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Guests with Special Needs Discuss First time to parks with wheelchair in the Vacation Planning forums; We are planning a trip to WDW in October '06. This will be our first time with DH in a wheelchair. He is really nervous about this. (He doesn't really ...
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    chrissilicious's Avatar
    chrissilicious is offline A-Ticket holder
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    Question First time to parks with wheelchair

    We are planning a trip to WDW in October '06. This will be our first time with DH in a wheelchair. He is really nervous about this. (He doesn't really think that it would be "worth the hassle" for us to have to push him. For me, I don't care if he rides a thing...I just want to have him along!)

    I'd like to get an idea of what the ups & downs are as far as Disney with a wheelchair. Where there places that a push wheelchair is a bad thing? Is it difficult to navigate onto the buses if you bring a wheelchair with you?

    Thank you in advance for your help!


    Christy
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    vixen101485's Avatar
    vixen101485 is offline Queen of the Swaps, bow before me
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    Not sure about the wheelchair stuff. But Welcome to the site. I am sure someone here will be willing to help you.

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    MommytoMJM's Avatar
    MommytoMJM is offline DisneyWorldTrivia Mod - Living Disney as a Lifestyle
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    Hi Christy! We have two wheelchairs in our family (three if you count the time MJ's nana is here in her pwoer chair), I'm in an ECV (arthritis, fibromyalgia, I used to be in a manual too) and my daughter is in a manual chair that my husband pushes. There are advantages and disadvantages to both:

    ECV:

    Sometimes you will have to transfer to a manual wheelchair for a ride (Pirates, small world, etc...)
    If you are tired or on medication they can be hard to steer
    They can be hard to steer onto busses, although the drivers can hel some
    If you don't own one you need to rent one
    If you rent a Disney one it is ONLY good in the parks, not from the bus to the park or at your resort
    They don't fit in a lot of restrooms
    During a VERY busy time (christmas) Disney may run out of ECV's
    You can go wherever you want without asking someone (very good for your state of mind)
    No one has to push you
    Easier to carry your stuff

    Manual Wheelchair
    Someone has to push you
    you won't have to transfer as often
    if you get tired someone else is doing the driving
    There are hills and slopes in some places at the parks
    fits in most bathrooms easily

    I don't know the extent of your husband's dependence on the chair, if you could tell me a little more about you all I can provide some better information.
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    Kimberly Button is offline A-Ticket holder
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    When I visit the parks I almost always have to use a wheelchair. I much rather prefer to be pushed in a wheelchair than use an ECV. I know most people like the ECVs, but I had a nightmarish time with them. They're too big, it's harder to navigate crowds (the main drawback), they stop and go when they want to it seems, and it's hard to get into restrooms, restaurants, etc.

    I don't think I have ever really had a problem with using a wheelchair. Getting into and out of attractions is a breeze, but I usually walk into a restaurant rather than use the chair so I'm not sure about dining. Remind your husband that just the walk alone from getting from the TTC to the Magic Kingdom can totally wear you out before you even start your day if you have any mobility issues.

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    It's really not that bad with a wheelchair. I'm 16 & have to be in a wheelchair because I have an ankle problem that I can't have surgery for until next summer. So for now, anywhere that's a big place, such as a theme park, I have to have one. Drawbacks are that someone has to push you up & down hills which can wear them out & also that you can't always decide where you want to go. Plus, sometimes they are hard to navigate around places. But some good things are that they are easier to use than ECV's. They're too big for most places, but they are better if you want to split up in groups because then nobody has ot push you & you have more control.
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    mechurchlady is offline My hero is Gurgi who wanted only friends and an apple.
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    http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/wdw...nMobilityDPage
    That is very good to start off with.

    You did not explain what was wrong with your DH. There is not one simple answer to disabled guests and the parks. There are different answers for dementia, casts, artificial limbs, vision problems, hearing problems, arthritis and gout, breathing problems and allergies.

    ECVs allow freedom to get around fast but as MommytoMJM pointed out there are major draw backs. A wheelchair can be purchase for little money and then written of as a tax donation when you give it to charity.

    I as at San Diego Wild Animal Park and then Quail Run Gardens. I pushed that wheelchair up and down very steep hills and STILL HURT. I nearly lost on a couple hills. An ECV however cannot go up and down the very steep grades either. At the Animal Park I had not problem pushing a 180 pound woman around in a chair on flat areas. If you have family and take turns you will not get tired.

    I agree that ECVs, base on my prior use, can get stuck in lines, not fit busses, costs a lot to rent, are not good in crowds, requires holding down throttle which I got blisters from, and do not fold up. I got stuck on a trail in AK, joint pain from holding the throttle down all day, got stuck up against the viewing area because of rude people pushing up against me, tore out molding at Casey's corner, fell asleep and drove one into SeaWorld's lawn, had to wait for the rest of a group because elevators can hold only so many people, and could not get into the Japanese Pavilion's main store because nobody would open a door and there was not way for me to take the chair in with a closed door.

    I love ECV's but would rather take 5 people with me and have a good time while being pushed.
    Figment and Gurgi; chocolate and coffee; and my family. I like to cook, shop, VMK, ToonTown and sweepstaking. Trivia lover but memory not good enough.

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    chrissilicious's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for all of your insight!

    My DH has very serious heart problems & at this point his health has declined to the point that he cannot get around more than 4 or 5 feet at a time. We know that there will be some things that he can't ride due to the heart probs, but we are just happy to have him along.

    We've been to WDW many, many times, and have seen others using wheelchairs/EVC's. I think Tom is concerned about slowing us down more than anything else...but we just want the time with him. He is certainly not a burden!
    Christy
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    next WDW vacation!"

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    mechurchlady's Avatar
    mechurchlady is offline My hero is Gurgi who wanted only friends and an apple.
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    Since he gets so tired you may want to send one person with him back to the hotel while the rest of you go on the stuff he could not participate in. Spend all the time you can with him having fun and let him know your plans. If he knows that he will get four hours with the family then be able to rest while others are having fun then the guilt will be less.

    You should contact the parks and explain his health problems. You need to get at each park a special assistance pass (i forget the name) and talk to the nurses there as they can provide a place to lay down, clean place for things like diabetes testing, and anything else you need usually. The people at Disneyland gave me an ace bandage for when I fell on my knee and were very helpful. Start with them and City Hall. The help and special stuff is there is you ask and you should in his case.

    He could do Kilamajaro Safaris but put him in the middle or toward the front of the vehicle as the back jars you very bad.

    Rides he will like and can stay in the wheelchair include The Great Movie Ride, Jungle Cruise, Carousel of Progress, Liberty Square Riverboat, it's a Small World, the train in MK, Universe of Energy: "Ellen's Energy Adventure", Mexico: El Rio del Tiempo in Mexico, The Land: Living with the Land, Disney-MGM Studios Backlot Tour and the train to Conservation Station.

    Soarin' and Spaceship Earth require transfer but would not require much walking. Not sure if he is up to Soarin' though but you roll the chair right up to the seat so no walking needed. Maelstorm maybe too much for him and has boats like It's a Small World. Fantasyland kid's rides let you get close to the cars usually. Main Street has vehicles he can ride but require a step up usuallly like the Trolley. You can meet him at the other end of the street or ask the ride operator for a round trip, some will do that for you if you are disabled.

    http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/wdw...Page#restrooms
    That is the link to restrooms. Anyone can help a disabled guest in a companion bathroom. You will find those in the above link. This would allow you to help your husband in the bathroom even though you are opposite gender. Otherwise check with the parks on whether opposite genders can go into a bathroom if one is disabled. At a rest stop in California the women's bathroom had a sign saying opposite gender may enter the restroom if helping a disabled person.

    It is important to make sure he does not over do it. People at the parks are like hikers who walk 5 miles into the wood turn around and head home only to realize they are worn out and 5 miles from the trail head. People, even healthy people, tend to keep going until they are sunburned, suffering from hypothermia or heat stroke, and/or at the point of exhaustion. Been there and done the exhaustion, heat stroke and sunburn.
    Last edited by mechurchlady; 09-25-2006 at 06:05 AM.
    Figment and Gurgi; chocolate and coffee; and my family. I like to cook, shop, VMK, ToonTown and sweepstaking. Trivia lover but memory not good enough.

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    Stitch's buddy is offline Hakuna Matata
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    My grandma used a wheelchair last trip and didnt have much trouble though my dad a marthoner my brother a college kid and me a high school could easily push her around we had some trouble pushing her up splash mt's wheelchair entance and Animal Kingdom we swicth frequently to stay "fresh" we didnt have much trouble Lights Motors Action had a nice elvator to the level and most bathrooms we easy for her Old Key though she had to go up 3 flights of stairs but she made it

    Hope that help you some

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    My mother and I use one (mother- has had knee replacement surgery so she can't walk that far. When she doesn't use it I use it because I have ankle problems so I can't walk that far.) we use EVC's most of the time its hard to navagate sometimes. When we went to epcot we both had something to ride in something. She had a EVC and I got a weelchair. My dad pushed me. Epcot's pretty flat so its not that hard to push around there. We left everything outside when we went to the rest room or to dinner so. Good luck and I think even tho some people will be in a weelchair or evc they will still be happy that they will be in WDW. Let us know how it works out.
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    Cinderella2's Avatar
    Cinderella2 is offline Thrilled to know there are others who sparkle!
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    Last year I got to push my sister in a wheelchair around the parks. It wasn't a big deal at all. She was nervous and sad that I was going to have to push her, but I didn't care. She had recently broken her ankle. She was fine transferring to rides. She took one crutch like a cane and hopped to the ride. She really rode everything. My niece got to ride on Aunt Aimee's lap the whole time so she loved it. We hung all our stuff off of the back of the chair so that was great too. We stayed at POFQ and had a wheelchair for there if we wanted it but they gave us a room very close to everything so we didn't use it until we got to the parks. We would get dropped off at the gate and I would walk ahead and rent a wheelchair for her at the gate and then come back and get her. No big deal. Her main complaint is that she was at the whim of where I pushed her. Sometimes she ended up facing a wall. Oops. Sorry. I was so thrilled that she went I didn't care that I was getting extra exercise- heck, I need it! Every time you head into a show they direct you to where to park the chair, and where to sit. Disney is very wheelchair friendly. She wouldn't let us rent an ECV because she wanted to make sure there were enough for the people who really, really needed them. It worked out fine and wasn't even a minor inconvenience. Sometimes it was fun! (like getting to go into the back door of the HM)
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    i go to diney every year with my handicapped grandfather he cant wait very well do to a severe head injury!! and he needs cruthes when not in the chair. we dont bring the crutches with us into the parks as they are to large and dont seem to fit anywhere. he has his own chair and CMs are more than accomodating somethimes you even get to cut the line if the chair wont fir through! most rides we wait for a wheel chair car but if not we tell the CMs that he cant walk without assistance so they stop rides for us quickly or they help us walk him quickly to the moving car on the platform!! it is not a hassle at all!! obviously my grandfather isnot going on rides like TT or SM and etc. but i have seen CMs helps under any circumstance!!! we havnt had a problem yet!
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    bmcintyre's Avatar
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    Re: First time to parks with wheelchair

    I think the hardest park to navigate with a manual wheelchair is Animal Kingdom. In keeping with the rugged outdoor theme, their walkways are bumpy, some cobblestones, and in some places, not wide enough. There are more inclines there and not as easy to push. It was a real chore for my husband. We agreed that next time, for Animal Kingdom, we'll rent the electric ones.

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