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Old 03-19-2014, 10:36 PM   #1
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Canada
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Travelling with a Wheelchair?

Hi! This is my first post to the forum and I am getting very excited for my disney trip in May of this year. This post might be a bit long, sorry in advance! My parents, myself (19), my aunt, uncle and grandma will be staying in a vacation home off property for two weeks. We are planning for about 4 days at disney, spending a day at seaworld and a day at universal studio and doing some day trips to see more of Florida. At home I am able to get around with a cane or forearm crutches which I use due to a neuro disorder that causes leg weakness and numbness. It is quite clear to me that I will require either a wheelchair or ecv for this holiday. While an ecv would make my trip easier I also have right handed weakness that I am worried will affect my ability to drive safely in a crowded park. I have never driven one before so Im not sure how much dexterity they require, any insight? The other option would be a wheelchair which I am leaning towards as being more practical. It would be easier to transport in a rental vehicle and I could walk holding onto the back when I want to. I am wondering if it makes more sense to rent a wheelchair and fly with it from home as I will also require a wheelchair in the airport, or to rent from a company once we get to Florida? I have never flown with a wheelchair before so Im not sure if this would be more or less work in the long run? We are also wondering if it would be worth spending a day at a waterpark if I canít walk around very well. In the past we have always done a waterpark and it is usually one of my favorite days of the holiday but Iím not sure how much I will get out of it. I guess I will summarize now that I have written and essay! LOL! My biggest questions are:
1. Does anyone have any experience driving an ECV with weak arms? Does it seem safe?
2. Is it easier to rent a wheelchair at home and fly with it (probably getting a better fitting wheelchair) or to rent once we get there?
3. Does anyone have any experience at a waterpark with limited mobility? Was it enjoyable or worth it?
Thanks for any and all insight! I know it is difficult to provide detailed information without knowing my circumstances but I really appreciate any input whatsoever!!! Thanks in advance!!
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:47 AM   #2
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I drove an EVC on our last trip to Disney World. It's really not hard to drive. I've had two surgeries in both my hands so have a lot of weakness there. I've never had a problem. If you are worried you might want to go to a Walmart or Target and use one of theirs to shop. They respond pretty similarly. As far as wheelchairs, when you fly, they will check your wheelchair at the door of the plane. And when you land they will have it waiting outside the door of the platen for you. At no charge. If you need one at the airport, most airports have loaner chairs to get you to the get and to your car, or rental. Have a wonderful trip!
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Old 03-20-2014, 09:40 AM   #3
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When you go to SeaWorld to buy the tickets be sure the person in the wheelchair goes to the window to purchase the tickets. Person in wheelchair and one other person in your party will receive 50% off your tickets.
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:48 PM   #4
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The ECVs I've driven (not Disney's in-park rentals, IDK about those) could be controlled with either hand. I have a lot of weakness and numbness in my hands, but my right is worse, so I just kept both hands on the bars to steer and primarily used my left hand to control the speed lever. It doesn't take much strength or dexterity in the hands though. Your arms may get tired from holding them out to the bars, but you can adjust the angle of the front arm on most ECVs to bring it in closer. However, your concerns about transporting it are definitely valid - even the ones that can be broken down for transport still have some heavy components.

If you need a wheelchair in airports, most airports will provide them if you ask. I'd look up your specific airline's web site and maybe the sites for your departure airport and MCO. They should have information on accommodations at the airport, and the airlines should also specify their procedures on transporting mobility devices if you do decide to rent at home and bring it with you. They should have no problem with a basic manual wheelchair, it's the expensive power chairs people are wary of flying with most of the time.
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:57 PM   #5
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A three-wheeled ECV is easier to drive one-handed than a 4 wheeled one- it's also lighter and smaller for transport.
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Old 03-20-2014, 01:46 PM   #6
Betty Rohrer
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to op, try one at walmart or any store that has them for use. will give you an idea of how they work. they are good practice for using at WDW and they do not cost you to use
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Old 03-21-2014, 04:21 PM   #7
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All the other points have been pretty well covered. One thing that hasn't is carrying that wheelchair or ECV around in your rental vehicle.

Keep in mind that ECVs are 100-150lbs things that may or may not breakdown easily. Either way you'll be lifting 50-75lbs parts into the trunk of the vehicle. Not an easy thing to do unless one of your party is a weightlifter. The lightest ECV you'll find is a Go-Go Elite with 25lbs parts. That is considerably smaller and more imbalanced. Not good for anyone over 150lbs or taller than 5'5".

People who travel with ECVs tend to have some kind of vehicle adaption to help carry the thing. Either a lift arm installed in the trunk to lift it inside, a platform/trailer on the back or a ramp to roll it up inside. These aren't adaptations you'll find on a rental vehicle. You can rent an adapted vehicle but it's extremely expensive ($100 per day) or use public transportation which has adaptions.

Manual wheelchairs tend to be the easiest to stow-and-go. They fold up and usually weigh under 20lbs. What you give up is your independence because someone will end up pushing you everywhere.

Since you're staying offsite, you may find you have to go with the wheelchair option. You could rent an ECV at the park for some independence though.

This is why whenever my dad goes to Disney he either stays only onsite or we take our adapted minivan to Florida. His ECV is just too big and heavy to haul around in a rental car and he refuses to use a wheelchair.
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Old 03-21-2014, 05:48 PM   #8
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We rented a wheelchair at home, and it was great for airport travel. We were able to get around easier and there are already long waits and walks in airport. Plus, we got the right size wheelchair this way (smaller than many rentals).
As for water park, no great advice. I would do a smaller waterpark so you don't have to go so far from place to place. We did Aquatica and Discovery Cove without the chair as well as Blizzard Beach on a previous trip. I would lean toward the smaller water parks, or plan to stay in one area, if it were me.
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Old 03-21-2014, 08:52 PM   #9
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Mar 2014
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Thank you so so much for ally he helpful advice and kind words. I have never seen another forum where the people are so responsive and kind. Must be the disney magic! I am actually looking into getting a manual wheelchair for use at home and when I return to school in the fall so we are leaning towards renting from the vendor I would purchase from at home and taking the chair with us. I will definitely need a chair in the airport so that would be helpful and it will give me a chance to really test out the chair before I purchase one. I also would hate to get stuck with a chair that is too big if I rent once we get there. I am thinking I might rent an ECG for the days we are in the park so I don't get exhausted trying to propel. All of the helpful advice on this post has really helped me to get more excited and less worried for this trip. the only thing I am still on the fence about is the water park so I guess I will have to think about that and see how I am mobility wise once we get there. I would be quite happy to spend most of the day in the pools or a lazy river type attraction which I'm guessing will be fairly accessible.

Thanks again!! I am getting so excited for this trip and the family time only 47 days till we leave!!
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