If I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve been to theme parks, I’d be rich. If I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve been turned away from rides at theme parks because they weren’t wheelchair accessible, I’d also be rich. While there are a few accessible rides at almost any major theme park (Disney World has a fair amount of accessible rides for example), there are always more rides that I can’t enjoy than ones that I can.
Last year, my family and I went to Six Flags Over Georgia. Unlike other parks, there was not a single attraction that I could ride with my family. For the majority of the day, I basically just waited at the ride exit for them. While they were having a blast, I was just there doing nothing. “Aren’t theme parks supposed to be fun?”, I thought. I swore to myself in that moment that I would never visit Six Flags again. Why would I monetarily support a company that doesn’t offer anything for me? This is just one example of what theme parks have been like for most of my life… until recently anyway.
A couple weeks ago, I ventured to San Antonio, Texas for the sole reason of visiting the world’s first fully accessible water park, known as Morgan’s Inspiration Island, and the world’s first fully accessible theme park, known as Morgan’s Wonderland. If you’d like to read my in-depth guide to Morgan’s Inspiration Island, just click right here. In this article, I’ll be talking strictly about the theme park, Morgan’s Wonderland, and why I think it’s the best theme park on planet Earth. Here are 8 reasons why I loved Morgan’s Wonderland –
1. Wheelchair Users Get in for FREE
Yes, you read that correctly. Wheelchair users get into Morgan’s Wonderland for free!! How great is that?! You don’t have to pay $80 to sit there and do nothing! One companion can also get into the park for a heavily discounted price and for regularly priced admission, it only costs $17.
2. Founded by a Special Needs Family
Morgan’s Wonderland opened back in 2010 thanks to Gordon Hartman. Gordon’s daughter, Morgan, has a cognitive disability and he wanted to open a park where she could easily interact with other kids. Morgan’s Wonderland is fully inclusive, so no matter what your abilities are, everything is possible. No one knows how to handle those with disabilities like a family that deals with those issues on a daily basis, and the Hartman’s have done an exceptional job at not only helping Morgan, but helping so many others as well.
3. ALL Rides are Accessible
Unlike other theme parks that might only have a few accessible rides, every ride at Morgan’s Wonderland is accessible! I started by riding the Carousel. I was able to remain in my wheelchair and park on a special platform that went up and down on the carousel.
Another ride that I loved was Off Road Adventure. With a lift, I loaded into a car and it looped around a track for about 5 minutes. It was fun and the loading/unloading system that they had was remarkable.
The Whirling Wonder was also a blast. It’s a ferris wheel and I was able to stay in my powered wheelchair of course. I had some great views of the park down below from the top.
Lastly, I was able to ride a train, which went all around the park. A guide explained some of the history and fun facts of Morgan’s Wonderland during the ride. It was fun to learn more about Morgan’s and see everything in a short train ride.
4. Even the Playground is Fully Accessible
In the middle of the park, there was a huge playground. The play set was wide enough for two wheelchairs and had games, an accessible see-saw (the wheelchair parks on one side and someone can sit on the other side to rock it), and slides.
My favorite things at the playground were the wheelchair swings. I was able to roll onto a swing and get locked into place by the staff, who then swung me. I felt like a kid again right after the first push. It was so much fun!
5. Accessible Restrooms Abound
Whenever I travel, I constantly worry about finding an accessible restroom. At Morgan’s Wonderland, large family restrooms are readily available throughout the park. You are never more than a minute from one and if you need an adult changing table, that’s available as well. It was nice to not have to worry about something as simple as using the restroom.
6. I Got to Be a Weatherman!
Sensory Village is at the park and encourages creative play with a variety of activities. There were interactive videos, a stable house with two Equicizer horses that mimic the real thing, a Fix-It Shop that lets you design a custom car or go for a simulated test drive, a grocery store that enables younger guests to go on imaginary shopping trips, and my favorite thing, KMWL-TV (Channel 7). This “news station” lets you do a weather forecast and see yourself on TV. I liked pretending to be a San Antonio weatherman and since Sensory Village is completely indoors, it was nice to get out of the stifling heat for a bit.
7. It’s Easy to Relax
Whether you want to eat some lunch or grab a drink at Morgan’s Munchies (located beside Off Road Adventure) or just chill out, it’s easy to find somewhere to relax at the park. After all the excitement, you might even want to take things slow and go fishing in the pond. At The Wharf in Morgan’s Wonderland, you can do this. Staff will bait your hook for you and assist any way that they can, but you do have to throw whatever you catch back into the pond.
8. Located in Beautiful San Antonio
The last reason why Morgan’s is the best is because it’s located in beautiful San Antonio. I had never visited this part of Texas before going to the park, but I quickly fell in love with everything that the city had to offer. From seeing The Alamo to strolling down the River Walk at night, San Antonio has many accessible things to do, and if it wasn’t for Morgan’s I probably would have never known how great of a city it is.
Want to see my experience at Morgan’s Wonderland in action?? Check out this short video –
For the first time ever at a theme park, I had no limitations. It was freeing in a way and I am eternally grateful for all that Morgan’s offers. While the park is geared more toward younger kids, I think that it’s a place for everyone regardless of age. I’m 27 and had the time of my life bringing out my inner kid. As a wheelchair user, I’m happy to say that this is hands-down my favorite theme park in the world because it’s so accommodating and I can’t wait to go back and experience it all again.
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+Thank you to Morgan’s Wonderland for hosting me! All opinions are authentic and my own.
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