Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Traveling with the leg


Hi all

I've just got back from Disneyland Florida and I'm soooo jet lagged.
But I thought it would be a good idea to tell you about how I got around, and going through customs and the 10hr flight etc.
Make sure when you pack any medication that it is in its original box, preferably with the doctors label on. Put these in a clear bag in your hand luggage and show them to customs, and everything will be fine.
Also don't forget your leg charger, if you need one! also the correct adaptor. I brought the wrong one but the hotel staff were really helpful and got me a replacement. Don't get cheap ones from the pound shop, get a good certified safe one, even if you have to pay a bit more for it. My mum had an experience were she bought some cheap ones and they exploded on holiday frying her e-cig.
I was worried, as you might be about going through customs with my leg. Having nightmares of having to take my leg off in a queue and have it sent down the belt whilst I'm sat there in my knickers. But everything was ok.
I'm still waiting for my nerve operation so, unfortunately I had to go in my wheelchair.
You need to call the airline in advance about 2 weeks, and let them know you will be taking your chair. Also its a good thing to have wheelchair insurance, just in case it gets lost or stolen.
Once at the airport there is a special line for wheelchair users. Its pretty good because you get to zoom past the other normal queues and whoever is with you gets to come too.
Going there I just had to show my passport, and boarding pass and put my luggage through the normal bits. Then through customs where I was just wanded sat in my chair and a lady lightly frisked me. When our gate was called, again I was at the front of the queue and wheeled into the corridor that leads to the plane. You have a choice here of being helped onto the plane or walking on to your seat. your chair is then wheeled away as luggage in the hold.
This was the first time I had been on a long hall flight and found my good knee and foot began to ache after 7hrs, but walking to the toilet helped.
When we landed you will have to wait until everyone has got off, then your chair will be waiting just outside the door. The staff are very polite and helpful, and off you go to collect your luggage.
It helps if you have a walker to drag your bags, as my hand luggage was all in a back pack.
Returning back through customs in America they were a bit more strict, but again had a separate line for wheelchairs. You show them your passport and boarding pass. Then wheel through to customs, the walkers with you have to take off their shoes and put them in a tray along with any other bags.
Customs will then check your chair, and as I was able to stand I stood in a body scan, that didn't beep with my leg. They then asked me to roll up my trousers and swabbed the top of my leg and the tops of my trainers checking for drugs in a near by machine.
Once that's clear they then let you through to departure. Once again you are wheeled up front and on first, your chair is put in the hold and then you walk to your seat, and once again you are the last off and get back into your seat at the door.

I went to Florida Disneyland and what got me was the extreme heat. 35c (90f) and 80% humidity, all day and night no wind for 7 days we were there!.
It was like being in a constant greenhouse, and you couldn't get out.
We spent most of the time quickly going into shops to cool down.
The first day i stupidly went around the park in my wheelchair pushing myself around with my back pack on. Big mistake, I soon over heated and my dad had to carry my bag as it was sticking to my back. All the paths in the park were flat but it was like doing a workout in a greenhouse. So the next day I hired a mobility scooter.
You need to be there early as they soon run out, and be prepared for the price you have to hand over $70 and get $20 back when you return the scooter. $50! per day is crazy. But it was so much better, even my dad at one point sat on it as his knee and feet hurt from walking so much.
The only part I wouldn't go in a wheelchair to is The magic kingdom. They have tram lines for their parades, and when I went to see a firework show on an evening my wheels kept getting stuck in the gaps, and with the crowds I found it hard to move around. At least when you are in a scooter people get out of your way.

The hotel we stayed at was The animal kingdom lodge jumbo house. All rooms are wheelchair accessible and the bath is really low so you can first sit on the toilet next to it then sit in the bath.
Their are specially wheelchair accessible rooms for wet rooms. But I didn't book on of these, as I prefer a bath to a shower.

Also another good point about being in a chair or scooter is that a lot of the rides/shows will let you sneak to the front or have special seating for shows right at the front.
Its a very disabled (I don't like using this word) friendly place. Plus those with you get to sit with you too!

So now I'm back in the rainy summer of England. Waiting for my next operation, and thinking where can I go next. :)