We returned from a nice spring break vacation away with family and meeting up with friends in Florida. We learned a lot about traveling with a disability. Thankfully Brad is a good planner and had the forethought to book wheelchairs at the airport and while we were at the Disney Parks and then onto Amelia Island. Having a wheelchair saved Brad a LOT of energy during this trip and he was able to try out different chairs which allowed him to see features he liked and did not.
Disney was a fantastic family getaway! The weather was so nice and warm, it was great to be outside and comfortable – no layers needed! We were gifted accommodations at the Disney Vacation Club and loved every second. The parks, pool, ease of logistics with a wheelchair were really helpful and an easy introduction to wheels and the start to spring break. At EPCOT we had a private tour and wow, that is the royal treatment! Brad is not a fan of waiting…for anything! Waiting tests his very limited patience and who knows this better than his business partners!!! They set up a private tour guide who planned the day for us, navigated the park and helped us easily manage being seated together for rides/experiences…I was so grateful. Not the typical Disney experience for sure but very much appreciated. Not typical in many ways but I suppose typical is boring to us anymore if we even remember, Brad rented a wheelchair for Disney, it was fantastic! He relished in leading the way, it was great – we could all roll together feet or wheels but together. We brought the trilogy machine that Brad uses at night, its bulky/heavy to carry but well worth it and all we needed was a plug to operate! My brother Quinn and his family joined us at Disney, it was a great combo of fun and helping hands. A very special and magical time together, we are so thankful they had the time to get away and join us.
From Disney we went to Amelia Island and sadly this was a much harder leg to the trip. The accommodations were mostly not ADA friendly. The villa we rented had like 50 million steps so that was not an option at all, we were moved into the main resort which was great with elevators but there goes our kitchen to prepare a few meals in!! I learned how to figure out what we needed and then speak up and ask for it – I felt like an ADA advocate but the end. The doors to enter the property were not available by button to automatically open, restaurants were really narrow, beach wasn’t an option and saving seats at the pool was more than we could handle! We’ve enjoyed quite a few spring breaks at this property and have wonderful memories but this year was the last. While it was hard to navigate it all, the weather was great and the kids loved the pool – what is it with hotel pools and kids!! As we move more towards using a wheelchair we need an accessible property. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any recommendations. My mom joined us in Amelia and were so thankful – she took the kids out to eat and do activities when we were not able to be out and about. A great joy was our friends the Meidt’s met us for the Easter weekend! It was SO wonderful to reconnect on vacation, we have missed them and this was a great pick me up.
So traveling can be done, it takes time to get your bearings and figure out how to best navigate each step, flying, hotel, how your moving around to do activities… This takes a lot of energy plus managing our family players. We will get better with practice!