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Old 06-11-2014, 11:05 PM   #1
laxbr0
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Journey into Imagination and lack of Wheelchair accessible vehicle..

So the other day i was just walking into EPCOT and going to go onto figment one of my favorite attractions.. the family infront of me.. had a wheelchair in their party.. when all of a sudden the CM asked if they can transfer.. to which the man said no... the CM tried explaining that they could take the wheelchair up to the vehicle and transfer that way.. but there was no way he could do that.. the guest went on saying about how it used to be accessible... which the CM could only reply, "Yes it used to be that way but unfortunatley its down for months.. and it is being worked on.." now he did look upset about it.. while the guest just went about his day.. so my question is what can disney do better when situations like this come up? i was just utterly shocked they havent changed the map yet.
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:44 PM   #2
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I remember when the accessible boat was added to DL's Jungle Cruise, and pretty soon after was frequently unavailable. Even now I think there's only 4 rides in that park that have a specialized wheelchair vehicle, so 1 unavailable has an impact. But what is Disney realistically going to do if the accessible vehicle needs to be repaired, refurbed or improved? It's not like these are off the shelf rides and they can call the manufacturer and order a replacement vehicle. I think we've learned by now that the only thing that happens overnight at Disney is a price increase.
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Old 06-12-2014, 06:17 AM   #3
SueM in MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laxbr0 View Post
So the other day i was just walking into EPCOT and going to go onto figment one of my favorite attractions.. the family infront of me.. had a wheelchair in their party.. when all of a sudden the CM asked if they can transfer.. to which the man said no... the CM tried explaining that they could take the wheelchair up to the vehicle and transfer that way.. but there was no way he could do that.. the guest went on saying about how it used to be accessible... which the CM could only reply, "Yes it used to be that way but unfortunatley its down for months.. and it is being worked on.." now he did look upset about it.. while the guest just went about his day.. so my question is what can disney do better when situations like this come up? i was just utterly shocked they havent changed the map yet.
We were told when we came up to the exit that the wheelchair accessible ride car was not available.
Yes, it is disappointing when the wheelchair accessible ride car is not available, but there is nothing we can do about it. Getting upset would not do anything except make a disappointing situation into a bad situation.

We were told about it just before we entered the line, so we didn't waste time in line waiting for something that would not work out for us.
If we had used a Fastpass Plus selection for it, we could have switched to something else. And if we couldn't find something to switch to, I suppose we could have gone to a Guest Relations to see if there was anything they could do to help (since we wasted a Fastpass Plus selection on something we should have been able to ride, but couldn't because if an issue with the ride).

I don't see that Disney could have done anything better in this situation. They alerted the guest that the accessible vehicle was not available and explained the options. After that, it was up to the guest to decide whether or not they could use that option.
As for the map, if it was never going yo be available again, yes it should be removed. But, this is a temporay problem (even if it's months), so I would not expect it to be removed from the map. Removing it and not putting it back would be worse.

As SMD posted, it's not like they can just call up and enter a replacement or go into a store and buy another.
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Last edited by SueM in MN; 06-12-2014 at 06:39 AM.
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Old 06-12-2014, 08:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMD View Post
I remember when the accessible boat was added to DL's Jungle Cruise, and pretty soon after was frequently unavailable. Even now I think there's only 4 rides in that park that have a specialized wheelchair vehicle, so 1 unavailable has an impact. But what is Disney realistically going to do if the accessible vehicle needs to be repaired, refurbed or improved? It's not like these are off the shelf rides and they can call the manufacturer and order a replacement vehicle. I think we've learned by now that the only thing that happens overnight at Disney is a price increase.
Most accessible rides have backups so I wonder if the manufacture of that ride maybe is not in business anymore. There are two accessible jungle cruise boats (Wanda & Bertha). They used to have 2 accessible vehicles on buzz now they only have one and use the other as an emergency backup.
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Old 08-01-2014, 03:50 PM   #5
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Does anyone know if this is back up?
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Old 08-02-2014, 04:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laxbr0 View Post
...the CM could only reply, "Yes it used to be that way but unfortunatley its down for months.. and it is being worked on.."
Quote:
Originally Posted by SMD View Post
But what is Disney realistically going to do if the accessible vehicle needs to be repaired, refurbed or improved?
I might agree that it would be reasonable to expect a ride vehicle to be down for a couple of days. But months?

Two simple, realistic things Disney could do come immediately to mind:
  1. Keep a spare vehicle
  2. Put more manpower on the repair job so it won't take as long

Failing to do what's needed keep things working when they break is tripping over dollars to save pennies.
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Old 08-04-2014, 08:17 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ttintagel View Post
I might agree that it would be reasonable to expect a ride vehicle to be down for a couple of days. But months?

Two simple, realistic things Disney could do come immediately to mind:
  1. Keep a spare vehicle
  2. Put more manpower on the repair job so it won't take as long

Failing to do what's needed keep things working when they break is tripping over dollars to save pennies.
From what I have been told, this was not a repair job, it was a renovation situation.
The ADA specifications for amusement park ride vehicles was changed recently. The changes involve things like the size the wheelchair space in an accessible ride, where and how far things can intrude into that space and some other things about the entrance to it.
So, the car being out involved more than just taking it out of service and repairing something. I don't know if they had a backup car for that attraction or not, so they may have not had the option to renovate one while the other was still in service.
In addition, a CM had posted that there was a 'pinch point' on that attraction (probably having to do with the need to close and then turn the vehicle. If there had been an injury related to that, they may not have had the option to keep a backup in service, even if they did have one.
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Old 08-04-2014, 12:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SueM in MN View Post
From what I have been told, this was not a repair job, it was a renovation situation.
The ADA specifications for amusement park ride vehicles was changed recently. The changes involve things like the size the wheelchair space in an accessible ride, where and how far things can intrude into that space and some other things about the entrance to it.
So, the car being out involved more than just taking it out of service and repairing something. I don't know if they had a backup car for that attraction or not, so they may have not had the option to renovate one while the other was still in service.
In addition, a CM had posted that there was a 'pinch point' on that attraction (probably having to do with the need to close and then turn the vehicle. If there had been an injury related to that, they may not have had the option to keep a backup in service, even if they did have one.
Thanks; that explains why #1 might not be an option*, but that still leaves #2.

*Although I find it hard to believe that they didn't have warning time about the specification changes
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Old 08-04-2014, 07:40 PM   #9
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Thanks for the info. Just trying to plan our Oct trip. Son gets kind of upset if we try a ride and get turned away or if we try to get him into a ride car and can't do it and have to leave. Last time we had the great "Dumbo" escapade. :-) We'll just send someone ahead to check it out. Thanks again.
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Old 08-04-2014, 09:18 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ttintagel View Post
Thanks; that explains why #1 might not be an option*, but that still leaves #2.

*Although I find it hard to believe that they didn't have warning time about the specification changes
I'm not sure more people or more money would help in this situation. A ride car is pretty small to have a bunch of people working on it. LOL

The guidelines came out, but since the accessible car for each attraction is different,they would have had to do an analysis of how/why it didn't meet the new guideline, what would need to change and then how to make that happen.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zaksmom View Post
Thanks for the info. Just trying to plan our Oct trip. Son gets kind of upset if we try a ride and get turned away or if we try to get him into a ride car and can't do it and have to leave. Last time we had the great "Dumbo" escapade. :-) We'll just send someone ahead to check it out. Thanks again.
I am very curious about the Dumbo escapade?!
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Old 08-05-2014, 11:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SueM in MN View Post
I'm not sure more people or more money would help in this situation. A ride car is pretty small to have a bunch of people working on it . . .

1) As an ex-President-CEO-ManagingDirector, I can tell you body-count doesn't always work.
2) In cases of some equipment, extra bodies easily get in each others way.
3) For these cars, I have heard of the size issue.
4) Thus far, there is not a good way around it without major ride changes - not just a car adjustment.
5) It is far easier to leave it out-of-service than to attempt a bad-fix.
. . . as long as it exists and is "under repair" it does not violate ADA
. . . they can always claim they are awaiting parts or new designs
. . . this is an exception to the "access" rule
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Old 08-05-2014, 12:18 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by SueM in MN View Post
I'm not sure more people or more money would help in this situation. A ride car is pretty small to have a bunch of people working on it. LOL
I didn't mean all at once, of course - but there is such a thing as working in shifts.
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Old 08-06-2014, 11:18 AM   #13
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You know, if the situation really is that they had to adapt the wheelchair car for a change in regulations, keeping a spare would have helped.

As soon as it was announced that a new regulation would be coming, they could have started adapting the spare car to the new specifications while the main car stayed in operation. When the regulations went into effect, the newly-modified spare could be quickly swapped out for the outmoded main car, which would then be taken backstage, have the same modifications made, and become the new spare.

The old Disney ad campaign used to tell us to "bring a heart that's full of wonder and let Disney do the rest," but things like an accessible ride car being down for MONTHS seem like a sign that they're not doing the rest, even if it's only for one segment of their guest base. And they seem to have a pretty casual, sucks-to-be-you attitude about it, too, which doesn't say much for the "Disney difference."
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Old 08-06-2014, 04:24 PM   #14
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Long story, not short, Sue
Our Dumbo experience: I took my son to DW when he was 15 by myself (business trip). We went to MK and waited for a long time to do Dumbo. I got him on, but when I went to get him off he got excited, extended all out and got stuck! Natch he started laughing and got even harder to flex. Since Disney CMs couldn't help, the ride shut down. Finally a woman, a special education assistant with experience & who was in line, came to help and we got him back to his wheelchair. Since he got to ride, he called this "an adventure," but vowed never to ride Dumbo again. Move ahead a decade or so to the opening of the Dueling Dumbos. They now had a car that had a door that swung back and he was determined. We used the fast pass line, but it was still pretty long. He kept getting more and more excited. Oh boy. Once they put the door up, I realized the seat was so narrow and low. But we tried. Got him sitting on the side I climbed in (while all the other guests were seated and waiting to ride) got one leg in and couldn't get the other. We just needed more space to get in. Other guests got out of their Dumbos and came over trying to help. But you know he just got stiffer. Stuck again. Finally got him out and back in his chair. The CM gave us a fast pass to use anywhere. Didn't use it but it was nice. Dad rode and we took pictures. Son was pretty sad and didn't enjoy the rest of the day. We went over to AK and rode the Triceratops (3 times without getting off). He gets mad now when he sees Dumbo. He was convinced they would build a wheelchair Dumbo when the new one was built. We did get a nice souvenir. I was given the little hard "boarding pass" and when I tried to give it to the CM she told me to return it after we rode. Didn't realize until later that it was still in my bag. Son says we'll give it to them after he rides it next. :-) He's been stuck on Snow White (got on couldn't get off) so this is par for the course. We are going in October and he is determined to ride the Seven Dwarfs ride. Wish us luck.
We are so appreciative of WDW for being a place that our family can enjoy together. Our adventures like this are much fewer than the special ones we have.
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Old 08-06-2014, 09:42 PM   #15
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This picture shows the old Imagination wheelchair ride car



A CM folds the ramp out from the side of the ride car, if there is a companion, they walk up the ramp and the guest using the wheelchair follows, ending up facing the wall.
The wheelchair is on a turntable and is turned to the front after the guest is totally inside. This video shows that process.
http://youtu.be/TRVbPFvFyMo

I know it was a very tight fit for the length of my DD's wheelchair - her chair is 48 inches long from the tips of her toes to the back.
There are several possible pinch points, both from the standpoint of the guest and of the CM operating it.
As we were waiting to get on, I have seen guests nearly get a hand caught between between the handrails and the side of the ride car as it rotates.
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