Electric Wheel Chair Line Ettiquette


Jan 19, 2001
This is the first time I will be at Disney with a member of our party using an electric wheel chair. Can anyone help me on the proper procedure for the Bus Lines at Disney. If we will be using an electric wheel chair is there front of the line privleges for handicap accessible busses if you have a wheel chair? Do you just wait your turn in line and hope that when you get to the front a handicap accessible bus will be the first bus to come.

I don't want to do the wrong thing here, but I don't want to be stuck waiting 45 minutes for a bus either.
The best thing to do is got to the left of the line and pull up to the curb so the bus driver will see you. What the driver will do is stop the bus and let the people off. After he lets the people off he will close th front door of the bus and come back and open the lift door, and let the person with the wheelchair on. after you get strapped in, and believe me you do get strapped in! The driver will then let therest of the people on the bus. My DW and son usually stand in line with everybody else and then enter thru the front door of the bus.
In general, the problem with the buses is getting the attention of the driver. There aren't any specific directions on what to do, but in 14 years of traveling to WDW with someone in a wheelchair, here's what we do:
1) DD in her wheelchair and one person wait for the bus near where the back door of the bus will be when it stops. Wheelchairs are put on the bus at the rear door, so it speeds things up for you to be waiting there.
When we are at the resort, and all the busses will be coming to the same stop, they give kind of an exaggerated head nod or shake to tell the driver whether we want to go to that park or not.
At the parks, the bus stops only go one place, so you don't need to signal the driver about whether you wnat that bus or not. You just have to do things (waves arms, etc) to make sure they see you.

2) If there is a line, the rest of our party waits in the line. Sometimes this is really important becasue the driver may not have seen (or in a few cases, ignored) DD's wheelchair. We let the driver know that we have someone in a wheelchair who needs to board.

3) We try not to leave the parks at busy times. After Illuminations, for example, we take our leaving the park, so the first few buses are loaded and gone before we get to the bus stop. If it is busy, our whole party stays with DD instead of waiting in line. We don't want to have her and DH put on the bus and me and other DD left behind.

4) The drivers need to load wheelchairs before other people get on. This helps with manouvering the wheelchair because you don't have to worry about the other people. It's also helpful because some of the seats have to be flipped up to make room for the wheelchair. If people are sitting in them, they don't always react kindly to being asked to move.

5) If we can see the bus is going to be full and people will need to stand, we usually stand, even if we got on before all the seats were full.

Other people might have different hints, but this is what works for us.
Go to the front of the bus area and wait there in full view of the driver. Occasionally a river will act as though he doesn't see you, but honestly if you are in this area it is really doubtful IMHO that they don't see you.
Since I often travel alone I find that there is always a guest who will alert the driver if they aren't taking any action to load me on the bus.
Be sure you know how to tie down the wheelchair properly since not all the drivers do. This is due to the many different types of power wheelchairs that are not all tied down in the same manner.
Have a great trip.

I do wish they would post the wheelchair and ECV loading protocol at all the bus stops - it would help make it clear to all bus riders why they need to wait an extra moment, and just save us all from some confusion and annoyance. :)
It's helpful to not only know where the tiedown points are, but actually mark them in some way. Since some of the spots are not in your view while sitting in the chair, you will know the driver knows where to attach. I used some bright pink tape on the safe tiedown spots on my DD's wheelchair. We told the driver they can attach anyplace they saw pink tape. It makes the tiedown process faster and we have gotten some "Thank yous" from drivers for making it easier for them to do it right.
I really appreciate everyone's advice. I will be travelling with my father-in-law who will use the ECV. He has emphysema and can't walk more than about 50 feet without taking a rest. He does not typically use an ECV. We are planning on renting one from someplace like Walker Mobility or the like. However, since we have never used one, I am a little concerned about figuring out tie down points and that sort of thing. I also understand that it will be waiting for us at the resort so we won't really get a demonstration or anything. Do I need to be worried about this or are the tie down points on rentals already well marked?

I wouldn't worry about it too much for and ecv. They are a lot different than power wheelchairs. The ecvs (whatever brand) are pretty standard and the drivers will be much more familiar with them since there are only a few types. When you set up the rental, you could ask if they have information about safe tiedown spots that they could deliver with it.

Power wheelchairs are much more a custom item; each one is set up for a particular user and there are quite a few different types. The equipment that is cutomized might make a difference in where the tiedowns would be. The same holds true for custom manual wheelchairs.

PS: A hint for you, if you have any more questions involving ecv use, it would be helpful to use ECV instead of Electric Wheelchair. They may seem to be the same, but they are very different types of equipment. Sometimes the advice is not the same for both and you will get more accurate information if we know which you are actually using. Thanks
I have always been told to go to the curb approximatly where the back doors of the bus will end up once it stops. I have also been told by the drivers to have my entire party with me so thay can be assured a spot on bus with me. It's usually just my hubby and my son with me at the bus stop. Wonder if the drivers would say something different if my party was bigger.

Take Care
I think it depends on the driver.
Our party is usually 4 people, one in a wheelchair.We have also been told to have the person with a wheelchair and one other person wait near the curb about where the back wheel of the bus will be when it stops. The rest depends on the driver. We have had drivers tell us "next time, you should all wait together at the back door" and others tell us "next time, everyone other than the person in the wheelchair needs to wait in line."
Some drivers will have our whole party board thru the back door, some tell us to go to the front door, but then they let us board before the rest of the line. Some tell us to get in line with everyone else and wait our turn. One time (quite a while ago), my DH and DD in the wheelchair were boarded and my other DD and I were left behind. Since then, if we are not with DH, he will tell the driver that there are 2 more members of our party that need to board too.
We pretty much try to stay together and position ourselves where wee will be seen. But, since some drivers will try to ignore you, it's still best to have someone (from your party, or we might ask the first person in line) ready to tell the driver that there is a wheelchair to board.


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