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Disneyland Paris and hypermobility don’t sound like a great combination. After all, there are two parks at Disneyland Paris to explore and it’s 1,942 hectares in size. Visitors commonly report walking thousands of miles throughout their trip to DLP. As hypermobility typically causes joint pain, sprains, dislocations, falls, and tiredness, a trip to Disneyland Paris may sound terrifying.
But it doesn’t have to be. I’ve got hypermobility spectrum disorder (HSD) and have done Disneyland Paris twice since my diagnosis. It wouldn’t have been possible for me to do it without the tips and tricks included in this post though.
So, get comfortable and read on to discover how you can enjoy the Disney magic with hypermobility.
Is Disneyland Paris disability-friendly?
Whether hypermobility is a disability is a somewhat controversial subject. For some people it is, for others it isn’t. For the purpose of this article, if you suffer any debilitating symptoms associated with hypermobility, then you may be considered disabled at DLP.
The good news is that Disneyland Paris is very disability-friendly. Service animals are allowed in the parks, the attractions have dedicated disability entrances, and some of the rides have been adapted for wheelchair users to wheel straight on (It’s a Small World). There are also on-site first aid teams, audio description service, and more!
Can you get cheaper tickets at Disneyland Paris if you have a disability?
Disneyland Paris offers a 25% discount to guests and one carer on-the-gate. Please note, you can’t buy any other tickets at the gate at the moment, so if you’re traveling with others, make sure you buy their tickets online before you travel!
To qualify for a discount for you and a carer at the gate, you’ll need to have the relevant documentation and be eligible for a Priority Card or Easy Access Card. All the information you need about these two Cards is included in the following three sections.
However, buying disabled Disneyland Paris tickets at the gate with the 25% discount isn’t always the cheapest option, as you’ll see from my example below.
If I was traveling on 1st August 2023, as a solo disabled traveler, the price direct from Disney would be:
£130.81 – 25% disability discount = £98.10
But if I booked my ticket through a third-party website, such as Attractiontix (they’re completely legit – I bought my DLP tickets from there when I traveled in May), in advance, the ticket would cost me £79.47.
Attractiontix also regularly offers freebies with their Disneyland Paris tickets, such as 3 months free Disney+ subscription. So, you really are getting a better deal by buying your tickets in advance from a third party.
You may also save money by booking your hotel and tickets directly. Disneyland Paris hotels can be booked to include tickets for every day of your stay and these are usually discounted too.
Does Disneyland Paris have a disability pass?
Yes, Disneyland Paris’s disability pass has two disability passes. The first is known as a ‘Priority Card’ while the second is called the ‘Easy Access Card’. If you qualify for a disability pass at Disneyland Paris you’ll be given one or the other of these cards, not both.
Priority cards are the most common disability cards given out at Disneyland Paris. This card gives you priority access to shows, rides, and parades. They can also be used at selfie spots, restaurants, and shop checkouts.
Although you get priority access, this access isn’t necessarily immediate. For example, when using it on rides you’ll be directed through the premier access or disability line. This is much faster than the standard line. The longest I waited on my recent trip was 15 minutes on the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop while my daughter waited 30 minutes to get on Crush’s Coaster. This isn’t bad considering Crush’s wait time regularly reaches 90 minutes and above!
If you qualify for an Easy Access Card, it’ll be because you have a long-term chronic disease. Again, you don’t get immediate access with this card. Instead, you book a timeslot to turn up and ride.
How do you get a Priority Card at Disneyland Paris?
To qualify for a Disneyland Paris Priority Card you must have one of the following documents:
- Disability Living Allowance
- Attendance Allowance Award
- Personal Independence Payment
- Parking Card for Disabled People
- Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
- National Disability Card ID
- Disabled ID
- Access Card
- Registration Card BD8
- Certificate of Visual Impairment (CVI)
- Disabled Students Allowance
- Scottish Child Disability Payment
I found the easiest way to get a Priority Card for my hypermobility was to apply for an Access Card. These are cards that cost £15 and are valid for 3 years. You can also use them elsewhere.
Up to a month before you arrive at Disneyland Paris, you can apply online on the DLP website for your Priority Card. Then, when you arrive at Disneyland Paris all you need to do is show your Access Card and your photographic ID (passport will do) and they’ll print and give you your Priority Card. The card is then valid for 1 week.
As you need to show the Priority Card at every attraction, it’s best to secure it in a lanyard that you can wear around your neck (the card is credit card sized).
How do you get an Easy Access Card at Disneyland Paris?
You’ll be eligible for an Easy Access Card at Disneyland Paris if you have one of the following medical conditions:
1. Debilitating stroke.
2. Bone marrow aplasia and other chronic types of cytopenia.
3. Chronic arterial disease with ischemic events.
4. Complicated schistosomiasis.
5. Chronic heart failure, chronic heart valve disease, serious heart arrhythmia, chronic congenital heart disease.
6. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis.
7. Severe primary immunodeficiency disorder requiring long-term treatment, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
8. Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
9. Severe neurological and muscular disorders (including myopathy), severe epilepsy.
10. Haemoglobinopathy, chronic constitutional/severe acquired haemolysis,
11. Haemophilia and severe constitutional haemostatic disorders.
13. Coronary artery disease.
14. Acute/chronic respiratory failure.
16. Parkinson’s disease.
17. Inherited metabolic disorders requiring long-term specialized treatment.
18. Cystic fibrosis.
19. Acute/chronic nephropathy and primary nephrotic syndrome.
21. Periarteritis nodosa, acute disseminated lupus erythematosus, progressive systemic sclerosis.
22. Severe progressive rheumatoid arthritis.
23. Long-term psychiatric disorders.
24. Ulcerative colitis and progressive Crohn’s disease.
25. Multiple sclerosis.
26. Progressive structural scoliosis (where the curve is 25 degrees or more) through to spinal maturity.
27. Severe ankylosing spondylitis.
28. Organ transplant disorders.
29. Active tuberculosis.
30. Malignant tumor, lymphoma, or haematopoietic cancer.
Before Disneyland Paris will issue you with an Easy Access Pass for one of these conditions, you must present an original medical certificate in French or English signed and stamped by a medical doctor. The letter must be less than 3 months old and indicate the Long Term Chronic Disease and the number from the above list.
Are people with hypermobility eligible for a disability pass at Disneyland Paris?
As you can see from the list above, hypermobility or EDS is not on the list of conditions that are eligible for an Easy Access Pass. You are, however, likely to qualify for a Priority Card if you have symptomatic hypermobility and have or can get one of the medical documents mentioned previously.
For example, if you have joint pain, fatigue, dislocations and subluxations, PoTS, and similar symptoms connected to hypermobility, you may get Personal Independence Payment. You can use your evidence of this to get a Priority Card. As already mentioned, another option is to apply and pay for an Access Card. This is the best way to go if you don’t currently receive benefits for your hypermobility.
Is it easy to walk around Disneyland Paris with hypermobility?
Yes and no. First of all, Disneyland Paris is spotless, so you haven’t got to worry about tripping over any stray items left on the ground.
However, the place is huge and this takes a toll on hypermobile feet and legs. For me, the worst pain I experienced was in my feet. As it was my second trip to DLP, I learned my lesson and invested in a pair of Crocs. I found them much easier to walk miles in every day than the trainers I wore on our previous trip.
The good thing about having a Priority Card was that we focused on one area of the parks at a time rather than flitting around to get on the rides with the lowest wait times, which I know a lot of visitors do. This was beneficial for my feet and legs and saved me from walking an extra few thousand steps per day.
Another problem I noticed was a lack of seating areas. When you have hypermobility and you have to stand and walk around DLP, your feet get achy, tired, and sore. Unfortunately, there weren’t many benches to rest on. Instead, I often sat on the floor or perched on some object, such as a treasure chest!
Can you use disability aids in Disneyland Paris?
Absolutely!. Disneyland Paris doesn’t discriminate against disabled guests and those with hypermobility are allowed to take disability aids into the park, including walking sticks and wheelchairs.
Can you rent a wheelchair at Disneyland Paris?
Yes. If you find that your hypermobility is severely impacted by walking around Disneyland Paris and need a bit of extra help, you can hire a wheelchair. Both parks at DLP have places you rent a wheelchair from. In the Walt Disney Studios Park, the rental place is located at Guest Services which is to the right-hand side as you enter the park. In the main Disneyland Park, you need to go to City Hall to hire a wheelchair.
At the time of writing, to secure a wheelchair at Disneyland Paris, you’ll have to pay a refundable deposit of €200, plus €25 per day.
Which Disneyland Paris Park is better for hypermobility?
The two parks at Disneyland Paris are Walt Disney Studios Park and Disneyland Park. Walt Disney Studios Park is much smaller than the main Disneyland Park and is arguably the better option for people with hypermobility.
However, there are some inclines and declines in Walt Disney Studios. The decline is manageable and is on the path leading down to the Toy Story area and the Ratatouille ride. There’s also a slight incline on the path that takes you to the Cars Road Trip ride. I didn’t find either of these a problem, but people with more severe hypermobility problems may do.
What Disneyland Paris rides are suitable for hypermobility?
There are lots of gentle rides at Disneyland Paris which are suitable for people with hypermobility to ride. Some of the best are:
- It’s a Small World
- Cars Road Trip
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing
- Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Casey Jnr Train
- Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast
Don’t forget, there are also plenty of shows, meet and greets, walkthroughs, shops, restaurants, and the castle to explore.
What Disneyland Paris rides aren’t suitable for hypermobility?
It really depends on what symptoms your hypermobility causes. If you have Postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS), for example, and get dizzy and light-headed as a result, it’s best to steer clear of Crush’s Coaster as it spins 360 degrees repeatedly and a lot of it is in the dark. I confess, I rode the whole thing with my eyes closed and have pledged never to step foot on it again!
Rides that go upside down at Disneyland Paris could also be a problem for you if you have hypermobility and PoTS. These rides are:
- Indiana Jones
- Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain
- Avengers Assemble
RC Racer is probably a no-go too as it’s half a loop that you ride over and over. I certainly didn’t go on it anyway!
How many days should you do in Disneyland Paris with hypermobility?
It depends on whether you have a disability card or not. On my first trip, I spent 3 days there and didn’t feel like it was long enough. So, for my next trip, I booked 4 days, which seemed just right.
It really depends on how many hours you can manage in the parks. My hypermobility makes me tired and causes foot pain, so I never made it through from morning to night. We generally got to the parks late morning and returned early evening.
We never made it to the fireworks as they weren’t on until 11 pm when we were there and I needed to be asleep by then!
As you can see, visiting Disneyland Paris with hypermobility is certainly possible. But you do need to plan, take it easy, and aim to get a disability card that will make your trip a whole lot easier. Interested in booking a trip to Disneyland Paris? Visit their official website now!