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Wheelchair Questions....

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Romeo, Michigan
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227 posts
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Wheelchair Questions....

I've been planning my first Disney trip for almost a year even though I've been fighting hip pain for awhile. A couple months ago it was diagnosed as bone-on-bone arthritis in my joint and the doctor told me I'll be needing hip replacement. We're going in Feb-2011 so I cannot have the surgery before then. I use a cane now but can't walk for more than an hour without hurting badly.

Anyway, I know you can rent wheelchairs at the various parks or can rent offsite and bring your own each day (we're staying offsite).

What should I expect waiting in lines?

Does each ride have a spot for chairs while you're riding?

Do they often run out of chairs? (I'd hate to go in and then not be able to get around!)

Can you safely leave things (like my cane) with the chair and not have it disappear? (For that matter, what do people do with ANY loose items when they go on rides?)

Anything else I should know?

I know people with handicaps go to the parks everyday but this is all pretty new to me and needless to say, I'm a little freaked out by having to use a wheelchair for the first time.

pa
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53,804 posts
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1. Re: Wheelchair Questions....

No need to freak out, Disney World is very good at making all thier Guests feel comfy

Here is a bit of Info that may help answer some of your questions and calm your fears

www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/disabmobility.htm

Most all the rides will have a place to secure your belongings, traveling light to the parks is recomended and never bring or leave alone, anything of great value

Hope you have a Magical Time. Good luck with the Hip replacement

Pleasant View...
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2. Re: Wheelchair Questions....

I just went through the wheelchair experience myself, so I can assure that Disney will jump through hoops to make your vacation as trouble-free as possible.

My husband borrowed a chair from a friend for me; it was old, had arm pads held on with duct tape, and was so narrow I feared I wouldn't fit. So I was aware of the chairs that others were using, and the Disney chairs were very nice and probably much easier to push. I would think the same would be true of ANY company that rents chairs. But even in my old decrepit chair, I was treated like royalty.

It's good that you are not confined to the chair exclusively. Some attractions require that you change from your chair, but they almost always have a waiting area for you and your party, so that you can stay in the chair until the last minute. There will be an attendant at each attraction for assistance.

Yes, there is a waiting area at each attraction just for wheelchairs, ECVs, and strollers.

As for leaving your cane and other belongings, do so at your own risk. I always kept my camera case with my ID, credits, etc, on me, but left a larger bag containing umbrella, ponchos, jackets, gloves, brochures, etc, strapped to the back of the chair. Never had a bit of trouble. There ARE lockers at each park for stowing any articles you may not want to carry around, and many rides have little storage areas under the seat to accommodate bags, hats, etc.

I wouldn't think you'd have any trouble with Disney running out of chairs in February, unless your visit includes President's Day weekend.

Since February weather can be iffy, including downright cold at times, you'll want to bring appropriate clothing. After sunset, the temperature drops like a rock. This is especially noticeable when your blood is not circulating because you're sitting all day. I actually bought a heavy Disney throw in one of the gift shops to toss over my lap when it was very cold. I looked the perfect part of the fragile little old lady!

People were unbelievably kind, giving up their seats on buses. I never once received one of the dirty looks I had anticipated, nor did I hear any snide comments behind my back. It was really a great experience.

By the way, this is the only time I've used a chair, too. My foot surgery is coming up soon and while I'm recovering from that, I'll also have knee surgery - bone on bone arthritis!

Anything else you need to know...hmmm...oh yes! Have a blast!

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
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243 reviews
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3. Re: Wheelchair Questions....

nees.

There is no need to be concerned. There is no place more friendly to the disabled that WDW. You can rent an EVC at every park, and there will be no shortage of EVCs in February. You can also rent a wheelchair if someone is willing to push you.

You can rent something off sight and have it delivered to your hotel room. You would have to transport it in your own car to the parks, but the advantage is that you have it to use when you get into the parking lot.

Most attractions at WDW expect people in EVCs to wait in the same lines as people who are not disabled. Exceptions are Space Mountain, the log flume ride and the railroad ride next to the log flume. You can enter the ball at Epcot from the disabled entrance on the side of the ball. You get preferential entrance at The Land at Epcot. Most of the time you will wait in the same line as everyone else, but in February there will really not be much of a line, unless you go over President's Day week-end.

When you transfer from your wheelchair to a ride there is a place to leave your chair. Occasionally a park worker may move your chair from the departure point to the arrival point.

I generally leave some of my things in my electric cart. No one has ever been interested in taking my cane, or my floppy hat. I take my purse with me when I leave my cart as well as any things of value which I may have purchased.

I have been in a wheelchair/electric cart for more than ten years now, and the easiest place I have ever visited is WDW.

Be sure to have your doctor fill out an application for a handicapped permit for your car, and then get one from your state. This will permit you to access the handicapped parking areas, which are much closer than the regular parking and usually have wheelchairs you can use until you get inside the park to rent something.

pa
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602 posts
5 reviews
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4. Re: Wheelchair Questions....

I'd definitely rent a wheelchair off-site. I used Walker Medical Supplies in Orlando, and they deliver and pick up the wheelchair to wherever you're staying. The price was cheaper than renting from WDW. In addition, WDW's wheelchairs are on a first-come/first-serve basis, so you're not guaranteed to get one every day; you can't keep the wheelchair for your entire stay (it has to be returned every day, and you need to go through this whole process every day of your stay); and if you go among the parks, you can't take the wheelchair from park to park, and again, have to go through the same process..

pa
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602 posts
5 reviews
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5. Re: Wheelchair Questions....

if we could NAVIGATE wdw with my mom in the wheelchair over christmas, you'll have no problem! the only things that we took out of the wheelchair when we were in shows or on rides were the obvious - cameras and purses. anything else, including souvenirs (as long as they weren't really expensive), we left in the wheelchair, covered with a coat or blanket (yes - DEFINITELY take a blanket to throw over your legs and/or around your shoulders), and nothing was ever disturbed. there's plenty of room to park strollers and wheelchairs, and everyone - from visitors to bus drivers to employees - were very understanding and accommodating. HAVE A WONDERFUL TRIP!

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: Wheelchair Questions....

Just came back from Disney 3 wks. ago and I saw quite a few people (with limited mobility but not totally incapacitated) riding scooters. I don't know if they rented them at Disney or elsewhere, but they seemed quite popular. Just thought I'd mention it.

7. Re: Wheelchair Questions....

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