Question on using wheelchair in parks

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by BrownHP800, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. BrownHP800

    BrownHP800 Mouseketeer

    May 17, 2012
    Hello. We are looking into a vacation in Feb 2015 and would like to take my mother-in-law with us. She recently had a mild stroke and has a little trouble getting around. Some days are better than others. Now she won't like the idea but I think having a wheel chair would be the best. For the most part she can probably stand in the regular queue with the rest of us. Just a couple of rides that would be a bit of a problem. If I remember correctly, Splash Mountain has steps correct? She may have a little trouble climbing the steps. I guess they have an alternate entrance and we could just use that?

    My other question is would it be better to rent from an offsite company? We would be staying on property. She would not need the chair to get in and out of the Disney transportation but I am a little concerned about the distance from the bus stops to where you can rent the wheel chair. Especially places like Epcot and AK where it can be quite a long walk. I guess it is not a big deal to fold up a wheel chair and take it on the bus/boat transportation?

    Thanks for any insight you can provide.
  2. Bete

    Bete DIS Veteran

    Sep 14, 1999
    Most rides have a way for the wheelchair to enter. I think I would be more concerned about her ability to get in and out of the rides. You need some balance and coordination. In most cases you can have someone in front of her and in back of her to help her on and off and I would give her the extra hand for support. Point out where she can grab a bar/handle to help herself, too. I would actually buy a lightweight, travel wheelchair. They weigh about 15 pounds and fold easily and they fit into most car trunks. She may find this to be good to use back home, as well. They run about $150. If you are flying you can use it at the airport and it's not counted against you for luggage and there are no fees for it. If she wants to walk some she can push her own wheelchair and use it for balance like a walker.
  3. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

    Oct 27, 2011
    Sorry to hear of your MIL's stroke. I suggest an off-site wheelchair rental -- you will then have it to/from buses/transportation and for use around the resort. As you mentioned, those distances can be long, especially at the end of the day. The wheelchair can be folded and held on the buses, just like a stroller.

    The majority of queues at WDW are "mainstreamed" meaning they are accessible to those in wheelchairs. Some will have the wheelchair start in the regular line but then split off. Very few will utilize a completely separate entrance for wheelchairs. By using the wheelchair in lines, CMs will direct you accordingly to avoid stairs; if she is walking the line, she simply needs to request to avoid stairs. If you think she will need moving walkways slowed, you should mention that to each CM encountered along the queue so they can direct you to the right spot -- sometimes the main boarding area does not have control of the walkway so you will be directed to the exit to board, so it's important to mention this need before getting to the boarding area.

    Enjoy your vacation!
  4. j2thomason

    j2thomason DIS Veteran

    Mar 14, 2013
    My mom is 86 and we have been taking her to WDW for several years now, just visiting one theme park during a 3 day visit and spending the rest of our time at our resort and Downtown Disney. We started off bringing her rollator walker, but then had to rent a wheelchair. The following year we rented a wheelchair from an offsite vendor and had it delivered to our resort for the entirety of our stay. That was much more convenient. The next year we planned to visit Animal Kingdom, and thought, with all of the difficult terrain, we should try an ECV.....that was a bad idea. Although my mom had practiced a little bit at our local Walmart, she still ran into us and other park guests during the entire trip. After several years of spending $100-$150 per trip to rent wheelchairs and an ECV, I finally just broke down and bought her a transport decision we've made!! Now we use it all the time. It is very light, folds up easier than her rollator walker and takes up less space than the walker in my van. She can use it as a walker, or ride in it when she gets tired. It was well worth the $100 we paid for it! I'd say go ahead and purchase a light wheelchair or transport chair. It's worth the investment.

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