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Old 05-06-2013, 09:51 AM   #1
FortForever
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Invisible on wheels?

Another thread is heading in the direction of this subject. But, since it's so OT from the OP, I thought I would start a new one to add my comments.

In March, I had to rent an ECV due to a temporary problem with my feet. It is the first time I had ever used any kind of mobility device.

As soon as I got to the parks, I noticed I became practically invisible to people. Not just a few people. Most people. It was a strange, unnerving, and unexpected experience.

It was impossible to get through bag check as people just kept getting in front of me like I wasn't there. There was nothing I could do, other than ramming into the people ahead of me. Eventually, DH took all the bags and I left to go through the no-bags entrance.

Once in the park, other guests constantly stepped in front of me, usually with only inches to spare. Even people who were directly facing me would walk in front of me as if I didn't exist. It was quite the phenomenon.

My DH thought I was exaggerating, so I let him ride for awhile. My feet could take short walks. He got so stressed out and frustrated, that he didn't last long on the ECV.

Even though I was apparently invisible when moving, I became an inanimate object when stopped. I had one woman literally sit on my leg. I had kids climb all over my ECV.

During a parade, another adult was completely leaning on the back of my seat. He or she had both arms on my seat and their head into my head space. I could feel them back there, but didn't realize the extent of it until I leaned back and my head slammed into their face.

The experiences of that trip got me thinking quite a lot about people who are on wheels full time, including my oldest son. How do you deal with this in the parks? By the end of the week, I was actually saying to people, "Hello. I exist."

And, because MOST people were doing it, I wondered if I did it myself in the past. I know for a fact I would not violate anyone's personal space or lean on a mobility device. What I wondered is if I would walk in front of them like a zombie. I can't say for sure what I have done in the past. But, I can say for sure I won't in the future.

A week on wheels leaves you with a whole new perspective and awareness.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:10 AM   #2
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My favorite is the people who look right at you and then step in front of you, or let go of a door they have just opened. I choose to see it not as deliberate but just evidence of not thinking. Particularly at Disney. Folks get so enraptured with the environment that everything else just shuts down. It isn't right but it is the reality. If we look hard enough we will even find times when we, the most seasoned, educated, and courteous Disney guests do pretty stupid things.

I will rat myself out. I was walking through the concourse of the Contemporary for the morning coffee run. I was alone as it was early and didn't see another soul in the place. I was staring up at the Mary Blair murals when next thing I knew I was on the floor. I had walked right into one of the benches and went head over tea kettle.

While the rare individual will do something mean and nasty on purpose most are just too caught up in the experience to remember common courtesy. Wish I could say it gets better but as the place gets more and more crowded I think it is only going to get tougher. So, take the advice of Crush and just "go with the flow."
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:25 AM   #3
ChristineNic
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One of the first things that we do when we get to the parks is to buy a lighted helium balloon for DH's ECV. We tie the balloon on the back of his chair at eye level to an average adult. It really does seem to make DH on his ECV a bit less invisible. The light is necessary after dark.

We haven't stayed at any of the AK properties, so I don't know what we would do since balloons are prohibited there.

I wonder if using a canopy with the EVC might have a similar effect, since the canopy protrudes into the same visual space. DH uses his own EVC, which doesn't have a canopy, but I wonder if anyone that has used rental EVCs with and without a canopy has noticed a difference.

Last edited by ChristineNic; 05-06-2013 at 10:28 AM. Reason: Another thought!
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:48 AM   #4
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I just heard an interesting stat about why so many motorcycles are hit by cars; it's because drivers are looking for other cars, and while they visually see the motorcycle, their brain doesn't register it. Because they're focused on "car, car car car". I wonder if it's the same thing for an ECV or WC? Those of us walking are tuned into looking up high and we're simply not seeing anything else below us (same reason we often all trip over little kids).

The idea of a balloon or something else to add the height is a good one. Maybe a flag, mickey ears? Something. Certainly it's not your fault that we don't see you, and it's important for those of us walking to pay attention but the only real solution is to somehow bring yourself up into eye level territory.
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristineNic View Post
One of the first things that we do when we get to the parks is to buy a lighted helium balloon for DH's ECV. We tie the balloon on the back of his chair at eye level to an average adult. It really does seem to make DH on his ECV a bit less invisible. The light is necessary after dark.
That's a very good idea.

I definitely don't think people do it on purpose, because it's mostly everyone. It's just so bizarre that people can look right at you and not see you.

The motorcycle thing is a pretty good comparison. Although we see it, our brains don't always register it.

The only real rudeness was people that felt they could lean/sit on me or my ECV.

Hopefully I'll never have to use one again. It was certainly an eye opening experience though.
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:15 PM   #6
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My niece jokes that I put on my "cloak of invisibility" was soon as I get on my ECV at Disney.

She also thinks that I do not get as nice of a "disney" experience as others because I have to be on constant alert for people walking in front of me, walking directly into me or stopping suddenly in front of me. She feels I do not get to see the little details and take in the big picture because of that. She may be right but I am always so thrilled to be in Disney that I am willing to be super diligent about being a good ECV guest.

This invisible thing is also true in the grocery store using an ECV. It is funny because most of the time children see me and interact with me, even to the point of telling a parent that they are about to run into me.

I have always thought that part of the invisible problem was you are below eye level for adults. Adults looking straight ahead or side to side do not scan down and down is where we are!
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:28 PM   #7
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I have a powerchair that puts me at about the height of a small adult (I'm about 5 feet tall when seated in it). I haven't used it at WDW yet, but when I was living in NYC people still managed to not see me and walk into me or fall over me while I was waiting (out of the way) at a bus stop. While some of the problem at WDW is probably height related, some of it is people subconsciously blocking mobility aids from their minds in general.

Oh, and of course it's always my fault that they walked into me, even if I'd been stopped in one spot for quite some time.
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Old 05-06-2013, 02:52 PM   #8
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Oh, and of course it's always my fault that they walked into me, even if I'd been stopped in one spot for quite some time.
That's one of my favorites. I had a woman who was looking the opposite direction she was walking and ran into me while I was sitting completely still. She turned back and looked at me like I had done something to her. It was hard not to laugh right at her.

As far as being invisible, I have noticed both extremes.

On one hand I have had people not see me or ignore me like you were desribing.

The opposite has also been true. I have had people stare at me in a way that would make them very uncomfortable if someone was doing it to them.
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Old 05-06-2013, 03:19 PM   #9
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That's one of my favorites. I had a woman who was looking the opposite direction she was walking and ran into me while I was sitting completely still. She turned back and looked at me like I had done something to her. It was hard not to laugh right at her.

As far as being invisible, I have noticed both extremes.

On one hand I have had people not see me or ignore me like you were desribing.

The opposite has also been true. I have had people stare at me in a way that would make them very uncomfortable if someone was doing it to them.
As a young person (24) with a cane because of my arthritis (no, not rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, yes I realize that I'm too young), I experience both extremes as well. For the people not seeing me, or even pulling doors closed behind them, I have no real solution. My cane is almost eye smarting in its shade of blue, and that seems to make no difference.

With the staring, I just look at people as long as they're looking at me. One woman even told me off for staring at her. You should have seen the look on her face when I told her that I was looking at her for exactly the same amount of time she was looking at me...
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Old 05-06-2013, 03:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
On one hand I have had people not see me or ignore me like you were desribing.

The opposite has also been true. I have had people stare at me in a way that would make them very uncomfortable if someone was doing it to them.
And then you have the two kinds of parents: The first pulls their children out in front of you like you don't exist, and the second jerks them back like they're pulling them out of the path of a rabid man-eating tiger even though you're nowhere near them and have plenty of room to go around with no chance of hitting them.
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Old 05-06-2013, 03:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiggerish View Post
My niece jokes that I put on my "cloak of invisibility" was soon as I get on my ECV at Disney.
It's totally true. Adding an ECV makes a person much larger so you would think you would stand out and be more visible than ever. Strangely enough, it does make you invisible.

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Oh, and of course it's always my fault that they walked into me, even if I'd been stopped in one spot for quite some time.
That happened to me at least a couple of times. Most of the people just gave me a dirty look after running into me. One girl screeched to her friends, "OMG, that woman almost ran over me!" I was at a dead stop with the ECV off and had been for some time ... and NOT in the main walkway. I was parked against a wall next to a smoking area waiting on DH.
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Old 05-06-2013, 05:42 PM   #12
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One girl screeched to her friends, "OMG, that woman almost ran over me!" I was at a dead stop with the ECV off and had been for some time ... and NOT in the main walkway. I was parked against a wall next to a smoking area waiting on DH.
You should have said that, "almost only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades. Next time, I'll try harder."
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Old 05-06-2013, 06:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiggerish
My niece jokes that I put on my "cloak of invisibility" was soon as I get on my ECV at Disney.

She also thinks that I do not get as nice of a "disney" experience as others because I have to be on constant alert for people walking in front of me, walking directly into me or stopping suddenly in front of me. She feels I do not get to see the little details and take in the big picture because of that. She may be right but I am always so thrilled to be in Disney that I am willing to be super diligent about being a good ECV guest.
I have to agree with her. While I don't use wheels, I push my DS in the parks. I've always felt like I'm missing a lot because I'm never looking at anything except the sidewalk directly in front of me. I am looking forward to a trip this fall with BFF and no wheels.
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:25 PM   #14
dvc one day
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She also thinks that I do not get as nice of a "disney" experience as others because I have to be on constant alert for people walking in front of me, walking directly into me or stopping suddenly in front of me. She feels I do not get to see the little details and take in the big picture because of that. She may be right but I am always so thrilled to be in Disney that I am willing to be super diligent about being a good ECV guest.
You do miss some things, which is true for me too even though I am obsessively observant year round and used to avoiding people. I tend to be looking down to avoid feet or looking ahead which means a lot of bums (British slang, not homeless people).

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And then you have the two kinds of parents: The first pulls their children out in front of you like you don't exist, and the second jerks them back like they're pulling them out of the path of a rabid man-eating tiger even though you're nowhere near them and have plenty of room to go around with no chance of hitting them.
Both are funny, but I probably laugh more at the second type. Yeah, I'm a runaway train going to run over your child because I have no idea what I'm doing. I usually say something like "I promise, I wasn't going to hit you" with a little laugh.
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:38 AM   #15
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I tend to be looking down to avoid feet or looking ahead which means a lot of bums (British slang, not homeless people).
I forgot about the scenic view from the ECV --- you are eye level with lots of adult backsides.
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