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  1. #1

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    question about wheel chairs at disney!

    So every year my entire family goes to Disneyland the first week of December. This year my Grandpa is having a hard time walking and is worrid he wont be able to get around Disney. We were wondering if we should rent a wheelchair for him.
    has anyone rented one? is it hard to get around?
    the electric one of the push one? is one easier? costs of each?
    how does it effect rides? he can still stand and walk, it is just very painful for him.
    can we rent one through the hotel so he can use it in downtown disney and the hotel?
    thanks everyone!
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  2. #2

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    Re: question about wheel chairs at disney!

    I've seen people get pretty stuck when it comes to crowds. The Electric ones cost more and on a few occasions, they do run out of batteries. I bet there is someone here that knows a whole lot more than me on this one.
    DisneyTwins
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  3. #3

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    Re: question about wheel chairs at disney!

    Yes, absolutely get him a wheelchair, as to make him walk would make the day unenjoyable for him. I took my Mom there last year in her wheelchair. She has her own chair so we did not have to rent one, so I can't help you with the rental information. I would recommend getting a "companion chair" which you or someone in the group will push your Grandpa around in. You can buy them online for about $129. Yes, it's possible to rent a wheelchair at the park, and the location for renting them is outside the entrance, next to the kennels. Wheelchairs rent for $12 and electric vehicles for $50 plus sales tax (on the electric ones), and there is also a refundable $20 deposit. I have never rented one so I do not know how quickly they "sell out." I think it's better to bring your own, and there are vans that can transport him and your group instead of using the tram from the parking lot. If you rent a wheelchair at Disneyland, you can use it at Disneyland or Disney California Adventure, but you can't take it over to Downtown Disney.

    I would also recommend getting familiar with the First Aid facility, which is located near the "hub" (Central Plaza) between Main Street and Tomorrowland. The nurses there are very kind and helpful, and if your Grandpa gets tired or too hot, they have beds there where he can lay down for a while in the cool air conditioning until he feels better. They also have 2 large private bathrooms that are much easier for guests in wheelchairs to use than the public bathrooms in the park.

    Most rides are accessible, to some extent. Only a handful require the guest to leave the wheelchair behind, and those are probably rides your Grandpa is not going to be too interested in anyway. If in doubt, ask a cast member how to enter a ride with a wheelchair. Keep in mind that rides are only part of the Disneyland experience. Shows, live entertainers, walk-through attractions and the park itself are also to be enjoyed.

    Download and study the park's Guidebook for Guests with Disabilities. You can download it from this page:

    Mobility Disabilities & Wheelchair Access | Guest Services | Disneyland Resort

    That will be your "bible" for visiting the park with a wheelchair, though any cast member can also answer questions while you are there.

    There is almost nothing in Disneyland that can't be accessed by a disabled person, although most require a transfer of the person from the wheelchair to the ride vehicle. Some attractions require no transfer at all, and the person can remain in their own wheelchair entirely, without having to get up at all. These include:

    Main Street Cinema
    The Disneyland Story Featuring Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln
    Disney Gallery
    Enchanted Tiki Room
    Jungle Cruise
    The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh
    Golden Horseshoe Stage
    Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
    Frontierland Shootin' Exposition
    Mark Twain Riverboat
    Big Thunder Ranch
    Disneyland Railroad
    Mickey's House, Minnie's House
    Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters
    Disneyland Monorail
    Honey, I Shrunk the Audience
    Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage*
    Disney Princess Fantasy Faire
    "it's a small world"
    King Arthur Carousel
    Sleeping Beauty Castle*
    Pixie Hollow

    All of the above are able to be enjoyed, at least in part, by a person without them ever having to get out of their wheelchair. For most, you can just roll the chair right into or onto the attraction or its vehicle. For Mark Twain Riverboat, they load wheelchair guests first, since when the boat is full of people it drops a few inches below the level of the dock and thus would make rolling a wheelchair on more difficult.

    For "it's a small world" and the Jungle Cruise, they have specially adapted boats with platforms that you can roll a wheelchair right onto. You may have to wait longer for these boats to cycle through the ride. We waited quite a long time at "it's a small world," far longer than most guests. You may have a long wait to get on the Disneyland Railroad or Monorail too, as wheelchair space is limited on those.

    For a few rides such as Winnie the Pooh and Buzz Lightyear, they have specially adapted ride vehicles that the wheelchair can roll right into. The rafts that go out to Tom Sawyer Island are fully wheelchair accessible but the island itself is not wheelchair-friendly.

    The Disneyland Railroad has wheelchair-accessible cars at the end of each train, and you wait at the exit gate of the station for a cast member to assist you. The only station you can't get on or off at is the Main Street Depot, because there are stairs there and no elevator or wheelchair ramp.

    For Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and Sleeping Beauty Castle, there are "alternate experience" facilities which allow the guest to see a simulation of the attraction without actually going into it. For Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, you simply approach the waiting line, and a cast member will probably recognize and either notify you that getting onto the sub requires going down a spiral staircase, or if they are smart, ask you if you want to view the alternate experience. This is a small theater called Marine Observation Outpost. When the remodeled Submarine Voyage was opened as Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, the park took a HD camera into one of the subs and videotaped in HD exactly what you would see if you were on the sub as you go through the ride. In the Marine Observation Outpost they show this video on a large HD TV screen, with top-of-the-line picture quality and high-quality stereo sound. You see and hear everything that a person who actually got on the sub would see and hear, and some people argue that the theater is actually better. In any case it's nice and cool inside, a great break on a hot day.

    All cast members working on rides are trained in the procedures for guests with disabilities, and will be helpful and attentive. However, if the guest must be transferred from the wheelchair to a ride vehicle, cast members are NOT allowed to pick up or transfer the guest, or even help with it. An accompanying member of the party, such as you, must do the transfer. So practice doing wheelchair transfers with your Grandpa before you go to Disneyland. The cast members are not allowed to do any part of the actual transfer.

    There may be a couple of glitches if a person is not fully trained in operation of an accessible vehicle. At "it's a small world" the cast member could not figure out how to get the platform that holds the wheelchair to raise up, so they had to send the poor lady who was on it before us through the ride twice, and had to call another cast member who found a key and opened up a box which made the platform raise up. We were in the "small world" area for almost an hour. Having the wheelchair may mean you have just as long or even a longer wait at some attractions, due to space limitations or due to difficulties with the disabled-adapted vehicles.

    For all other rides and attractions not listed above, you will have to transfer the person out of the wheelchair and into a ride vehicle. Some rides such as Haunted Mansion have specially designed ride vehicles to make the transfer easier, though you will have to do the transfer, as mentioned, the cast members cannot pick up the person. The ride can be stopped by the operators in order to make the transfer easier. For some rides such as Pirates of the Caribbean there is no specially adapted vehicle and you just have to transfer the person from the wheelchair into the ordinary boat or other vehicle. They usually can arrange for you to do this ahead of other guests boarding the same vehicle.

    Before you go to Disneyland I would practice doing the transfers so you can do them easily when you are at the park. Lift up the person with both of your arms, by putting one hand under each armpit and pull them up that way. Then pull their body closer to you and rotate them in or out of position to sit down on the wheelchair or whatever you are transferring to. Don't try to get them to stand up by pulling on their hands or arms. It is easy to dislocate a shoulder if you try to get someone to a standing position by pulling on their hands or arms.

    Familiarize yourself with the location of the First Aid Center in Disneyland, it is located between Main Street and Tomorrowland, near the "hub" (Central Plaza). If you can't find it, ask any cast member where it is. The nurses who work in the First Aid Center are very knowledgeable, kind and helpful. If you or the disabled person has any fatigue or discomfort of any kind, take here there. They have about 12 beds and if necessary you or the disabled person can lie down and rest on one of the beds for a while, then they will be refreshed and ready to experience more of the park again. There doesn't have to have an actual medical problem and there doesn't have to be an "incident" in order to go there. Just tell them that they are fatigued and need a rest. They will be very accommodating and helpful. Also there are 2 large restrooms there with grab bars, and they are much easier to use for a wheelchair-bound guest than the regular restrooms throughout the park.

    Your Grandpa may enjoy the entertainment just as much, or even more than, the rides. Pick up a copy of the entertainment schedule as you enter the park, and plan to take him to some of the live entertainment, depending on what type of music he likes. If he likes Big Band/Swing music, you may want to plan the trip for a Saturday, as there is a band called "Swing Town" which plays Big Band jazz and swing, at the Carnation Plaza Gardens to the left of the castle, at several times on Saturday evenings.

  4. #4

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    Re: question about wheel chairs at disney!

    What a fantastic and super-informational post! Thank you, Bob!
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  5. #5

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    Re: question about wheel chairs at disney!

    Quite an interesting post. I've been wanting to take my dad for some time, but he doesn't have a wheelchair. He is 81 and would need one in the park, but he is still in that stage in his life when owning a wheelchair would mean defeat, and he is not ready for that yet.

    It isn't a problem renting a wheelchair. It would be getting him from the car to the wheelchair rental place that would be the biggest problem. Even if we parked in the temporary lot and walked to the wheelchair rental area that is way too long of a walk for him.

    Any suggestions on overcoming this obstacle? Perhaps parking in the temporary lot, and then wait while I rent the wheelchair, and then bring it out to him? But then I don't think Disney would like this since the temporary lot is directly on Harbor Blvd.

  6. #6

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    Re: question about wheel chairs at disney!

    ^ Outstanding post, Bob!

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  7. #7

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    Re: question about wheel chairs at disney!

    Amazing resource, Bob!

    Thanks!
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  8. #8

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    Re: question about wheel chairs at disney!

    I would see if you could just rent a wheelchair for a day or two somewhere, then you would have it from the time you drove onto the property until the time you drove off. If you have a disabled placard for your vehicle and park in the Mickey and Friends parking structure, they will direct you to the part of the structure that is very close to the trams. Right next to the trams are vans where they drive you to the entrance. The vans park near where the trams let off, but on the north side, very close to the Indiana Jones building. So you might be able to get away with doing that, but it would require the disabled placard. I think the best solution would be to just rent a wheelchair for a couple of days so that you will have it with you for the entire trip.

  9. #9

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    Re: question about wheel chairs at disney!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Weaver View Post
    I would see if you could just rent a wheelchair for a day or two somewhere, then you would have it from the time you drove onto the property until the time you drove off. If you have a disabled placard for your vehicle and park in the Mickey and Friends parking structure, they will direct you to the part of the structure that is very close to the trams. Right next to the trams are vans where they drive you to the entrance. The vans park near where the trams let off, but on the north side, very close to the Indiana Jones building. So you might be able to get away with doing that, but it would require the disabled placard. I think the best solution would be to just rent a wheelchair for a couple of days so that you will have it with you for the entire trip.
    Thanks.

    The key is getting my dad to want to rent a wheelchair. Once I figure that one set, we're good to go!

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    Re: question about wheel chairs at disney!

    Yes, by all means, rent a chair, and if you can afford it, get one of the "motorized" ones. They're much handier (they've got that basket in the front), and if you use a "regular" one, sooner or later, people are going to get tired of pushing it.

    My wife and I both have to use them now when we go to DLR, and it has improved our experience a hundred-fold. We're able to enjoy much more of the parks without getting tired out.

    By the way, don't worry about batteries dying or other problems. I've never had a battery give out (even after 12 hours), and the one time we had a chair give out, they came by with a replacement inside 15 minutes.

    In the end, Disneyland is simply too much fun not to take your Grandfather with you!

  11. #11

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    Re: question about wheel chairs at disney!

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyIPresume View Post
    Thanks.

    The key is getting my dad to want to rent a wheelchair. Once I figure that one set, we're good to go!
    well, he knows he's gonna need one for the trip. i think it will be easier to rent one special for the trip than to convince him to buy one.
    "And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by" (John Masefield)



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    Re: question about wheel chairs at disney!

    Oh wow. Thank you so much for all the information!

    He CAN walk, and he does now. So he can get out, so we wont have to transfer him or take the wheelchair on the rides. We are just worried about walking to and from the attractions. He is a very active person, he doesnt want a wheelchair. But we are thinking about it very seriously for him. He goes with us every year, and loves ALL the rides. Indiana Jones, Screamin, Splash Mountain, All of them.

    is the crowds a problem? When we go there really isnt a whole lot of people, but at nights it does fill up.
    and i read somewhere that you can rent from the hotel (were staying at Disneyland Hotel or Grand Califorian, not sure which yet). has anyone done that? is it possible?

    thanks again!!
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    Re: question about wheel chairs at disney!

    We found a great deal on a wheelchair on Craigslist for my mother. She really had a blast on Jungle Cruise and IASW, she was waiving to all the kids like she was queen of the may in her special spot. The only problems we had were the foot rests. they tend to run into people if you're not careful. We removed ours and things went much smoother.

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    Re: question about wheel chairs at disney!

    I just want to thank everyone for the fantastic information on this thread!

    I sprained my ankle a few months ago with a 3rd degree sprain and still have trouble walking for extended periods. DH and I have been planning our trip to Disney next month for 6+ months, and I was worried about how to make it all work. While I am hoping my brace and cane will be enough, it's great to have all the info on wheelchairs in case we need to resort to using one. THANKS!!!
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    Re: question about wheel chairs at disney!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Weaver View Post
    I would see if you could just rent a wheelchair for a day or two somewhere, then you would have it from the time you drove onto the property until the time you drove off. If you have a disabled placard for your vehicle and park in the Mickey and Friends parking structure, they will direct you to the part of the structure that is very close to the trams. Right next to the trams are vans where they drive you to the entrance. The vans park near where the trams let off, but on the north side, very close to the Indiana Jones building. So you might be able to get away with doing that, but it would require the disabled placard. I think the best solution would be to just rent a wheelchair for a couple of days so that you will have it with you for the entire trip.

    This is great advice! I just visited three weeks ago with my grandparents, and this is what we did. It was so convenient, and it was nice for them not to have to walk into the park with the chance that they may be able to rent a wheelchair. This is definite. And as Mr. Weaver points out, it's there with you at the room, not on property.
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