by Ray Sharpton
If you’re like me, you may not be sure whether you need an accessible room when you stay at Walt Disney World. I am 68 and have some mobility issues, and I use an ECV. I recently stayed at Disney’s Pop Century Resort in a refurbished accessible room, and I am going to use these new rooms from now on! Let me tell you why.
In the past, when I used standard rooms, the beds were too high and my feet never touched the ground. The cast members would offer me a stool with an attached hand-height handle to help me get in and out of the bed. But, at the age of 68, this has gotten too difficult for me. They also would provide a bathtub chair, which was a help, but the bathtub is really too small to turn the chair around.
So I decided to try an accessible room. I stayed in Room 203, which is located in building #10, the ’70s building of the Pop Century Resort.
This is the view of my door and the next room 204. Because these doors are not recessed like the standard rooms there’s more interior space.
This is the view further down the hall. You can see how room 204’s doorway is also flush with the windows, whereas the rest of the standard rooms down the hall — rooms 205 and 206 — are recessed to allow easier passage for guests, especially when the large housekeeping carts are in the way during their cleaning of the rooms.
My room had a roll-in shower, one queen bed, and one queen Murphy bed with the table. Both queen beds are much lower than the standard room for easy access and transfer for wheelchair users. This was all new to me.
Inside my room 203, you’ll notice again that the door is flush, not recessed. Because I was traveling alone, I put one chair next to the front door to put things on to help me after I open the door to leave the room. It was easier to hold the door open and pick up something from the chair.
You can also see my wheelchair next to the coat rack, which has five little knobs for hanging up items. (In a standard room, the coat rack is on the wall just outside the bathroom.) You can see that my wheelchair fits in this space nicely and there is a conveniently placed electrical outlet for charging my vehicle below. The fridge and cabinet have been placed on the other side of the TV/dresser in this accessible room, which also created more open space near the door entrance.
The TV and dresser are placed across from the queen bed, just as they are in a standard room.
As you can see, the closet is on the far left of the wall, just before the bathroom. In the standard room, I believe the closet is in the bathroom. The bathroom door is a little wider in this room, allowing easier access for a wheelchair. I really noticed the difference from the standard room. It was much more difficult to turn around in the standard room bathroom with a wheelchair. The closet blocks the wall where the coat hanger would have gone in a standard room.
The opposite wall of the room looks about the same as a standard room, but with a little more space. The queen bed — not a king, as in some accessible rooms — is noticeably lower than the standard room’s. I think you can tell in the photos just from the height of the mattress and the bedside tables.
There are three bedside tables fixed to the wall, and each has an electrical outlet with spaces for two plugs and two USB ports. I plugged my C.P.A.P. machine and phone charger at the center bedside table. The resort phone is also located here.
This is the photo of the Murphy bed table, with Murphy queen bed stowed away. There seemed to be more space between the bed and the table to me as compared to the standard room. The table was missing that large metal piece on the floor, which allowed the bed to fold out lower to the floor. I was able to use my wheelchair when I was at the table, if I didn’t want to use the regular chair.
There are five of these outlets in the room, each with two plug inputs and two USB inputs. There is one on each of the three bedside tables and two on each end of the TV/Dresser.
Here is a closer photo of the fridge and cabinet with the coffee maker. I like the see-through fridge. Two carrot cake cookies anyone? Above is another electrical outlet and light switch for the counter and small coffee maker. In the standard room, this was located on the right side of the TV/dresser.
The bathroom is so much larger than the standard room with a bathtub. The toilet has a handrail beside and behind the toilet with enough space on the left to back the wheelchair up in order to transfer to the toilet seat.
The ironing board is hung on the wall directly across from the toilet. It’s a little strange, but it does help save closet space.
You can see the part of the extra space on the right to back up the wheelchair between the sink and the toilet. The sink counter is not a full vanity, which allows a wheelchair to slide under. To the left of the sink is the shower curtain leading to the roll-in shower.
This is the roll-in shower, with the sink on the right and towel hanger on the left. It may be hard to see, but on the floor is a soft, white, hollow rubber tube as the threshold strip, which is easier to roll over, or to step on. The regular bathtub chair was brought from a standard room, but I didn’t use it because there was a newer shower seat.
If you ever stayed in an older accessible room, you may have seen the fold-down, wooden shower seats that they had. These were always too high for me.
Looking into the roll-in shower here you can see the newer mesh shower seat. It is a fine mesh nylon similar to a patio chair and is held onto the wall with a heavy metal attachment. It also has two front leg supports. I weigh 340 lbs., so I wasn’t sure at first, but I soon felt comfortable with it. The only drawback I saw was that it seemed to me a wheelchair user, less mobile than me, would only be able to roll straight in to the shower — they would need to use a board to transfer. There didn’t seem to be enough room to turn a wheelchair around in the shower for those who would need to do that.
I do not transfer to the seat like many wheelchair users — I can still ambulate and use the two handrails to sit down and to get up. As I said earlier, I was worried at first because the nylon mesh seat had some give in it, but in spite of my weight I felt comfortable and safe using it.
The wall-mounted shampoo, body wash, and conditioner pumps are closer to the seat than they would have been in a standard room. And the shower has a handheld shower that can be fixed to an attachment to be raised or lowered. I lowered it so that I could reach it better, but it could be positioned at any height and moved in any direction.
With soapy hands, the handheld shower was a little slippery to hold, but I either used a washcloth or rinsed my hands of slippery soap suds.
Have you stayed in one of Pop Century’s accessible rooms? Or any of the accessible rooms on Disney property? Let us know what you thought in the comments below! Or leave your review in our Rate and Review section!