Visitors with mobility challenges often find their opportunities for adventure limited while vactioning, but in Orlando, there’s no shortage of accessible excitement. The following indoor and outdoor venues offer exhilarating opportunities for physically disabled adventure seekers.
iFly Orlando Indoor Skydiving
Skydiving for the disabled exists, but it’s pricey, time consuming and dangerous. What if, for the cost of a cab ride, you could slip in some safe free-falling between the theme park and the nightlife? iFly Orlando has the solution during their monthly All Abilities Night. This no-limitations event opens up the sport of indoor skydiving to people of, you guessed it, all abilities, including those with physical and cognitive limitations.
iFly’s specially trained instructors assist guests into the vertical wind tunnel, or flight chamber, and spot them as they defy gravity. The in-tunnel flight lasts one minute but it feels timeless, and fliers emerge from the tunnel wide-eyed and grinning.
For the all-inclusive price, visitors get pre-flight training, skydiving gear, two instructor-assisted flights and a video of their experience. The pure adrenaline rush, tears of joy and post-flight high fives are free.
This event currently happens only once a month, so visit their website for upcoming dates, to see videos and to download liability waiver. Open Daily.
Gatorland’s Gator Gauntlet Accessible Zip Line
Disney’s mouse may be Orlando’s international ambassador, but the real Central Florida icon has much bigger teeth: the Gatorland alligator.
What started in 1948 as a roadside attraction has turned into one of the world’s most progressive adventure locations for mobility-challenged people, thanks to their accessible zip line, the Gator Gauntlet.
Riders require some upper body strength and they must be able to transfer themselves to the Gatorland wheelchair, or have their own assistance, as staff cannot transfer guests. However, they will help riders into the proprietary harness and safety equipment, wheel them up the 350-foot tower and attach them to the hoist that lifts them to the zip line.
Then it’s plunging fun as riders hurtle over a gator-filled marsh at 20 to 30 miles per hour. Open daily.
The Docks at Shingle Creek Kayaking and Canoeing
Central Florida is crisscrossed with waterways flowing through subtropical wilderness. Now visitors with mobility limitations can kayak down these rivers, thanks to The Docks at Shingle Creek.
Kayaks are staged on a low floating dock with a ramp so boats can slide easily into and out of the water. An overhead bar allows kayakers to lowering themselves into the boat, and with family or friend assistance. Staff will then help guests position themselves in the boat and launch them into their aquatic adventure.
Would-be kayakers unable to paddle because of upper-body limitations can rent a tandem kayak so a friend can paddle. Or they can hire a private guide and get the VIP nature experience. Open daily.
Air Force Fun Helicopter Tours
Sure, you’ve visited the theme parks from the ground, but what about from the sky? Air Force Fun Helicopter Tours offer a bird’s eye view of every castle, mountain and giant Ferris wheel in town. The helipad is ramp-accessible so guests can roll right up to the copter and transfer to the seat with friend or family assistance. Once buckled in, it’s up, up and away.
Flights range from a five-minute swoop over Sea World to 30-minute fly-by of all the major Orlando theme parks. There’s a minimum two and maximum of three passengers per flights, which are available daily.
Wild Florida Airboats
Want to see gators, eagles and other Florida critters up close and personal? Wild Florida’s airboat rides are the solution. Their 17-seater airboat can accommodate disabled travelers. Guests wheel up to the edge of the dock and friends or staff can help them transfer to the seat, buckle in and put on earmuffs and goggles. (Those wind-whipping rides are deafening.)
After the ride, stick around the tour the fantastic gator and wildlife park; admission is free with your ride. Open Monday through Saturday, weather permitting.