Advice for three septuagenarians, one day in a park

epcotobsessed

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 1, 2018
Title pretty much says it all - mother-in-law and aunts-in-law are going to Orlando for three days and want to go to one park, one day (yes, I have tried to encourage more park days but they are not interested). They have asked me for advice and this has made me realize that I am great at helping people plan a week-long (ish) trip but I am struggling with this one. What park would you suggest and what attractions/restaurants would you send them to? Two have mobility issues, all might be renting scooters. Any advice from anyone who has helped plan such an excursion would be much appreciated!
 

mamaofsix

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 8, 2017
I would say Epcot. Doesn't sound like they'd be the type to like thrill rides, so I'd recommend Soarin', Spaceship Earth and Living with the Land for fp's. And also suggest they do Nemo and Journey into Imagination with figment.

So many great restaurants to choose from around World Showcase. Have them read some menus and make ADRs accordingly. Tell them about the different shows they can see in France, America, China, Canada, etc. I'm sure they'd love the Mexico boat ride. And make sure they know to stay in the park to watch Illuminations :)
 
  • Sargeant Tibbs

    3111 is the Magic number
    Joined
    Jan 9, 2015
    Depending on their mobility issues, Epcot and AK are not great choices. There's just too much walking, and AK has hills. Unless they absolutely commit to scooters, I would say MK is the best choice. It's the smallest, and with so many attractions, they will be on their feet less.
     
  • Selket

    Been there - done that
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2000
    You might consider posting this on the disAbilities board here as I think you'd also get great feedback because 3 of them are using scooters and two have mobility issues. There's also a FAQ there with rides listed and details on whether you can take the scooter in the lines or you have to transfer to a wheelchair, etc. I'm not sure if there are enough people in your party to push 2 wheelchairs since it sounds like they are going on their own. How much trouble would they have transferring to rides like Small World or Pirates? Or would they want to ride those? Would they be renting scooters in the parks? It is also a consideration to arrive early enough to be able to get one if the parks are busy.

    I use a scooter in the parks (both knees need replacing). AK is lovely but it always seems super bumpy to drive over many of the pathways in a scooter. I am ok with it but if someone had a really bad back (for example) - perhaps it would hurt? It also always feels hotter than the other parks.

    Epcot is lovely and spread out - lots of scootering to get one place to the other but it has large inside a/c areas. If there's a special event like Food and Wine and it's a weekend - I wouldn't recommend it - when Epcot is crowded it feels more challenging in a scooter because you're really slow getting from place to place.

    Have they ever been to WDW? If not then it's hard to not recommend the MK because it is classic and iconic and what everyone thinks of when they think of WDW. I think I'd try to get them to tell me which park they most want to see if you can and plan around that! Would they consider a dessert party? That would get them some fireworks viewing and a nice place to sit and enjoy desserts. Otherwise - whatever park they go to and if they want to see parades and fireworks, familiarize them with the handicapped viewing areas where they can go and wait in their scooter (probably needed to arrive quite early as they fill up).
     
    Last edited:

    Mome Rath

    3 Decade Disney Traveler
    Joined
    Mar 13, 2014
    Title pretty much says it all - mother-in-law and aunts-in-law are going to Orlando for three days and want to go to one park, one day (yes, I have tried to encourage more park days but they are not interested). They have asked me for advice and this has made me realize that I am great at helping people plan a week-long (ish) trip but I am struggling with this one. What park would you suggest and what attractions/restaurants would you send them to? Two have mobility issues, all might be renting scooters. Any advice from anyone who has helped plan such an excursion would be much appreciated!
    AK may be too hot for them, depending on when they are going, and uneven walking may make it more difficult. MK is usually more packed, hence harder to maneuver scooters. DHS doesn't have enough they would enjoy, IMO, so that leaves EPCOT. Good food and good shows, and enough space to use a scooter. SSE, Living with the Land, Soarin, Impressions de France, Voices of Liberty and American adventure, browsing the lands, ADR at a good TS...
     

    Chrislovesdisney

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 16, 2017
    I’d say Epcot but recommend they go in and out the international gateway (they can take cabs to an Epcot resort then take the boat) and just stick to world showcase.

    FWIW, my mil and fit who are nearing 70 found dhs to be their favorite (I was shocked). They loved all of the exhibits about Disney and all of the shows.
     

    Hisgirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2011
    I took my 83- year old parents to MK and Epcot and HS. I made them both get scooters even though they are very mobile and walk a mile 3x a week.They were so grateful for the scooters! Their best park was definitely Epcot. With it being more spread out, having the scooters made it much easier to move around. We rode Soaring, the big silver ball (I can NEVER EVER remember the name!), Living the land, and did all the countries. They truly loved it! We went to MK but the crowd made them very uncomfortable and made it dangerous for them, to be honest. (and for those in their path) Hollywood was okay, but it was Epcot they liked. By the time we got around the Canada they were done and ready to go home. I planned carefully so we didn't have to stand in a line. It was a great trip. Also, we stayed in the Grand and they loved it!
     
  • buzzrelly

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 20, 2005
    Have they ever been to WDW? If not, then definitely the MK. It’s probably what they think of when they think of WDW. It also happens to be my mom’s favorite park and she is 75. There is so much to see and do and all within the same area. I don’t think the WS screams “Disney.”
     

    fla4fun

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 12, 2006
    I would find out what their interests and expectations are, and then pick the park that most closely matches them. Each of the four parks brings something different to the table, and without knowing the ladies personally, it's hard to pick the best one. My instinct would be Epcot, but that could be because it's my favorite park in general. MK is the most Disney-esque park, DHS has a lot of good shows, and AK, of course, has the animals.

    The best advice I could offer would be to stay hydrated, rest when necessary, and have a hat or some way of keeping the sun off your head if going in warmer weather. If they haven't used scooters before, some practice at a grocery or big box store with one would also be a good idea so they feel comfortable and secure driving in crowds.
     

    Mambo Junkie

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 6, 2011
    I would say Animal Kingdom. Love the animals and shows, smaller park. Not as much walking. The countries are lovely though and I'm sure they would love Epcot, especially if there is the Flower and Garden show going on. No to the Food and Wine.
    Where are you staying? They could go in through the International Gateway and cut off a lot of walking that way. It's really going to come down to their interests. I would not recommend HS or MK, though I do feel everyone should go at least once. Though it can be very crowded, there are lots of shady spots there.
    ETA: if renting scooters, I feel Epcot has the most free space. At MK it depends on where you are. HS has a lot of bottlenecks/dead ends which might hamper someone not used to a scooter, and AK has (in my opinion) smaller and more uneven walkways.
     

    Love Tink

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 14, 2011
    Seconding the previous poster: if they are in their 70s and don't know anything about Disney World then when they picture WDW they are picturing Disneyland.

    They will most likely be pretty perturbed if they end up somewhere without Peter Pan and Dumbo.
     

    Bete

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 14, 1999
    Epcot would be my choice.

    World Showcase will have street entertainment; the park schedule will show the times. At American Adventure make sure they see the Voices of Liberty. There are movies to see for the countries.

    If they can stay until the end of the day, they get to see Illuminations before it's gone.

    By far you have the most table service restaurants in Epcot.
     

    RabFlmom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 4, 2003
    Title pretty much says it all - mother-in-law and aunts-in-law are going to Orlando for three days and want to go to one park, one day (yes, I have tried to encourage more park days but they are not interested). They have asked me for advice and this has made me realize that I am great at helping people plan a week-long (ish) trip but I am struggling with this one. What park would you suggest and what attractions/restaurants would you send them to? Two have mobility issues, all might be renting scooters. Any advice from anyone who has helped plan such an excursion would be much appreciated!
    OK, here's advice from a fellow 70s person. Go to EPCOT. They aren't there to sprint from ride to ride. They can go at their own pace. If they want to ride rides there are some there that are easy on us of age. Spaceship Earth, Living with the Land, Soarin, Test track, Nemo, The 3 Caballeros, etc. There is so much to see in the countries and you can take your time, sit and watch the street shows, eat, etc. We usually don't do the quick meals, but enjoy leisurely sit down lunch in one of the countries. If any of them decide to walk there are lots of places to sit and rest in this park. There are lots of areas where you can spend time inside in air conditioning without waiting in lines. When my brother turned 80 we celebrated his birthday at EPCOT thinking we would have to use a wheel chair, but it was amazing how well he did and we closed down the park.
     

    OB1

    May the Ears be with you
    Joined
    Aug 25, 2003
    Tough choice - EPCOT or AK. Maybe if they have a good day at the first one, they will bump up to a 2nd day after a day of rest. EPCOT does allow a lot to see & do that is not thrill based. If it is during a festival, then the extra food choices may be fun.
     

    kwdw

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 27, 2010
    Just ask them to decide! If they aren't big computer users - do some browsing and describing of the parks with them. If they are computer users - they are perfectly capable of doing that on their own. Really, just help them with some facts about the parks, and try not to make the decision for them. That way - how the day turns out is on them, not you. You mentioned mobility issues, not dementia!

    Now, if they have never been to WDW - I'd just tell them MK is the park to go to. Yes - it's crowded - but it's the icon and I think most people would say you haven't been to WDW if you haven't been to MK.

    I took a family member in that age range one day. She had been to MK on a family trip when her kids were young. She REALLY wanted to go to EPCOT. So - we went to EPCOT. Knowing her pretty well, I would have thought AK would have been a better choice. BUT - her memories and conversations with others through the years and her desire to see all the difference cultural stuff in WS - made EPCOT the park she wanted to go to.

    I've also been to an amusement park with a 90 year old. It was a park she had been to several times when she was younger. Surprisingly to me, she wanted to go on rides! She was also very happy just tagging along, sitting on a bench for a bit while we did rides she wanted to skip, eating junk food (I'm surprised she didn't get sick from the crap she ate that day), and just hanging out with us. Sure - the whole day was a slower pace - but everyone had a blast.
     

    epcotobsessed

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 1, 2018
    Thank you so much for ALL of these thoughtful and helpful responses! My parents-in-law were some of the first visitors to Disney World for their honeymoon, staying at the Polyneisan, though they haven't been back since my husband was a teenager. I think my aunts-in-law have been but again it's been a while. I do think Epcot is probably best for them and I have talked through all options for them. I especially appreciate the tip about renting scooters no matter what - one definitely needs it and I think it's just easier if they all have them. Thanks so much, again!
     

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