Well, the title says it all. I broke my foot earlier this year and it’s been a very slow recovery. I had a trip planned to Disneyland to watch Little Miss and her band play in California Adventure and had the unfortunate pleasure of traveling out of state with a broken foot. I was very nervous preparing for this trip. I can walk very short distances (in a walking boot) but am basically at the mercy of other people in my current state. It’s rather unnerving….at least for me.
Flying was easy once I figured it out and this is what I learned. Don’t be afraid to get a wheelchair. I’ve had a hard time with this…probably because I don’t want to admit that I can’t get around on my own. I want to just suck it up and make it all go away. Turns out the latter does not work. I requested a wheelchair when purchasing my ticket so the airline had one ready for me each time the plane landed. What I didn’t realize until after doing the airport the wrong way initially is that the stands outside the airport entrance are for passengers that need special assistance. Like me! You check in there…leave your bags there…and get a wheelchair there. It is so easy. And quick! We flew Southwest and someone in our party was able to push me around the airport. Not sure if that is the case with other airlines. We had a run-in with a Delta employee who thought we stole a Southwest wheelchair and where going to do who knows what with it. He didn’t believe us that Southwest would allow a non employee to push the wheelchair. It’s funny now but at the time not so much. You can also have an attendant push you but there always seemed to be a shortage of attendants so I was happy to have my own pusher.
Going through the security line was fine once I had the wheelchair because I didn’t have to stand. I did have to walk through the body scanner but I was able to keep my boot on. At the gate I was able to pre-board due to a medical issue, so that’s a plus. I eventually had to let go of whatever feelings were bothering me and own the wheelchair life. It really made my trip so much better.
The next big hurdle was getting around town. Instead of renting a car we used Lyft and Uber so we didn’t have to deal with parking and walking and such. On a couple of occasions the driver wanted to drop us farther than we wanted so I played up the broken foot card and was able to get a closer drop off every time. Don’t be afraid to use your injury to your advantage if needed. 😉
And now what you’ve all been waiting for…visiting Disneyland with a broken foot. Almost every time I told someone I was going to Disneyland with a broken foot they responded with, “at least you won’t have to wait in line.” Let’s clear up that thought because it’s incorrect. That used to the case back in the day but apparently too many people took advantage of the situation (by faking injuries or “renting” the use of an injured person) so Disney had to change the rules. Here’s what I learned after spending time in Disneyland.
First up, you can rent a manual wheelchair or a motorized wheelchair called an electronic conveyance vehicle (ECV) to assist in getting around the parks. I spent the extra $38 for the ECV and am so thankful. There are actually a lot of hills in Disneyland and the poor soul pushing you will have to endure that torture if you’re in a manual wheelchair. The ECV was $50 for the day where a regular wheelchair was $12. The wheelchair/ECV can go anywhere within security, including Downtown Disney, but you first have to get through security. We arrived around the time the park opened and there were literally hundreds of people in the security line. I was in a walking boot but there was no way I could stand for the 30 – 60 minutes it would take to get through that line. We learned, after asking several employees, that there is a no bag line. I left my purse with my party and took my debit card and ID and headed for the no bag line. I was through quickly and headed to the wheelchair/stroller rental store. Renting an ECV was easy and took only a few minutes. And then I waited for everyone to get through security.
Getting around Disneyland in the ECV was fine except that you are constantly dodging people that think you can stop quickly. Word of advise to anyone walking in front of an ECV – they don’t have brakes and it takes a couple seconds to stop. Another word of advise: don’t take an ECV in an elevator. They don’t really fit, there’s no room to turn around and the backup beep is crazy loud in the confines of the elevator. If your injury allows, park the ECV downstairs and take the elevator up in your boot. We learned this the hard way. I didn’t think twice about pulling into an elevator as soon as the door opened. It wasn’t until the door closed that I realized we had to figure out how to get it out. Everyone watching thought it was rather comical though.
Until now all references to Disneyland refer to both Disneyland and California Adventure. There are a couple difference between the two parks when it comes to rides. California Adventure is better equipped to handle wheelchairs/ECVs as all of their lines were made to accommodate the chairs. So, when in California Adventure you get no special treatment. Just get in line with your friends. Disneyland is a different story because the lines were not built to accommodate wheelchairs. In Disneyland you enter the ride through the exit but during busy times you will have to wait. I didn’t ride many rides because it really wasn’t enjoyable. You still have to get yourself into the ride, which often requires getting down into something and then getting back out of said car/log/train/boat/ect, but your foot is also flung around on the ride. Not the best if your injury is still painful.
All of the Disney employees were incredibly helpful and went out of their way to make sure I was able to enjoy my visit as much as possible. I wouldn’t recommend going with an injury but if you already have a trip planned it’s possible to still have a good time.
For more information on services for Disneyland guest with disabilities visit their website.
Lastly, I want to send a huge shoutout to my Disneyland adventure buddy. This trip would not have been possible without you. Thanks for all the wheelchair pushes and for getting me unstuck in the elevator. 🙂