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Old 02-26-2013, 11:09 AM   #1
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Disney cruising with the elderly

I will be taking my grandmother on the Disney cruise next year and by that time she will be 86. She is in relatively good health. She can walk on her own just fine although she says she has balance problems (I don't see it though). I would also like to spend a day at the Magic Kingdom with her. What do I need to know to make her comfortable? Do they have wheelchairs on the Dream?
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:00 PM   #2
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I've traveled with my elderly parents (both in their 80's) and in relatively good health. I would highly recommend bringing a wheelchair. The ships have a limited number and you are not guaranteed to have one. (We fly down so we find them useful to have in the airports.)

If your grandmother believes she has balance problems, the wheelchair will definately make her feel more comfortable moving through crowded areas. (On one cruise, and this was not the norm we've had on DCL cruises, my mom was walking with a cane and was pushed out of the way a few times when walking through crowded areas at busy times. We tried to avoid it as much as possible but it's not always possible.) Also, if you mark on the reservation that the individual is using a wheelchair, they will give you an easily accessible table in the dining rooms and help with any excursions you might book (as long as they note in the description that a wheelchair is okay).

If you don't have a wheelchair, check goodwill or local churches might have one to lend. We picked up a relatively inexpensive folding one in Walgreens.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:12 PM   #3
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How active is she at home? Does she go, dining, walking, etc.? If so, she will probably be just fine onboard. If she's more of a homebody and really doesn't go out much, you might want to arrange for a wheelchair "just in case" to help her get around; she might be relying on furniture and such at home more than anyone realizes. If you plan to do excursions, you might really want to bring along a wheelchair depending on the excursion, but also check that it will be accessible. I think Brevard Medical (?) will deliver to Port Canaveral.

WDW parks are another animal entirely. I suggest a wheelchair or ECV. The average WDW guest walks between 6-12 miles per day in the parks. That's a lot of walking for anyone and an older person in particular. Even with breaks, there are no guaranteed spots to sit if she were to need a rest. The w/c or ECV can be brought through lines as well, allowing her to sit while in line. She doesn't have to remain in the chair all day, it can be parked if she wants to walk a bit. If she's not used to an ECV but might prefer that over a w/c (WDW is not flat, tiring to push all day) - maybe she could try one at a local big-box store or grocery store.

Enjoy your cruise!
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:15 PM   #4
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Random note about wheelchairs--- the hallways are narrow and so during luggage delivery and luggage pick up times, she might have a hard time getting to her cabin.
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:09 PM   #5
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Castaway Cay has a tram so she won't have to walk all the way from the ship to the beach and back unless she wants to.

Disney also has sand wheelchairs available on Castaway Cay, they are limited in number so request one early.

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Old 02-26-2013, 03:54 PM   #6
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In the past year and a half I took my mother (age 83) for a cruise on both the Dream and the Magic. She has difficulty with balance and is mobility limited. I bought a lightweight transport chair (13lbs) for $150. There was no problem using the transport chair on either the Dream or the Magic. My mother enjoyed the sand wheelchair, but it was very hard for me to push! Mobility scooters are available for rental by private companies for use on the ship and at the parks. Disney also rents scooters at the Magic Kingdom.
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:01 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by wendyoconnor View Post
Castaway Cay has a tram so she won't have to walk all the way from the ship to the beach and back unless she wants to.

Disney also has sand wheelchairs available on Castaway Cay, they are limited in number so request one early.
Where do you request one?
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