Thursday, June 30, 2016

Handicapped Traveler - Orange Beach, AL

Orange Beach, AL
The vacation at the beach is one of the best family traditions in the good ole U.S. of A.  There are about a bazillion choices to spend a week at the beach and Florida is by far the most popular beach destination in the southern part of America.  White sands, gentle breezes and surf swell that rarely exceeds 4 feet all make for a fantastic get-a-way.  But there is an up and comer that is going to challenge that dominance.

Mr. and Mrs. Brobst
This year the selection process was made much easier by niece.  She has always wanted to get married with sand between her toes. Instead of choosing the crowded sands of Florida, she chose Orange Beach, AL.  Her wedding was held on the beach and the reception was at the very nice State Park pavilion.  It was simple, elegant and magical.

Orange Beach is a much more family oriented place than the party atmosphere of it's neighbor to the east.  There are lots of restaurants and things for the kids to do beyond the shore line.  We took our three year old to a park with rides and go-karts.  He had an absolute blast.

For the shopper in the family there is an enormous Tanger Outlets just up the road in Foley, AL very close to the world famous Lamberts, the home of the thrown roll.  All of the usual touristy type of shopping spots like Alvin Island and SurfStyle are numerous.

What'd ya catch - Red Snapper?
For the outdoorsman, fishing is always available.  I did the big party charter for cheap.  It is straight down fishing for Red Snapper and even though the Captain kept changing spots to get a "different species"...riiight, pull my other leg, it plays Jingle Bells, everyone kept reeling in Red Snapper.  Let me say this, I am not being critical.  Red Snapper were fun and plentiful.  There is nothing like a tight line and you are virtually guaranteed to catch them.

For the hard core fisherman, there are plenty of private charter captains available.

Now to the stuff you want to know about.  How does someone with a disability fair in Orange Beach?

The city and area was very accessible.  I was gladly surprised that every restaurant we visited was accessible and had seating that was convenient for me in a wheelchair.

Perdido Key resort
The hotel accommodations were a bit trickier.  I chose an enormous resort thinking they would be better equipped to handle someone with accessibility needs. The Perdido Key Resort was beautiful. The room was large and could easily accommodate my needs.

The only problem was I had booked via Hotels.com and made double certain that the room would have a roll in shower.  I even stayed on hold while they called the resort to check on this.  But upon arriving, to my dismay, not only was the shower not a roll in, but there were not ANY rooms with a roll in shower on the entire premises.  This struck me very odd as they host business conferences there all the time.  The toilet was a handicapped sized commode, but there was barely enough space to get on and off of it.

Oops, a wheelchair can't go in there!
After speaking with the manager on duty and some concessions being made, we were given a shower seat and made it work.  They were very gracious about the circumstances but until they upgrade there "accessible rooms", we will not return to this property even though it was stunning.

There are plenty of big box Hotel chains on this beach and if you reserve early enough, you will get what you want instead of having to settle for something that is less than ideal.  Okay, enough of this, let's get to the good stuff.

Beach Power Rentals
The winner of the week by far was Beach Power Rentals.  They rent custom electric beach scooters.  They delivered  the chair to the resort so that it was available to us once we signed the paperwork.

I have played around with a lot of beach solutions for the disabled and this by far was the best I have ever been on as far as handling the sand.  The foot stools were a bit too high and were uncomfortable after long stents of sitting in the chair but they are like that for a reason.  This chair was straight up master of the sugar sand.  The Florida/Alabama coast has some of the finest sand in the world.  It has a tendency to bog down beach solutions, but not this one.  I went wherever I wanted to go!

Being a powered chair, you cannot get it wet, which is understandable.  I had so much fun watching my little boy in shore break and searching for shells.  We had a blast.

The price of the chair is super reasonable.  For two days we paid about $140  They charge a $40 delivery/pickup fee that was strange to me at first but as Ben Franklin said, "Time is money."  The guy that delivered the chair walked me through all of the aspects of it and I didn't have to worry with returning it, so the fee seemed well worth it in the end.  No hassles was worth the $40.

Book a trip to Orange Beach.  You are going to love the place!  There was much more to do there than we had time or budget for so, scour the internet and find what you want to do.

1 comment:

  1. Orange is one of the best beaches, I had traveled to it last year.

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