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Old 01-31-2007, 08:09 AM   #1
dj2
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wheelchairs

ever see anyone using a wheelchair on your ABD tour? any info you can share about what you noticed will be appreciated. thx.
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Old 02-02-2007, 04:46 AM   #2
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I was on London/Paris last year and there weren't any wheelchairs there. As there was a HUGE amount of walking and many streets were cobbled, I would think it would be near impossible to navigate that way. The following info is from the ABD website which might be helpful. It should probably be discussed with ABD as to which tour you are interested in and if a wheelchair would be an impediment to your trip.


"Certain activities on select itineraries will present challenges that may not be suitable for Guests with disabilities or special needs. Many adventures involve considerable walking, and depending on the destination, may include walking on uneven sidewalks and streets, narrow passages, and steep stairs and inclines. Adventures by Disney strongly recommends that Guests requiring assistance be accompanied by a companion who is capable of, and totally responsible for, providing assistance. Neither Adventures by Disney nor our Suppliers may physically lift or assist Guests onto transportation vehicles or otherwise. Please contact a Concierge Agent to discuss your specific needs"
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Old 02-02-2007, 10:11 AM   #3
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i'm glad to hear from someone who has been on one of the trips! thanks for posting. i had seen that identical paragraph both on-line and in their brochure. it's not looking too good for me. oh well. think of all the money i'll save.
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Old 02-02-2007, 06:17 PM   #4
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Much of Europe - including Paris and London - would be hard in a wheelchair. I can't imagine doing Paris, London, etc. in a wheelchair - not all metros are accessible, there are the cobbled streets, etc. Many bathrooms, maybe most bathrooms, are not. But that doesn't mean it's impossible.

I found this link to a little bit of info on wheelchairs in Paris: http://www.transitionsabroad.com/pub...eelchair.shtml
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Old 02-02-2007, 08:23 PM   #5
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I use a power wheelchair. And yes, ABD does not offer accessible accommodations. That's why I'm planning a trip to London with just my family. If you pick up Rick Steve's Accessible Europe guidebook you can read detail about what is and isn't accessible.

Yes, there are cobblestone streets, but there are also curb cuts. The London Underground has many stations inaccessible (just stairs and no elevator), but the busses all have lifts and the taxis in London are accessible.

The Tower of London is only wheelchair accessible on the main grounds and Crown Jewels building. Expect older places to have spottier accessibility. Also expect many places to offer pretty steep discounts to wheelchair users and one companion (half price or free entry) if they offer partial accessiblity. The British Museum, London Eye and many other places are fully accessible.

One snag I've found is the ABD package include of Mary Poppins musical tickets. The theater that shows that production has very limited handicapped seating. I think under a half dozen seats. And you must call direct to secure those seats. I'm working with a cousin who lives in South London to get us tickets.

As for accessible accommodations, there are hotels that offer roll-in showers, etc. One recommended by Rick Steve is a "budget" hotel (<$120 a night?) called the Travelodge Inn. It is located directly across the Thames from Big Ben in the County Hall building (where the London Eye is). Since I have a ton of Marriott points to use, I'm staying in the higher priced Marriot hotel in the same location. Already have my confirmed accessible room booked. In walking distance, it is .25 mile to Big Ben and 1 mile to Buckingham Palace.

Rick Steve's book also details trips to Paris and Belgium via Eurorail andother accessible transportation.

So it's possible to tour Europe by wheelchair. Disney just hasn't bothered to figure out the details.

FWIW, I used their published London & Paris itinerary as a beginning template to decide what I'll do. My goal is 10 days in London as home base with some daytrips to other cities via train. Keep in mind, the UK has passed it's own form of ADA legislation in the last 10 years.

Feel free to PM if you have any questions or comments. My trip is scheduled for late August, so I'm in the midst of planning the details now.
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Old 02-02-2007, 11:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Much of Europe - including Paris and London - would be hard in a wheelchair.
The United States is much more progressive than Europe in providing rights and accommodations to people with disabilities.
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Old 02-03-2007, 10:40 AM   #7
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The United States is much more progressive than Europe in providing rights and accommodations to people with disabilities.
Much of Europe is also older - as far as their buildings and such. There are places like Mont St. Michel where I can't even imagine how you'd have anything for those in wheelchairs, it wasn't built for that many hundreds of years ago. A lot of able bodied people have problems with it! Newer buildings can certainly be easily equipped, but not everyplace can be (not easily, some not at all). The Metro in France is such a crazy place, I can't imagine being on it in a wheelchair. However, I have relatives who are blind, and one aunt was telling me about being in France with another aunt of mine (who is blind), and people on the metro were bending over backwards to make sure she got on - pulling her into the metro, etc.

Bathrooms can be downstairs in some places, or in areas that are hard to access. In some places, a bathroom is just a hole in the floor, definitely not accessible for someone in a wheelchair. There are many sites that offer information for those who are in wheelchairs, I am sorry that ABD isn't offered for those who are in them (I didn't actually know that).
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Old 02-03-2007, 12:20 PM   #8
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thanks everyone for your responses. it seems i won't be able to take the easy way out and pay more for a pre-packaged disney tour. i guess if i end up going it will be more research and planning on my part. at least to compensate for that i might end up with a trip that's less costly. well--here's hoping.

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Old 02-03-2007, 06:48 PM   #9
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You very well might be able to save some money. If I was ever in a wheelchair, I'd not stop going - I would just plan my trip around having limited mobility. I will probably be more cognizant in April of those who are in wheelchairs, to see how they are getting around.
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Old 02-05-2007, 09:56 AM   #10
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Much of Europe is also older - as far as their buildings and such. There are places like Mont St. Michel where I can't even imagine how you'd have anything for those in wheelchairs,
That is a major problem. Pretty much akin to what we US wheelchair users experience every time one of our AB (able-bodied) friends invites us over to their homes for dinner. Private Residences = the Last Frontier for Wheelies.

Even so, Europeans tend to make up for that lack of accessibility with an overabundance of "grunt power" help offered. It's not unheard of for a restaurant to send out a bunch of waiters or a group f some brawny patrons to carry a wheelchair user up the threshhold steps inside. Not something you'd see often in the US for fear of liability. No help offered = do it yourself or tough!

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There are many sites that offer information for those who are in wheelchairs, I am sorry that ABD isn't offered for those who are in them (I didn't actually know that).
Yes it is disappointing, but there are other places that offer packaged tours for wheelchair users. For instance Accessible Journeys (www.disabilitytravel.com) offers group tours of Europe, Asia and South America to wheelchair users. This London Tour (http://www.disabilitytravel.com/grps...ers_london.htm) costs :

Group size
2 passengers: $5,695.00 per person
4 passengers: $3,995.00 per person
6 passengers: $3,595.00 per person
8 passengers: $3,395.00 per person

Tour cost includes:
Professional driver, accessible van with hydraulic lift, very accessible 4 star hotel, full English breakfast daily, 17.5% VAT (Value Added Tax), portage assistance with luggage, guiding daily by licensed BTA guide, local taxes, administration charges in USA and Britain.

It takes you to London, Stratford, Stonehenge, Leeds, Bath, Dover and Canterbury over 7 days.

I highly advise anyone considering a trip abroad in a wheelchair get Rick Steve's Easy Access Europe guidebook. It's a very helpful guidebook listing everything from accessible London Tube stations to places you go for more info. The book covers travels to London, Paris, Bruges (Belgium), Amsterdam, Rhine Valley (Germany).

I never thought I could manage travel abroad, but then I went cruising the Caribbean and ventured off the ship. I've "st"rolled the hills of San Juan, Puerto Rico (including those 16th century Spanish forts), wandered the beach in St. Maartan and picnicked in Labadee, Haiti. And people can tell you the islands are the absolute worse for accessibility... remote and lack of resources means creative problem solving.
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Old 02-06-2007, 11:56 AM   #11
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That is a major problem. Pretty much akin to what we US wheelchair users experience every time one of our AB (able-bodied) friends invites us over to their homes for dinner. Private Residences = the Last Frontier for Wheelies.
My dad and stepmother actually expanded their downstairs bathroom for wheelchair users many years ago. They have a picnic every year for Flag Day for a couple of hundred people, and some who do come are in wheelchairs (as are other family friends). It also helps those who are blind, to be able to move around the bathroom a little easier with a cane.
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