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View Full Version : Seeking advice for FIL to limit standing


dimndgal1
05-12-2012, 10:08 PM
My FIL had a double knee replacement this winter and up until now has been playing Hercules with our upcoming trip. Today, however, we both finally got real (I am post hip op) and since our trip is so close, I got him to lay out what makes things harder for him.

Overall, he has done fantastic in his recovery, but he has a hard time standing for extended periods. He is very worried that this will impact how long he can last for the day. He has no trouble if he stays walking, but when he sits or stands for extended periods, his knees get swollen and he needs to elevate them.

We've already discussed getting to parks for Rope Drop and taking midday breaks to minimize wait times and navigating crowds, and DH is a Fastpass pro so I plan on taking advantage of FP by cutting waits down. Also, FIL is walking every day and doing PT to build his endurance for the trip.

I guess my questions really are if A) it's worth it to get a GAC and if there is really anything Disney can do to accommodate -- it's not like they can give him a folding chair for the line so he can alternate sitting and standing and B) are there any good places in the parks where he can elevate his knees for a bit if need be? I know First Aid might be able to help but I was wondering if some shows or areas have spots that he could relax in to rest up.

Thanks for any advice!

livndisney
05-12-2012, 10:21 PM
My FIL had a double knee replacement this winter and up until now has been playing Hercules with our upcoming trip. Today, however, we both finally got real (I am post hip op) and since our trip is so close, I got him to lay out what makes things harder for him.

Overall, he has done fantastic in his recovery, but he has a hard time standing for extended periods. He is very worried that this will impact how long he can last for the day. He has no trouble if he stays walking, but when he sits or stands for extended periods, his knees get swollen and he needs to elevate them.

We've already discussed getting to parks for Rope Drop and taking midday breaks to minimize wait times and navigating crowds, and DH is a Fastpass pro so I plan on taking advantage of FP by cutting waits down. Also, FIL is walking every day and doing PT to build his endurance for the trip.

I guess my questions really are if A) it's worth it to get a GAC and if there is really anything Disney can do to accommodate -- it's not like they can give him a folding chair for the line so he can alternate sitting and standing and B) are there any good places in the parks where he can elevate his knees for a bit if need be? I know First Aid might be able to help but I was wondering if some shows or areas have spots that he could relax in to rest up.

Thanks for any advice!

WDW answer to mobility issues, is to rent a wheelchair/ecv. Your father could also use a rollator. Any of these things would give him a seat when he needs it.

KerBear
05-13-2012, 02:59 AM
Another option, if he feels like he will be ok with the amount of walking required would be either a rollator (like a walker, but with four wheels and a seat) or a cane with a fold out seat on it. That way he can alternate between sitting and standing while waiting in line. I use a rollator when I do one day trips to Disneyland and I love it, the seat is higher up than the benches and it's padded so much more comfortable. I would keep the phone number of an ecv rental company handy though as he might find after the first day that the walking is more than he bargained for. I know if I am doing 2 full days or more consecutively I will need an ecv, but my issue is my hips not knees so he may be able to do more.

dimndgal1
05-13-2012, 08:14 AM
WDW answer to mobility issues, is to rent a wheelchair/ecv. Your father could also use a rollator. Any of these things would give him a seat when he needs it.

I definitely understand mobility problems can greatly be circumvented by renting and ECV - I am planning on getting one myself - but my FIL has trouble if he sits for prolonged periods as well. I guess it's more of if he keeps his knees in one position too long, it allows the swelling to increase and sort of 'locks' up his legs. He's already eliminated Universe of Energy and Safari because the ride itself is so long... I'm worried sitting in an ECV for extended periods will have a similar effect. And, no offense to him, but he's 6'6" and a very solidly built man, so pushing him in a wheelchair is just not feasible.

Another option, if he feels like he will be ok with the amount of walking required would be either a rollator (like a walker, but with four wheels and a seat) or a cane with a fold out seat on it. That way he can alternate between sitting and standing while waiting in line. I use a rollator when I do one day trips to Disneyland and I love it, the seat is higher up than the benches and it's padded so much more comfortable. I would keep the phone number of an ecv rental company handy though as he might find after the first day that the walking is more than he bargained for. I know if I am doing 2 full days or more consecutively I will need an ecv, but my issue is my hips not knees so he may be able to do more.

I hadn't thought of the canes with a seat... that might work well! I'll have to check out the weight limits on them but it definitely might be an option!

Thanks for the suggestions!

KPeveler
05-13-2012, 08:52 AM
A lot of people prop their leg up on an Ecv using a backpackers or simply resting their leg on the tiller housing.

You can also rent a wheelchair off site with elevating leg rests. He could push this empty and just sit when he needs a break or even in certain shows where there is enough room.

Also, you can always get ice from First Aid. This may help with swelling.

You are right in that a GAC would not be helpful since there is nowhere to sit in line.

SueM in MN
05-13-2012, 09:40 AM
There are quite a few attractions which involve standing - to wait for the next show/preshow or to wait for a batch of guests to load together.

Post 22 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread lists attractions where all guests will be standing for a period of time. In some cases, the standing takes place on a fairly steep ramp (Soarin', the Great Movie Ride main waiting room, and the Backstage Tour are 3 that come to mind with ramps). Standing on a ramp is harder on most people's knees and the small cane seats don't work well when the ground is not flat.
Rollators do work well for those situations.

Post 28 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread lists attractions with stairs and/or moving walkways. If he is using a mobility device of some kind, he will be automatically directed in ways that bypass those. He could get a GAC that allows use of those bypasses without a mobility device, but there is very little a GAC can provide to give a seat for waits for shows - some of the waiting areas have a bench or 2, but most do not and, even if they do, they are first come, first served. There is even less provided for waits in line. In many cases, they could offer a wheelchair for use in the line for those attractions, but not all have wheelchairs. Post 6 of the FAQs is about GACs.

He may think he is OK for walking, but most people don't consider the distances walked in one day at WDW may be more than they normally wLk in a week at home. Averages that people have measured are between 3 and 9 miles a day. Just the line to get in at Soarin' is over 1/4 mile and there are quite a few other attractions with long distances in the line. A GAC does not usually shorten the distance walked.
My FIL was one of the people who felt he could walk, but had trouble standing. He thought of renting an ECV for a long time, but always came up with a reason not to. He ended each day in pin with swollen knees. When he finally rented one, he said that vending was the first time in about 15 yrs of going to WDW that he didn't end up in pain. He rented one in most parks after that (he never did feel comfortable using one at MK because of the large numbers of children and huge crowds). He also found that pushing my DD's wheelchair took some stress off his knees, both when walking and just standing because he was able to shift his weight more while standing. People also have that with a rollator - plus have the option of a seat for prolonged stopping.

With a rollator or ECV, you can choose to park it with the strollers in some areas so that you can walk around for a while. Some people park it in an area, walk in some or lines and then ride it to the next area.

StrwLady
05-14-2012, 04:37 AM
When reading your post my first thought was the rollator as many have suggested. If you don't want to invest in buying one, I am sure you can find some company that rents them

I use and ECV when in Disney mainly for my asthma. It flares when I am in Orlando the ECV lessens exertion which allows me to keep up a decent pace. But I also have knee troubles. So I know exactly what you are talking about you listed the trouble your FIL has after sitting too long.

A few suggestions that may help. When I know I am going to be getting out of the ECV I stretch out my leg for a bit and even will move it in and out. This helps "warm" up my joint making it a little less stiff when I stand. I also keep a menthol patch (or use Biofreeze) on the knee and muscle on the outside of my calf. Again this helps lessen the stiffness.

Good luck on your trip and have a blast! :)

jm-mom
05-14-2012, 08:58 AM
I also have trouble standing for very long and waiting in lines would be impossible for me. We just got back from WDW where I rented an offsite scooter to use for my entire stay. I don't think I ended up having to stand and wait for much of anything.

We had fastpasses for Toy Story and even with that, ended up waiting about 20 minutes to board the ride. I was glad to have the ECV to sit down on. I was able to take the ECV right up to the loading area for nearly every ride. They would not let me use it for Buzz Lightyear though and that is a LONG waiting area if it's very busy. They do have a wheelchair to transfer to should you need it. I didn't do Pirates but I've heard the same is true there.

I would highly suggest renting an ECV for him. He can use it as much or as little as he chooses. In an area of the park like Fantasyland he could park it and ride the rides in that area by walking to each if he's comfortable. Or, if he needs more assistance, he can use it for each ride.

Another area I really hated having to stand and wait was counter service restaurants at lunch. We had a couple of days where the wait was VERY long and it was a lot of standing. I could have done without that! So if your FIL can't stand well, you might suggest he hold the table while someone else waits in line if it's crowded.

SueM in MN
05-14-2012, 07:14 PM
I also have trouble standing for very long and waiting in lines would be impossible for me. We just got back from WDW where I rented an offsite scooter to use for my entire stay. I don't think I ended up having to stand and wait for much of anything.

We had fastpasses for Toy Story and even with that, ended up waiting about 20 minutes to board the ride. I was glad to have the ECV to sit down on. I was able to take the ECV right up to the loading area for nearly every ride. They would not let me use it for Buzz Lightyear though and that is a LONG waiting area if it's very busy. They do have a wheelchair to transfer to should you need it. I didn't do Pirates but I've heard the same is true there.

I would highly suggest renting an ECV for him. He can use it as much or as little as he chooses. In an area of the park like Fantasyland he could park it and ride the rides in that area by walking to each if he's comfortable. Or, if he needs more assistance, he can use it for each ride.

Another area I really hated having to stand and wait was counter service restaurants at lunch. We had a couple of days where the wait was VERY long and it was a lot of standing. I could have done without that! So if your FIL can't stand well, you might suggest he hold the table while someone else waits in line if it's crowded.
You are correct about Pirates.
The boarding area and the unload area are actually in different buildings. They don't allow ECVs in the line because of the difficulty with getting them from the boarding are to the exit.

dimndgal1
05-14-2012, 09:27 PM
Once again, such great info from the board! Thanks so much!

A lot of people prop their leg up on an Ecv using a backpackers or simply resting their leg on the tiller housing.

You can also rent a wheelchair off site with elevating leg rests. He could push this empty and just sit when he needs a break or even in certain shows where there is enough room.

Also, you can always get ice from First Aid. This may help with swelling.

You are right in that a GAC would not be helpful since there is nowhere to sit in line.

I hadn't htought about elevating while on the ECV. And, do you happen to know which companies offer the elevating rests? I would love to read more about those!

There are quite a few attractions which involve standing - to wait for the next show/preshow or to wait for a batch of guests to load together.

Post 22 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread lists attractions where all guests will be standing for a period of time.

Post 28 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread lists attractions with stairs and/or moving walkways.

THanks for the points to the posts! The list will help tons and I'm hoping we can eliminate some of the standing with this info!


Another area I really hated having to stand and wait was counter service restaurants at lunch. We had a couple of days where the wait was VERY long and it was a lot of standing. I could have done without that! So if your FIL can't stand well, you might suggest he hold the table while someone else waits in line if it's crowded.

I hadn't even thought of that! Good to know and a great way to grab a table!!!


SOOOO, now that I feel much more confident about my FIL, I'm even more nervous about myself! I hadn't thought about how hard Pirates is to load and now I'm worried I won't be able to ride!!! I admit we're a month out from our trip, but I'm still on one crutch from my hip surgery and on hip restrictions at LEAST until Memorial Day. I am also VERY worried about people bumping into me as the outer side of my hip is ridiculously sensitive and the joint itself ignites by any jostling. I have one more appointment with my doc before out trip and he's actually meeting with a specialist who has helped a lot of Wounded Warriors who go on Disney trips, so I'm hoping I can get some helpful info.

I have already decided I need an ECV as walking is my major problem... in fact, I joked with FIL I can drive to the rides and he can sit and wait. I'm hoping he will eventually decide an ECV is the way to go but I also know he's stubborn. If nothing else, we are bringing my rollator (we're visiting family in Tampa before Disney and FIL can borrow it at Dis if need be) and I know most ECV places can deliver next day... I just am keeping my fingers crossed we can get it all laid out before then.

scdak
05-14-2012, 09:54 PM
I would caution you and FIL about many of the various boat rides in WDW, they are murder on both hips and knees if you have problems with either of those areas, they require steps down to be seated and thus steps up to get out of the boat plus they put your hips and knees in a more flexed position than is comfortable for some people esp after having had surgery.

SueM in MN
05-15-2012, 12:03 AM
I would caution you and FIL about many of the various boat rides in WDW, they are murder on both hips and knees if you have problems with either of those areas, they require steps down to be seated and thus steps up to get out of the boat plus they put your hips and knees in a more flexed position than is comfortable for some people esp after having had surgery.
::yes::

Post 18-22 on page 2 of the diABILITIES FAQs thread has information about the difficulty of boarding attractions, including estimates of the heights of steps up and down.