Leg condition...do I need to contact WDW?

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by bangzoom6877, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. bangzoom6877

    bangzoom6877 DIS Veteran

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    We are going to WDW in July, and my parents are joining us in the middle of our trip (end of July). My father has a leg condition, and although he has a NY-issued disabled parking permit, he is not in a wheelchair or ECV. He walks at a slow pace, but his main two issues are standing for long periods of time, and stairs (he is OK on ramps, he just walks slowly). He is not planning to use an ECV or wheelchair at WDW.

    How would I go about contacting WDW about my father's condition? They are staying at the Dolphin, and we are visiting Epcot, DHS and MK. Getting to DHS and Epcot shouldn't be an issue because I don't think he will have trouble getting onto the boat. However, getting onto the bus for MK might be an issue. Is there any way they would be able to assist him onto the bus even though he will not be in a wheelchair or ECV?

    I am also concerned with my father standing in long lines, and also having to use stairs for certain attractions. Is there anyone at WDW I would be able to contact regarding his condition and waiting in long lines, and also the issue with the stairs? Is there some type of ID they could issue him so that he can get some help?

    Thanks in advance, and I'm sorry if I sound ignorant. Although I'm a seasoned WDW traveler, I'm new at having to deal with this issue, and I don't want my father to feel bad when we are there, so I am trying to plan for it in advance so that he can enjoy his vacation.
     
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  3. SteveMouse

    SteveMouse DIS Veteran

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    Disney offers what is called a "Guest Assistance Card" (GAC) which they use in the theme parks to assist cast members in assisting individuals with disabilities. There is no standard GAC- each one is tailored based on the NEEDS (not the diagnosis) of the individual. The GAC is not used outside the theme parks (i.e. the bus). A GAC does not give you front-of-the-line access or reduce your wait time (in fact, your wait time may be longer).

    Disney's usual response to questions regarding stamina or mobility issues is to recommend a wheelchair or an ECV. There are no (or very few) seats in any attraction line, so the "roll your own" in the form of a wheelchair, rollator, or ECV can be rather important (or use a cane with a seat attached).

    I wholeheartedly recommend using a wheelchair or an ECV- it will vastly improve your entire group's experience.

    If you use a mobility device, then you don't need a GAC (if your only problem is mobility-related). One does not need to stay in an ECV or wheelchair. There are plenty of places to park them all over.

    For life outside the theme parks (eg hotel, etc.), an offsite rental of an ECV or wheelchair can be a very good thing- there is an ENORMOUS amont of walking (something like 8 miles a day on average). If it were me, I'd REALLY want an ECV, especially staying at the Dolphin. There's a walking path from the hotel to both DHS and EPCOT that can be faster than waiting for a boat, not to mention going over to the Boardwalk in the evening. I believe there's a sticky up near the top of the forum list that speaks to off-site ECV rentals.


    -steve
     
  4. bangzoom6877

    bangzoom6877 DIS Veteran

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    Thank you so much for your reply! I'm well aware of the walkway to DHS and Epcot, because DH, our sons and I stay at BWV (our DVC home). In the mornings, DH and I use the walkway with the boys and sometimes take the boat back in the afternoon if we are very tired.

    The reason my father is resistant to an ECV or wheelchair is because his doctor says that he MUST walk every day in order to try and strengthen the legs. What he has is a genetic condition and they are looking even further into it right now to set him up for physical therapy. The doctor says that the worst thing for it is to sit too much, and has him wearing a pedometer every day to make sure he is walking enough (MINIMUM of 10,000 steps a day). And so, my father is used to walking every single day, because he listens to what the doctor says. It is standing still for prolonged periods that affects him much more.

    I will look into the GAC idea, maybe this will be something that could benefit him. Also, the cane with a seat attached might be a good idea. Is there an email address where I can write to Disney about this issue?
     
  5. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    No, Guest Assistwnce Cards are taken care of at Guest Relations at the Theme Parks.
    They are not used on the buses and there is nothing that Disney offers for guests on the buses, monorails, boats, etc other than being able to transport mobility devices. If he needs to sit on buses, monorails, etc, the best advice is to travel at non-peak times and/or wait for the next bus if you see it is crowded enough that you will not get seats.

    There is more information about Guest Assistance Cards in post 6 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread, which is located near the top of this board or you can follow the link in my signature. You can get a GAC that allows you to bypass stairs, but other than that, a GAC won't help a lot with his situation.
    It does not usually shorten the distance walked and there are a lot of attractions that involve standing, whether the person has a GAC or not ( there is a list in a post on the second page of the disABILITIES FAQs thread). The only real way to avoid standing in line is to bring a seat with you.

    Rather than a cane with a seat, my suggestion would be a rollator. It is sort of a rolling walker with a fold down seat. That way, he could still get his steps in, but would also have a place to sit when he needs it.
    You can rent rollators at some of the wheelchair/ECV off site rental areas listed in post 2 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread. Basic ones are not that expensive, so it may be better to buy one at home and bring it with you. Mobility devices can be transported on the airplane at no cost and do not count toward a baggage allowance.
    Using a rollator would allow him to use the accessible lines without a GAC if there are any stairs.
     
  6. SteveMouse

    SteveMouse DIS Veteran

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    One possiblity would be to use the wheelchair lift for the bus without a wheelchair. I've have variable success with this. I've had issues in the past with drivers not willing to use the wheelchair lift for me when I don't use wheels. There are some buses that don't have stairs, but there's no predicting what bus will come when or go where.

    Another set of factors to consider is balance and the crowds. The end of July can be a bit crowded. If your father is unsteady on his feet and is not comfortable with people bumping into him, a solution (rollator or seat/cane) may provide some support (but he's less likely to be knocked over in a wheelchair or ECV). The rollator would require him to walk, but still provide more stability than a cane. Either one would help the bus driver recognize the disability (they pay no attention to GACs).

    Note that Disney CMs will not provide physical assistance to people with disabilities, with the potential exception of locking a wheelchair's wheels or maybe holding it steady. They generally don't push someone in a wheelchair, even a few feet.


    As to contacting Disney....
    Disney does not issue GACs prior to a visit to a theme park. GACs can be requested from Guest Relations at any park. Just have your father stop by on your way in (One GAC should be good for your entire visit) and tell the CM what his limits are (e.g. "I can't climb stairs"). An appropriate GAC should be issued. Now, where did those Guest Relations offices go? :cool1:....
    Borrowing from http://disboards.com/showthread.php?t=595713...

    Where can I find Guest Relations?
    Each park has a Guest Relations location inside and outside of the park that will be open during park hours. You do need to go thru the security bag checkpoint to get to the outside of the park Guest Relations, but you don't need to go thru the turnstiles to actually enter the park. Even though they may not sound easy to find, once you are actually in the park area, they are pretty obvious if you are looking for them. They are in the 'wall' of the buildings that make up the outside wall of the park.

    At MK, the outside of the park Guest Relations is to the right when you face the front of the park after you go thru the bag check point. The inside of the park Guest Relations is on the left in City Hall after you pass under the train station.

    At Epcot, look for the exit from the monorail. It's pretty much straight across from that on the right side of the park entrance. The bag check is closer to the left side of the park entrance, so after you go thru the bag check, go right past the ticket booths and you will find it. The inside the park Guest Relations is to the left, after you pass Spaceship Earth. I believe there's also one at the International Gateway.

    At DHS and AK, the outside of the park Guest Relations is to the left as you face the park entrance. This is after going thru the bag check, but before going thru the turnstiles.

    At both parks, the inside the park Guest Relations is also to the left, soon after you pass thru the
    turnstiles.

    -steve
     
  7. disney david

    disney david DIS Veteran

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    they have almost replaced all the buses with lifts nad they have very few left. their an brand new order of gillig low floor buses waiting in the shop to be put in service to handle the extra load from aoa resort. so you will soon never see those old buses again. they have also been testing new larger buses that will be wraping up soon and we have to see if disney likes them they been using them on high traffic resorts like pop to mk. if they use them they will have to make changes at the stops to be able to use the third door right know only the front and back doors open and the third set can't because it blocked by a gate at mk.
     
  8. Mickey'snewestfan

    Mickey'snewestfan DIS Veteran

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    I've never worn a pedometer at Disney, but I bet you could easily get in 10,000 steps while using an ECV for the largest portion of the day.

    E.g. walk from the Dolphin to the front entrance of Epcot, rent ECV, go on rides etc . . . Park the ECV at various times when you'll be doing things that don't involve stairs or waiting. Then in the evening, park the ECV and take a leisurely walk back to the Dolphin, going the "long way" around the World Showcase, and stopping for dinner at one of the restaurants.

    I'm guessing that's still more walking than most people get in a day at home.
     
  9. dclfun

    dclfun DIS Veteran

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    I'm a bit concerned about the busses. As you know the Dolphin shares busses with four other resorts and he might have difficulty getting a seat. Also the drivers do not lower the ramp unless someone has a mobility device, even for those with large strollers to maneuver. They do not lower it for someone who cannot do stairs, so he might be better off having a mobility device that allows them to assist him with using the ramp.
     
  10. disney david

    disney david DIS Veteran

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    they wont lower it for strollers because they have to folded by law and that would be miss use of equipment. no driver will risk having them bring the stoller unfolded then refuse to folded then they have to have their manager come and talk to the guest letting them know their options.

    the drivers will lower the ramp if you ask they can also lower the bus making it lower to the ground so it not a high step up. that may be why some might not want to since their no steps to board the bus it just not level with the ground but they can lower the bus if needed.


    but you are right about them sharing a bus for dtd and ak they will be either the first stop or second but it might come full from where the bus was coming from. i suggest getting a wheel chair use it to board the bus then the op father could push it using it like a walker and a place to rest if needed.
     
  11. livndisney

    livndisney DIS Veteran

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    The problem with the bolded statement is you don't usually have a chance to "ask".

    If you are in line and ask when you get to the front, most drivers will refuse to stop loading, close the front door and load you from the back(ramp).

    If you wait in the area marked for wheelchairs and you don't have a wheelchair, drivers will ignore you.

    If they pull up and don't see wheelchairs, they may not have parked the bus to use the lift.

    If you are in line and move to the front when the bus pulls up to as ask, you are jumping ahead of others already in line.

    If you are at the front of the line, you can ask. But if their are wheelchairs already there, you have to leave the line to speak to the driver. He can refuse (or not listen) your request to board at the back. And then you are "out of line", (some people can get nasty).

    And if the bus is "double parked" there is no way for the driver to use the lift.

    I would strongly encourage the Op to suggest using a rollator. It will help avoid all of the above and give a place to sit when needed.
     
  12. disney david

    disney david DIS Veteran

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    it been awhile i almost missed you trying to prove me wrong hope you had a good easter. i was going to write something but figured it would just end up in a back and forth between us. I still going to stick to if he needs the bus lowered without using the ramp and he could board through the front door the driver can lower the bus with guest on board.


    If the op would explain to the driver they would be willing to help the drivers and buses get an unfair rap on the dis.
     
  13. livndisney

    livndisney DIS Veteran

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    Look, I don't know what your issue with me is-I really don't care.

    I happen to live with a "leg issue" (and no wheelchair/ecv) so I deal with the buses all the time. The information I posted comes from my personal real life experiences and from talking with drivers and transportation managers. The system at WDW is what it is. It is not about "drivers getting a bad rap on the DIS" but more of a limitation of the system. The drivers SEE a wheelchair and know to board it. Anything else is a variable.
     
  14. utterrandomness

    utterrandomness Mouseketeer

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    Please stop fighting, that is not useful for anyone. I also live with a leg-issue and need the bus lowered when I use a city bus (read everyday), and I'm not shy about asking for it, but it is true that I often have people tell me that it's only for people with disabilities (which they consider to be people using a mobility aid). It looks to me like many of the buses at WDW are low floor buses that lower at the front. I don't see how it can hurt to ask, and a person can always ask for a seat, I find the majority of people aren't jerks about it.
     
  15. disney david

    disney david DIS Veteran

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    I don't or never did have a problem with you a pp right fighting dose not help. I was just trying to make a joke since you always quote me saying I am wrong when i am not. Sorry if I offenrd you I don't have a problem with you.
     
  16. ttintagel

    ttintagel DIS Veteran

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    One thing to keep in mind is that you can get a wheelchair/ecv and just only use it when you need it.
     
  17. disney david

    disney david DIS Veteran

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    thanks your right fighting never helps anyone and just makes things worse for other poster and the op who just trying to look for his best options.


    Disney has almost got rid of all the old buses with lift they are down to their very last if not all gone. According to a disney transportation driver on the dis they have or will be getting their newest order of gillig low floor buses in the shop. so once they get them outfitted to be disney buses they will be put in service to handle the extra load of aoa resort and replace those old buses.
     
  18. Nanajo1

    Nanajo1 DIS Veteran

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    If your DD gets manual wheelchair it could be pushed until he needed to sit. It is also good as a carry all! As it has been posted Disney does not issue GACs for stamina but if he tells them he can not do stairs they will note that on the GAC and offer him a stair-free entrance.
     
  19. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Reserving the right to make jokes out of typos - b

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    Is everybody done arguing? Good :teeth:

    Okay. A wheelchair can be used as a walker, as can a rollater/walker. The latter is less bulky, less expensive, and can come with a seat in case he does need to sit for a while.

    Most, if not all, the WDW buses kneel - so he can board through the front door with no great step. And it would only be one step. If he can't handle even that, there may be some attractions that are inaccessible (Pirates?) as well. Waiting in line for the bus is going to be difficult because no GAC covers this wait, there's almost nowhere for him to sit while waiting, and because the GAC isn't valid outside the park, he's going to have a hard time waiting at the back door.
     
  20. disney david

    disney david DIS Veteran

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    :goodvibes


    yes all disney buses can kneel (tilt) the old buses with steps couldn't even if they could it wouldn't be much help with the stairs. the problem is depending on how good the driver can get the bus lined up their might be a gap between the bus and ground.



    i posted this before but this is a good video of how the gilli operate your see it tilting and how to load a wheel chair and how high the bus is off the ground. look after he double checks to make sure their no other wheel chairs to load he goes to the front and keels the bus so op this is how low they will be able to get the bus. this is the gillig i am sure it be the same with nova. this driver did that on his own some wont kneel the buss unless you ask. this is at mk after one of their x mas parties i just wish it was during the day so you get a better look at every thing.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zxDFPPnIFE

    This is not my video and their is some comments on the bottom that i do not condone in any way but feel the video it self is a good tool in researching how it be to board a disney bus in a wheelchair.
     
  21. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    I had quickly checked this thread before I left work and was planning to lose it because of how far off he path it had gotten.

    I will leave it open or now, as long as it stays on path.

    As far as actually boarding rides, the steps down, ect.
    Post 18-22 of the 2nd page of he disABILITIES FAQs thread is about boarding attractions and talks about difficulty of boarding, along with information about the steps up or down to board.

    Another pst on page 2 has information about attractions with moving walkways.
     

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