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View Full Version : D.M.E. and help person w disability


LindaBabe
01-02-2009, 07:33 AM
Sorry if these questions have been asked before - I admit to having failed to read the 55 pages of magical express thread.

I will be alone and only be using DME returning to the airport. I have a mobility impairment that necessitates use of a cane, leaving only one hand free for my roll on, and obviously none for luggage. My airline is Southwest, which is not one of the ones that accepts luggage directly from Disney.

First - do all the dme buses have as many steps as the one in the photo? (Old lady wondering how she is going to get herself up there, if that's true)

Second - how can I go about arranging for a sky cap to meet my bus? I'm going to need more help than just being dropped at curbside.

I'm really in a panic about this and I haven't even left for the world yet. Unless I can get it sorted out, it's going to color my whole month in Florida grey, worrying about getting to the plane home.

Thank you for your good advice!

seashoreCM
01-02-2009, 08:18 AM
At least a day before checkout, ask for a bus time back to the airport 4 hours before flight time instead of the usual 3. THis request is always granted.

Yes the DME buses have more steps than city buses. They are "sightseeing" or "Greyhound style" buses and the passenger compartment is higher off the ground.

As far as I know, there are skycaps there (where the bus lets off) but not all the time.

There was a story some months ago about someone who had difficulty climbing stairs who tore his pants going to the upper deck of a 747 (plane). I mentioned the story to a friend who is similarly disabled, suggesting that he should take his time and he would not tear his pants. (hint hint).

crashbb
01-02-2009, 08:24 AM
You might want to try also posting this in the DISabilities board, as people there are likely to have had experience with this. I know that there are buses with wheelchair lifts, but I'm not sure if there are any with ramps or something that you can walk up.

CarolA
01-02-2009, 08:26 AM
There was a story some months ago about someone who had difficulty climbing stairs who tore his pants going to the upper deck of a 747 (plane). I mentioned the story to a friend who is similarly disabled, suggesting that he should take his time and he would not tear his pants. (hint hint).

WHAT???:confused3 Does this have any relevance?
Anyway to the OP.

1. DME does have accessible buses. You might want to call them, explain your issues and see what they recommend.

2. Generally skycaps are "lurking" around the drop off area looking for "customers" I don't think you need 4 hours!:confused3 It's not going to take an extra hour to get a skycap! If they aren't already "lurking" looking for tips the DME staff will call one, but my bet's on "lurking" LOL! They know that folks will be getting off the bus carrying thier life possessions and 10 Disney shopping bags. TIPS!

You should be fine! Have a great trip!

clkelley
01-02-2009, 10:10 AM
I would still recommend the four hours and request a bus with a lift for your return. Even though you don't have a chair. If a bus shows up without a lift and it turns out you can't manage the stairs, then there is time for them to dispatch a bus with a lift and you can ride the lift onto the bus, then sit in a regular seat.

clkelley
01-02-2009, 10:12 AM
Also, put this number into your cell phone:

1-407-825-2001. This is the main number of Orlando International Airport. If you are dropped at level 1 and there are no skycaps "lurking" then call that number and see if the operator can have a skycap dispatched down there.

I was in a similar situation several years ago traveling alone with an ECV using Southwest. I had my carryons plus my checked luggage. Fortunately, there was a skycap available, but I had the number just in case I needed to find one, as I couldn't "leave my luggage" to go track one down.

LindaBabe
01-02-2009, 11:33 AM
Thanks, folks! I really appreciate the information. I *will* go slow up the steps AND program in that phone number. The 4 hour advance, I'll have to think about. I just LOVE hanging about in airports, lol.

goofieslonglostsis
01-02-2009, 12:59 PM
If you think the steps (photos of it are posted on the disABILITIES board) will be a problem, please let DME know you'll need an accessible bus. These busses have a lift on the end at the right side. If that would be easier for you, you are free to use that based on your need.

I have done WDW solo and with others, always used DME. I use a powerchair and drag along a manual chair. Combine that with the carry on luggage, suitcase and bag of wheelchair and medical stuff and you've got A LOT of stuff. ;) Especially when you know I should not handle my own luggage because of the 'weigth'. Anyway; I've run into one situation of there not being any sky cap when the DME arrived. But than again, before I finally got of the bus, the bus driver had flagged one down for me. You know, if you worry about this one, just ask for help. Too many people would not mind helping you flag down a sky cap. Combine that with having the proper phone numbers and you should be fine.

IlovePiglet
01-03-2009, 01:52 PM
Due to insurance and safety regulations DME drivers cannot use the wheelchair lift as an elevator unless you are actually in a wheelchair.
Just take your time and ask the driver to assist you.
The extra hour is a good suggestion as well. You can always grab a bite to eat in the food court before heading to your gate once you've checked your luggage.

SueM in MN
01-03-2009, 02:52 PM
Due to insurance and safety regulations DME drivers cannot use the wheelchair lift as an elevator unless you are actually in a wheelchair.
Just take your time and ask the driver to assist you.
The extra hour is a good suggestion as well. You can always grab a bite to eat in the food court before heading to your gate once you've checked your luggage.
Is this something new?
People have posted that they stood on the lift in the past and there are instructions on the lift itself for using for a standing passenger.
I know they will not let a standing person ride on the lift with the wheelchair, but they have used it for people who could not climb the steps in the past.

The steps are very steep and if someone is concerned about being able to get up them, I would suggest calling DME to discuss the options (which might include dispatching a van if the lift is not able to be used without a wheelchair). Within the ADA, they would need to come up with some reasonable accommodation for you if your disability prevents you from being able to climb the steep steps to get onto the bus.

Here is a picture of the steps (it's also posted in the disABILITIES FAQs thread). http://photopost.wdwinfo.com/data/747/2590PC290219-med.JPG
The steps are steep, fairly narrow and there is not much room for anyone to assist. I also suspect that the bus drivers would not be able to physically assist some (in the same way that ride CMs are not allowed to physically assist other than small ways, like holding a cane, etc.)
It might be possible to use the handrail to pull oneself into the bus, but you are still left with the problem of whether or not you would be able to negotiate the steps to get out.

LindaBabe
01-03-2009, 09:37 PM
Yes, That was the photo that roused my concern in the first place! I have plenty of trouble with the two on most Disney buses (unless they're kneelers).

IlovePiglet
01-04-2009, 09:03 AM
Unless our company policy has changed the lift has never supposed to have been used this way. It's a safety issue.

seashoreCM
01-04-2009, 10:41 AM
Okay, okay, if four hours before flight time is outrageous, then how about 3-1/2? :)

Hint about getting off the bus.( Face up the stairs) and come down backwards.

Helping people who are infirm is touchy. Some folks really want to do things on their own and for some folks, even with a wide stairway, it is not possible to help without touching the person in ways that are almost unsavory.

Isn't the question of someone on the lift but not in a wheelchair limited to not having two people on the lift (one seated) and causing an overload?

IlovePiglet
01-04-2009, 11:06 AM
No, because when a chair is being loaded or unloaded the only person on the lift is the person in the wheelchair.
The driver is outside the bus operating the controls to raise and lower the lift. The lift isn't even big enough to accomodate a chair and a person (unless it's a child's chair).

SueM in MN
01-04-2009, 01:29 PM
Okay, okay, if four hours before flight time is outrageous, then how about 3-1/2? :)

Hint about getting off the bus.( Face up the stairs) and come down backwards.
That would depend on the person. For some people, that may be safer. For other people, it may be more dangerous.
Helping people who are infirm is touchy. Some folks really want to do things on their own and for some folks, even with a wide stairway, it is not possible to help without touching the person in ways that are almost unsavory.
The problem comes that most people have not been trained in assisting someone and may not know how to do it in a way that is safe for themself and the person they are assisting. Properly trained people can assist without being 'almost unsavory'.
Because people with disabilities have different ways they need to do things, it's not possible to come up with 'one way' that will always work for everyone.
Isn't the question of someone on the lift but not in a wheelchair limited to not having two people on the lift (one seated) and causing an overload?
No.
As was already mentioned, the lift on the DME buses is large enough for a wheelchair, but not for someone else to stand there.
Also, the DME bus lift goes up very high, so I can see that having a standing person on it would be much more of a concern than on the regular WDW park/resort buses. Here is a picture of the lift in the fully raised position:
http://photopost.wdwinfo.com/data/500/2590PC290222-med.JPG
As you can see, it is very high.

SueM in MN
01-04-2009, 01:32 PM
Unless our company policy has changed the lift has never supposed to have been used this way. It's a safety issue.
thanks for the information.
Do you happen to know what the procedure is for someone who is not using a wheelchair, but doesn't feel they can go up the steps?

Do they keep a wheelchair at the DME area for people to ride up on?
I have heard of people doing that too, but don't know if that is policy or there just happened to be a wheelchair there at the time and someone decided it would work.
What about at the resorts; getting off the bus and back on for the trip back to the airport?

clkelley
01-04-2009, 06:39 PM
Here is a suggestion. Most of the Disney resorts have a few manual wheelchairs on hand. Tell your resort that you need to borrow one to board the DME bus. Once you board on the Disney wheelchair, it can ride the lift down by itself and bell services will probably return it for you.

While you are on your way to the airport, call the MCO phone number and tell them that you are arriving by DME and need wheelchair assistance on the 1st floor. Then their empty wheelchair can ride the lift up and you can ride it down.

That's about all I can think of, if you are not allowed to use the lift without a chair.

Another thing you could do is tell them plain and simply that you cannot board the DME bus, and perhaps they'll send you in a cab or van.

seashoreCM
01-04-2009, 10:22 PM
Another thing you could do is tell them plain and simply that you cannot board ...
I don't like this one.

I would prefer to just keep trying to get on up front, asking for help if needed. They won't give up even if they have to let you sit on the wheelchair platform or they'll be the ones suggesting getting you a cab and then you ask for cab fare.

Tozzie
01-05-2009, 12:14 AM
Sorry if these questions have been asked before - I admit to having failed to read the 55 pages of magical express thread.

I will be alone and only be using DME returning to the airport. I have a mobility impairment that necessitates use of a cane, leaving only one hand free for my roll on, and obviously none for luggage. My airline is Southwest, which is not one of the ones that accepts luggage directly from Disney.

First - do all the dme buses have as many steps as the one in the photo? (Old lady wondering how she is going to get herself up there, if that's true)

Second - how can I go about arranging for a sky cap to meet my bus? I'm going to need more help than just being dropped at curbside.

I'm really in a panic about this and I haven't even left for the world yet. Unless I can get it sorted out, it's going to color my whole month in Florida grey, worrying about getting to the plane home.

Thank you for your good advice!

I know I have seen skycaps hovering around the buses when they pull in but in the event there aren't any around are you able to get around if you used one of the smarte cart luggage carts? The reason I ask is that they have them about ten feet from where DME drops you off and if someone could help you put your luggage on that you could lean on it as you walk. Just a thought in case there are no skycaps.

peemagg
01-05-2009, 12:27 AM
As far as getting up the steps goes, is there a possibility of being able to handle them if someone goes up ahead of you backwards? I was thinking that if they went up backwards and you held their hands then they could kind of pull to help you. The extra pulling power might be just enough as long as it was done in a slow, step by step method.