Stroller as wheelchair question

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by JulieBR, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. JulieBR

    JulieBR Earning My Ears

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    Hello! My 6 year old daughter needs to use a rental stroller as a wheelchair. Her physician is writing a letter to this effect. With a GAC, will we actually be permitted to use the wheelchair lines since it is a stroller? Or will we only be allowed to bring the stroller into a regular line? Thanks so much!
     
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  3. NOLA_Tink

    NOLA_Tink NOLA_Tink

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    I'm not sure because some lines do not permit strollers. (Hopefully, others will be able to chime in with helpful info about that.) Also keep in mind that some lines, such as Soarin, only have one line for both wheelchairs and strollers. Pushing my mother's wheel chair up Soarin's steep "hill" in stop-and-go line traffic was not fun.
     
  4. JulieBR

    JulieBR Earning My Ears

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    Hmm. Ok, well thanks for the info!

    Hello, neighbor, by the way! I'm in Baton Rouge (hence the BR) :))
     
  5. deegack

    deegack DIS Veteran

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    Hi you do not need a doctors note for a gac, in fact the cm will not look at it. You need to explain what your needs are. If you use a stroller as a wheelchair for the most part you use te regular lines as most lines are mainstreamed. However particularly in mk some rides may have a separate wheelchair entrance that you may use. This is not going to get you to the front any faster and may in fact be a longer wait. You should check out the FAQ section above
    Have fun
     
  6. crashbb

    crashbb DIS Veteran

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    You'll use the line used by wheelchairs.

    As others have said, for the most part, this will be the "regular line". The only time that there is a different line (either right from the start or a split at some point) are the few lines that cannot be mainstreamed because the regular line isn't able to accommodate a wheelchair. In these cases, you'll follow the line that can accommodate a wheelchair.

    With the "stroller as a wheelchair" tag, you can take the stroller into lines in which strollers are not usually allowed - that's kind of the point of the tag (the stroller isn't treated as a stroller, it is treated as a wheelchair).
     
  7. WheeledTraveler

    WheeledTraveler DIS Veteran

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    I just wanted to echo the 2 more recent PP. A stroller-as-wheelchair GAC will allow you to use the same route as wheelchairs for attractions. It will not work for the buses if you're renting outside the parks (most strollers are not safe to be tied down on a bus and it could easily harm both the stroller and your child to do so). Whether you'll be allowed to use the stroller in restaurants will be at the discretion of the restaurant.

    Also, Guest Services is not allowed to ask for a letter and as a PP said, will likely not look at it. You need to be able to describe what your daughter needs as a diagnosis will mean nothing to them (and most doctors, to be honest, just write letters verifying diagnosis) and the cast member issuing the GAC needs to be able to see your daughter (although it's not expected that she wouldn't look like any other girl, just they need to see that she's there). Letters are too easy to fake and legally they can't ask. There's also a chance, depending on what her needs are that there are other GAC stamps that might either fit your situation better or which would be helpful in addition to the stroller as a wheelchair. Do not expect the GAC to get you on rides any faster and for some rides, it will definitely be a longer wait. If you need to minimize time waiting in lines, using Fastpasses and a good touring plan that can direct you to when lines are lower/lowest for each park and attraction will be more useful than any GAC stamp. All of this information is in the FAQ that SueMN wrote and has as a sticky on the top of this board.

    Finally, if your daughter needs the stroller because of problems with standing and walking distances, you might want to look at an offsite rental or bringing something from home, especially if you're staying onsite. Most WDW resorts are very large so depending on her limitations she may need the option to be pushed in a stroller there as well, assuming she's too big to be carried much of a distance.

    I know I've probably given you far more information than you need, but since I didn't see any information about why your daughter needs to be able to use the stroller as a wheelchair, I wanted to try to cover as much as I could.
     
  8. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    ::yes::
    The specific part of the disABILITIES FAQs thread you are looking for is post 6.
    That thread is near the top of this board or you can follows the link in my signature.

    As deegack and crashbb mentioned, you don't need a doctor's note, just an explanation of what you need. And, the point of the 'stroller as wheelchair' tag is to allow your stroller to be treated like a wheelchair and go where stroller are usually not allowed.

    Edited to add - I was writing at the same time as WheeledTravelel - she also covered the same points.
     
  9. JulieBR

    JulieBR Earning My Ears

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    Dear deegack, crashbb, WheeledTraveler, and SueM in MN, Thank you so much taking the time to assist me and for the bountiful information. My 6 year old daughter has Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and her disability is not casually visible. To make it more complicated, she can get up and walk normally so I didn't want any suspicions. This is why I wanted the letter, to avoid any hassle just in case. I'm still worried about people giving her ugly looks.

    Yes, we are going to rent offsite so we can have the stroller outside of the parks. Should I put a sign on her stroller to avoid mean looks and comments? If so , what should it say? Or will the tag they give me be visible?

    Thank you so much!
     
  10. MyHappiestPlace

    MyHappiestPlace Mouseketeer

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    I use a stroller for my 10 yo dd who has mobility issues. to be honest i've never been on the receiving end of nasty looks; and probably wouldn't even realize if someone was doing it or not. I know that many disabilities cannot be seen and would never judge someone else because they're using a stroller/wheelchair for their needs. Of course there are always those one or two that may be rude but for the most part I've have not encountered that on any of my many trips. I do not use a GAC as she can stand and walk for short distances and I usually do fast passes as much as possible but I do get stroller for her. You'll be surprised by the older kiddos who ride in strollers at WDW - sometimes its easier to just push them around vs dragging :goodvibes
     
  11. Betty Rohrer

    Betty Rohrer DIS Veteran

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    esp at the end of night, you will not get any help from stroller as a wheelchair on the buses. will need to fold before boarding get you daughter on bus without stroller. you will not be able to use ramp and move child to seat and then fold stroller. the GAC helps inside parks, not outside.
     
  12. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    We also use a stroller for a "normal" appearing child of similar age to your DD. She also can walk "normally" -- for a bit -- and while I sometimes cringe as she leaps out of the stroller in anticipation of a ride, WE KNOW that without the stroller it would be a very very short and frustrating day for all of us. Fortunately, we haven't heard much comments; I do try to explain to her that other people don't know about her - they don't know her needs just like they don't know where she lives, who her friends are or what she ate for breakfast - just like she doesn't know those things about others and we shouldn't assume we know about them. I prefer not to address other's ignorant comments directly, and we prefer not to call further attention to DD by using signs. But some here like to educate and that is your choice to use signs. Like I said, we haven't had a lot of instances of nasty comments; it's not uncommon to see kids in strollers.

    Rent the stroller and have a terrific vacation!
     
  13. wendylovesdisney

    wendylovesdisney <font color=blue>What's a Pooh Bear got to do arou

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    I have 2 children adopted from China. One has anxiety, is obsessive compulsive. She doesn't have specific things that set her off, but being tired definately make it worse. We will be using a stroller this fall. My daughter is 9, will be almost 10 when we go. She has no mobility problems whatsoever. With a stroller my child can pull the shade way down and decompress. If she's anxious she can be upset with people taking little notice.

    People are just going to have to deal. Don't feel bad and just do it.

    Also, you will be asked if you can leave the stroller behind. I always get asked that. The cm takes one look at my child and assumes. I used to feel "guilty" (sometimes start the vacation still feeling so) and leave it in stroller parking. Then my child has a major meltdown, and we both end up crying as I sit with my daughter and wish we could be the "normal" Disney family everyone assumes we are.

    Just do what's best for you. It's been said here before... "will this help my child have a better experience?"

    Be strong mama! Do what's best for your child! :love:
     
  14. Mama Who

    Mama Who DIS Veteran

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    I'm 37, look "perfectly fine" and use a GAC. I had exactly one awkward moment due to a CM mistakenly sending me the wrong way in a line. Guest Services is used to people who "look fine" getting a GAC- that's really what they're for. They're also well aware that many disabilities have symptoms that come and go or get better or worse.
     
  15. hlizard

    hlizard Mouseketeer

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    In the past we have used a stroller as a wheelchair for my 10 year old sister. She not only needed the wheelchair but could not wait in the long lines because there are just to many people for her to be around. Sometimes we were sent through the regular line, sometimes we waited somewhere else. We have gotten dirty looks and rude comments about why are we allowe to bring our stroller in and they couldn't and how she looks perfectly fine. The tag they give you is bright red and we stuck ours areound on of the handles so that is was visable to everyone. We also recieved a red card saying we could wait ina different line and that her stroller is being use as a wheelchair. Hope some of this helps!
     
  16. JulieBR

    JulieBR Earning My Ears

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    Yeah, you hit the bullseye - she can walk normally "for a bit". But with too much standing/walking her joints are so swollen and painful at night that she cries herself to sleep. Glad to know someone understands. This disability is all still very new to us.
     
  17. JulieBR

    JulieBR Earning My Ears

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    Oh, you are so kind! Thank you!! We are definitely doing the stroller as a wheelchair. Much Love :) :lovestruc
     
  18. JulieBR

    JulieBR Earning My Ears

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    I love the idea of having the tag prominently displayed. My 6 year old is not self-conscious yet, so if anything it will help me transition into a world I know little of (well, actually two worlds - Disney and Disability both!). Thank you!~
     
  19. mommaof3girls

    mommaof3girls Earning My Ears

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    My DD has moderately severe CP and we will be using her stroller as a wheelchair as well (she cannot transfer without being lifted/carried, can only walk very limited distances with major support, has moderate to severe language delays (mainly non-verbal but knows sign language). We know this will help make our trip a smooth and fantastic one! Soon we will be having to make the transition to a pediatric special needs stroller or wheelchair, but for now her Maclaren Techno XLT works perfectly.
     
  20. CarolineB

    CarolineB DIS Veteran

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    Five years ago, when my DS was between 2 1/2 and 3 years old, I brought him to Disney three times for about 4-5 days each time. At the time we knew something was "different" about him as he just didn't have the self control other young kids had. For example, he couldn't be in confined spaces without trying to touch others in line or stand still. I came prepared with a letter from his pediatrician to get a GAC and like the other posters said, the letter wasn't needed. I just had to explain what accommodations would be helpful, which to be honest, I didn't know at the time.

    Anyway, I was given a red sticker tag to put on his stroller that said "stroller = wheelchair" and I was given a GAC for our length of stay. My DS was allowed to stay in his stroller all the way up to each ride, use alternate entrances, bring his stroller in to any building just like a wheel chair, and sit in the wheelchair parade viewing area. We had a wonderful vacation each time and I attribute this to the accommodations that Disney provided. A few months after the last trip, my son was diagnosed with ADHD. We did have one instance when he tried to jump off the boat on the Living with Land ride and I had a hard time holding him but otherwise he did great. I also was able to keep him in the stroller for some rides and the train at MK. Keeping him strapped in the stroller proved to be the safest for him. I also used a toddler harness which I've noticed are generally accepted now.

    Five years later, my son is now 8 years old, we recently moved to FL, live 10 miles from Disney and just bought annual passes. DS is able to handle lines much better, no longer needs the GAC pass or to be confined to a wheelchair for fear that he'll annoy another guest. I just wanted to let you know that the Disney CM are aware that not all accommodations are based on obvious visible needs. The CMs are really great with being patient with him and we've been enjoying Disney World all over again and for DS it's like going for the first time because he doesn't remember anything from 5 years ago.

    I think it's really important to be the best advocate for your child as only you know your circumstances the best.:cheer2::cheer2::cheer2:
     
  21. Mrsjvb

    Mrsjvb DIS Veteran

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    I was diagnosed at 5. i (Literally) feel her pain.

    all I can do is suggest that she TAKE IT SLOW and DO NOT try and cram everything in at once. no sense in being miserable cuz no one will enjoy themselves. not sure if you mention where you are staying, but if you have access to a hot tub in the evenings, the heated water and jet action can be a godsend.

    I also take 'pre emptive' drugs.. and extra dose of my anti inflammatory meds. In fact I have asked( and gotten approval) from my doctor to stab myself in the thigh with an extra dose of Humira( normally taken every 2 weeks currently) while at the World.

    oh and TAKE A DAY OFF!!!!

    seriously.. pick one day( for us it is always the middle of the trip) and do NOTHING strenuous.. that's the 'hang out by the pool all day' day.. or the "Hit DTD for a movie and Ghiardelli sundaes.' day. She's a bit young for the spa Session I get.. massage/facial etc.
     

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