by Marvel Diva
A trip to the parks at Walt Disney World takes a lot of energy – even if it’s just for a day! Visiting Walt Disney World includes a considerable amount of walking – and this was a big issue in my family when my mom came to visit me in Orlando. My mom is able to walk, but was due for a hip replacement a couple of months after her visit. While she loved spending time with my sister and I in the parks, making it through a full day on her feet was a struggle.
Renting a wheelchair was proposed as an option: renting a wheelchair didn’t mean she couldn’t get up and move if she wanted to stretch her legs, but it would give her a better chance of enjoying a longer day in the parks. She liked that she could still use the wheelchair as a walker or for stability when she wasn’t sitting. This peace of mind was one of the deciding factors behind the rental.
Without further ado, here are my tips for renting a wheelchair at Walt Disney World!
22Early bird gets the worm
Maybe this goes without saying, but the earlier you go the better! Every day of our trip we got to the parks at rope drop and went straight to wheelchair rental. We never had to wait in line and usually had a chair in 5 minutes – or less!
Plan your route!
Before you leave from one place to the next, decide among your party where you’re going. This kept us from getting caught up in foot traffic without a place to “pull over” to make decisions. It also made it a lot easier to move quickly to make Fastpass windows and shows since we had routes planned with the location of ramps and extra space.
Rides may vary
Every attraction is different when it comes to parties with a guest in the wheelchair. The age of the ride typically determines whether or not the queue is wheelchair friendly. Sometimes there’s a separate entrance for parties with a guest in a wheelchair! Always ask a cast member outside of the ride! They’ll be more than happy to let you know your options.
Patience is key
This was the biggest lesson learned when we rented a wheelchair. Not everyone knows where they’re going when they visit Walt Disney World which means they’re not always paying attention to where they’re walking. This gets even worse when you add those that are enveloped in their smartphones into the mix. My sister and I learned to pay closer attention to the people around us to avoid collisions with my mom.
Pit stops along the way
Sometimes my sister and I needed a break from pushing and it was helpful to “pull over” in an area with plenty of room for all of us to still move around (that wasn’t a shop or a quick-service restaurant). Our favorites were:
- Magic Kingdom: Hub grass, Tomorrowland Plaza (underneath the peoplemover)
- Epcot: Innoventions, anywhere around World Showcase (but especially in the plaza where British Revolution plays in the UK pavillion)
- Hollywood Studios: Launch Bay
When we stopped in Launch Bay, the Ewoks had some fun with the wheelchair as my mom walked around.
The Ewoks commandeered my mom’s chair while she was stretching her legs. We thought it was hilarious!
Bonus Tip – Disney Springs
The wheelchair rental is near the bus drop off at the center of Disney Springs. This is convenient if you arrive via bus or are in the parking garage. When we visited Disney Springs, we came via ferry from Port Orleans. If this will be you on your next trip, I highly recommend you send one or two in your party ahead to rent the wheelchair and have the party member that requires the wheelchair and everyone else hang out by the benches near Art of Disney. It’s a rough haul if you don’t.
Daily rentals are $12 and are transferable between all locations. Rentals at the water parks and Disney Springs require a refundable $100 deposit. More information can be found here.
We were a little overwhelmed at first, but the visits ended up being much less stressful than we had anticipated. We had a lot of fun, even in the rain!
If an electronic convenience vehicle (ECV) is more your speed, Disney Bride Diva has tips for you in her article here.
Need help planning your trip to Walt Disney World? Contact Patricia at All 4 Dreams Travel today!.