Strollers and Wheelchairs: A Travel Tip from Aimee’s Most Recent Trip
Disney is a great place for families to vacation because it offers something for everyone. Walt Disney World in Florida does an excellent job in varying their attractions to appeal to children (and adults) of all ages. But what Disney can’t do is shrink the size of their parks to fit everyone’s physical abilities.
On our most recent trip to Disney, we traveled with my six year old daughter, who has a mobility disability, and my young at heart, senior citizen mother. Their walking speed and stamina ended up being about the same. We love to stroll leisurely down Main Street or amble around World Showcase but it’s not always practical to take your time in Disney. With the hustle and bustle inherent with a crowded park, plus the time commitments that come with fast passes and dining reservations, there were times we needed to pick up the pace. Neither my mother or daughter use a wheelchair in everyday life but for this trip we rented one for both of them. To save money, we only rented a motorized scooter for my mother for one day- our Epcot Day. DHS and Magic Kingdom are smaller parks and my mom did not feel like she needed the scooter in those parks. If we had visited Animal Kingdom this trip, she would have opted to rent one for that day as well. Wheelchairs and strollers have length of stay rentals at Disney, which will save a percentage of the cost if you truly need to rent one every day but only renting one to go to the larger parks is a good way to save money. Disney has a fair amount of wheelchairs and strollers to rent but they only have a small number of motorized wheelchairs and it’s first come first serve so head straight to the wheelchair rental location as soon as you get to the park. These rental locations are marked clearly on the maps and are all located close to the entrance.
For our daughter, she is 6 years old and a tall kid. She is too big for a typical stroller but too small for an adult wheelchair. For our trip, we rented a length of stay adaptive stroller, rated up to 100 lbs, from a third party stroller rental company. Our main reason for doing this, in lieu of renting a Disney stroller, was because they delivered it to our hotel, and picked it back up on our departure day. This allowed us use of the stroller for walks from the room to the bus stop, in Disney Springs, and on the monorail on our way to dining reservations at other hotels.
Because our daughter does have special needs, we did wait in line at Guest Service and had her stroller tagged at a wheelchair so we could push her stroller through the queues of rides as well if we needed. You can do this with any stroller, it does not have to be a special needs stroller. You just have to get in line at guest services and explain what your child’s special need is and they will make you a length of stay sticker to flag your stroller.
Another great tip is that airports always have wheelchairs on hand for use. We ended up grabbing one for our daughter at the Orlando airport because of its size and then again in Houston because we were running to catch our connection. Help is there if you know where to look and if you can’t find a wheelchair sitting near your gate, ask an employee to help you.
Disney does not have to be an exhausting trip. There are ways to make it work for anyone! Of any age or ability! Stroller and wheelchair rental for anyone that need help with mobility is just one of many things that can make your trip a success.