Need Airport Advice

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by ChimCher-ee, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. ChimCher-ee

    ChimCher-ee There's been a change of plans.

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    Hello,

    I'm relatively inexperienced in flying with my mother, who requires wheelchair assistance at the airports.

    Last time I took her to WDW was several years ago, and we ran into trouble on our return trip. I could't find a way to have a wheelchair available at the point we got off Disney's Magical Express. I think -- but dont remember exactly -- that Disney told me their services stopped at the DME disembarking point. At that time, she could walk to the airline check-in, but even then it was extremely difficult for her.

    I'm planning a trip next summer for her 80th, and I need to make sure she has assistance the entire time we're in the airport (I even felt like we were taking advantage last time when we landed, using the airline wheelchair all the way to MDE).

    How do you handle what seem to me to be gaps in wheelchair availability? Your advice and expertise are greatly appreciated!
     
  2. happymommy

    happymommy DIS Veteran

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    Are you going to the theme parks?

    I'm asking, because my youngest needs one in the parks, so we rented one a couple trips, then found it was just cheaper for us to buy a nice wheelchair from Amazon (it was about $150). It's actually the exact same kind that we had rented from an offsite company twice!

    That allows us to have it the whole time. DME just stows it under the bus for us. The airline gate checks it (I remove the foot rests and put them in the overhead bin).

    It makes the trip much easier on him, knowing we always have it with us. We also use it for museums.
     
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  4. ChimCher-ee

    ChimCher-ee There's been a change of plans.

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    That hadn't occurred to me -- I will definitely look into your idea! It might actually be cost-effective, especially since we will be going to a couple parks.

    I'm hoping to stay at the Boardwalk (a first, and special treat) and go just to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. My mom enjoys the parks but isn't interested in most rides anymore, so we would opt for parks we could "walk" to (I'm mobile and so could push her). So having our own wheelchair would save on the rental. Combined with peace of mind... Thank you for sharing!
     
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  5. Mrsjvb

    Mrsjvb DIS Veteran

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    once you are at the airport, the airport /airline is in charge of wheelchair assistance. you would need to arrange for it ahead of time( although in my experience 99% of the time you still have to have someone at the Disney counter call to request a porter)

    if you just need something semi occasionally for travel, hit the thrift shops. a few of our local ones will actually give away durable medical equipment for free. never seen a chair sell for more than $20 otherwise

    and don't forget renting one in the parks means you still have to get to and from the hotel/park on your own.. I do recommend NOT getting a transport chair( all 4 wheels stroller wheel sized). one they are not comfy for long term use, and two they are actually much harder to push over multiple surfaces for any length of time.
     
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  6. ttintagel

    ttintagel DIS Veteran

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    Yeah, we had to make our way inside the building from the dropoff point and flag someone down, even though we had requested the wheelchair assistance when we made our reservations. That step is definitely the weak link in the system.

    Are you able to run into the building and get the skycap while your mother waits outside? Or does she need you to stay with her?
     
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  7. happymommy

    happymommy DIS Veteran

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    I totally agree - do NOT get a "transport chair".

    The Boardwalk Inn has long hallways too, so having one all the time would be ideal.

    Great idea to check out thrift shops too!
     
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  8. Simba's Mom

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

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    I'll let you know my experience in about 9 days. Don't hesitate to remind me. I'm wondering the same thing. Last time I got off the plane, Southwest was very good about wheeling me all the way to DME, then waited and wheeled me to the bus. But DH met me at the resort and we drove home, so I have no idea whet will happen going back. And I'll be solo besides. I'm wondering how to handle it.
     
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  9. ChimCher-ee

    ChimCher-ee There's been a change of plans.

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    We've rented from one of the companies that delivers to the resort. I didn't want to chance the park running out of chairs before we got there!
     
  10. ChimCher-ee

    ChimCher-ee There's been a change of plans.

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    Please, let me know all the details! I hope you have a smooth trip.
     
  11. ChimCher-ee

    ChimCher-ee There's been a change of plans.

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    I can run inside and try to flag someone down, but I tried that last time with no success. I ended up wandering around, looking for someone with an empty wheelchair or even just a chair... Nothing. But I will try having someone at Disney's desk make a call to the airline, as suggested by @Mrsjvb.

    You'd think with all Disney's attention to detail and their desire to make everyone's trip as worry-free as possible, they might be able to arrange to have a wheelchair station near dropoff, if they had advance notice. There are certainly enough people in our situation!
     
  12. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

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    Wheelchairs/wheelchair assistance is provided by the airlines. Disney doesn't have anwould require frequent replacement.y relationship with the airlines, and has probably determined that providing its own wheelchairs
     
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  13. Simba's Mom

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

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    OK here's what I was told yesterday when I arrived. The wheelchair assister from the gate to DME said to tell the bus driver on the way back and he'd call for a wheelchair. So I asked the bus driver about that. "Oh, we USED to do that", he said, "But now we call the Disney Cast Members and they meet us at the bus with a wheelchair and bring the person to the airline." He sounded like this wasn't a rare thing, he gave me confidence. But he emphasized that you do need to tell your bus driver so they call ahead to Disney.
    So I'll try what he said, and let you know how it goes.
     
  14. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

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  15. ChimCher-ee

    ChimCher-ee There's been a change of plans.

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    This sounds wonderful, if it really works that way! I'll look forward to hearing all about it. Enjoy your vacation!
     
  16. ChimCher-ee

    ChimCher-ee There's been a change of plans.

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    Just thought I'd touch base. I hope you had a fantastic trip! Do you mind if I ask how the trip back to MCO went? Were you able to have something meet you at the bus?

    I'm getting ready to surprise my mom with her birthday gift and I want to tell her all the details.
     
  17. Simba's Mom

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

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    I'm so sorry, it doesn't appear I updated here. Well, my return trip didn't go at all like I'd been told. When I checked in at the airport resort desk, they also told me to notify my bus driver. Well, I did that and he just gave me a blank stare. So I specifically asked him, "Are you going to call ahead?" "No!" "Then why was I told you would?" [he shrugs]"I don't know." When I got to the airport, they did call for a wheelchair then, but warned me that it could take up to 45 minutes (gee, maybe that's why my bus driver was supposed to call ahead). Anyways, someone saw me waiting so long, took pity on me, brought a wheelchair and delivered me to Southwest, who promptly brought me to the gate, and all ended well. But then, when I got back, I called DME, they quoted me the same supposed policy as the arrival bus driver had, I told him the reality (and gave him the name of the bus driver who did/actually didn't do it). He was very apologetic, even asked "What can we do to make this right for you?" I just asked "Promise me this won't happen again." So I sincerely hope everything goes right for your Mom. Also, if it does, that will make me more confident for next time. Just in case, though, I did ask for an earlier return pick up time (called while I was at WDW)-they picked me up at 3 1/2 hours, and considering the reality at the airport, I'm glad.
     
  18. ChimCher-ee

    ChimCher-ee There's been a change of plans.

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    I'm sorry you had so much trouble! It's so frustrating when one person gets in the way of what's supposed to happen. Good thing you gave yourself plenty of time.

    I will go forewarned, and hopefully we'll have a better experience than last time.

    Thanks for all your help!
     
  19. CrankyDad

    CrankyDad Mouseketeer

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    Why would you not just travel with a wheelchair..?
     
  20. ChimCher-ee

    ChimCher-ee There's been a change of plans.

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    My mom doesn't own a wheelchair. She manages her everyday life - short trips to the grocery store, library, etc. - with just a rollator. She cannot do long distances with a rollator, though.

    Last time I took her to Disney, I thought we had wheelchair coverage taken care of. But at least she could still manage that one long walk in the airport, when she had to; this time I don't want to risk it.

    But you make a good point. Maybe I should look into renting a wheelchair in my mom's town, that way we'd have the entire trip covered.
     
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  21. Ensusieasm

    Ensusieasm DIS Veteran

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    Please check back here after your trip to let us know how everything went with getting wheel chair assistance from DME at the airport. I hope it goes well for you.
     
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