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Trip Report Broken lifts, EMTs, and spitters (oh my!): WDW with a wheelchair and DAS

I’m back, Magicians! For those who don’t know me, my name is Emily. You may recognize me from my sister @krause's Disneyland trip report from this past April, which was in celebration of my 30th birthday! I also wrote a report in September 2018 from a trip with my friend Kaitlyn and @krause wrote one other from a WDW trip from February 2018 for a trip with her family, myself and our parents. The last time I was in WDW was November 2019 (don’t remember a report? You can blame @krause for that as she took the notes) and I cannot wait to get back!

Let's get to the details!

Who: Myself, and my friend Jenny. This is us (I'm on the right):
me and jen.jpg

Some background on Jenny: Jenny was born with cerebral palsy which, for her, means some physical and cognitive disabilities. Jenny will be using an electric wheelchair on our trip. Her physical disabilities affect her life far more than her cognitive disabilities and she lives very independently. That being said, we know that getting the DAS pass will make this trip much more comfortable for her and so we plan to try to get the DAS using the online chat option when the time comes. Jenny has been to WDW before, as a child in 1996 and then again as a teenager (2006ish?). She remembers very little about her ‘96 trip and as a teenager she only did one day at Magic Kingdom, so lots will be new to her!

Some other (probable) players include: My parents, and my sister Kaely, her husband and two children. They are at WDW similar days as us (arrive and leave two days later than we do) and are staying off-property. Our trip dates just happened to coincide but we plan to meet up with them for dinner one night and potentially in a Park if possible. Here's us on our 2019 trip (not sure where the @krause crew was during this photoshoot):

From L to R: Mom, Dad, my sister Kaely, her kids G and B (who are much bigger now!), her husband K, and myself.

When: October 25-November 3, 2022. We are flying in the afternoon of the 25th from Winnipeg, Canada where we both live.

Where: Pop Century Resort. This is only my second stay on property after staying at Port Orleans Riverside in February 2018. I liked the idea of having Skyliner access so that we don’t have to load the wheelchair on a bus each time we want to hit a park. I have not yet been on the Skyliner so having a wheelchair on there actually scares me a little bit but I’m pushing through the fear!

Up Next: The "Why"


Well-Known Member
In the Parks
I always tip the drivers because they help with bags so I feel tipping the taxi driver should be your responsibility and choice. However, you should not have to pay tolls! I would email Mears and ask about that. For all we know, the taxi driver was double dipping.

I am editing to add that charging you more because they could not accommodate a chair might be against the ADA. (And don’t worry that you are not an American citizen….)
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Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Great start to the trip

Impressive job on the chair - if you move to Ontario I can get you a job on the assembly line!!

The tip should have been charged back to mears in my opinion


Thanks Max, always good to know you have a backup job! :joyfull:
I’m with Max - the extra costs should have been borne by Mears.
I agree-you didn't ask for the taxi, so Mears should have covered the costs. We always tipped the Magical Express driver and we tipped our Sunshine Flyer driver because they handled our bags.
I always tip the drivers because they help with bags so I feel tipping the taxi driver should be your responsibility and choice. However, you should not have to pay tolls! I would email Mears and ask about that. For all we know, the taxi driver was double dipping.

I am editing to add that charging you more because they could not accommodate a chair might be against the ADA. (And don’t worry that you are not an American citizen….)
Thank you all for chiming in and offering advice! I will reach back out to MEARS to double-check that I was meant to be charged and address my concerns.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 1 continued

I should note, I think the broken lift on the MEARS shuttle counts as mishap #1 (pretty bad that I lost count at one :facepalm:)

Anyway, at this point, we hadn’t eaten anything since 4am in the Winnipeg airport. We decided to go to Mexico for a quick supper. Jenny had the chicken(?) tacos, and I had the cheese empanadas. We both had a margarita. This was a mistake as we didn’t realize they put a very spicy rim on it haha. Jenny also didn’t realize what a margarita was and did not like it at all haha! We finished them both though! I liked it once I wiped off the rim and the empanadas hit the spot!

Since we were in Mexico anyway, we hit up Gran Fiesta Tour (Note: I'm going to put how Jenny accessed each ride in case it helps anyone or if you're just interested and in some cases I'll add photos. Gran Fiesta Tour has a ramp so you can drive right on to the boat).

Wasn't sure how to feel about this being Jenny's first Disney ride (she didn't even know who the 3 Caballeros were) but she loved it!

We then had a DAS for Nemo (wheelchair ramp onto accessible vehicle) so headed that way.

Afterwards, we had our two Advance DAS Reservations for Living with the Land (drive-on boat - photo below) and Soarin’ (transfer from chair to ride seat - I specifically asked for an end seat to make it easier and we were accommodated each time).


We stopped briefly at Sunshine Seasons to charge Jenny’s chair. Unfortunately, Jenny had been so worried that she’d forget her chair charger at home (understandably) that she decided to pack it early and did not charge her chair the night we left. We found that short charges did not make much of a difference in the battery level.

We headed to Spaceship Earth and made sure to get a picture with our matching new magic bands on the way.

Spaceship Earth is beautiful with the new lighting!

We entered Spaceship Earth from the wheelchair entrance at the exit of the ride. From there Jenny transferred from her chair to the ride vehicle. They did not stop the turntable, but it was fine since the vehicles move at the same pace as the walkway.

We had a good laugh at our “future” (especially Jenny running around on her two legs) 😂

It was snack time so we headed over to Norway for School Bread.
J: “Oh so we’re going to Germany?”
E: “No, Norway”
J: “Isn’t Norway part of Germany?”
E: “uh… no. It is definitely its own country.”
J: “Oh, I’m so stupid!” :hilarious:

The School Bread was delicious as always! (No pic as it was gone too fast!)

We had got a DAS for Ratatouille (drive-on accessible vehicle in separate load area) so we started making our way there. Unfortunately, Jenny’s chair was pretty much dead at this point and going sooooo slooooooow. Trying to navigate the crowds meant we really weren’t getting anywhere. I was desperate to get off the ride before the fireworks ended so we weren't in the mad rush back to the Skyliner. There was only one thing to do. I switched her chair into neutral and started pushing. My first real workout of the trip (and mishap #2:hilarious:)! I was truly exhausted by the time we got to Ratatouille but we had a blast on the ride and both enjoyed it a lot.

I will be honest, the battery dying made us both a little nervous. How would her battery hold up the rest of the trip? We’d have to wait and see.

Up Next: Day 2 at Magic Kingdom


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
October 26, 2022
Day 2: Magic Kingdom

Yahoo! It’s Magic Kingdom day!!!

My goal for most of our days was to be in the park for Early Entry. This morning, that meant wake up call at 6:30 so we could be at the bus stop by 7:30 so we could be in the park by 8:30 😅 Even though Jenny thought I was crazy, she quickly realized how beneficial it is to be in the parks early morning and how much lower the crowds are at this time of day. We were through the park gates by 8:15 for rope drop at 8:25 :joyfull:

We headed to The Little Mermaid (drive-on accessible vehicle) first. It became clear quite quickly that when you take the accessible vehicle on a ride where there isn’t a separate loading area and no one waiting in line for the accessible vehicle, that they will offer to send you around two (or more) times. I suppose they’d rather not slow down/pause the ride again for you to get off when they can just send you around again.

So, we did The Little Mermaid twice (we made sure to wave to Ariel and Eric).

Then we did Pooh twice (drive-on accessible vehicle).


Then we did Small World (thankfully not twice). Small World has a few accessible boats (drive-on) which is super nice.


After that we were ready for some breakfast. We headed over to Sleepy Hollow for a very nutritious breakfast of a waffle and funnel cake with some iced coffees :hungry: No regrets!

(No time to pose haha)

We then headed over to Seven Dwarves Mine Train. I was excited for Jenny to experience her first Disney coaster! Unfortunately, it was very difficult for her to transfer on to this ride. We all know that the SDMT cars are more snug than most. While they have a transfer car where the side of the car opens up so you can slide yourself in more easily, they still don’t have a lot of room to slide your feet in. This meant Jenny backing up essentially into the second seat before we could turn her legs enough to get them into the car. It was a mess and Jenny sustained a few scrapes. We knew right away that this would probably be a one-and-done.

But, Jenny was in and off we went! What did she think, you ask? Coming up next…


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Loving the report and the education on how loading on each ride is done

Agreeing with Max ^^! I'm not sure anyone has given the perspective before, but it's great information! Happily following along!
I'm 100% in agreement with the above two quotes. I'm always learning new information from TRs. :)
Thank you so much! It was certainly all new to me and I'm happy to share it with others so they have a better understanding of what it's like to do Disney with disabilities. It was definitely eye-opening to me and I hope it helps others as well.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 2 continued

So what did Jenny think of SDMT?
2022-10-26 - Magic Kingdom Park - Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.jpeg

Why, she absolutely HATED it :hilarious: She did not enjoy the “drops” one bit. She couldn’t even enjoy seeing Snow White at the end and she loves Snow White. She was mad at me for calling it a “tame” coaster, but I still stand by that assessment! I was immediately glad we had decided against going to Universal this trip 😂 (By the way, I think for all the coasters the transfer vehicle was the very last row and they always left the row in front of us empty - I think just to give us extra room for the chair, etc. but I don't know for sure).

We had a Jungle Cruise reservation after this and thankfully, JC is distinctly NOT a roller coaster. We found out that Bertha is the only accessible boat. They lift up a ramp, turn it 90 degrees to the dock, you drive on, the ramp turns back facing the front of the boat and lowers down. Pretty neat! It was a pretty good cruise. I became the new captain after saying I think the captain should go down with the ship :confused:😅



After that, we had a BTMRR DAS… so yeah. Jenny agreed to go with me to look at it but she chickened out of going on. As the current DAS system doesn’t allow me to use the pass without her (a good and fair rule), this ride would have to wait (the line was something like 50 minutes).

We went to Pirates instead. Jenny had been looking forward to this one as it was one of few she had memories of from when she was a child. I warned her as we went to it that she might not be able to transfer (there is no assistive device, you have to step down into the boat like everyone else - I realize there's a drop on this ride but surely they could come up with a more accessible option?). Jenny was insistent on trying to get on every ride, even if it would be hard. I supported her in this decision as she has as much right as anyone else to go on and enjoy the rides. The nice part is that the Cast Members are super patient and accommodating as you transfer.

The Cast Member at the ride entrance told us row 6 was the roomiest so as we got to the front of the line we asked to be placed in this row. A nice man in row 5 offered Jenny his arm and we were able to get her in with little trouble. This was the first time (but certainly not the last) where the thought crossed our minds… but how will we get out? …We decided to not worry about that until the time came.
2022-10-26 - Magic Kingdom Park - Pirates of the Caribbean.jpeg

We had a wonderful time on the ride and Jenny enjoyed it very much. She thinks Johnny Depp is a smokeshow :hilarious: so was very excited to see Captain Jack.

We had barely started worrying about getting off the boat when two men from our boat offered to help. They came and literally picked Jenny up, put her on her feet and she was able to sit right back down in her chair. So, so wonderful of them to do that. We were very grateful for their kindness.🤗

Pirates was super awesome but definitely another one-and-done!

This might be TMI but after Pirates Jenny needed a bathroom break and because of her disabilities this can take her longer than most. So while she took care of that, I made myself busy.

Where did I go? Let me introduce you to a little game my family played while we were on our trip entitled, “Where in the World?”. The game includes sending a picture of yourself somewhere in Disney World to the family group chat. The first person who guesses where you are wins. So let’s play!

Where in the World? (Difficulty:Easy)


Well-Known Member
In the Parks
(By the way, I think for all the coasters the transfer vehicle was the very last row and they always left the row in front of us empty - I think just to give us extra room for the chair, etc. but I don't know for sure).
Perhaps the empty row signals that your row has a person with a chair. If the CM’s rotate and a new one comes along he or she knows what is going on? Just a thought.


Premium Member
So what did Jenny think of SDMT?


I think this one could have been left as a rhetorical question (based on the photo)

We had barely started worrying about getting off the boat when two men from our boat offered to help. They came and literally picked Jenny up, put her on her feet and she was able to sit right back down in her chair. So, so wonderful of them to do that. We were very grateful for their kindness.🤗
Good People Stevie Budd GIF by Schitt's Creek

and I agree with @Tuvalu that you are at the treehouse.



Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 2 continued

Swiss Family Treehouse

@Tuvalu wins! (Is anyone surprised? :joyfull:) It was Swiss Family Treehouse! Knowing this was something Jenny definitely couldn’t do, I figured I’d give it a whirl.

Love the views!

On my way back to Jenny, I decided to grab us some Dole Whips. The perfect treat for a hot Florida afternoon! We sat outside Pecos Bill to enjoy them.

Afterwards, we headed to the Enchanted Tiki Room. I sent the following photo to my family with the caption “She has no idea what’s about to happen” 😀

She absolutely loved the show and could not believe that even the flowers sing! All she could say after was, “Emily, the walls TALK” :hilarious:

It was about 2:15 so we decided to go back to the hotel after this for a break before heading back for the fireworks. We stopped for photos on Main Street.
2022-10-26 - Magic Kingdom Park - Main Street USA_13.jpeg

I made a grocery order while we were back for some snacks, light meals, and wine (I was very happy with this decision at the end of some long park nights:joyfull:🍷). I also took some time to explore the resort a little more.


On our way back to the park, we waited about half an hour on a bus, getting on at 6:45 and arriving back in Magic Kingdom shortly after 7. The most annoying part of Disney hiring third party motor coach companies is that none of these buses are accessible. In this particular case I believe there were four ECVs ahead of us and about 20 able-bodied people in line. Only two ECVs can go on each Disney bus so in this case we had to wait for three buses before we could board. The frustrating part is that they kept sending the non-accessible motor coaches. I believe we ended up waiting for 6 buses. We ran across this problem several times where often all the able-bodied people were long gone and there was still a line of ECVs. This is terribly frustrating. If Disney is looking to outsource their bus transportation, this is something that will need to be looked at ASAP. /end rant (for now:hilarious:)

We had hoped to do Haunted Mansion when we arrived in park but since the bus took longer than expected we decided instead to get straight in line for the accessible viewing area for the fireworks. I had heard you had to arrive quite early to ensure a spot and the fireworks would start at 8:15. They started letting people into the accessible viewing area an hour early. This was our spot (and yes, they leave all that space open in front of you to ensure you'll be able to see).

The viewing area is located here:
fireworks viewing.JPG

While Jenny saved our spot, I went and got us supper from Columbia Harbour House. I was given a password (“Tinkerbell”) to return to the viewing area - I guess people must have lied about belonging in this area in the past :rolleyes:. This is why we can’t have nice things (by the way, the password changes nightly otherwise I wouldn’t have told you). When I returned to the viewing area, I didn’t realize how serious they were about the password and said it a little too loudly I guess - the Cast Member was annoyed. Oops!

I felt Enchantment was wonderful and didn’t *totally* deserve that hate it’s received. I really loved the Moana moment, although I will say that the song “I Am Moana” makes me teary on the best of days haha. The “You are the Magic” sentiment does feel a little hollow when they literally milk you for every cent that you’re worth in order to be there😣. But overall, I enjoyed the show.

The accessible viewing area for the fireworks is nice for ensuring a good view, however the bad part is once the show is over you are stuck in the middle of the wild mob of people😅. They open the rope towards Main Street, but not towards Adventureland until the area has cleared significantly (which makes sense otherwise you’d be stampeded haha). The issue was, we wanted to get to Haunted Mansion.... aaaand I've run out of room for photos :confused:

Coming up: The rest of our Magic Kingdom day
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Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 2 continued

After waiting what, to me, felt like forever, but was probably 20 minutes, we escaped the cage that was the accessible fireworks viewing area. The Lightning/DAS pass Lane for HM was super long but moved very fast and before we knew it we were in the stretching room! The Cast Members instruct the “carriage” parties to keep to the back of the room. Once you move into the loading room they take you off to the side and ask you how you’d like to transfer. Since we needed to be right up against the doom buggy to load, they brought us to the exit of the ride and stopped the ride in order for Jenny to transfer (spoiler alert: we were the “playful spooks” interrupting your tour 👻👻).

Someone screamed just as the ride was starting and Jenny jumped right at the right moment:
2022-10-27 - Magic Kingdom Park - Haunted Mansion.jpeg

:hilarious::hilarious::hilarious: I love it so much.

This ghost at the end has always confused me. Is it supposed to appear human-sized? Is it supposed to be tiny? If tiny, why? If human-sized they’ve failed miserably (sorry). Ruins the spooky-ness for me.

After picking up our hitchhiking ghost, we had a DAS for Peter Pan’s Flight. I wasn’t sure we’d be able to do this one and the Cast Member at the entrance confirmed that, while they could stop the moving sidewalk, we couldn’t pull her chair right up to the ride vehicle meaning that steps would need to be taken. That was a no from us.
week wife GIF

We headed to Philharmagic (so good, as always!) and then made our way out of the Park.


The castle is so beautiful🤩

2022-10-27 - Magic Kingdom Park - Main Street USA.jpeg

2022-10-27 - Magic Kingdom Park - Main Street USA_5.jpeg

A very successful first day at Magic Kingdom!

Up next: Back to Epcot!


Premium Member
While I completely understand the need for a password to the accessible viewing area, sounds like the implementation is stupid. There has got to be a better way of ensuring that you really belong there without getting mad at you for not whispering it.

And I am finding the information on accessibility really interesting, so thanks for sharing it with us 😊

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