Lisa Pooh's August 2000

Lisa (Pooh) Crawford is a Walt Disney World veteran and files this report....

I have graduated or perhaps it should be demoted to an Electric Wheelchair from a EMV :(

In August I traveled to WDW with my family and stayed at Ft Wilderness for 2 weeks. We stayed in a Wilderness Home. Ft Wilderness had 8 wheelchair accessible Homes. Loops 2700 and 2800 are currently being rehabbed and the Homes replaced with Cabins. I was told that there would be wheelchair accessible Cabins.

While most of the trip was pleasant we did have several problems and disappointments. One big disappointment was the inability to use the boat transportation from Ft Wilderness to the MK. While they claim that all transportation is accessible, don't believe them.

One big problem was the number of times the chair lift broke down leaving me no transportation. I believe a handicapped guest has the right to reasonable access to transportation and should not have to wait up to an hour for a lift equipped bus. Buses need to be traded out as soon as a problem is identified.

One night the Chip/Dale bus broke. I was told I could wait for a Boone bus. This happened right as MK was closing so those buses were arriving full. There was no way to accommodate my chair without asking other guests to disembark and wait for another bus. I ended up having to ride my chair back from Pioneer Hall to my cabin in the 2800 loop.

Another problem was the bus drivers who would not wait for you. on several occasions I would arrive at TTC or Wilderness Lodge just as the bus I needed was pulling in. My kids would run to let the driver know that a wheelchair was coming from the other bus. Many drivers refused to wait. These buses were not full so why could they not wait a minute.

There is a danger in riding your EMV from Pioneer Hall and the 2800 loop at night. The lack of lighting makes for very dangerous traveling. The crossings are poorly marked and difficult to find and the edges of the sidewalk are not visible.

Attitudes of some of the drivers are not pleasant. They seem have gotten worse in recent visits. They don't want to tie down the chair. Several outright lied to me. They say they knew all about my chair and then wouldn't know how to secure the chair. I use a Jazzy 1103 which is a rather new chair. One did not realize the turning radius of the chair and was yelling at me when I didn't turn when he thought I should.

Now for the good things. Fastpass is great. My Jazzy can go through most of the Fastpass lines with no problem. Most of the mainstream lines are easily used with the Jazzy.

In the MK, the only one I could not use is Pirates of the Caribbean. That still requires a transfer to a manual chair and someone to push the w/c. I did not take my Jazzy on Small World but used my canes and walked on the ramped boat. I would not attempt the regular boat for fear of falling. I didn't try Space Mountain.

The ferry to the MK is a rather steep grade making it difficult if not impossible to use. We had to have a strong gentleman give me a push to get me started up the slope.

In EPCOT everything was accessible. I did need to transfer to a manual chair at the entrance to Living with the Land but they allowed me to wait and do that at the point where I got on the ride. Only problem here is you have to walk back to the chair wherever the place it. The boats are all accessible via a ramp.

Boat from EPCOT to MGM is accessible. With the Jazzy you can turn and enter the cabin.

MGM is completely accessible. I had no problem there at all.

AK is accessible as long as you take the correct route. There are a few slopes that would be difficult to maneuver but they are marked with an alternate route for wheelchairs. The Tigers best viewing area is not accessible. They need a ramp up to it. You can still see them from a side window area but it isn't as good.

I didn't try any water parks.

Will be returning Nov 13 for the Food and Wine Festival and in Dec for Christmas.

Lisa (Pooh) Crawford

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