Orlando + kid with sprained(?) ankle
April 6, 2016 8:00 AM   Subscribe

How do we enjoy Orlando when a child has a sprained ankle?

In a classic case of rouftop luck, my 5yo son got into a tussle with my 7yo not 30 minutes after arriving and Bubbe & Zeyde's house in Orlando and sprained his ankle. An x-ray at an urgent care confirmed nothing is broken; the doctor's advice was just ice, ibuprofen, rest, and hope that he bounces back quickly. It's been 48 hours and he still cannot put much weight on it. He currently has no crutches or any kind of bandage on his foot, so he's crawling around the house to get from place to place.
Of course we'd been planning on doing theme parks, going to some of the local hiking/walking/biking trails, etc. Now we're feeling trapped at the house.
We're here for another week and a half. The pool is great but not enough to keep us from going crazy. How do we get out and have fun?
posted by rouftop to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Pressed "post" too soon. If not clear, it's the 5 year old that got hurt, not the 7. I don't know if crutches are even appropriate for a 5yo in general but I'm sure he couldn't handle them for a day anyway. Things I'm wondering about: handicap placards? disability stuff at parks (feels funny for a sprained ankle, I don't want to take advantage of services that other people really need plus he doesn't look like there's anything wrong with him)? how to help him get better fast? Fun things that don't require as much walking? I don't know, whatever advice you've got in any direction. Thx.
posted by rouftop at 8:05 AM on April 6, 2016

It's been a few years since I had to do this with a friend, but many of the parks will allow you to rent wheelchairs for the day. My friend had also hurt her ankle, and we wound up renting a wheelchair for her, then we took turns pushing her around the theme parks.

The staff was generally very accommodating, and since she was decently mobile, she was able to go on a few rides, and often times, we all went up near the front of the lines, since many of the line themselves weren't wheelchair-accessible. I think Disney lets the wheelchair user and 1 adult companion go on ahead of the line, usually through the exit.
posted by PearlRose at 8:21 AM on April 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

Wheelchairs are easily available at the parks. You can take them right up to the entrance to the attractions, then help your son hobble the short additional distance into the attraction.

I don't want to take advantage of services that other people really need. What? You are the people who "really need" these services.
posted by JimN2TAW at 8:24 AM on April 6, 2016 [5 favorites]

But he does actually need the disability stuff for the moment. He can't put his full weight on his ankle. That means he can't walk on it, and not walking on it means a wheelchair for a child that age. They're not great on their own two feet most of the time; I've rarely seen a child that age using crutches. You'll probably need to elevate that foot, too, which is super easy to do in a wheelchair.

If the kid wants to go to theme parks, take him! Get the wheelchair! It'll be fine!
posted by cooker girl at 8:27 AM on April 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

Also, the disability services you're talking about using (temporary handicap parking, wheelchair rentals, going a little ahead in lines at theme parks) aren't scarce resources. It's not like you're taking away someone else's wheelchair out from under them, I promise you.
posted by cooker girl at 8:28 AM on April 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

There are a million scooter/wheelchair rental places in Orlando. I'd recommend just renting one for the time you're there to avoid cabin fever. It will be a lot cheaper then renting by the day at Disney or wherever and you can probably get a smaller one for him that will be easier to maneuver. All the theme parks are incredibly accommodating. Lots of walking trails are accessible as well.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 8:59 AM on April 6, 2016

Depending on the size of your 5 year old, other options may be buying/renting a wagon or a stroller (some parks rent bigger 'double strollers' which may work for him), my 5 yo can comfortably sit in a City Select Mini 4 wheel stroller (weight limit is 65lb) which was aprox 250$ new. Some theme parks will give you a 'stroller as wheelchair' tag which allows you to take the stroller into lineups. A wagon would allow your child to sit with his foot on a pillow, but watch for what parks allow in.

Most 'wheelchair rentals' at parks are standard adult chairs which may not be the best fit for a 5 year old. For example only, there are many providers off site who rent 'bigger strollers'. A conversation with any of the companies is probably your best bet to figure out the smallest, lightest conveyance that will work with your childs size.

If his ankle is not improving, consider a repeat trip to urgent care. Sometimes hairline fractures are not obvious on initial films, but can show up as they start to heal.

Hope your trip is awesome nonetheless!
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 11:55 AM on April 6, 2016

Get a knee walker. It's like a scooter that allows the injured leg to rest on a pad while the other leg pushes the scooter.
posted by quince at 1:39 PM on April 6, 2016

For a five-year-old old, I would probably rent a large stroller instead of a wheelchair. You can get pediatric wheelchairs, but they're not as comfortable and more expensive. Disney will give you a "stroller as wheelchair" tag at Guest Services. That means you can take the stroller any place you would be allowed to take a wheelchair. They don't send wheelchairs to the head of the line anymore: you go to the ride and they give you a return time to go through an accessible entrance (it may be the exit or the Fastpass line). So basically, you don't have less waiting time but you don't have to spend it in the actual line. I'm not sure how it works at Universal or the other parks. I broke my foot on the first day of a Disney trip and thought the vacation was ruined, but a wheelchair saved the day. Temporarily disabled isn't less deserving than permanently disabled as far as the parks are concerned.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:54 PM on April 6, 2016

We rented a stroller from a local company in Orlando-Orlando Magic strollers, maybe? Better than renting in the parks-cheaper, better stroller, and you can use it 24/7. I'd consider for an uninsured 5 year old due to the amount of walking (plus a nice place to stash your stuff)-I wouldn't hesitate to do it with a child with an injury.
posted by purenitrous at 9:15 PM on April 6, 2016

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