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Any tips/advice for best wheelchairs for the parks/resorts?

wdisney9000

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We are visiting in October and my wifes mother is joining us and we will need to get her a wheelchair, (she is not able to operate a scooter). We would sincerely appreciate any advice from those who have experience with this. Our primary concern is comfort since she may need to be in it for longer periods than normal.

We will be doing our research and reading reviews on the different brands available but Disney World can be a whole different ball game from everyday activities so we thought it would be good to get any information from those who have experience with wheelchairs and Disney trips. Any advice would be helpful whether it is about specific styles of chairs, getting around the parks or just things to be aware of that we may not be considering. Thank you in advance for any help.
 

wdisney9000

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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Bumping this to point out that we are actually looking into buying a wheelchair, not renting one at Disney. We currently are using a basic transport wheelchair that is just more for getting from the house to the car. She uses a walker in the house but the walker will not be practical for WDW.
 

JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
My DW has been in a w/c for many years. She started out in a manual chair, brand name Quickee, and is now in a power chair.
Buying a chair will run a couple of thousand dollars and up depending on the brand. If you are only looking to use it at Disney and not long term, you should go to a local medical supply company and inquire about renting one. They will fit it to meet her needs for comfort. Youll want one thats lightweight and easily foldable for using on the Disney buses. They will have you fold it up and she will transfer to a seat. Most of the bus drivers are very helpful loading and unloading and wonderful to work with.
Buying or renting, a medical supply company will know how to size your chair and give you good recommendations for what youll need. Comfort is going to be critical. You want to make sure the chair you get is properly sized for your MIL's body type, a chair too wide or too narrow will cause issues, and adjusting the foot pads to the proper height. My DW says for her using a good seat coushin is critical. Sitting in the chair long periods you need one that provides good comfort. They make fitted foam inserts and ones that blow up that the amount of air can added or decreased to altered the comfort and feel. She prefers the air cousin type better, hers is a Roho. And depending on her body strength they also have side supports that can be added to the w/c frame for better upper body support. Arm rests can be a hard plastic or made of a softer material. My DW brings foam padding that are cut to fit to help elbows that can get irritated in the heat. Bring a towel with you to help wipe off rain that may coat the arm rests.
If you havent already you can request a folding tub bench to help her with showering in your resort.
Getting around the parks, youll find CM's very helpful and accommodating. You have to be watchful for people cutting in front of you, stopping quickly in front of you, and blocking your way. Sidewalks get very narrow and hard to maneuver in the crowded times. If she is going to stay in the w/c at meals make note on your ADR's and tell the CM when checking in that youll need a table that allows w/c space.
Disney in a w/c can be done very easily and she shouldnt have it deter her having as much fun as she wants. Weve made many trips and find Disney one of the best places to vacation in a chair.
 

Smiley/OCD

Well-Known Member
We bought a chair for my late dad a few years ago...he had a Pride brand, a manual chair that he found very comfortable. We bought it at a medical supply store and paid just under 800.00 for it. I'm sure if you do your homework and go online, you will be able to find them for the same price in 2019, if not cheaper. Check out Spin Life.com... I just bought an ECV for myself and saved almost 500.00 over the same store's price. If you have a store near you that sells several different brands, it would be worth it to take your mom and try out the different brands before you make the final purchase. Good luck!!
 

DisAl

Well-Known Member
Excellent advice from Jiminycr.
We also chose a manual chair rather than a power chair for my mother who just turned 90 last week. When asked why we didn't get her a scooter my answer is that I don't have than much liability insurance. ;)
One other thing to consider is that you or someone else will be pushing the chair for several miles per day, so make sure that you take into account the type and height of the handgrips also. We averaged 8 miles per day....
As for the busses, I think they prefer that she transfer out of the chair but either wheelchairs or scooters can be secured if the rider cannot transfer. With the chair strapped down and the lap belt across it I think she was much more secure than anybody else on the bus. We always tried to let the driver know before he lowered the ramps if we could so that boarding would be faster for everybody.
Here are two other "tips" that worked for us. First, get a bag to hang on the back of the wheelchair to hold your water bottles, rain gear, etc. Second, make sure your chair is well marked. I made a sign for each side that said "This wheelchair belongs to the xxxxx family'. On each handle I tied a piece of surveyors tape to make ours stand out. (I used lime green on one and pink on the other.) If she leaves the chair for a ride and you park it is very likely that it will have been moved by a CM as they consolidate stroller and wheelchair parking so anything you do to make yours stand out will help, and you don't want someone to accidentally grab your chair.
 

ninjaprincesst

Well-Known Member
We are visiting in October and my wifes mother is joining us and we will need to get her a wheelchair, (she is not able to operate a scooter). We would sincerely appreciate any advice from those who have experience with this. Our primary concern is comfort since she may need to be in it for longer periods than normal.

We will be doing our research and reading reviews on the different brands available but Disney World can be a whole different ball game from everyday activities so we thought it would be good to get any information from those who have experience with wheelchairs and Disney trips. Any advice would be helpful whether it is about specific styles of chairs, getting around the parks or just things to be aware of that we may not be considering. Thank you in advance for any help.
I would suggest not, pushing a wheelchair all day is brutal on the person doing it, I have tried it wears you out 10 times faster than on your own. If she can't operate a scooter of electric wheelchair, I hate to say this because it sounds so mean, but for the rest of your sakes, if she can't or wont operate the electric options I would not bring her. One day of pushing my Dad was more than enough for me to make sure the wheelchair stayed home. He learned scooter operation real fast.
 

DimpledDevil18

Well-Known Member
On our last trip we had to wind up renting my Mom a wheelchair. She had just had knee surgery a few months prior and she thought that she'd be able to tough it out, but after 2-3 hours at Animal Kingdom in 97 degree heat she was done for. We wound up renting the wheelchair from the parks. I'm not sure about what the current price is, but if you are renting a wheelchair over multiple days you can pay ahead and save a few bucks. You just show your receipt at the wheelchair rental at the front of any park. My Mom seemed pretty comfortable, but as suggested you may want to bring a cushion if you are worried.

As far as pushing her there were enough of us to take turns where no one got too tired. My Mom was able to transfer to rides and the CMs were amazing. There are usually separate entrances to most attractions for wheelchairs. The CMs will take the wheelchair when you load onto a ride and move the wheelchair to the exit, so it is magically there when you get off the ride. My Mom was very happy with it once she accepted the fact that she wasn't going to be able to handle the walking.

On our next trip that we are trying to plan,, my Mom has decided to rent a scooter, so we'll see how that goes...
 

wdisney9000

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
My DW has been in a w/c for many years. She started out in a manual chair, brand name Quickee, and is now in a power chair.
Buying a chair will run a couple of thousand dollars and up depending on the brand. If you are only looking to use it at Disney and not long term, you should go to a local medical supply company and inquire about renting one. They will fit it to meet her needs for comfort. Youll want one thats lightweight and easily foldable for using on the Disney buses. They will have you fold it up and she will transfer to a seat. Most of the bus drivers are very helpful loading and unloading and wonderful to work with.
Buying or renting, a medical supply company will know how to size your chair and give you good recommendations for what youll need. Comfort is going to be critical. You want to make sure the chair you get is properly sized for your MIL's body type, a chair too wide or too narrow will cause issues, and adjusting the foot pads to the proper height. My DW says for her using a good seat coushin is critical. Sitting in the chair long periods you need one that provides good comfort. They make fitted foam inserts and ones that blow up that the amount of air can added or decreased to altered the comfort and feel. She prefers the air cousin type better, hers is a Roho. And depending on her body strength they also have side supports that can be added to the w/c frame for better upper body support. Arm rests can be a hard plastic or made of a softer material. My DW brings foam padding that are cut to fit to help elbows that can get irritated in the heat. Bring a towel with you to help wipe off rain that may coat the arm rests.
If you havent already you can request a folding tub bench to help her with showering in your resort.
Getting around the parks, youll find CM's very helpful and accommodating. You have to be watchful for people cutting in front of you, stopping quickly in front of you, and blocking your way. Sidewalks get very narrow and hard to maneuver in the crowded times. If she is going to stay in the w/c at meals make note on your ADR's and tell the CM when checking in that youll need a table that allows w/c space.
Disney in a w/c can be done very easily and she shouldnt have it deter her having as much fun as she wants. Weve made many trips and find Disney one of the best places to vacation in a chair.
Thanks for such great info. I appreciate it. We will most likely end up purchasing one but we didnt consider renting a good one from a medical supply company to test it out first.
We bought a chair for my late dad a few years ago...he had a Pride brand, a manual chair that he found very comfortable. We bought it at a medical supply store and paid just under 800.00 for it. I'm sure if you do your homework and go online, you will be able to find them for the same price in 2019, if not cheaper. Check out Spin Life.com... I just bought an ECV for myself and saved almost 500.00 over the same store's price. If you have a store near you that sells several different brands, it would be worth it to take your mom and try out the different brands before you make the final purchase. Good luck!!
Thanks for the recommendations and the website. We will be checking it out!
Excellent advice from Jiminycr.
We also chose a manual chair rather than a power chair for my mother who just turned 90 last week. When asked why we didn't get her a scooter my answer is that I don't have than much liability insurance. ;)
One other thing to consider is that you or someone else will be pushing the chair for several miles per day, so make sure that you take into account the type and height of the handgrips also. We averaged 8 miles per day....
As for the busses, I think they prefer that she transfer out of the chair but either wheelchairs or scooters can be secured if the rider cannot transfer. With the chair strapped down and the lap belt across it I think she was much more secure than anybody else on the bus. We always tried to let the driver know before he lowered the ramps if we could so that boarding would be faster for everybody.
Here are two other "tips" that worked for us. First, get a bag to hang on the back of the wheelchair to hold your water bottles, rain gear, etc. Second, make sure your chair is well marked. I made a sign for each side that said "This wheelchair belongs to the xxxxx family'. On each handle I tied a piece of surveyors tape to make ours stand out. (I used lime green on one and pink on the other.) If she leaves the chair for a ride and you park it is very likely that it will have been moved by a CM as they consolidate stroller and wheelchair parking so anything you do to make yours stand out will help, and you don't want someone to accidentally grab your chair.
Great advice! Thank you.
If she can't operate a scooter of electric wheelchair, I hate to say this because it sounds so mean, but for the rest of your sakes, if she can't or wont operate the electric options I would not bring her. One day of pushing my Dad was more than enough for me to make sure the wheelchair stayed home
She is not able to operate a scooter so w/c is the only option. We arent too worried about spending long periods of time on the parks and having to push the chair around all day. We go often enough that we arent worried about how many rides we get on. We like to eat and drink which means a lot of sitting down and relaxing:cool:
On our last trip we had to wind up renting my Mom a wheelchair. She had just had knee surgery a few months prior and she thought that she'd be able to tough it out, but after 2-3 hours at Animal Kingdom in 97 degree heat she was done for. We wound up renting the wheelchair from the parks. I'm not sure about what the current price is, but if you are renting a wheelchair over multiple days you can pay ahead and save a few bucks. You just show your receipt at the wheelchair rental at the front of any park. My Mom seemed pretty comfortable, but as suggested you may want to bring a cushion if you are worried.

As far as pushing her there were enough of us to take turns where no one got too tired. My Mom was able to transfer to rides and the CMs were amazing. There are usually separate entrances to most attractions for wheelchairs. The CMs will take the wheelchair when you load onto a ride and move the wheelchair to the exit, so it is magically there when you get off the ride. My Mom was very happy with it once she accepted the fact that she wasn't going to be able to handle the walking.

On our next trip that we are trying to plan,, my Mom has decided to rent a scooter, so we'll see how that goes...
Thanks for the info! Seems from all the responses that the CM's do a great job of helping out. We were worried that it would be an issue.
 

DisAl

Well-Known Member
We found CMs to be extremely helpful, especially the bus drivers. There are some things they can't do (such as help you get in and out of a wheelchair) due to liability but they will help you any way they can.
Just FYI many of the rides that use the moving belt for loading and unloading can be slowed down to about half speed for those who can transfer out of the wheelchair or scooter but have mobility issues. If you need the belt to slow down ask a CM before you get on. Also there are some rides like Voyage of the Little Mermaid in MK that have a special ride vehicle that they can roll a wheelchair on without the person having to get out of the chair. We didn't even know that was available until it was offered by the CMs.
 

ToInfinity

New Member
My mom has been using a wheelchair the past few trips to Disney, and we haven’t had any trouble. In fact, many CM’s will go out of their way to help! We purchased a Drive wheelchair. It was relatively inexpensive and worked great (we also had a cushion in the chair to make it more comfortable). I would suggest making sure you have a poncho to put over the entire chair and it’s occupant if you get stuck in a rain shower. Mom had puddles on her lap one year! Also, if you are planning on viewing any nighttime shows, make sure you find a CM and ask about handicap viewing areas. For Happily Ever After, there are two areas and both have excellent viewing, where nobody will be standing in front of her wheelchair to block her view.
 
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