Disney Information Station Logo

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





Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 04-03-2013, 12:18 PM   #1
cceandme
Mouseketeer
 
cceandme's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Stem, NC
Posts: 276

GAC & arthritis

I was recently diagnosed with osteoarthtitis and am having alot of trouble ith my knees. pain and swelling. we already had this trip paid for before all this started.

I plan on using a wheelchair for the trip and was wondering if I will be eligible for a GAC card. Morning are especially hard for me to get around.

Do I need a dr's note to get a GAC? Will it benefit me in anyway?

Thanks for any advice you can give. this is all new to me. It really sucks as I'm only 38 and have never had any medical problems in the past so its alot to deal with
__________________


Me(Rhonda)38, Randy39 ,Chelsea 20, Cody 19 , Ethan 13 ,
Also at home a dog, a cat, a Macaw, a Ball python, a Leopard Gecko and a goldfish
cceandme is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2013, 12:31 PM   #2
Piper
DIS Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 2,892

A GAC is not needed if you use a wheelchair. You will take in in the regular line (in most cases.) It is not a front of the line pass and often people with a GAC wait longer than those without. (I speak from personal experience.) You will sometimes follow the regular line almost to the regular entrance, then be diverted to a different line. The number of HC vehicles and the number of guests in front of you will determine your wait. A few attractions have a special line, but if you check with the CMs at the entrance, they will direct you.

A GAC is for those with invisible illness. A wheelchair makes your need visible. If a CM says you need one, ask to speak with a supervisor. If your only need is mobility, Disney's answer is to use a WC or ECV.

You do not need a doctor's note, but you must be able to explain your needs to get a GAC.

If you read the FAQs thread at the top of this board, you will get a lot of information. There is a table of contents in the first post. Here is the link: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=595713
Piper is offline   Reply With Quote
|
The DIS
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 04-04-2013, 10:15 AM   #3
utterrandomness
Mouseketeer
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 159

I also have osteoarthritis in my knees. I saw a really neat ice/heat pack designed specifically for knees that straps on so you don't have to worry about it falling off. It might help you out in the mornings. You could also bring baggies (ziploc) to get ice from counter service restaurants. I almost always have a ziploc on me in case I need ice to reduce swelling.
utterrandomness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2013, 01:12 AM   #4
stitchlovestink
DIS Veteran
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 4,316

Only Guest Services can determine if you 'qualify' for a GAC...
Personally, I recommend you go and talk to them as you certainly have nothing to lose but the few moments of time you took to talk to them. A wheelchair or ECV will be your biggest friend, but I think a GAC could be of help to you, but that is just my opinion and I don't work for GS so my opinion doesn't really matter.
I have found in my experience my GAC saves me wait time. For me, I do not wait longer, but shorter. That is my experience. Others have differing experiences. But that is mine... If you don't believe me, ask my kids. They would rather hang with mom then go off on their own and they are a teen/young adult!!! So that should say something! LOL!
Feel free to PM me if you have any personal questions. Hope your trip goes well!
stitchlovestink is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2013, 07:42 AM   #5
SueM in MN
It's like combining the teacups with a roller coaster

 
SueM in MN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Twin Cities area,Minnesota,USA
Posts: 30,728
DISboards Moderator

GACs are not given for diagnosis, so having any particular diagnosis doesn't 'qualify' or not qualify for one. You need to be able to explain your needs to the Cast Members at Guest Relations.

the link Piper posted is to the disABILITIES FAQs thread, which you can find near the top of this board (and I also have a link in my signature). Post 6 of that thread can answer all your questions about GACs.
Disney doesn't publish anything official about GACs; the information in post 6 has been reviewed though by multiple people who work in Guest Relations at WDW, so it is as complete and accurate as an unofficial guide can be.

It is printed right on GACs that GACs are not meant to shorten waits, along with a suggestion to use Fastpass if you want to shorten your wait.
The actual wait at a particular attraction may be shorter, longer or the same as a guest who is not using a GAC. Exactly what happens at an attraction depends on things like what is stamped on the GAC, what available at that attraction, staffing at the time and things like how many other people with special needs are waiting.
All in all, it tends to average out.
Using a touring plan like www.touringplans.com or www.easywdw.com can help a lot. Even if you are not following the touring plan exactly, it can steer you to the least busy park and the areas of that park with the shortest waits. That is helpful for shortening your wait and just for getting around in general.

WDW's published information suggests that guests who are concerned about their stamina or ability to walk/stand in lines should consider using a wheelchair or ECV. The reason is that the distance walked in lines is only a portion of the day - guests walk much more between attractions.
So, you are very wise to be thinking of a wheelchair or ECV. Guests DON'T need a GAC to use a wheelchair or ECV in line.

Some lines are a very long walking distance (for example, Soarin' is more than 1/4 mile from the place you enter the line until boarding; then after riding, you have to walk n equal distance out). GACs seldom shorten the distance walked.

There are also a number of attractions where guests stand for a period of time if they don't have a mobility device with them to sit on. There is a post on page 2 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread that lists those attractions.

My FIL had very bad hips and knees and avoided using an ECV for many years. He was in pain every day and missed out on a lot of things because he basically walked fom bench to bench. The first day he rented an ECV was also the first day he ended the day without being in extreme pain, with ice on his knees.
Using the ECV gave him the stamina and pain free time to njoy the parks again.
__________________
SueM in MN
Moderator of disABILITIES
Link to disABILITIES FAQs thread

Spaceship Earth: We are all passengers together.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans......John Lennon
Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr
SueM in MN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2013, 08:17 AM   #6
dewingedpixie
Mouseketeer
 
dewingedpixie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Northern, VA
Posts: 271

Are you sure its osteoarthritis and not rheumatoid arthritis? Is it bilateral? The morning thing really worries me. I have an RA/AS hybrid is why I ask.

A doctors note should help you. I went to Disney in a wheel chair after breaking my leg. We were allowed allowances due to this.
__________________
Pi}{ie

dewingedpixie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2013, 09:01 AM   #7
utterrandomness
Mouseketeer
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 159

Quote:
Originally Posted by dewingedpixie View Post
Are you sure its osteoarthritis and not rheumatoid arthritis? Is it bilateral? The morning thing really worries me. I have an RA/AS hybrid is why I ask.
It's certainly worth looking into, but mornings can be bad for people with osteoarthritis too, because of the lack of activity during the night.

That's the other recommendation I have for the OP: use the wheelchair definitely, but I would try to walk some too, or move/stretch your legs. I'm sure you know this already, but inactivity can make arthritic joints stiff and painful. I've made that mistake a lot.

People will stare, because they have this idea that everyone who uses a wheelchair is completely unable to walk , but you know that's not the case, and your family knows that's the case and that's all that matters.

About the GAC, I think it's worth asking. A GAC may let you avoid stairs if you decide to walk in the line (for example). You don't need a doctors note, you just have to figure out what you need and tell them. I recommend imagining what you'll have to do in the parks and make a list of all the things you might have trouble doing because of your knees. As others have said, a wheelchair is a sign of disability and it might be all you need.

I hope you have a wonderful trip.
utterrandomness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2013, 12:59 PM   #8
cceandme
Mouseketeer
 
cceandme's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Stem, NC
Posts: 276

Quote:
Originally Posted by utterrandomness View Post
It's certainly worth looking into, but mornings can be bad for people with osteoarthritis too, because of the lack of activity during the night.

That's the other recommendation I have for the OP: use the wheelchair definitely, but I would try to walk some too, or move/stretch your legs. I'm sure you know this already, but inactivity can make arthritic joints stiff and painful. I've made that mistake a lot.

People will stare, because they have this idea that everyone who uses a wheelchair is completely unable to walk , but you know that's not the case, and your family knows that's the case and that's all that matters.

About the GAC, I think it's worth asking. A GAC may let you avoid stairs if you decide to walk in the line (for example). You don't need a doctors note, you just have to figure out what you need and tell them. I recommend imagining what you'll have to do in the parks and make a list of all the things you might have trouble doing because of your knees. As others have said, a wheelchair is a sign of disability and it might be all you need.

I hope you have a wonderful trip.
I do plan on doing some walking and I'm actually torn between using a wheelchair or not. this is all so new for me so I'm not yet sure how my body is going to react to all the walking. on the one hand my knees feel better the more they are used but on the other hand i don't know if all the walking in Disney will make them feel better or worse.

i did request a ground floor room at CSR and the Cm said they would guarantee it as its for a medical condition and I didn't really want to take a handicap accessible room froms omeone when my only real issue would be stairs in the mornings.

My trip is 2 months away. I just started this week walking with the dog. only up to a mile walk right now as I just started.Hoping the more i walk now the better my trip will be. I'm still worried about the whole thing. It's so frustrating.
__________________


Me(Rhonda)38, Randy39 ,Chelsea 20, Cody 19 , Ethan 13 ,
Also at home a dog, a cat, a Macaw, a Ball python, a Leopard Gecko and a goldfish
cceandme is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2013, 01:01 PM   #9
cceandme
Mouseketeer
 
cceandme's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Stem, NC
Posts: 276

I also feel bad because its just me and my 13 year old son going on the trip. If I get a wheelchair he will be stuck pushing me around.
__________________


Me(Rhonda)38, Randy39 ,Chelsea 20, Cody 19 , Ethan 13 ,
Also at home a dog, a cat, a Macaw, a Ball python, a Leopard Gecko and a goldfish
cceandme is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-05-2013, 02:30 PM   #10
tobikaye
DIS Veteran
 
tobikaye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 826

Quote:
Originally Posted by cceandme View Post
I also feel bad because its just me and my 13 year old son going on the trip. If I get a wheelchair he will be stuck pushing me around.
Have you looked at using a rollator? If you are not sure what they are, they are basically walkers with wheels and a seat. This gives you the chance to walk as you need, but sit if you just need to relieve the pressure on your joints. I know some people with arthritis are fine with the walking around, but get pain from standing for too long without little to no movement. This way your son will not have to push you the whole time. If you have a bad day, you can just rent a wheelchair or EVC for that day.

My sister used one when we went to WDW in 2010 and at that time before we went, she could barely walk a 1/4 mile without stopping for a break. We only rented an EVC for 1 day that trip when we were doing a quick MK moring and WS at EP in the afternoon/evening.
__________________
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 04-06-2013, 12:34 AM   #11
KPeveler
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: 6 miles from Disneyland
Posts: 4,024
DISboards Moderator

I have an ultra light wheelchair custom made for me which weighs about 1/3 what a rental wheelchair weighs and my wife has problems pushing me for any length of time (I am about 115 lbs). I am concerned that your son will not be able to push you much at all, and the rental chairs are not made to self-propel at all.

You may want to look into either a rollator as people suggested or an ECV. I am not sure a manual chair is going to work great for your trip. On average, people walk 9-12 miles a day in WDW, so you need to plan for not just 9 walks like you are doing now in a day, but doing them for several days in a row.

If you have a wheelchair, scooter, walker, etc, you will not need a GAC. A GAC is more for invisible conditions to let the CMs know that you have needs not visible to them. A wheelchair will be a visual cue and you will not need a GAC most likely. If your concerns are stamina, mobility, the ability to walk, stand, or move (whether for short or long times or distances), then Disney will suggest you rent a wheelchair.
__________________
~Katy~

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

Married in Disney World 10/26/2009!
KPeveler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2013, 06:22 AM   #12
PatsMom
Sometimes has Dory moments!
I have two brothers and either of them would have been proud to be suspended for stinking up the bus
 
PatsMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Northern NH
Posts: 5,756

I used a wheelchair due to a broken foot last May. Had no problems with CM's - they directed me to the approriate entrance with no GAC. Since it was a mobility issue, I didn't think that a GAC was required and I was correct. I also used a wheelchair in January 2013 due to having a total abdominal hysterectomy 10 days before the trip. This was also mobility related but I was supposed to do some walking. I walked where I felt good and rode when I didn't. Rough trip as the chair made the incision ooze more blood but it worked out OK. Again, no GAC was needed. I didn't do any of the coasters obviously but all the other attractions were pretty straightforward with the CM's being great about directing me.
__________________
1981 to 1983 - Disneyland many times November 1987 - Fairway Villas (prior to the Disney Institute)
September 1996 - Fort Wilderness (DD and DH's first trip) October 1999 - Fort Wilderness November 2001 - Fort Wilderness November 2004 - Fort Wilderness November 2005 - Saratoga Springs December 2006 - Saratoga Springs February 2007 - All Star Sports August 2007 - Boardwalk Villas November 2007 - Saratoga Springs February 2008 - Villas at the Wilderness Lodge August 2008 - Old Key West
December 2008 - Saratoga Springs February 2009 - Beach Club Villas September 2009 (50th birthday trip) - Bay Lake Tower January 2010 - Animal Kingdom Villas (Kidani Village) May 2010 - Old Key West September 2010 - Bay Lake Tower May 2011 - Beach Club Villas October 2011 - Saratoga Springs January 2012 - Old Key West May 2012 - Old Key West October 2012 - Old Key West January 2013 - Family gathering at Old Key West; May 2013 - Wilderness Lodge Villas; November 2013 - AKL Jambo House; February 2014 - Saratoga Springs
PatsMom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2013, 06:55 AM   #13
cceandme
Mouseketeer
 
cceandme's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Stem, NC
Posts: 276

the first day we get there we are going to do HS for half day. I think I will not get a wheelchair and see how I do the first day. then play it by er as to whether i will need one the next day.
i'd really rather not use a wheelchair if possible.
__________________


Me(Rhonda)38, Randy39 ,Chelsea 20, Cody 19 , Ethan 13 ,
Also at home a dog, a cat, a Macaw, a Ball python, a Leopard Gecko and a goldfish
cceandme is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2013, 07:14 AM   #14
SueM in MN
It's like combining the teacups with a roller coaster

 
SueM in MN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Twin Cities area,Minnesota,USA
Posts: 30,728
DISboards Moderator

Quote:
Originally Posted by cceandme View Post
the first day we get there we are going to do HS for half day. I think I will not get a wheelchair and see how I do the first day. then play it by er as to whether i will need one the next day.
i'd really rather not use a wheelchair if possible.
If you decide you need one, you can always get one. The parks do run out of ECVs, but not usually wheelchairs. ECVs and wheelchairs can also be rented from off site rental places - phone numbers and websites are listed in post 2 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread near the top of this board.

You can also rent rollators from some companies.
__________________
SueM in MN
Moderator of disABILITIES
Link to disABILITIES FAQs thread

Spaceship Earth: We are all passengers together.
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans......John Lennon
Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Dr. Maya Angelou
trip report link in Memory of eternaldisneyfan, who lived these words: Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses. Alphonse Karr
SueM in MN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2013, 08:59 PM   #15
chaoslobster
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Long Island
Posts: 58

Quote:
Originally Posted by dewingedpixie View Post
A doctors note should help you. I went to Disney in a wheel chair after breaking my leg. We were allowed allowances due to this.
Just to make sure it's clear, a doctor's note is not necessary to receive a GAC. Typically the CM will not even look at the note if you try to hand one to him or her. I have no idea if that's official policy or not (perhaps they're not allowed to read doctor's notes?), but I know that it won't be useful.

If you're worried that you're going to freeze up when asked or not be able to clearly explain what your needs are, what you could do is ask your doctor to clarify in writing the activities that might give you trouble, such as walking up stairs. Then you can read off that information to the CM. But it won't matter if your note's written on a legal prescription pad or a piece of looseleaf.
__________________
chaoslobster 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 01:52 AM.

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

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