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Old 07-03-2012, 01:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question DME Question HELP.

Okay questions.

We leave on July 30th and arrive on the 31st. We are taking the DME from the airport. My question/concern is that we are traveling with not 1 not 2 BUT 3 wheelchairs in our party.

My brother who has severe CP and completely wheelchair bound.
My mother who has severe knee issues and a heart condition, also wheelchair bound.
Me who had a Hip Replacement gone wrong. I can walk with double forearm crutches but am taking my chair to use in the parks.

Will DME be able to accommodate 3 wheelchairs? When I called, they said that it was NOT a problem and they would have a bus waiting for us with a lift. However I have read on other sites that people have had to wait up to 4 hours just to get ONE wheelchair transported to their hotel.

HELP..
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Old 07-03-2012, 07:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hmm. That's a new one! I'd say call ahead and just make sure that they send the right vehicle (or vehicles) to get everyone on board at the right time. I've noticed that different times of day can make a difference.

I'd also suggest a "reminder" call right before-hand. I don't know about you, but I always get a little "Disney feeling" when I call anyway, so maybe that can be a good thing.

Hope you have a magical trip!
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Old 07-03-2012, 07:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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I've seen two on a bus, but never 3. They'll get you to your resort, just not sure if it'll be on the same bus. If you can manage the stairs with your crutches, maybe they could put your chair under the bus and get you all on the same one.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you.

I can totally manage the stairs. and my brother has a care provider that can take him out of his chair and sit him in a seat, but I don't think that HIS wheelchair would fit under the bus.

Luckily, when I had my chair made, I still made sure that it would fold in half.

I will call DME the day before we leave and double check, I am still a bit nervous about this whole thing.
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Old 07-03-2012, 11:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The most I've seen is 2 wheelchair positions a a Disney bus. Unless they have a special bus, you might be riding on separate buses
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Old 07-03-2012, 04:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Usually there are only two slots. They will allow guests to stand on the lift in order to board the bus instead of using the stairs which are very steep and high. This is not a regular city bus or one of them nice low Disney park buses. They were able to load my Gogo scooter in the undercarriage without folding it. They can put in the undercarriage a regular wheelchair without folding it. I suggest leaving the brother in his wheelchair. They can put your chair in the undercarriage. If the stairs are too steep they can take you up, let you get to a seat, and take the chair back down to be stowed in the undercarriage.
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Old 07-03-2012, 04:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The buses with w/c lifts can accommodate 2 chairs. Since you can walk and your chair folds, I'd go ahead and do that and have the others stay in their chairs.
Make sure you call:
A few days before you leave.
The day before you leave.
As you leave your home airport.
As soon as you can when you land. Calling to let them know "the Allen family on flight number XXX that needs 2 w/c spaces has arrived at the airport and should be down to DME in the next hour" will be good (if you call as soon as you land, you have 10-20 minutes of taxiing sometimes, plus we always wait for everyone to get off the plane before we leave and it takes a while for w/c to be brought up, then figuring in restroom stops and that it's a large airport - you have to take a "shuttle" from the gate to the terminal).
We've found that doing that means we rarely wait more than 30 minutes.
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Old 07-03-2012, 07:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thank you Thank you.

I wouldn't even take my wheelchair if I thought that I could manage all the walking in the Airport, and the fact that if my crutch hits one tiny drop of water I will be face down on the floor.

Thank you for all the help and advice.

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Old 07-03-2012, 08:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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We have ridden the DME bus on 2 trips a year to WDW since DME began and have never had to wait that long - our very longest was probably 45 minutes when they had trouble with a bus. We do make sure to make our needs for a wheelchair bus known when making the reservation, but don't call other than that.

Not all DME buses are equipped with lifts, but those that are can accommodate at least 2 wheelchairs. This is a picture of the lift in the highest position.


As you can see, it gets pretty high up. The height of the us allows for a large spa underneatht the bus for stowing things. I have heard that the drivers will not allow guests to stand on the lift to get on, but I have seen guests riding one of the airport wheelchairs up the lift. When on the bus, they get out and sit in a regular seat, then the wheelchair is sent down empty on the lift.
This is a picture of the stairs to get onto the bus, just to give you an idea of whether or not you would be able to climb the stairs.


I have seen some buses with 3 wheelchair spots, but don't know if all the wheelchair buses have 3 (2 are on one side of the bus and 1 on the other). If worse comes to worse, you will just need to split up into 2 groups.
If you are planning to ride the buses from your resort to parks, you will need to split up most often anyway unless you fold one wheelchair and hold it on the bus - most of the buses going from parks to resorts and back only hold 2 wheelchairs.
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Old 07-03-2012, 09:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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@ SueM loves WDW

Thank you so very much. This is VERY helpful. I feel a lot better about this now.

This will be my 4th trip to WDW with the family, but MY first time using the DME. I just hate the looks and the comments when I have to say we are traveling with THREE wheelchairs. I had a person ask me if it was a "disabled convention or field-trip."

I know WDW is very wheelchair friendly but I was very nervous about the DME.

Thank you again.
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Old 07-11-2012, 02:26 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I agree about calling multiple times.....i called three times before i left, once when i made reservations with DME, 2 weeks prior, and the day before and it took almost three hours from the time i got off my plane to get on a DME bus with a lift.....i don't think this is the norm but it might have been due to the weather since Tropical Storm Debbie had just hit the area that day. I never thought about calling them once I landed in MCO. That is a great idea for next time!!
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:16 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks for this thread! I will be traveling to WDW in April with a person who uses a power wheelchair. I have seen the wheelchair lifts etc. on the regular Disney buses but I had never been on a DME bus with a wheelchair lift. I figured they must exist, but I don't really know much about them.

A quick question. I believe she will be able to transfer from the chair to the bus without using a lift but I am not sure. How likely is it that the storage area under a regular DME bus will accomodate the chair? Does anyone have experience with this? I wasn't sure if the only wheelchair accessible buses have adequate storage under or not. Commenting here to "bump" up this thread, but I may be back with more questions.

Oh, and our flight gets in to MCO at night (8:45pm) I usually arrive in the morning so I don't know if this is a busy time for DME or not. Obviously, as it will be fairly late, we won't want to wait too long to get on a DME bus.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:57 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyH View Post
Thanks for this thread! I will be traveling to WDW in April with a person who uses a power wheelchair. I have seen the wheelchair lifts etc. on the regular Disney buses but I had never been on a DME bus with a wheelchair lift. I figured they must exist, but I don't really know much about them.
I don't know how many of the DME buses are equipped with lifts, but it's not every bus.
Make sure you tell them you need a wheelchair accessible bus when you make the DME bus reservations.
At the DME area at the Orlando airport, guests who have their DME documents can go right to the line to wait for the bus. Guests with a wheelchair in their party need to make a stop at the desk. This usually is pretty quick, but important. That is where they verify your information for the trip back to the airport and make sure that a bus with a lift will be sent to pick you up fom your resort.
Quote:
A quick question. I believe she will be able to transfer from the chair to the bus without using a lift but I am not sure. How likely is it that the storage area under a regular DME bus will accomodate the chair? Does anyone have experience with this? I wasn't sure if the only wheelchair accessible buses have adequate storage under or not. Commenting here to "bump" up this thread, but I may be back with more questions.
All the buses have the same storage space underneath the bus.
The only difference with the accessible buses is that they have a lift at the back of the bus and have tiedown straps to safely secure a wheelchair inside the bus.

Someone with a manual wheelchair has the option to walk up the steps, fold the wheelchair and lift the wheelchair underneath the bus into the storage area.
That is not possible with a power wheelchair - they are WAY to heavy to lift into the storage area. My daughter's power wheelchair weighs about 280 pounds without the batteries or the seating system.
So, the only way a power wheelchair is going to get onto the bus is to use the lift and be secured inside. The person using the wheelchair rides the lift up in the chair.

If what your peron has is NOT actually a power wheelchair, but is a scooter, you MAY have the option to put the scooter in the storage area underneath the bus. (The biggest difference you can see is that power wheelchairs are driven using a joystick. Scooters, which are also called ECVs, are steered with a yoke - sort of like small bicycle handlebars - and a hand throttle to control the speed). Scooters are lighter in weight than power wheelchairs and some scooters can be taken apart for travel into smaller pieces, with each piece usually no heavier that 40 pounds. So, you may be able to lift a scooter into the storage area, but still a 2 person lift and not the easiest.

I still would not choose to put the scooter under the bus unless there are more people in wheelchairs than the bus have spaces for - scooters are still heavy and it would be much easier plus be much less chance of damage or anyone getting hurt lifting the scooter to just use the lift.

Once on the bus, those using scooters will be asked to move to a bus seat. Those using wheelchairs may choose to stay in the wheelchair or move to a bus seat.
Quote:
Oh, and our flight gets in to MCO at night (8:45pm) I usually arrive in the morning so I don't know if this is a busy time for DME or not. Obviously, as it will be fairly late, we won't want to wait too long to get on a DME bus.
DME schedules buses based on the number of guests they expect at certain times and what flights those guests are coming in on. So, they will be expecting you and as long as you let them know when you made the reservation that you had a guest traveling in a wheelchair, they should be ready for that too.

Last edited by SueM loves WDW; 02-24-2013 at 10:01 AM..
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:23 AM   #14 (permalink)
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This is a picture of my daughter in her wheelchair secured in the DME accessible bus.
Each bus has at least 2 wheelchair spots ; seats can be moved to make a space for a wheelchair.

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Old 02-25-2013, 05:01 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Thanks so much! She definately has a power wheelchair. I hadn't thought about how heavy it would be to lift and put under the bus. Her Mom (my good friend) is currently trying to decide whether it would be better to bring a portable wheelchair or her power chair. I'm trying to get as much info for her as I can. (I ordered Passporter's Open Mouse last night).
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