. I loved the swings because it allowed you to get some air and swing back and forth, unlike other accessible swings that have more of a rocking motion. When I was younger and small enough to be carried, I would spend hours on the playground swings because I loved the feeling of flying.

An accessible theme park like Morgan’s Wonderland creates a space of full inclusion. Disabled and non-disabled kids can play with the minimum of barriers. It’s a place where kids can be kids and become fully emersed in the experience. Non-disabled children who visit the park are given the chance to play with disabled children in a barrier free setting. This teaches children at a young age that the disability is not problem and that societal barriers are the problem.

As a disabled person, I appreciate that a place like Morgan’s Wonderland exists. Still, it should be an example of how other theme parks can be accessible, and not just the exception.

About Isabella Bullock: Isabella, or Izzie for short, is an employment specialist for the Center of Independent Living. She is an iced coffee enthusiast who enjoys getting lost in a good book. Click here to learn more about Isabella.

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