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Old 10-01-2012, 10:50 AM   #1
zeferjen
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Tips for taking mother in an ECV

Hi all - I may be taking my mother with us on our trip to WDW this month. She is in her 70s and has mobility issues. At home, she doesn't use anything but she cannot walk for more then 15 mins or so.

Our plans are: Oct 18-23, staying at BWV. If my mother comes, it will be the two of us and my two dcs (4yo ds and 6yo dd). I am planning to rent her an ECV for her stay at WDW. I had already planned a lower-key visit, with daily breaks at the hotel. I have read most of the stickies at the top of this thread, but am wondering if anyone has additional pointers for me, since this will be a completely new experience.

Thanks in advance for your advice!
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:10 AM   #2
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If she has not driven an ecv before I recommend going to a Walmart or similar store to practice there for free. You need to make sure she can effectively control and be able to stop abruptly, make tight turns..etc. If she can not, I would suggest renting a manual wheelchair for the trip. ( scooter would be other option..little less bulky than ecv but still has to be able to stop and go)

Make sure that you take scheduled breaks...ESP. Since you will have your dd and ds with you. If you need to stop in park, and need a quiet place for your mom to lie down and rest, I would recommend first aid station. Stick to the side paths less traveled and you all won't tire out as quickly. Have fun!
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:12 AM   #3
zeferjen
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Originally Posted by rewardsinlife View Post
If she has not driven an ecv before I recommend going to a Walmart or similar store to practice there for free. You need to make sure she can effectively control and be able to stop abruptly, make tight turns..etc. If she can not, I would suggest renting a manual wheelchair for the trip. ( scooter would be other option..little less bulky than ecv but still has to be able to stop and go)

Make sure that you take scheduled breaks...ESP. Since you will have your dd and ds with you. If you need to stop in park, and need a quiet place for your mom to lie down and rest, I would recommend first aid station. Stick to the side paths less traveled and you all won't tire out as quickly. Have fun!
Thanks! What is the difference between a scooter and ECV? I had assumed that they are the same.
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeferjen

Thanks! What is the difference between a scooter and ECV? I had assumed that they are the same.
They are the same. If you check the links to companies provided in the FAQs you'll see that there are different size ECV's. Some are smaller and break down to fit in a vehicle others are a little bigger and are more geared towards those using the buses.

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Old 10-01-2012, 03:59 PM   #5
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Essentially, yes they are the same, but different sizes like the PP said. Smaller one would be better obviously to help her turn radius, the weight would be less as well when breaking down to put in car...etc.
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:39 PM   #6
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scooter tips

I took my Mom for her first WDW trip for her 74th birthday. She also had mobility problems & walked with a cane. There was NO WAY that she could handle WDW on foot. I rented from an outside company "Randy's" I believe it was. The advantage of renting from outside the parks is that you have it to get around the resort too - which is also very large. They delivered right to the hotel & showed us how to use it. Some companies just drop it off at the reception desk & you're on your own. Anyway, Mom & I spent about an hour driving it around the resort to get a feel for it before we got to the park. She had never driven one before. After she got comfortable with it, we went to the bus stop & got it loaded on. I had to do that for her the entire trip. She was too nervous. Before I left home I had made warning signs for the front & back of the scooter - big neon signs that read : "WARNING: ROOKIE DRIVER - HOW DO I STOP THIS THING?!!!" It got a lot of laughs, but people stayed out of her way. It also broke the ice when waiting for the bus & no one complained about having to wait while we got it loaded.
On several nights, we went to dinner at another resort. We borrowed a wheelchair from the resort & took a cab to the restaurant. We discovered on our last night that they have cabs that are vans with a ramp for the scooter - it didn't cost anymore. The valet just called for it for us. When I commented on this wonderful service he said "It's Disney, what did you expect?"
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Old 10-02-2012, 05:29 PM   #7
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OP-FYI-at the BW, you are in & out of elevators ALL THE TIME!! Be sure to practice driving in & out of elevators before you go.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:00 PM   #8
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You guys are awesome! Please keep the tips coming. I did convince my mother to go and just booked her plane ticket. So happy that we can share Disney magic with her and her grandkids. Now off to tweak our touring plans and ensure that we have enough down-time.

I asked her to practice driving at Walmart, since we don't live in the same state. I hope that she does it!!!
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeferjen View Post
You guys are awesome! Please keep the tips coming. I did convince my mother to go and just booked her plane ticket. So happy that we can share Disney magic with her and her grandkids. Now off to tweak our touring plans and ensure that we have enough down-time.

I asked her to practice driving at Walmart, since we don't live in the same state. I hope that she does it!!!

You'll love the BWV resort. That is where I get to stay sometimes.

A lot of good advice here.

I use a cane all of the time, too, but I need a scooter or Electric Convenience Vehicle at WDW because I like using the WDW bus and boat transportation all of the time instead of my car.

It is good that she is trying other scooters at Walmart or grocery stores.

She will discover and be happy when she uses the rental scooter at WDW because the Walmart/grocery store scooters are so much bigger and clumsy. The rental will be more agile and less clumsy. Now I am not talking about the scooters at the WDW parks, but the scooters from the outside rental agencies.

Here are a few suggestions off the top of my head.

1. At the BWV, when you arrive at the front of the BWV resort, ask the parking valet outside or the luggage personnel that you would like to pick up your rental. They will bring it to you. Make sure that it has the battery charger and telephone information to call the rental agency incase you might need them. Also check the battery meter and it should be fully charged as they usually always keep them plugged in.

2. You will notice that the steering column might look like handlebars or similar depending on the model. Mine look like handlebars, but newer models have wraparound handlebars. The main difference with Walmart/grocery store scooters and WDW rental scooters is that there is a speed control or speed dial near the batter meter.

The Walmart/grocery store scooters don't have this feature. At their stores you just use either hand's thumb and push in to start and the further you push the faster you go. And both will stop moving when you stop pushing the thumb control.

The rental scooters you can push the thumb control a little or all the way and it will always go the same speed. To change the speed you have to turn the separate speed dial. Counterclockwise is "turtle" speed and Clockwise is "rabbint" speed. This helps set a speed for when you are walking with her or parellel parking in the WDW bus.

Sometimes the speed may need to be increased if going up a ramp on a bus depending on the weight of the driver. But always turn the speed dial to "turtle" speed when parking in a bus or surrounded by other guests.

Sometimes, in very crowded conditions, I will have one thumb on the start/stop lever control and the other hand on the speed control. Thay way I can always turn the speed control to slow or speed up in a crowd such as leaving the park or trying to match the speed of those that I am walking with.

3. Most bus stops have a rectangle parked near the bus stops to show the maximum size of scooter allowed on the bus, but it can also be used to practice parellel parking as if you were on the bus. In an automobile, we parallel park on the right side of the road. In the majority of the WDW buses we paralle on the left side of the inside of the bus.

You can help her with this. You can either use the hand controls yourself as you stand at the front of the scooter and walk backwards or forwards up the bus ramp and parellel park for her in the bus. Since she uses a cane she can sit next to you in the bus.

4. Most of the WDW Parks like MK and Epcot and DHS and Animal Kingdom have their own little way of entering the bus queue lines. At MK use turtle speed and make wider turns around the corner until you get to the scooter box and open the gate that will be located about where the rear side door of the bus will be located. Other will line up behind you in their scooters if their are other scooters while the walking families will continue down the queue line until they reach the traditions front of the bus entrance.

Epcot may have differnet looking line queues depending on what WDW resort you are going too. At both Epcot and DHS I either use the wonderful sidewalk or boat launch if I think that my battery may be to low.

At AK the lines are thiner. You'll get the hang of it. DHS queue lines are similar if you are going to visit another resort instead of going back to BWV, but they are very nicely spread out.

The BWV doesn't have a line queue like the parks. When this happens, just pull up close to where the scooter box is located or where the rear door of the bus may stop.

5. With any elevators or door entrances, just pull up straight to the door entrance and drive in/through in turtle speed straight head. This way she can drive straight back out of the elevator. If it is a door, she can just drive out straight live everyone else walking out.

Most chairs on scooter can rotate. If she likes to do everything herself, but doesn't like to turn her head, learn how to reach down and release the chair lever so that it can turn and she can rotate her seat to see backwards as she backs up on her own. Or you could back her out yourself using the controls like on the bus parking.

6. Other tips:
Try to get used to turning of the scooter power when not moving to save battery life.
Try to remember to plug the scooter in an electrical outlet every night before going to bed regardless of what the battery meter says.
Sometimes a BWV studio may have an electrical out that is connected to a light switch that can be turned of like near a dining table or sofa table. Just check the scooter when plugged in and turning off the light before going to bed and make sure you still see the light on the battery charger is still on.
In crowds, use "turtle" speed.
Enjoy boat rides from BWV to Epcot to DHS or the Beach, Yacht Club, Swan, and Dolphin resorts. Or enjoy the sidewalks to all of these areas.
Enjoy the boat rides from MK to WL or WLCG and back.
Enjoy the monorails at MK, CR, TTC, Poly, GF, and back to MK. or MK to Epcot.
Enjoy visiting DTD. Take a boat ride from DTD to SSR or OKW or POR and back.
Enjoy all of the sidewalks everywhere and explore.
Sorry for rambling.
Oh, and I use a heavy duty rubber band on my scooter handlebar or armrest and put my cane through it when I am driving or not using my cane.
And I like taking those flexable kitchen side trash bags to cover my seat and back rest if it rains. I also take a cheap shower cap to put over the electronics of the speed dial just so my seat won't get to wet or same with the electronics. I don't have to do this, but I just like to do it. You can wrap all three in a little bundle and wrap a rubber band around it so that it will be easy to carry. If it does rain, I use it and afterwards throw trash bags away and keep the shower cap. I take several of the rain kits with me for emergencies.

One more thing. For parades, when you line up the scooter straight on the side of the sidewalk, she will be sitting back away from the sidewalk by one or two people deep. People will line up beside her and she may only be able to see straight in front of her and night to the sides because she will be sitting lower and further back than everyone around her.

She could could park sideways to the sidewalk and turn her seat around or help her park backwards and turn the seat all the way around to watch the parade.

If you are watching MK fireworks, it is better to watch from behind a child's stroller so fewer tall people will stand in front of her. Just think from her perspecitive of being lower like a child and sitting further back if people are beside her.
Good night.
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