Top 10 Amusement Parks for Kids with Disabilities
by Trine Roald on April 8
We all need a holiday. But we know it can be frustrating – finding out if a resort has proper access for those with limited mobility; wondering whether an attraction will be receptive to guests with special needs.
Here’s our run-down of theme parks, all picked by our teams as being well-suited for all children, regardless of age and mobility – and with an appropriately welcoming attitude to kids with disabilities and their families.
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark
This classic old faire started in the mid-19th century, and some of that nostalgic magic remains. But of course, the Tivoli has also been modernized and caters well for kids with different needs. You can try the many rides, have lunch or dinner – and if you’re not in the mood for adrenalin, the gardens are beautifully tended. All entrances to Tivoli are open to wheelchair users and guests with limited mobility, and those who use electric wheelchairs can recharge the batteries on-site.
Legoland Billund, Billund, Denmark
This is the original Legoland, and in the spirit of the visionary toy bricks that were its origins, this fabulous park has a forward-looking approach to those with different abilities. The park has free parking for wheelchair users and paved roads and paths, and ’Show consideration’ cards enable guests with disabilities to go on many rides. There are some attractions unavailable for safety reasons.
Disneyland Paris, France
Disneyland Paris was the second Disneyland theme park to open outside the US and was launched in 1992. With all the Disney-themed rides and attractions it’s a must for fans of the films, and it offers several services so as to help guests with disabilities or special needs enjoy every magical Disney moment. All toilets, restaurants, and shops are wheelchair accessible. It’s possible to rent wheelchairs and request a minibus.
Europa-Park, Rust, Germany
The biggest theme park in Germany, Europa-Park is in the southwest of the country, and as befits the market leader, it has made as many attractions and shows as possible available to visitors with disabilities.
Wheelchair users and visually-impaired visitors are entitled to free entry to Europa-Park on presentation of a disability ID (showing the code 'B'). Disabled visitors will need to be accompanied, but these guests get a reduced entry price. Rust has rental wheelchairs that are available at the entrance and most attractions – and all trains – have wheelchair access, including the EP Express, which whisks guests around the huge site.
Tusenfryd, Oslo, Norway
About 20 km south of Oslo in Vinterbro, this amusement park is set up to welcome visitors with disabilities and a guide to the 31 attractions available shows each level of difficulty, so it’s easy to find out whether each one will suit your kids. The park itself is easy to navigate in a wheelchair.
PortAventura, Salou, Spain
This resort is on the Costa Daurada in Spain, near Tarragona, and is the most visited theme park in Spain and the sixth most visited theme park in Europe. It gets the thumbs up from many families, and here you’ll find rides suitable for everyone in the family and all abilities. At PortAventura you can rent wheelchairs and the park’s six theme areas have been adapted over the years so that guests with disabilities can enjoy themselves as much as everyone else.
Liseberg Nöjespark, Gothenburg, Sweden
This park is one of the most visited amusement parks in Scandinavia, noted for its wooden roller coaster Balder. It’s been a long ambition of Liseberg Nöjespark to make the amusement park and its activities accessible to everyone, including special parking and free access for carers, as well as a limited number of available wheelchairs (it’s advisable to pre-book if you want one of these).
Alton Towers, Alton, United Kingdom
Perhaps the most famous theme park in the UK, Alton Towers Resort has a water park and hotel complex as well as a good selection of rides. Accessibility has become very important to the park, and all facilities are accessible to as many guests as possible.
If you want to get a free carer ticket (and a second carer at half price) remember to bring documentation such as a letter from a GP or consultant (dated within the last six months). Ride Access Passes are offered to guests who struggle to stand for long periods of time because of physical or learning impairment.
Paultons Park, Romsey, United Kingdom
Close to the pretty New Forest area of southern England, Paultons Park has several thrilling rides and a specialty franchise with the character Peppa Pig. The park welcome visits from guests with disabilities and those in wheelchairs are admitted free, while the majority of the rides, including Peppa Pig World, are fully accessible to disabled guests while the Rio Grande Train and The Victorian Carousel have special carriage accessible to wheelchair users. Special car parking and accessible admission booths complete the welcoming atmosphere.