Hoping for a little guidance

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by Drinehart811, Jun 22, 2014.

  1. aaarcher86

    aaarcher86 DIS Veteran

    Feb 17, 2010
    At the end of the day, the only real way to guarantee a place to sit during long periods of standing is an EVC or wheelchair. One could always be rented and only utilized when necessary, like show waits or bussing. I just really don't see what else could be expected for the bus issue in all honesty.
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  3. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

    Aug 23, 1999
    As was already posted, DAS (Disability Access Service ) is only for a place to wait outside of lines. Guests using DAS get a Return Time to come back to an attraction after their wait time has passed.
    You can certainly express your needs to Guest Relations, but you need to be aware of a couple of things. I don't think DAS will do as much to help you as you think.

    1) There is no seating provided by DAS and there are quite a few attractions where all guests must stand and wait. These attractions are usually shows, where you will be standing for the preshow or ones that load in batches. There is a list of those on page 2 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread (located near the top of this board).

    2) DAS is not used for buses or other transportation, so it will not do anything to assist with your wait in the bus lines. There are some benches in some of the general bus areas, but not usually near the actual bus door. As other posters mentioned, you couldn't wait at the benches and get on with your family.
    The best way to deal with transportation would be to use transportation at off-peak hours. At park closing, hanging back in the park for 10-15 minutes allows the other guests to get ahead of you and there will be less people in line for the bus or boats.

    3) You may want to consider renting a car. The shortest walk will be parking in the regular lot and riding the parking lot trams. The handicapped lots are closer, but there is no tram service and some people feel the walk is too far for them.
    You will still probably want to hang back a while at closing time so you font have to wait long in the line for the tram.

    4) Since DAS is only for lines, it would not give any accommodations during the Epcot Dessert party. They may have some benches, but if there are any, they would be first come first served and having or not having DAS would not matter.

    Keep in mind that guests walks 3 and 9 miles per day at WDW. Some lines are a long distance - Soarin' in Epcot is more than 1/4 mile just to from the line entrance to the boarding area, plus an equal distance to get from unload back to where you came in. Having DAS would not change that.
    We kept track of mileage on our last trip and found we always walked at least 5 miles a day and more often walked 6 or more. We were not running all over the park or doing a lot of backtracking, just touring normally. We are not 'commando' tourers and don't go open to close.
    Many guests are able to walk at home, but don't typically walk those distances in a day, and especially not multiple days in a row.
    It's not that Disney is not letting people get a 'bite' - the former Guest Assistance Card (GAC) which was discontinued when DAS was begun, did not provide a place to sit and in most cases did not shorten the distance walked or the time standing.

    Guest Relations at your resort doesn't do anything with DAS; it is issued only at the theme parks Guest Relations.

    Guests can't bring a camping stool, for the reasons already mentioned by other posters. There are canes with a tiny fold down seat which are allowed. They can be used as a cane and the seat folds up and down very quickly. Those kinds of seats may not be comfortable for you to sit on or may be difficult to get off of with stiff knees, so I would suggest testing one out before assuming it would meet your needs at WDW.
  4. Allison

    Allison DIS Veteran

    Oct 27, 2005
    I agree with renting a car to at least take away any worry over the buses.
  5. Drinehart811

    Drinehart811 Got my E-ticket to paradise

    Jan 3, 2013
    Again...I don't think I reiterate enough that I don't have a problem with all the walking. The walking is not a problem, I take breaks and sit down when it becomes too much. I try not to get in lines with really long waits- I utilize FP and try to leave parks during the hot busy afternoon time. It is having to remain standing in the same area without moving much or having an option to sit down (exp waiting for bus, standing to watch parade or evening entertainment). Ride lines move (slowly but surely they do!) I walk 2-3 miles per day at home (just a small chunk of what I'd walk in a day at wdw, but still shows that I understand the walking portion)

    At this point I get I would not qualify for a DAS card, and that it wouldn't help with the problems I have. Maybe I'll try asking a more specific question that may cover some of my bigger concerns.

    I get that I can ask a driver for a seat but that doesn't mean I will get one. Check.

    I understand there are special areas roped off for parades and such, would I be able to use these seating areas or do you need DAS to use them? If I can access these areas would they allow me to sit during the parade/fireworks or would I still have to stand?

    I really am trying to use the regular means that disney has to cover these concerns but there are only so many FP+s available per day, and for some things (like parade and fireworks during MNSSHP) there isn't a FP or special dining event that will reserve me a viewing area. I am just trying to get some ideas for what I can do to still be able to experience the best of WDW without having to put unnecessary strain on my joints.

    Thanks again.
  6. anonymousegirl

    anonymousegirl DIS Veteran

    May 14, 2008
    Firstly, I am sorry for all the pain you must be in and how frustrated you feel about this upcoming trip.

    I think the advice of the rent car is a good one as it will address many of your concerns.

    As for the rest, when you say you are not ready for an ECV yet, perhaps at home you are not, but as we all know Disney is not home. People who only walk from their car to their desk are now walking 6 plus miles a day. So while at home you don't need a mobility aid, but at Disney you do. If you can accept that, and give an ECV a try, you might find that the trip will go much smoother than you are anticipating.
  7. Goofy14sure

    Goofy14sure Mouseketeer

    Mar 15, 2014
    Try a cane with a folding seat. Since the bus lines are mostly static you could use it to lean on or sit on to wait. If there are no seats when you get to the front step aside and let any one pass who wants to take this bus then wait for the next one. You'll be one of the first one to board and will have a seat. The cane will also help deflect the 'evil eye' from from people who might think you should give up your seat :). But like has been posted, you might want to try several canes to get the best one for your situation
  8. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

    Aug 23, 1999
    I want to point out, no one is saying not to try to request a DAS, just to be aware of what it is set up to provide.
    Sorry to keep emphasizing the walking - it sounds like you do have a good handle on that, but a lot of people don't or expect that DAS will give them a place to sit, so we want you make sure people will be able to plan realistically.

    Most of the handicapped parade viewing areas do not have any seating at all. In fact, the one in Germany at Epcot removed all the benches that had been at the back of the viewing area. Guests without a mobility device or visible need would need a DAS to use the area. With a cane, you could probably use the areas. They do tend to fill up quickly and they have guests with wheelchairs and ECVs kind of tightly parked across the front of the viewing area. Guests who are standing or would obstruct the view of the seated guests would be sent to the rear of the area.

    For Illuminations, if you are right against the fence, you would be able to lean against it. You could have someone in your group save spots for you so you can walk around while waiting. illuminations is about 15 minutes long, but since people are standing, you could use a cane with a folding seat.
    I would suggest having family/other members of your party around you to kind of provide a 'bumper zone' between you and other guests to avoid getting your cane seat bumped.

    There are also restaurants with seating on the water - Mexico, Morocco and the Rose and Crown in the UK.
    There is also seating in the Outpost area of Epcot - guests can buy snacks there and sit at small tables - there are rocks in the area, which might obscure your view.
    As you walk around earlier in the day, look for some barges in the World Showcase a Lagoon. If you have a clear view of those from a location, you will see the show.

    For MK parades, there are some spots with benches. People move the benches in the second floor train station to line up along the rail for parade watching. Guests do start finding spots up there 2 hours before a parade Nd, once you are there, you need to stay put. People are standing, so you would be able to use a cane seat there. There is no elevator to get up there and the stairs are fairly long and steep. There is a ramp to the right, but it is very long and steep, with a switchback.
    There are also some areas in Frontierland with benches on store porches (at least at this point); those also get snapped up quickly.

    The biggest thing I would suggest watching out for is areas either curbs - you don't want to be close to the curb where you might get bumped off.
    The parade route is marked on the park maps, so as you are going around the park during the day, scout out some areas you think would work for you.

    Any time there is more than one parade, the second will be less busy and, Frontierland is generally going to be less busy than Main Street. This is also true at MNSSHP because parents with small kids want to make sure they see the parade in case their kids get too tired before the second parade.
    The rides usuall have shorter waits during the first parade.
    Good point - once you have gotten into the bus line, it will not be moving much until the bus arrives for boarding. So, at that point, you could sit on a cane seat.

    Besides bus lines, a cane would also give a visual cue to CMs at attractions that you may need an accessible entrance or boarding area.
  9. WheeledTraveler

    WheeledTraveler DIS Veteran

    Oct 10, 2007
    How would you feel about using a rolling walker with a seat? (They're generally known as "rollators"). That you could push and then only sit when you needed. You could also use a manual wheelchair as a walker and just sit in it when you need it. There's nothing that says you have to stay in the wheelchair all the time.

    You may not be ready for this, but I want to say it:

    I'm a "been there" person on this sort of situation, although I was about 20 when I had to make the choice when going to an event. My condition isn't arthritis, but the symptoms regarding joint pain & mobility are similar to an autoimmune arthritis. Ultimately, for me, the wheelchair (this wasn't at WDW) turned out to be the smartest idea I'd had. All of a sudden I could do things while away that I hadn't been able to do at home for months or years. Some were things I hadn't even realized I'd stopped doing until I was able to do them again. Yes, down the road I did end up buying my own wheelchair, but that's because I'd realized for me a wheelchair was freedom rather than limiting. Not only did it allow me to go distances or wait in spots I wouldn't have managed to do before, but my pain levels went down, my fatigue went down, and it ultimately has made it possible for me to keep walking longer than expected. I could finally go places with family and friends without feeling like I was slowing them down or limiting them (or just skipping things all together because of the amount of walking or standing). It's a hard emotional thing to get over because socially it's so ingrained that mobility aids are bad; in reality mobility aids are neutral or possibly even good. Like a car allows people to move 50 miles without pain/injury, a wheelchair or ECV does the same thing just on a smaller scale.

    Most people who rent wheelchairs or ECVs at WDw, even for chronic conditions don't need one at home. Some may never need them at home. There are plenty of people on the boards who use a wheelchair or ECV at WDW and no where else.

    If you don't do it this trip, when you get closer to really needing a mobility aid in general, a place like WDW might be a "safe" place to trial. The chances of seeing anyone you know (outside your immediate party) are slim to none. WDW is also a place that has done better than most when it comes to physical access for people who use mobility aids or can't do stairs. I know it helped when I first had to make that decision that it was for something away from home. The two friends with me didn't care (possibly thought it was about time). The other thousands of people I wouldn't see again unless I chose to do so. Obviously, not something you need to do, but I wanted to mention that aspect of first using a wheelchair or ECV while on a trip.

    I know my story isn't yours, but if you do ever need someone to talk to about the emotional side of using mobility aids/making the step to try one, feel free to PM me.
  10. alexrules14

    alexrules14 Earning My Ears

    Apr 20, 2014
    For the dessert party, explain to the cm that you can't stand at the railing, they gladly brought my mom a wheelchair out so she could sit at the railings. I know it's a little defeating to use an ECV, but I am 24, and I also have RA, and hated the idea, but after getting the ECV and using it on our trip in May, I don't know how I would have done it with out it. You will not see anyone ever again at disney that you see there. It's not in ANY of our pictures from disney, so none of my friends know about it, but it was a lifesaver. Your friend won't get split up from you, they get to stay with you! It's kind of like being a VIP! You get to do back enterances, and get special cast interaction! I loved being able to zip around the park and out run my sister for the 1st time in years! She couldn't keep up with me! If you have any questions just ask! I also have other medical problems and got a das, and that was awesome too! It was great to be able to enjoy disney without my body falling apart
  11. bidnow5

    bidnow5 DIS Veteran

    Mar 8, 2009
    I understand about not wanting to use an ECV I fought it for years. In my case I was taking some of the fun out of Disney for my family. I had to stop and sit at every bench and wall. One year I finally gave in and rented an ECV for 1 day about 2 hours in I decided never to do Disney without one. Once I used a scooter we were able to do so much more I wasn't in pain at the end of the day. My using a scooter made my family's vacation so much better
  12. StitchesGr8Fan

    StitchesGr8Fan DIS Veteran

    Jul 17, 2009
    This may be a naive suggestion, but what if you fidgit in line? I experience terrible pain in my legs and back from standing (no diagnosis yet other than hyperextended joints) and have found that rocking from foot to foot and just moving around in my little bubble within the queue keeps the pain down to a more manageable level. Do. Look silly? Probably. But I don't care since I also look silly hobbling around like a 90 year old when I'm in my 30's or yelping in pain because my back starts spasming.
  13. Piper

    Piper DIS Veteran

    Mar 2, 2000
    I understand where you're coming from. I had to use an ECV at WDW for several years before my doctor prescribed one for me at home. Of course, during those years, I could not go to shopping malls, museums, etc. because it was just too much. I will also admit that I said no to the ECV when my doctor first mentioned it. After I "gave in," I wished I had done it much sooner!

    I don't use it in my home, I use a crutch or walker. I want to walk as long as I can. I also use a stool in my kitchen because standing even long enough to cook an egg causes a lot of pain. But the ECV allows me to do so many more things that I wouldn't have been able to do!
  14. Coonhound

    Coonhound DIS Veteran

    Sep 3, 2012
    I'd rent a wheelchair because it will allow you to sit down whenever you need to, but the rest of the time you'll be able to walk and you can just throw your purse and souvenirs in the chair and won't have to carry those.
    It can seem hard to accept a wheelchair but remember disney isn't everyday life: there are tons of people who'd NEVER use a wheelchair in everyday life but really need one at Disney. After all, Disney is all about standing in one place waiting, walking etc. It can be a lot harder than everyday life.
    I would not expect a DAS because Disneys answer to mobility issues is to rent a wheelchair or scooter. Even if you don't want one or say you don't really need one, that will be their answer. They don't let you choose if you want one or not, they just say that's what you'll need to do. If you want a DAS, you would need to explain why your need is related to the actual waiting in line, not mobility- for example, anxiety/claustrophobia/etc
  15. ImaDisneyGurl2

    ImaDisneyGurl2 Earning My Ears

    Jun 24, 2014
    I can tooootally understand where you're coming from,- as I too have RA :furious: - began at age 28 for me and I was a really "young mom" always on the go til it hit HARD.. I visit WDW yearly (since 90) and the LAST THING I wanted to do was look like "I was asking for a handout" regarding "seating", lines, etc. I was determined NOT to use an ECV or an EWC as long as possible because I (unjustly) dealt with feelings of humiliation, failure,etc., I was young, 125 lbs, Fairly "attractive"- (well, to my hubby at least lol) it was blowing my mind & my confidence to even CONSIDER going to WDW and utilizing ANYTHING that was considered for "Disabilities"... (my HANDS were also my 1st issue,-but overall fatigue was a close 2nd for me..) One year when I was in my mid-30's, and although at the time I didn't require an ECV, or EWC anywhere ELSE, I decided to bring my EWC (for the 1st time ever) on the trip -(although I cringed & cried a bit that trip)BUT- I ONLY rode in it when I HAD TO, it helped me because I can NOT STAND FOR long periods also, & when I didn't "want it" I left it "parked" nearby enough where I could grab it, & I NEVER took pictures while in it...it made my trips more enjoyable after that & I never went without it again. I still get pangs of "self-consciousness" (because I still only need it for WDW-TYPE-Trips)- But when Im spending $7K+ on my "1 BIG yearly Vaca" I'll be darned If Im gonna let my (own personal issues vanity) wreck my time. Sure I jump outta that chair at times & get the stink eye :rolleyes: from some people who think a disability should be something they can "obviously see/discern" for EWC ECV users,- but WHO CARES what THEY think? And I don't owe an explanation to anyone either, its no ones biz but my own...The Bus had too many challenges (as you, & others have mentioned) for me to "get around", so I end up renting a car-- Ive found ways to save on the exorbitant fees,-(for some odd reason booking online, then calling 3x seemed to help quoting competitors fees,- Ive found coupons, and even after reserving,- booking last minute upon arrival actually HAS saved me money-- (in late 4/2013 I rented a FULL SIZE MINI VAN for 12 days for $350!!- no joke!) I wish you luck. Some RA years at WDW are "better" than others for me,...but it always is better than NOT going at all (for me)...-& THIS YEAR, I'll be dealing with THAT,--AND a DD (22) who just went on Hemodialysis...Even with all my excruciating pain how can I compare to her brave struggle... We'll "make do"..It's gotta be possible. It may not be perfect, but no trip is...the important part for ME is spending time making memories with my beloved little family..It's Ok if I don't "hit the parks" from opening til closing etc.-Im going to be happy just being with them in the "happiest place on earth"--(may not be a "perfect" place, lol- but it certainly is a happy one!). :cheer2: Best of Luck to You!!
  16. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

    Feb 20, 2009
    I get that you don't want an ECV, but how about this. Rent a manual wheelchair, park it in each land and just grab it when you're entering the shows that have waiting areas that don't move. You said you're fine with the ride queues, just not the waiting areas for shows. Between lands you can use the wheelchair as your pack mule. You'll also have it for the buses as you leave the park so you can sit while waiting and then the wheelchair is a visual cue to the bus driver to get you loaded first which means you'll get a seat. You don't have to stay in chair on the bus. In fact, your BFF can hold it for you like people hold strollers (most manual chairs fold easily).

    I get you feel you're too young. I'm sure my 13 year old thinks she's too young too. The thing is, we wouldn't be able to go to WDW without one. She doesn't have RA but when trying to figure out her diagnosis her symptoms seemed to be closest to JRA just so you understand what she's dealing with (same condition as WheeledTraveler, just nowhere near as bad and much earlier in the process). We park the chair part of the time, though she prefers to spend more park time in the chair and then at the resort she never gets in it (we spend only a few hours per day in the parks then hang at the resort the rest of the day, meaning she doesn't use it a lot, just during the times that are most difficult for her).
  17. Mrsjvb

    Mrsjvb DIS Veteran

    Sep 5, 2007
    I was diagnosed at 5 . 40 years later I am here to tell you quit being so stubborn.

    just because you do not need accommodations in your daily life is no reason to eschew every available resource.

    quit thinking of it as fast tracking and instead consider it DELAYING the inevitable. you force yourself to push through out of some self imposed pride crap and you WILL need that ecv for everyday use ahead of schedule.

    for anything more strenuous than grocery shopping, I need my wheelchair. if I had listened to my doctors and everyone else telling me to know my limits and to pace myself, I may not be in such bad shape now.

    for me the lines are way too slow and crowded to successfully stand or walk through them let alone all the walking getting from hither to yon. you do not need to use the WC/ECV at all times.
  18. Mrsjvb

    Mrsjvb DIS Veteran

    Sep 5, 2007
    this is an EXTREMELY unrealistic expectation.. the bus driver cannot FORCE anyone and sorry but you are not the only person with a hidden disability.. the guy he asks to move may have a heart condition, or the women has crappy knees. or the kid with the brain tumor and balance issues.

    my husband might be willing to give up his seat if asked nicely.. I would not be and I can promise you very few others would be either.. they are just as tired and sore as you are and might have had to wait for just a s long if not longer to get on the bus as well

    if you absolutely MUST be seated on a resort bus, you need to provide your own.
  19. sharadoc

    sharadoc Visiting Disney World since 1986, happily driving

    May 6, 2008
    I have the same issue - standing is the hardest thing for me. I have rheumatoid, as well as a torn ACL that was never fixed and meniscus tears. One knee is completely devoid of cartilage. I also have arthritis in my shoulders that makes standing still very painful because the weight of my arms starts to really hurt.

    Honestly, what we do is go at times when lines are not an issue, make fastpass reservations, and stay late at parks when people leave. I also acknowledge that I can't ride everything because of the lines issue, it's just something I've accepted and have learned to enjoy other things. Like I'll do things alone - Country Bear Jamboree, small shows, people watch.

    I have tried to use an ECV and it was more cumbersome than anything. But I will use one eventually, I have just found that walking is better for my mobility and avoids stiffness, so the ECV just made my day worse.

    Sorry that you're taking this badly, unfortunately, that's life for many of us and if you can find a way to accept it and appreciate what you CAN do, then hopefully you can have a good trip!
  20. HopperFan

    HopperFan "It's a bug-eat-bug world out there, princess."

    Sep 6, 2003
    I get your pain, I have had RA since I was 5 years old. 24/7 pain the variation is how much pain, add in the stiffness, knees don't work (yes I get looks when I go into the handicapped stall but my knees won't get me back up from those low levels) and I am at Disney a lot. I travel with my adult DS who is obviously very disabled.

    I have been at the bus stop at the end of the day with pain searing up and down my legs and back. I don't dare sit on ground as I will never get up, I try to lean on the rails and do one of those "calgon take me away thoughts." I am sure there are many folks around me experiencing the same thing. When we get on a crowded bus I have a 50/50 chance that someone will give my DS - who is obviously in need - their seat. I will usually stand in front of him if they do because the odds of both us getting a seat (even though I have a hidden disabiltiy) are maybe 1 in 10. When he is not offered I straddle him, we hold poles and fingers crossed we don't become up close and personal with someone sitting. Some parks we just drive if we know in advance the bus line will be too much for us. I would never ask the driver to ask someone else to move as none of us know anyone else's story and I can imagine it would not be well received.

    I guess my point to help you decide about the bus is plan to travel to/from parks non-busy hours, if need be find a bench and have BF stand in line then you join him as he is boarding or both sit and time yourself joining the line when you are in a position to get a seat on next bus. With hidden disabilities, since so many of us have them, there really can be no expectation of someone giving you their seat just because you say you need it.

    Regarding parade viewing etc - you would need a mobility device and maybe they will accept a DAS. We have now found that many spots will refuse the DAS. Last fall in EPCOT we approached the Illuminations area by gift shop that was very empty - only a few wheelchairs - and show was ready to start. We showed the DAS and asked if the two of us could watch from there. Was told point blank, no wheelchair in your party, no entry. So even the DAS is not always helpful at some places.

    Most of your plans for rest etc seem to be what you will need to do. I do find my big meal at lunch at table service to be waited on, A/C and resting as long as I can help me re-boot for more. We like to grab snacks and sit for the while it takes to wait for parades and fireworks, that sometimes helps me comes time to trek to bus. I have started to take afternoon breaks on days that are really hot with longer evening hours. Floating in the pool or just laying down in the A/C is helpful.

    I travel to Disney quite a bit and I am just glad I can go and do my best to manage my pain and plan well. There are simply way too many people in our same/similar situation for Disney to be able to assist everyone and I am just happy they have lots of benches, shade and quiet places for me to rest. Oh and some yummy snacks that always make me feel better! :goodvibes

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