Has anyone gotten wheelchair assistance from DME to their gate?

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by Simba's Mom, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. Simba's Mom

    Simba's Mom <font color=green>everything went to "H*** in a ha

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    If so, how did you request it? Did you call the airline? Or did you request it at the resort's remote check-in? I'm flying Southwest and they were super about taking me from the gate to DME when I arrived. However, DH met me at WDW and we drove home. I have no problem navigating the stairs on the bus, and I can walk about 50 feet. However, I need wheelchair assistance to the gate. I really don't want to try to get myself all the way to Southwest's check in counter at the airport-trust me, it wouldn't end well!
     
  2. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

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    Once. It took quite a while. The airline was aware - but of course DME drops you nowhere near arrivals. The CMs that are at the drop off point were either confused3 or not particularly helpful.

    I'd call DME.
     
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  4. Simba's Mom

    Simba's Mom <font color=green>everything went to "H*** in a ha

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    I tried that, but the CM I spoke to had no idea, said I'd have to call the airline.
     
  5. Selket

    Selket Been there - done that

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    I think the airline is the one that you call to get assistance. I had a similar issue but ended up just needing to pick up a wheelchair since one of us was able to push the wheelchair with a family member in it. My guess is someone in the DME area may have to let your airline know you've arrived and where to pick you up with the wheelchair. I'd check with the airline to make the "reservation" through them and hopefully they can help you more.
     
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  6. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

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    Yeah, the issue is that there are no porters anywhere near where DME drops you off.
     
  7. mamabunny

    mamabunny DIS Veteran

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    I have never had this issue, primarily because I own my own personal mobility device, but also because I always have a "travel buddy" who is more than willing to go to WDW with me... My family seems to think I will get too lonely at Disney World! (someday, I'm gonna pull a Rapunzel, and escape without them! LOL)

    Has anyone tried calling their airline, and specifically telling them that you will need assistance from the DME "terminal"? (I think it's technically referred to as a terminal at MCO?) I wonder if you have to let the airline know that you are arriving at MCO at DME, and not at ticketing/check-in.
     
  8. ttintagel

    ttintagel DIS Veteran

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    Not right from the bus. But when we managed to get inside the building we called the airline to let them know where we were and they dispatched skycaps to us.
     
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  9. JudyS

    JudyS Disney Lover, DVC Member, and Timeshare Fan! DVC Gold

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    The answer to the question in this thread's title, "Has anyone gotten wheelchair assistance from DME to their gate?" seems to be -- not really. Certainly, not good wheelchair assistance.

    I actually came here tonight to ask about this very issue. I asked about this on this board five years ago. No one back then seemed to have had a satisfactory experience with wheelchair assistance when arriving at the airport via DME. I was hoping things had improved.

    But before coming here this evening, I called DME. I had an extremely frustrating experience with them. The CS Rep, and her supervisor, kept saying "There will be skycaps at the DME drop off." When I repeatedly said, "There are NO skycaps near the DME drop-off," the supervisor hung up on me. Sheesh, I hope that was a Mears employee, and not a Disney employee.

    Exactly. DME will tell you to talk to the first skycap you see. But, unless you can walk quite a distance, you won't see any skycaps.

    Twice, I have tried using DME to the airport. Both times, DME said it would be fine. But both times, it didn't work at all, leaving me stranded in my wheelchair until some kindly passerby helped me out. Last time, I sat stranded so long that I was afraid I'd miss my flight, and started calling out, "Can anyone help me?" Eventually, some Delta pilots came over and were shocked to learn that Disney had stranded me. They brought me to departures. (And I wasn't even flying Delta.)

    I have spoken to Southwest about this, and they say airport regulations forbid them from stationing skycaps in the DME area, because that area belongs to Mears. Airlines provide wheelchair assistance from departures, and DME drops you off nowhere near departures.

    I have heard that if you tell DME you need a bus with a wheelchair lift, that will alert DME to contact someone at the airport to assist you. But, when I just talked to DME tonight, they acted as if they had never heard of that. I have also heard that there is a Disney Disability team that can sometimes help out. But, no one seems to have their phone number. The DME reps I spoke to tonight said no such team exists.

    I did some calling around, and found out that you can call the Orlando Airport's central paging number, 407-825-2000, and ask them to connect you to your airline's skycap service. I have also found out the direct number for Southwest's skycaps, 407-825-7487. I hope those numbers will work. Calling your airline's national reservations number won't work; I've tried that.

    Bear in mind that the bus parking lot is often extremely loud. So, if there is no one in your party who can walk a ways into the building, you may be better off calling from your cell phone while you are still seated on the parked bus.

    I am about to go on my first solo trip to Disney in years, and am very anxious about whether things will work out. (Last time, I fell and badly broke my shoulder.) I was supposed to go tomorrow, but today, I postponed my trip for two days. (Even though I can't get a refund on the first two nights' hotel.) I just feel like I need more time to prepare. Boy, that conversation I had with DME is not helping. I could use some encouragement for this trip.
     
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  10. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

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    Judy, armed with the information you have, your trip should go fine! Thank you for all your effort and research!
     
  11. Simba's Mom

    Simba's Mom <font color=green>everything went to "H*** in a ha

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    Thanks for all this info. I'll be solo so there's no one to run and get me a wheelchair. I'm thinking that what I'll do is to check my bag at the airport. I can navigate (albeit slowly) to the Southwest check-in using my suitcase kind of like a walker (done it a few times). From experience, I know that once at check-in they'll call for a wheelchair to get me to the gate. And to allow extra time for this, I'll call DME the day beforehand and ask for an earlier bus-I've done that (asked for an earlier bus) and always gotten one.
     
  12. JudyS

    JudyS Disney Lover, DVC Member, and Timeshare Fan! DVC Gold

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    Kaytieeldr, thank you! I hope what I found out will be helpful to people here.

    Simba's Mom, allowing extra time sounds like a good idea. But, if using the suitcase as support will be difficult, you might be better off giving the skycap paging number a try. If you can't get a skycap that way, you can still use the suitcase for support. And, I hope you have a great solo trip!
     
  13. mamabunny

    mamabunny DIS Veteran

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    Dang, I missed this post - I'm so sorry!

    The number for Disney's Disability Services team is: ‭(407) 560-2547‬

    I have a feeling that - just like with the Resort "front desk" phone lines that are actually going to a call center - the DME number you spoke to is a call center that is probably located no where near the airport.

    Calling MCO's central paging number is a great idea - and having that number for Southwest's skycaps is also excellent. That may be all you need. I don't know if anyone has ever tried simply approaching the DME CMs that are handling "inbound" Guests to Disney World, and asking them to call a skycap for you.

    I hope once your trip is over, you can let us know what worked for you, and what did not.

    And above all, I hope you have a wonderful solo trip!
     
  14. ttintagel

    ttintagel DIS Veteran

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    Thanks JudyS and mamabunny for those phone numbers!!
     

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