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Old 04-17-2013, 06:53 AM   #1
charlotte66
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Disney world with two guest assistance cards?

Hi, everyone, I'm new to this site and I could not find the answer to my question anywhere online. I'm going to Disney World in late June 2013, and there are two people in my party that may require guest assistance cards. I'm traveling with my 16 year old daughter, my 8 year old son, and my mother, who just turned 81. My son has ADHD and has needed a guest assistance card in the past because it is simply impossible to wait in lines with him. However, I'm not sure if my mother should get a GAC as well. She is in very good shape for her age and does not have a problem walking short distances, but I'm worried about how she will keep up at the parks. I was thinking about renting a wheelchair or ECV at the park, just so she wouldn't tire herself out too quickly. We don't really need the wheelchair entrance though, because she is fine with walking short distances. My two questions are:
1) Will we need to get her a GAC?
2) Is there a way that we can park the wheelchair or ECV (like in the stroller area?) so that we can wait in the queue together? Like I said, we don't need the wheelchair entrances.

Thanks!
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:14 AM   #2
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It depends on how many at win your party. We are here now, and have a GAC for my son who has autism. It is good for 6 people, so we can all ride as a family.
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:35 AM   #3
charlotte66
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It is just the four of us.
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:45 AM   #4
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A gac will not shorten the wait time. It may allow you to wait in an alternative area. However, the alternative may be as crowded as the regular line. I would suggest using fastpasses and a good touring plan to minimize waits.
Get your mother an ECv or wheelchair. The lines can be long. Soaring is like a quarter mile and there are no places to sit. Or a ride could break down and your stuck in line for a while.
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:47 AM   #5
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Oh a lot of lines are mainstreamed so there is no wheelchair entrance.
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:47 AM   #6
lanejudy
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If your mom's only need is to use the wheelchair or ECV to get around the park, then she doesn't need a GAC. The w/c or ECV is a visible symbol to CMs that she would need to use an accessible entrance. However, she doesn't have to take the w/c or ECV into line and it can be parked with the strollers if she prefers to walk for a bit. If she would then need to avoid stairs or anything like that - she'll need a GAC for the times she will be walking.

Enjoy your vacation!
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:51 AM   #7
SueM in MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlotte66 View Post
Hi, everyone, I'm new to this site and I could not find the answer to my question anywhere online. I'm going to Disney World in late June 2013, and there are two people in my party that may require guest assistance cards. I'm traveling with my 16 year old daughter, my 8 year old son, and my mother, who just turned 81. My son has ADHD and has needed a guest assistance card in the past because it is simply impossible to wait in lines with him. However, I'm not sure if my mother should get a GAC as well. She is in very good shape for her age and does not have a problem walking short distances, but I'm worried about how she will keep up at the parks. I was thinking about renting a wheelchair or ECV at the park, just so she wouldn't tire herself out too quickly. We don't really need the wheelchair entrance though, because she is fine with walking short distances. My two questions are:
1) Will we need to get her a GAC?
2) Is there a way that we can park the wheelchair or ECV (like in the stroller area?) so that we can wait in the queue together? Like I said, we don't need the wheelchair entrances.

Thanks!
If she is 81 and in good shape in general, she may surprise you and do very well.
If you are thinking of renting something for her, it's important to find out whether or not she would be comfortable using an ECV. Some people are and some are not, especially if they don't drive.
A wheelchair or ECV could be parked in the stroller parking area at any attraction and she can just walk into the attraction. Many people use a wheelchair or ECV to get to a general area, then park it and walk to the attractions and shops in that area before picking it up to go to the next area.

If she wants to use it in line, there is no GAC required for that - the CMs can see the wheelchair or ECV and will route you to the correct place.
Most lines at WDW are Mainstreamed, which means they are wheelchair accessible in the main line and there is no 'wheelchair entrance'. Guests with wheelchairs and ECVs wait in the same line as everyone else.
Some attractions are not ECV accessible, but all are wheelchair accessible to the point of boarding (excrpt the attractions where guests must be ambulatory). So, she would have the option of using a wheelchair in line or parking it.

Advantages of an ECV include independence - she could go where she wants to go without worrying about anyone pushing her. A disadvantage is that someone driving an ECV needs to be attentive and alert to everything going on around them and ready to stop suddenly. People tend to step out Into your path very suddenly. That can be mentally tiring and some people just are not comfortable with operating a moving device under those circumstances.
You would need to either use WDW transportation or take the ECV apart and stow it in your vehicle.

The disadvantage of a wheelchair is that someone needs to push it, but between you and your daughter, you should be able to switch off.
Advantages of a wheelchair are that the person pushing it needs to be attentive, but they stop more quickly than an ECV - you just stop pushing.
She could also get out of it and push it herself if she wants go walk.
If you use buses, you could fold it and hold it on the bus like people do strollers.

You may also want to consider a rollators; that is a walker with wheels and a fold down seat. It provides support and a place to sit when needed, but the person using it will still be walking. Rollators can be taken into lines without a GAC like a wheelchair or ECV or parked with the strollers.

Post 2 of the disABILITIES FAQ is about renting mobility devices, like ECVs and wheelchairs. You can find that thread near the top of this board or follow the link in my signature.
Post one of that thread is an index that tells which post has what information. There is a post about rollators that might be helpful to you.
Post 6 is about GAC (Guest Assistance Cards).
For your son, you will find that going early to the parks will let you see the most attractions with the shortest waits - even if you are going at a busy time like Christmas or Soring break. You can also use Fastpass to avoid waits.
Many people use a touring plan like www.touringplans.com or www.easywdw.com
Even if you don't follow the plan exactly, those can can tell you the best park and area of the park to be in to avoid crowds and waits.
Many people find those things - getting to the park early and using a touring plan site - are more helpful to them than a GAC and can eliminate or decreae the times they need to use a GAC. Even with a GAC, it is helpful to be in the least busy park because it will be easier to get around and there will be shorter waits for things like transportation, restaurants and bathrooms where a GAC is not helpful.
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:55 AM   #8
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Yes, you can get separate GACs for two members of your party.

That said, I don't know that there's anything a GAC would do for your mother. Most queues are mainstreamed so wheelchair and ECV users go in together and some of them are very long distance-wise with no way to shorten the distance walked (Soarin' is 1/4 mile in and another 1/4 mile out, for example). So there may be rides where she wants to take the wheelchair/ECV through the queue just because of the distance. For rides where she'd rather walk, she can park in stroller parking and walk.

I just wanted to mention that you talked about renting at the parks for your mother. You may find it more convenient and it's definitely less expensive to rent from an offsite company. That way your mother would have it at the resort if needed because the WDW resorts are pretty big. It is possible to rent either a wheelchair or an ECV that will break down to fit in a car if you're driving to the parks (and if you're driving to the parks, it can be quite a long walk to get to where you can rent wheelchairs and ECVs from the parking lot in some parks). If you're using WDW transportation, then you can just bring the wheelchair or ECV on and not need to worry about breaking it down at all. The FAQ sticky on the top of this board has information about offsite rentals. Outside rental companies will deliver to resorts, both on and off-property. I think people have mentioned their delivering to condos and time-shares as well, but it may depend on the company.

Depending on how alert your mother is, an ECV is likely to give her the most independence and be easiest on the group as a whole. Rental wheelchairs are heavy so others would have to push her in it. ECVs require you to stay mentally alert, though, so if that's going to be a problem then the wheelchair is the safer option. The ECVs rented offsite are definitely easier to manuver than the WDW ones, but they do still need the driver to be alert. A good test is to bring your mother to Walmart or another big box store that has ECVs you can borrow in the store. If she can drive one of those fairly comfortably and definitely safely, pretty much any ECV she uses at WDW is going to be more maneuverable and easier.
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:58 AM   #9
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We just returned and had my in laws with us. Both have some mobility issues when on their feet for long periods of time. After one day, I called Apple and rented a wheelchair and it was one of the best decisions we made. It allowed us to have to also when we left the parks for the long walk to the bus as well as to our hotel room. They alternated use of the wheelchair.
My FIL is a little worse off, so we did receive a GAC for him. If your child has GAC, and it is just the few of you, your mom won't need one since the GAC allows you to take up to 5-6 guests with you.

Last edited by SueM in MN; 04-17-2013 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:20 AM   #10
charlotte66
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Thanks for all of the suggestions! My mother is mentally alert and still drives, so Io think that the ECV would be the best option. We are staying at Port Orleans Riverside, but we have a preferred room that's in a very good location. And my mother doesn't plan on doing too much walking around there.
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Old 04-17-2013, 01:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlotte66
Thanks for all of the suggestions! My mother is mentally alert and still drives, so Io think that the ECV would be the best option. We are staying at Port Orleans Riverside, but we have a preferred room that's in a very good location. And my mother doesn't plan on doing too much walking around there.
But the walks from the buses into the parks is very long....that is why I I initially had to start renting offsite...DS could not make the walk from the bus to rental location inside the parks. And it is a lot cheaper to rent from offsite.
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Old 04-17-2013, 01:52 PM   #12
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We recently returned from WDW and had a GAC as my nephew has epilepsy. We were instructed by the CM at Guest Relations, where we got the card, to present it in the fast pass line at each ride. We were treated as if we all (6 of us) had fast passes. We also saw many, many other families doing the same thing.

I would just clarify the rules and requirements by a CAST MEMBER at Guest Relations.

Many people on this board "believe" you shouldn't use the GAC as a fast pass, but when you are instructed to do so by Disney Cast Members, THAT is what I listen to. It does say on the card that it may not grant you quick access, but we were told it would and were never denied the entire 7 day trip.

I hope you have a magical vacation!!
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Old 04-17-2013, 02:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RunningWithScissors View Post
We recently returned from WDW and had a GAC as my nephew has epilepsy. We were instructed by the CM at Guest Relations, where we got the card, to present it in the fast pass line at each ride. We were treated as if we all (6 of us) had fast passes. We also saw many, many other families doing the same thing.

I would just clarify the rules and requirements by a CAST MEMBER at Guest Relations.

Many people on this board "believe" you shouldn't use the GAC as a fast pass, but when you are instructed to do so by Disney Cast Members, THAT is what I listen to. It does say on the card that it may not grant you quick access, but we were told it would and were never denied the entire 7 day trip.

I hope you have a magical vacation!!
Absolutely, do what the CM's at each attraction indicate (not Guest Relations). If that's how your particular need was met on those days, that's great. However, GAC may be handled differently at different attractions, different stamps may be handled differently at the same attraction, and even the same stamp may be handled differently at the same attraction at different times. One should never *expect* a GAC to be an automatic Fastpass regardless of what you or any of us may have experienced at any given time. There is absolutely no guarantee of short lines regardless of who might have told you so. I personally have experienced longer waits at times and not the FP line at times. I don't doubt that your experience is as you reported, however it should not be considered as "always" because that's setting unrealistic expectations.
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:29 AM   #14
SueM in MN
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I am closing this thread at this time because the OP's questions have been answered.

According to CMs who work in Guest Relations and attractions who are DIS posters, guests with a GAC are to show it to a CM at each attraction for instructions on what to do.
As lanejudy wrote,
Quote:
GAC may be handled differently at different attractions, different stamps may be handled differently at the same attraction, and even the same stamp may be handled differently at the same attraction at different times. One should never *expect* a GAC to be an automatic Fastpass regardless of what you or any of us may have experienced at any given time. There is absolutely no guarantee of short lines regardless of who might have told you so. I personally have experienced longer waits at times and not the FP line at times. I don't doubt that your experience is as you reported, however it should not be considered as "always" because that's setting unrealistic expectations.
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Last edited by SueM in MN; 04-18-2013 at 08:52 AM.
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