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Thread: Tips and Strategies for ECV/Scooter/Wheelchair Users

  1. #1
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    Tips and Strategies for ECV/Scooter/Wheelchair Users

    Due to a discussion in another thread, I thought it would be a good idea to share experiences and tips on how to navigate the parks with a mobility device--powered or not.

    I'll start off--people will not notice you. you are invisible to them. Whether it's because you're below eye level to them or not, they will run into you while they are looking off the other way. It is up to YOU to be a defensive driver/rider, and look out for others that aren't paying attention. Remember--especially with a scooter that you can do a lot of damage to a human body if you hit or run over them!

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    Here is my 2 cents...

    - If you or a member of your traveling party are new to using a mobility device and you are not sure on things like special entrances for attractions or the like, a CM will be more than happy to assist you.

    - Be patient when navigating through crowds. Like mentioned, people either wont see you or will just disregard the fact that you are in a mobility device.

    - If using Disney Buses for transportation, you may have to wait at times for a bus that can accommodate you. But they will do what they can to keep you from waiting an excessive amount of time.

    - Speaking of which, if you are new to using a mobility device, you will need to know how to navigate them in tight spots when boarding Disney transportation. The CM's are not really supposed to move them for you, mainly for liability reasons.

    - If you plan on renting an ECV and have never used one before, try practicing on a scooter at your local grocery store. They are free and will help you get the hang of it. Example - do practice backing up as you will need to do so on buses and elevators.

    - You may want to bring a large poncho around for when you need to park your scooter and there is a chance for rain.

    - If you rent a scooter - get the damage insurance. You never know what may happen.

    - Make sure you charge it every night. You can get a whole day from the batteries, but only if you plug it in all night long.

    Ok, thats more than 2 cents. The thing to remember is that Disney does a most excellent job at accommodating those who use mobility devices. If you need assistance, just ask.

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    I'm not sure about the new ECVs that Disneyland has, but at least with the old ones, the seats got REALLY HOT in summer, especially if you're wearing shorts. Bring a towel (that you don't mind losing if someone decides to swipe it or you lose it) to put on the seat so that you don't burn your skin off!

    And I would suggest practicing for a couple minutes in an open area if you're renting an ECV, so you know how fast the device goes, how the controls work, how to best maneuver, and how fast the device stops, so that WHEN (not if) you need to do all those things, you already know how to handle the machine.

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    Make sure you know where accessible viewing areas are located. Fantasmic! has special viewing areas, as do the parades.

    Be aware, kids dart quickly, and they aren't thinking about the ECV user. They WILL run in front of you, be prepared to stop every second.

    Don't expect it to be a FOTL pass. Sometimes the lines are shorter, usually they are longer. Understand that due to evacuation reason, they are limited on the number of HA groups (generally 6) on the entire ride at one time. So, while stand by may be walk on, you may wait 10-30 mins. Also know, if the line for POTC is in front of the store, its about a 30 min wait, and if it is down by the gumbo place, it is closer to 60. And on rides that are accessible (whole or partially) you do get to wait in the accessible portion. An example is Matterhorn. You get in the regular line, until you reach the gate that has the wheelchair on it (just past the exit gate). Don't get upset when the CM asks "Did you wait in the line?"

    What works best for us? Don't try and stay together. Pick a place and say "Let's meet at ..." My kids and I do this. Where are we headed? OK, I will meet them there. Why? It is easier for them to get through the crowds and it takes all of us longer if they try and stay beside me.

    Planning 3 trips at once...

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    If you are using your mobility device to save steps, but are able to stand in line, be prepared to park the scooter with the strollers. If you ask a CM for advice, they will persistently suggest you use the HCA entrance/line. If you use the scooter to ride up to the fastpass distribution for Space Mountain and a CM will likely approach to tell you where the HCA entrance is.

    Also, be aware that in an uncrowded situation you can move faster in a scooter than the people walking can comfortably keep up (particularly after a long day at the parks). So slow it down for them.

    In a crowd (such as after a parade) you will need to be extra vigilent about not bumping into people, because you don't have brakes! It might be best, in those situations, to wait a while and let the crowd thin out.

    If the folks with you are unacustomed to touring with a person in an ECV, you may want to have a chat with them at the beginning of the day about some of the particulars. Ask them to sit down or get closer to your level so they don't have group discussions over your head, leaving you unable to participate.

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    Thank you for starting this thread. Toocherie, I did not want to take over the other thread. I use the scooters in the grocery stores and I had used it last October at Disneyland. The lines were alot longer at that time. I have learned to watch out for people darting in front of me, especially kids and just yell out watch out buddy or cutie in a friendly tone. I think I am extra sensitive to this since I was hit by a car and don't want to hit others. I believe most people are oblivious to those of us in ECV's and are in their own world. Malcon gave me tips on where to view the fireworks from I pointed out in the other thread that I was just so frustrated by these Japanese tourists, who saw me, and heard me ask them not to stand in front of me, and then continued to do so.

    I just find it scary riding in the crowds at Disneyland. I want to be there, and I had my friend with me, so that helped. But it was very claustrophobic, which I just have to learn to deal with!

    Siggy aka Jill

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    Quote Originally Posted by SigalTchelet View Post
    I pointed out in the other thread that I was just so frustrated by these Japanese tourists, who saw me, and heard me ask them not to stand in front of me, and then continued to do so.
    Well, just giving them the benefit of the doubt--maybe they didn't speak English and didn't understand what you were asking? (I don't know if ECV's are common in Japan--I would think not)

    We all get frustrated at one point or another. Was someone with you? I might have involved a CM at that juncture--otherwise, Mal's tips on getting close to the rope/fence/etc. so no one can stand in front of you I believe is the best advice. There are always going to be rude people--unintentionally or not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toocherie View Post
    Well, just giving them the benefit of the doubt--maybe they didn't speak English and didn't understand what you were asking? (I don't know if ECV's are common in Japan--I would think not)

    We all get frustrated at one point or another. Was someone with you? I might have involved a CM at that juncture--otherwise, Mal's tips on getting close to the rope/fence/etc. so no one can stand in front of you I believe is the best advice. There are always going to be rude people--unintentionally or not.
    True, there will always be rude people. They understood because they sat first, when I asked them and then stood up right in front of me. I did not think to ask a CM. I guess you live and learn! I will definitely heed Mal's advice next time!
    Siggy aka Jill

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    Quote Originally Posted by codewoman View Post
    In a crowd (such as after a parade) you will need to be extra vigilent about not bumping into people, because you don't have brakes! It might be best, in those situations, to wait a while and let the crowd thin out.
    This is what we usually do. It is so much easier if you just hang out for 5 mins and let the crowd thin out. Also, don't try heading into known congested areas unless you really need to. We all know, after the fireworks, people are going to be cramming into Frontierland. Unless you really plan to get to Fantasmic!, just hang back, relax, chat with your friends, and let the crowds head out.
    Planning 3 trips at once...

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    Yeah, I did wait a few minutes before moving on. Fantasmic was not running when we were there, but I am going to pay for the premium viewing for it in October and then watch the 2nd Fireworks from there, so I don't have to fight with the crowds so much. Have any of you done the premium viewing for Fantasmic in the scooter?

    Siggy aka Jill

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    They ask you to park the scooter and walk to your seat if at all possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SigalTchelet View Post
    Have any of you done the premium viewing for Fantasmic in the scooter?
    Yes. If you want to be close to the scooter, you will need to be in the Tower C section. You will need to park and walk to the seat (usually less than 20-30 feet), but you can park the scooter in the Tower C area. If you select Tower B areas, you will need to park the scooter outside the viewing area (there are 2-3 steps to go down.)
    Planning 3 trips at once...

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    Thanks everyone.

    Siggy aka Jill

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    DCA is great because it is completely accessible, so you can use the lines with your friends and family. The walkways are nice and wide.

    Allow the turnstile CMs time to see you. They are generally looking at the groups walking through, and they may think the other CM is handling your group. If you have waited and it seems like you are being ignored, remember, they may not have realized you were waiting. Say excuse me and smile at them.

    Planning 3 trips at once...

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    For some 4 years now the only way for me to get thru DL or WDW is in a scooter and I'm much more tired at the end of the day then those who are walking in my group... always needing to be watching and stopping on a dime to miss people that run right in front of you is very upsetting and tiring.... I don't get to talk to my group nor be close to them because it's too hard moving and missing people..the other guest in the park well they just don't see you nor care that your there I can count in an hour how many people have hit me in the head with something they are caring.... they think you can dodge them which is not the case... I know in WDW the bus always puts the scooters on first and you hear others in line mad they have to wait for you.... i don't think there is a person in a chair that wouldn't rather be walking then in a scooter/wheelchair so sad that people don't understand that...


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    Since my BFF and I are taking her 11 year old niece this year. I like Malcont's idea of splitting up. I may have to send them with fps to go on Ghost Galaxy. Last year, even during the Fireworks, the handicapped line was really long. I will let them do their own thing while I wait in the line.

    Siggy aka Jill

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    It all worked out for me this past month. We did F! and I was able to stay in the scooter. I definitely had to be a defensive driver, as the crowds were large. I am going back in February, since we figured there will be rain and hopefully lighter crowds. I will wear a poncho. Anything I should do to protect the scooter?

    Siggy aka Jill

  19. #18
    Happiness is that smile MammaSilva's Avatar
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    I carry tall kitchen trash bags to cover the tiller and to cover the electronics under the seat. For the seat itself, (mine has fabric not plastic) a poncho works well.

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  20. #19
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    if/when you park your evc with the strollers be prepared to move some strollers out of the way to get your scooter out. learned this one the hard way, if you park out off the way some where else and when you get of the ride and your ecv isn't there go look in the strollers. the cms wil move them over.
    lastly if you rent a disney ecv, and this has happend to use. some one will get off a ride and take yours by mistake. (keep your rental paperwork with you) go to the rental shop and the cms will take care of you.

    Last edited by hossdawn; 10-29-2010 at 12:14 AM.
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