Disney buses with an ECV, FIRST TIMER!

Jetta8300

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 27, 2010
We are going to Disney in march with 8 of us total, extended family. My dad needs a double knee replacement surgery which he's getting soon but he cannot walk long distances without lots of pain. So I thought it would be best to rent an ECV for him.

This is our first trip without a rental car, and also having a family member with an ECV. We are staying at the POLY, so we aren't worried about traveling to MK and Epcot since we have the monorail. But any tips for going to AK and HS on the busses with an ECV? I hear they can only fit one or two per bus, so I"m worried about long waits for busses that can accommodate all of us. and I'm just wondering how the whole process works trying to board a bus with an ECV. Any tips of information would be helpful!
 
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kaytieeldr

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc
Joined
Jun 11, 2005
Two per bus.
ECV user waits in the marked area.
Indicates to approaching driver - by nodding or shaking head - if boarding that bus.
ECV user follows bus driver directions to board.
May be accompanied by up to five members of traveling party.
Remainder of party boards that or next available bus with other visitors.

See the WDW FAQ thread pinned near the top of this forum.
 

marcyleecorgan

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2017
8 people including ECV rider... I would make a backup plan to split up just in case the transportation is busy.
Like maybe 2-3 of your party take the monorail to another Park and then take the bus to AK while the other portion of your party does a direct bus to AK. Especially if you have little ones who could probably use the bathroom 2x before you get through the gates LOL
 
  • Jetta8300

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2010
    Two per bus.
    ECV user waits in the marked area.
    Indicates to approaching driver - by nodding or shaking head - if boarding that bus.
    ECV user follows bus driver directions to board.
    May be accompanied by up to five members of traveling party.
    Remainder of party boards that or next available bus with other visitors.

    See the WDW FAQ thread pinned near the top of this forum.
    8 people including ECV rider... I would make a backup plan to split up just in case the transportation is busy.
    Like maybe 2-3 of your party take the monorail to another Park and then take the bus to AK while the other portion of your party does a direct bus to AK. Especially if you have little ones who could probably use the bathroom 2x before you get through the gates LOL
    Thanks for your replies! I don't really mind waiting longer for a bus, however I know my parents will not want to split up, so if anything I see them waiting longer for a bus that can accomodate us all if that's possible. Nobody in our party has been to Disney before except for my husband and I. We will have 3 kids with us, 5,6,7. then 3 adults and 2 grandparents. If they can board the bus but we cannot, we may call an uber or Lyft as a backup for the remaining party. We wouldn't have a problem paying for this, or even Minnie Vans for everyone. But I heard those that accomodate ECVs are hard to come by. I guess i'm just not sure how full the busses get, or if you miss one do you have to wait another full 20 minutes for another?
     

    Simba's Mom

    <font color=green>everything went to "H*** in a ha
    Joined
    Aug 26, 1999
    if you miss one do you have to wait another full 20 minutes for another?
    I guess that depends on time of day, scheduling, and a host of other things, most especially, from what I've seen, luck. One time I had to wait with my ECV for 20 minutes between each of 2 buses (so that's 40 minutes) to get one able to take an ECV. The CM monitoring our bus stop just kept telling me that a bus comes every 20 minutes. However, one time I got lucky and when the bus that came was full for ECVs, they called for another bus and I only waited about 10 minutes. And, sometimes at the park, returning to your resort, there's no CM monitoring things, so when the bus came and couldn't accommodate me(2 ECVs in front of me), the driver just loaed everyone he could up and left. So them, I waited about 20 more minutes.
     

    RaySharpton

    Retired and going to Disney.
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2000
    Hi, Jetta8300. Here is a thread at https://www.disboards.com/threads/take-a-ride-with-me-in-my-wheelchair-at-pop-century-bus-stop-photos-12-2018.3724872/ where I show photos of me using the bus at Disney's Pop Century Resort and what it looks like getting on the bus. Maybe this might add to the info that everyone has posted above.


    We are going to Disney in March with 8 of us total, extended family. My dad needs a double knee replacement surgery which he's getting next year, but he cannot walk long distances without lots of pain. So I thought it would be best to rent an ECV for him.

    This is our first trip without a rental car, and also have a family member with an ECV. We are staying at the POLY, so we aren't worried about traveling to MK and Epcot since we have the monorail. But any tips for going to AK and HS on the busses with an ECV? I hear they can only fit one or two per bus, so I"m worried about long waits for buses that can accommodate all of us. and I'm just wondering how the whole process works trying to board a bus with an ECV. Any tips of information would be helpful!
     

    kaytieeldr

    Post hoc, ergo propter hoc
    Joined
    Jun 11, 2005
    so if anything I see them waiting longer for a bus that can accomodate us all if that's possible.
    Not a good idea. Start working with them now on best practices. Mobility device users should board the first possible bus. If ambulatory visitors can't board the current bus, they will get on the next one. Not necessarily true of mobility device users. They may have to wait through several buses.
     
  • Jetta8300

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2010
    Hi, Jetta8300. Here is a thread at https://www.disboards.com/threads/take-a-ride-with-me-in-my-wheelchair-at-pop-century-bus-stop-photos-12-2018.3724872/ where I show photos of me using the bus at Disney's Pop Century Resort and what it looks like getting on the bus. Maybe this might add to the info that everyone has posted above.
    That is extremely helpful!!! thank you very much. This will be great to show my parents.


    Not a good idea. Start working with them now on best practices. Mobility device users should board the first possible bus. If ambulatory visitors can't board the current bus, they will get on the next one. Not necessarily true of mobility device users. They may have to wait through several buses.
    I do see now that since ECV users may need to wait longer (if the next bus then shows up with no availability for a scooter) they should board the first available bus and not wait for us...and we will get there eventually. We will definitely have them do that. and if it's going to be a long wait for the rest of the party to catch up we may just call an Uber for the rest of us! Thanks!!!
     

    Selket

    Been there - done that
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2000
    I usually find it easier to get from the hotel to the parks - the bus is not as crowded. Of course YMMV if you're going at a peak time, etc. Getting from the park to the hotel can take awhile especially after fireworks and such. My kids used uber while I waited for the bus last August and that worked well (they got back to the room and got showers - they are older teens/early 20s so can travel without me lol). Just noting that it may be useful to split up that way at night so the kids can get back and start getting ready for bed if the bus wait is long (Uber was cheap too). We also used a Minnie Van to get to the hotel from the CR after a Chef Mickey dinner and that was VERY nice. Getting from a resort that isn't yours back to a hotel at night is def a good time to call the Minnie Van that can take an ECV (like if you were eating a Boma dinner at AKL and had to get back to the Poly). Here's a thread on the MV that shows the phone number to call to summon one: https://www.disboards.com/threads/wheelchair-accessible-minnie-van.3697979/

    I usually try to allow plenty of travel time before my first FP or dining reservation if possible and then bring your patience cause you may need it! :)
     

    Jetta8300

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2010
    I usually find it easier to get from the hotel to the parks - the bus is not as crowded. Of course YMMV if you're going at a peak time, etc. Getting from the park to the hotel can take awhile especially after fireworks and such. My kids used uber while I waited for the bus last August and that worked well (they got back to the room and got showers - they are older teens/early 20s so can travel without me lol). Just noting that it may be useful to split up that way at night so the kids can get back and start getting ready for bed if the bus wait is long (Uber was cheap too). We also used a Minnie Van to get to the hotel from the CR after a Chef Mickey dinner and that was VERY nice. Getting from a resort that isn't yours back to a hotel at night is def a good time to call the Minnie Van that can take an ECV (like if you were eating a Boma dinner at AKL and had to get back to the Poly). Here's a thread on the MV that shows the phone number to call to summon one: https://www.disboards.com/threads/wheelchair-accessible-minnie-van.3697979/

    I usually try to allow plenty of travel time before my first FP or dining reservation if possible and then bring your patience cause you may need it! :)
    Thanks so much for the tips! We are lucky because we are staying on the monorail, have no dinner reservations outside of the parks or monorail resorts, and are only going to the parks for 4 days with my parents. 1 park each day, and AK is our arrival day so i'm sure we will not head to the park until around 1:00pm. So that day i'm not anticipating a huge bus line to get to AK at 1:00, but I could be wrong! Going back to the resort however will be a different story.

    My parents and sister (and her two kids) are not early risers so they are refusing to rope drop. (should be interesting. we are rope droppers and they don't get it). They insist on a leisurely breakfast at the hotel around 8:30 before heading out. So I'm guessing we won't be trying to go to Hollywood Studios before 10am. We are also doing the luau at the hotel that night so I'm sure well head back to the hotel at another odd time, like 4pm. I hope the "off" times help us with the buses not being as busy, but I have no idea what i'm into so it could be worse?

    Either way now I know what to anticipate, and they can anticipate us being split up and they're ok with it...they said they would rather not worry about a rental car. But everyone's suggestions have been super helpful and we are now more prepared!
     
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  • ttintagel

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 28, 2011
    This is not so much advice as reassurance - every Disney bus driver I've ever encountered has been super friendly and helpful about getting those of us using ECV's on and off the bus. I didn't have any preparation the first time I needed one, and the drivers talked me through it without making me feel like a bother. They were wonderful.
     

    bushdianee

    <font color=green>I had a water fun day planned<br
    Joined
    Jun 24, 2004
    I'm not saying that this will happen but it was my experience. Five years ago I went with 7 others, we were a group of 5 adults and 3 kids. I had an ECV. When we got to the bus stops a couple of them would wait with me and the rest would enter the regular line. Almost every time the bus driver would ask me how many people were in my group and they would call over to the others waiting in line so that we all boarded together. We were trying to follow the rules and didn't ask for them to board with me. I guess we just had nice drivers!
     

    mamabunny

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2012
    Just FYI - not sure how long it will take for a standard Uber or Lyft to pick you up; you may actually find it's quicker to wait for the next Parks bus (if required).

    We did use a Minnie Van on our last trip (Sept 2018) and we *adored* our driver, Pam. My personal ECV is very small, lightweight and compact, so she was able to make room (since it was just my adult daughter and i) by moving the car seats into the back row, and then Angus (my personal mobility device :)) fit fine in the back. I was very glad to find out that I don't have to wait for the accessible Minnie Van, since there are fewer of those, and the demand is higher.

    We have found that when staying at Poly with an ECV that using the monorail and going MK as a "hub" to other locations is actually easier - and if your group doesn't mind a small walk, the TTC is literally next door. Our last trip at Poly, the bus was often oddly crowded because (at the time) it was sharing with GF next door to go everywhere. (It makes sense; both have monorails and boats, so buses are probably the least popular form of transport, but we spent the most time waiting for buses at Poly, so...)

    Remember that the ECV will *not* be able to use the smaller boats that go to/from the MK docks at Poly. The same style boat is used at GF, and ½ of the boats at the WL docks well. All have a step down, and no ramp or deck space for an ECV on board. Other than those notable exceptions, all forms of transportation at WDW will be ECV friendly. Monorails will have the same portable ramp system that is used by the Friendships and Water Taxis around WDW, and you already know about the buses.
     

    kaytieeldr

    Post hoc, ergo propter hoc
    Joined
    Jun 11, 2005
    I'm not saying that this will happen but it was my experience. Five years ago I went with 7 others, we were a group of 5 adults and 3 kids. I had an ECV. When we got to the bus stops a couple of them would wait with me and the rest would enter the regular line. Almost every time the bus driver would ask me how many people were in my group and they would call over to the others waiting in line so that we all boarded together. We were trying to follow the rules and didn't ask for them to board with me. I guess we just had nice drivers!
    Exactly the right way to do it!!!!!
     

    Selket

    Been there - done that
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2000
    My parents and sister (and her two kids) are not early risers so they are refusing to rope drop. (should be interesting. we are rope droppers and they don't get it). They insist on a leisurely breakfast at the hotel around 8:30 before heading out. So I'm guessing we won't be trying to go to Hollywood Studios before 10am. We are also doing the luau at the hotel that night so I'm sure well head back to the hotel at another odd time, like 4pm. I hope the "off" times help us with the buses not being as busy, but I have no idea what i'm into so it could be worse?

    Either way now I know what to anticipate, and they can anticipate us being split up and they're ok with it...they said they would rather not worry about a rental car. But everyone's suggestions have been super helpful and we are now more prepared!
    I'm not a rope dropper either these days - lol! I would be though if I wanted to ride a lot of popular stuff without a long wait cause that's definitely the way to get it done. As long as your sister knows that ride options are more limited with longer waits then that's all you can do!

    I've also not stayed at the Poly (have done CR before the scooter and GF with the scooter). I have never had a problem with the monorail and the CM's have been great. I think off times help with the busses but you also run into the issue of fewer busses - yet I've never had a problem that was due to being in a scooter - as in I've rarely had so many scooters I couldn't take the first bus. I also don't think AK will be that bad leaving in the evening since departure from there seems to be a bit more staggered. The tough times are after the MK fireworks and Epcot Illuminations. I'm not sure how evening shows at DHS affect the crowds.

    I also need both knees replaced so I know how that is. If your dad can walk some - I know I have times when my knees are terrible and other times it's ok - then he can feel free to park the scooter and walk a bit. I often park to go into stores to shop if I can. I enjoy shopping at WDW and maybe your dad doesn't so much...but if he does then the best time to shop is earlier in the day when the stores are less crowded if he needs to stay in the scooter. Towards closing time the shops get very busy and taking a scooter through them is tough. I also recommend that he take the scooter through any ride ques that he can - even if you have a fast pass. You know that some ques are quite long (Soarin, stuff in Pandora, etc). I'd rather be able to use my standing and walking time in shops and restaurants than ride ques. However I generally do park the scooter and walk through the que at Buzz IF I have a fast pass because the que is short with FP and it requires transfer to a WC. Haunted Mansion is a tough one - they ask you to park the scooter and transfer to a WC too. I usually walk through if I have a FP (honestly I just don't ride it if the line looks long lol). That's a longer walk and stand than I'd like sometimes. Other rides where I may walk is Splash and Big Thunder Mountain but those are tough and with stairs - and only with a FP and if my knees are feeling great. They both also have an entrance where you can stay in the scooter and avoid stairs.

    As I type this I realize that I tend to ride stuff that I can get a FP for and stay in the scooter for the que (hello Little Mermaid -- haha!). Also there have been some threads here about getting in and out of rides for those who have knee issues. If your dad can't bend his knee too much then some rides will be tough anyway... like 7DMT perhaps (I never have issues), Splash (this one kills me - I rarely ride it now), IASW (the seats are so low and cramped), Astro Orbiters, and probably others. I can do FoP though but it's close cause of the knee bend. I'm not sure if you know what he plans to ride but you may want to think about it if you think he'd ride a lot.
     

    Jetta8300

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2010
    I'm not a rope dropper either these days - lol! I would be though if I wanted to ride a lot of popular stuff without a long wait cause that's definitely the way to get it done. As long as your sister knows that ride options are more limited with longer waits then that's all you can do!

    I've also not stayed at the Poly (have done CR before the scooter and GF with the scooter). I have never had a problem with the monorail and the CM's have been great. I think off times help with the busses but you also run into the issue of fewer busses - yet I've never had a problem that was due to being in a scooter - as in I've rarely had so many scooters I couldn't take the first bus. I also don't think AK will be that bad leaving in the evening since departure from there seems to be a bit more staggered. The tough times are after the MK fireworks and Epcot Illuminations. I'm not sure how evening shows at DHS affect the crowds.

    I also need both knees replaced so I know how that is. If your dad can walk some - I know I have times when my knees are terrible and other times it's ok - then he can feel free to park the scooter and walk a bit. I often park to go into stores to shop if I can. I enjoy shopping at WDW and maybe your dad doesn't so much...but if he does then the best time to shop is earlier in the day when the stores are less crowded if he needs to stay in the scooter. Towards closing time the shops get very busy and taking a scooter through them is tough. I also recommend that he take the scooter through any ride ques that he can - even if you have a fast pass. You know that some ques are quite long (Soarin, stuff in Pandora, etc). I'd rather be able to use my standing and walking time in shops and restaurants than ride ques. However I generally do park the scooter and walk through the que at Buzz IF I have a fast pass because the que is short with FP and it requires transfer to a WC. Haunted Mansion is a tough one - they ask you to park the scooter and transfer to a WC too. I usually walk through if I have a FP (honestly I just don't ride it if the line looks long lol). That's a longer walk and stand than I'd like sometimes. Other rides where I may walk is Splash and Big Thunder Mountain but those are tough and with stairs - and only with a FP and if my knees are feeling great. They both also have an entrance where you can stay in the scooter and avoid stairs.

    As I type this I realize that I tend to ride stuff that I can get a FP for and stay in the scooter for the que (hello Little Mermaid -- haha!). Also there have been some threads here about getting in and out of rides for those who have knee issues. If your dad can't bend his knee too much then some rides will be tough anyway... like 7DMT perhaps (I never have issues), Splash (this one kills me - I rarely ride it now), IASW (the seats are so low and cramped), Astro Orbiters, and probably others. I can do FoP though but it's close cause of the knee bend. I'm not sure if you know what he plans to ride but you may want to think about it if you think he'd ride a lot.
    Wow that’s extremely helpful! We are lucky because my dad can walk some, and well, but only for a short while. He can’t walk or stand for long periods of time though. It’s hard to tell because he’s not a complainer. But after doing a semi short walk he needs to sit down and he’s in quite a bit of pain.

    I would assume he will use the scooter mainly for getting around the park, and for long ride queues. I don’t think he’ll need it for going into shops or ride lines under 20-25 minutes. But he would not be able to stand in something like the Test track line, and then especially continue to walk after. He would not be able to Disney without a scooter, but I’m sure we will be parking it a great deal.

    I’m 35 now, and on my first ever DISNEY trip in 2011 with my husband, I hurt my foot on the second day. The ER put me in a boot, I had a ton of pain but could walk and stand in the boot. So I had to rent an ECV! I mainly used it to get from ride to ride, and just parked it outside. I’m sure that’s what my dad will be doing mostly.

    So I actually had to have an ECV delivered to our hotel which was the contemporary. We are so lucky we had that service and it didn’t ruin our vacation. So Funny enough, I’m Familiar with renting from that experience. Even though it was a long time ago. but we had a rental car, and it came apart. So the buses are totally new to me, and this will be our 7th trip and first with busing!
     

    Staren

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 24, 2017
    One thing worth keeping in mind with the Monorail is that the ramps from the platforms at the TTC and MK are pretty steep. This is more of a problem for those of us using manual chairs or underpowered ECVs (not an issue with most rentals). Just worth being a little cautious the first time going down them.
     

    Simba's Mom

    <font color=green>everything went to "H*** in a ha
    Joined
    Aug 26, 1999
    We have found that when staying at Poly with an ECV that using the monorail and going MK as a "hub" to other locations is actually easier - and if your group doesn't mind a small walk, the TTC is literally next door. Our last trip at Poly, the bus was often oddly crowded because (at the time) it was sharing with GF next door to go everywhere. (It makes sense; both have monorails and boats, so buses are probably the least popular form of transport, but we spent the most time waiting for buses at Poly.
    I’m wondering why Poly buses were crowded. I know they share with GF, but I thought they were first. Is GF first? Thinking of GF or Poly on my next trip. Want the first bus stop
     

    lanejudy

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Oct 27, 2011
    I’m wondering why Poly buses were crowded. I know they share with GF, but I thought they were first. Is GF first? Thinking of GF or Poly on my next trip. Want the first bus stop
    Keep in mind that except for park opening, most buses are "looping" -- bringing guests back to the resort from the park, at the same time they pick up guests at the resort to go to the park. So if sharing a bus, it could arrive full or crowded at the "first" resort/stop, and if those guests are staying on until the next resort/stop, it won't free up much space for more people to get on.

    Enjoy your vacation!
     

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