Ideas about store electronic carts

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by SpiritedHaunts, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. SpiritedHaunts

    SpiritedHaunts Mouseketeer

    Aug 3, 2008
    I would like some help on using in store carts. We regularly visit Target and I use a cat while mom, who should also be using one, uses a bit buggy.

    Often I have had to get one or two carts because they die on me. Is there any advice to help? Should I turn it off while looking at items? Or keep it on?

    They have older bigger cars that I have actually moved moved displays with. These are not as easy to maneuver but seem to last longer. The other newer carts are way faster, can turn around in most isles but run out of power very quickly.

    Any advise? I have to use a cane when I leave the house or at home even if neededIn.I have a rollator for when I am going to have to wait line or be at our bookstore for awhile.

    Also, I met a woman who was in a small scorer she said she got off amazon. It was a two word name that was something like future and mechanical. I fear I may be needing my own. I'd like to see if there are any small, portable cart that I can tool around in. But how could that work in a store or just to even hold my bag (s).

    As you can tell I need a lot of help in this transition. All and any advice is definitely welcomed.
  2. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

    Jun 11, 2005
    I would say take it up with Target. I think they have only two carts*, so can't let them fully charge between users. Or it might be time to investigate purchasing your own.

    *At least my local Target and Wal-Mart each only had two when I needed them. No
    mamabunny likes this.
  3. mamabunny

    mamabunny DIS Veteran

    Oct 11, 2012
    I agree with @kaytieeldr - it sounds like the newer, faster carts are more popular, and so they aren't getting enough "down" time to fully charge. That, and often customers don't take a moment to do the simple courtesy of plugging the store scooter back in so that it charges (even a little bit). Our local Target & Wal-Mart stores have nearly 2 dozen of these carts between the two of them, but on a weekend there will literally be folks sitting on the benches at the front of the stores, waiting for someone to bring one back.

    You need to approach your local Target management and let them know that you require the scooter to shop, and that they frequently are not useable because they are not being allowed to recharge.

    Yes - turning off the cart when you are stopped for any amount of time will help the battery last longer. Additionally, planning your trip through the store (so that you don't have to backtrack, or go back and forth across the entire store multiple times) will help. Use common sense to your advantage as well - for example, plan your trip around the store so that you pick up the heaviest items last (like a case of water bottles) and you aren't carrying the heaviest stuff around the longest.

    But at the end of the day, you may have to rely upon the store to insure that the carts are being kept in a useable condition. Remember that these are considered to be a "courtesy cart" - they are NOT required to offer them to customers as an accommodation, and they are NOT required to do anything other than make sure that the store itself is accessible and useable by everyone. (So, handicapped parking spots, ramps to entrances if required, aisles wide enough to accomodate mobility devices, restrooms to accommodate mobility device users, assistance with shopping if required/requested and facilities that allow the customer perform (essentially) the same shopping functions as an able-bodied person).

    If you have arrived at a point where you require the use of a motorized store cart to shop, you may want to consider purchasing a lightweight scooter that you can take wherever you want. Because I own my own personal scooter, I never have to worry about the condition of the store carts anymore; and I can go and do things at places where a "courtesy" or rental cart is typically not available, like art museums, small local festivals, tourist attractions, etc.
    arminnie, BethCPTSD and RaySharpton like this.
  4. SpiritedHaunts

    SpiritedHaunts Mouseketeer

    Aug 3, 2008
    Thank you. I am now planning a no plan trip as a last hurrah.Asmost everyone knows the prices have gone up and the fun things, for us like Off Kilter and others, has been taken out.

    This may be the last time because we stay at the Dolphin and the availability at a lower rate might have come to an end.

    The last few times I have been using a wheelchair that I can push or pushed in in the queues. But I think that now with an additional diagnosis of bursitis on both my feet I think it maybe time to not walk but use a cart.

    Any advice on using one in the parks for the first time? We are planning on going September 11th through the 16th.
  5. mamabunny

    mamabunny DIS Veteran

    Oct 11, 2012
    Here's a few tips for a first-time ECV driver:

    Who to rent from is very subjective. I recommend CALLING and talking to several companies, and see which one you like best. Currently, a lot of folks around here are having good success renting from Gold, however that is *not* an endorsement - just information! :)

    Obviously you have already been practicing your ECV driving and parking skills with the electric carts at Wal-Mart, Target, Lowe's, the grocery store, etc. and that will help a great deal. If you can tame one of those wheezing beasties, a mere rental at WDW will be a breeze! Having said that, do set aside the time when you first get your rental to practice at the Resort (or somewhere outside the Parks) to familiarize yourself with how it stops, turns, etc. I recommend Disney Springs or a Disney Resort, simply because you can "practice" going through shops, food service venues, there are ramps and curb cuts to practice, along with ample open space to get used to backing up (a skill that is important, and often overlooked). And last but not least - there are buses. (more about those later) :)

    One of the first things you will notice about your rental is that it will (typically) have a "turtle" and a "rabbit" on the speed dial. "Turtle" speed is slowest and "Rabbit" speed is fastest - but some scooters do have a bit of "turtle" or "rabbit" beyond the indicated range, so experiment with speed control as well. Remember that Disney World does have a "speed limit" for personal mobility devices that is loosely defined as "walking speed". Obviously, some folks walk faster or slower than others, so the general rule of thumb is that you try to go about the speed that everyone around you is going, and when in doubt, slow down. :)

    Please remember that WDW has a rule - for everyone's safety - that only you ride the ECV. One device, one rider. Period. (Our daughter says "One seat, one butt LOL) Do not carry infants or children on your lap, or let adults ride (either by standing on the "running board" or sitting on the armrest, etc.) The danger to yourself and others is very real.

    Bring a brightly colored scarf, length of grosgrain ribbon or bandana to tie on your rental scooter. It will help it stand out in a sea of similar units (if you park it to ride, eat, or shop a bit). Some folks really decorate their rentals! :)

    You will have to park the ECV in your room every night to charge it, so if you need to make a bit of space, ask for the table and chairs to be removed at the front desk of your Disney Resort Hotel. You are not allowed to park it outside in a hallway or breezeway, or down at the lobby or bell services. (Pro tip: go directly to the front desk to ask for the table & chairs to be moved - don't call the "Front Desk" from the room phone, as that call goes to a Call Center for the Resorts, and not the Front Desk of the hotel you are at)

    If the scooter has a key, always take it with you when you park it.

    You can most certainly "park and walk" - many folks here do just that. They will find a central location to park in (again, any Cast Member can point you to a good, safe spot to park in) and then you can move it to the next area when you are ready.

    Don't be surprised if you park the ECV to go on a ride, or attraction, and it is moved when you return. The Cast Members are in a constant struggle to keep walkways clear and safe, as well as making sure that parking areas for mobility devices and strollers stay reasonably tidy. You will typically find it quite nearby, but if you don't, just ask any CM you see, and they will help you find it. (one of the reasons you want to tie that bandana or ribbon to your ECV!)

    Remember to stay sharp and focused while driving the ECV - people at WDW tend to be doing everything but paying attention when they are walking, and many of us here have had folks run right into us, or walk right in front of us as we are moving! I try to make eye contact, smile politely, and offer an cheerful "Excuse me!" when needed, but know that you WILL at some point find yourself nearly running over someone who is either texting, taking a "selfie" or posting their latest selfie to Instagram. Children, who do not yet fully grasp all of the nuances of physics, are especially prone to running out in front of an ECV; they don't realize that most ECVs can't just stop instantly. I try to build a "bubble" in front of me (if I can) by leaving a space, and adjusting my rate of travel, so that I can more easily spot those folks who look like they might pop right out in front of me.

    It's true: probably the hardest thing you will do with the ECV all revolves around dealing with the buses, boats & monorails. Just FYI - IT'S NOT THAT HARD! Make sure you are parked in the white painted rectangle at the bus stop (unless another guest beat you to it) so that the driver sees you, and knows you are waiting to ride. (The exception to this is at the Ft. Wilderness Campgrounds, where there are not any white painted rectangles at the internal Resort stops for all of the Loops.)

    Just to ease your mind, the drivers (and captains and Monorail CMs) will all do their best to help you, and coach you with loading/unloading. They are all patient, and quite used to "newbies" - so just let them know it's your first time driving an ECV, and they will help you as best they can :)

    When the ramp comes down, try to be pointed straight at the base of the ramp, and go right up the center. At the top of the ramp you will typically have to turn a bit to the right. GO SLOWLY, especially until you are used to the ECV. Even experienced users take this carefully - the last thing you want is to run over the driver, or hit the side of the doorway going in. Important to know: the drivers will give you instructions and will help as much as they can, but it is up to you (or a member of your party) to actually get the ECV up into the bus. You will always board first, and exit last. Your family can walk up the ramp and board behind you. Also good to know: the bus driver will let them know when it is safe to board the bus *after* your ECV is properly tied down. The bus drivers (and all of the transportation CMs) are nothing short of amazing at WDW!

    You can take the ECV on all of the boats (except for the smaller launches) and there, the Captains have a portable ramp you should be able to use. It is identical to the portable ramp they will use for you at the Monorail stations. The loading/unloading procedure is actually fairly similar everywhere - you will almost always load first, and exit last.

    Finally, a few quick driving tips: anytime at WDW (or anytime using an ECV for that matter) be aware of ramps, hills and slopes. Going up, you will want to lean forward to help shift your center of gravity towards the front of the ECV. Take your time going up steep slopes, hills or ramps, and if possible, approach them at a slight angle at the base.

    Coming down, be very aware of your speed, and make sure you can brake effectively. This is not the time to try and drink your Starbucks; two hands on the wheel!

    When crossing the train tracks embedded in Main Street at MK, be sure to cross at a 90 degree angle. Otherwise, you risk the wheel(s) getting caught, and you could find yourself dumped on to Main Street. Everyone wants to have an unforgettable trip - just for the right reasons!

    ECVs run on electrically recharged batteries. So, to finish this whole thing up, let's talk for a minute about how to get the most battery life out of your rental while at WDW.

    Your rental *should* be delivered with a fully-charged battery. The only time I would allow an exception for this is if it was a late-evening rental, and you weren't planning on going anywhere but to your room, and to sleep!

    #1 is to make sure that the battery(s) is/are charged fully prior to leaving for the Parks every morning. Start the day with a fully charged battery, and you should be fine.

    Anytime you are stopped for more than - let's just say 10 seconds (no, I'm not exaggerating) - turn off your scooter. Especially when waiting in lines, watching a show or parade, if you are stopped in a store to look at something, or if you are going on a ride, eating a meal, talking to a CM, looking at a map... turn it off! :) This is especially true for when you are riding buses, boats, or the monorail. Essentially, if you would be standing still if you were walking... turn it off. There's no negative effect to the battery for turning it on and off, and if you are Rope Drop to Kiss Goodnight, you will want to monitor your battery usage aggressively.

    Don't use the headlight in the daytime. It won't give that much additional visibility, and it will drain the battery faster. Some folks don't even use the headlight at night. On my personal ECV, I have a bicycle lighting system that is self-contained and rechargeable so it doesn't pull from my ECV battery. The only time I tend to use the headlights/taillights is at night, between the Park entrance and the buses, just for an extra bit of visibility.

    If you have any other questions, just ask, and we will be glad to help you with the answers! :)
    RaySharpton likes this.

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