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PatsMom
05-04-2012, 07:52 AM
Good morning everyone! I am heading to Disney tomorrow. As my signature says, I am not a novice and I think I have most things under control. I've braved the world with diabetes, before, during and after chemo, with various arthritis and joint issues, fibromyalgia, etc. I have always just slowed down when I needed to and been fine walking the parks. My husband and daughter are remarkably patient with me. We know we will be back so we are not commando style tourers.

This trip will be different. My right foot has finally deteriorated to the point where I will need a wheelchair. I debated a long time about this. I have been in a walking "boot" for a week now and the metatarsalgia has not improved. I see the physical therapist today. But the doctor told me yesterday that between the foot problem and my ongoing issues with the ankle that result from shattering the bones a few years ago that I should not plan on walking.

I have my own wheelchair. A gift from my step-daughter. Her father in law used it about twice before he passed away two years ago. It folds. My daughter has created an awesome name label for it with fabric paint! I am just trying to make sure I have everything straight for my first wheelchair trip so I am asking the pros here.

We are flying Southwest. I read the web site and it appears that after I go through security (allowing extra time for the wheelchair and other medical stuff I have with me) I speak with the staff member at the desk near the gate. I don't really need to pre-board as I can walk limited distances in the boot but I am assuming that they will want me to do the medical pre-board. Will the wheelchair be at the gate when we arrive in Orlando or will I have to wait at baggage claim? I know I see them with the stroller sometimes when getting off the plane but I wanted to confirm that they would take it away at the door and magically make it reappear! Do I need to notify the Magical Express people? The wheelchair folds so I am assuming not since it can go under the bus and I don't need any special accommodation.

My husband is calling DVC today to request that we get a ground floor room. Our reservation is Near Hospitality House so I believe there are no elevators in those buildings. If we don't get the request, my daughter will haul the wheelchair up the stairs.

At the parks, we'll get the guidebook for disabilites. I plan to park the wheelchair and walk through most lines - we use Fastpass a lot. For longer lines like the Safari, I plan to park the chair at the stroller parking and walk the rest of the way. I don't need a wheelchair accessible ride vehicle. One ride I have questions on is Pirates - one of our favorites. I've seen folded chairs in the back of boats. Do I just take the chair through the line and have my husband or daughter fold it up at the last minute?

I am not looking forward to experiencing a trip in a wheelchair but I am giving in as gracefully as possible! I don't want my daughter and husband to be miserable because I am miserable and I want my foot to heal. And that won't happen if I don't stay off it! We thought about a scooter but I have no depth perception and I am healing from cataract surgery two weeks ago so my vision is a bit off. My daughter didn't think it would be a good idea to put me in crowds of people with my vision problems and on pain medication as well!

I look forward to any tips people have to share about touring with a wheelchair - I never paid too much attention since it didn't apply to me! I know that I don't need a GAC and one would do me no good since my problem is solely mobility and the cure for that is the chair!

Michigan
05-04-2012, 08:03 AM
On Pirates you stay to the left and take your chair to the boarding area once you are in the boat they will take the chair to the exit area. When you exit the ride before you get to the moving sidewalk hill you will turn left to get to the elevator.

jmartinez1895
05-04-2012, 08:06 AM
I hope that you have a great trip. Southwest is a great airline ( or at least we have always found it to be). You will pre board and leave your chair at the door of the plane. Once you land your chair will be waiting near the door of the plane. We always wait untill most of the people are off the plane before we get up to allow the crew time to pull it out.
Being such short notice the resort may not be able to get you in a ground floor, but as long as they know it is for a medical need they will try their hardest to make it happen.

buffettgirl
05-04-2012, 08:19 AM
Just please please please have fun. :)

Cheshire Figment
05-04-2012, 09:17 AM
Since it is a regular wheelchair, all airlines will have it carried up the stairs right at the end of the jetway. So it will be waiting for you at the door to the plane when you exit.

PatsMom
05-04-2012, 09:30 AM
Thanks everyone! My husband was told that they would try for a ground floor - its not urgent and he made sure to tell them I don't need accessible since I can do limited walking and don't need a roll in shower. Hopefully that will make it easier for them to match us up with a room!

I am really looking forward to this trip. I've had a run of medical bad luck over the last couple of months and I need a break in the sun! I also remembered a black sharpie so that if I run across Mickey Mouse with no line, I can get an autograph on my boot!

BearcatsFan
05-04-2012, 09:45 AM
Have a great trip! :goodvibes

Michigan
05-04-2012, 10:03 AM
You can get a fast pass for Mickey Mouse at Magic Kingdom

PatsMom
05-04-2012, 11:12 AM
You can get a fast pass for Mickey Mouse at Magic Kingdom

I may do that! Since my daughter is 20, we usually wouldn't wait in line for a character, even with a fastpass. We do it when we take grandchildren and nieces. But if I have to wear this boot for a while, it would be cool to have Mickey's autograph on it!

lovethattink
05-04-2012, 11:52 AM
On Pirates you stay to the left and take your chair to the boarding area once you are in the boat they will take the chair to the exit area. When you exit the ride before you get to the moving sidewalk hill you will turn left to get to the elevator.

It's the 2nd queue to the left. The first queue is the portal queue for Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. Several people have followed us pushing ds's medical stroller into the game line not knowing that we were playing a game and not going to ride the attraction.

ttintagel
05-04-2012, 12:21 PM
Sounds like you deserve a vacation after all you've struggled with lately! Enjoy the magic!

SueM in MN
05-04-2012, 11:15 PM
Sorry, I didn’t see this, so you will not see this until you are at WDW.
Good morning everyone! I am heading to Disney tomorrow. As my signature says, I am not a novice and I think I have most things under control. I've braved the world with diabetes, before, during and after chemo, with various arthritis and joint issues, fibromyalgia, etc. I have always just slowed down when I needed to and been fine walking the parks. My husband and daughter are remarkably patient with me. We know we will be back so we are not commando style tourers.

This trip will be different. My right foot has finally deteriorated to the point where I will need a wheelchair. I debated a long time about this. I have been in a walking "boot" for a week now and the metatarsalgia has not improved. I see the physical therapist today. But the doctor told me yesterday that between the foot problem and my ongoing issues with the ankle that result from shattering the bones a few years ago that I should not plan on walking.

I have my own wheelchair. A gift from my step-daughter. Her father in law used it about twice before he passed away two years ago. It folds. My daughter has created an awesome name label for it with fabric paint! I am just trying to make sure I have everything straight for my first wheelchair trip so I am asking the pros here.

We are flying Southwest. I read the web site and it appears that after I go through security (allowing extra time for the wheelchair and other medical stuff I have with me) I speak with the staff member at the desk near the gate. I don't really need to pre-board as I can walk limited distances in the boot but I am assuming that they will want me to do the medical pre-board. Will the wheelchair be at the gate when we arrive in Orlando or will I have to wait at baggage claim? I know I see them with the stroller sometimes when getting off the plane but I wanted to confirm that they would take it away at the door and magically make it reappear!
Make sure to let them know you want it delivered to the gate.
Do I need to notify the Magical Express people? The wheelchair folds so I am assuming not since it can go under the bus and I don't need any special accommodation.
No. It will be placed under the bus. As long as you can climb the bus stairs, you will not need anything special. There is no need to contact DME unless you need a lift bus.
My husband is calling DVC today to request that we get a ground floor room. Our reservation is Near Hospitality House so I believe there are no elevators in those buildings. If we don't get the request, my daughter will haul the wheelchair up the stairs.
You are correct. Those buildings don’t have elevators. But, they are only 2 floors, so even without any requests, you have a 50/50 chance of getting first floor. Near Hospitality House includes buildings 11, 12, 13, 14 and 23, 24, 25, 26.
At the parks, we'll get the guidebook for disabilites. I plan to park the wheelchair and walk through most lines - we use Fastpass a lot. For longer lines like the Safari, I plan to park the chair at the stroller parking and walk the rest of the way. I don't need a wheelchair accessible ride vehicle. One ride I have questions on is Pirates - one of our favorites. I've seen folded chairs in the back of boats. Do I just take the chair through the line and have my husband or daughter fold it up at the last minute?
Pirates used to put folded wheelchairs in the boats, but stopped that at least 5 yrs ago. They may ask you to park your own wheelchair and take one of theirs in line. That may seem like a strange request, but it is not easy to get a wheelchair from the loading point to the unload point. Using one of theirs means you can use any wheelchair at the exit and don’t have to worry about whether or not your personal wheelchair will be delivered to the unload area before you are.

That should work along as you can walk the distance involved.
One I would highly recommend talking the wheelchair into line for is Soarin’.
The distance is about 1/4 mile and includes a lot of ‘stand for 3-5 minutes’, then walk for 3-5 minutes, then stand again. Most of it is ramped, which makes it harder to stand.
I am not looking forward to experiencing a trip in a wheelchair but I am giving in as gracefully as possible! I don't want my daughter and husband to be miserable because I am miserable and I want my foot to heal. And that won't happen if I don't stay off it! We thought about a scooter but I have no depth perception and I am healing from cataract surgery two weeks ago so my vision is a bit off. My daughter didn't think it would be a good idea to put me in crowds of people with my vision problems and on pain medication as well!I think that is a good plan.

I look forward to any tips people have to share about touring with a wheelchair - I never paid too much attention since it didn't apply to me! I know that I don't need a GAC and one would do me no good since my problem is solely mobility and the cure for that is the chair!
It sounds like you already prepared pretty well.
Reminder - if you are wearing shorts, make sure to put sunscreen on the tops of your legs. They will be exposed to the sun in a way they are not when walking.

And, you might want something (a towel) to cover the wheelchair seat so it doesn’t get too hot.

CarolineB
05-05-2012, 10:37 PM
just and fyi -- My experience with wheel chair use at Pirates of the Caribbean -- I've been asked twice in the past few weeks to take my backpack off of my wheel chair and take it on the boat with me. The CMs reason is that it's a long trip to the exit and they have to stack or fold wheel chairs. They also mention that your stuff is safer and of course I always say I don't want my wheel chair taken either. Maybe they've had a rash of people just walking off with stuff at the exit??

I haven't been asked to change my personal wheelchair with one of Disney's red wheel chairs (those are for EVC riders.)

PatsMom
05-06-2012, 06:57 AM
So far things are going well. Southwest was great. Had no problems at all with the chair. My daughter and I pre-boarded and sat aisle and window. My husband was able to sit in the aisle across from us.

The busses here are easy so far. We get in the regular line and fold the chair like a stroller. My daughter stands in the back doorway out of the way with it and I sit. If we run into a full bus, we'll just wait for the next.

Went to Epcot yesterday. It is an experience being "butt level" with everyone!You can not believe what hangs out of some girls short shorts! Disney has been easy to navigate so far. Heading to the Studios today and we are not sure about boarding for some attractions so I will go to guest services and get the guidebook for disabilities.

The only real comment I have to make is that Disney still has handicapped restrooms with the sink in the stall. If you don't need to use that sink, please exit and wash up at the regular sink! I waited while a mother with three kids had each child potty, wash up, then used the facility herself. I can understand wanting the large stall for the kids (they were pretty young) but you can use the regular sink!

It is hot - I grabbed a pool towel last evening to cover the seat of the chair in case I have to leave it in the sun and I am going to have to remember that my thighs almost never see sun when we are out today! Got sunscreen, I just have to remember to use it.

kaytieeldr
05-06-2012, 11:47 AM
Went to Epcot yesterday. It is an experience being "butt level" with everyone!You can not believe what hangs out of some girls short shorts!
Are you old enough to tap them (lightly) on the hip with your cane and remark, "Tsk, tsk, missy - didn't you take a glance at your rear view before you went out this morning"? :lmao:

Because you can get a decorative cand at The Outpost in World Showcase, or in Africa at Animal Kingdom, or probably at AKL...

pbrim
05-06-2012, 05:41 PM
It is an experience being "butt level" with everyone!You can not believe what hangs out of some girls short shorts!

Also, you would not believe the adjustments some people feel free to make in public.

PatsMom
05-06-2012, 09:42 PM
I wish I had a cane! It would be tempting.

And I now do know what adjustments people feel free to make in public! This is a very educational trip.

utterrandomness
05-07-2012, 08:26 AM
I wish I had a cane! It would be tempting.

And I now do know what adjustments people feel free to make in public! This is a very educational trip.

Ah, that's one of the reasons I don't want a cane, it would be much too tempting to use it for such purposes. But, sadly, I'm not nearly old enough for that to be socially acceptable, calling people out for things like that seems to be a privilege of age...

cm8
05-07-2012, 07:18 PM
Are you old enough to tap them (lightly) on the hip with your cane and remark, "Tsk, tsk, missy - didn't you take a glance at your rear view before you went out this morning"? :lmao:

.

:rotfl::rotfl2:

TXMemaw
05-08-2012, 06:30 PM
I know exactly what you mean about viewing the world at butt level!!! I've had to use a wheelchair for part of our trips the last two years and it sure is a different view from down there!!! :rotfl2: I'm glad things are working out so well for you. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

SueM in MN
05-09-2012, 05:16 PM
Hope the rest of your trip is great. I thought of you when we left Orlando with pouring rain right before we took off!

PatsMom
05-10-2012, 07:43 AM
Hope the rest of your trip is great. I thought of you when we left Orlando with pouring rain right before we took off!


We are having a good trip! The rain is even supposed to stop today. It was so nice meeting you and family.

bumcat
05-11-2012, 05:50 PM
I also have to say southwest was awesome for us. Feb was my first time to use southwest and go to disney in a wheelchair. coming home we had to change planes due to a problem, we were already on the plane and we had to get off. Since my wheelchair was going to be loaded on another plane, not only did they bring me their wheelchair they also did all the preboard stuff for us for the new flight.

The butt level was yuck lol. I told my husband that is the only issue I had with using my wheelchair.

I had to take my wheelchair through all the ride lines and the CM's were great when we were clueless.

At the airport in orlando: my wheelchair went off so they gave it a good check but they also made me get up and be body searched. The lady doing the search kept apologizing, a little humiliation there but they were just doing their job. They said some times the machine malfunctions.