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Old 10-04-2012, 12:05 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 493

Wilderness Lodge or Epcot area resort for first time ECV user?

Sorry this is a bit long - we are new to ECVs and I tried to give enough detail that folks would be able to respond. I have read a bunch of threads on using them in the World, and directed my parents to the boards for their own research. We found some great information. I was hoping for some opinions for our next trip on the resort choice based on transportation issues.

My father will be using an ECV for the first time on our upcoming (January) trip to Disney. On the last few trips, he has been able to join the family less and less because of mobility difficulties. He has not been using any kind of assistance such as a cane or wheelchair. Although we had suggested trying a wheelchair or ECV so he could enjoy the parks more on past trips, he just wasn't ready. On the last trip - 10 or 11 days - I would estimate that he only visited parks on 4 or 5 of the days, generally for a limited time, like a meal or fireworks. He had 10 day tickets, and we didn't think to change them to no expiration tickets, so he just basically lost the remaining days.

He has stayed on site at POFQ, CBR and Poly and is familiar with the transportation options at each, although only using them without an ECV. (I have to say - even though he spent so much of the last trip at the resort and not the parks, he really enjoyed his time by the Poly pools!) This time, however, he mentioned trying out an ECV on his own, and my mother has already reserved one for him from Apple or Walker. In case it is relevant to this thread, I can say that he chose one of the three wheeled models, as we learned from the boards that they can be easier to maneuver.

Currently, my parents have a reservation at the Swan. They have never stayed in that area, but have visited when I was at the Dolphin and the boardwalk area seems to have a lot to offer (they are looking forward to Jellyrolls, and my dad is excited about the Boardwalk Bakery). They also just find the setting pleasant there. The key benefit to staying in the Epcot area is the ability to walk/ECV to Epcot and DHS. They don't care about getting to the parks for rope drop at all, so for MK, they planned on generally just going through Epcot to take the monorail. I stayed at the Dolphin last May with my husband and son, and they used this route to visit us, so they know how long it can take. My father does not rush - in part because he really can't. They are also not going to be closing down the parks, so no concern about the monorail not running late at night to get back, or Epcot being closed during MK EMH, etc. Since my father is new to ECVs and will be using one for the first time at Disney, he wanted to use the buses as little as possible with it. If they stay at the Swan, he would then be using the bus for AK only.

My parents also think the Wilderness Lodge looks like a nice option. As an added bonus, for much of the stay, my husband and I (now with two kids) will be at BLT a boat ride away. Although they are considering WL, they would not want to choose it over Swan if they would have to use the buses exclusively. Although I know many people have reported that using ECVs on the buses isn't as scary as it may seem, for a first trip using one, he feels better knowing he has other options.

From what I can tell, there are boats that can accept ECVs and boats that cannot serving WL, so they may have to wait for a boat that can take one.

I wasn't clear on whether the water level can ever be low enough that no boat from WL can take the ECV. Can someone clarify?

One other thought is that he has a lot of difficulty boarding certain types of rides, generally where he has to step down. He can do pirates, but I know he won't even attempt Space Mountain anymore. He had a hard time getting on and off that one in the past and isn't comfortable trying again, unfortunately. The moving walkways are also a little challenging, but he still can do those with some assistance from one of us. If my father can use the boats for MK and Epcot (via monorail for Epcot) with the ECV, that will really influence their choice. Then they will just decide based on the other merits/appeal of the resorts and value.

I think they are leaning toward staying with the Swan, but please let me know if you have any helpful thoughts on this one. I have never stayed at WL, and have no direct experience with using their transportation as a first time ECV user.

By the way - I have suggested that he try using the ECVs at Target or similar in advance to get a feel for them. He is planning on riding around the Boardwalk area if they stay at the Swan before trying to use it in the parks as practice. I assume he could ride around near WL if they choose to stay there for some practice, too.

Thanks SO MUCH! Your experiences will be a great help.
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