Resort for Wheelchairs?

Leia's Mom

Goofy Runner
Sep 6, 2001
I am likely taking my mom (a stroke patient) to the World in May. Traveling with her is difficult as she is wheelchair bound and has spasm problems. So, I want a place that is EASY. I am currently planning the Grand Floridian because we can use the monorail for Epcot and MK. However, I have heard others say that other resorts are great because they are within walking (wheeling) distance to Epcot and MGM. That is a nice thought because that would mean we would only have to do a bus to AK (we would monorail from Epcot to MK). Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance.
I think that Boardwalk Villas might be a great choice, if you can swing that. the advantage of that one is that it has a sofa-bed in the living room where she can sit during her non-park times - very comfy. If you got a studio, it has a fridge and microwave, and if you get a 1 or 2 bedroom, there is a full kitchen. That means you do not have to go to restaurants for every meal, which takes some pressure off. My experience from traveling with elderly folk with mobility issues was that they liked to be able to hang out and relax, and they retire much earlier in the evening.

Your other options are Beach Club, Yacht Club, Swan and Dolphin.

I don't know if she needs constant supervision and you have help, but just in case, you should be aware that Fairy Godmothers does provide sitters for special needs kids and adults who need supervision. They don't do nursing care, but they do provide supervision. Their number is (407) 969-9847 and toll free 877-611-4314

Monorail from Epcot to MK is more of a pain than you may realize, when you have a person in a wheelchair. You have to go up and down a couple of steep ramps twice in each direction, because you have to change monorails. Very tiring. It is up to you...I hear the Grand Floridian is lovely.. but I would choose BWV... or OKW if you are going to use a car.
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Only break is at EPCOT. There is an elevator up to the monorail station there so you don't have to push up the ramp.
If you call the main number, they will put you in touch with 3 area providers of ECV's (Electronic ? vehicles). I am not sure if your mother could use one but they bring them directly to the hotel on your day of check-in and pick them up when you check out. I think you would be best to stay in the Epcot area, then you can walk or take the boat to Epcot and take the boat to MGM. This is our favorite area because we find it the most convenient, even with young children. They tell me the ECV's can go on the bus to the other parks- I think they cost $35/ day. But call and get further details. The ECV's are also available at the parks and you can reserve them but you have to pick them up by 10 (i think), also there is a lot of walking and pushing just to get from buses or boats to where they rent them. There are also special pamphlets on what you can get on with the ECV's. I really think the Epcot area would be the easiest. Disney has a special group who can answer these questions as well and even the CMs have the numbers. Good Luck!

We have stayed at the GF and the Boardwalk Inn (next to the Boardwalk Villas). The GF is beautiful and the monorail access is nice. However, we found it easier to get around from the Boardwalk area. Please note, however, that for some reason, we had more trouble getting accessible buses on our recent stay at the GF in December, 2001, than we did during our stay at the Boardwalk Inn in November, 1999. After our trip in November, 1999, we thought we would probably join the DVC in large part because the transportation worked so well. However, after our recent trip to WDW and stay at the GF we have changed our minds about the DVC. Our odds of getting an accessible bus were 50-50, which meant our son had to wait twice as long to get to the parks than someone who could walk and he has significantly reduced stamina.

When we stayed at the Boardwalk we used the boats to go back and forth to Epcot and found them to be great. We did not use the boats on this trip, so I do not know if anything has changed, but our prior experience was very good.

The rooms at the GF are significantly larger than the rooms at the Boardwalk Inn.
Here are the companies that do the long-term wheelchair and ECV rentals at WDW:
CARE Medical Equipment - 1-800-741-2282

RANDY'S Mobility in Kissimmee 407-892-4777

Walker Medical - 1-800-334-9501

Colonial Medical

They deliver right to your resort, and most reports are of very good service. There are a limited number of wheelchairs available at the resort on a first-come-first serve basis.
Thanks, guys. This is helpful. We decided against the ECV. Mom has one, but she would have to transfer from the ECV to the wheelchair to do some of the rides. Because stresses make her spasm, I want to minimize transfers. She does amazingly well with the regular wheelchair (she still has the use of one arm and one leg completely). And, she'll get exercise :)

My DH is thinking that we should just do two parks -- Epcot and MK. That doing them all would exhaust everybody. So, I must rethink the whole thing. Good thing planning is half the fun.

Any other suggestions are not only welcome but very appreciated!

teri beat me to posting the information on how to contact the outside rental companies for ecvs. All of the companies she has listed have been used by DIS readers (tha's how we got the recommendations).
Un;ess something has changed in the last few months, you are not able to reserve ecvs at the parks. They are first come, first served, so you are nver sure you will get one. Besides, in your situation, you would probably need to have an ecv or wheelchair to get from the resort to the park.
I second the advice about the monorails. The steep ramps at MK and the Ticket and Transportation center make it very difficult.
Here is the phone number for WDW Resort Special Reservations at (407) 939-7807 (voice) or (407) 939-7670 (TTY). They can help you with answers to any questions about resort accessibility.
Here is a link to the DIS page about touring with a mobility disability. It does list the rides/attraction in each park where she will be able to stay on the evc or wheelchair for the attraction.
There is very little in the MK that your mother will be able to ride without transferring to the ride vehicle. Small World, shows, Aladdin, Winnie the Pooh are about it. EPCOT also is so so but does have plenty of shows. MGM and AK actually have the most accessible rides.
We decided to go with Boardwalk Inn. Connecting rooms. We went for concierge level because (1) mom is diabetic and thought the easy snacks and the easy early breakfast would be nice, (2) I thought it was more likely that they would accommodate a room request for something "convenient" for her wheelchair and (3) mom doesn't get out much -- thought it would be worth it to splurge on her. We picked Boardwalk because it is very easy to MGM and Epcot (we've decided to throw caution to the wind and do a little bit of every park -- just so Mom can see it all). Thanks for all of the help. I'm just glad the AP rates finally came out or I'm afraid concierge level would have been out. . .
Be sure to let Concierge know well in advance your Mom is diabetic and would enjoy some sugar free desserts. AKL made some of the most awesome desserts for me my last trip. Incredible.
Great idea. Thanks! I'm also planning on having Pixie Gifts or someone like that to do a basket to be waiting for her when she gets there. I thought some sugar free Mickey chocolates would be a great idea to have there. Any other suggestions are welcome.


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