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Accessibility News Round-Up: June 2023

There is so much exciting news at the moment – innovations for travel, art exhibitions, accessible adventures, and more – that it’s easy to miss something amazing. Here’s a round-up of everything that’s caught my attention lately. If you have any hot tips, please share them in the comments or over on our Facebook page!

The Jones family posing with Mickey and Minnie Mouse in sailor's outfits in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, with text that reads Accessibility News Round-Up June 2023

City of Sydney Lunar Festival Art Competition

Calling all young artists! The next generation of creatives is being called upon to create dragon-inspired art for City Of Sydney’s Year of the Dragon (2024) celebrations!

Kids celebrating the City of Sydney Lunar Festival, wearing white shirts with artwork on the front and their arms in the air

Children aged 5-12 are invited to share their drawings, for the chance to see them displayed along George Street and in the Chinatown precinct during the 2024 Sydney Lunar Festival. The festival will run from 10 to 25 February, with street parties, lion dancing, dragon boat racing, stage and roving performers, and traditional shows.

It’s a ways off yet, but it’s still a fun at-home project that will get those creative juices flowing! Young artists have until midnight on 26 June to enter online and grown-ups are encouraged to read the terms and conditions before submitting.

Big News for Wheelchair Users flying Delta

Imagine being able to remain in your own wheelchair for the duration of a flight! No hassles with transfers, no worries about your chair being damaged in cargo, being able to wheel right off the plane when you land… it sounds like a dream, but Delta Airlines is making it a reality.

They’ve designed an airline seat – Air 4 All – that will enable customers who use a powered wheelchair to remain in their own chair for the entire journey. The seat can be used as a regular passenger seat, but can also be converted to accommodate and secure a wheelchair. You’ll get all the usual comforts of air travel – head rest, tray table, and so on – but with the extra security of your own equipment. Plus, it will make boarding and disembarking seamless. Through a combination of industrial design, passenger experience design, aircraft cabin and airport accessibility, aircraft certification and regulation; and wheelchair design and manufacturing, Delta and their partners have been developing the Air 4 All concept since 2019.

An Air 4 All seat model on a Delta plane, folded away so you can see where a power wheelchair user would be able to secure their chair for the duration of a flight, with access to armrest and so onAir 4 All seat on a Delta plane with a wheelchair in place

Chris Wood, founder of Flying Disabled (who helped design the Air 4 All chair), says: “An innovation like this in air travel provides those with reduced mobility a safe and comfortable way to travel and remain in their own power wheelchair. It has taken truly a collaborative effort to develop this seat and we believe this product provides an optimal solution.”

The Air 4 All seat isn’t on board just yet; it’s still go to go through all the usual rigorous testing, certification, and installation. But we’re hoping to see Air 4 All seats available on Delta flights before too long!

New Season of Cruises with Disney Cruise Line

Back by popular demand! Disney is bringing magic and enchantment back to our shores with a special season of cruises (ranging from 2- to 7-nights), sailing from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Auckland.

“Guests sailing aboard the Disney Wonder will be immersed in the magic of Disney storytelling with unforgettable character encounters, imaginative world-class dining and award-winning entertainment, all presented at sea. Celebrated for its classic design and modern innovation, the Disney Wonder is home to 11 decks featuring restaurants, pools and recreation spaces that are designed to inspire and entertain guests of all ages.”

Mickey and Minnie Mouse dressed in sailing outfits on a cruise deck

Joining you on Disney Wonder will be friends from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars. There will also be Broadway-style shows at the Walt Disney Theatre, including Frozen: A Musical Spectacular!

The new season of cruises will set sail from 19 October 2024. General sale tickets will be available from Tuesday 27 June. For more information, including itinerary and booking details, visit the Disney Cruise Line AU/NZ website.

Look & Book Accessible Accommodation With Peace Of Mind (sponsored)

Like you, the crew at Accessible Accommodation found it challenging to find the right accommodation suiting their unique needs. Not anymore.

Their three-tiered rating system, coupled with an extensive property audit ensures you have peace of mind when booking your next stay. Each property has over fifty frequently asked questions plus a handmade style video tour, so you know exactly what you see on the website is the same on arrival.

Sponsored: Accessible Accommodation

And if you need help, their crew of customer experience agents all have lived experience of disabilities themselves. They either have a disability, or have a family member with a disability. Next time you are planning a short or extended stay, visit the Accessible Accommodation website, or contact them on 1300 180 889. Choose hundreds of options around Australia from Resorts, Holiday Houses, Hotels, and even Glamping or Houseboats!

Are you up for an Accessible Adventure in Queensland?

eFoilgc believes that adventure should be accessible to their all – and they’re putting their money where their mouth is. For anyone who’s never been on an eFoil or Jetboard but wants to give it a go, your first ride is FREE until the end of July!

eFoilgc has collaborated with What Disability and Destination Gold Coast to make Hydrosports (Jetboarding and eFoiling) available to anyone with a disability. They use state-of-the-art equipment from Liftfoils and Waveshark, and their expert instructors make sure every experience is safe and enjoyable.

A man (whose leg has been amputated) holding a GoPro, with an Instructor behind him, on a board gliding above the water, looking thrilled

For most of us, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride waves and soar above the water. Even if high-adrenaline adventures aren’t usually your thing, you’ll be taken by the effortless glide across the water’s surface, surrounded by the stunning coastal landscapes of the Gold Coast.

If you want to get a better idea of what’s involved, they’ve posted some great YouTube videos of people with disabilities out on the water – their smiles say it all! If you’re ready to give it a go, contact them to book your free first ride now.

‘Practicing our Pride, Remembering our Ancestors’: Exhibition in Melbourne, VIC

To coincide with Disability Pride Month (July), Sunshine Art Spaces Gallery in Sunshine, VIC, is exhibiting ‘Practicing our Pride, Remembering our Ancestors’. It’s a multimedia exhibition of linocuts, badges, paste ups and video artworks that celebrates the history and culture of people who live with disabilities, including the fight for rights and recognition.

You can join the artist, Larissa MacFarlane, in conversation or a badge making workshop to explore your own relationship with Disability culture.

A portrait of Stella Young in black and white, one of the pieces in the Practicing Our Pride, Remembering Our Ancestors exhibit

The exhibition is showing until 10 July. The gallery is open Thursday-Saturday, 12pm-5pm. The venue is wheelchair accessible, and the staff can assist in accommodating your needs (contact them before your visit here).

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