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Old 06-29-2014, 08:37 PM   #1
whitney250
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Tips for a new ECV user?

We are going to WDW for the first time ever in October, so we have no idea what it will be like once we are at the parks (even though we are doing tons of research). We are bringing my grandmother with us and she may need to use an ECV at times because her COPD and asthma wear her out. She is a big worrier, and I am concerned about her being able to load on a bus, monorail, etc. I don't want her panicking or anything like that. Can anyone give me tips to kind of help her out and make her more comfortable with the ECV?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-29-2014, 08:48 PM   #2
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Meet the delivery person dropping off the ecv. Have them show her how to use it, back up, speed controls, parking etc.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:03 PM   #3
whitney250
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Originally Posted by Gracie09 View Post
Meet the delivery person dropping off the ecv. Have them show her how to use it, back up, speed controls, parking etc.
Thanks! I definitely think that will give her more confidence! She's needed them in the past on other vacations, but would never get one because she was afraid she would run someone over.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:17 PM   #4
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Have her go to a local big box store (Target, Wal Mart or grocery) to practice before you leave. It will help her learn how to use it before you leave.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:38 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by powellrj View Post
Have her go to a local big box store (Target, Wal Mart or grocery) to practice before you leave. It will help her learn how to use it before you leave.
That's a great idea! Thank you!
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Old 06-30-2014, 07:22 AM   #6
JenniBugInPink
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The more times she can use one, the more comfortable she wil be, so if she can go with family to those stores, grocery stores, etc. and practice repeatedly, it will really help. Having people jump in front of her once she gets used to driving will help her get used to stopping quickly, which is the skill she'll use most at WDW.
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I look perfectly healthy, but I MUST use a scooter/ECV. I won't run into you unless you complain about it.


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Old 06-30-2014, 07:32 AM   #7
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I think you should be prepared to help her with the scooter when necessary. Loading a scooter on and off the bus or whatever is not easy and it may be better if someone else in your party did it for her. Practicing at the local store won't prepare anyone for this situation. You will probably have to give her a boost on and off the bus, as well. There are some rides that are awkward with the scooter like Soarin' in Epcot. You actually have to do the scooter on an elevator to get to the level of the ride.

Another hard time with the scooter is getting it in and out of the resort room. Again, it may be better for someone else to do this for her.

If you can go to a local zoo for a day with grandma included then you can rent a scooter there and get in a good practice day before going to Disney. You can see for yourself that this will be doable or not at Disney for her. The local zoo will still be easier than doing Disney.

The park challenge with a scooter is how invisible the scooter is to everyone else. They will step out in front of the scooter with no consideration to the scooter driver. You can safe guard somewhat against this by surrounding your grandmother on all sides. If you have enough in your party it would be great to have someone in front of the scooter leading the group and people on her sides and one in back. You become her eyes and you can give verbal commands to stop or whatever if necessary.

We used all these techniques when we took my MIL and she was 87 at the time. One funny story I will share, here. My MIL seemed to want to rub her nose a lot. Well, every time she did it she would let go of the scooter handle and the scooter would stop. She never did catch on to this problem; so, we would pay attention and tell her to keep her hand on the throttle at all times when moving.

You need to shut the scooter off every time you are at a show, parade, or fireworks. You want to conserve the battery power especially if you plan on longer days in the park. Keep the battery charger with the scooter; there's a pouch for it. If you run out of charge there are places in the park where you can charge it if necessary. This will take a while if it becomes necessary. The scooter has a charge indicator. Make sure you are checking it every hour or so; so, you know it still has enough power left. There is a manual lever usually in the back and towards the bottom of the scooter where you can put it in manual mode which is easier to push if necessary.

Each night you need to charge the battery all night; so, the scooter has power to run the next day. Don't take this for granted and don't depend on your grandma to remember or know how to do this.

If this all becomes overwhelming to her you may have to consider going to a manual wheelchair and pushing her.

Last edited by Bete; 06-30-2014 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 06-30-2014, 08:19 AM   #8
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A couple of other suggestions -

The speed control is the most important thing to know about. It will be a lever or knob and will be marked to show the maximum speed for that setting. Most of the time it will be a rabbit for faster and turtle for slower.
The biggest problem my family has seen in the parks is people traveling at too high a speed, so be sure you know where turtle is and use it when she needs more control.

Another important control to know about is freewheel. This allows you to put the ECV into a setting where it can be pushed and will not be powered. That is helpful if you get into a situation that she can't out of. It's also helpful to know how to put it back in because CM's often put it into freewheel to move it while you were in an attraction. If you find it doesn't work when you come out it may be that they didn't correctly get it back into gear.

Before leaving your resort, make sure she is very confident in backing, going forward, stopping and turning both going forward and backward. The more comfortable she is doing those things the easier it will be for her.

Even though she is the driver, she does not have to be the one to put the ECV I am the bus. Someone else in your party can drive it on if they feel more comfortable, or you can put it into three wheel and push it on. Just be sure it's back in gear before being tied down on the bus.

Anytime she is stopped for more than a short time, it should be turned off. That will not only save the battery, but will also help prevent accidental movement.

The last hint I have is that not all parks are as easy to maneuver in as others. Most people find Magic Kingdom is the hardest because it is small spaces, lots of people and lots of children. So that might not be the best park to start in.
Epcot seems to be the easiest part for most people because there are less small children and the walkways are much wider.
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bete View Post
I think you should be prepared to help her with the scooter when necessary. Loading a scooter on and off the bus or whatever is not easy and it may be better if someone else in your party did it for her. Practicing at the local store won't prepare anyone for this situation. You will probably have to give her a boost on and off the bus, as well. There are some rides that are awkward with the scooter like Soarin' in Epcot. You actually have to do the scooter on an elevator to get to the level of the ride. Another hard time with the scooter is getting it in and out of the resort room. Again, it may be better for someone else to do this for her. If you can go to a local zoo for a day with grandma included then you can rent a scooter there and get in a good practice day before going to Disney. You can see for yourself that this will be doable or not at Disney for her. The local zoo will still be easier than doing Disney. The park challenge with a scooter is how invisible the scooter is to everyone else. They will step out in front of the scooter with no consideration to the scooter driver. You can safe guard somewhat against this by surrounding your grandmother on all sides. If you have enough in your party it would be great to have someone in front of the scooter leading the group and people on her sides and one in back. You become her eyes and you can give verbal commands to stop or whatever if necessary. We used all these techniques when we took my MIL and she was 87 at the time. One funny story I will share, here. My MIL seemed to want to rub her nose a lot. Well, every time she did it she would let go of the scooter handle and the scooter would stop. She never did catch on to this problem; so, we would pay attention and tell her to keep her hand on the throttle at all times when moving. You need to shut the scooter off every time you are at a show, parade, or fireworks. You want to conserve the battery power especially if you plan on longer days in the park. Keep the battery charger with the scooter; there's a pouch for it. If you run out of charge there are places in the park where you can charge it if necessary. This will take a while if it becomes necessary. The scooter has a charge indicator. Make sure you are checking it every hour or so; so, you know it still has enough power left. There is a manual lever usually in the back and towards the bottom of the scooter where you can put it in manual Mose which is easier to push if necessary. Each night you need to charge the battery all night; so, the scooter has power to run the next day. Don't take this for granted and don't depend on your grandma to remember or know how to do this. If this becomes overwhelming to her you may have to consider going to a manual wheelchair and pushing her.
Thank you! I can definitely help her load and unload, I was just afraid the bus drivers may not let me for some reason. She's a pretty spunky 73 year old, and she wants to try the parks without it on the first day, but I just want her to be comfortable, I don't want her to wear herself out at the beginning of the trip. I can definitely see my grandma doing what your MIL did! We are going to visit her this week, we will definitely take her to the stores to practice!
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitney250 View Post
Thank you! I can definitely help her load and unload, I was just afraid the bus drivers may not let me for some reason. She's a pretty spunky 73 year old, and she wants to try the parks without it on the first day, but I just want her to be comfortable, I don't want her to wear herself out at the beginning of the trip. I can definitely see my grandma doing what your MIL did! We are going to visit her this week, we will definitely take her to the stores to practice!
For the whole first trip I rented an ECV offsite, I made my husband drive it on the bus because everybody was staring and in a hurry (ECVs load 1st) and just made me crazy nervous. Husband couldn't care less what others think, and he took it on like a pro. Now I've got lots of experience, and I drive on myself.

Sent from my iPad using DISBoards
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I have an immunodeficiency disorder, and Sjogren's Syndrome w/ rheumatoid arthritis pain, anemia, and Stage III/IV kidney failure.
I look perfectly healthy, but I MUST use a scooter/ECV. I won't run into you unless you complain about it.


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Old 06-30-2014, 11:21 AM   #11
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One thing to know if she practices at home in grocery stores/other stores with scooters is that usually they have the slowest and least maneuverable scooters possible. The good news is, if she gets comfortable maneuvering one of those, an offsite rental scooter will be much easier. The bad news is that trying one that slow and difficult might be discouraging. I'd just keep encouraging her and point out that a rental at WDW will be easier to use. If there's a zoo or theme park near home that rents scooters, they're more likely to have ones similar to the WDW park rentals (but still probably harder to maneuver than most of the offsite rentals).
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Old 06-30-2014, 11:59 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by SueM in MN View Post
A couple of other suggestions - The speed control is the most important thing to know about. It will be a lever or knob and will be marked to show the maximum speed for that setting. Most of the time it will be a rabbit for faster and turtle for slower. The biggest problem my family has seen in the parks is people traveling at too high a speed, so be sure you know where turtle is and use it when she needs more control. Another important control to know about is freewheel. This allows you to put the ECV into a setting where it can be pushed and will not be powered. That is helpful if you get into a situation that she can't out of. It's also helpful to know how to put it back in because CM's often put it into freewheel to move it while you were in an attraction. If you find it doesn't work when you come out it may be that they didn't correctly get it back into gear. Before leaving your resort, make sure she is very confident in backing, going forward, stopping and turning both going forward and backward. The more comfortable she is doing those things the easier it will be for her. Even though she is the driver, she does not have to be the one to put the ECV I am the bus. Someone else in your party can drive it on if they feel more comfortable, or you can put it into three wheel and push it on. Just be sure it's back in gear before being tied down on the bus. Anytime she is stopped for more than a short time, it should be turned off. That will not only save the battery, but will also help prevent accidental movement. The last hint I have is that not all parks are as easy to maneuver in as others. Most people find Magic Kingdom is the hardest because it is small spaces, lots of people and lots of children. So that might not be the best park to start in. Epcot seems to be the easiest part for most people because there are less small children and the walkways are much wider.
Thank you! We are staying at the Contemporary, so I'm hoping the only time we will need to load it on a bus is the day we are going to AK and HS. Can she just drive straight on to the monorail? I will definitely be sure we slow it down in busy areas, (G-ma has a lead foot and tends to like to go fast ) so that she will not run anyone over.
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Old 06-30-2014, 12:04 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by JenniBugInPink View Post
For the whole first trip I rented an ECV offsite, I made my husband drive it on the bus because everybody was staring and in a hurry (ECVs load 1st) and just made me crazy nervous. Husband couldn't care less what others think, and he took it on like a pro. Now I've got lots of experience, and I drive on myself. Sent from my iPad using DISBoards
Good to know! I have no problem loading for her, I don't care if people stare and get impatient with me, but I do know it would make her nervous. We always give her pep talks because she tends to discourage herself, but we can normally boost her confidence
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Old 06-30-2014, 12:06 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by WheeledTraveler View Post
One thing to know if she practices at home in grocery stores/other stores with scooters is that usually they have the slowest and least maneuverable scooters possible. The good news is, if she gets comfortable maneuvering one of those, an offsite rental scooter will be much easier. The bad news is that trying one that slow and difficult might be discouraging. I'd just keep encouraging her and point out that a rental at WDW will be easier to use. If there's a zoo or theme park near home that rents scooters, they're more likely to have ones similar to the WDW park rentals (but still probably harder to maneuver than most of the offsite rentals).
Thanks! We rented a three wheel ECV because it looked much easier to handle. I will be sure to let her know those are much more difficult than the one she will have!
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Old 06-30-2014, 06:09 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by whitney250 View Post
Thank you! We are staying at the Contemporary, so I'm hoping the only time we will need to load it on a bus is the day we are going to AK and HS. Can she just drive straight on to the monorail? I will definitely be sure we slow it down in busy areas, (G-ma has a lead foot and tends to like to go fast ) so that she will not run anyone over.
For the monorail you need to be in the handicap line/area to board. The Disney cast member will get a ramp; so, the scooter can be driven on. There will be others using the handicap cars, too. I would try not to load the scooter on; unless, you are the first one in the monorail. Also, keep in mind you might miss the first monorail; because, all the sections of the monorail are not scooter friendly. Don't let your party get split up; stay together.

Another thought is that the scooter has to be driven like a wheelchair; you need to go where there are ramps. MK seems to have a lot of curbs where it would be dangerous for the scooter to go over it and you could damage the scooter, too. The navigator has to remember to go where it is safe for the scooter.

If your grandma goes the first day walking and she starts getting tired remember you can rent in the park for a day either a scooter or wheelchair. The average walking done by a Disney guest is 6 miles a day. Some folks go as much as 12 miles in a day. Fortunately, it's not constant walking at the parks. Try to mix up the schedule by taking in a ride, then a show, then another ride and then a snack or meal and so forth. You want rest periods; so, she can catch her breadth.
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