Wheelchair's in WDW, how bad is it?

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by BelleMaria, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. BelleMaria

    BelleMaria Earning My Ears

    Nov 3, 2012
    Ok so my story is I am currently in the very midst of a pretty bad disease which keeps me from eating much (1000 calories liquid if i am lucky), pain, and also on medications which make me tired. My husbands job just got a deal with Disney so we will be able to get a somewhat discounted trip (via his co) to go to WDW while my DH is meeting with Disney execs about this deal. Anyways, my issue is duhh im sick. I can barely make it around the mall for longer than 30min because i get weak from walking and can't spare the energy. I'm only 27 but because of my disease I have dropped down to 89lb at 5"4. I really really don't want to miss out on this trip and my husband even offered to push me in a wheelchair for the day.

    My question is, how bad are people really going to side eye me? From everything I read people seem kinda snarky when they see someone "healthy" in a wheelchair. Especially since on the outside i look normal and healthy ( well aside from looking crazy skinny) and will be able to get up and walk around when needed. Also do most rides have somewhere to leave the wheelchair while I am on the ride? I read and it seemed most do but wasn't sure if all do, and I don't need to bring the wheelchair alllll the way up to the actual ride. I assumed I could leave it by itself outside the ride? I think I can put up with the standing just not the walking.

    This is just so disappointing :( Before i was sick this would have been the best gift ever and now I am wondering if I should even bother going...
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide this advert.
  3. Kellykins1218

    Kellykins1218 DIS Veteran

    Mar 4, 2012
    I don't think you should worry what anyone else thinks. It's none of their business why you need a wheelchair. Take the chair in the lines with you. You don't have to ride all the time but it will give you a place to sit in case you need it. You can walk onto the ride and they will have the chair waiting for you when you get off. If you really don't want it in line, you can leave it in the stroller parking area. You may even want to consider renting a scooter. You can take it into the lines, too. That way your husband doesn't have to push
  4. pugdog

    pugdog DIS Veteran

    Aug 19, 2000
    First off who cares about the others. Go have fun, if others have an issue with it, that is their issue to deal with not yours.

    Second if you are having stamina issues I would rent a scooter for your trip, that way you can enjoy the parks and not wear yourself out to quickly.

    And third, have a great time.
  5. LisaBi

    LisaBi DIS Veteran

    Oct 23, 2004
    I wouldn't think it would be too bad for your husband to push you given your weight. I push DS every trip. He weighs as much or a bit more than me. It is tiring but doable. If he only weighted 90 pounds I think it would be a lot easier.

    Don't worry about what people think. You know your limitations. They do not. We have gotten to where DS walks part of the ramp into Space Mountain. I just can't push him up it. We have definitely gotten some looks when we get to the top and detour to the WC boarding area and he sits back down. But they don't know that we tried it once totally without the chair and he couldn't make it, or that his overall limit is about 3 hours a day walking/standing. At least with the chair he can sit while we wait to load. And for what it's worth, the people behind us making comments to each other loaded several minutes before we did.
  6. tinkerpea

    tinkerpea DIS Veteran

    Aug 12, 2010
    Firstly I just want to say I fully sympathise with you about the whole looking healthy when really sick!
    I have now had 3 major ops for a tumour in my head that attached its self to my ear tubes and mastoid causing me to suffer with balance issues severe pain sickness and incredible weakness!not to mention the side effects from being on antibiotics constantly and opiate pain meds!

    Before my trip I had major emergency surgery to take it out ( it keeps coming back) and so I really worried about how tired I would be as I was going only 7wks after I'm only 27 as well and to look at me you would not think I'm sick ( apart from rough days of throwing up everything )
    Anyways we decided that we would only get a wheelchair for times I felt I needed it as I hate using one when I have 3 boys to play with too! We get a GAC usually as our 10 yr old has autism but there are rides he does not do that I love! And I knew from the 30 odd 3 wks trips I've done since a child that i would need a GAC even when not using the wheel chair.

    I really don't think you should worry about what people think narrow minded people will always judge!
    We got a GAC and so when I didn't want to use a chair I could still use the accomadations on the GAC! Yes I got looks from people but I just smiled back at them so they knew I'd seen them, even got a few comments but I didn't let it bother me I know why I needed the accomadations and that's all that matters! :)
    I hope you have a fab trip just remember they have no idea why your using a wheelchair they can try and guess all they like but all they are doing is wasting precious time worrying about why you have it and missing out on the magic!!
  7. ttintagel

    ttintagel DIS Veteran

    Nov 28, 2011
    You should absolutely bother going! "Disney Therapy" always helps me feel better while it lasts; I bet it will be the same for you!

    And once you get to the parks and are distracted with all the fun going on, you won't have time to worry about what other people think! As the saying goes, "What other people think of me is none of my business."
  8. figmentswife

    figmentswife One little spark will light your fancy

    Jul 23, 2011
    I came to the disabilities board tonight to seek out info for my DH who may be having surgery soon then going to Disney and I found this thread. I am very sad that your concern is what others think, kind of you, but sooooo not necessary. I have never worried about someones reason for being in a chair while at Disney and I hope others are not so judgmental.

    Now I am going to be worried about what people will think also. I just know that no one better say a word in my earshot, or they will have a not so Disney moment if I do.

    You go to Disney and enjoy every minute of it with your family. I guess hateful people are everywhere, just ignore them.
  9. peemagg

    peemagg <font color=blue>We are doing the AKL tri-fecta<br

    Jan 29, 2006
    I have been to Disney using a scooter since 2009. I have never got any comments or looks, but then again I am more concerned with my having fun and not what anyone else thinks. To them I look just like someone who is heavy. They don't see the pain and swelling and the twisting of my feet until I get up and try to walk.

    Don't worry about anyone else but those you are with. Just go and have fun and ignore all those who think they know. I bet most don't have a medical degree to be able to tell anything about anything.
  10. BelleMaria

    BelleMaria Earning My Ears

    Nov 3, 2012
    Thanks everyone for the encouraging words. To be honest I never myself even gave a second hoot about people in wheelchairs or any such thing till I read some of the boards about " healthy" people using GAC and the way some people were talked about. That being said I know that this trip will be rough mentally as well as physically but Im really determined that if my condition doesn't get worse to go.

    I think even more of my worry came from thinking about how I was changing my husbands trip. Last time we went when I was well we did 10 mile days, 6-7 in a row! And now I just feel like I'm slowing him down and that he might be embaressed or annoyed even though he said he won't be. Obviously these are MY issues... Accepting that I'm sick and things are different now. But hopefully that disney magic does rub off on me so that I can enjoy the few days with my husband.
  11. Friendly Frog

    Friendly Frog DIS veteran with a mouse on her back.

    Jul 31, 2005
    Absolutely go.

    We all have to deal with rude people in our life sometime. ;) Seriously, my last visit I was alone and people actually offered to assist me when they saw I was needing a little help ( Food trays and stuff.) and the cast members are wonderful.

    Your husband should be able to push you just fine. My senior citizen husband has pushed me in all of the parks and I weigh a LOT more than you. :rotfl: AK has the most hills, but if he should get tired, you can rent an ECV in the park and they will store your wheelchair in the ECV building until you return the ECV.

    I highly recommend that you save your energy and let you husband push you all the way through the lines. You can really use up a lot of energy standing in a line.
    You do not need a GAC to do this, most lines are mainstreamed for wheelchairs! No one will think twice if you are in the regular line with a wheelchair.

    Even if you don't feel up to riding anything, there are so many shows and just a day in the World Showcase is fun.

    EDIT: If you are really worried about slowing your husband down, you could rent a scooter. Then part of the day you can go do things on your own without using too much energy, and he can go do what he wants at his pace for a little while. Only problem is that the scooters are not cheap to rent.
  12. WheeledTraveler

    WheeledTraveler DIS Veteran

    Oct 10, 2007
    I'm 28 and use a manual wheelchair at WDW. I haven't ever noticed people giving me looks or heard comments. I do have my own wheelchair so it may look a little more obvious that it's not a rental, but the first time or two I went after I started using a wheelchair I could walk short distances. I do think you hear much more complaining online than people usually experience in the parks. It's one of those things where people seem to remember the bad more often than the good and most won't say anything in public, but have no problems complaining where they've got some level of anonymity.

    Your husband definitely could push you in a wheelchair, but you probably won't be able to move a rental wheelchair much yourself. Even as a pretty much full time user, I have trouble pushing myself in a chair the size and weight of a WDW rental. I'm also 5'4", although much heavier than you are, and the one time I had to use a WDW wheelchair (something broke on my personal wheelchair so I had to borrow one for about an hour while we figured out how to fix it) it was so wide that I had trouble even reaching the back wheels to push (I use an 18" wide manual wheelchair and I'm guessing the rental one was at least 22" wide). You might want to consider an ECV rather than a manual wheelchair. They are much more expensive to rent at WDW than a manual wheelchair, but they'd give you some freedom to explore on your own (maybe while your husband is in his meetings for, example). If you're going to be in the area for more than a day and were only planning one park day due to your husband's meetings, there are offsite rental places that may be cheaper for renting an ECV or would have a manual wheelchair that would fit you better. If you need to the wheelchair or ECV can be brought through the lines with you if needed and there may be some cases where that would make the most sense when it comes to conserving energy. For example, there are several rides at WDW where the distance of the line is 1/4 mile long no matter how short the actual wait is. Also, if you need a break to rest and don't want to go all the way back to your hotel, you can use the First Aid center in the park you're in to lie down for a while.

    WDW is actually one of the best places to visit if you need to use a wheelchair or ECV because they've done such a good job at making things as accessible as possible. If other people make comments, that's their problem and it's rather sad that they're wasting time on their vacation being nasty. I think the best advice is to focus on having fun yourself and letting that block out any negative crap from other people.
  13. BroganMc

    BroganMc It's not the age, it's the mileage

    Feb 12, 2005
    When I was your age I worried a lot about what other people thought of me too. I was so obsessed with not looking like a physical failure I refused to use the adaptive equipment that would give me true independence. Age has taught me just how foolish that was. (I refused to use a power wheelchair until I was 30, always limited by how far I could walk and where I could find a seat or what I would trip on. Once I got a power wheelchair I was moving so fast and seeing so much, I had a whole new life.)

    Honestly, the biggest issues you will encounter using a wheelchair is all the stupid people who fail to recognize you. The fools who stand right in front of you during fireworks or at a show giving you a lovely view of their backside. Or the ladies who whack you in the head with their oversized purses. Or the little kids who dart in front of you in their game of human chicken. (You learn to avoid those people.)

    The last thing you'll notice is someone huffing and puffing or making a stupid face because you went in the FastPass lane ahead of them. You'll be too happy enjoying yourself to care.

    If you can handle it, I highly suggest you rent a scooter from somewhere offsite. They aren't any harder to drive than a car and give you a lot of mobility during your entire vacation. As nice as it is to know your husband will push you around, you'll find it irritating after a few hours. That's when the fight over who is the "driver" sets in. Wheelchair pushers often forget what their passengers can see or want to see. (Nothing more annoying than someone stopping and saying "Oh look at that" only to find they are pointing at something behind you.)

    Go to Guest Services and explain your needs to get a GAC. Then you can use your scooter like any wheelchair and enter any wheelchair-accessible area or queue. You will have the option of transferring to a ride vehicle or theater seat as you wish.

    Go on to Disney. Enjoy yourself. Remind yourself fairy tales, magic and rainbows do exist even when life seems the worst. I promise Disney is the one place in this world where people of physical disabilities feel the most welcome.

    I hope you feel better and get your disease under control. Hang in there! I know it's hard and sometimes it really sucks. I've had degenerative arthritis since I was 2. I learned a long time ago to let go of the pain and embrace the good in life. There's a lot in good in life. Don't let fear, nor pride, nor difficulty stop you from savoring it.
  14. PatsMom

    PatsMom <font color=blue>Sometimes has Dory moments!<br><f

    Feb 17, 2000
    I have cancer. I have done two trips to Disney in a wheelchair. The first was because of a broken foot. The cast was pretty obvious. The second was two weeks ago. I went 10 days after a total abdominal hysterectomy. So I was in and out of the chair. I needed to do some walking but between the cancer and the surgery, I had no stamina.

    I did get some looks but I ignored them. The chair was just a piece of equipment that made my vacation possible. I did have my own chair - a gift from a relative before my broken foot trip. Belonged to a man who died two years ago. It made it easier because I had it to get around the resort if I was tired. I also had my 21 year old daughter to push me. She is a great pusher and requires just a few bribes!

    We really got "the look" at the end of the day when the kids were tired and I would walk for a while and let them ride in the chair. That made it easier for all. I got my walking in and they got a rest. We just ignored anyone who gave us sideways looks.

    One thing we did do is fold the chair up like a stroller to take on the busses. I didn't need the lift so it seemed silly to enter through the back door. If a bus was standing room only we did have to wait for the next bus as I didn't feel comfortable balancing on a moving vehicle. But that only happened once.

    Have a great trip. The chair just makes it possible! As my mother always told me, you will never see these people again. You and your family know the truth and that is all that matters.
  15. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

    Aug 23, 1999
    Want to clarify - you don't need a GAC (Guest Assistance Card) to use an ECV in wheelchair accessible lines or buildings.

    Most lines/attractions are wheelchair and ECV accessible in the regular line to the point of boarding. These are called Mainstream Lines because guests with disabilities are able to access from the main (regular) stream of travel.
    Guests with any typeof mobility device do not need a GAC to bring a mobility device in.
    (The exception would be guests with smaller children who are using as roller as a wheelchair).

    There are a few lines and attractions that are wheelchair accessible, but not ECV accessible. For those, go to the greeter at the entrance in your ECV and explain you would like go borrow an attraction wheelchair to use in line. That CM will tell you where to park your ECV and get a wheelchair for use in that attraction.

    Having a GAC will not generally allow you to bring an ECV in places that are only wheelchair accessible - the reason for that is usually space.

    You can find out more about GACs in post 6 of the disABILITIES FAQs thread - near the top of this board or follow the link in my signature.
  16. jmartinez1895

    jmartinez1895 DIS Veteran

    Nov 18, 2008
    You are more likley to get dirty looks at your local store than you are Disney. Most people ther are so consumed with what they are doing they don't really notice what others are doing. We get more looks and comments in one trip to Wal mart then we will get in a 10 days at Disney. There are a few rude people, but they are the exception not the rule. We took a trip to Kmart last week and I noticed that when I pulled into the handicap spot that an older man was staring at me. I smiled at his ( which was not returned), put the placard on my mirror and opened the back door for my son who got out of the car and stood by the trunk while I got his wheelchair out. When I came out of the store I had a nice little note on my windshield that read " Do you ever feel guilty for making your fake being handicap just so you can steal the front parking".
  17. peemagg

    peemagg <font color=blue>We are doing the AKL tri-fecta<br

    Jan 29, 2006
    I agree with jmartinez. I get more dirty looks in stores at home, especially from older people who forget that age has nothing to do with whether or not someone needs a parking space or piece of equipment because of their handicap. That is their problem not mine. They quickly look away when I get out and they see my braces and I look them in the eye and smile. They look even more sheepish when I am having a really bad day and they realize that they are able to walk better than I can.

    Go and have fun and forget about anyone else and your illness and enjoy your time with your husband. You will most likely never see them again!
  18. POOHsie

    POOHsie DIS Veteran

    May 4, 2010
    I use a scooter full time and am permanently disabled. I've been to WDW many times -- it's tops in handicap accessibility and because of this, you'll see lots of wheelchair and scooter users there. (Technically speaking there's also a lot of kids in strollers, because they can't handle the trek, either.) But it's new to you and you are self-conscious about your new limitations. I say Jump In! and do it. The first step is the hardest. I can't say that I've had any negative encounter at WDW. I think the snarking comes out on the internet because people are anonymous and can't be held accountable for their nastiness.

    So nice that your DH is being supportive. Disney is a lot of acreage and your DH might be worn out. Perhaps on your second day you could consider renting a scooter just to see what it's like. The Disney ones are slow, but if you like it, you can arrange another trip where you rent one from a preferred provider. They are smaller and zippier and you could look around at things independent of your DH. I have a scooter lift in my minivan, and I go everywhere by myself now that my DH has passed away.

    I've seen a few at the local stores who stare when I pull in to the handicap spots. When I get my walker out and walk to the back of the van to get the scooter, their suspicions go away. Matter of fact, quite a few people stop to ask me about my lift and my scooter. Only sad encounters I've had were leaving the big box stores. Occasionally there would be people seated at the entry asking me if they could use the scooter now that I was leaving. Unfortunately they thought it was a store scooter, not my own, and I had to decline their request. Lots of people could benefit from a scooter but lack $$. Stores don't have enough scooters on hand. Sad.

    Good luck to you. Take care.
  19. joanchris

    joanchris Mouseketeer

    Jul 24, 2005
    I agree with what's been said, go, have fun, don't worry about others!

    I know this is not what you asked, and forgive me for butting in (stop reading now if you want!), but
    I am concerned that you're so undernourished! Have you discussed other nutrition options with your doctors? Some doctors are not very good at bringing it up, or, imo, are too hesitant in implementing other strategies.
  20. Floridagram

    Floridagram DIS Veteran

    Dec 12, 2006

    Those people who would say anything or fgive you a look are the people with problems not you! Go, have a fun time and don't miss this chance of a lifetime. We never know what tomorrow holds and you should go for it if you are up for the trip, no matter how you have to take it! :goodvibes

    You did not say if you could use a scooter or not, but I wanted to mention something you may not have thought about because it just happened to us. My aunt is in a wheelchair and my husband pushed her around all day. By the end of the day his back was bothering him because he had to stoop a bit to reach the handles of the chair. He is 5'11. This was her personal chair, not a rented one, so the handles may have been lower than MK chairs but you may want to consider that if your husband is tall. Scooters cost more but have advantages.
  21. 50surgeries2012

    50surgeries2012 Mouseketeer

    Nov 24, 2012
    I have to admit that I was kind of scared when I took my own wheelchair to Disney World for the first time because I was worried about what people might think. But, then I realize that I didn't have to worry about it after all. My primary disability is easily seen as my hands are smaller than normal, and my toes are fused together. Although no one would be able to tell unless I took my shoes, and socks off.

    Anyway I use a wheelchair because of severe scoliosis, and osteoarthritis in my back which makes walking for long distances very hard for me. I used to have osteoarthritis in both of my hips. But, that got fixed after they both now have hip replacements in them.

    The first time I went to Disney World with my wheelchair. People were very nice to me. Not just the cast members. But, also some of the park guests. I did encounter some rude people over the years at the park who were guests. But, I didn't let that spoil my vacation. I was at Disney World to have a good time with my family.

    When my husband and I went in April of 2011 with two of our friends. We had a lot of fun on that trip. My best friend has spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, and has to rely on her power chair all of the time to get around. My husband has spastic hemiplegia cerebral palsy as well as traumatic brain injury, and moderate mental disabilities. Seeing all three of us together. We were treated like a prince, and princesses by the cast members. We didn't ask for it. But, it just happened.

    The best part was when we got to go backstage to meet the cast of the "Finding Nemo" musical. That was one of the best experiences at Disney World that I've never forgotten. We're planning another trip to Disney World for next year, and I'm hoping that we can meet up with the cast of the Finding Nemo musical again.

    You''l have a great time at Disney World. If you ever encounter someone being rude to you at the parks. Just ignore them, and don't let it spoil your vacation. My husband and I get to go to Disneyland with our same friends who took us to Disney World, and we have finalized our plans for the trip. We are so excited that we can't wait.


Share This Page