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  1. #1

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    Smile Disney by Wheelchair: Hints?

    Hi all,

    Next week I am probably going to be visiting Disneyland with my Mom, who is a disabled veteran. She can walk for short distances and stand, but there's no way she is going to be able to handle a day in the park if she has to walk all of it. She has a heart condition and just can't do it. She is going to decide if she wants a wheelchair or an ECV, but it's clear that we are going to have to rent something for her.

    I've had experience with visiting with friends with GACs, but I've never been at the park with a wheelchair user, so I'm not sure how this is going to go. I know that she will need to use the handicapped entrance at the Fantasyland rides, and that her chair is enough to get her into those queues, she doesn't need a GAC. I also know that in DCA and most of the newer attractions in DLR, like Buzz and Roger Rabbit, we can just use the regular queue, and they'll hold the chair until after the ride. She's not going to want to do any of the e-tickets like Space or Splash, so I'm not worried about those.

    Are there any hints or tricks that would make my Mom's visit easier? Anything I absolutely need to know? If she has an ECV will it be charged for the day or will I need to bring it back to guest services to recharge the battery at some point? For instance if we want to see the parade or fireworks, where is the best place to be for a wheelchair user?

    We're probably going to take the Disneyland Express back to LAX, and I'm worried about that. I know that the Monorail will be down and I don't know if she can do the walk from the gate to the Disneyland Hotel to catch the DE. Will they let me bring a rented wheelchair to the Disneyland Hotel (I was going to wheel her to the Hotel and then run back to Guest Services to drop off the chair) or is there any sort of tram or golf cart I can ask for to get across Downtown Disney?

    Also is there anything special that Disney offers to vets, like a veterans pin at City Hall?

    Any help would be appreciated.
    Last edited by Malina; 02-19-2013 at 04:08 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Disney by Wheelchair: Hints?

    I thank her for her service, first of all.

    I don't know too much about using wheelchairs and ECV's from personal experience, but I do know there are quite a few rental places in the area. There is a privately owned rental place attached to the Ramada Maingate on Harbor Blvd. as well as renting them directly from Disneyland at Guest Services. As far as I know they hold a decent charge and you should be able to get a full day out of the batteries. If you get an ECV just be sure to turn the light off during the day as that will waste a lot of power and remember to turn it off when you aren't using it or when you park it to go on a ride. If you notice the battery going down and you need to charge it you probably can return it to Guest Services and exchange it for another one with a full charge.
    As far as a rented wheelchair going to the Disneyland Hotel I'm sure they wouldn't be opposed to you using it since you are technically staying on Disney property and using it to and from a Disney Parks hotel. If you were using the rented wheelchair to go to dinner down the street they probably would say you couldn't do that. One way to be sure is to ask Guest Services. Give them a call or send them an email.

    I don't think there is any military related button available in Disneyland, but you can still request one for her to wear. Here is a link I found with the current buttons available: Disneyland - City Hall
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    Re: Disney by Wheelchair: Hints?

    I would consider an ECV and it should be charged for a days use. Pushing a chair is not easy to do all day and suddenly you realize the parks are sloped.

    Are you staying offisite or onsite? If you are taking the Disneyland Resort Express it could pick you up at your own hotel or near it. Renting WCs or ECVs offsite can be dropped off and picked up at your hotel. If renting at the park it can't leave the security area between the park gates. If renting from a Disney hotel it can be taken back and forth to the hotel.

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  4. #4

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    Re: Disney by Wheelchair: Hints?

    Flag retreat! Hopefully, they are doing the full retreat that day.

    If you are staying at the hotel, you can request a wheelchair that you can take to and from the room.
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  5. #5

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    Re: Disney by Wheelchair: Hints?

    Thank you so much for these great suggestions everyone!! I had no idea about the Flag Retreat ceremony and the veterans' link - we will definitely be doing that. Maybe I can get my Mom an "honorary citizen" button if they don't have a veterans' one.

    In regards to hotels: I live in the Los Angeles area, and she's pretty much said that she thinks she just wants to spend one day at Disneyland, so we're not staying in a hotel. We're just going to head down early in the morning, so we have a full day at Disneyland, and go back to LA in the evening. Nobody can drive (I don't know how to drive, and my Mom can't with her health conditions) so we are taking the Disneyland Express back to LAX because I live relatively close to the airport. From LAX it's a short hop home by taxi. That's where the concern about walking through Downtown Disney comes in - in the park she will have her ECV or wheelchair but getting back to Disneyland Hotel for the DE might be an issue. Maybe if we picked up the Disneyland Express at one of the hotels on Harbor it would be less of a walk?

  6. #6

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    Re: Disney by Wheelchair: Hints?

    Quote Originally Posted by Malina View Post
    Maybe if we picked up the Disneyland Express at one of the hotels on Harbor it would be less of a walk?
    I would have the express drop you at one of the hotels right across from the walkway on Harbor Blvd like the Tropicana or the Best Western. It is a much shorter walk than it is from any of the three Disney hotels because you don't have to walk through Downtown Disney. You might walk a block or two, cross the intersection, and then walk a short distance to the park entrances.
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    Re: Disney by Wheelchair: Hints?

    Quote Originally Posted by Malina View Post
    That's where the concern about walking through Downtown Disney comes in - in the park she will have her ECV or wheelchair but getting back to Disneyland Hotel for the DE might be an issue. Maybe if we picked up the Disneyland Express at one of the hotels on Harbor it would be less of a walk?
    You might ask the Disneyland Hotel.

    If they can't supply one, quantities are limited and it's probably resort guests first, then another hotel may work.

    The downside is that it takes a bit longer to get to and from the other hotels. The Disneyland Hotel is the tranfer point and you may switch buses.

    Anyway name your hotel as the Ramada Maingate At The Park or a hotel between there and the Best Western Park Place. You should be dropped of at the BW then run down to the Ramada. The reason being at the Ramada is Scooter Village, the local outlet of OC Medical. So you can pick up and return an ECV/WC there without needing a hotel room. Scooter Village Anaheim, CA (888) 956-2246
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    Re: Disney by Wheelchair: Hints?

    As long as your Mom is going to have someone with her throughout the day to wheel her around a wheelchair is fine. Most of DL and DCA are flat enough that it is not a problem. The worst spot is the ramp coming out of Soarin'. WCs are more maneuverable than a ECV and there will be no worries at all about the batteries going dead towards the end of the day. Any chance one of you neighbors has one they could loan you for a day? That would be ideal. If you have to, rent one near home. Take it with you on the express bus. If you rent an ECV from someone let them know you are going to use it at DL and that you will be running it all day.

    In my experience any WC or ECV you rent from Disney is confined to the two parks and esplanade in between. No DTD or hotels, they stop you at security just like the strollers.

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    Re: Disney by Wheelchair: Hints?

    If you speak to the Disneyand hotel, they can arrange for you to have a wheelchair that can travel back to your hotel. They understand it's not easy to make the trip through downtown disney. Just give them a call, and they will be very happy to accomodate. Good luck!
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    Re: Disney by Wheelchair: Hints?

    I have 2 friends that require ECV when they visit Disneyland and they have never had a problem. During One More Disney Day, the battery held up until the very end.

    Tip: In area that are more crowded like Adventureland and Tomorrowland, you might want to walk in front of the person using the ECV to clear a path because frequantly we had issue with people walking SUPER SLOW and even stopping or walking directly in front/cutting across the path of the wheelchair. Very few people moved to accommodate the vehicle.

  11. #11

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    Re: Disney by Wheelchair: Hints?

    My hubby has to use a mobility scooter and bought one years ago. Best investment he has made. One time, though, we didn't have it with us. We went to the Bell Desk outside on the curb of the main entrance to the Disneyland Hotel- right where the buses drop off. They have a supply of mobility scooters and chairs right there, usually cheaper than renting elsewhere. You can probably call ahead and reserve one.

    I do suggest a scooter over a wheelchair. It gives your mom a little more freedom of movement and saves you from having to push a wheelchair. It is uphill into New Orleans Square and out of Critter Country....


    Either way, you will be able to enter a lot of the rides through the exit. They are pretty well marked with the Handicapp placard. The cast members have always been very helpful and nice to us. We always thank them for the extra care they take, too.

    We have never had to get a GAC card or been asked for one. Russ has a spine injury and has had a stroke, walking with a cane when not in the scooter. Looking at him, you would never know. But, we have never been asked for anything.

    Have a wonderful day and just take your time! Know it will take a little extra time for everything, but plan on that and you probably won't even notice!

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    Re: Disney by Wheelchair: Hints?

    I would recommend renting an ECV. Its just so nice to have a little more freedom not to depend on another person to push you around all day. I didn't know the Disneyland Hotel rented them. I'll have to check that out next time my Mom comes with us. We use Deckert's and they are wonderful. Will drop it off and pick it up anywhere you need them to and come back for it when you are finished.
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    Re: Disney by Wheelchair: Hints?

    Thank you so much, everyone, for all of this advice!! I've printed out this thread, and I'm developing a strategy. It looks as though I need to a) call the Disneyland hotel to see if I can reserve one of their ECVs; b) if not, plan on getting out of the Disneyland Express on Harbor and renting an ECV there. It does sound as though an ECV might be easier than a wheelchair, especially since I would be the one pushing the chair all day (and I have knee injuries) so I'm hoping Mom will agree to an ECV.

    I'm asking around to see if anyone has a wheelchair or ECV I can borrow, though. So far, no luck, but I'll keep asking around.

    Thank you again - I will report back after the visit to let you all know how it went.

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    Re: Disney by Wheelchair: Hints?

    Good luck!!
    If you see a cute yellow lab puppy with a yellow cape, WAVE! It might be us! (Or it may be someone else that lurks here!) Thank you for asking before you pet! Next trip, Dec 22-Jan 3rd.

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    Re: Disney by Wheelchair: Hints?

    Couple more things if it's useful to you. My wife has recently been wheelchair-bound so we're still getting used to it. We found that in order to get a "Return Fastpass" for Radiator Springs Racers we had to have the GAC/blue card. She has endurance issues and just can't do the queue. The hostess at City Hall said we didn't need a GAC since we had the chair. We asked for one anyway. She made us feel like dirt and even said something like, "OK, but we'll just be wasting paper..." Anyway. unless things have changed in the last month, don't believe City Hall. IF you are doing RSR and have endurance issues, you have to have the card. Otherwise the wheelchair will get through the queue just fine.

    We never did figure out a good, easy place for the fireworks. However, we did luck upon a good place for the parade. On Town Square on the corner by the stores where the parade goes backstage they had an area roped off for handicapped access. It was a sweet place to see the parade unobstructed. In a wheelchair you kind of need to be in the front or people stand in front of the chair and you can't see. This spot solved that problem!

    You can ask at Guest Relations (maybe at the entrance too, I'm not sure?) for an Accessibility Guide. It will tell you how to access each attraction with the chair or scooter.

    Have a great time!

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