View Full Version : whats your BEST tip for going to WDW w a disABILITY?

05-14-2000, 09:39 AM
I remember there being a post similar to this a while back...b4 the DIS transfer....
so now I ask again

Whats your BEST tip for going to WORLD that may others??

Let 'er RIP!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Wheelsie /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
EMAIL ME!!! I know you want to ROFL

SueM in MN
05-14-2000, 10:00 AM
This was a thread I was really sorry we lost during the great pruning of the boards. The new boards won't get pruned (barring unforseen technical difficulties), so what we write should stay this time.
My best hint is LOTS of sunscreen. The upper thighs of most people don't get baked in the sun very often. If you are ambulatory, the are not facing the sun, so they don't usually get burnt. Even people who use wheelchairs full time, aren't often out all day in the sun.
I found out from experience with my daughter that you can get your thighs burnt very bad, very quickly, even on overcast days.

SueM in MN
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05-14-2000, 10:38 AM
Well, My first tip is to read these boards! If you all remember, when I was planning our trip, I was very hesistant about going and you all convinced me to go!


also....PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!

use an ECV if needed and don't worry about looking different! Everyone is so busy having fun that you just blend in!
Re: your resort...talk to special services and get the room you need and want!
Call 5 days out and reconfirm what you requested and then call or fax the day before!
When we got to the CBR...everything was all set...they were all ready for us!

BTW...for those of you going to the CBR....request Martinique bldg.#26...room 2616! it is a great room! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

And, thanks to SueM's tip: the suntan lotion on the thighs is a must! I never would have thought of that and I avoided a major sunburn, thanks to Sue!~:)

Sorry for rambling on.....guess I'll leave some ideas for you all!



Chuck S
05-14-2000, 11:57 AM
My best tip...for those of you who really can't walk long distances, but are too vain to get a wheelchair or ECV because it'll "make you look old" (and you know who you are /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif ) get one anyway. It is much more comfortable for everyone in your party and you'll all have a much better time!!!!

DVC '92 (OKW)

05-14-2000, 05:59 PM
I found that bringing along a stadium cushion from home was useful in helping make the seat of the rental wheelchair more comfortable. My spouse also found using the fingerless, padded gloves that bicyclists use helped him avoid any blisters from pushing me in the wheelchair.

And my absolute best tip is to share the joy and excitement that I feel at being at such a magical place with everyone I come into contact with. Not only does it help make the trip more magical, it also seems to encourage others to act the same way.:


Chuck S
05-15-2000, 07:44 AM
Figaro, One question...Did your husband's hand get hot and uncomfortable in those gloves? You can e-mail me the reply, if you like. iowndvc@axs4u.net


DVC '92 (OKW)

05-15-2000, 10:08 AM
Our best tip...patience, patience, and more patience. We went in November of '99 and had a great time. Even my husband, who's in a wheelchair, had a great time. We kept our disability guides handy and made use of a lot of CMs by asking very detailed questions on how loading/unloading procedures worked for a person with no use of their legs. Some were even willing to show me the ride loading area so I could judge for him what he'd be able to do. For those rides he couldn't do, he was perfectly happy finding a spot to sit and people watch while we rode.

He wheels himself in his own chair and also uses the fingerless bicylist gloves that Figaro mentioned in her note. Great protection against blisters and dirty hands - but we always bring wipes just in case! Chuck S - my hubby does not complain about the gloves being hot, but he uses them a lot. I would say they might become a little bothersome if you're not used to wearing gloves when it's warm out.

The back of his chair serves as a great place to hang a back-pack. Just slip the shoulder straps over the grips on the back of the wheelchair. When we were all able to go on a ride, I grabbed the back-pack and took it with me.

Since it was crowded when we were there, I found myself running interference for him through the crowds. I stayed right in front of him to work ourselves through the crowds and he didn't have to worry about running into anyone but me - LOL! Our daughter (8) usually just hung onto his chair when navigating the crowds.

SueM in MN
05-15-2000, 10:20 AM
Wheelcahirsd make great pack animals. On our last trip we had 2 backpacks on my daughter's wheelchair. One had items she'd need for the bathroom (a change of clothes for emergency, wipes, etc.). That backpack was fairly flat because it didn't have much in it and we left that one on the wheelchair when we were in rides. The other backpack had all our other junk in it and we usually brought that in the rides. Unless you are carrying REALLY heavy things, a backpack won't increase the work of whoever is pushing the chair that much. We also have a small bag (actually a purse) atacked with a velcro strap under her seat for small things.
That makes me think of something else.... if you don't have antitipper bars, or if you leave them up most of the time, remember to put them down so the weight of the backpack doesn't tip the wheelchair when you get out.c

SueM in MN
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05-15-2000, 01:22 PM
Alright guys.... lets keep this thread alive... I know that there are more than 8 tips out there to share with others LOL /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Keep 'em Comin /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Wheelsie /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
EMAIL ME!!! I know you want to ROFL

05-15-2000, 02:38 PM
In my case it was plan - just like other people! My DS is now 9, and just about anyone can push him in his stroller / chair (Convaid)...so we all took turns!

I got the guides early into the planning portion of the trip and decided what he would enjoy, and what he wouldn't be able to ride on, and we worked around that. Those were our "Bibles" for the trip.

The ambulatory adventurers got to do a bit more - and I would stay with my son. During those times - he would have a food and drink break - and maybe get to sit on my lap and hug for a bit! I think we all had fun and no one felt held back.

I think this time, I will get him better sunglasses! This time with elastic bands - he kept knocking his others off! And this time, I will make sure I am ready when the characters pay extra attention to him - and get the good pictures!

I will also avoid being anywhere inside the park during the fireworks - it was miserable trying to manouver him around in the crowd. This year, it's an Illuminations Cruise for us!


PS - Diaper changes were very inconvenient - any ideas re: this? We normally would go back to the resort for lunch, but a few days we stayed in the parks...

05-15-2000, 03:44 PM
Valet parking is free in Downtown Disney with a handicap parking pass

05-15-2000, 05:25 PM
I remembered one of the prior tips - flashlights or luminescent bracelets around the ankles of the seated person! I can't wait to use this one!

And I forgot to mention - in our case we took frozen water bottles -and our special ez to use sippy cups....


05-15-2000, 10:23 PM
Gosh, I made a file of those hints but it is on the other computer, which is dead alng with my high-speed ISDN line...
or lumi bracelets on seated person's ankles,
gloves (no they are not too hot if they are cloth or perforated leather),
UMBRELLA for instant shade,
mister fan with wide mouth opening for ice,
maps and guidebooks used ahead of time to plan logistics,
use 2-way radios if you plan to split up at all,
DIAPER CHANGES on big kids and older- MY favorite topic... use the handi-accessible stall if available and nobody else is needing it, or go to the companion-assist bathroom if available... but to tell the truth we have on occasion managed just fine in a quiet outside corner, using the umbrella as a screen and working fast. If the bathroom floor is wet, or dirty, and the changing area is too small or dangerous - you gotta do what you gotta do. Can't risk diaper rash because it causes irritation which causes behavior meltdowns.

SueM in MN
05-16-2000, 04:05 AM
A hint for fireworks, etc. Wait 10 or 15 minutes until the crowd clears. We used to think we needed to get out quickly to "beat the crowd", but all we were doing was getting in the middle of it. If you wait an extra few minutes, the crowd thins pretty quickly. You can make your way in comfort and not get back to your room that much later. At Epcot, we didn't even realize their are moving sparkeles of light under the sidewalks in the area between the huge fountain and Spaceship Earth. We came when it was still light and with the crowds going out, you didn't even see them.Î

SueM in MN
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05-16-2000, 04:42 AM
Along with the sunscreen on the thighs I brings a towel to cover my legs. I also need my glassses but found driving the ECV and trying to switch from sun to reg lens when going from bright sun to darken areas a problem. Some one suggested wearing both on two eyeglass chains but I found flip up clip-on easier for me. Maybe not the most fashionable but I'm happy.
Last but not least bring a sense of humor.

DVC 8/98
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05-16-2000, 11:08 AM
RE: Diaper Changes: The baby care stations are a great place to do this if the child is not too big. Their changing tables are very large and clean and padded all over. We used the stations for our five-year-old, but I believe they could accommodate a larger child too. They aren't private, though, maybe 4 tables in one room. If your child is modest, one person could hold up an umbrella or something to provide more privacy.

05-16-2000, 02:39 PM
Thanks for the tips on diapers and parades... I will check out the baby area - we aren't proud - just tired..(who remembers Arlo Guthrie?)

anyway - as long as my boy is comfy, then I am happy!

SueM in MN
05-16-2000, 05:48 PM
Best kept secret of WDW is the First Aid Stations.
They are cool,dim and quiet, have a wheelchair accessible bathroom and also have cots which could probably be used to change a child too big for a changing table.
They are a great place to go and lay down for a few minutes if your body needs a quick re-charge. Also good for stretching and doing range of motion after a long morning or just to get your weight off your butt for a little while. You don't have to be sick to use it. The nurses there would rather have you come in for a while to avoid heat exhaustion than to have to treat you for it later.Î

SueM in MN
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05-20-2000, 07:12 PM
Well, I'm not paralysed or anything but I do have a disability. I am half blind, so I'm in the same boat as all of you, kinda. My biggest tip is just go and have fun despite what your disability is. I am not able to do a lot of things, like enjoy 3-d attractions because I don't have to ability to see out of both eyes like most people, but I do have fun trying to compensate with my disability. well enough of that, I gotta go find some topics concerning blindness. Talk to you later.



SueM in MN
05-21-2000, 05:50 AM
No one specified what kind of disability we were talking about here, so whatever you have to work with is fine to post here.
Another hint: get a Guidebook for Guests with Disabilities. There is one for each park and you can pick them up at Guest Services or call WDW and ask for them to be sent to you. They have limited (very limited) information about the rides, but they are the best info that is available. You can also follow this link http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/disabmain.htm (I hope it works) to the text of these pamphlets on the DIS site. If it doesn't work, go to www.wdwinfo.com (http://www.wdwinfo.com) and under the heading "Theme Parks", look for Disability information.

SueM in MN
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05-21-2000, 06:47 PM
I don't remember who told me this but it was about the POKE-talk about pokemon and conserving energy. It was the one thing that got thru to my son about using a wheelchair. Whoever said it please post it again. I think it would make other kids feel good about having to use a chair also.
Also thanks about the info about the first-aid station. Joshua has to do range of motion stretches at least 3 times a day or he is so stiff he can't sit up so we will be using them for sure so I can strech him out.

ANOTHER TIP!!! If you need a straw for your drink at Animal Kingdom BRING YOUR OWN they don't have them but they do have the cute disney ones to buy.

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Tiger Fan
05-22-2000, 05:16 PM
Thanks so much for the great tips. We planned our trip last fall and I was just in March diagnosed with breast cancer. This was a big shock for us as I am only 30 years old with a 3 year old daughter. I have just completed my 3rd round of chemo and while this trip was before the most exciting thing for us, we now worry about it being a good time. These tips help me feel better about our decision to go ahead and go. Thank you all.

05-22-2000, 06:18 PM
Hi CMC - good move in making sure you follow up surgery with chemo. My dear sister is a survivor - my sister-in-law says taking the chemo really does make a difference.

SueM - I heard something earlier on this board - about people who go to Disney that have had recent medical problems - did you ever hear anything more about that? CMC sure sounds like a good candidate for whatever programs the World has to offer!

Good luck CMC and think happy thoughts - medical science is really coming around to taking better care of us women.


05-23-2000, 05:27 PM
Get the Assistance pass and use it. Keep the disabled person out of the hot sun as much as possible. Keep in mind that the visitor in the wheelchair has a different view than the rest of us. slow down--let people who want to move fast go around you while you enjoy the little things around you. Take advantage of the special sitting for parades and shows. WDW is the best vacation pick for anyone with a disibility-the cast members are so thoughtful. Don't let anyone ruin your day--we don't know what might be just around the river bend in anyone elses life. Make sure the disabled person has identification in case of an emergency. Bring plenty of meds and medical supplies. Make lots of memories.

11-21-2000, 12:54 PM
another good one to bump! Can you tell I am avoiding packing? ;)



11-25-2000, 06:54 PM
Attach the flashers that runners clip on to the back of the electric wheelchair or EMV.

Cup with a handle and lid to put your drinks in. Drivng with one hand and having an open drink in the other is looking for a spill. Get some plastic tubing for a straw. Cut to a comfortable length. add a clip and you can clip it to your collar and just turn your head for a sip.

Don't forget to put lotion on the tops of your feet as well as the thighs.

Back pack attached to the back of chair for needs and rain gear.

Wear a hat! ;)


01-14-2001, 10:00 PM

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

01-20-2001, 04:55 PM
I guess my best tip would be to schedule rest time when planning. We like to go to each parks EE day then go back to our hotel for rest when the park gets too crowded (usually lunch time) We go to a different park in the afternoon for the parade or for fireworks. The afternoon rest gives my ds the rest he needs so he doesn't get over stimulated. Remember your limits!
Make priority seating arrangements. We make at least one PS a day. This way we are sure to eat at least one decent meal a day.
Remember everyone is there for the same reason. We are all supposed to be having fun. Don't let any stares, comments, mishaps, anything bring you down. (Even if your ds has gotten his sticky lollipop caught in the hair of the poor lady sitting next to you waiting for the MM parade.)

01-21-2001, 03:50 PM
I think probably the best tip I would have is to be patient with the able bodied people that give you problems. They have never been in your shoes and won't get it until something happens to them that makes them see the light. ;)


01-23-2001, 04:32 PM
My advice is that you plan ahead, know where the first aid center is in every park. Our son is a paraplegic and can get hot quickly. The nurses were very helpful supplying us with cold wet towels for him. We now bring faceclothes which we wet at waterfountains to put around his neck. We take a break around lunchtime and go back to the resort for a swim. Get a CMs attention when you get to each attraction. For the fireworks at Epcot we found that the wheelchair zones were extremely crowded. We usually watch in front of Norway ( great view no trees ) and afterwards we go have a nice desert at the bakery in Norway or the Fountain view cafe while the crowd leaves.

01-25-2001, 02:03 PM
Yea! You guys are great! I never even thought about the First Aid Station. That REALLY got my attention. When Katie was smaller, I would just go ahead and use the accessible stall in the regular restrooms. On our last 2 trips, we used the companion restrooms and my husband would help with the lifting. Geeze, I thought the companion restrooms were a God-send, but to access the First Aid Station every so often would be a big help.

What helped me the most on every trip was PLANNING. Obviously, the first trip was a shot in the dark, but once I had one trip under my belt, I became "Super Planner--leaps small carry-ons in a single bound." I drove everyone NUTS! But the planning ahead payed off. We knew ahead of time the locations of all of the companion restrooms in each park. Then we planned our day around these locations. I planned for "rest stops" mid-morning and mid-afternoon. We also used the double backpack routine. Be sure to use one that isn't too large. We took an extra large backpack with wheels and a telescoping handle one year. It was great, BUT it was sooooo long, we kept kicking it as we took turns pushing the chair. After awhile, it gets REALLY annoying not only for the person kicking it, but also for Katie! She got a little nudge every time we took a step!

The parades were another story. We finally succumbed to the fact that we would have to carve out extra time prior to the parade specifically to find the best place to sit--shaded areas and areas that were narrow enough that the most they could cram in there would be a front row of those who use wheelchairs and a row behind them of family members. We would buy an extra large something to drink and stake out our spot.

The best way for us to manuver the crowds after the fireworks shows was to move out of the way and wait a few minutes for the crowds to clear. At the MK, we would duck into a shop or sit on a bench for awhile. THEN we would take our time leaving the park. At EPCOT, we would watch the fireworks somewhere near Italy. When it was over, we simply waited about 10 or 15 minutes, then we'd "lolly-gag". We were always among the very last people to leave the park! It was my favorite time of the trip. I think the World Showcase is so beautiful at night.

Fortunately, we had the luxury of renting an accessible van on each of our trips. It helped to take some the stress off by not using the transportation system. I know that it's expensive and not always an option, but if you can work it into the budget, it helps. Our next trip will be one of those "bare basics" trips. So, there won't be any rental vans in the budget!

03-11-2001, 09:39 PM
bump for new people :)

03-14-2001, 01:39 PM
we have a son with autism age 7 going to be 8 real soon......the tips i have is that if you can go during least crowed season of the year....plus when the weather is not to hot.....johnathan hates very hot and humid weather.....we allso use his very specail stroller........we allso have to bring his food down to wdw becouse they do not sell weaver chicken tenders down in florida....and takes alot of breaks.....one thing i allso learn that if we are at a charecter meal we tell the person waiting on us that our son has autism and has trouble waiting for thing the charecter will come to our table very quickly so that johnathan does not go crazy.......allso our disabilities card say that our stroller is being used as a wheelchair so the stroller can go anywhere that a wheelchair can go....plus the disabilities card say that he has autism also so we can get on ride without to much wait with johnathan......makes his life a whole lot easerly...........well that is it...i can not think of anymore.....tammie :D ;) :) :cool:

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