This review of Wheelers of Hawaii’s wheelchair accessible van rental is from Winter 2023
About Wheelers of Hawaii
We rented a Toyota Sienna from Wheelers of Hawaii for one day on Oahu. Wheelers has several vans in service, and offers rentals on Kauai, Maui, Oahu, and the Big Island of Hawaii (Kona). Wheelers uses an online reservation form and e-forms, which gives real-time availability and pricing as well as makes signing the contracts quick and easy. They were very responsive to e-mails and phone calls. We worked with Jordan, who was nice and professional. He knew the height limitations of our hotel’s parking garage, and so advised as to which type of converted vehicle to use. Wheelers offers optional services for additional fees, such as pick-up, drop-off, late/early times, removal of passenger seat, etc. You can then pick your package and corresponding price.
Bonus: Wheelers of Hawaii’s homepage also offers the contact information for their recommended scooter, wheelchair, and medical equipment vendors. We did not need it (thankfully), but very helpful to have a compilation to quickly go through in the event of an emergency or breakdown.
Our Rented Vehicle
The vehicle was a non-hybrid Toyota Sienna (i.e., pre-2021). The ramp was manual, but it was well maintained–it moved in/out fairly easily. There were no electronic hand controls that I could use, so my wife drove us. The van was quiet, smooth, and handled nicely. We used our phones for navigation.
Tip: Bring your own disabled access placard. Wheelers cannot (and does not) provide one, so you will need your own placard if you want to park in accessible spaces.
We picked the vehicle up from Wheelers’ base location near Waikiki, and then paid to have Wheelers pick up the van from our hotel (The Royal Hawaiian) that night. With the van, we were able to see the following in one day:
- Went to an AccesSurf event (which was cancelled due to lightning)–this organization is incredible, and I cannot wait to do adaptive surfing and swimming with them.
- Drove around Disney’s Aulani Resort.
- Explored the North Shore, including Waimea Falls (wheelchair accessible waterfall, but was closed due to the weather) and the surfing hotspots of Waimea and Banzai Pipeline.
- Visited The Dole Plantation.
- Note– this was not my personal favorite thing to do, but the shopping/dining areas were wheelchair accessible. The train and gardens were closed due to rain, but the website says they are wheelchair accessible.
- Drove around almost the entire coast of Oahu.
- Went to dinner at Morimoto Asia in Waikiki (parked at the ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach).
- Attended a comedian’s show at Blaisdell Arena.
- Drove back to The Royal Hawaiian (where they picked up the van).
Wheelers also gave us a free tank of gas because they needed to ship the vehicle to Kauai, which was very much appreciated–saved us money and we didn’t have to re-fill it for him.
Would I Rent from Wheelers Again?
Yes. The van was squeaky clean, free of smells and garbage, and ran like a new car. It handled nicely, was a smooth/quiet ride, and was comfortable with good head clearance at all times (even in my scooter). The self-retracting Q’Straint straps were easy to install/move. I was very happy with the van–Wheelers clearly maintains the van as if it was their own personal vehicle.
Renting wheelchair accessible vans is never cheap, but we found value with Wheelers with the $300+ we spent on the day’s journey. That amount was roughly what the local taxi companies were going to charge just to do the AccesSurfing event at White Plains Beach (roundtrip from Waikiki), much less explorations around the island and around Waikiki for the dinner and show.