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Teen in Remission - GAC vs Wheelchair?

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by tjmw2727, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. tjmw2727

    tjmw2727 <font color=993366>Enjoys "mom and me" trips<br><f

    Traveling with close friends incluiding a 17 year old who is slowly (but surely) recovering from a long battle with cancer. She can walk but not for long periods of time and tires easily. My suggestion was a wheel chair - we would all LOVE to push her but at 17 does not want to use a wheel chair if possible! She has already spent too many long years stuck in one :(

    Can a 17yo rent an EVC? - if not might there be a GAC option for her?

    It is obvious that she is not quite well yet and it would be easy for her parents to get documentation. They have only visited Disney once before when their kids were young and they weren't prepared so didn't have such a great trip :(

    This time it will be 3 maybe 4 families with some of us Disney veterans so we can make good use of FP, Rope Drop and other touring plans. However some of the non FP rides could be an issue as well as the wait for shows like FOTLK with a standing sunny wait. If a GAC is an option I want to give her mom a heads up so we can figure out what type of accomodations she may need.

    Just trying to help them plan a trip as magical as I can - :)
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  3. gratefulfred

    gratefulfred Member

    yes she can get an evc and you don't need any documentation lots of people have different ailments some visible some not and it's really nobody's business why she needs one. You can rent from an outside company and have it dropped off and picked up at your hotel, much cheaper than renting at the park.
  4. canopynut66

    canopynut66 Mouseketeer

    if you need EVC rent off site as is much cheaper and they will have it at your resort when you arrive and you will have 24/7 until you leave. is not that hard to drive onto the bus. it is a long hike from buses to entrance of any park. and pushing a wheelchair in Disney is hard on others backs. there are a lot of brick walkways and up and down hills that if your just walking do not realize your doing hilly walkways. I have MS and retn from walker mobility but is apple and several others as well. thye also ask your size so the EVC is more suited for the size of the person. may have to get a GAC since she under 18 not sure on that.
  5. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

    I'm actually not so sure a 17yo can rent an ECV. It's certainly worth calling a few rental companies to find out but I believe that they typically say 18 or over.

    Unfortunately, there's nothing a GAC can do for stamina. A card can't shorten the length of a queue or distances between attractions. I would REALLY recommend a wheelchair. I understand about wanting to not have one after having spent so much time in one but the last thing you want is for her to get worn out and sick.
  6. Cheshire Figment

    Cheshire Figment <font color=red><marquee behavior=alternate>Friend

    The only off-site location that I know will allow a person under 18 to drive their ECV would be Randy's Mobility. And Disney will not allow it for their rentals.

    Please ask her the following questions. Here are the suggested answers to go with them.

    1. Are you disabled (even temporarily)? Yes.

    2. Do the people you are traveling with, such as your family, know you are disabled? Yes.

    3. Do you expect to meet anyone you know during this trip who may not know you are disabled. Probably No!

    4. Do you expect to meet a bunch of people who you will probably never meet again in your life? Probably yes!

    5. Is there any reason at all that you should care what these people think about you? Absolutely No!!

    6. Will using a wheelchair make for a better vacation for you and your family? Absolutely YES!
  7. Piper

    Piper Mouseketeer

    Some of the outside vendors might rent an ECV to her--the age at WDW to rent is 18. Also, there is no place to sit an wait at rides and a GAC doesn't get you front of the line privileges (contrary to what some people think.) You may actually have to wait longer at some rides in the lines with no stairs, etc. but you will have a place to sit if you have an ECV or WC.

    Also, guest services will NOT look at "documentation" so it isn't something you need to bring. Disney doesn't go by diagnosis to issue a GAC -- they go by need. You would need to be prepared to tell guest services what her needs are.

    You should read the FAQ sticky at the top of this board. It will give you a lot of information.
  8. tobikaye

    tobikaye Mouseketeer

    Actually to rent an EVC at Disney, the person using it has to be at least 18. Some off-site locations might rent one to some one under 18, but I am not certain which ones. As for the GAC, documentation is not needed. If you have not alrady checked the FAQ sticky, you should read the sections for GAC as it can answer most questions. I still check it from time to time when taking my sister to see if anything changed.
  9. ttintagel

    ttintagel Mouseketeer

    She doesn't need to use the wheelchair 24/7. When she feels like walking, she can walk, and it'll be there for her when she gets tired.
  10. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN <font color=red>It's like combining the teacups wi Moderator

    I agree with Cheshire Figment that Randy's is the only company I know will rent to people under 18. They actually deliver ECV to the guest, which allows them to assess whether the child is able to safely use it or not.

    You can find the contact information for Randy's in post 2 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread.

    As others mentioned, there is a lot of information about Guest Assistance Cards in post 6 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread.
    In most cases, using a GAC will not give a place to sit or shorten the distance walked.

    Another couple of things that other posters have not mentioned:
    - walking and standing in lines are just a small part of the walking that is done in a day at WDW. If she has trouble walking distances and tires easily, she will have time getting from place to place as well as in the lines.

    - most lines are at least partially shaded, and the majority of sun most people get is actually while getting from place to place. So, if she is concerned about sun exposure, she will need to be prepared for the sun outside of the lines. So, sunscreen, sunhat, possibly sun protective clothing that has SPF protection built in. Some popular brands are Coolibar and Solumbra.
  11. gratefulfred

    gratefulfred Member

    I just rented 2 evcs and neither are for me, the company never asked me who they were for or the age of the drivers. You would think they would if they have age restrictions. They have to realize I can't drive both of them.
  12. WheeledTraveler

    WheeledTraveler Mouseketeer

    As was mentioned by SueM earlier, Randy's will sometimes rent to a teenager on a case-by-case basis. My guess is that a 17 y/o who has full mental capacity and fairly good upper body control, will most likely pass their requirements, but there's no way to know for sure. The other thing to keep in mind with an ECV vs. a wheelchair is that an ECV will take more energy to use than being pushed in a wheelchair. If she gets fatigued easily in ways that impair her concentration, a wheelchair may be safer.

    As others have said, there's no GAC that will help with distances walked or time spent standing. They may have an accommodation for some of the queues that are in the sun, but that isn't very many and most of the exposure will be between attractions so the suggestions of finding the right sort of protective clothing are going to be most helpful. Also, keeping hydration up is really important (and that's something that everyone should be doing so should be able to be managed without her feeling like she sticks out). If she has any problems with overheating, those mini-fans that do a misting spray may also help. You haven't mentioned what time of year you're going, but if it's not booked yet, it's worth looking at going in a cooler part of the year (my most comfortable WDW trip temperature-wise was end of January, but even October/November is better than any time in the summer and not too crowded which makes the fatigue easier to deal with in my experience).

    I've been going to WDW using a wheelchair (either my own manual wheelchair or a power chair) since I was 22, 6 years ago. I'm used to using a manual wheelchair self-propelling and I need to be pushed at WDW so if that's part of her problem with using a wheelchair, you can assure her she will be far from the only one being pushed rather than pushing themselves. I've seen people of all ages using wheelchairs and ECVs at WDW and 99% of the time, no one has ever particularly looked twice that I've seen. I look relatively non-disabled when using a wheelchair, along with being able to walk/stand very short distances, and I've never experienced negative comments, even when getting up out of my wheelchair. I also tend to look younger than my age (part of the medical condition I have) and was carded at WDW as recently as when I was 26 or 27, so I would think that I'd get comments if anyone was going to. It is also possible that I've been having so much fun with my friends when I've been there that I haven't noticed the comments or looks, but as far as I'm concerned it's a "tree falls in the forest" situation. If I don't hear the comments or see the looks, then they haven't happened as far as I'm concerned.

    I had one trip to WDW prior to using a wheelchair (by about 8 years) and before my family and I were really willing to admit that I might have mobility issues. I can say honestly that I was in much more pain and it did impact my enjoyment of that trip. Even once I started having more obvious problems I forced myself through some family trips (not to WDW) without using a wheelchair and it was miserable; I would spend about half the trip sleeping in the car or hotel or in too much pain to do anything. While I can understand why when you're at a point of recovery that it would be frustrating to feel like you're taking a step back, your friend will find herself much happier and have a better trip if she can spend her energy having fun rather than just getting places. Also, it's worth letting her know that people use wheelchairs and ECVs at WDW for all sorts of reasons; I would guess that close to half don't ever use a wheelchair or ECV in their daily lives, but
    either have a temporary injury or a medical condition that makes the 6+ miles a day of walking at WDW too much, even if they're fine around home.

    It doesn't matter whether they ask or not. If you read the contracts for every rental company I know of, other than Randy's, they state that the ECV cannot be used by anyone under the age of 18. When you agree to that contract, you agree that the ECV will only be used by those above 18, which is the part they care about. Most companies ask at least for an approximate weight of the user because of weight limits on the various models, but I'm sure there are some that don't. I would expect that the minimum age requirement has to do with the insurance that the rental company has. If someone under 18 is using an ECV that has been rented by a company that states that the user must be over 18 and the user gets injured or the ECV gets damaged then I would assume that it would void any liability insurance and the renter would be responsible for all costs. If it is an ECV rented in one of the WDW parks and a CM notices someone under 18 using it, they can and will take away the ECV; I'm not sure if they would have to refund the deposit in that case. Do people lie and/or otherwise try to get around the minimum age limit without getting caught? Probably. But it's certainly not something we can advocate doing on this board.
  13. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN <font color=red>It's like combining the teacups wi Moderator

    Yes, this is what I was going to post.
    Most of the companies say somewhere on their website that they rent for use by someone over the age of 18.
    It is also in the rental agreement that renters sign - along with agreeing to only have the adult driver - no passengers.

    Many people probably don't actually read the rental contract they are signing, so could say they don't know.
    But, if there is an accident, damage or injury, the contract could be voided and the rente could be liable for damages, as Wheeled Traveler mentioned.

    A lot of people look at a wheelchair as a horrible thing - close to a prison sentence, using words like "wheelchair bound" and "confined to a wheelchair". That's just silly - people don't use words like that about things like glasses. I'm not "glasses bound" or "confined to glasses."
    People rightly see glasses as a tool that helps people do things they could not do without them.

    My yougest DD is literally bound to her wheelchair -
    • she has a seatbelt (a special one that pulls down on her hips),
    • straps to keep her feet in place (so her abnormal muscles don't pull them out of place)
    • and her seatback comes up high on the sides under her arms (to support her so sitting for long periods is not fatiguing)
    But, even with all that, her wheelchair is not confining, it is freedom. Without it, she can't do the things she wants to do.

    Hers is bright pink, with custom (mom made) seat covers in colors of her choice, with glow in the dark stars on the tire rims. Because it is hers, it is blinged out to her taste.
    But, I have seen people at WDW who decorated their rental wheelchairs. We add solar powered fairy lights to DD's chair - attaching them with black electrical tape makes them easy to remove later. Some people put signs; I saw an ECV once with a laminated sign attached that said "The Kicking Cancer's Butt Tour".
    So, if you think people might look, choose what you want them to look at.
  14. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN <font color=red>It's like combining the teacups wi Moderator

    The other thing to look at is energy and people have said before that this model helps them to see it in a different way.

    People have a certain amount of energy, kind of like a bank account.
    Like a bank account, certain things we do (like sleep, rest, sit) add to the account. Other things we do (like walking, driving, concentrating) subtract from the account.

    Everything we do has a certain 'energy cost'. Some things (like running a marathon or doing a 6K walk for charity) are understood to have a high energy cost. People train and plan for those and expect they will need to recuperate later (rebuild their energy bank account).
    People understand that if they don't get enough sleep or do too much one day, they may not be able to rest up ('refill their energy account') and may not have enough energy to do all the things they want to.
    3.75 miles

    People don't think about those things when thinking of a day at WDW.
    They don't think about the energy costs. Remember the 6K charity walk?
    Well, 6K happens to be 3.75 miles. Now most people would think the charity walk is a long distance, but don't realize that an average visitor's day at WDW includes 3 to 6 miles of walking - most of it outside of lines, just getting from place to place.
    When someone with limited energy uses most of their 'account' just getting from place to place, they won't have much energy left for the more fun things.
    Each night of good sleep replenishes the energy account, but if too much energy is used one day, just like a money bank account, you can get overdrawn and not have enough to get through the next day.

    And, keep in mind that even though using an ECV does conserve energy that would be used for walking, it does have energy costs related to being alert all the time and watching for others.

    Her energy 'bank account' is low right now. She will need to make choices about how she wants to spend the energy she has.
  15. Deesknee

    Deesknee <font color=blue>When we were kids (long time ago)

    This is how I am. I walk when I am able. So I push an empty chair sometimes. Then it is at my disposable when I need it. I use a manual chair. I don't know anything about the ECV chairs. Although I always feel so bad for my DH pushing up to the monorail from MK. That is a very steep hill.

    Best of luck. I hope this is a truly magical trip for this young lady, and all of you! Prayers for her continued recovery.
  16. gratefulfred

    gratefulfred Member

    In a case like this where it is obviously truly needed I would advocate doing whatever you have too.
  17. Piper

    Piper Mouseketeer

    I cannot agree with you. The contracts are there for the safety of both the person who is renting and those with whom s/he may come in contact. If you use an ECV daily, you know the stress that can be caused (even to the experienced person) by those who stop suddenly in front of you, dart in front of you, won't let you into traffic as well as normal negotiating in crowded and tight conditions.
  18. tjmw2727

    tjmw2727 <font color=993366>Enjoys "mom and me" trips<br><f

    Thanks Everyone - I appreciate the imput.

    We already travel with an adult with MS so we do take it slow, avoid to much sun and have a touring plan.

    I am going to encourage the rental of a WC just as a backup when she tires and to be sure she has a safe comfy place to sit when she needs it like parades etc. She still has some low muscle tone issues and is bruised/hurt easily - so IMHO a wheelchair would solve more than just the mobility issues.

    We want to do whatever we can to make this a magical trip and I am not sure she or her parents remember how tiriing it can be!

    I will have her parents call a few EVC rental places but I think the WC may be the best option. We have many hands that would LOVE to push her :)
  19. Piper

    Piper Mouseketeer

    A wheel chair you rent from the "ECV rental places" would be a better option than one from WDW. The rental places have chairs in better condition and would be better able to tailor one to her size (you never know if you are getting an extra large one from WDW.) Plus they are less expensive and you have it at your resort if you need it(and sometimes coming back from the parks she may need it!)
  20. bedogged

    bedogged <font color=purple>Choose parents that aged well<b

    I don't know their financial situation, but if push comes to shove, they could purchase a Pride Go Go Elite Traveler Plus in the neighborhood of $1,000.00 from the Internet. They would have to decide if her condition would benefit from having the scooter at home. This is the type of scooter that is the most popular rental for Disney World. It is very lightweight and easily breaks apart in about 5 sections. It only weighs about 100 pounds assembled. The battery lasts all day. It fits in most car trunks. If they are flying, she can drive the scooter to the plane and then walk in. The airline will transport the scooter for free. Just something to think about.
  21. jodeeee4

    jodeeee4 Earning My Ears

    I have had 4 reconstructive ankle surgeries and have been to WDW with and without a wheelchair. I totally understand her not wanting to take a step back in her recovery. But, my doctor told me not to look at it as a step back, but as a hand up. I had a much better time when I stopped worrying about what others would think (who cares!) and realized this was a tool to help me enjoy my vacation and spend more meaningful time with those I care about (instead of sitting everything out because I was in too much pain). I hope you all have a wonderful time!

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