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Helping Someone with Disability Issues in the Parks

TetraTalon

New Member
Original Poster
Hello! I'm trying to book a trip coming up with a S.O. who has back problems and we're trying to find ways to allow her to traverse through the massive amount of walking in the hot sun of the Orlando summer in the parks. I figured we could try to mitigate this challenge by getting her a wheelchair and trying to take frequent escapes into air conditioning. Any suggestions on how I can make her feel more comfortable? Thanks!
 

Bullseye1967

Is that who I am?
Premium Member
Rent an ECV. Speaking as someone who has pushed someone through the parks in a wheelchair, I can tell you the parks are not nearly as flat as you think they are just walking on your own. There are a lot of ups and downs constantly for runoff of Florida storms. You can rent an ECV from an off property vendor and they will bring it to you and pick it up when you are done. It is half the price (or less) that Disney charges and you will have it for other things like checking out other resorts or going to Disney Springs. It will also be very helpful to get a Disability Access Pass. You don't get on an attraction any faster but you skip all the waiting in the queues. You go to the attraction and they will give you a return time like fast pass used to be.
 

paul436

Active Member
I was also have a family member who will likely need a wheelchair on some (but not all) days. I'm in decent enough shape that I feel confident that I can push wheelchair around for as long as needed. Since it will be infrequent use, I would rent at the park. I was wondering if you can take the wheelchair to the bus stop and leave it there as opposed to returning it at the park entrance.

I'm staying at AS Movies so expect to be at a bus stop farthest from the entrance.
 

Figgy1

Premium Member
I was also have a family member who will likely need a wheelchair on some (but not all) days. I'm in decent enough shape that I feel confident that I can push wheelchair around for as long as needed. Since it will be infrequent use, I would rent at the park. I was wondering if you can take the wheelchair to the bus stop and leave it there as opposed to returning it at the park entrance.

I'm staying at AS Movies so expect to be at a bus stop farthest from the entrance.
I would bring the one the person is used to or have/rent a scooter that way you'll have it for the resort if needed and everybody thinks they're in good shape until they hit Disney. Walking 10+ miles a day isn't out of the norm and Florida may be flat but Disney isn't. I wouldn't advise trying to push a wheelchair during a Disney vacation
 

paul436

Active Member
I would bring the one the person is used to or have/rent a scooter that way you'll have it for the resort if needed and everybody thinks they're in good shape until they hit Disney. Walking 10+ miles a day isn't out of the norm and Florida may be flat but Disney isn't. I wouldn't advise trying to push a wheelchair during a Disney vacation
The person doesn't use a wheelchair in their daily life but would may need it for the reasons you mentioned. Although not all the time. Maybe only in the evenings and wouldn't be necessary around the resort.

You're not giving me enough credit. I really can push a wheelchair around WDW regardless of how many miles we clock or inclines. ;-)
 

helenabear

Well-Known Member
Hello! I'm trying to book a trip coming up with a S.O. who has back problems and we're trying to find ways to allow her to traverse through the massive amount of walking in the hot sun of the Orlando summer in the parks. I figured we could try to mitigate this challenge by getting her a wheelchair and trying to take frequent escapes into air conditioning. Any suggestions on how I can make her feel more comfortable? Thanks!
As someone with back issues make sure they can handle a wheelchair or ECV. Both exasperate my issues and need to be avoided. Unless suggested by a medical professional sitting unergonimically can be far worse.

Wheel chairs are hard to push and if an ECV is good I'd do that. Otherwise I suggest frequent breaks over either.
 

mergatroid

Well-Known Member
We're going this October for 2 weeks and are bringing a friend who'll require a wheelchair. If you google 'wheelchair rentals in Orlando' you'll find plenty of companies who'll drop it off and collect it from your hotel. I've found a site that will rent us a fold up wheelchair for 14 days for the same price as paying Disney for a push wheelchair for four days, including delivery and collection. Our friend is in a similar situation to yourself in that they can walk for a certain distance but fatigue kicks in after a bit.
 

nickys

Premium Member
We're going this October for 2 weeks and are bringing a friend who'll require a wheelchair. If you google 'wheelchair rentals in Orlando' you'll find plenty of companies who'll drop it off and collect it from your hotel. I've found a site that will rent us a fold up wheelchair for 14 days for the same price as paying Disney for a push wheelchair for four days, including delivery and collection. Our friend is in a similar situation to yourself in that they can walk for a certain distance but fatigue kicks in after a bit.
Just be aware that only one company now can drop off and collect from Bell Services. If you use anyone else you’ll need to meet them for the drop off and pick up.
 

Smiley/OCD

Well-Known Member
The person doesn't use a wheelchair in their daily life but would may need it for the reasons you mentioned. Although not all the time. Maybe only in the evenings and wouldn't be necessary around the resort.

You're not giving me enough credit. I really can push a wheelchair around WDW regardless of how many miles we clock or inclines. ;-)
You may be Superman, but the fact is…YOU’RE IN VACATION TOO! When we were there in May, (I need an ECV & own my own) we had to make a connecting flight from Ft Lauderdale to Orlando. We made it, our luggage made it, but the ECV didn’t. (Thanks, Spirit)…it took about 6 hours to get my ECV back to the resort. My family had to push me around in a Disney provided wheelchair. Needless to say, family didn’t have a great time our first day.
Do yourself a HUGE favor, and rent one from Buena Vista or another authorized company.
 
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Big Phil

Well-Known Member
For my own experience with someone who needed a wheelchair, I thought it was pretty good. It isn't too big, it isn't in the way of things and when we took my mom to the zoo a couple of years ago after she had some health issues and didn't really feel like she'd be up to walking around everywhere it worked out fine. Sure there are hills, but between the adults around and the grandkids who more or less were offering to be the ones to push her it was no problem at all. My mom is a proud woman, so when she felt okay she actually got up and walked once in a while. Just an entire day of walking didn't make her jump at the idea though. So I figure this works out the best because you could also throw or hang your bags on there as well. Not to mention you want to use the whole day if you can, so this gives the older/disabled person the rest they need.

For me it was the fact that I'd rather push my mom around for the day and have her with us than not have her with us and push nothing.
 

Hcalvert

Well-Known Member
Be careful about trying to get a DAS for someone who has a wheelchiar/ECV. Some people on here said that they heard of people being denied one since most of Disney's regular queues are handicapped-accessible. When I was there for two weeks a few weeks ago, I did not see many wheelchair/ECV people using the DAS line. My dad used an ECV on this last trip and he had to get out of it to enter the lines than stay in it (we noticed this mostly at Magic Kingdom). Thankfully, I already had a DAS for myself and he was able to not stand too long in a line if I was riding too.
 

Minnie Mum

Well-Known Member
Prior to my surgery, we visited the parks several times when I needed to use a wheelchair. DH pushed me, and insisted that it wasn't a big deal. There were times when we would park it (in one of the stroller/ecv parking areas) and I would walk for a while to stretch my muscles. But it was always there when I needed it. And I really appreciated it when we left the parks, since the walk to transportation always seemed so far. Trying to do the parks without the chair would have greatly diminished our experience.

If the OP opts to rent a chair, I strongly suggest that he invests in a pair of bike or weight lifting gloves ( the fingerless ones with the padded palms). Otherwise be prepared for blisters.

Another tip if traveling with someone with pain or health issues- consider taking an afternoon break back at your resort. A couple of hours rest in the hottest part of the day will leave you both recharged for an evening in the parks.

ECVs can be a good option for some. But they can be daunting, and even frustrating for some when in crowds. And let's face it, there are some people who are plain incapable of safely operating them.
 

Big Phil

Well-Known Member
Prior to my surgery, we visited the parks several times when I needed to use a wheelchair. DH pushed me, and insisted that it wasn't a big deal. There were times when we would park it (in one of the stroller/ecv parking areas) and I would walk for a while to stretch my muscles. But it was always there when I needed it. And I really appreciated it when we left the parks, since the walk to transportation always seemed so far. Trying to do the parks without the chair would have greatly diminished our experience.

If the OP opts to rent a chair, I strongly suggest that he invests in a pair of bike or weight lifting gloves ( the fingerless ones with the padded palms). Otherwise be prepared for blisters.

Another tip if traveling with someone with pain or health issues- consider taking an afternoon break back at your resort. A couple of hours rest in the hottest part of the day will leave you both recharged for an evening in the parks.

ECVs can be a good option for some. But they can be daunting, and even frustrating for some when in crowds. And let's face it, there are some people who are plain incapable of safely operating them.

I don't know if the rest of us do this, but I find that trying specifically to hit some indoor shows in the air conditioning minimizes dealing with the Florida sun. I know, cliche and all, but it works for us.
 

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
I went just before 2020 with serious back issues. I found that having a ECV negated any need for a Disability Pass. I was able to negotiate all the queue's with ease and even some of the ones that I couldn't do (smugglers run) had a way for me to ride it. I have a stenosis issue with my back that only allows me to walk briefly before I needed to stop and sit to rest my back. Only took a few minutes to recover but still created a weird strain on everyone's enjoyment. I also could stand a little longer then walk but standing in a queue line did not afford me a place to rest the back pressure. The "scooter" solved that problem and with the exception of walking along I was able to drive along with my companions and have a really close experience as I did when I was able. If the person can handle the controls properly then I highly recommend that option. I will go further and advise you to rent from an offsite location. They are better, faster, less expensive and you can still use them outside the gate and with all the construction going on a lot of walking is still required outside the entrance.
 
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Smiley/OCD

Well-Known Member
Prior to my surgery, we visited the parks several times when I needed to use a wheelchair. DH pushed me, and insisted that it wasn't a big deal. There were times when we would park it (in one of the stroller/ecv parking areas) and I would walk for a while to stretch my muscles. But it was always there when I needed it. And I really appreciated it when we left the parks, since the walk to transportation always seemed so far. Trying to do the parks without the chair would have greatly diminished our experience.

If the OP opts to rent a chair, I strongly suggest that he invests in a pair of bike or weight lifting gloves ( the fingerless ones with the padded palms). Otherwise be prepared for blisters.

Another tip if traveling with someone with pain or health issues- consider taking an afternoon break back at your resort. A couple of hours rest in the hottest part of the day will leave you both recharged for an evening in the parks.

ECVs can be a good option for some. But they can be daunting, and even frustrating for some when in crowds. And let's face it, there are some people who are plain incapable of safely operating them.
That is why I always say that If you're renting an off site ECV, BEFORE traveling to the parks, WHILE IN THE RESORT, take 15 minutes or MORE, and learn how to start, stop, steer, etc. the ECV BEFORE entering the parks. I agree 100%, that MANY drivers are first timers and they've NEVER used one. A crowded bus, and a crowded park is NOT the time/place to learn how to drive one.

About 10 years ago (before I had to use one) we were at Tough to be a Bug waiting to go in. A woman took out 2 trash cans in the pre show room, and her and her family thought it was hilarious...it was kinda sad to see and dangerous, too.
 

Bullseye1967

Is that who I am?
Premium Member
Be careful about trying to get a DAS for someone who has a wheelchiar/ECV. Some people on here said that they heard of people being denied one since most of Disney's regular queues are handicapped-accessible. When I was there for two weeks a few weeks ago, I did not see many wheelchair/ECV people using the DAS line. My dad used an ECV on this last trip and he had to get out of it to enter the lines than stay in it (we noticed this mostly at Magic Kingdom). Thankfully, I already had a DAS for myself and he was able to not stand too long in a line if I was riding too.
What you have heard is false. My wife used an ECV on our last trip and she used the regular lines if she felt they were ok to navigate. If not we used the DAS return lines. If you go to guest services they will not and CAN NOT ask you why you need it. It gets put on your magic band and those in your party. When you go to DAS entrance at a ride you scan in and they give you a return time. There is no judgement call a CM makes whether you are eligible to enter through DAS.
 

tcool123

Well-Known Member
Speaking as someone who is constantly pushing a wheelchair at Disney, get ready for a calves workout.

The only park where a wheelchair is a leisurely push is Hollywood Studios as the only area with inclines are attractions such as Star Tours, Smugglers Run, Rock n Roller Coaster, Midway Mania, and the Frozen show off the top of my head. Star Tours offers its own line for wheelchair users and detachable armrests in Cabin B to allow for an easier transfer, Runaway Railway has its own wheelchair loading area, Midway Mania has its own wheelchair vehicles.

Animal Kingdom is my personal nightmare as the Oasis is an explorable incline, Flight of Passage is a long and giant incline, there are inclines throughout the park which your normally don’t pay attention to, and of course the incline at the end of the day back into the Oasis. Kilimanjaro Safari has its own trucks that allows for a wheelchair to be rolled in, as does the train for Rafikis Planet Watch.

Magic Kingdom isn’t that bad unless you insist on using monorails to get to the TTC or the resorts are those inclines can be tedious. Magic Kingdom also has the dreaded trolley tracks which have led to many close calls with my dad nearly falling out. Small World, Pooh, Pirates, all have inclines and many other rides have a special wheelchair specific line to avoid stairs at this park. Jungle Cruise and Small World each have their boats where you can wheel in the wheelchair, with Small World having its own queue for wheelchair users. Mermaid and Pooh allows you to roll the wheelchair right into certain vehicles. Thunder Mountain has its own separate queue for wheelchair users as well.

Epcot has notable inclines to enter The Land all though a wheelchair lane is available so it’s not too bad, inclines in the pavilion aren’t too bad but are carpeted so makes wheelchairs a tad slower. The first portion of Nemo’s queue is inclined, Figment has an incline as well. The entrance for Mexico is an incline, and the worse incline in the park is the one between France and the UK. Many tires for the wheelchair have gone rogue here! Nemo has its own wheelchair vehicles. Living with the Land and Three Caballeros have their own wheelchair queue and wheelchair boats that can be rolled into. Spaceship Earth has its own wheelchair entrance.

All the special wheelchair queues are offered to you without needing a DAS as these queues either have stairs or are too narrow for wheelchairs to use (I guess, never debated with the cast members)
 

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