First time ECV user - encouragement needed

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by BahamasBride03, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. BahamasBride03

    BahamasBride03 Earning My Ears

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    Hi everyone,

    My DH and I are traveling to WDW soon to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. (Our precious DDs are home with grandparents this time!) I have an autoimmune disease called polymyositis that affects my muscles and I also have fibromyalgia. I am currently in a flare, and am really struggling with muscle aches, pain and fatigue.

    I don’t want to cancel the trip, I am a fighter and I am determined not to let my health issues run my life (I have only had this for just barely over 5 years). However, I am coming to terms with the fact that unless I have a rapid recovery quickly, I am not going to be able to do 3 1/2 days in the parks without assistance.

    I am hoping to rent the ECV just at the parks and park it centrally while we do some attractions, eat, etc and just use it for longer walking stretches to conserve energy. However, I am so scared about driving one and worrying about accidentally hitting people all the time. If I am being completely honest too, I am also struggling a bit with the emotions of needing one. While I feel grateful and empowered by still doing this trip and accepting my limits and using the “help” of the ECV, it is also humbling and just makes me sad when instead of the joy and excitement that a trip to my favorite place in the world normally bring, I am feeling scared at the thought of “the logistics” of the trip and how my body will hold up.

    If anyone has advice/tips/can relate or provide encouragement, I could really use it. Thank you so much for reading.
     
  2. jo-jo

    jo-jo DIS Veteran

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    I have no experience with an EVC, but my DH has used a wheelchair about 6 times at disney. The first time or two, when he really needed some help, he decided to tough it out. And that didn't work well. The one thing I liked about using a wheelchair,since I push, I can speak to my DH easily. Most times my voice doesn't have any strength, so it's hard to hear me.

    He doesn't do the walk and park plan, he does the ride and push/walk plan.

    Question, how do you feel standing waiting in line? I feel these over 30 min waits are just so draining. DH likes the wheelchair the best in the lines.

    Are you planning on FOP? We did the FP lane and it goes up about 80 degrees for about 4 miles. Not really, but it's bad enough that once I push DH, once he walked, we never did it again. The ride is great, getting to the ride through FP lane was awful. Make sure that is one ride you take the EVC through the ride.

    I'm sure there will be others that will give you better advice than I.

    I applaud you for making plans. As you said you can use it for a bit and park it for a bit.
     
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  4. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

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    Rent from offsite.
    Practice at your hotel before venturing to a park.
     
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  5. lilfaeriebrat

    lilfaeriebrat Mouseketeer

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    I have used an ECV at WDW and for 2 years regularly at DLR (DLR AP holder). I don't want to scare you but you will hit someone, it's inevitable. People don't watch and are not fully aware of their surroundings when at the parks. They are so involved with the sites that they just don't pay attention. Many people have never used an ECV and don't realize they do not have brakes and can't stop on a dime. Think of how many times someone has been hit by a stroller because they just stopped walking and the person behind them was pushing a stroller. Kids will run out in front of you, people will stop right in front of you to take a picture or look at their map/phone. You will get dirty looks and all you can do is say I'm sorry, (then curse and mumble about them to your husband when you're out of earshot.).

    With the years of experience I've had, my grandmother rode one every week at DLR for a year before she passed, I rode hers for 2 years when I couldn't do the parks on foot and my mom has now been in it for the past few years; here is my advice, If the crowds are really heavy have your husband walk in front of you. He should be able to help clear a path and keep you from running into other guests. And if you hit someone it will most likely be him and you can make it up to him later with kisses. The horns are worthless on the ECVs, so you have to be loud or your husband needs to be loud when you are trying to get around people.

    This is my DH's favorite part of me using an ECV, he gets to set the pace. I walk slower than my DH and tend to walk slower when I'm hurting. If he walks slow to match my speed his back ends up hurting by the end of the day but in the ECV he gets to set the pace and I match my speed to his walking.

    Other tips, take something to cover the ECV such as a poncho incase of rain. My one trip to WDW with my ECV the scooter got damaged to due rain when I was in eating dinner at Le Cellier. I had left the scooter outside and someone had to push me and the scooter out of the park because the mechanics were shot. Luckily with rented ones you have replacements available.

    Don't be ashamed for having to use one, don't let the emotions get to you because having it available to you will make your trip better. I have decided to take mine with on my trip in 2 weeks because of some medical issues I've been dealing with since March. If I don't need it great but it's the reassurance in the back of my mind that it's there if I need it.

    Enjoy your trip!
     
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  6. Bete

    Bete DIS Veteran

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    First, let me say we have never hit anyone with a scooter. My husband and I have used scooters for at least 20 trips there. We have used scooters in other places like Dollywood, too. I will say we have had a few close calls with distracted people going right out in front of us. You do have to be alert.

    Since you have someone able bodied they can lead the way for you and make sure it's safe to go. We like going early to the park; because, it's less crowded at the early hours. Also, if you are staying onsite take advantage of extra magic morning hour at the parks.

    You can get some practice at home by using the free scooters at the stores. If you really want to put in some good practice visit a local zoo for a day and use one there.

    It may be hard for you to turn a scooter; so, be careful in that respect.

    Not only has the scooter allowed us to continue to go to Disney we are able to stay in the parks longer with them; we don't get as tired.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018 at 11:42 PM
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  7. ttintagel

    ttintagel DIS Veteran

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    I was nervous the first time, too! But within an hour I was having such a great time, and not having to struggle or be in pain to do it, that I completely forgot about my nerves.

    The only trouble I had was a person in my own group who has known me since I was a child and tends to forget I'm now a competent adult just like everyone else. And I even tuned THAT out pretty quickly!
     
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  8. Betty Rohrer

    Betty Rohrer DIS Veteran

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    another vote for offsite rental for 2 reasons 1 you will have to get you around resort esp in evening returning to room when you can have a walk be it from car or boat or bus or monorail and 2 when you are the most tired you will have a walk and a wait for any transportation with no where to sit. park ECVs are not allowed to take you out of gate. as for using in park as others have said there is no brake you just let off lever to stop which is not on a dime stopping. worst accident I had on one was lady texting on her phone who walked into me as I was stopped waiting for her to run into me. she looked at me how dare me run into her when her husband grabbed her and said she was stopped how did she run into you? I didn't have to say anything. with that said after first day or 2 you will know how to use and be a pro. for me when I had to use I found best part was being able to take up to ride load allowing me to sit and save energy. think about being able to "walk" husband's speed not him having to so to yours. bet you haven't been able to do that for a while. you will always have a seat to rest in as needed without having to look for one which is becoming harder to find. also remember those other people will not be seeing you again. ask me anything else yes you can park and walk but it is a lot harder to fet it to you if you need it while in a line and you need it. one last thing remember an ECV is a tool like wearing glasses. would you leave glasses at home when you need them. an ECV is just a different tool. have a great trip
     
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  9. Simba's Mom

    Simba's Mom <font color=green>everything went to "H*** in a ha

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    I was so pleasantly surprised the first time I rented an ECV at how nice and helpful people were. I was on a solo trip, and my back just said "No more walking!" So I didn't even have anyone to open doors. It was during the F&W festival, and going thru the lines to pay, especially using the in-park monstrous 4-wheel ECVs, was a challenge. I hit the poles once, and a man turned around and smiled at me, "I didn't see anything!" I almost cried (wait-I DID cry!) when I had to get an ECV and I really was expecting dirty looks, but I was so impressed with how nice people were. Hopefully, you will be too.
     
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  10. QueenElinor

    QueenElinor It's not my fault they're all redheads.

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    I am in the same situation as you are. I have RA and can get around most of the time without any assistance but WDW is just too much for me. The last time we were there I rented an ECV and it was awesome! I rented mine for the whole trip as I didn't want to deal with renting it everyday- they can run out of ECVs at the parks, it takes time to do that every day, etc. I agree that everyone was nice, no problem at all. I plan to rent again when we go in May.

    You will be SO glad you did it! And the kids like it because I can carry a lot of their stuff! I don't think it's exaggerating to say it transformed my experience, and my attitude. The family loved it that I was so much happier, and able to be with them for all day instead of going back to the room.

    The only tiny thing that was annoying was at AK there was nowhere to park the ECV near Kilimanjaro Safaris- even if you are ambulatory you are required to use a separate ride entry as if you could only transfer. This overloaded that area and increased the wait time for everyone. I've seen it done before at some of the shows, etc. where you stayed with your ride, but it really increased the wait time in this case, unnecessarily so. I felt bad for the folks who couldn't walk, because I delayed it for them. If there had been a place to park I would have done so and just gone through the regular line.

    On the other hand, KS is way too rough for me, so I won't be going back anyway!:)
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
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  11. pezaddict231

    pezaddict231 DIS Veteran

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    Don’t be nervous, they are actually really easy to use. The bus is prob the hardest part and most of the drivers are really helpful. I haven’t hit anyone yet, but you do need to be vigilant. If the crowd is too thick I just pull over and let it clear a little. If someone can walk in front of you that helps too.
     
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  12. jo-jo

    jo-jo DIS Veteran

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    I'm glad others have shared. The one point I would repeat, is renting off site. For a trip or two, we rented a wheelchair from disney. First, there was always a long line in the morning to pay and I did see a couple of times people were told the EVCs have run out. Once we rented a wheelchair off site, it was so nice not to deal with that line plus the other reasons already mentioned.
     
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  13. Selket

    Selket Been there - done that

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    The off-site rental scooters are much easier to drive - I don't know specifics but they look and feel smaller (so you don't feel like an 18 wheeler) - easier to turn, stop, start, etc. If you're staying off-site they are ones that break down to fit in the car - I'd definitely suggest renting off site. There are several threads here that discuss people's experiences with different companies. I rented from Gold Mobility last trip and they were amazing.

    I've not hit anyone with a scooter but it's kind of like walking - where there's crowds you're just more likely to bump into someone or them into you. People have definitely walked into me when I'm standing still - which is kinda amusing lol.

    Really everyone is on their own trip and not paying any attention to you - so don't worry about that part. I do believe you'll have a better experience with an off site rental though!
     
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  14. musicmom3331

    musicmom3331 Mouseketeer

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    I had to use a scooter for the first time in June because of RA flare. I used ones at Walmart and Target to get used to driving them. I rented from Buena Vista and their's was so easy to drive. I brought a towel to sit on to prevent soggy-bottom from the heat and it really helped.
     
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  15. cobright

    cobright DIS Veteran

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    You will do better in the ecv than without it. After a half hour in the saddle it becomes an extension of you and you will glide through the crowds like a hare darting through a cornfield.

    [darTE="lilfaeriebrat, post: 59834018, member: 572796"]I don't want to scare you but you will hit someone, it's inevitable.[/QUOTE]
    Oh p'shaw. I mean, yeah it can happen but in 7 years I've never seen my mobility-assisted friend bump anyone. To be clear, she has been bumped by pedestrians often. Not the same thing.

    Just set your honey to the side of you and close and keep station a constant distance alongside . It really does become very second nature.
     
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