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Disneylvr
12-29-2008, 02:43 PM
We have a new Maclaren Major Elite for DD with autism. We always drive to the parks, fold the stroller and use the trams or monorail. We are thinking about trying the Disney buses for the first time with DD but are unsure. Our new stroller folds but it is pretty big and heavy. I also don't know how DD will be on a crowded Disney bus... Is it possible to allow DD to stay in her stroller on the bus and board as a wheelchair passenger or is that only reserved for those with true physical disabilities? Thanks in advance!

goofieslonglostsis
12-29-2008, 03:20 PM
I can't comment on the rules or how it tends to be dealt with, but would want to say one thing; think about safety. Find out if the stroller would actually be safe to transport her in when using public transport. What if the driver has to hit the breaks or worse?

Unless the stroller actually has a safety label for this type of usage, I would not let any of my loved ones stay in any such stroller or wheelchair. You don't even want to know how quickly things can turn very ugly if an aid isn't safe when it comes to this. Of course, using the bus and not have her stay in the stroller also has some safety risks associated with it, but I personally would rather take that risk than letting stay someone put.

Disneylvr
12-29-2008, 03:32 PM
The wheels have a lock like a wheelchair and I thought they strapped wheelchairs in? Maybe this can't be done with a stroller, but this a special needs stroller meant for older children with disabilities. Yes it can be folded but not with the footrest which would have to be removed and carried. I think I can already tell the buses are not going to be an option for us. There is no way we are are going to carry a 17 pound stroller, a 45 pound kid, the stroller footrest and our backpack and be comfortable on a Disney bus. Of well, it was just a thought. The bus seemed like the best option on the night we want to stay late at MK for Spectromagic since we are staying at CBR.

goofieslonglostsis
12-29-2008, 04:14 PM
They do strap wheelchairs, yes. However, that does not make a wheelchair safe either. It's a combination of factors. Some wheelchairs simply will never be safe as soon as something happens. And even if one is 'safe', the whole safety purpose is totally down the drain if there isn't a proper seatbelt in there. For those using a powerchair the belts on the busses tend to be OK (although not for all powerchairs), but for ECV's, lower manual chairs and strollers, that wont be the case for most. Don't know if you've ever seen how high those belts are in the bus? Totally too high to safely strap any kid in a stroller down using the 3-way. One can opt for only the lapbelt, but that also would have the downside of it not being the true safe way.

I don't know your daugther and how 'easy' or 'difficult' she would be to manage in a regular seat, which of course would also influence overal safety. Only you can make the decision which out of the two is the safest option for her. I personally use disney transport all the time, no rental car will do that. ;) I will stay put in my powerchair, not in my manual. I know that I am less safe in the manual chair (never mind having a lapbelt or not) than I would be in a regular seat if there is a sudden break. For me personally it is safer to stay in the powerchair belted in. However, when using own transportation I do not stay put in the chair. Never mind it being crashtested and the van fitting all regulations, it still is recommended to transfer as long as one can due to safety reasons. It all comes down to making your own judgement of what is the safest option fitting her needs, your families needs and/or desires etc. There is no real black and white in this, but seeing how often safety is totally overlooked I just wanted to mention the whole thing.

About carrying the stroller, a lot of that can be prevented. I would opt for using the wheelchair line and when the driver pulls up to quickly explain things. If seen A LOT of drivers being totally OK with parents with strollers using the back entrance. Explain the need and I don't think most would have a problem with you using the ramp where need be. In that situation, you could get her on the bus in her stroller and transfer her to a seat next to you once on the bus.

One thing I noticed a couple of smart dads do; store the stroller underneath the 3seats-benches. Note to that is that they aren't on each type of bus and 2 of them could be stowed to tie down wheelchairs. However as long as the bench is used for seating space, it also is THE perfect spot to put a stroller beneath. Sit yourself down on a seat above it and you can control the stroller during the drive with one or if need be two legs. That parent now ends up with 2 free hands they can use to hold on to kid where need be. :) Don't know exactly how high that space is, but it is more spacious than having to take the stroller on the bus 'standing'. Maybe it would even fit with the footrest still on there?

Look, if it is too much of a unclimable mountain, have them tie down the stroller. But I would personally take daughter out of her stroller and trust myself more to hold onto her if there is a sudden break than her being in there with none or only the strapping systems for 'walking' usage.

Bus after Spectromagic to CBR? Hmm, you sure know how to temp faith. :) If you would try the bus, do it at a slow time like noon or something. This way, you wont feel so watched or need to rush to try things out. If she does have a meltdown or anything, oh well the bus will probably be empty anyway. (read; also less triggers)

I love CBR. One of the aspects I like about it, is there low number of accessible rooms and how people tend to hate it as soon as they have any mobility problem. Which to me means; relatively less other wheelchairs and strollers around and thus more chance of me not having to wait for another bus if there are already 2 wheelchairs/ecv's on there or people in front of me. But to be honest? Taking the bus back around closure time for a park, especially after Spectromagic, Illuminations, Wishes etc. ..... well, that is a bit crowded. Even during the very slow days of September, I never once was on a bus back at that time of day that did not have people standing on it. Most of the times I had people more or less trying to be IN my chair, so many were standing.

Not a situation that might be the greatest for your daugther, especially after spending time at a park and probably having used up energy and 'tolerancelevels'. But, I do not know her and could be VERY wrong.

goofieslonglostsis
12-29-2008, 04:16 PM
Hmm, just popped up;

what about using the busses during the slow times (as in not too much around opening or closing times and not during peak attandence time) and get a taxi back at moments like after Spectromagic? It's not free, but the price does seem fair and it does add the comfort of no delays or crowds and extra triggers. Or will the stroller be a problem for some of the taxi trunks and would you need to get in a larger car or even van?

Disneylvr
12-29-2008, 04:28 PM
I haven't been on a Disney bus for years because quite honestly, I myself don't like how they pack guests on them like sardines during the busy hours of the day. When we are in crowded situations, it is best that Madelyn is secured in her stroller because she is an elopement risk. Madelyn can break away from us and be gone in a split second and she has no fear of anything or anyone. 99% of the time of the time she will cooperate, hold our hand and stay with us but her escapes happen without any notice. In crowded Disney situations, when we are not in a restaurant, in the pool or actually on an attraction, she is strapped in her stroller for her safety. Her safety on transporation is just as important and I have seen wheelchairs roll if they aren't secured properly. I believe we will just do what we always do, drive to the TTC, briefly fold the stroller for the tram ride and take the monorail or boat to MK. I wish we could of stayed at the Poly again, but it wasn't in our budget for this vacation. We may have to skip Spectromagic as I don't want to get in to a nightmare situation at MK.

Disneylvr
12-29-2008, 04:30 PM
Hmm, just popped up;

what about using the busses during the slow times (as in not too much around opening or closing times and not during peak attandence time) and get a taxi back at moments like after Spectromagic? It's not free, but the price does seem fair and it does add the comfort of no delays or crowds and extra triggers. Or will the stroller be a problem for some of the taxi trunks and would you need to get in a larger car or even van?

The stroller should fit in a full size car trunk. We will have a rental, an Impala or similar size. I drive an Impala myself and the stroller, when folded, fits just fine in the trunk. Thanks for all your information and advice!

Mary976
12-29-2008, 04:41 PM
Someone (likely Sue or CheshireFigment) will know about the bus rules for sure, but I believe there are some special needs strollers where the child is NOT allowed to remain in the stroller while on the bus, for safety reasons. I have heard several times that you can use the wheelchair ramp/loading procedures for getting the stroller on, though, so that may come in handy. I would also second the advice about doing a trial run during a slow time of day.

Good luck!
Mary

Schmeck
12-29-2008, 04:47 PM
If the stroller is safe to be used as a seat on the bus, tied into the wheelchair spot, it should have the tie down spots indicated on it, or at least they should be noted in the manual. If there aren't any markings, then it most likely isn't made to be used that way and is unsafe for such use.

Cheshire Figment
12-29-2008, 04:59 PM
I'm sending a copy of this thread over to the Transportation Forum. Several of the regulars there are or have been bus drivers at WDW and may be able to provide an answer. So I would suggest looking in that forum in addition to this one for answers.

Chip 'n Dale Express
12-29-2008, 06:07 PM
My 2 cents...

For the purposes of riding the bus, a stroller can be treated as a wheelchair, and board through the rear doors and be strapped in. Please understand that many drivers will not know that it is a special needs stroller, and will need to be informed that it is being used as a wheelchair.

If the stroller/wheelchair is to remain open, it must be tied down. Strollers that are not designed for this purpose can get accidentally damaged by the securment straps. Also, there is a 3 point safety belt that will need to get attached.

All that said...... it's much safer, quicker, and easier to fold the stroller, and take a regular seat if possible.

Disneylvr
12-29-2008, 06:41 PM
Thanks Chip n Dale! I now know our options. I think we will do a test run at off peak time during the day (as suggested by another poster) and see how that goes first before attempting the bus after Spectromagic or park closing.

seashoreCM
12-30-2008, 07:42 AM
But will the driver recognize your stroller's being used as a wheelchair quickly enough to open the back door before others board in front and occupy the wheelchair stationing area?

(copied from another forum) Should Disney Transport start a fad, have the seat bench in the wheelchair area raised until it is known no wheelchair guests will be on that trip and then it is lowered?

MICKEEP
12-30-2008, 08:18 AM
You can go to guest relations and get a special tag that is attached to your stroller that designates it as one that can be left in the open position and strapped in just like a wheelchair or scooter.

That makes things easier but it is not really necessary. Drivers are instructed that if a guest says it is a special stroller, then it is, and they are to treat it as such.

Tissa
12-30-2008, 09:00 AM
Those strollers are not meant to be tied down and used like a wheelchair during transport. It's not safe. They have specific special needs strollers made to be used for transport on busses.

I also have an autistic son and the busses are a no go for him due to all the waiting. He would also freak if he had to stay in his stroller while some stranger stried to strap it down. We always drive our car to the parks for that reason.

Disneylvr
12-30-2008, 09:12 AM
I think we have pretty much decided to skip the buses altogether and drive to the parks like always. The last thing I want to do is hold up a bus and have to explain that we have a special needs stroller..... I also do not want to fold this large stroller up and walk down the narrow bus aisle with it. Have buses changed since I last used them, probably 4 years ago? Are they still using the ones with the rows or are all of them the ones with the seats on the sides and a big open area in the center?

seashoreCM
12-30-2008, 09:28 AM
>>> ... last thing I want to do is hold up a bus ...

There are plenty of good reasons (some mentioned in this thread) for foregoing the buses and renting a car but IMHO holding up a bus is not one of them let alone the last thing.

The new buses (Nova's) have the big open area but some older ones (RTS's) with more steps at the door and narrower aisles are still in service.

Disneylvr
12-30-2008, 10:29 AM
Obviously I am not expressing myself correctly and I apologize. #1 priority is my daughter's safety #2 is her happiness on this trip

Let me re-phrase now that I have read everyone's responses: DD has a special needs stroller, it is larger than a regular stroller and takes up allot of room even when folded. Can we preboard with the wheelchair/ECV guests, transfer her to a seat and then fold and store the stroller before the other guests get on the bus. IF this is not a regular practice at WDW then we understand and will use our car.

goofieslonglostsis
12-30-2008, 11:30 AM
Yes, you should be able to do that. The tag mentioned will take care of any misunderstanding (they sure do look a lot like normal strollers), and with that it is very clear you fit the profile to use this way of loading. However, it can be busy at the bus stops. While the HA loading is a bit away from the regular line, I find it pretty close. You would know best if this could trigger Madelyn. But then again, if it could, you would probably not even try the bus.

Size of the stroller shouldn't matter, as long as it doesn't exceed the max. sizes for the ramps etc. After all, with the tag the stroller now 'becomes' a wheelchair.

I've not only had strollers with the tag in line 'with' me, but enough bus drivers let the other parents with every day stroller use the ramp of the Nova busses or entry through the backdoor to make their life a bit easer.

MICKEEP
12-31-2008, 07:45 AM
Can we preboard with the wheelchair/ECV guests, transfer her to a seat and then fold and store the stroller before the other guests get on the bus. IF this is not a regular practice at WDW then we understand and will use our car.

This is something that you will have no problem doing. Make sure that you are, off to the side, in the area designated for scooters and wheelchairs and that you flag the driver down as he/she approaches the bus stop.

You will never have a problem with the bus drivers doing this, though there may be a few guests who might grumble a little bit.

I still would recommend getting the red tag from Guest services ( I am not sure if you can also get this from the concierge in your hotel lobby or maybe even contact Disney before you go and they can send it or have it available when you check in). Also, you probably should avoid peak travel times, which are the hours near opening and closing

poohbear7
12-31-2008, 03:25 PM
You should have no problems boarding the bus with your daughter in the stroller. We have done this with a special needs child and had no problems the last time was this month. You can use the ramp at the back doors wheel her on put her in a seat and fold up her stroller. Some times they tie the stroller down without the child in the stroller other times we just fold it up. When we get of the bus we are the last to get off and the child gets back in his stroller and we wheel him of the bus. Tell the driver you have a special needs stroller having the red tag lets the driver reaffirm your stroller is special needs. Ours is large for up to a 100 pounds but looks like a regular stroller except it says it a mobility stroller on it.

seashoreCM
12-31-2008, 07:53 PM
Just for information, persons in ordinary wheelchairs and scooters are supposed to get off and sit in a regular bus seat for the ride. Much to the chagrin of other riders. It is safer this way. Of course an exception is made for those unable to do so.

cranbiz
12-31-2008, 09:50 PM
I'm a little late on this one.

Stroller as a wheelchair is allowed on a Disney bus. You will need to get the red tag that hangs on the stroller that identifies the stroller as a wheelchair from guest services. A special needs stroller is built and designed to be secured and they secure just fine. Now some guests try to pawn off a normal stroller and thats when you would be informed that we are not responsible for damages that may occur to the stroller.

Your DD will be allowed to stay in it if you wish, she will need a seat belt of some kind. The built in staps of the stroller are fine, but they will need to be used. You can remove her and use a regular seat if you wish. The stroller will than be strapped in like a wheelchair with 4 straps securing it.

We will load you and the stroller like any other mobility device, you on first and off last. No problems.

dburg30
01-01-2009, 05:46 AM
As others have said, including at least 2 bus drivers, you will be fine. Just to ditto what others have said also, be ready to have at least one person try to direct you that "Strollers have to board with everyone else, and you'll have to fold it". MOST of those people will just be trying to give you a heads up so you dont get 'in trouble' for not following the rules. You will just have to let them know what you are there for and that this stroller is more a wheel chair type device then a simple stroller. It's sad but too many people TRY to take advantage of things sometimes, that it does make people leary when they see someone doing something that looks 'wrong' :).

As someone said, if holding up a bus is your main concern, pfft, dont worry about that. If the safety and comfort and perhaps even the ease of not dealing with the buses is more it, then yes, you may want to use your own transportation or a rental.

Have a magical trip no matter what ;)

SueM in MN
01-01-2009, 12:33 PM
I still would recommend getting the red tag from Guest services ( I am not sure if you can also get this from the concierge in your hotel lobby or maybe even contact Disney before you go and they can send it or have it available when you check in). Also, you probably should avoid peak travel times, which are the hours near opening and closing
You need to get the tag at a park Guest Relations area. You can go to any park and go to Guest Relations either inside or just outside of the parks.
This is not something that you can contact Disney about beforehand.
I'm a little late on this one.

Stroller as a wheelchair is allowed on a Disney bus. You will need to get the red tag that hangs on the stroller that identifies the stroller as a wheelchair from guest services. A special needs stroller is built and designed to be secured and they secure just fine. Now some guests try to pawn off a normal stroller and thats when you would be informed that we are not responsible for damages that may occur to the stroller.

Your DD will be allowed to stay in it if you wish, she will need a seat belt of some kind. The built in staps of the stroller are fine, but they will need to be used. You can remove her and use a regular seat if you wish. The stroller will than be strapped in like a wheelchair with 4 straps securing it.

We will load you and the stroller like any other mobility device, you on first and off last. No problems.
Not all special needs strollers are designed to be 'transport ready'.
There are some that have a 'non-transport' version and also have a 'transport ready' option that adds things like strengthened areas for attaching tiedown straps and also seat belts that would be appropriate for transport.
The information about whether a special needs stroller is "OK" for transport or not would be in the owner's manual and/or the ordering/purchasing information. It's generally a feature that would be a selling point.
Tieing down a special needs stroller that was not designed for this could lead to stroller damage (frame bent) and, yes, I do know someone this happened to, even without an accident.

The stroller the OP has, Maclaren Major Elite, was not designed for transport and should be folded once on the bus.

Disneylvr
01-01-2009, 01:31 PM
Here is a photo of my daughter in the stroller. As you can see it looks like an umbrella type stroller but it is much larger. She loves it and feels very safe and comfortable in it. It also has a 5-point harness which I didn't fasten for this photo.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v216/MadScrapperMom/Stroller.jpg

The footrest has be to removed before the stroller can be folded. When folded it is still very large and heavy which is why we are interesting in pre-boarding the bus if we choose to use it.

Last year we got Madelyn's GAC and pink tag for her old Maclaren at the MK guest relations at City Hall. We plan to do the same thing this year. That tag was wonderful!

OT question....can you tell what TV show we are watching today? LOL!