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Old 10-14-2014, 09:31 PM   #1
peyjenk
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Maneuvering an ECV in the parks?

My folks and I are going to WDW in February. My father has some mobility issues, and so we will be renting an ECV from an off-site company for him to use during our stay. This will be the first time he has used one. He can walk short distances, but steps and long distances are hard for him.

My question is: how do we handle rides, or restaurants that do not have room to permit an ECV? Is there ECV "parking" that we can take advantage of? Any tips?
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Old 10-14-2014, 10:12 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by peyjenk View Post
My folks and I are going to WDW in February. My father has some mobility issues, and so we will be renting an ECV from an off-site company for him to use during our stay. This will be the first time he has used one. He can walk short distances, but steps and long distances are hard for him.

My question is: how do we handle rides, or restaurants that do not have room to permit an ECV? Is there ECV "parking" that we can take advantage of? Any tips?
You just park the ECV near the strollers and take the key. Sometimes a cast member needs to move strollers and ECV's if they're blocking traffic, but there's a lever on the back of the ECV so it can be moved manually.

Most of the rides are mainstreamed, meaning your father can ride his ECV right through the line and park it before boarding a ride. Sometimes a cast member will move the ECV around to the exit for him. If you have any questions, a CM at each ride will be happy to assist. They love to tell people where to go.
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Old 10-15-2014, 07:31 AM   #3
peyjenk
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Originally Posted by jdb in AZ View Post
You just park the ECV near the strollers and take the key. Sometimes a cast member needs to move strollers and ECV's if they're blocking traffic, but there's a lever on the back of the ECV so it can be moved manually. Most of the rides are mainstreamed, meaning your father can ride his ECV right through the line and park it before boarding a ride. Sometimes a cast member will move the ECV around to the exit for him. If you have any questions, a CM at each ride will be happy to assist. They love to tell people where to go.
Thank you so much. This is super helpful!
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Old 10-15-2014, 07:33 AM   #4
Betty Rohrer
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I would plan on him taking ECV with him in line as it gives him a place to sit as he waits. there are a few rides that you have to switch to a wheelchair that are there for your use. one ride that has a separate load area that does not use steps is TSMM and because of using special cars it does take longer to get on ride
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Old 10-15-2014, 08:04 AM   #5
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So, how does TSMM work for someone like OP's dad who can transfer (wouldn't need a special car). Would he just ride his ECV in and they would work him in when it would be his turn in line or is there not somewhere to leave the ECV?

Dear OP, thanks for asking this, my dad is in the same boat.
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Old 10-15-2014, 10:59 AM   #6
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So, how does TSMM work for someone like OP's dad who can transfer (wouldn't need a special car). Would he just ride his ECV in and they would work him in when it would be his turn in line or is there not somewhere to leave the ECV?

Dear OP, thanks for asking this, my dad is in the same boat.
The ECV user enters the same line ( standby or fp) as anyone else. At a specific point there is a detour to the HA line. It is completely separate from that point, from the regular lines. At the HA boarding point there is parking space for ECVs or wheelchairs for those who can board independently. Off loading occurs at the same place.

The ECV user can bring his party with him if they will all fit in one car. If you are a larger party it is courteous to split up, with the rest of the party using the regular lines, since there are a limited number of cars for the HA line, and the wait can be quite long.
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Old 10-15-2014, 11:16 AM   #7
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If your dad is inexperienced with ECV's, I would also encourage him to try some before leaving home. If in a grocery store, use theirs, etc... Navigating thru crowds can be tricky for even experienced riders. Just think how Fantasyland gets during the day or Main St. near parade or nighttime shows. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to go to a park other than Magic Kingdom first, where the concentration of people isn't as great.
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Old 10-15-2014, 11:46 AM   #8
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Cast Members are pretty good at seeing you coming and directing you where to park. Some have a line that is designed to take you all the way till you board.
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Old 10-15-2014, 11:48 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by tina.tina View Post
So, how does TSMM work for someone like OP's dad who can transfer (wouldn't need a special car). Would he just ride his ECV in and they would work him in when it would be his turn in line or is there not somewhere to leave the ECV?

Dear OP, thanks for asking this, my dad is in the same boat.
The nice thing about the fact that ECV's are sometimes handled differently at different attractions is that there's almost always a CM stationed outside who'll spot your party, ask if you can transfer, and then let you know what the procedure is for that attraction.

While it's always good to know the procedures and be prepared in advance, it's also good to know you don't have to stress out that you're going to be up the proverbial creek if you don't have every single one memorized or forget them in the rush of the moment.
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Old 10-18-2014, 10:44 PM   #10
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In EPCOT they have tightened the curves in the waiting area for Finding Nemo, the Sea pavilion. They are really bad and it is dark in there. I am not sure the ride is worth the stress of the turns. Next time we ride, I am going to go in the general exit instead to see the fish. It is level and has electric doors. I intend to tell Disney that waiting area is impossible without doing three point turns in a four wheel ECV. It was tough on a three wheeler.

Also the Trolley tracks in MK are a good trap for ECV's Stay on the sidewalk if possible.

Have fun.
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Old 10-19-2014, 06:44 AM   #11
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To gain confidence with a scooter and be more prepared for WDW it would be nice to hit a zoo back home and practice there before going. Most zoos have scooters to rent. The grocery store scooters are actually harder to use then the ones at Disney.

Sometimes, we have helped scooter newbies by taking over some tasks. For example, getting a scooter in and out of a Disney bus. Also, at restaurants we would drop off the person very close to the door and someone else would park the scooter. For the Soarin ride in Epcot which you need to use an elevator to get to the ride we would take over on the scooter, as well.

You need to decide on a three wheel or 4 wheel scooter. This can be a hard choice. Most feel a 4 wheel scooter is more stable and has less possibility of tipping over. A 3 wheel scooter will take turns better like in ride queues, but they can tip over more easily. This is not a common occurrence, but it can happen especially if you go too fast.

You want to conserve the battery on the scooter. When doing a parade, show, fireworks and so forth the scooter should be turned off. Even in long ride lines it's a good idea to shut the scooter off. It's more than likely you may have to be a watch guard in this regard. Keep an eye on the battery gage to make sure you have enough power through the day. Take your charger to the park. Make sure you charge your scooter battery with a full charge each night.

Scooters don't like rain. Make sure you take cover if this happens.

Be very careful with the scooter and use the wheelchair ramps everywhere. Don't put him in harm's way by going down a curb and he is following you. This is especially important around the MK castle area. It can be hard to see these ramps with big crowds all around. Someone should lead who pays attention to all of this.

You need to get use to people darting out at you as you tour the park with the scooter. You have to stop fast sometimes to avoid hurting someone especially a child. Everybody gets caught in the magic of Disney and forgets to look around sometimes.

It's cheaper to rent from an offsite scooter company. You get to use the scooter around the resort, too. You do need to get the scooter in and out of the resort room each day. He may need help doing this like someone holding the door or even riding the scooter in and out of the room for him. If you are using a car back and forth from the parks then you can keep the scooter in the car if you don't need it for the resort and just take the battery and charger with you each night into the room. If you have a handicap placard then use it and you can get a closer/better parking spot at the parks.
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Old 10-19-2014, 07:04 AM   #12
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See my responses in red.

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Originally Posted by Bete View Post
You need to decide on a three wheel or 4 wheel scooter. This can be a hard choice. Most feel a 4 wheel scooter is more stable and has less possibility of tipping over. A 3 wheel scooter will take turns better like in ride queues, but they can tip over more easily. This is not a common occurrence, but it can happen especially if you go too fast.
A 4-wheeler has more foot room if that is needed. I personally found the 3-wheeler the best, and I never felt unsafe in it. I found it manoeuvred all the hairpin turns in queues, as well.

You want to conserve the battery on the scooter. When doing a parade, show, fireworks and so forth the scooter should be turned off. Even in long ride lines it's a good idea to shut the scooter off. It's more than likely you may have to be a watch guard in this regard. Keep an eye on the battery gage to make sure you have enough power through the day. Take your charger to the park. Make sure you charge your scooter battery with a full charge each night.
Drive the scooter into the room and plug it in, only unplugging it the following day when you're about to go out. Make sure you have a first floor room if you're at a resort without an elevator.

Scooters don't like rain. Make sure you take cover if this happens.
This isn't always possible or practical. Put a showercap or plastic bag over the console and that should help protect it. I got caught in a torrential downpour this year, and even after putting a plastic bag over the consoles it died halfway round World Showcase. There was no way we could shelter from the rain - first of all we had to get to our restaurant reservation, and secondly it could have continued to rain for the rest of the night! What would you do, then?

Be very careful with the scooter and use the wheelchair ramps everywhere. Don't put him in harm's way by going down a curb and he is following you. This is especially important around the MK castle area. It can be hard to see these ramps with big crowds all around. Someone should lead who pays attention to all of this.
Agreed. What doesn't help, of course, is that people like to stand on the ramps in groups to chat!

You need to get use to people darting out at you as you tour the park with the scooter. You have to stop fast sometimes to avoid hurting someone especially a child. Everybody gets caught in the magic of Disney and forgets to look around sometimes.
They don't forget to look round. They glance back, see you - and then decide that they absolutely HAVE to get to the other side of you immediately!

It's cheaper to rent from an offsite scooter company. You get to use the scooter around the resort, too. You do need to get the scooter in and out of the resort room each day. He may need help doing this like someone holding the door or even riding the scooter in and out of the room for him. If you are using a car back and forth from the parks then you can keep the scooter in the car if you don't need it for the resort and just take the battery and charger with you each night into the room.
No! First of all, I wouldn't recommend leaving a scooter in a car overnight, even in Disney. Secondly, most scooters have the charging point on the tiller and the batteries are in the back. Also, the batteries are extremely heavy, and I for one would not have wanted to lug them back to the room to charge them even if it had been possible! You could find the car park a bit of a walk from your room, apart from anything else.

If you have a handicap placard then use it and you can get a closer/better parking spot at the parks.
Even if you don't, if you tell the CM directing you where to park that you have a scooter in the back, he'll direct you to somewhere very close to the entrance (although not actually a blue bay) to park it in. At EPCOT I was row 5 and at AK I was row 2.
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Old 10-19-2014, 07:23 AM   #13
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I now have severe COPD and become VERY short of breath walking. I will be picking up my first ECV a week from today. I am very nervous. I have rented from Buena Vista scooters. I am 128 lbs so I think their standard Pride scooter will be fine. I very much appreciate the info on this thread. I have a few follow up questions.
I expect long days, especially in Epcot during F & W. Do you think I will be okay with battery life?
I have read, and asked the rep on the phone, about the problems of traveling in the rain. I was planning a poncho to cover the seat while on attractions, but now I see about a bag to cover the console. Toffeewoffy what did you do when your ECV died in the rain? I wouldn't be able to push it, and probably not even walk back to my room. This worries me a lot.
I had read about the trolley tracks in the MK. Any other specific park hazards?
We are staying at BCV and I plan on spending a bit of time in the parking lot practicing before heading to any park. I am worried about getting on the bus to MK and AK. Any tricks?
Thanks in Advance!
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Old 10-19-2014, 07:52 AM   #14
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We find it much easier to do the battery in and out of the car for charging rather than taking the whole scooter out of the car. Most of the time you need two people to take a scooter in and out of a car; unless, you are very strong. This is time consuming, too; because, you have to put it together again and then you need to get the scooter in and out of the room and then you have to take it apart again to go back in the car. What comes out has to go back into the trunk of a car. You can ask for a room near the parking lot which will be less travel for bringing the battery in and out. We use a piece of luggage to carry the battery back and forth to the car. The charger goes to the battery and then you plug into a socket. I haven't seen any with a connection to the tiller to charge the battery. We have rented for many years. Also, you have a lot more room without the entire scooter in the resort room. Everyone has their preferences, but one way or the other is not wrong; it's whatever works best for you. If you don't use a car then you have to take the entire scooter in and out of the resort room.

We never have found a problem finding cover for the scooter when it's about to rain. Get the weather report each day to be prepared. We will do inside attractions when it looks like rain is coming. This is not to say using a poncho or shower cap to protect the tiller is not a good idea. We prefer being inside somewhere when rain is happening. Once in a while you might be caught in a parade or fireworks and then it's difficult to take cover with all the crowds around you.

Last edited by Bete; 10-19-2014 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 10-19-2014, 09:10 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopefully View Post
I now have severe COPD and become VERY short of breath walking. I will be picking up my first ECV a week from today. I am very nervous. I have rented from Buena Vista scooters. I am 128 lbs so I think their standard Pride scooter will be fine. I very much appreciate the info on this thread. I have a few follow up questions.
I expect long days, especially in Epcot during F & W. Do you think I will be okay with battery life?
I have read, and asked the rep on the phone, about the problems of traveling in the rain. I was planning a poncho to cover the seat while on attractions, but now I see about a bag to cover the console. Toffeewoffy what did you do when your ECV died in the rain? I wouldn't be able to push it, and probably not even walk back to my room. This worries me a lot.
I had read about the trolley tracks in the MK. Any other specific park hazards?
We are staying at BCV and I plan on spending a bit of time in the parking lot practicing before heading to any park. I am worried about getting on the bus to MK and AK. Any tricks?
Thanks in Advance!
When my ECV died, security helped me get it under cover in the small arcade in the French pavilion. Once there, DD and I were brought new ponchos as both had ripped, and a nice umbrella. They offered to fetch a wheelchair, but I thought it was unfair for DD to push me in the rain and I didn't want to have to propel myself. In the end, the scooter started again and we set off again. Sadly it died again not 20 feet from the arcade. Rather than take it back (by slipping the clutch) I decided to take it with. It proved impossible for me to push as they're designed to only freewheel for about a yard or two before an autobrake kicks in (stops them running away when out of gear).

I was really getting upset and desperate by this time: DD had decided to run on ahead to try and get to Coral Reef as we were now late for our ADR. Luckily two young men came and offered to help as they were on a scavenge hunt. They took the scooter to the UK pavilion for me and got the scooter under cover. I took the key with me, but asked them to take it to the scooter rental place and said I'd have Sun Mobility collect it in the morning. I did the rest of the evening on my walking stick. Luckily it had stopped raining when we came out of Coral Reef, and if they hadn't closed early that night I might have considered going back to retrieve the scooter.

Regarding getting on the bus, that's easy these days. Most of the buses now use a ramp rather than the old high-up ones with the lift. Just park yourself in the white rectangle at the relevant bus stop, and when the bus you want comes along they will open the rear door, drop the ramp and wait for you to drive up into the bus. If you can park your own scooter, you can do so, but I preferred to drive to the right place, get off and let them take it out of gear and manhandle it into position before strapping it down. You then sit in the spaces reserved for wheelchair/scooter riders and families and the driver will then go and open the front door so everyone else can get on.
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