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Accessible Celebrations To Check Out This Holiday Season

holiday events for disabled

It’s that time of year again; the leaves are changing, peppermint lattes are brewing, and the holiday spirit is permeating through each chilly breeze. For many, the holidays are all about donning ugly sweaters, munching on endless trays of cookies, and belting out timeless carols with more passion than talent. 

However, if you have mobility issues, sensory concerns, or other limitations that make it difficult to participate in mainstream holiday events, you may feel a bit left out in the cold. But don’t let that dampen your holiday spirit! We’ve curated an exciting list of accessible celebrations to light up this holiday season as bright as Rudolph’s shiny nose!

Inclusive Holiday Markets, Events, and Activities

Below are some of the most inclusive and wheelchair-friendly holiday events for people with disabilities to enjoy during winter.

Holiday Light Trains, Santa Cruz County, CA

Running from 16-23 December, Holiday Light Trains set off from Neptune’s Kingdom on the iconic Santa Cruz Boardwalk. 

Once aboard, this accessible train will take you through festively decorated houses and streets. During the journey, enjoy a communal sing-along to your favorite holiday classics while savoring a mug of hot cider. You’ll also get the chance to meet Santa Claus and his elves, so don’t forget to capture treasured pictures and share your wishes with him!

In addition to the Holiday Lights Trains, Santa Cruz also offers a special Chanukah Train, complete with traditional treats and Hanukkah stories. And if you’re seeking a unique way to ring in the new year, hop aboard the New Year’s Train. 

Each of Roaring Camp’s trains offers a one-of-a-kind experience, so you’ll never have to worry about being bored during the holidays. While you’re in Santa Cruz, make sure to stop by holiday markets to pick up stocking stuffers and enjoy local treats.

holiday events for disabled

Festival of Trees, Boston, MA

Every holiday season, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society holds the Festival of Trees, transforming its Garden at the Elm Bank into a magical, wintry wonderland. From November 24th to December 29th, 2023, this delightful event showcases dozens of beautifully decorated trees you can win with a raffle ticket. 

If you plan to explore the beautiful gardens, head over to the captivating Snow Village to enjoy intricate model train displays. This model train weaves through idyllic scenes, from a Boston cityscape to the timeless Dickensian village, the snowy North Pole, and hundreds of festively decorated houses with twinkling lights. While you’re there, don’t forget to devour a cup of hot chocolate, roast marshmallows by the fire pit, or share s’mores with your loved ones.

This magical event is wheelchair accessible, with ramps available at several entrances and accommodations ready upon request. As for the parking, there are paved and dirt lots on site, and plenty of free parking spots available nearby.

holiday events for disabled

EPCOT International Festival of the Holiday, Walt Disney World, FL

Get ready to feel the holiday spirit like never before – only at the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, running from November 24 to December 30, 2023. This heartwarming event at Disney World is a global celebration featuring various festive activities.

First off, you don’t want to miss the Candlelight Processional. It’s like your favorite Christmas storybook coming alive, except a celebrity narrates it while a 50-piece orchestra sets the mood, along with a huge choir and some incredible trumpeters. 

After being dazzled by the story of Christmas, you might get to meet none other than Santa Claus himself. He’ll be there till December 24, giving out candy canes and posing for pictures. And if you’re lucky, he might even bring you a gift!

You’ll also want to check out JOYFUL! — a high-energy celebration of Christmas and Kwanzaa, with all your favorite Gospel, R&B, and holiday tunes!

When hungry, visit the EPCOT’s Holiday Kitchens to get your fill of holiday treats from countries near and far. If you’re more into sugary desserts, try the iconic Holiday Cookie Stroll. For some adventure and giggles, join Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt.

Disney World is fully accessible with boardwalks and paved paths. There are also plenty of wheelchairs and EVC rentals available on a first-come, first-served basis, so you can navigate the park with ease.

holiday events for disabled

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ICE!, Baltimore National Harbor, MD

If you want to experience the winter wonderland in all its icy glory, bundle up and head for ICE! at National Harbor. The Gaylord National features Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which is brilliantly carved from over 6,000 blocks of ice by a team of more than 40 international craftsmen.

Spanning a massive 117,000-square-foot tent, this one-of-a-kind Christmas attraction allows you to explore 14 captivating scenes that will freeze you in your tracks. Over here, you’ll get to take a nostalgic stroll through multi-sensory scenes that star our favorite Christmas heroes: Rudolph, Sam the Snowman, Bumble, Clarice, and Hermey the Elf!

Begin your adventure at The Island Of Misfit Toys, where everyone’s favorite quirky characters live. Or, wander into the Rudolph Saves the Day setup to see how our red-nosed hero saved Christmas by leading Santa’s sleigh. 

If you can’t resist the magic of honed skill, check out the Carver’s Showcase. It sure is no easy task sculpting our favorite Christmas figures, but these artisans show us how it’s done!

Best of all? The frosty fun of the ICE! cold tent and all our other holiday attractions are not only magically Christmassy but also accessible and ADA-compliant.

holiday events for disabled

Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins, Chicago, IL

If you want to add a twist to your Hanukkah celebrations this year, check out the Strawdog Theater Company’s Hershel & The Hanukkah Goblins performance. In this one-hour performance, the actors will tell the tale of Hershel of Ostropol to lift everyone’s holiday spirit. It features tons of music, adventure, and goblins, of course!

Worried about accessibility? No sweat! The show’s wheelchair accessible in-person and available via live stream with captions. There’s even a sensory-friendly performance with low sound levels, minimal flashlights, and a quiet environment. After the show, you can also partake in creative workshops to unleash your inner performer.

holiday events for disabled

Explore the Winter Wonderland with Wheelchair Getaways

Holiday events are right around the corner! Whether you plan on heading to a heartwarming Hanukkah celebration or getting mesmerized by dazzling Christmas light displays, Wheelchair Getaways is here to make your travel plans as stress-free as sipping hot cocoa by a roaring fire.

We offer a range of wheelchair-accessible vehicles, all featuring the latest and most reliable safety equipment. Our flexible rental services allow you to book wheels for as little as two hours or as long as a month, so you’ll never miss a moment of holiday magic.

Click here to learn more about our rental options and book your wheelchair-accessible van, because ’tis the season to travel and celebrate!

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