Well–I’m back and THANK GOODNESS!! What a trip. We spent 7 nights at WDW and I truthfully believe that it was the most crowded I have ever seen it (9th trip since 1994). We decided on the way home that we will definitely be back, but no time soon! Even though it was very crowded, we had a good time, but not as good a time we would have had if my wife and kids could have kept up with me….yeah right.
Okay–here are the details about this type of vacation for those recovering from an ATR.
1. Airport: To be honest, the airports were no big deal, other than the fact that I couldn’t help my wife and kids with the luggage. I am in a boot, but still on crutches. I sent the crutches on the conveyer belt and limped through the metal detector. They did not make me take my boot off at the security checkpoint, but I had to go over to the little “YOU MUST BE A TERRORIST” section for close inspection with the magical wand. Even here, I did not have to take off the boot, which surprised me. After I was cleared and declared a safe American traveler, we were off to our gate on a courtesy cart–GOLDEN. We were the first to board the plane–everyone can spot my beautiful crutches. They must have shined and sparkled under the bright airport lighting. The flight was fine (only 1 hr 45 minutes), so my leg was okay. Same routine at the Orlando airport. Courtesy cart and then the Disney’s Magical Express directly to the resort. Pain free so far, other than a little swelling. Return trip–same song. No issues. Much easier than I ever thought it would be.
2. Disney World: The biggest mistake I made was not doing enough research on the ECVs (Electric Convenience Vehicle). Many guests had rented an ECV from an offsite dealer to have for the duration of their trip to use at the resort, parks, and elsewhere! My plan going in was to rent one daily at the park ($45 rental fee) to help with my endurance and mobility around the massive happy grounds. Well, my brother and his family met us there, and my wife talked my brother into just pushing me around in a regualr wheel chair ($10 rental fee). We did that for 4 days (through the end of his stay)–my brother didn’t seem to mind, but I felt more of a burden than I should of been. I rented an ECV for the rest of the trip at the parks. HERE’S THE PROBLEM WITH THE PLAN I HAD GOING IN: I had to crutch everywhere other than inside each park on my entire vacation, which limited my fun because I didn’t feel like doing anthing but going back to the room to rest and ice my leg. I had to crutch daily to and from the bus stop at the resort (about 500 yds). I had to crutch daily from each park’s bus stop to the entrance and back to the same bus stop to go back to the resort (avg 400 yds). The crutching to and from to the bus stops alone wore me smooth out!! If I wanted to go to the central food court at the resort, I had to grab my shiny darlings and head that way. Brutal. In hindsight, an offsite rental of an ECV would have made a world of difference. Everyone I spoke with spent about $30-$35 per day for their offsite rental (and the rental place drops it off at your resort!!–NO BRAINER). Hopefully there won’t be a next time with this issue, but if so……
The GAC (Guest assistance card) was our golden ticket or “permanent fast pass” for the entire trip. We picked up ours at guest relations. They didn’t ask for any medical documentation–once again I think the shiny crutches and black boot tipped the WDW employee off to my condition. The GAC could be used at all attractions and shows and it was good for every member of my party. This was huge. We were able to ride all of the major attractions through the fast pass line, which was a very minimal wait most of the time. My top three rides: 1. Expedition Everest 2. Rock N Roller Coaster 3. Soarin’. The GAC is a must. Swallow the pride and flash the card!!
Loading and unloading the rides was a little tricky, but no big deal. I was able to keep my crutches with me whenever I waited in line. For the thrill rides, an attendant simply escorted my shiny helpers to the unload side of the ride. They were waiting for me as I unloaded. I could limp on and off the rides without much of a problem. Several rides were a tight fit with my boot–space mountain in particular–small cars. A few of the rides allowed the ECV to drive right up to the load spot–NICE. Some of the fast pass lines were long walks (long crutching trips), but overall it was fine. I always made sure that my good leg had the most weight on it when I was getting on and off of a ride. I looked a little slow and cautious to everyone I’m sure, but so what…..
3. Surfaces and Crutches: One of my biggest fears was slipping and falling with my crutches during this trip, but I didn’t. In fact, I didn’t even slip at all. It rained every day we were there–at some point usually in the evening. The streets and sidewalks around the parks and resort were always wet, but no slippage. My guess, other than complete blind luck, is that WDW uses “slip free” materials during their surfacing around the resort?? I’m not sure, but it sounds good I guess.
4. AT, Wound, and Swelling: My tendon hurt the most every morning. Very tender and tight, but it would loosen up after a little bit. My wound, as some of you remember, is still not healed, but it didn’t really get any worse over the trip. We continued with the “wet to dry” treatment plan and it seemed to prevail. My leg swelled more this week that it has during the entire recovery process–for obvious reasons. I iced my leg every evening–swelling subsided–loaded up with advil.
Overall…..it was a good trip. I’m getting the wound vac on today. I’ll update with that later…..