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Old 02-10-2013, 08:00 AM   #1
Bearybear
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How hard is it to use EVC?

I've never used one before, but now that I'm suffering from back problems, I'll need one for our next trip. I've never used one before. I'm wondering how hard is it to get used to? Especially getting on and off the buses, as that is worrying me.

Also, I know some rides you can take the EVC in the queue, but others, like Big Thunder Mtn. Railroad has steps. Do these rides have a way to use the EVC? And is it difficult to figure out, or will the CM help?

Thanks.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:28 AM   #2
Bete
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First, learn to use a scooter for free in your local grocery store and such. Those scooters are actually harder than the one you will be using at Disney; because, it's bulkier. Next, you may want to go a local zoo or similar and rent a scooter there for a day to get in some real practice.

Most people adjust to a scooter with a little practice. One of the hard parts at Disney is the crowds and the darting everyone does there. Adults, as well as, children, will dart right in front of your scooter and you have to be fast to stop. Sometimes, you can see this coming and you can react better, but most everyone goes through some close calls, here.

The bus situation is not something you can really practice; until, you get to Disney. We find this to be the most difficult. My best advice, here is start off by going during non-peak periods; so, you can get use to it. At first, we have lifted the scooter at times into place on the bus; it's pretty tight to get it into place on the bus. We've been lucky that we had help to do this part. Worse to worse, you just keep turning the scooter until you get it into place. One good thing is you are allowed to board first on the bus with a scooter and that helps not having more people on the bus. It takes time, but most people learn and it gets better every time you do it.

As far as the parks use the Disney disability guide and you will know which rides accept a scooter all the way to the ride. On some rides you are offered to transfer to a wheelchair. You can do your homework ahead of time, here; so, you will know in advance how it will all work.

With back issues you may want to read the caution signs of the rides very carefully; so, you can make sure the ride itself doesn't hurt your back. Maybe, go to u-tube to see the rides in action; so, you get an idea of what rides you can handle. You can send away for a Disney vacation DVD that may help in this regard, too.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:08 AM   #3
gjl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bete View Post

With back issues you may want to read the caution signs of the rides very carefully; so, you can make sure the ride itself doesn't hurt your back. Maybe, go to u-tube to see the rides in action; so, you get an idea of what rides you can handle. You can send away for a Disney vacation DVD that may help in this regard, too.
I was about to say the same thing! I certainly wouldn't want to make my back worse by riding a ride that warns those with back issues not to ride!
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:22 AM   #4
disney david
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bete
First, learn to use a scooter for free in your local grocery store and such. Those scooters are actually harder than the one you will be using at Disney; because, it's bulkier. Next, you may want to go a local zoo or similar and rent a scooter there for a day to get in some real practice.

Most people adjust to a scooter with a little practice. One of the hard parts at Disney is the crowds and the darting everyone does there. Adults, as well as, children, will dart right in front of your scooter and you have to be fast to stop. Sometimes, you can see this coming and you can react better, but most everyone goes through some close calls, here.

The bus situation is not something you can really practice; until, you get to Disney. We find this to be the most difficult. My best advice, here is start off by going during non-peak periods; so, you can get use to it. At first, we have lifted the scooter at times into place on the bus; it's pretty tight to get it into place on the bus. We've been lucky that we had help to do this part. Worse to worse, you just keep turning the scooter until you get it into place. One good thing is you are allowed to board first on the bus with a scooter and that helps not having more people on the bus. It takes time, but most people learn and it gets better every time you do it.

As far as the parks use the Disney disability guide and you will know which rides accept a scooter all the way to the ride. On some rides you are offered to transfer to a wheelchair. You can do your homework ahead of time, here; so, you will know in advance how it will all work.

With back issues you may want to read the caution signs of the rides very carefully; so, you can make sure the ride itself doesn't hurt your back. Maybe, go to u-tube to see the rides in action; so, you get an idea of what rides you can handle. You can send away for a Disney vacation DVD that may help in this regard, too.
You could practice on your local public transportation because most use the nova and gillig bus. The only difference is their you board through the front of the bus and at Disney you load through the back door. May be the op has a bus route they could take for a couple stops and get off and get picked up or take the bus the other way. That way your get the practice of going up a ramp/lift and getting tied down and get use to a bus system.

Sorry not sure if you have an ecv at home dose not sound like you do so as bête said was correct. But you could ride a bus to see how it would be to board the bus. And get use to ridding on a bus so you know what to expect.
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disney david

You could practice on your local public transportation because most use the nova and gillig bus. The only difference is their you board through the front of the bus and at Disney you load through the back door. May be the op has a bus route they could take for a couple stops and get off and get picked up or take the bus the other way. That way your get the practice of going up a ramp/lift and getting tied down and get use to a bus system.
Two comments, here. The original poster doesn't own a scooter and it may be hard to rent one from a mobility store for a day. We have to go 45 minutes from where we live to rent one and they are the only ones who do it in the larger city. Second, many areas don't have a bus system to handle scooters. Larger cities may be more equipped to do this, but there are many other areas without it. We don't even have a bus system where we live.
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bete

Two comments, here. The original poster doesn't own a scooter and it may be hard to rent one from a mobility store for a day. We have to go 45 minutes from where we live to rent one and they are the only ones who do it in the larger city. Second, many areas don't have a bus system to handle scooters. Larger cities may be more equipped to do this, but there are many other areas without it. We don't even have a bus system where we live.
I know I made mistake I thought they did your right it be hard to practice without one. As I said you have to find a route some city's have more public transportation then others. Some as you said don't even have a bus system.
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:35 PM   #7
scooby9932
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GENERAL ECV ADVICE:

One big piece of advice is be sure to rent a 3 wheeled scooter instead of the 4. The 3 wheeled ones are so much easier to maneuver and allow for a tighter turn radius that really comes into play when loading onto the buses. But it will help in ride queues and when trying to back into or out of elevators & other tight spots as well.

If you really get in a bind, keep in mind that there is a switch on the back of the scooter that makes it so you can manually manipulate it. If you ask, most bus drivers are more than happy to let you get off the scooter & use this feature to park your scooter for you. This is how CMs are able to move your scooter without the key while you're on the rides. If by chance you get on your scooter & it doesn't work, check to make sure the release isn't still engaged. This happened to me my first time after the Jungle Cruise and I thought my scooter was broken.

Be sure to plug your ECV in every night to charge while you sleep. I have found that the charge indicators will show as full until they're not. No gradual notice. Also, take your charge cord with you. In a pinch I've charged my scooter in the parks. This isn't usually necessary but better safe than sorry I say.

Those vinyl seats can get hot and sticky. I always bring a bright, unusual beach towel to put on my seat. This also helps you find your scooter in the "sea of scooters" that you can sometimes find after your ride. If you're crafty you can fashion a seat cover out of a beach towel that fits over the back of the scooter and onto the seat. My mom made me one years ago that I used until it literally fell apart. It was super easy to use & didn't fall off when getting on/off the scooter. I need to make another one if I can figure out a sewing machine. Lol


BUSES:

One note of caution, it used to be the case that they always loaded scooters first. When I was there in November, that had changed in some locations. If this happens, you'll need to be extra careful when loading.

Some people refused to budge an inch, even though I was trying to warn them that pulling their feet in was for their safety. More than once the driver had to intervene & ask people who had their legs fully extended into the aisle to please move their feet back. This was the exception of course. But be aware some people have a prejudice about scooters. Most people are just unaware of the dynamics of riding & maneuvering one.

This change was due to a change at some parks where the scooters are to get in the regular line & are pulled out to load when they get to that section of the queue. This is I believe an attempt to appease people who complained that scooters were given preferential treatment in being loaded first.

I can tell you that many able bodied people commented that this seemed like a bad idea and that they were actually going to contact guest services to say as much. A little dialogue with people really opened their eyes to the challenges we wheelchair/ECV people face.

RIDES:

I, too, have back problems (just had a lumbar Laminectomy on Jan 9 & will have a cervical fusion March 4). While most rides with those warnings do pose a significant issue (Safari, Dinosaur, BTMRR, etc) you will see warning signs on the tamer rides (IASM, POC) as well. I think due to the possibility of the boats coming into contact with each other at times? Watching YouTube videos as a PP suggested is a good idea. You'll get a good idea of the amount of jerking around that occurs.

If there is a moving walkway on the ride (HM, SE, etc) and you have balance issues, just ask & they'll slow or stop the walkway for you to load & unload.

Some ride queues are dark. If low vision becomes an issue for you, turn on your front light on your ECV for some added help. Also, those displays on the top of the tiller can be blindingly bright & make it hard to see what's in front of you. I used my key fob (a piece of thick paper will do) to block it out so I could see better in the dark.

RESTAURANTS/SHOPS:

If you are able, it's usually a good idea to park your ECV outside & go into shops & restaurants on foot. It gives your bum a break from the scooter & allows you to browse shops much easier & navigate restaurant aisles easier. These areas get congested and can be difficult to navigate or extricate yourself from.

Note: Some restaurants require you to park your ECV. You can always drive to your table & have a part member take it back & park it for you. I had to do this at Yak n Yeti as I can't walk more than a few feet at a time. (Hopefully these surgeries fix that for me!)

PARADES/FIREWORKS:

Find out in advance where the handicap viewing areas are and plan to arrive quite a bit of time (1+ hour) in advance to get a spot. We have seen many people turned away who showed up later.

CONCLUSION:

Scooters are a blessing to those of us who could not do Disney without them! While they present challenges all of their own, the pluses far outweigh the minuses.

I hope you have a great trip!
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1971, 1978, 1983, 1987, 1989 DD's 1st Trip, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2007 POR-DD's Senior Trip, 2008 POR, 2009 POLY, May 2010 POR, May 2011 POLY, May 2012 CSR, Dec 2012 CSR, May 2013 OKW, May 2014 OKW

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Old 02-10-2013, 01:45 PM   #8
disney david
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scooby9932
GENERAL ECV ADVICE:

One big piece of advice is be sure to rent a 3 wheeled scooter instead of the 4. The 3 wheeled ones are so much easier to maneuver and allow for a tighter turn radius that really comes into play when loading onto the buses. But it will help in ride queues and when trying to back into or out of elevators & other tight spots as well.

If you really get in a bind, keep in mind that there is a switch on the back of the scooter that makes it so you can manually manipulate it. If you ask, most bus drivers are more than happy to let you get off the scooter & use this feature to park your scooter for you. This is how CMs are able to move your scooter without the key while you're on the rides. If by chance you get on your scooter & it doesn't work, check to make sure the release isn't still engaged. This happened to me my first time after the Jungle Cruise and I thought my scooter was broken.

Be sure to plug your ECV in every night to charge while you sleep. I have found that the charge indicators will show as full until they're not. No gradual notice. Also, take your charge cord with you. In a pinch I've charged my scooter in the parks. This isn't usually necessary but better safe than sorry I say.

Those vinyl seats can get hot and sticky. I always bring a bright, unusual beach towel to put on my seat. This also helps you find your scooter in the "sea of scooters" that you can sometimes find after your ride. If you're crafty you can fashion a seat cover out of a beach towel that fits over the back of the scooter and onto the seat. My mom made me one years ago that I used until it literally fell apart. It was super easy to use & didn't fall off when getting on/off the scooter. I need to make another one if I can figure out a sewing machine. Lol

BUSES:

One note of caution, it used to be the case that they always loaded scooters first. When I was there in November, that had changed in some locations. If this happens, you'll need to be extra careful when loading.

Some people refused to budge an inch, even though I was trying to warn them that pulling their feet in was for their safety. More than once the driver had to intervene & ask people who had their legs fully extended into the aisle to please move their feet back. This was the exception of course. But be aware some people have a prejudice about scooters. Most people are just unaware of the dynamics of riding & maneuvering one.

This change was due to a change at some parks where the scooters are to get in the regular line & are pulled out to load when they get to that section of the queue. This is I believe an attempt to appease people who complained that scooters were given preferential treatment in being loaded first.

I can tell you that many able bodied people commented that this seemed like a bad idea and that they were actually going to contact guest services to say as much. A little dialogue with people really opened their eyes to the challenges we wheelchair/ECV people face.

RIDES:

I, too, have back problems (just had a lumbar Laminectomy on Jan 9 & will have a cervical fusion March 4). While most rides with those warnings do pose a significant issue (Safari, Dinosaur, BTMRR, etc) you will see warning signs on the tamer rides (IASM, POC) as well. I think due to the possibility of the boats coming into contact with each other at times? Watching YouTube videos as a PP suggested is a good idea. You'll get a good idea of the amount of jerking around that occurs.

If there is a moving walkway on the ride (HM, SE, etc) and you have balance issues, just ask & they'll slow or stop the walkway for you to load & unload.

Some ride queues are dark. If low vision becomes an issue for you, turn on your front light on your ECV for some added help. Also, those displays on the top of the tiller can be blindingly bright & make it hard to see what's in front of you. I used my key fob (a piece of thick paper will do) to block it out so I could see better in the dark.

RESTAURANTS/SHOPS:

If you are able, it's usually a good idea to park your ECV outside & go into shops & restaurants on foot. It gives your bum a break from the scooter & allows you to browse shops much easier & navigate restaurant aisles easier. These areas get congested and can be difficult to navigate or extricate yourself from.

Note: Some restaurants require you to park your ECV. You can always drive to your table & have a part member take it back & park it for you. I had to do this at Yak n Yeti as I can't walk more than a few feet at a time. (Hopefully these surgeries fix that for me!)

PARADES/FIREWORKS:

Find out in advance where the handicap viewing areas are and plan to arrive quite a bit of time (1+ hour) in advance to get a spot. We have seen many people turned away who showed up later.

CONCLUSION:

Scooters are a blessing to those of us who could not do Disney without them! While they present challenges all of their own, the pluses far outweigh the minuses.

I hope you have a great trip!
That good advice it sad those people you tried to warn would be the first people to start crying id you hit them. You still find that problem with the new low floor buses which are wider or was that with the old lift buses.
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disney david

That good advice it sad those people you tried to warn would be the first people to start crying id you hit them. You still find that problem with the new low floor buses which are wider or was that with the old lift buses.
You're probably right. Some people just have bad attitudes about the disabled and somehow come to the conclusion that me being confined to a wheelchair/ ECV somehow affects their vacation. ?? I just try to just shrug that stuff off.

The wider buses are of course easier to maneuver but if someone blatantly scoots down in their seat and stretches their legs straight out across the aisle, it's going to be impossible to work around. This happened twice on my last trip.

Most people move their feet or turn sideways to give room. Some jump up in a panic terrified I'm going to run them over. Some people are very vocal, others act like because I can't walk I am also deaf. Sheesh.

But then there are the ones who are super nice and try to help however they can. In all my years using an ECV, I've never hit anyone. I go slowly and keep constant vigil for those that like to jump in front of me or stop suddenly or walk into me.
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1971, 1978, 1983, 1987, 1989 DD's 1st Trip, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2007 POR-DD's Senior Trip, 2008 POR, 2009 POLY, May 2010 POR, May 2011 POLY, May 2012 CSR, Dec 2012 CSR, May 2013 OKW, May 2014 OKW

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Old 02-10-2013, 03:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scooby9932

You're probably right. Some people just have bad attitudes about the disabled and somehow come to the conclusion that me being confined to a wheelchair/ ECV somehow affects their vacation. ?? I just try to just shrug that stuff off.

The wider buses are of course easier to maneuver but if someone blatantly scoots down in their seat and stretches their legs straight out across the aisle, it's going to be impossible to work around. This happened twice on my last trip.

Most people move their feet or turn sideways to give room. Some jump up in a panic terrified I'm going to run them over. Some people are very vocal, others act like because I can't walk I am also deaf. Sheesh.

But then there are the ones who are super nice and try to help however they can. In all my years using an ECV, I've never hit anyone. I go slowly and keep constant vigil for those that like to jump in front of me or stop suddenly or walk into me.
As long as you don't let it ruin your time or vacation you win your right they act like it affect them it dose not you enjoying your trip only affect you it sad that people pay all that money t go on a trip just to make comments or looks towards guest in ECV/wheelchairs.
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:15 AM   #11
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An ECV is not difficult to use at all. It's not much worse getting in & out of small spaces than a bicycle would be.

The best tip I can think of - when around a large number of people, put the speed lever in the middle or the low end. This will prevent you from going too fast if your hands should cramp. I also use the lowest setting when going down the bus or monorail ramps. Your speed setting will help hold you back when needed.

I have also found that most bus drivers are extremely patient, and ask if you need assistance at all. ASK if you need it - they are very willing to help you. Other people are very patient also. I have had no issues at WDW except one - a French gentleman was reading something while walking at Epcot, and ended up in my lap! He was soooooo embarrassed - his friends & I laughed a lot!

Good luck. The ECV will become easier as you use it.
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Old 02-11-2013, 11:57 AM   #12
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Thank you for all your advice. We've been to Disney many times, so I am very familiar with the rides that will probably be too much for my back. I was diagnosed with degenerative arthritis secondary to another issue. Standing still is very uncomfortable for me, so I was hoping the scooter would be something I could stay on instead of standing in lines.

I don't have a scooter at home, but I'm familiar with our local mass transit and how they load. I've seen scooters load at Disney, too, and hope they still load first, as I'd be afraid of hitting anyone.
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:28 AM   #13
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Everyone is giving such good advice. I have only one tidbit.....for the MK.

Watch out for those rail lines in the asphalt on main street. Try to drive over them at a 90 degree angle.

I got my front tire stuck in one heading out after fireworks.

I had to get off the scooter and DH had to lift the scooter out for me. More than a few impatient guests expressed their....displeasure.


Ok, 2 suggestions.

Avoid travel in busy crowds!!!
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:26 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearybear View Post
I've never used one before, but now that I'm suffering from back problems, I'll need one for our next trip. I've never used one before. I'm wondering how hard is it to get used to? Especially getting on and off the buses, as that is worrying me.

Also, I know some rides you can take the EVC in the queue, but others, like Big Thunder Mtn. Railroad has steps. Do these rides have a way to use the EVC? And is it difficult to figure out, or will the CM help?

Thanks.
Here are my tips: if you know how to parallel-park a car, getting your scooter on and off the Disney busses won’t be too hard. When boarding a bus and there are guests sitting nearby, I sometimes have to tell them to pull their feet in. I add a little humor saying I’m not allowed to run over any toes today.

Please DO NOT STAY ON THE SCOOTER on the bus! After using an ECV on the Disney busses for several years, ONE TIME my scooter tipped. I wasn’t hurt physically, just my ego was wounded, but still. As I tell my grown kids, you’re never too old to learn some things the hard way!

Besides having to watch out for darters, also watch out when driving near people who are facing away from you. I cannot tell you how many times children or adults have begun to back up into my scooter. I usually just call out “excuse me” in a loud voice, sometimes tapping the person on the shoulder or back and adding, “don’t back up” very loudly!

And last but not least, make sure you know how to handle the scooter if it should rain. As for mine, the tiller contains all the wiring for the steering, so that has to be protected. In the pocket on the back of the seat, I keep the charger cables (you never know, we once ran out of power at AK and my poor DH and DD had to push it (from the exit from Finding Nemo: the Musical) to the front of the park!), a Disney poncho (for me if it rains) and 2 large trash bags along with some rubber bands. A trash bag goes upside-down over the tiller, and the rubber bands secure the open end from flapping open. I poke two little holes through the plastic so my fingers can reach the controls. Better safe than sorry!

Hope you have a magical vacation !
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Last edited by mom3girls2000; 03-03-2013 at 01:35 AM. Reason: Add some info.
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Old 03-07-2013, 12:35 AM   #15
gdrj
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Just a few observations as someone who fortunately does not have to use one, I think the comments of practicing before hand at your local stores is a great idea.

Unfortuunately I have seen too many times ECV use by first timers that have no clue how to use them and its dangerous for them and those around them.

I've seen elderly couples use them who unfortunately should not be operating any type of vehicle. They were confused, could not take direction from the driver and almost drove off the ramp. It was also was very upsetting to them. I felt compassion for them not anger.

The other suggestion of using during off-peak when you are first trying to learn to navigate on a bus is a great idea, I would not want to try to park it with a line of 200 people trying to get on the bus leaving MK at the end of the night.

I know my Mom would not be able to operate one and a use of a wheelchair is what is required, even at the mall, she is able bodied but can not walk longer distances.

I've never visited this forum, and do not take lightly accessibility for those who need it and I recognize that many disabilities may not be visible. I would just close with, if your family member can not successfully navigate with the ECV or are not transferrable easily it may be wise to explore all options that may be available.

Last edited by gdrj; 03-07-2013 at 12:41 AM.
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