SallyEppcot's Helping-My-Mom trip report, otherwise entitled "We need a wheelchair or ECV!"

Hello friends! I thought I’d do a proper trip report for this unexpected trip.


My mom works from home as a professor at a big online university. They do their graduation and staff working retreat someplace fun every year. This year’s event just happens to be at WDW and Coronado Springs. I’ve been helping her make plans for this trip for months. She says she’s “not really a Disney person” but I did convince her to arrive a couple of days before the work events start so she can experience a bit of Disney. Her original plan was to arrive two nights early so she could spend a full day at Epcot. I was pretty confident that I’d made some suggestions that would convince her that Disney isn’t an Evil Corporate Empire and that Walt Disney World isn’t Just For Kids.

She did ask all of us to join her, and we were tempted, but our oldest son is in middle school now, and he really can’t miss school for trips anymore. Plus, we didn’t have the money for a big family trip. I also regretfully declined her offer for me to join her on my own. We had a wonderful (first-ever) family trip to WDW in February 2014, and then I splurged on a solo trip to go back in November 2014. That solo trip was an amazing once in a lifetime experience.

(The trip report is here, SallyEppcot's Trip Thread (Nov 2014), in case you’re interested.)

We live far enough away that trips to WDW need to be special and infrequent. 2014 was our Disney year, and I didn’t want to go back without my boys. Waiting until we could all go again as a family was important to me.

I think I’ve been pretty good about being all grown-up and mature about this!

Then I realized that her work trip is the week of my birthday. My Mom is going to be at WDW on my birthday, and she would let me stay in her room. No. I would be strong. I shouldn’t go.

Then she added some time at Hollywood Studios the morning before her work stuff starts. No. I shouldn’t go.

Then she upgraded her pre-work room from POFQ to Beach Club. Geez. I’ve always wanted to stay at the Beach Club. It’s like a second home for some of my best Liner friends! No. I shouldn’t go.

Then she started talking about new and unexplained mobility issues. She downplayed it for a while, but finally got answers from her doctor just last week. She has a torn meniscus in her knee, a possible torn MCL, severe arthritis and a Baker’s cyst. She really can’t walk more than a few hundred steps a day, and hasn’t been able to do stairs since Christmas. She is required to this trip for the work, and it’s too late for her to cancel the extra days at the beginning. She said not to worry, and that she’d just rent an EVC or a wheelchair…by herself…in a place she knows nothing about…a place that requires more walking than anyone realizes until they’ve actually been there.

Yikes. Oh. This changes things. I finally realized that my mom needs me. The Disney Fates were telling me to stop being a martyr and just go. My husband agreed. My boys agreed.

I asked Mom if she’d like some help, and she was so relieved. She bought my plane ticket and added me to her room reservation. I guess I’m going to Disney World next week!

To be continued…


Yay! I’m so glad you’re doing a trip report!


Glad you are going. Don’t forget to factor pushing the wheelchair into your plans. It takes it’s toll. I had to push one for my SIL and wow. The hotel (PoP) did loan us a wheelchair free of charge however. Needing one was a surprise to us ( sil had recently been in a car accident ) Hope you have a great time


Thanks @SallyEppcot…look forward to following your trip…

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Yay! I’m so glad you are doing this report.

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Yay! I’m happy that you are going to get a birthday trip to WDW and I am looking forward to meeting you!

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I’m looking forward to meeting you too!

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I love the way you tell a story. Thanks for doing a trip report.

I second what @jec4289 said about watching out for yourself. I never realized there were inclines in WS until I pushed my MIL in a wheelchair over them. You will get a workout! I think it is very nice that you are doing this for your mom.


I am worried about it. I think I’ll write about the worries tomorrow. It’s going to be a fun trip, but also a very difficult one.


What a nice birthday surprise! I’m excited to hear about your trip. Hopefully the wheelchair will mostly be an excuse for you to slow down and enjoy, rather than a hindrance to the fun.


Hi! I didn’t know you were still here!!

I think going into it with that awareness will help mitigate some of the difficulty, though.

I’ll nth the suggestion of factoring in pushing the wheelchair. In particular, the incline in WS as you move from the UK to France is…intense. Also be aware that going downhill can also be tricky. You might find yourself “walking with purpose” without having intended to!


Just lurking every once in a while. I still get the notices on our trip so I got a couple yesterday and decided to look around.

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The Worries

It’s been about a week since I said I would go on this trip to help my mom, and I was very excited at first. I fly out this Sunday, so getting everything set and ready has been a bit of a whirlwind. I’m going to Disney World! How exciting!

I only started worrying a couple of days ago, and I’m absolutely in anxiety mode right now. I’m managing it pretty well, and using all my coping strategies, but worrying is my natural state. Have you ever read the picture book Wemberley Worried by David Henkes? I’m exactly like Wemberley.

HusbandDavid has been helping by knocking down my irrational worries one by one with logic. I hope that I can get past it and have a good time. I think I will be able to. It’s nice to know that you are all here to help me. :smile:

These are my top worries right now…

What if I’ve gotten too out of shape to be as helpful as I need to be?

What if pushing the wheelchair is harder than I can imagine?

What if I can’t remain calm, nice, patient and civil with my mother? (This is a big one. I love her, but…)

What if I don’t get any sleep?

What if I get sick?

What if I don’t know as much about navigating Disney as I think I do?

What if I get kidnapped by a crazy Uber driver?

Eh. You get the picture. The rational part of my brain knows that everything will be fine. I do tend to flash into action when I’m needed. If I get tired, I’ll rest. If I get frustrated with my mom, I’ll stay quiet. If things don’t go well, I’ll deal with it. I always do. Plus, it’s only three nights. Surely I can keep it together for three nights?


I’m a worrier too, so I can totally understand your feelings. :smile: I always have anxiety before a Disney trip, with many of the same fears (getting sick, no sleep, etc). It’s hard pushing those negative thoughts out of our brains! You’re a strong person and we’ll be here for you during your trip if you need a little pep talk!:heart:

(I love Wemberly Worried!!! That’s one of DD’s books that I’ve kept.))


Thanks @scrapper1617. It’s hard work managing my worries, but I try not to let them keep me from doing things I want to do or cloud my thinking so much that I treat others badly. I think I need to come up with a strategy for when my mom makes me crazy. It’s going to be a lot of togetherness.


I’m not inherently a “worrier” (at least not about things like this), but there are some realistic concerns about being in a “caregiver” role…

Although it costs more, I HIGHLY recommend going the EVC route. Although fully mobile for day-to-day functionality, DW’s arthritis makes it impossible for her to do a full day in the parks. We tried a wheelchair once, and decided that it was better for both of us to go the EVC route. We rented each day at the park(s) and it really worked well for us. We’ve done our last two trips this way, with no significant issues. Physical effort considerations aside, if I wanted to do an attraction that she didn’t, she still had the ability to look around in a shop, find a nice location to rest, get a soda, etc. There can always be some interpersonal stress with a WDW vacation, and if you’re physically exhausted, it will only make things worse. You also have the benefit of being able to carry more on an EVC than your mother having to hold everything on her lap the whole time. Also, this might be able to give you the opportunity for a bit of “alone” time without feeling like you’ve just “parked” her somewhere…

I’m sure you know everything that you need to know about navigating WDW. You’ve been before, and have a huge knowledge base from all of your time on Lines/TP. It’s really not that hard.

Nothing says you have to use Uber. I NEVER use Uber and have never had a problem getting around.

What if you DO get sick? Your mother sounds like she is far from being a complete invalid; she’s a grown adult with professional job who just can’t walk as much as she used to; she’s not a 3 year old that you have to do everything for. Ditto for “not being able to be as helpful as you ‘need’ to be”.

I think you are lucky to be able to spend this kind of time with your mother. By the time I was situated in FL and was in a position where I COULD have taken my mother to WDW, her Alzheimer’s had progressed to a state where it was not even possible…


Thanks @bswan26. As always, you have lots of thoughtful advice.

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Wine? Margaritas?


I’m also not a worrier, but I have some logical answers:

"These are my top worries right now…

What if I’ve gotten too out of shape to be as helpful as I need to be? doesn’t matter. You can’t change that in two days, so might as well scratch that off the worry list.

What if pushing the wheelchair is harder than I can imagine? Go slower. Take more breaks. I have a friend that just got back from WDW with her husband, son, daughter, mom (in a wheel chair), dad, and sister. She said all the cast members were super helpful in getting her mom on and off rides and were very patient. Maybe let the hotel know what’s going on, that might help.

What if I can’t remain calm, nice, patient and civil with my mother? (This is a big one. I love her, but she can be like a manic toddler who pushes all of my buttons.) Be ok with taking time for yourself. Take breaks during the day. This doesn’t have to be the end all be all of trips. Doing everything (or trying) is not going to be very fun. Explore the hotel.

What if I don’t get any sleep? Take some sleeping pills and/or benedryl. Rest during the day. It’s only 3 days.

What if I get sick? Take some sleeping pills and/or benedryl. Rest during the day. It’s only 3 days.

What if I don’t know as much about navigating Disney as I think I do? Plenty of people know nothing about Disney and have great trips every year. Don’t worry about what you don’t know, focus on what you do know.

What if I get kidnapped by a crazy Uber driver? Leave him a bad review.

Just keep really low expectations. That’s what I do traveling with my kids and every time I’m impressed :).