View Full Version : spinal cord disease

03-13-2001, 12:39 PM
We are planning a trip to Disney World in june. We are going to stay on site at Dixie Landings (riverside) for 5 nights. My husband has a rare illness of the spinal cord. He has problems with balance, fine motor coordination and pain. He did have an operation on his cord and they removed some bones in his neck but the surgeon says his neck is stable and strong enough for rides. Questions- He is worried about me pushing him around the parks in a wheelchair. Should we rent an ECV (its expensive). Are there any attractions where his balance might cause a problem(balance in the dark is also touchy) Are people nasty if you rent a wheelchair but you can walk? We have a nine-year, is Disney Quest a waste of time since he cannot play video games or write, type etc.? How about Disney transportation. Will it be too crowded for him to get a seat or too slow if he is tired and we need to get back to the hotel. People can't always tell he is disabled. We have always been coaster and park fans and have spent every vacation at them, but we haven't been to Disney since '94 and this will be our first trip to anyplace since the illness. He also has problems sleeping flat in bed, he uses a recliner at home. Does anyone have a solution for this? This trip is very important to us and we love Disney (engaged and honeymooned there.) We are celebrating that he is alive after a very close call. I am planning to drive us down to save money (from Va.) Should we pay the extra money and Fly? Sorry about all the questions, I have been reading the posts, but traveling with a disablity is all new to us. Thank-you

03-13-2001, 12:50 PM
Parkfan, welcome to our board!

Relax, you are going to have a great trip. Sounds like you could use a vacation. :) You might start investigating renting an ECV for the whole time of your vacation from one of the offsite companies, such as Walker Mobility.

Scroll down the page and read the discussions about the GAC, staring and comments... I think you will find that you are not alone and that you will have a great time at WDW. You have a lot of worries right now, but you can handle it if you have some advance preparation. :)

There is also some basicDisabilities Information (http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/disabmain.htm) linked from the DIS home page.

"My brain takes a vacation just to give my heart more room..."

SueM in MN
03-13-2001, 08:07 PM
First, for sleeping, I suggest you call WDW Resort Special Reservations at (407) 939-7807 (voice) or (407) 939-7670 (TTY). I'm sure he's not the first person who has had a problem with lying flat in bed. They may have some suggestions.
Another alternative is if there is something that you could rent for your stay. Here are the Medical rental places people usually mention for renting ecvs off site. They also rent other equipment:
CARE Medical Equipment - 1-800-741-2282
www.caremedicalequipment.com (http://www.caremedicalequipment.com)

RANDY'S Mobility in Kissimmee 407-892-4777

Walker Medical - 1-800-334-9501
www.walkermobility.com (http://www.walkermobility.com)
The buses are pretty good, but can be crowded. if you rent an ecv from one of the places listed above, they would deliver it to your hotel. Most of the WDW buses are equipped with lifts, so he could ride the bus to the park and ride in the ecv.
he would be able to bring an acv right up to the boarding area of most rides. That way he won't have to worry about balance except for the short distance form the ecv to the ride car. For the rides that won't accomidate an ecv, they have manual wheelchairs available to transfer into. Since you could push him, that shouldn't cause too much problem.
I'm sure you will think of more questions. Just keep asking and we will try to keep answering.

SueM in MN
Co-Moderator of disABILITIES (http://wdwinfo.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?q=Y&a=frm&s=40009993&f=38009194)

03-14-2001, 12:06 AM
Since you mentioned he had problems with balance, tell him NOT to attempt stepping onto a moving platform!! I accidentally did that once on our last trip, and went face first into the CM who was no bigger than I am :-( Anyways, the point is, move his wheelchair onto the platform, and then have him get out of the chair onto the platform...

As for people's opinions, first of all don't worry about it, but second of all, we had absolutely no problems with other guests... I look pretty healthy, so I worried about that as well... but I worried needlessly... everyone was great.

The busses at Disney are just great! If you are in a wheelchair or ECV you are loaded on first. The wheelchair (or ECV) is strapped in & you are set to go... All the bus drivers were able to get me situated in record time, and they were awfully nice!!! I was so surprised... That was actually the thing I dreaded the most before our trip!! But again I worried without cause!!

I'm sure you will have a wonderful trip!!!

03-14-2001, 08:47 AM
Coming from a person who has spent most of the past month sleeping in the recliner instead of in bed(!), I sympathize with your husband's problem. We stayed at CBR, and only had hard/desk type chairs around the round table for a seating choice aside from the bed. Have you thought about an offsite resort that might give him a soft chair/recliner for an alternative sleeping place? The only one I know of is HIFS which has "theatre suites" where the second "bedroom" is actually a room with two recliners and a big screen tv in it. Son could sleep on the pull out couch in the living area. I am sure other hotels in the area must have "comfy" chairs, as well. For me, at least, no amount of pillows on a regular bed would cut it if I was really in pain. The drawback of an offsite hotel would be that you would probably need a rental car since the hotel's shuttle may not accomodate ECVs.

03-14-2001, 09:59 AM
Wow! You all are really helpful. Thank-you for all the advice. I will put it to good use. I am spending an obscene amount of time planning this trip. My husband says it's the only thing that keeps me going some days. I still need to know if we should bother with Disney Quest since my husband cannot use his hands very well. I have been reading about the GACs and I am getting a little worried. I know we are not a special case, but I was hoping that we could cut our time standing in line just a little because he might wear out so fast. Now I am reading it can actually take longer- I guess we'll just be grateful for any accomodation. I am trying to prepare our son for the probability that we will have to leave the parks during the day for a nap and earlier in the evening. At least if we are on site, there is still plenty to do while my husband rests, even thought about the Neverland Club.

SueM in MN
03-14-2001, 09:26 PM
He will be able to bring the ecv into the lines, so you won't have to worry about his balance or standing in lines. The extra wait might be so that the CM can slow down the ride for him to board. There are also rules about how many people with mobility/other special needs can be on a ride at once (for safety reasons in case of evacuation).
You can go to Guest Services in any of the parks and make your case for getting a GAC. But your best bet is still to use fastpass (the card will tell you you need to do that anyway).
If you and your son are raring to go, but your husband is getting tired, he could go to First Aide to rest. There is one in each park and they are dim and quiet. I don't think they have reclinerrs, bu they did have comfy looking cahirs and cots and might be able to rig up pillows for him so he can rest reclined. If you had 2 way radios, he cold call you when he is ready to go again and you could come meet him.
If you do decide to go with an offsite hotel because of the recliner that someone mentioned, keep in mind that the pieces of an ecv might be bulky and heavy for you to get in the car by yourself. I think someone posted that the largest piece is about 30 pounds, but 30 pounds is a lot if you are not used to lifting.

SueM in MN
Co-Moderator of disABILITIES (http://wdwinfo.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?q=Y&a=frm&s=40009993&f=38009194)