View Full Version : I'll be in a wheelchair, what do I need to do?

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04-25-2005, 10:23 PM
I had a very unfortunate slip & fall accident at home Saturday night and spent several hours in the ER. YEOWCH!! I will now have to attend the special May 4th celebration (my hubby won KTLA tickets) by way of a wheelchair and a "knee immobilator" (fancy name for a VERY LONG leg length velcro splint sort of thing). This will be a new experience for me, to say the least.

Will there be a problem bringing our own wheelchair into DL? Do we need to check-in at City Hall or something, if we end up being able to go on rides while we're there? Do I bring my report from the ER or what will I need?

Thanks in advance for your info and any tips for making life like this any easier.

04-25-2005, 11:24 PM
When I take my grandmother as long as she is in her wheelchair most individual rides without wheelchair accesible queues will allow you access. The ones with wheelchair queues will allow you to just push the wheelchair through the queue. The only lines you will really have to wait in are Buzz Lightyear, the DCA rides (except Zephyr and Stinger), Indiana Jones (at least up to the stairs), Winnie the Pooh, and Roger Rabbit. So, if you are planning to do those attractions (especially ToT and Soarin at DCA) make sure you do those first or fastpass them because they are the ones that will not permit you to avoid the lines. The rest you should be okay.

By the way, Pirates may look like you could push a chair through that line but you can't, the slopes in the line are way too steep. They will permit you in the exit. Haunted Mansion you only need to wait up to the porch, then a CM will assist you.

One thing about having a wheelchair at DL is that you cannot get around as fast as you do by foot so you usually can't do as many attractions. Therefore, you need to budget your time more carefully and allow more time than you would usually. The line skips that some of the rides I mentioned help in this and allow you to get a few more rides in.

I believe you do not need to stop by city hall if you have a wheelchair. The rides now handle each situation individually. Have fun, hope you get well soon!

04-26-2005, 07:11 AM
I believe you do not need to stop by city hall if you have a wheelchair. The rides now handle each situation individually. Have fun, hope you get well soon!

There is no requirement to stop by City Hall, but it would probably be a good idea to stop there and request the "Guide for Guests with Disabilities", which explains how access is handled at the various attractions for guests with disabilities.


04-26-2005, 07:37 AM
Actually if you ask at the gates most of them have a copy of the guide available and you can skip the extra stop at City Hall. Here are the 'easy' ones...all of fantasyland 'proper' you will use the exit, you'll have to wait for the CM to acknowledge your group and they will give you a 'wait/board' time...since this is for the celebration and you only have the two tickets, the fact that you can have up to 5 additional people in your group probably doesn't matter unless friends have also won tickets and you intend to hang out together. For any ride that offers Fast Pass, they ask that you use this option and show the fast pass to the CM, here's the rub on this one, not everyone using a wheelchair does this so they don't always board you according to your fast pass return time, it can be a bit frustrating but remember you're having a great time and it's only a few minutes out of your day. Since it sounds like you are in the imobilizer for your leg you might consider bringing both your chair and crutches for those transfer moments since the CM's can't assist you at all (not to mention the bathroom stops since you're not an 'experienced' disabled guest)

04-26-2005, 07:59 AM
I had a very unfortunate slip & fall accident at home Saturday night and spent several hours in the ER. YEOWCH!!

Nothing useful to say but I'm sorry to hear about the accident! I hope you feel better soon!!


04-26-2005, 11:13 AM
Thanks for your replies! I didn't know what the current situation with SAP passes or whatever is, since thankfully, I haven't needed that info before.

Yes, Mamma, my hubby won FOUR tickets, via the KTLA contest I entered him into, so all four of our party will have entry tickets. That should mean we all can go together then, right?

I don't know what the schedule for that day will be, so I didn't know if we would have time for rides or what. Do you think they will give us a guide to that day at entry? I sure hope so.

Thanks too, Adrienne, I appreciate your post very much!!

04-26-2005, 11:17 AM
Sorry to hear about your fall :(

Will your knee brace allow for a scooter? I daresay pushing around a wheelchair will be exhausting for your DH, perhaps renting one of their electric scooter will help a bit?

04-26-2005, 12:17 PM
Thanks for your replies! I didn't know what the current situation with SAP passes or whatever is, since thankfully, I haven't needed that info before.

Yes, Mamma, my hubby won FOUR tickets, via the KTLA contest I entered him into, so all four of our party will have entry tickets. That should mean we all can go together then, right?

Yes you should be able to go together, since this is a special event they 'may' be using different protocol but I seriously doubt it. The CM's are trained that guests using a wheelchair are allowed a total of six in the party to include the guest using the wheelchair so the 4 of you should have no difficulties doing the attractions as one group....check your PM box for some additional information.

04-27-2005, 03:59 PM
Does your wheelchair have a leg extension that holds your injured leg out in front of the chair? If so, you may have an interesting time navigating some of the ride ques, even the wheelchair friendly ones!! We just have regular footrests on our chair but there are a few rides (no specific come to mind) that are hard to navigate because of tight corners for us with our "regular" chair so I imagine a chair with an extended leg rest might be an additional challenge! Make sure whoever is driving you takes the corners *slowly*!! You don't want to hurt the leg even more!!

I'd highly recommend stopping to get the Guide Book for Guests with Disabilities. It will help you figure out where to head for the rides that have special entrances for wheelchair guests.

04-27-2005, 04:43 PM
No, jenniahart,
I don't plan on getting a chair with the leg extension thing sticking out. I've seen people try to maneuver around the parks with one like that and it would be really bad, not just for other people, but for hurting my leg & hip again as well! I'm trying to make the situation as low profile as possible, since I'm sure it'll be really crowded. The "knee immobilizer" splint thing is made of kind of a foam rubber, so it's sort of flexible in parts, so I'll just have to see how it works with sitting in a regular wheelchair.

Do I get the guide book at City Hall or somewhere else? Thanks for the tips!

04-27-2005, 04:51 PM
The guidebook is at City Hall but Mammasilva said earlier (I think it was MS?) that they sometimes have them at the main gate, now, too, as you enter, which would save a trip. As the CMs at the main gate or that CM that usually stands at the cart by City Hall, if they have that set up.


04-27-2005, 09:02 PM
KarenW2, sorry to hear about your fall. We just got back from a trip to DLR. My dad broke his foot the week before we left. He was able rent and use the electric scooter thing and did just fine. Overall our experince with the cast members and the park in general was a good one. Good Luck ! Go and have fun !!

04-29-2005, 12:05 AM
Hi BQ2,
Thanks for your kind words and good wishes for out trip. This will definitely be a Disney first for me, since I've never used a wheelchair before. I have an appt with an ortho guy on Tuesday, to find out if surgery is in my future or what I need to do to fix my situation. My GP got the MRI report back & called me, was extremely sympathetic, told me I needed to make really good friends with an ortho guy, cos I had what amounts to a really, really, REALLY bad FOOTBALL INJURY (I don't play, obviously)!! Torn meniscus (sp?), fluid, messed up the thing that keeps the knee/leg in alignment, etc. Lots of big words that explain why I'm in such a huge amount of pain!!

I am taking my pain med (Percocet) very religiously, but carefully, it really hurts big time and the muscle relaxant rx helps a bit too. The "knee immobilizer" is a real drag and I'm getting better at using the walker, little by little, around the house. But then, I haven't gone anywhere outside the house, except to my MRI appointment last Tuesday and we were able to use the facility's wheelchair, to get me from the car to the office & back out to the car afterwards.

Adrienne, I'm so glad you changed the photo in your avatar! When I first saw the previous one, I thought the baby had a very bad burn, scar or something!!

04-29-2005, 02:40 PM
My family isn't use to using wheelchairs. None of our family members need one on a regular basis. But, I had foot surgeries two years in a row. I could not use my foot for 8 weeks both times. I was 100% on crutches for these weeks.
But, trips to DLR were planned, and we rented the wheelchair. The first time I went, I wouldn't let them keep my crutches. I had become so used to them, that I was afraid to let them go. They were my only means of transportation, so I was reluctant to leave them.
But, my kids/husband got used to pushing me in a wheelchair...even though they did get winded going up some of the hills. But, all in all...it was good. Even with me lugging the crutches the first time.

BUT...the first time I went...I didn't even think about HOW I was going to get into the restroom by myself, as obviously, my husband couldn't push me in there.
I had no clue how to really work the wheelchair, and was kind of fumbling with it, when luckily another woman came up to help me out.
If you don't have another 'girl' to help push you into the ladies room. Take the time to figure out the chair for yourself. This way, when 'nature calls' you can manuever the chair into the ladies room. :D

Good luck. You'll have a good time...and being in the wheelchair was kinda cool. I got a very different view of DLR by sitting in the chair all day. It's kinda neat.
(but not as neat as getting to walk around by yourself....so here's wishes for a speedy recovery!! :D )

04-30-2005, 12:35 AM
I definitely appreciate what you said in your post, especially the end section. I had wondered how involved it would be. I will definitely figure that out once I get the chair. Some of those restroom corners are pretty tight!!

Does anyone know if there are any restrooms that are better equipped for getting a chair in, around and out of? I would definitely want to try those, if there are any in DL.

I tried using the crutches they were going to give me at the ER that night, but I nearly killed myself when I tried, so that combined with the fact that I have carpal tunnel in both arms and arthritis all over, but especially relevant in both knees, it seemed like a walker for inside stuff would be easier. I just put very little weight on my left toes and put more on my right leg. That night, since it was after 11 pm when we finally got done at the ER (we got there around 5 pm!), all the regular stores were closed, so we went to the 24 hr Sav-On and my hubby picked up their basic model walker with 2 wheels. They said we could return it with no problem, as long as we had our receipt, which we'll be doing.

Today, he found me a better one, at a better price, at Costco. It has 4 wheels, hand brakes, a "seat" section that opens up to store goodies inside, as well as several pockets & snap-on bags, and a back rest for using the seat (for short sits, obviously). This is definitely better than the crutches I tried. The wheelchair will be for those longer term outside things, like Disneyland, grocery shopping (with my hubby pushing the cart), etc.

We got our temporary handicapped parking placard to hang from our visor after my doctor filled the form out and we took it to AAA, so that was good. I'm trying to remain in good spirits, despite the pain and frustration. Hopefully, I will just have to have rest & physical therapy, instead of surgery, but I won't know for sure until possibly on Tuesday.

Thanks again!!

04-30-2005, 05:56 AM

First off I don't know how comfy your spouse would be but the law actually allows him to push your chair into a womens restroom and assist you. I know that not everyone is aware of that law so if he did you guys MIGHT get looks but it IS the law. Having said that, considering everything you're dealing with, I strongly recommend going to the first aid center by the Plaza and using their facilites. It's very private and his helping won't draw attention at all. You might need to "plan" your stops a little more in advance with that plan but the First Aide Center is 'centrally located' considering it's right there off the hub. Just a suggestion.

05-01-2005, 12:36 AM
Thanks so much for the tip and info, MammaSilva! I wasn't sure if the First Aid place would be someplace we could use. I was trying to think of a restroom that would be much less "traveled", since most of them seem to be overcrowded whenever I need to visit them, with kids running here and there, in and out, so that's definitely a help!!

We rented a wheelchair for me today, to use for the week and I have my ortho appointment on Tuesday, so I may have more info on what I can and can't do by then.

Thanks to all again for your info and tips!!

05-01-2005, 05:29 AM
well Karen...
I hope you ll have a blast at disney! try to be gentle with yourself (and your tummy... percocet is very agressive on your tummy sometimes) and enjoy being pampered.
Best Wishes!
Hope you will write a report on how it went ok?
Take Care

05-01-2005, 12:32 PM
There's a Unisex Handicapped restroom at the Aladdin Showcase in Disneyland as well. That would make a great alternate for the hours that the Aladdin Showcase is open.

05-01-2005, 11:47 PM
Merci, David, for your advice and good wishes! I always take my meds with a glass of milk and bread or something else, to help make things settle easier. I will do my best to have a good time and will write a trip report afterwards.

Thank you, jennia, for your tip. By Aladdin Showcase, you mean where they have the storytelling show, what used to be the Poly Terrace, kinda behind the Tiki Room, right? Where in there is that bathroom located?

05-02-2005, 06:22 PM
Yes, that is the Aladdin Showcase! The info about the restroom there is here (http://www.mouseplanet.com/potties/adventureland.html) .

I haven't used it but since I read about it, I have the info filed away just in case!! :D The entire happiest potties report might help you plan your trip. I'm a frequent DLR visitor but I always used to frequent the same restrooms. Now I'm trying to use some of the ones that are more highly recommended and avoid the ones that are more crowded!! :D

05-02-2005, 11:28 PM
Hi Jennia,
Thanks for the reminder about the "Happiest Potties" article. It was so long ago that I read it the last time, I needed a refresher course, especially in light of my current situation.

05-06-2005, 11:42 AM
Well, we survived our very long day at DL, bright and early Wednesday morning for the Sneak Peek, starting with our entry, about 6:25 am (YAWN!). I'll be writing up a trip report over the weekend and will post a link to it, as soon as my hubby and I can get some time to compile one. He was obviously more mobile than I was, so he did and saw some things I didn't get to.

I ended up getting the more mobile "knee immobilizer" replaced by the ortho guy on Tuesday and now I have something much LESS convenient, that looks like something Darth Vader or Long John Silver from Treasure Planet would use!! It's a long black metal thing, with joints, velcro sections with tighteners that click together and a metal things at the knee on both sides, with dials to change the amount of movement I can have.

He went over my injury on the knee model, says I have to wait 6 wks for the meniscus tear to hopefully heal, then he wants to go in, repair some stuff & possibly either take out or repair the meniscus. He said at my age (I turned 50 last October) he's not really "allowed" to repair it (an odd thing to say), but we have to make a decision about that after the 6 wks is up. I'm praying if I wear the knee brace all the time like he says, except for showers, it will heal up well enough that I won't need surgery after the wait is over. I've been living with chronic pain for about 20 years now and facing surgery & the rehab after where he will purposely bend my leg 45 degrees so I can't stand on it for 8 weeks, it just sounds like a lot more pain to come!!

Definite a big thumbs way up to MamaSilva and her suggestion of using the First Aid bathrooms! Plenty of room to manuever the chair inside and still be able to get out and do what I needed to do! Wish they had more of these in the park in other areas!!

Aladdin's wasn't accessible, so we had to settle on using the Adventureland bathroom later in the day and it wasn't so easy. While the entry and interior of the restroom is wider, not as tight as the City Hall bathroom for example, the "handicapped accessible" stalls are all the way at the end of the room and there's not enough room to have the chair in there with you! My girlfriend wheeled me all the way down there, but then I had to get out inside and she had to pull the chair back out the stall, place it by the door and keep an eye on it while I was otherwise occupied, to make sure nobody made off with it! Then we had to reverse this "dance" to leave. If they made the stalls either wider or much longer, there wouldn't be that trouble. Also, if the stall is closer to the front of the restroom, it would be nicer too, so your helper doesn't have to drive any further than they really ought to!

One of the other problems we had with getting around with the chair was getting over the various ridges, grooves and pavements in the park at times, some the same size as our chair wheels and especially the uneven surface of the walkways by Ariel's Grotto. We had to use this walkway, since they had the Tomorrowland entrance blocked off to us for access, because of the media set-up for the Buzz presentation, much later that day! My girlfriend and I had to get a big, strong CM to help get us over one of the metal things PLUS the bad walkway, so we could get thru. Also, all those big huge metal pieces going over all the various cables being used by the telecasters and whoever were a real drag, almost literally, I had to get out of the chair a couple of times, very painful, so my hubby could drive over it, until we passed a couple on our way into Adventureland who gave us a VERY IMPORTANT piece of info, we wish we'd had before going into the park!!

When encountering those metal things over cables or whatever, even the blue ones with the wheelchair pictures on them, if you have a chair that has smaller wheels in the front than in the back, turn the chair around and drive BACKWARDS over the big metal things!! Since the wheels in the back are big, they can easily take you over those things and you won't have the trouble you have trying to get the smaller ones over them!!

Another important note: not all ride vehicles are created equal, in terms of space to sit in and maneuver around in. Apparently, they don't have boats for PIRATES that you can just wheel the chair onto, I had to transfer out of my chair, then maneuver down into Row 2 per CM's instructions, where the "leg room" was very tight & ended up causing more pain. Same goes for maneuvering onto the JUNGLE CRUISE boats! I had to get out, then try to get over the curb, then down into the boat to where the CM told us to sit. Then the skipper insisted on packing the boat really full, so I had people crammed in on top of my leg which was very painful. TOAD cars, also tight, further complicated by them having to evacuate us, just as we'd started into the first room! I couldn't walk out, so they had my hubby walk back out, a CM came up and rode with me to the end, then they loaded my hubby in for another ride, all the while our friends were still standing there, very confused, since they hadn't boarded yet!!

MANSION wasn't bad, since I told him I could transfer, but not walk, but they had us at the end waiting a very long time (probably at least 2 mansions-full of people), before they would load us. They didn't even acknowledge us or tell us it would be a long time, so that was frustrating. If they'd told us we'd have a long wait, we'd have been prepared. BUZZ wasn't bad, we had to go thru the regular line, as they built the queue wide enough to accomodate a chair, then inside, you go down to a "blue door" for wheelchair access & wait to be loaded onto the vehicle. ALICE wasn't too bad, since the Toad CM told me, as she was riding me thru the ride, if I sat by myself in the front row, I'd have more room that the other row, so I was prepared. I thanked her for her help. We didn't attempt any other rides than this.

Wheelchair access to the parade was OK, you have to get there early tho! We were escorted to the special KTLA viewing spot on The Hub, to watch the morning broadcast, but when I saw the crowds had already come in from the passholder & other contests & were blocking up the streets, we left the Hub section before it was over, just to get a tiny spot in the wheelchair area. People around me were very rude, leaning on my chair, bumping my chair, all thru the parade! They had no wheelchair area for the Buzz presentation with Tim Allen, so I saw NOTHING, since rude people kept crowding in all over me & blocked my view. We didn't go to the Steve Martin presentation or the Golden Vehicle one, since we were doing other things at the time.

When we got home, I kept having the sensation I was still being wheeled around the park, til this morning! Kinda like when I used to roller skate at a rink and still felt it afterwards when I went to sleep that night.

Thanks again to all for your help, if you have any questions for me on things I didn't mention so far, let me know & I'll be happy to tell you more. We should have a trip report put together this weekend and I'll post a link here.

If there is anyone out in MPland who's gone thru a similar knee injury/surgery, I'd appreciate hearing about your experiences and any advice you might have.

05-06-2005, 11:58 AM
I agree that the little uneven places in the cement in various area of the park can really be a challenge. Sometimes we'll hit one and my husband flies forward becuase the chair suddenly *STOPS* because of a crevice. Another thing we've learned is that if the rider of the chair uses the wheels of the chair to push while someone also pushes them over the obstacles (especially the trolly tracks!!) that it makes it much more likely that the chair won't get caught. This might be an idiosyncrasy of weight + chair type but for us it helps alot!!

We also find that people can be very rude oblivious to the fact that someone is in that chair because of a *problem* and it might not be good for them to be jostled. You probably got the worst of it being there on a crowded day. We find the less of a crowd the fewer problems we have in general so we usually aim for slow days!!

He said at my age (I turned 50 last October) he's not really "allowed" to repair it I hope the knee heals on its own and doesn't need surgery. However if it doesn't heal, I'd appeal that doctor's decision or seek a second opinion, whatever it takes for you to get the problem fixed. 50 isn't that old!!! :D My MIL had knee surgery in her mid 70s.

05-06-2005, 06:23 PM
we left the Hub section before it was over, just to get a tiny spot in the wheelchair area. People around me were very rude, leaning on my chair, bumping my chair, all thru the parade!

It never ceases to amaze me how rude people are to people in wheelchairs. NEV-VER. :( :mad: Sorry you had to experience it first hand, Karen, but I'm glad you got to go to the special day!