Visiting Disney World as the “Chick with a Cane”

Due to a bad episode of sciatica (which I thought you had to be 1000 years old to come down with), I found myself heading to my Disney World/Cruise trip with a cane and had a wheelchair on order for onboard the ship. I’ve never been “disabled” before.  While I knew that Disney is fully accessible, it wasn’t easy limping along.

I can’t prove it, but I’m positive that they stretched out the parks. Forget about the new Fantasyland, I was happy to make it as far as the old one without needing paramedics. I also realized that as far as the rides go, on this trip I was doing the Toddler Tour as those were the only attractions that wouldn’t hurt my back.  Scratch that, I didn’t do Pirates or Small World as by the time I’d get out of the boat, they’d be reminding everyone to stay seated while the chubster tries to haul her hurting self out.

By the way, does every seat in the parks have to be in the blazing sun? There’s nothing like sitting down in a cast iron skillet when taking a much needed break from walking.

Little did I know that a cane is a signal for kids. Apparently it’s part of an obstacle course that they have to conquer.  This was a bigger problem on the ship. Since I held the cane on my right, I intentionally kept close to that wall. I was amazed at how many little darlings saw that as a challenge and did their best to squeeze by.  It was oh so cute when one of the cherubs hit my cane while playing the “let’s see how out of control we can get before anyone notices” game.

While I understand that the dining room chairs on the ship need to be heavy, I felt so helpless when I couldn’t get in or out without assistance. It was as if I was trying to move a granite slab and I just could not do it.

Back to the parks. If you’re walking while talking on your cell and/or texting, chances are you’re not going to notice the lady hobbling along. Thank you for interrupting your extremely important call to mutter “sorry” after kicking my cane. It was always such a meaningful moment.

I have to say, my concerns about Disney transportation turned out to be unfounded.  On the Magical Express bus we were given the reserved seats up front.  On one occasion,  the Cast Member at the Monorail opened a handicap section for me so I didn’t have to walk any further. I wish that happened more often.  Fortunately, we always hit the buses at a time when seats were available.

As it turned out, I didn’t use the wheelchair, so it became the carry-on bag transport.  Still, it was nice to know I had it “just in case.”

So there you have it. This trip was an eye-opener for me. I’m sure I’m guilty of cutting it way too close to someone with a disability when trying to get an attraction or simply taking in my surroundings.  I’ve learned that a little bit of awareness goes a long way  in making sure that those with physical problems also have an enjoyable visit.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by fun4me on November 14, 2012 at 7:48 AM

    My daughter is handicapped and I have always been impressed with how well Disney provides for special needs. They really go out of their way to make sure her experience is a great one.

    I know it can sometimes seem unfair when the handicapped line seems shorter, the parking spots are the closest and the cruise line cabins are the largest, but let me tell you – the price of a handicapped sticker is high. I’d gladly trade our close parking spot for my daughter to walk unaided. Since that’s not a possibility, I appreciate the nice courtesies! It means the world to have someone stop their kids from running over the . top of us in their eagerness to get to the next ride.

    I love the last line of your blog! A little bit of awareness (and courtesy) goes a long way in making sure [ANYONE] can have an enjoyable visit!

    Reply

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