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Old 07-07-2007, 11:15 AM   #1
Amy
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Newbie Ques re Wheelchair vs ECV

Hi all! I'm not a newbie to the DIS, but a newbie when it comes to visiting WDW with a person with mobility issues.

Both of our DS's are in the high school marching band, and we just found out that they're heading to WDW the week after Thanksgiving. So DH and I are planning to go as "groupies" and we thought we'd take my dad along. He's 82, and he CAN walk, just very slowly, but he's not used to the vast distances at WDW, has no clue how much walking is involved! He's insisting that he'll just take his cane or walker and be fine, but I know he'll need to rent a wheelchair or ECV.

I've been reading through much of the info posted here, and I know a motorized wheelchair is out since he has absolutely no experience with even a push wheelchair.

I can't decide whether a regular wheelchair or an ECV would be better for him. Since he CAN walk, I was thinking of renting a wheelchair from one of those places that will deliver to the resort. He could sit in the wheelchair while we wait at the bus stop, but the wheelchair could be folded up to board the bus (like a stroller, right?), and we wouldn't take up extra space on the bus or delay folks while the wheelchair gets loaded. Get off the bus at the park, open up the wheelchair, and he's good to go. And we wouldn't have to let buses pass us by if they already have a wheelchair on board and it can't hold another wheelchair.

But then I started thinking that a wheelchair would mean that DH or I would have to push him around all day. (I guess Dad could even push the wheelchair himself when he felt like walking for a while and use it as a walker, huh?) The parks are mostly flat (I think Animal Kingdom has more hills than the others), but how exhausting is it to push someone around all day? He weighs around 250 lb.

With an ECV, you can't fold that up, so we'd HAVE to wait for a bus that would accommodate the ECV. I plan to get him his own handicapped room so he doesn't have to deal with a tub in the bathroom, but an ECV would take up space in his room. The advantage in the parks would be that he can motor around himself.

Any thoughts from you experienced wheelchair/ECV folks?
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:27 AM   #2
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Hi,
Pushing 250# around even with two pushers would be tiring. If your dad is comfortable with driving the ECV then I would go that way. Having the ECV off park is great for going around the resort and at Downtown Disney. It is usually suggested that new ECV drivers practice at a store that has them. Remember the store ECVs are slower and more cumbersome than the ones you get from an off site vendor. The FAQs have great info regarding renting ECVs. I poersonally have used Walker and Care Medicals with satisfaction.
We'll be a WDW the same time as you. I'll try and catch the Marching Band.
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Old 07-07-2007, 12:54 PM   #3
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I push Mom aroud in her wheelchair, but she weighs about 140#. Added to the weight of a wheelchair, that 250# your Dad weights will increase to nearly 300#. On one trip I had to push a rather hefty cousin, it was exhausting compared to Mom...I'd definately go with an ECV for a fairly large or heavy person.
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Old 07-07-2007, 03:29 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info guys! I guess we'll have to go with the ECV. I was really hoping to do the wheelchair since it seems easier as far as getting on and off the buses, but I can see your point that DH and I will end up exhausted from pushing him around. Not like pushing a baby in a stroller, huh?

So, I need to have my dad practice on an ECV at Target or Wal-Mart. How long can they go between battery charges? Can we do an entire day at the parks, or will we have to go back to the resort in the afternoon to charge the battery so we can stay late for Fantasmic or Illuminations?

Nanajo1 - our band will be there from Nov. 29-Dec. 3. We're not sure yet, but they might be in the parade that's taped for Christmas Day. I think that's scheduled for either Nov. 30 or Dec. 1. Look for Gateway High School from Pennsylvania - black/gold/white uniforms.
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Old 07-07-2007, 03:48 PM   #5
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A ECV battery should last a full day day at the parks. If it is convenient to carry your charge with you, there may be some out of the way places to plug the ECV in for a few minutes if needed. There seem to be electrical outlets all over WDW, but they aren't all "hot" all the time. But again, a charge should easiliy last all day.
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Old 07-07-2007, 04:29 PM   #6
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The charge should easily last all day. And all of the buses can carry an ECV unless the ramp/lift is broken.
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Old 07-07-2007, 10:00 PM   #7
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An ECV should go for an entire day on one charge, but that is dependent on the weight of the person, how fast they are going and whether they are traveling on hilly ground.
At 250 pounds he will either be close to or just at the limit for the 'regular' scooters. A heavy duty scooter may be a better choice for him because they have larger seats and a larger battery.

In the disABILITIES FAQs thread, there is a link to a past thread that has information on where to find outlets. If you need one, a CM in the area should be able to help you.
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Old 07-09-2007, 09:43 AM   #8
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Just to maybe give him some perspective. We carry a pedometer with us everytime we go to a park, our average distance in a day is 8 miles. We have hit 12 before. So tell him 8 miles per day.
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Old 07-09-2007, 02:07 PM   #9
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Thank you so much for all your help and suggestions. Boy, having a wheelchair/ECV certainly adds a new dimension to planning a WDW vacation, doesn't it? I have a new respect for those of you who deal with these mobility issues (and other disabilities) on a daily basis. God bless you!
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Old 07-09-2007, 03:19 PM   #10
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Just remember to take the "key" out each time you stop to ride an attraction, watch a parade, or eat and that will save power. One of ours missed getting plugged in one evening and actually ran great the next day and we spend many long hours at the park each day.

Good Luck.

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