Large stroller and buses

melissalovesdisney

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jul 3, 2000
My daughter and I planning an eleven day trip in November. She has mild cerebral palsy, asperger's, sensory integration disorder, ADD, ODD, etc.

She looks completely normal. She can walk and can even go up steps. She does have problems walking down steps but can do it with help.

I am SO uptight about this trip. We just spent $600+ on a special needs jogging stroller(she already weighs 90 lbs) and are going to spend five days at BWV where we will focus on Epcot and MGM. We would love a resort that has monorail access for the remaining days but it is really out of my budget.

Do you think the stroller will be able to roll right on the boat if we stay at Fort Wilderness or Wilderness Lodge? If we stay at All Stars give me some suggestion on how to handle the buses. First, she will not want to get out of the stroller until we actually see the bus-she does not do well in crowds and the restraints on her stroller seem to make her feel safe. I know it keeps her calm! The stroller takes a minute or two to fold up and even when folded it is NOT small. It is for ages up to 15. What are proper responses for when we bring this huge stroller on the bus? Also, there is NO way she can stand up on the bus and I am scared that b/c of the time folding the stroller we will always be the last on the bus. If I used her "use stroller as a wheelchair pass" and had her ride up on the lift am I going to get resistance from the bus driver?

My daughter and I love WDW but it seems it gets harder and harder as time goes on!
 

SueM in MN

combining the teacups with a roller coaster
Moderator
Joined
Aug 23, 1999
Welcome and here's some Pixie Dust for a successful trip.

WL boat should not be a problem. We stayed at VWL on 1/2 of our last trip and we saw lots of regular strollers just rolled on the boats. The one problem you might have is that if the water level is high or low, there might be a step up or down to the boat. They do have portable ramps that can be used, but you might have to ask for it. We've lifted our DD on the boat under those circumstances, but she is using a wheelchair, which has more "grabbing points."
You also won't have a problem at BWV. The boats to MGM and Epcot rarely (like almost never) have a problem with water level. You can easily walk to either park from there too. That is usually faster than the boat.

The buses may or may not be a problem. Other people have used their "use stroller as a wheelchair card" to get that type of stroller on the bus using the lift. It will all depend on the bus driver. Your DD at 90 pounds will be big enough that the bus driver should not think you are just trying to get your regular stroller on. I'm afraid she won't be able to stay in the stroller during bus rides. Those jogging type strollers are not designed to be tied down in wheelchair car or bus restraints (unless they have changed them recently). Some other types of special needs strollers are certified for use in motor vehicles. Let the bus driver know that you realize she can't stay in her stroller during the bus ride, but you just need to use the lift to get it on.
At least if you can use the lift to get the stroller in, you can settle her in a seat near the back of the bus and then get the stroller folded up. There is more space for holding things like a stroller in the back of the bus anyway.

Good luck. I hope this helps. Maybe someone else has some experience with one of these strollers and will post.
 

marn913

Disney Bride
Joined
Jul 8, 2002
I traveled in 1999 with a friend who brought his brother. His brother has CP and cannot walk. Disney's staff was extremely accomidating and there were movable ramps and/or lifts on every form of Disney transportation we used - even the Disney busses.
 

melissalovesdisney

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jul 3, 2000
Thank you very much for your responses. Even if I could get her on the bus with the lift and then fold up the stroller as the others are boarding it would help out a lot-The stroller is not real easy to fold up-you have to take out several pins and it is about a 4 step process. It may sound trivial but it would be much harder to fold it up before waiting for the bus - she would get very agitated and it would be hard to get her on and manuever the stroller on a crowded bus.
 

SueM in MN

combining the teacups with a roller coaster
Moderator
Joined
Aug 23, 1999
I don't know how you could do it yourself if you needed to fold up the stroller to put it on. I don't think you will have problems though because your large stroleer should be obviously a mobility device.
I have heard of problems when someone has a small child in a special needs stroller and the bus drivers don't recognize it as a mobility device (because the child is small and it really just looks like a stroller).
My DD went from a regular stroller to a regular wheelchair at a little younger than 3 yrs, so we never personally had to deal with the "unrecognized mobility device" problem. We've been making a trip to WDW at least once a year since 1986 have never had any problems getting on WDW transportation (except the problems I mentioned with the boats at MK and the MK resorts).
At WL, MK and any of the MK resorts, you might see signs that say "because of changing water levels, the boats are not wheelchair accessible". If you see the signs, try anyway. They might not be accessible for power wheelchairs or ecvs, but non-powered wheelchairs and strollers may not be a problem at all. The "gap" we encountered was about the same as a curb without a curb cut. They do have a portable ramp, but in the unlikely even that the water is really high or really low compared to the dock, the ramp will be too steep. That's more a problem for power devices.
At least 95% of the buses are equipped with lifts or ramps. The monorails have at least one car that is wheelchair accessible - there is a ramp if you need it to bridge the gap. She would be able to stay in the stroller on the monorail; regular strollers can be rolled on the monorail without the kids getting out.
 

Chip 'n Dale Express

Can't stay put!<br><font color=purple>I met lots o
Joined
Jul 29, 2002
Hi there... I thought I'd add my two cents, being a Walt Disney World bus driver...

Our 241 bus fleet is entirely wheelchair accessible, via lift for the standard floor busses, or via a ramp for the new low-floor busses. (One note... occassionally, a lift might break, thus causing the bus to not be accessible)

Should you choose to fold the stroller, by all means, go right ahead. Have one person fold the stroller, while you board with your daughter. If you desire to use the lift to go up or down (with or without the stroller), by all means, just ask the driver. We'd be more than happy to accomodate your request. :)

If you want, you can have your daughter remain in the stroller. Just let the driver know that it's being used as a wheelchair (no card neccessary). The driver will then deploy the ramp/lift, assist you in boarding, and then will secure the stroller into the bus. We have 2 types of securement systems. The first type uses red/gray straps, and just loop around, and buckle up... The second type uses J-Hooks to just hook onto the wheelchair. If you do decide to go this route, just make sure that there are places that the driver can use these securement devices on. You mentioned that it was a special needs stroller, so I'm guessing that it probably was designed with areas to secure it down.

One thing I'd like to note... We currently have 47 brand new Low-Floor type busses in use. These busses do not have steps, but instead have a low floor the entire length of the bus, and also an extra wide front door. These busses can also kneel and tilt themselves over, and provide ADA access via an extendable ramp. If there is a curb, the bus can be kneeled/tilted down, so that the floor of the bus is virtually level with the curb. Without a curb, it's generally a 7" step when kneeled, or 11" without kneeling.


One more thing... Before boarding, just talk to the driver, or another cast member. We're always more than willing to help out in any way possible. :) Oh... and don't worry about inconveniencing us or them or whatever... We're here to provide Magic in Motion... and most of us will do just that for you. :)

If you have any more questions, just let me know. :)
 

melissalovesdisney

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jul 3, 2000
WOW! I feel SO much better now. It will be hard to fold the stroller up before I get on the bus b/c I'm a single mom-and it is hard to attend to the stroller and my daughter.

I have now decided though that I am going to expend my energy planning and looking forward to this trip and not worry about the stroller anymore. We are splitting our stay between Boardwalk Villa's(walking distance to MGM and Epcot) and Fort Wilderness(hopefully boat ride to MK).

I am also trying to find some creativity in my brain and make up some business cards to handle to the people that stare.
 

SueM in MN

combining the teacups with a roller coaster
Moderator
Joined
Aug 23, 1999
The special needs jogging strollers do not usually have safe tiedown spots built into them (I know this from working in the Rehab field). They are generally lightweight, with a lightweight frame and made to be folded and put into a vehicle without anyone riding in it. Check with the manufacturer of yours to find out since some of them may have started building this feature in. (Some of the smaller special needs strollers are made with reinforced brackets attached to the frame for bus tiedown).
If there are no safe tiedown points for it if it is occupied, it might work to well to have your DD sit in a seat and tie the stroller down with your DD out of it.
 

melissalovesdisney

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jul 3, 2000
You are right, Sue. I emailed Baby Jogger and they said some buses could tie them down-other's couldn't. I didn't even think of that when I bought it!!! She rides in a car seat in our car and doesn't typically need it.

I will use the suggestions you have given me and I am determined this will be a good trip!

Thanks again.
 

Michelle NY

Earning My Ears
Joined
Aug 21, 1999
Hi I had issues a few years ago when traveling with my young dd who uses a wheelchair that looks more like a stroller. I found that talking to the drivers really helped, I usually had my husband go up by the front door and I would wait towards the back where wheelchairs would load. Since it would be the 2 of you I would recomend that you make like a little handicap placqued much like you would have in the car and hold it up when the driver passes .This way he will most likely park the bus and come out to you.
 

SueM in MN

combining the teacups with a roller coaster
Moderator
Joined
Aug 23, 1999
Good idea, Michelle.
I've seen little signs (as small as 1/2 sheet of paper) at places like Home Depot in the area where they have house numbers and signs. You might want to look there. I think they were about $3 and would be easier than making one. Plus, you could attach is to the back of her stroller when not using it to signal buses to make it more obvious to people tha tit is a mobility device, not just a stroller.
 

Chip 'n Dale Express

Can't stay put!<br><font color=purple>I met lots o
Joined
Jul 29, 2002
Originally posted by SueM in MN
Good idea, Michelle.
I've seen little signs (as small as 1/2 sheet of paper) at places like Home Depot in the area where they have house numbers and signs. You might want to look there. I think they were about $3 and would be easier than making one. Plus, you could attach is to the back of her stroller when not using it to signal buses to make it more obvious to people tha tit is a mobility device, not just a stroller.

I know in our coordinator booths we have posters with pictures of wheelchairs that might appear to the casual eye as a stroller, but are actually mobility devices. I think management put them up as a way to communicate to the drivers. Pretty much all of the time, if you just talk to us, and let us know, we'll always be more than happy to accomodate. :)

One thing I would like to add to this... if you're at a stop that includes multiple busses coming in... When you see your bus come in, PLEASE wave to the driver as they pull in... This way, we know you wish to board our bus, and we can get you settled in before the madhouse. :) Otherwise, we have no clue where you might wish to travel to. Actually, come to think of it... just wave to us anyway, even if you're in a dedicated load zone... just to make sure we see you... Sometimes I know I can be off in my own little world... LOL...
 

SueM in MN

combining the teacups with a roller coaster
Moderator
Joined
Aug 23, 1999
In our experience, when we are standing in the wheelchair loading area (about where the rear of the bus will stop), most bus drivers will look at us as they are stopping. We shake our heads "no" or nod and wave to indicate whether or not we want that bus. That has worked pretty well for us.
 

Michelle NY

Earning My Ears
Joined
Aug 21, 1999
I actually sent photos of the chair to Disney Transportation after that trip. I figured they might help.
 

Chip 'n Dale Express

Can't stay put!<br><font color=purple>I met lots o
Joined
Jul 29, 2002
Originally posted by Michelle NY
I actually sent photos of the chair to Disney Transportation after that trip. I figured they might help.

Indeed they do... the more educated we are, the better service we can provide! :)
 









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