Wheelchair on Disney bus

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by mamamelody2, Aug 24, 2018.

  1. mamamelody2

    mamamelody2 DIS Veteran

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    Our son will be in a wheelchair at Disney and we will be using the buses. I have been told that we will fold the wheelchair and keep it by us on the bus. Does that mean that someone should stand with it by the doors or would it work to have it in front of us? I am assuming it would be in front of 2 of us due to width. If we just held it close to our legs, does that work, or is it in the way of other passengers?

    I am a bit anxious about how this whole thing will work out. We rented a wheelchair for him last trip, but we rented from the parks so didn't have it on the bus.
     
  2. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    You may fold and hold it if you so choose. You could also leave it open and have the bus driver tie it down. Your son can then opt to remain seated in the wheelchair. Each bus has space for 2-3 wheelchairs or ECVs to be tied down. If it’s quite busy with multiple people on mobility devices waiting to board, it is nice to have the option to transfer and fold the chair.

    Enjoy your vacation!
     
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  4. RaySharpton

    RaySharpton Retired and going to Disney.

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    I agree with lanejudy. One time I had seen a mother fold their child's wheelchair and looked like she was straining to take the folded wheelchair up the bus steps.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
  5. mamabunny

    mamabunny DIS Veteran

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    Don't worry! :) You will have options, and the bus drivers are just tremendous about helping out!

    First of all, remember that if you need to push your son into the bus while he is seated in the chair that you will always load first, but unload last. At the Resorts, look for the white painted rectangle box on the ground at the bus stops; (unless someone else is already parked in that box) park there to wait for your bus. If someone else is already there, you can park behind them, beside them or nearby; the idea is to make sure that the bus driver can see you.

    If your bus stop serves more than one Park, pay attention to which bus is arriving at the stop - either smile and nod "yes" if the bus is one you want to board, or shake your head no as the bus approaches - although typically the driver will double-check with you to make sure you do/don't want to ride.

    Once the bus doors have opened, and everyone who is getting OFF that bus has stepped off, the driver will then close the doors, and walk to the middle of the bus. He/she will "kneel" the bus a bit further if possible, and then the doors will open, and the ramp will deploy. When the driver indicates it is time, you will push your son up the ramp into the bus.

    If your son needs to/prefers to stay in the chair, then let the driver know that he will be riding in the chair and cannot transfer. That phrase is important because it tells the bus driver (or any Cast Member you work with) that he can't just jump up and walk away from the chair.

    If he can transfer (on his own, or with assistance) to a bus seat, and would prefer to sit on a regular seat, then you can still roll the wheelchair up the ramp (with or without him in it) and ask the driver if they want to tie it down folded, or have you hold it. If you have to hold while the bus is in motion, be sure to set the brakes on both of the big rear wheels to help keep it from rolling around.

    When you get to your destination, everyone will get off the bus. The driver will again close the doors, walk back to the middle of the bus, open the doors and deploy the ramp. You can then roll the chair (with or without your son in it) off the bus.

    Remember that each bus at WDW holds at least 2 personal mobility devices, so you may have to wait while other devices (such as ECVs, wheelchairs, power chairs, etc.) loads/unloads. Build in some extra time to your schedule if you are the kind of folks who run off the bus and straight to bag check - this will add several minutes to each bus trip minimally.

    Remember to let the drivers know that your family is new to using a wheelchair at WDW, and don't hesitate to ask them for advice; they are experts in dealing with wheelchairs, ECVs (aka "scooters") and other personal mobility devices because they deal with them all day, every day.

    Have a great trip! :)
     
  6. wendow

    wendow We create happiness.

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    My dd18 uses a wheelchair at Disney and she transfers out of the chair. We bought her own chair so we could have it for the resort time and for getting through the airport, so we do have it on the bus also. She is able to transfer and we found that to be much quicker so we wait in the regular line, and just push her through, she walks on and we fold it up once we get to board. We keep her chair right with us like other parents keep a stroller right with them. It's no different and while it is a bit bulky, it has worked just fine for us.

    Once, a CM directed us to the accessible (handicapped) line so we stood there not really understanding...the bus driver thought she could not transfer and wanted to put her on and tie the chair down. She didn't need that and I felt bad that we wasted his time. I'm sure we weren't the first but still. So, if your kiddo is able/willing to transfer, just get into the regular line at the bus stop.
     
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  7. mamamelody2

    mamamelody2 DIS Veteran

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    So, if we go through the regular line, he gets out once we get to the front of the line, then we fold the chair, carry it on and stow it by us? He can transfer. The only thing is, there's no way he could stand for the ride. SO, maybe we get in the regular line if it is short, but go in the wheelchair spot if not, to make sure he gets a seat?
     
  8. mamabunny

    mamabunny DIS Veteran

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    Sure! That's no problem - he needs to sit, and by boarding the bus between loads (when it is appropriate for mobility users to do so) you are just insuring that he gets the seat he needs. He can sit in the chair to wait for the bus, and be wheeled on to the bus and then transfer, no problem. Just let the driver know what your son needs, so that he/she can "plan" in case there are multiple mobility devices to board at that stop.
     
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  9. wendow

    wendow We create happiness.

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    If he definitely needs to sit, I would wait in the mobility line like @mamabunny suggests, and just let the driver know.

    We always seem to walk up to the bus stop about two seconds after the bus left so we are almost always first in line it seems lol.
     
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  10. ttintagel

    ttintagel DIS Veteran

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    Seconding the praise for Disney bus drivers! Every one I've met has been super helpful and friendly, even when I didn't quite know what I was doing!
     
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  11. Rustysmom

    Rustysmom DIS Veteran

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    My daughter dislocated her knee at Disney this summer and had to use a wheelchair with her leg elevated, and the bus drivers were wonderful with her and us.
     
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  12. DisneyOma

    DisneyOma DIS Veteran

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    You can also wait for the next bus if he needs a seat - that may be your best option if there are already 2 mobility devices ahead of you when you get to the bus stop. When mobility devices are loaded, the seats there are folded up, thus there are fewer open seats when the regular queue starts to load. If there are a significant number of family members with the loading ECV riders, the whole front could be filled up before you get on. We've had that happen numerous times. Then you'd have to find a way to get to the rear of the bus, which may have steps (two, I think?)
     
  13. mamamelody2

    mamamelody2 DIS Veteran

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    OP here reporting on our trip which took place 8/30-9/8. Everything went really well with the wheelchair!

    We did use the wheelchair/ECV waiting spot for most of our bus trips. There were a few times when the line was super short so we knew he would have a seat, so we just went through the regular line. When the bus arrived, he got out, we folded the chair, and got on. DH would usually put the folded wheelchair at one end of the gray 3-seat bench that goes up for a ECV. Sometimes there was an ECV there, sometimes not. One of our first rides, the driver did strap him in still in the wheelchair which was OK, but not that comfy for him and also we felt bad that then he took up 3 seats. A couple times, there were 2 ECVs in front of us, but we just came up to the ramp after the 2nd one was on and told the driver he would transfer, then got on the bus.

    He was able to park the wheelchair and walk in the park some, too, which was nice. Like we would park it outside Splash, ride Splash and BTMRR, then he'd get back in. We took a towel to cover the seat as it was very hot when we were there. That worked well. We also put some orange ribbon on the handles so we could pick our wheelchair out of a line-up.

    We had a really great trip and I appreciate the info and advice I got on this board. Thanks so much!
     

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