To fully appreciate this post, read this first.
I was amazed at the number of people going around the parks in wheelchairs and electric buggies.
People were in "chairs" for all sorts of reasons. Nobody paid much attention to us -- this was obvious from the amount of people who walked right in front of us, often receiving an unexpected bump against their shins, since we could not stop in time!
Their is a "chupar" (perk) to being in a wheelchair -- on several rides, we get to bypass the lines.
Of course, being in a wheelchair makes walking much slower, so it takes us longer to get to those lines in the first place!
So, it all probably balances out, in the end.
The parks accomodated our special needs and assigned us passes that allowed us to go in the "Express"/"Fast Pass" lines. At Disney, we received one pass that we could use for our entire visit. At Universal, we had to get the passes reissued each day, but it was a quick and easy process (we just handed them the previous passes and they renewed them for us).
The first Disney park attendant, at Hollywood Studios, actually emphasized that the pass was NOT for the quicker line. So, unfortunately, we did not take advantage of the pass that day. The next day, at Magic Kingdom, the park attendent explained that we could use it for the quicker lines, and we were able to see many more attractions as a result.
I spent most of my days in the chair. It was a wise decision. As is, I was exhausted by the end of the day.
But I did not was to cut the day short!
I wanted to do everything!!
My kids pushed me around and, for the most part, were extremely gracious and helpful in this department.
When my parents joined us, my dad pushed me around most of the time. He wanted the extra exercise! It was nice having that little bit of extra attention from my dad.
After the first day in the wheelchair, I stopped worrying about being different. There is such diversity among the people attending the parks. With so many people in special chairs, it felt like we were just another minority group.
Cast members (i.e. park employees) were all very attentive and helpful.
There were two times when I wanted to repeat a ride, when the rest of the family wanted to eat. I was prepared to go on my own. I found it particularly challenging to roll the wheelchair long distances and gained a greater appreciation for all the help from my family. Both times, members of my family (first my mom, then my youngest) surprised me, and chose to accompany me, even though they did not want to go on the rides (both avoid rollercoasters). It was nice to have their company... and their assistance.
Over the two weeks, once or twice, I did get out of the chair and push it. And I did get out to walk short distances, to the bathroom or for specific rides.
Mostly, I took full advantage of having somewhere to sit and being chauffeured about like a queen.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,