My First Trip with a Disability

Well I did all the preparation and it was now time to go to Disneyland.  I had rented a scooter from Deckert's Surgical and it was at the hotel when we arrived for check in on Saturday afternoon.


It took us a few minutes to figure out the workings but finally we were able to go up to our room.  The first thing I noticed was that the scooter barely fit into the elevator, but it did fit.


We were on the fourth floor of the hotel and it was a tight squeeze from the breezeway into our hotel room and I finally gave up and had Andy bring the scooter into the room after the first few days.


Once we got to Disneyland I realized how hard it is to be on a scooter at the Parks.  One of the first things I realized is that people don't look down.  Consequently they cut in front of you or make sudden stops in front of you.  Some are downright rude.  Your point of view in a scooter is a lot of legs.  And I found it important to watch those legs for any deviation in walking.  Slow downs were a killer, and big crowds nearly impossible.


I was lucky because I was mobile, so at times I could park and walk, but for the most part I was scooter bound.  We saw people who definitely seemed to be taking advantage of the guest assistance card, and others who didn't have a card but should have had one.


My biggest problem was two-fold.  The pain in my knee didn't allow for much walking, and stairs are a form of evil when you have a knee problem.  Because of this, we did use the GAC (guest assistance card) on a few rides, but not on others.  Splash Mountain was one we used the card on twice.  Both time I walked into the exit instead of riding my scooter.  I knew this was a small area and it would be difficult for me to park.  The first time we did this we were on a log within 5 minutes.  The second time we did this we waited 15-20 minutes to get a log.  It looks like Splash Mountain does about every fifth log as a handicapped log.


On Indiana Jones I took the scooter twice.  The first time it was a tight squeeze for me, but by the time we did it again I was more adept at moving in tight turns and I did much better.  With Indy you also go through the exit and then join the normal queue.  You leave the queue right before the stairs and take two elevators to get to the loading area.  The third time we did Indy I walked and regretted it almost immediately.  I was in a great deal of pain by the time we caught up with the queue (I did not use my GAC, instead we used fastpass) and we ended up with a long wait as the ride broke down.  I was never so happy to get back to the scooter and get off my leg.


The only other time I used the GAC was on Autopia because of the stairs.  They have an elevator so you can skip the stairs and that worked out very well for us.


I learned something valuable this trip.  One is that I would rather be on my own two feet.  A scooter really slowed us down.  Two, I will forever remember this and be more courteous around those who are in scooters and wheelchairs.  It is a lot easier for someone on foot to move than it is for those in a chair.  I will remember to look down and keep an eye out for scooters. 


There are people are not mobile.  People who can't get up and walk, and it is important to remember this as you traverse Disneyland on your own two feet.


You will see people who abuse the system, but those are actually more rare than it seems.  In five days we only saw this happen once and it was just so blatant it was a surprise.


My knee appreciated the scooter, my mind hated that I couldn't walk for very long, or stand for very long.  I have now seen Disneyland from the perspective of those that do have disabilities and I now understand what they go through on a daily basis at the parks.  It is not a perfect Disneyland experience, but it can still be fun.

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