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Old 04-07-2013, 04:32 PM   #1
Annielkd22222
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GAC gotchas at WDW

I saw this post for someone going to Walt Disney land....and I was wondering if there were the same thing at Walt Disney world? Are there rides where the wait is much more crowded and longer at WDW? I have done the alternative waiting area at the big globe ride....but I was sitting and it didn't get crowded for quite a while. The time was about the same....but had I been required to stand that would have been tough. Anyone know?
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Old 04-07-2013, 08:47 PM   #2
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Yes. There are several rides that may take longer....Toy Story, Small World, the Safari in AK, are just a few. I can't ride any of the mountains, or any of the roller coaster type rides so I don't have experience with them.
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:25 PM   #3
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Really it is difficult to judge because things can change so frequently, but there are several queues where the accessible entrance is in full sun or more crowded - BTMRR comes to mind

Really, as GACs vary greatly (there are many different stamps) and even the same stamp can be handled differently, you may not find a lot of answers here.

What I could tell about on the DL thread was about the wheelchair accessible entrances. Since most queues at WDW are mainstreamed (MK has the most that are not, as it is an older park), there are not a great many alternate entrances I even know about.

I can say that you should never count on there being seating in an alternate entrance. Spaceship Earth, the big ball ride in Epcot, is the exception to the rule. There is pretty much NEVER a seat in any queue, mainstream or accessible. If you need a place to sit to wait, you need to rent a wheelchair.
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:08 PM   #4
stitchlovestink
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Originally Posted by KPeveler View Post
Really it is difficult to judge because things can change so frequently, but there are several queues where the accessible entrance is in full sun or more crowded - BTMRR comes to mind

Really, as GACs vary greatly (there are many different stamps) and even the same stamp can be handled differently, you may not find a lot of answers here.

What I could tell about on the DL thread was about the wheelchair accessible entrances. Since most queues at WDW are mainstreamed (MK has the most that are not, as it is an older park), there are not a great many alternate entrances I even know about.

I can say that you should never count on there being seating in an alternate entrance. Spaceship Earth, the big ball ride in Epcot, is the exception to the rule. There is pretty much NEVER a seat in any queue, mainstream or accessible. If you need a place to sit to wait, you need to rent a wheelchair.

I agree 100% with KPeveler that it is difficut to judge as there are so many Factors that come into play.
Like Piper reports that she always waits longer but only posts every once in a great while that she is waiting for the wheelchair accessible ride vehicle. That makes a HUGE difference in your wait! And is important to know, at least in my opinion it is. Because I don't typically wait nearly as long. I usually have very short waits, but I do not need the special ride vehicle like she does, so therefore, I don't have to wait as long because I am not waiting for that particular 'ride car' or boat.
I also noticed when I was there 2 weeks ago that they are starting to load Toy Story Midway Mania much more effectively!!! Woo Hoo!! For example, we were a party of two and there was an opening for two so they pulled us out of line and filled in the empty car with us. So they are trying to send the ride vehicles thru as full as possible instead of worrying about the party order. Where before they would have left those seats empty if the next party was more than two. Now they are working on effectively filling the seats!! It really makes better sense and in the end moves the line even faster overall for everyone in the HC accessible line there. I commented to mgt that I was glad to see that change implemented, and honestly it was about time someone figured out how to do it!
But overall, there are so many mitigating factors, like the type of stamp you have, the crowd levels, do you need to transfer, etc... that it is really hard to determine how long you will wait. Personally, I find my wait times to be very reasonable and generally rather short. No complaints from me!
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:42 AM   #5
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I am able to walk distances, but not able to stand for long periods of time, it's usually just DW and I, so her pushing me in a chair isn't an option. In general though, I have found that there is no need to rent a wheelchair for this. Most attractions have wheelchairs that they will let you use in the queue if you ask them. If they don't, just explain the situation to them (be nice and polite) and they will usually find a way to accomodate you.

I have found this to be true at both Disneyland and Disney World. But the key is to ask nicely and politely (especially at Disneyland, as they get a lot of people who demand things) and 99.9% of the time something can be done.

Now I will admit that I haven't needed to do this at Disneyland in a while, as we live nearby and if the line is too long, we simply say we will ride it next time.

Last time that I was at Disney World, I learned in the first few days that I need to show the GAC almost everywhere, even when the line is short, as I found it difficult to navigate some of the queues, even with no one in them.

My point here is know what you are capable of and if you see something that makes you think your body won't handle what they are asking you to do, explain your concerns politely (There was only twice that this was needed for our groups, as someone in our group was having panic attacks when people are crowded in too close. We had to mention this at Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror, both of which made accommodations that assisted with this.)

Now, I have discovered that there is a way to minimize wait times for the most part, especially if you arrive at park opening.

At Disneyland, start at the left (i.e. Tiki Room) and work your way around to the right. At DCA, start at Carsland, then Bugsland, then Hollywood Land, then Soarin', Grizzly River Run, etc., then Paradise Pier & The Wharf (be sure to pick up a FP for WOC between Soarin' and Grizzly River Run)

At Disney World:
MK: Start with Enchanted Tales with Belle if you want to do that, then work your way to Tomorrowland, then Adventureland and around. If you don't care about that, go to Tomorrowland first, then work your way around.

AK: Start at Kilimanjaro Safari (it is always best to start with this ride, as the animals will be more active in the morning), then work your way around the park and try to get the last safari out of the night as well (again the animals will be more active and the last Safari often takes a little longer out there from what I have seen).

DHS: Start with Toy Story, if that is important to you, otherwise start with Rockin' Roller Coaster, then work your way around the park as logically as you can.

Epcot: Start with Spaceship earth, you will most likely be able to ride twice at this time of day if you so choose, then go to the right, do Seas, Living with the Land, then around to Ellen's Universe of Energy, then Mission Space and Test Track, then on to World Showcase, starting with Mexico and work your way around. You should end up near the Accesible seating for Illuminations at just about the perfect time to get into it.

Disclaimer: I find this to work the best for me and my needs and it is not always 100% accurate, but I would say it works 95% of the time for me. Your mileage may vary based on your needs of course, but my point here is watch for patterns, it doesn't take long to pick up on them. Just as there are patterns for the regular queues, there are patterns for the alternate entrances. The problem is the patterns can vary based on needs, but the trick is finding the pattern for your needs. As I said, the above is what works for me, it also avoids a lot of backtracking.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:20 AM   #6
Annielkd22222
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Thank you all for your posts! I don't actually do the most popular rides, and stay on property to use the early morning advantage. I guess I was worried more about being stuck somewhere. I don't generally ride the most popular rides. I do like soaring, and splash mountain. I have limited time in the parks(about 3 hours) and like to make use of what I can in that time. I can walk, but can't stand still. Even if I were in a wheelchair, imwouldmstill need to return to the room in 3 hours for a break. I will take your advice and let the people know my needs ( crowds, standing, sun). And hope for the best. If I feel stuck, I plan to try to back out as discretely as possible. Thanks all!
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:30 AM   #7
SueM in MN
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I agree with KPeveler that WDW having mostly mainstream lines makes a difference compared to Disneyland.
In many cases, the waiting area is just a separated off part of the regular line, like this one for the the Circle of Life movie at The Land in Epcot.


There are also mitigating factors, such as crowd levels and individual ride factors, such as staffing at the time.
How many accessible ride cars are running at the time can affect both those waiting for the accessible ride car and those not. If there are 2 running, those waiting in that area will wait a shorter time than if there is only one. Some have no way to 'pull forward' those who are not waiting for the accessible ride car, so their wait is dependent on how many are in that line, not how many are waiting for the accessible ride car.

And some, like Dinosaur, have a small area for boarding and no accessible ride car. Someone who walks, but needs to use the elevator to get to that area is going to have to wait the same as someone using a wheelchair who used the elevator.

Many attractions are only allowed a certain number of guests with special needs inside the ride at one time.
And, on Toy Story Mania, CMs have told me that the accessible ride car is the only one generally brought into the accessible boarding area. If they are running with one accessible ride car, that means one is loaded there about every 7 minutes (which is one ride circuit). If there are 2 accessible cars running, the wait will be half that.
The exception is that they are allowed to 'pull' one regular ride car pod from the line when they have to convert the accessible ride car for use with a wheelchair. This is because it can take almost one ride circuit to convert the ride car for use with a wheelchair and back.

Timing can also make a big difference. We have arrived at Toy Story when there are people waiting all the way from where the ramp begins.
We have also occassionally been really lucky and gotten there when we came right into the accessible boarding room, with only a few people waiting there.
That is what can make the biggest difference in the wait.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stitchlovestink View Post
I agree 100% with KPeveler that it is difficut to judge as there are so many Factors that come into play.
Like Piper reports that she always waits longer but only posts every once in a great while that she is waiting for the wheelchair accessible ride vehicle. That makes a HUGE difference in your wait! And is important to know, at least in my opinion it is. Because I don't typically wait nearly as long. I usually have very short waits, but I do not need the special ride vehicle like she does, so therefore, I don't have to wait as long because I am not waiting for that particular 'ride car' or boat.
It may or may not make a difference.
And, if it does, it is usually only one ride circuit (the time it takes to cycle the accessible ride car thru the ride, along with whether or not they are running more than one accessible ride car).

For example, at Small World, if you are in the accessible line, it does not usually make much difference whether or not you are waiting for the wheelchair accessible boat. The waiting line is narrow, so it is difficult to pull anyone from farther back to put them into a boat ahead of someone waiting for the accessible boat.
We are waiting for that boat and have sometimes been pulled to wait out of the line when we get to the front and let others by us who do not need that boat (but only when we have worked our way down to get to the front).
This is a picture of the Small World accessible line - the picture is taken from where we were waiting for the accessible boat after we got to the front of the line. The guests on the left would get on the next boat. The guests on the right side of the picture are waiting in the accessible line.

At the time that picture was taken, it went all the way to the top of the ramp. Some obviously have guests with wheelchairs or ECVs in their group. Others did not and had a Guest Assistance Card.

The wait in that accessible line can sometimes be much longer, whether or not you are waiting for the accessible boat.
For example, on our trip in October 2012, my husband and daughter did something else while I went on something DD could not go on. We planned to meet up at Small World. It took me a little longer than planned and by the time I got there, they had already been waiting for 25 minutes (I know when they got into line, because DH texted me when they got into the line).
That line was filled all the way to the start of the line - some guest with wheelchairs or ECVs, some with children with a GAC - I saw several show their GAC and get into line as I was deciding what to do. Because the line was so full, it would have been hard to get to DH and DD, as they were about 15 feet from the boarding area. So, I got into the regular line and arranged that DH and and DD would go for something to drink since they would be done before me.
I waited for 20 minutes in line before boarding. As it turned out, the boat they were loaded into was only 3 boats ahead of the one I got loaded into; we were done within about 2 minutes of each other.

DH told me that they were not 'held' while others were loaded ahead of them for that line. Anyone in that line at the time did wait 25 minutes MORE than they would have in the regular line, regardless of whether or not they needed the accessible boat.
Quote:
I also noticed when I was there 2 weeks ago that they are starting to load Toy Story Midway Mania much more effectively!!! Woo Hoo!! For example, we were a party of two and there was an opening for two so they pulled us out of line and filled in the empty car with us. So they are trying to send the ride vehicles thru as full as possible instead of worrying about the party order. Where before they would have left those seats empty if the next party was more than two. Now they are working on effectively filling the seats!! It really makes better sense and in the end moves the line even faster overall for everyone in the HC accessible line there. I commented to mgt that I was glad to see that change implemented, and honestly it was about time someone figured out how to do it!
That is not new.
They have always done that.
The 'regular' ride car pods at Toy Story can hold 8 guests. There are 2 'pods' in a ride car and each pod has 2 rows, back to back that can seat 4 guests.
The accessible ride car pod can seat only 6 because one of the rows is part of the access for accessibility.
When we ride with 2, 3 or 4 in our party, they have always pulled other people to fill the ride car IF there are any groups of the right size to ride with us.
As people turn the corner entering into the accessible boarding area, the CMs do ask how many are in each party and whether or not they can transfer.
Many times, there are no groups they can combine because all groups are 5 or 6. There are times also times when the groups are too tightly packed to get anyone from farther back to the front, especially if someone who is using an ECV or wheelchair, but can transfer would need to get by a number of other wheelchairs.

When we get to the front, while we are waiting for the accessible car to come thru, they often pull us forward into a holding area past the gate so they can board others who don't need the accessible ride car. This is when they call for a non-accessible ride car.
How many parties load ahead of us depends on the size of the groups who are waiting. If there is one group of 8, they will take the whole regular ride car.
If it's less than 8, they will take groups that equal 8 to fill up the ride car.

This was even in the beginning, when the ride first opened.
When it is very busy, we have even seen them pull guests from the regular line to board in the accessible area to fill cars as much as possible. Since the regular line boards on one side of the ride car and exits on the other just ahead of the accessible area, they have some guests walk thru the ride car to the exit side and then board at the accessible area.
This picture shows the accessible ride car in the process of having the seat removed for a wheelchair to load.

Our party of 2 was waiting to the right of the open gate area for them to convert it so DD and I could load into the wheelchair car.
You can see the other car in the pod already has people loaded into it. They were part of another group of 4 who were loaded into our same ride car to fill it up. They were taken out of order because the group right behind us was too big.
The cars other than those 2 are in the regular track. The boarding area is toward the middle of the picture (you can see people boarding between the accessible ride car and the one just above it, which has people in it who will get out when the ride car reaches the boarding/unload area.

When there is a special boarding area or line, we usually watch the people getting into the regular line right ahead of us. Often we can see them getting off when they are done, so we know that we waited at least one ride cycle longer than we would have if we could have used the regular entrance.
We also have times when we are with a larger group and some of us are in the regular boarding area and some in the other area. Most of the time, the people using the 'regular' access are done at the same time or sooner. Specifically at Toy Story, I have been with the 'regular' group and could see DH, DD and the grandmas still waiting at the accessible boarding area when we got off.

I am NOT saying there will always be an additional wait, just that guests should not plan that using a GAC will save them time. It was designed for giving assistance related to a disability, not shortening waits.
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Old 04-08-2013, 01:30 PM   #8
Annielkd22222
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Thank you for your post. I haven't used the GAC much in the past. but knowing the wait for small world might be longer is a help. I have to stand in line while waiting and anything over 15 minutes will cause pain. I don't care about how long it is.... But I need to be prepared so I can make a choice. When I went at Christmas time, I didn't even bother going into the parks after the first day....it was just too much.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:21 PM   #9
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How about purchasing a folding "chair cane"? There are some on Amazon. My parents use these and they really come in handy. You could have it to rest on all the way up to the ride and then sit it to the side when you get on.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:16 AM   #10
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How about purchasing a folding "chair cane"? There are some on Amazon. My parents use these and they really come in handy. You could have it to rest on all the way up to the ride and then sit it to the side when you get on.
Folding chairs of any kind are not permitted. They are a safety hazard. However a rollinator (walker with a built in seat) can be used.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:31 AM   #11
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The Pirates of the Caribbean alternate entrance (when it's available) can be an extra-long wait, but there are some benches there. I find the BTMRR wheelchair entrance to be kind of chaotic, and it can be intermittently very slow, but it depends on how many parties are in front of you there.

Also at MK, flying carpets can have a very long/cramped/sloped alternate entrance. I've never tried the alternate entrance at most of the headliners. We do little rides, and Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom mostly.

Soarin can be a remarkably long wait, and the slope down toward the theaters makes it more difficult for me. On the other hand, the wide hallways with people on only one side means that it doesn't set off any of my "ack, enclosed spaces" as long as I face the open space and use FP.

I think someone's mentioned the Safari at AK, that can have a pretty long wait. TSMM. We don't do much at HS/AK...


"Standing very long causes pain" is why we got a wheelchair to share for our last WDW trip. We just pushed it from attraction to attraction - often empty/piled with whatever we were carrying, sometimes with someone from our group of 6. Then I'd sit through the queue and foot-roll it or let someone push me. It was wonderful, and I would do it again, even though I'm oddly resistant to doing it at DL.
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:31 PM   #12
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Folding chairs of any kind are not permitted. They are a safety hazard. However a rollinator (walker with a built in seat) can be used.
Oh I did not know that. Thank you! A rollinator is a great idea too.
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:06 PM   #13
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We had anECV and a stroller as wheelchair on our trip, but everyone was able to transfer onto the ride. If that is the case for you, the only ride where our wait was really horrifically longer and in full sun to boot was Pirates of the Caribbean. That wait was AWFUL! Also, the exit was very tricky, and our stroller sometimes was not waiting for us. It was quite confusing! One time we were mainstreamed in the line, and then it was just a tricky exit, but when we were sent to the alternative line, it was really unpleasant in the sun, a much longer wait, and it ruined the magic a bit, because instead of passing through the pirate cave, we went around the back where the dumpsters were. At every other ride, I didn't notice that the wait was significantly longer. At small world, it was significantly shorter for us. I think it depends, too, on if there are folks in the disabled queue who cannot transfer.
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:05 PM   #14
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We had anECV and a stroller as wheelchair on our trip, but everyone was able to transfer onto the ride. If that is the case for you, the only ride where our wait was really horrifically longer and in full sun to boot was Pirates of the Caribbean. That wait was AWFUL! Also, the exit was very tricky, and our stroller sometimes was not waiting for us. It was quite confusing! One time we were mainstreamed in the line, and then it was just a tricky exit, but when we were sent to the alternative line, it was really unpleasant in the sun, a much longer wait, and it ruined the magic a bit, because instead of passing through the pirate cave, we went around the back where the dumpsters were. At every other ride, I didn't notice that the wait was significantly longer. At small world, it was significantly shorter for us. I think it depends, too, on if there are folks in the disabled queue who cannot transfer.
Is this Disneyland or WDW?

If its WDW, at the exit, the straight line goes up a moving ramp (sort of like an escalator with no steps). There is also an elevator, to the left of that moving walkway. It's not totally visible if you don't know it's there.
There is a short hallway and the elevator is to the right.
It lets you off behind the bathrooms.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:42 PM   #15
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You are all being so helpful. I love reading about issues so I can make an informed decision. I have actually thought of the rolling seat cane....I might get one...thanks!
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