Disney Information Station Logo

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Disney Trip Planning Forums > disABILITIES!
Find Hotel Specials & DIScounts
 
facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 04-30-2013, 12:10 PM   #1
TravelBug86
Princess of Quite A Lot
 
TravelBug86's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 119

Wheelchair first timer & GAC?

Okay, I haven't been on Dis in quite some time so please don't judge me if I'm not posting this correctly!

I'm leaving in a week and taking my mother who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and has serious mobility issues. Knowing it would simply be impossible for her to walk the parks, we reserved a wheelchair for this trip. I kind of decided on the wheelchair vs the scooter because, honestly, it looks kind of scary getting those things on and off the buses... my mom isn't the best driver if you know what I mean!!

Now I'm starting to get a little nervous about being the "pusher" and also getting the wheelchair on and off the bus- can anyone give me their thoughts? I don't mind putting in the extra labor if the wheelchair is easier getting on and off the bus. This is all new to me...

Also, can someone please explain exactly what a GAC card is and if it's necessary or helpful to have and why? Any other helpful advice for this first timer??

Thank you guys!!
__________________
Katie


TravelBug86 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2013, 12:37 PM   #2
lanejudy
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 5,292
DISboards Moderator

Well, pushing a w/c is going to be a lot of effort if you aren't used to it. WDW isn't flat and most people walk 6-12 miles per day. Depending on how long your vacation is, you may want to schedule a couple of "non-park" days to rest up a bit.

That said, an ECV isn't for everyone. How does mom do driving? Will she be attentive enough with the ECV to watch (peripheral vision) for people/children/strollers stepping out in her path? While the ECV allows the user to conserve physical energy/exertion, it does require quite a bit of mental stamina to remain on alert all day while driving it.

Don't worry too much about buses - w/c will be easy to load, even the ECV will be easy once you've done it a couple of times. And drivers are very helpful!

The GAC is a communication tool for people with "hidden" or invisible disabilities. If your mom's main issue is stamina, and she'll be using a w/c or ECV, then a GAC is not needed as the w/c or ECV is a visible sign that she'll need to avoid stairs and use an accessible entrance (most queues are accessible in the main line). If she might park the w/c or ECV and walk into lines, a GAC would help to avoid stairs if necessary. If she has other concerns beyond mobility/stamina issues, you might think about those and discuss possible accommodations with Guest Relations. A GAC is only useful at attractions, it does nothing to help at restaurants, resorts, transportation, DTD or simply getting around the parks.

Enjoy your vacation!
lanejudy is offline   Reply With Quote
|
The DIS
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 04-30-2013, 12:39 PM   #3
anonymousegirl
DIS Veteran
 
anonymousegirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: SF Bay Area & Bay Lake Tower
Posts: 2,108

I can't help with the wheelchair and the bus question, but basically a GAC (Guest Assistance Card) is a way to communicate with the cast members about any hidden issues you might have. If you are using a wheelchair or a scooter, that is very visible and CMs can help you with alternative entrances if available, or help to avoid stairs. On some rides, you must transfer out of your wheelchair and into a different one specially adapted to get through the queue or onto the ride vehicle.

The GAC is just a way to let the CM know what alternative arrangements you might need. You can go to guest services and speak with them about what kinds of alternative arrangements your mother might need. The CMs do not care about a diagnosis and cannot require a doctor's note. Instead be prepared to explain what specifically your mom needs to utilize the parks.

The GAC is not intended to shorten wait times or queues and in fact, may add to the wait time if you need to wait for a accessible ride vehicle.
The GAC is valid at all four theme parks (but not water parks) for the length of stay. It is not valid for character greetings (with one or two exceptions) or bus queues.

Many guests find that a good touring plan that help minimize wait times and crowds is more helpful than a GAC.
__________________
___________________________
Me and DH and "RIP Deep Thought" "RIP 42" Neko
1973 Disneyland Hotel;1985 WDW Grosvenor; 1988 same;1994 off-site; 1997 off-site; July 2008 POR; December 2008 Pop Century; January 2009 Contemporary, BCV; March 2009 Pop Century; May 2009 Grand California at DLR; September 2009 SSR; December 2009 Pop; May 2010 DL off site; July 2010 Disneyland Hotel; October 2010 Disneyland Hotel; January 2011 Saratoga Springs;May 2011 Disneyland off-site; October 2011 AKV Kidani; DLR OMDD Leap Day 2012; June 2012 BCV/Vero Beach; September 2012 All Star Sports; December 2012 Grand Floridian; DLR off site February 2013;DLR off site for Long Lost Friends week April 2013;DLR Paradise Pier Hotel July 2013; DLR off site November 2013;Aulani DVC January 2014; WDW OKW May 2014; WDW SSR VILLIANS UNLEASHED! Aug 2104;WDW October 2014; CBR/DCL December 2014
anonymousegirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2013, 01:10 PM   #4
disney david
DIS Veteran
 
disney david's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Hartsdale, ny
Posts: 3,537

i started this thread to help disers nervous of using wheelchairs or ecv on buses and how great the drivers are. it my not answer the whole question but it might help with seeing that the drivers are great and will help.

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3099627
__________________
www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention

Bring back Walter on the podcast we miss him
CHIP AND DALE ARE A LIST CHARACTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
disney david is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2013, 01:46 PM   #5
TravelBug86
Princess of Quite A Lot
 
TravelBug86's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 119

Thanks for the responses to my questions!! I think I'm going to stick with the wheelchair for now, I can always swap it for the scooter if it's too physically challenging for me. Her disease is neurological so although she drives just fine I'm nervous about the multi- tasking in operating the ECV. I have a bit more confidence after your responses as far as getting the scooters on and off the bus. I would like to avoid that, but if necessary it sounds like it will work out with help from the drivers.

Now that I understand the purpose of the GAC card, it seems like we shouldn't need that.

Thanks again!!
__________________
Katie


TravelBug86 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2013, 01:47 PM   #6
tobikaye
DIS Veteran
 
tobikaye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 921

Quote:
Originally Posted by TravelBug86 View Post
Now I'm starting to get a little nervous about being the "pusher" and also getting the wheelchair on and off the bus- can anyone give me their thoughts? I don't mind putting in the extra labor if the wheelchair is easier getting on and off the bus. This is all new to me...
Have you had to push her in a wheelchair for any long period of time before? I ask, because I had to push my mom in a wheelchair around Epcot once. Her stamina just went while we were there for a day. I had pushed people in wheelchairs before, but not for an entire day. It was very hard and I was exhausted afterwards.

Since then, I have become a pro at pushing my sister in her wheelchair, but I think I would still have some trouble doing so for more than 2 days in a row all day without a break. So, if you have not, you might want to try and go somewhere where you can spend a day pushing her in a wheelchair to get use to what it might feel like. This can also help you learn how to move the chair around and go in and out of non-automatic doors.
__________________
Tobi Kaye - WDW November 2011 Photos

When you're curious, you find lots of interesting things to do - Walt Disney
tobikaye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2013, 03:38 PM   #7
TravelBug86
Princess of Quite A Lot
 
TravelBug86's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 119

Quote:
Originally Posted by tobikaye View Post
Have you had to push her in a wheelchair for any long period of time before? I ask, because I had to push my mom in a wheelchair around Epcot once. Her stamina just went while we were there for a day. I had pushed people in wheelchairs before, but not for an entire day. It was very hard and I was exhausted afterwards.

Since then, I have become a pro at pushing my sister in her wheelchair, but I think I would still have some trouble doing so for more than 2 days in a row all day without a break. So, if you have not, you might want to try and go somewhere where you can spend a day pushing her in a wheelchair to get use to what it might feel like. This can also help you learn how to move the chair around and go in and out of non-automatic doors.
Thanks, yes, I am a little nervous about the physical challenge of pushing all around the park. I'm going to take your advise and try it out first to get the feel of it, and determine if it's possible or not. If not, I can probably still switch to the scooter for the following day.

Thanks for your help!
__________________
Katie


TravelBug86 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2013, 07:24 PM   #8
LisaBi
DIS Veteran
 
LisaBi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 1,534

What is your mom's size/weight compared to your own? I have always pushed my DS in the parks....the first few days I usually find that my hands and wrists are sore, but better after that. It is getting more taxing now that he is older....he weighs as much as me. But when he was even 20 or 30 pounds lighter it wasn't that bad.
LisaBi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2013, 09:21 PM   #9
Twende
Best laid plans of Mouse and men.....
 
Twende's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Heaven knows!
Posts: 3,245

I pushed my mom in a wheel chair for many years of trips. I am in my fifties and not it great shape but it was what I needed to do in order for my mom to go on trips.

I had some wheelchair training as a teenager in order to be a candy stripper. That training really helped. It was just little things like going into an elevator backwards so the small front wheels do not catch on the door groove, or how to use your hips to open a swinging door enough to quickly get through it. The door trick really helps in maneuvering a wheelchair into Disney bathrooms.

Make sure you remind her to keep her hands and arms inside of the chair. My mom would often try to move door with her hands and I was always afraid she would injure or break her arm. When moving through crowds I learned to make a lot of noise so as not to surprise people or run them over. We would sing, laugh or talk loudly so that those around us knew a wheel chair was there. My mom also thought it funny to make a BEEP BEEP noise to get people to move. She was a hoot!

In MK, be very aware of the trolly tracks as you go down Main Street. If you get caught in those you can dump your passenger. AK has pathways that are very textured and thus bumpy. My mom hated the ride there.

We also learned to put towels or some kind of padding on the wheelchair arms so that it protected her forearms a bit. She also sat on either a pillow or a folded up blanket. I always tied ribbons on the handles so it was easier to find our chair after an attraction.

Make sure the chair is in good working order. Check the brakes out well. Many of the attraction lines have a slope you and will need the brakes to work well in order that the chair does not take off on you. Always use the brakes when the chair is stationary. I learned to carry a spray oil like WD40 to apply to squeaks.

Also practice folding the chair and changing the leg rest angles.

We also carried a tote bag on the back of the chair. You need one with heavy handles that spread wide enough to go over the handles on the back of the chair. Carry an extra rain poncho to cover the chair when left outside in case of rain.

I learned to get my momentum going when headed up steep hills or ramps. If you stop part way up a hill you will really struggle to get the rest of the way up the hill. A good example is getting inside of The Land building in EPCOT to get to Soarin'. You will have to push up a large steep ramp to get in the front door and then more ramp to the left to get to the only elevator down to the level of the attractions. The wait for the small elevator can be very long. Then you reverse it to leave and hold on tightly to the handles of the chair as you go down the exit ramp. Be prepared for someone to walk in front of you! It is challenging to say the least. Make sure the handle on the wheelchair are secure. I will never forget a hill when one handle came off. We can laugh now but at the time it was not funny!

Do not let me discourage you. It is possible. I still had a great time and I cherish the years of memories we made. Have a wonderful trip!
__________________
KIM :

Last edited by Twende; 04-30-2013 at 09:33 PM.
Twende is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2013, 11:56 PM   #10
Fuhnuh
Mouseketeer
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Seattle, Wa
Posts: 273

DD12 had a knee "incident" on one of her wonky (discoid miniscus) knees on our last trip to WDW. She needed a wheelchair for the last 15 days of our trip. I found it pretty easy to push her for that time, but I weigh almost twice as much as she does. We didn't need to get a GAC because her situation was obvious, but most of the lines were wheelchair accessible. On the few that weren't, a CM would generally tell us what to do at the ride after asking about the extent of her mobility issues. We did not use the bus, but found the monorail and boat access more than adequate. I hope, whatever your choice is, that it works out and everyone in your group has a magical vacation.
Fuhnuh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2013, 12:31 AM   #11
LockShockBarrel
Pudge controls the weather.
 
LockShockBarrel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Buffalo NY
Posts: 3,145

Is it that she can't walk around at all? If she is mobile even just a bit or feels like she might want to walk some of the time, a wheelchair would give her that option. She can use it when she wants and if she decides she wants to walk around a bit she can just push it along.
__________________
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade...but without water and sugar your lemonade is gonna suck.Shut up Brain or I'll poke you with a Qtip!Legally, it's questionable. Morally, disgusting. Personally, I like it!The way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Stab in and thrust upward.

Trip Report Jan 2011: Viva Verde! http://http://www.disboards.com/show...0#post39571060
TRIP REPORT SEPT 2012How do I Flush This? Squared!http://disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2993886

Feb 2007 Pop Century, Oct 2008 Pop Century, Jan 2011 Old Key West, Sept 12 Pop Century
LockShockBarrel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2013, 01:46 AM   #12
KPeveler
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: 6 miles from Disneyland
Posts: 4,024
DISboards Moderator

Even off-site rental chairs can absolutely stink when it comes to padding - so I would make sure you have something to put under her tush so she is more comfortable sitting.

For pushing - my wife pushes me all the time and she actually went and bought a pair of bicycle gloves - the exact same kind I use for pushing my chair myself! She found pushing too much gave her blisters and the vibrations coming through the wheelchair was very uncomfortable. We got the gloves at REI, though you can find these or similar gloves (like weight lifting gloves) at any sporting goods store or even Target.

This is what we got:
http://www.rei.com/product/829890/gi...-gloves-womens

They cost around $25 and my wife said they were a life saver on long days!

If there is a concern beyond stamina and mobility, then you can always ask about a GAC, but if her needs are met by having the wheelchair, then you should not need a GAC.
__________________
~Katy~

"Its kind of fun to do the impossible" ~Walt Disney

Married in Disney World 10/26/2009!
KPeveler is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
GET OUR DIS UPDATES DELIVERED BY EMAIL



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:17 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.