Mommy w/ arm issues and small children
Hi! I'm looking for advice on how to make our trips to Disney even better than they already are. Please note that most of the time, I'm at Disney alone with a 1 and 5 year old. There are no other adults to help me.
We were originally issued a general GAC to use with our stroller because I'm unable to carry my very large one year old for the length of even a short queue. Before the GAC, we could only ride one or two rides before going home for the day. He is similar in size to a 3-4 year old but his walking is delayed partly due to his size. Our issues are a combination of my arm pain and weakness and his delayed walking. Plus he's a typical toddler and difficult to control in line even if he were walking well.
The problem that I've been having is that many of the rides we try to go on don't allow me to load him quickly or closely from the stroller to the ride. They have me park the stroller somewhere (sometimes down a hallway or at the end of the loading area), carry him to the ride, then wait while holding him. On a good day I could do this a few times at most before the pain increased a lot.
I've tried to explain this a couple of times to cast members on rides where this is an issue, but some have not been helpful or accommodating. An example is the Haunted Mansion, where we park outside and go in the exit. Another is Journey to Imagination, where they often leave the stroller at the end of the hallway instead of where you exit the vehicles. Its not as though either were a very, very long hallway, but sometimes its just too far.
Is it wrong of me to ask for closer loading? Is there a way to get help with this? Last time we went to Magic Kingdom we didn't attempt to ride Haunted Mansion because I didn't think I could do the hallway. I know that my issue isn't as severe as some of you have to deal with daily but its been a little hard for me. Please let me know your thoughts and thank you for your time.
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I can't think of any reason why they shouldn't be able to allow you to bring the stroller closer. I'd just start telling CMs who try to get you to carry him farther that due to your disability you cannot carry him farther than 2 ft. One thing is that you don't say where you live or how often you go to WDW, but the Haunted Mansion boarding for people with disabilities has changed because the queue has now been mainstreamed. Since they can't require you to carry him through the entire queue, then going through the entire queue with the stroller may mean that it's harder for them to ask you to go park it outside before you board. That said, HM is one of the attractions where there's a higher volume of complaints here about CMs trying to fit people into a one-sized fits all approach to disability rather than understanding individual issues.
For attractions where the problem is that they move the stroller while you're on the attraction and it gets moved farther away, it's completely reasonable to tell them at boarding (and when you get to the end of the ride) that you cannot carry your son more than the distance to transfer him so you'll need a CM to bring his stroller closer or give you time to get the stroller and bring it to the ride before you take him off. I've never had a problem getting my wheelchair brought to me when I'm solo (I don't have kids so that part hasn't come up) and the GAC is supposed to give you that level of equivalency. I think for many CMs while they might know logically what "stroller as a wheelchair" means they still see the stroller and don't pull some of the details together. Also, the stroller as wheelchair GAC is used more often when the kid has disabilities so they may be assuming that it's only for his disabilities and not because you have disabilities.
The only attractions I can think of where there could be a problem bringing the stroller all the way up to the ride vehicle are Peter Pan, which can't stop or slow its walkway, and TTA, which has the steep moving walkway in the queue so is not accessible.
You can also ask at Guest Relations about these problems. They may have suggestions for other ways to approach the issue or be able to add some sort of notification to the GAC stating that you cannot carry your son any real distance.
Just agreeing with others... I cant think why you cannot bring the stroller closer to the ride vehicle. I am often asked if I can walk and park my wheelchair, and I just politely say no. I think wanting to keep the stroller would be similar.
Agree with the others.
Probably 99% of the strollers as wheelchairs are being used because of an issue with the child, not affecting the adults' ability. And, of those, probably a very large amount are more for sensory issues rather than total inability to walk.
So, you need to be nice, but assertive and specific about what you need. The fewer the words, the better - for example, "we need to park within xxx feet of the ride car. I can hold him for no more than xxx minutes."
If you don't tell them, the CMs don't know and assume your issues are the same as what the majority of people using strollers as wheelchairs are.
They do ask almost all wheelchair users if they are able to transfer. We get asked for almost every attraction, even those with wheelchair cars.
Thank you everyone for your comments. I think it sounds like my lack of assertiveness is creating some of my problems. I will get an updated GAC and work on being more firm when I need to.
We live in Florida and visit as often as possible. We probably went 20+ times in the last year but after skipping the hot busy summer, my son is much larger
and my arms are worse.
We visited HM in early November. The line was mainstreamed, but once you leave the stretch room, they take you down a small hallway to the exit area. At this point they have you turn right and leave the building, park strollers and wheelchairs, and walk back in down the hallway. I heard a guest on a scooter tell them they couldn't walk that far and they were deciding if they were going to even try to ride the ride as we left.
Thank you everyone for your imput and have a wonderful day.
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