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Old 01-30-2011, 01:13 AM   #1
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ECV at Disneyland - concerns and advice?

Hi everyone! I've been looking around this forum here but couldn't quite find my answers in a search...hopefully I'm not asking stuff that you're tired of discussing.

The last three trips to Disneyland, my mom had to spend more time sitting than standing (due to fibromyalgia and recently she was diagnosed with arthritis too). So she finally decided that yes, she should rent an ECV for our next trip in November, provided she can overcome the sticker shock (I read up to $45 just for off-site?). I definitely think this is the right decision and hope it will prevent a lot of pain.

But I'm a planner...she won't come to the DISboards herself, but she wanted me to send her information. Aside from the names and numbers of a few off-site rental places and a lovely list of questions Cheshire Figment posted to encourage people who need an ECV to get one, I'm not quite sure what to tell her.

My main concern is that she's self-conscious about her weight (even though she has no trouble actually fitting into any rides except maybe Gadget's Go-Coaster), and some people have negative attitudes about people in ECVs who don't have obvious disabilities. She will likely be embarrassed to be in an ECV--and (unlike me) she's very observant and sensitive to other people's behavior. She will probably notice people staring (if they do), and I worry she may pick up on people who are judging her on the inside, and very well may project and think that people who are just looking may also be judging her. (Some of the jaw-droppingly mean comments I've read on other messageboards about people in ECVs make me worry about the kinds of things some very mean people might even SAY, though hopefully with the noise of the parks she wouldn't hear. In fact, maybe I should advise she postpone that hearing check... )

Due to my work and her school, we will be going after Thanksgiving, which I understand may be somewhat to very crowded (depending on who you ask), though the weekdays following should be better. Last time we went was Fall Break so I know I can handle big crowds, but will she have trouble with an ECV, do you think?

Anyway, I'm trying to ask, what should I tell her, and do you think I should warn her about any potential negative reactions? If not, what should I do in the parks if someone DOES say something mean or my mom starts feeling badly about being in the ECV? Or should I just not worry about it?

(I know this is crazy early but I'm so excited about the trip, too!)

Thank you all!
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:46 AM   #2
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You know, I posted my first post on here the other day, with the same fears. Being overweight, I know people will be judging me and assuming I'm just lazy. (Why it's not logical to assume we're overweight because we can't walk very much, and not the other way around beats me.) And even though I'll never see those people again, it'll bother me.

My sister, who also has RA but doesn't have her walking affected (more her fingers and hands), came up with a brilliant idea today, and I think it's making me feel better about the whole thing.

She suggested finding t-shirts to wear that support charities that have to do with my disease(s). That would serve a triple purpose: 1) give money to the charity through the purchase of the shirt(s), 2) advertise the charity via the shirts to a lot of people while I'm at WDW to get the word out about them, and 3) answer peoples' questions before they ask or assume, by subtly letting them know about my disease.

The more I thought about it, the more I liked it. I'm going to see what I can find.
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:26 AM   #3
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Arrow I like the t-shirt idea

and it doesn't have to be your own disease, either. I would get one with big letters. Hopefully, this will help; it's worth a try. It's a good diversion.

If you are going with a bigger group one stradegy is to surround her around the scooter like one person in front of her, one in back, and one on each side of her. No one will be too close that way; she will be shielded in a sense. Another tactic is if you start hearing something negative yourself about the situation start talking very loud to muffle any negative comments and/or try to get away from the area if possible. Do not engage the people who are negative; they are looking for a reaction; get away. Standing your ground could ruin your vacation for the rest of the time there.

You may have a good experience; so, I would not pre-warn her. You will stress her out more that way. Be on guard yourself, but don't get her nervous. The good should outweigh the bad there.

We have never had a bad experience and we are all overweight and use scooters a lot. I just don't let it bug me and I'm grateful there's a tool like a scooter to help us enjoy the parks. Concentrate on enjoying yourself; times are precious with going with your mom.
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Old 01-30-2011, 10:21 AM   #4
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I understand how you could be sensative to the stares and comments of others. WDW actually seems to be one place were we find that we don't "stick out". DS is 19, has cp and autism and uses a manual chair, G'ma has lung issues and uses a scooter and we have never had an embarassing moment at WDW, I think becouse there are sooo many disabled people, and people of size using ECV's that people just seem to not notice as much. Kids are mostly distracted by all the sights and sounds around them. Also as a family venue I think people just seem to be much kinder. I know I don't see it completely from your point of view (I am slightly fluffy) but I think you should feel comfortable and have a great time. I would not put Mom on edge by warning her, that may only make her more sensative and vigilant. You will be suprised how many large happy relaxed people are at the parks, and how many other people simply won't notice her.
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:55 AM   #5
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If you click on where it says "disABILTIES" at the top of this page it will take you to the Index. One of the top items is the "disABILTIES FAQ" which will gives lots of useful information. Post #14 discusses Disneyland, including where people rent ECVs.

Or, if you want an easier route to the FAQs, click on the link in my signature.

Please ask her the following questions. Here are the suggested answers to go with them.

1. Are you disabled (even temporarily)? Yes.

2. Do the people you are traveling with, such as your family, know you are disabled? Yes.

3. Do you expect to meet anyone you know during this trip who may not know you are disabled. Probably No!

4. Do you expect to meet a bunch of people who you will probably never meet again in your life? Probably yes!

5. Is there any reason at all that you should care what these people think about you? Absolutely No!!

6. Will using a wheelchair or ECV make for a better vacation for you and your family? Absolutely YES!
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Old 01-30-2011, 02:51 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice, everyone! It will be a small group (just me and Mom, maybe another friend with us). I think you all are right not to "warn" her. If I do, then she'll just be looking out for negative behavior.

I'm sorry if I was unclear--I absolutely positively want Mom and I both to have a good time regardless of any potential issues, including her weight (and as far as her weight I only wish she'd get more exercise (when possible) and perhaps eat healthier (which I also could use)--she LOOKS very nice, and I apologize profusely if I sounded insensitive about anyone's weight).

And I think the ECV should be a huge help for her pain issues and hopefully allow her to do more with me, which will be spectacular. But as a planner, I like to plan for every negative possibility in the hopes they will not occur.

To be honest, I don't THINK I will myself be bothered by (or even notice) people staring, etc., and I might not even HEAR any rude comments (if applicable) unless someone literally confronts my mom. I'm just not very observant or sensitive to people's reactions or emotional things (which is part of why I'm asking for help here too).

Now, granted, I guess no one knows how they'll react until they're in that situation--but my dad is a double amputee who must use a wheelchair to get around (and has been since before I was born). I go grocery shopping/out with him fairly regularly and I don't frankly even notice stares anymore. I usually don't even hear the little kids crying "Mommy, Mommy, there's a man with no legs!"

So anyway, I likely won't notice any but the most blatant of behavior, so I'm pretty sure I'll only be bothered if Mom is bothered. And hopefully there won't be any problems!

I did read the FAQ for Disneyland and yes, Cheshire Figment, I was already planning to send her those excellent questions. Thanks!
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Old 01-30-2011, 06:49 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Clover_Girl View Post
She suggested finding t-shirts to wear that support charities that have to do with my disease(s). That would serve a triple purpose: 1) give money to the charity through the purchase of the shirt(s), 2) advertise the charity via the shirts to a lot of people while I'm at WDW to get the word out about them, and 3) answer peoples' questions before they ask or assume, by subtly letting them know about my disease.

The more I thought about it, the more I liked it. I'm going to see what I can find.
I LOVE this idea! I don't know why I never thought of it! I'm gonna look for some MS shirts for my hubbie! His disability is also one that can't be seen, and can look even worse because he CAN walk, but he can't 'do' the mall, so Disney without an ECV would be out of the question.

(me) (DH) (DD9) (DD7) (DD0)- - - - First trip to Disneyland in 25 yrs trip report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2725606
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:00 AM   #8
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When I went to DL in Jan '08, I was 21 years old and because I have a knee injury, and I find walking around in Walmart difficult without the use of their in store ECV scooters, I *knew* Disneyland would be hard for me without an ECV and both my parents were also renting ECV's for themselves as well.

I decided that I would rent my own ECV from the same off-site company as my parents. We rented from Alan's Wheelchair and Medical in Fullerton, CA. We rented it for 7 days I believe and it wasn't that expensive (I wanna say around $100 for the entire 7 days). As a 21 yr old young woman, riding in DL on an ECV, I didn't have anybody stare at me or make any comments about me being young and riding the ECV... and I used the handicap accessible entrances too and nobody said anything or gave rude looks. I don't think your mom will have any problem with people's reactions.

But Alan's was really great to us... we did have an issue with... I think my Dad's ECV... or was it mine? I can't remember... I just know that we had an issue with one of the ECV's holding a charge but we called them (late at night, around DL Closing Time) and let them know the problem and the next morning they were there with a new ECV and it was perfectly fine after that... And they keep your name on file forever, and if you're a return customer, you get a discount on the rental cost.
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:10 AM   #9

By the way, the foregoing is not LEGAL advice
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OP==I live very close to Disneyland, go about once a month or so, also have fibro and arthritis and also am overweight--and use an ECV. I have never had a negative experience at Disneyland with someone making negative comments. A friend DID have an experience in WDW last summer.

Disneyland CAN become very crowded in parts--so tell your Mom to just slow her speed down to "turtle" (as opposed to rabbit) and take it easy through the crowds.

The important thing to remember is that there are bigoted people EVERYWHERE who think it's their business to stick their noses where they don't belong--so go and have fun and report back when you return--'k?

Oh, and I use OC Medical/Scooter Village to rent my ECV most times. Have had very good service and Scooter Village is right across the street from Disneyland so close if there is an issue.

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Old 01-31-2011, 11:48 PM   #10
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I like the tee shirt idea!

Lots of good advice already, but I wanted to mention that it seems the most negative comments about WDW come about the buses. People post a lot more negative comments about ECV and wheelchair users in bus threads. So, since you won’t be dealing with buses at DL, that won’t be a problem for you.
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Old 02-01-2011, 01:17 AM   #11
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I'm glad to hear so many people have had NO negative experiences! Thank you again for all the tips!

I will report back...something like 9 or 10 months from now, granted, but once we've gone, I'll let you know how it went! I'll likely be back with more specific questions closer to my trip. Right now I'm just trying to get the big picture in my head.
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