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Old 11-20-2012, 08:39 PM   #1
mamabekah
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Question 1st trip to Disney, GAC questions, SN stroller questions

I am new here and have been avidly reading over the sticky's & threads. Wish I had found this board months ago!

We will be taking our first trip to WDW next week. Our party will be: myself, dh, 13yo ds, 10yo dd, 6yo SN dd, FIL, MIL & BIL w/SN. We are staying at the cabins at Fort Wilderness resort.

My questions regarding GAC are that I'm not quite sure what to ask for since I'm not sure what to expect. For my daughter, she has Kabuki Syndrome (similar to Down Syndrome). She just learned to walk about a year ago and still tires easily. We rented a special needs stroller (Otto Bock Eco Buggy through CARE Medical) because I know she won't be able to walk all day at the parks. She can probably stand to wait in line for 15-20 minutes before melting down. She totally does not grasp the concept of "wait your turn." She enjoys mild rides (nothing jerky, no roller coasters). Should we expect most lines to be longer than 15-20 minutes this time of year? It is my understanding that some rides would allow us to wait in a separate waiting area with a GAC. Is this a quieter area? Maybe someplace where we can sit and read to her or play with her to distract her while we wait? She has sensory issues and sudden loud noises are a problem. Any attractions we should avoid? Moving walkways will also probably be scary for her. Are these usually pretty short? If so, we can hold her while on them. Or can we keep her in the stroller? What about taking the stroller on the buses/boats? Is it feasible to plan to take her back to the resort sometimes during the day or does it take too long to transfer back to the resort and then back to the parks? We will have 6 full days in the parks and are planning 2 days in MK, 2 in Epcot, 1 in AK and one in HS. We are also planning for my 13yo & 10yo to have some time riding the "fun" rides that they love, so I'm sure we will split up sometimes. I would love to hear from others who travel with both typical children and special needs children and how you work things so that everyone has a great time. We planned our trip through a vacation planner and she made up touring plans for us each day, so hopefully that will help too.

Do we need to go to guest assistance (or whatever it is called) and get a GAC each day, or do we just do it once at the first park we visit.

For my brother-in-law, he is 37yo and functions on about a 3yo level. He is pretty patient to wait in line, as long as it is not too long (more than an hour.) I think the moving walkways will be his biggest issues. He has major proprioceptive & vestibular issues. Can we find out in advance which rides have the moving walkways so that we can avoid them.

Our only other "issue" is that my 10yo is gluten-free, but from reading the threads, this should be the best vacation she has ever had food-wise. For our advance dining reservations, we have already noted that she is gluten-free.

Anything that I am not thinking about that we should know?

I am so very excited! Our kids still don't have a clue that we are going. They think we are going to Missouri. LOL!

Last edited by mamabekah; 11-20-2012 at 08:48 PM. Reason: Forgot a question
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:01 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabekah
I am new here and have been avidly reading over the sticky's & threads. Wish I had found this board months ago!

We will be taking our first trip to WDW next week. Our party will be: myself, dh, 13yo ds, 10yo dd, 6yo SN dd, FIL, MIL & BIL w/SN. We are staying at the cabins at Fort Wilderness resort.

My questions regarding GAC are that I'm not quite sure what to ask for since I'm not sure what to expect. For my daughter, she has Kabuki Syndrome (similar to Down Syndrome). She just learned to walk about a year ago and still tires easily. We rented a special needs stroller (Otto Bock Eco Buggy through CARE Medical) because I know she won't be able to walk all day at the parks. She can probably stand to wait in line for 15-20 minutes before melting down. She totally does not grasp the concept of "wait your turn." She enjoys mild rides (nothing jerky, no roller coasters). Should we expect most lines to be longer than 15-20 minutes this time of year? It is my understanding that some rides would allow us to wait in a separate waiting area with a GAC. Is this a quieter area? Maybe someplace where we can sit and read to her or play with her to distract her while we wait? She has sensory issues and sudden loud noises are a problem. Any attractions we should avoid? Moving walkways will also probably be scary for her. Are these usually pretty short? If so, we can hold her while on them. Or can we keep her in the stroller? What about taking the stroller on the buses/boats? Is it feasible to plan to take her back to the resort sometimes during the day or does it take too long to transfer back to the resort and then back to the parks? We will have 6 full days in the parks and are planning 2 days in MK, 2 in Epcot, 1 in AK and one in HS. We are also planning for my 13yo & 10yo to have some time riding the "fun" rides that they love, so I'm sure we will split up sometimes. I would love to hear from others who travel with both typical children and special needs children and how you work things so that everyone has a great time. We planned our trip through a vacation planner and she made up touring plans for us each day, so hopefully that will help too.

Do we need to go to guest assistance (or whatever it is called) and get a GAC each day, or do we just do it once at the first park we visit.

For my brother-in-law, he is 37yo and functions on about a 3yo level. He is pretty patient to wait in line, as long as it is not too long (more than an hour.) I think the moving walkways will be his biggest issues. He has major proprioceptive & vestibular issues. Can we find out in advance which rides have the moving walkways so that we can avoid them.

Our only other "issue" is that my 10yo is gluten-free, but from reading the threads, this should be the best vacation she has ever had food-wise. For our advance dining reservations, we have already noted that she is gluten-free.

Anything that I am not thinking about that we should know?

I am so very excited! Our kids still don't have a clue that we are going. They think we are going to Missouri. LOL!
For the buses unless they have transport tie down point she will have to come out and the stroller be folded unless it can be tied Down then she could stay in and be tied down like wheelchairs. The new low floor buses have no stairs to enter if she couldn't stand just in case their no seat just ask the driver to call for another bus. She could wait in the stroller then when it her turn to board exit the stroller and then fold up the stroller. The cabins have an internal bus system their shouldn't be a problem getting a seat if so then you have to wait for the next bus or for that one to circle around. then you will transfer to another bus to go to dhs ,ak dtd and the water parks theses are where you might have a problem if it peak times of the day but they can send another bus so you won't have to wait to long.

Hope their not disappointed when they find out their going to Disney instead of Missouri lol
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Last edited by disney david; 11-20-2012 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:02 PM   #3
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Sorry double post
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Last edited by disney david; 11-20-2012 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:14 PM   #4
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I only have time for a quick answer.....

So, follow the link in my signature to the disABILITIES FAQs thread. You will want to look at post 6, which is about Guest Assistance Cards and also look at post 1, which is an index to which post contains which information.
There is a post on page 2 that lists the attractions with moving walkways and a post on page one about transportation.

You will be able to bring the stroller aboard the monorail and most boats without folding it, with her riding it. For buses, you will be able to use the ramp at the rear door to get her in (she can stay in the stroller for that). After you are in the bus, she will need to get out and sit in a seat while the stroller us folded.
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:25 PM   #5
mamabekah
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Thanks so much to both of you for taking the time to answer. :-)

Sue - I had read over that FAQ thread but missed some of the info. Thanks for pointing me to exactly where I needed to look!

Mellanie
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:36 PM   #6
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mamabekah, I just wanted to say hi because my 8yo DD also has KS. I think I'm too late to chime in before your trip, but we now use a Maclaren Major for her due to the low muscle tone. She's getting better at waiting and we just make sure we have things on hand to keep her occupied - small toys, mini electronic games (though her fine motor skills are lacking so those are hard for her to manipulate), picture books, and she's getting good at things like I-spy which is great in lines. We use a GAC as "insurance" and to use the stroller in lines, but generally try to use FP and a touring plan adapted to our needs.

Good luck and let us know how your trip went!
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:30 PM   #7
Boadicea
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I can confirm that she won't have to leave the stroller to get on a bus if the stroller fits the lift which is 32 inches x 48 inches. They will treat it just like it were a wheelchair.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:25 PM   #8
SueM in MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boadicea View Post
I can confirm that she won't have to leave the stroller to get on a bus if the stroller fits the lift which is 32 inches x 48 inches. They will treat it just like it were a wheelchair.
Just to clarify - there are a few older buses left with lifts. The majority have ramps at the back door, which the driver can put down to let a stroller, wheelchair or ECV be rolled on.

Once inside the bus, the stroller should be folded and held. She should transfer to a bus seat. The reason for this is 2 things:
1) Strollers that were not made for transport can be damaged ( mostly the frame bending) by being tied down with the heavy hooks used to fasten wheelchairs and ECVs to the bus for transport.
Stroller style wheelchairs that were designed for transport have sturdier frames and have loops built into the frame so they can be safely tied down.

2) Strollers that were not made for transport are not safe to ride in because they could fold, bend or break in an accident or sudden stop.
Stroller style wheelchairs that are designed for transport have been designed to not harm the person in an accident.

There are bus drivers who will tie down a regular stroller or non-transport special needs stroller if asked (or even just assume the guest wants to do that if they use the ramp). It is not a safe thing to do and I do know people whose stroller was bent when they had it tied down.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:27 AM   #9
Nevada Jen
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I really do reccomend purchasing the Maclaren Major for use when you get back. It is the perfect transporter for kids like your DD who might only need it occasionally. Its an umbrella stroller so you can just leave it in the back of your car for when you have a need. (Like if you NEED to go to the mall after she has already had a long day). Hope you had a fun trip!
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