Restricted mobility and ECV use...........

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by krisces, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. krisces

    krisces I work to Cruise!!!

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    Good Morning all! We are headed to WDW in a few weeks, and I have been told by my ortho to rent an ECV as I am recuperating from an Achilles tendon tear. She is really afraid that if I do all that walking, I may injure myself again.
    Anyway, I am allowed to do limited walking and my husband will assist me in getting on and off rides, so I have no need of a DAS. But, I wonder, when I want to walk around a little bit, or get off and get on a ride, is there somewhere I can "park" the ECV? Do I leave it with the strollers? I know that the CM's move the strollers around, and I don't think the ECV's can be moved.

    In short, I need any information/advice you can give me! I am overwhelmed and concerned.
    Thank you!
     
  2. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    Your safest bet is to ask a CM at the attraction. Also, keep in mind that the queue for some attractions might be longer than you think. For example, the queue for Soarin is more then 1/4 mile in and a similar distance back out when you are done. Most (but not all) queues are ECV accessible. All queues are wheelchair accessible; if the queue isn’t ECV accessible, the attraction will have a wheelchair you csn borrow if necessary.

    ECVs can be moved. They have a lever that disengages the motor and allows the wheels to roll freely. In that position, the ECV can be pushed and CMs do move them if you are parked somewhere. Since the CMs csn push them, take your key. When you come back to your ECV, if it so t move, check that the lever was re-engaged. Usually CMs are good stuff putting them back, but it sometimes doesn’t get all the way back in place.
    It’s a good idea to do something to your ECV to make it stand out from the others - they all look pretty much the same.
     
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  4. krisces

    krisces I work to Cruise!!!

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    Thank you Sue! I really appreciate your quick response!
     
  5. gap2368

    gap2368 DIS Veteran

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    If you are unsure if you can walk when going in a line ask your husband if he wants to use the ECV so you can walk. My friend uses an ECV but needs to walk some we do this for lines so she get to walk stand some and she Hs the ECV with her. ( and I get to sit and rest some).

    And if this is your first time using an ECV go to your local big box store ( Walmart, target) and use one there. get one off sight cheaper and you will be able to use it out of the parks the lines for buses trams and such can be quite long. go slow and be alert to your surrounding people will walk right in front of you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
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  6. Selket

    Selket Been there - done that

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    You may want to scroll through the many ECV threads - lots of good info there. If you can rent an ECV from an offsite vendor - I think those are WAY nicer and easier to drive than the ones rented inside the park. Not sure if you are staying on or off-site but some are able to be broken down and taken in the trunk of a car (for example).

    I often park my rented ECV and walk around in stores. If you find you need to stay in the ECV while you shop, going earlier in the morning (or early afternoon) in the stores they are way less crowded than in the evenings when people are trying to leave. I tend to ride things that either have a short-ish wait or I have a FP (I get as many FP as I can after my first 3 pre-planned ones). Definitely take the ECV in the que if it's allowed because, as Sue and gap said - the que can be really long or you may need to stand in one spot for longer than you think. There a few rides - like the People Mover - I don't actually know if/how someone who needs to stay in a WC can ride it - but that que - for example - usually runs really really fast. Also note on that "escalator" type ramp of the People Mover - it's just a long flat piece of rubber rather than a stair step. On the way up I'm ok, but I find that thing to be the devil itself on the way down. My knees cannot take steep downhill and so I hang on for dear life.:scared:
     
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  7. mamabunny

    mamabunny DIS Veteran

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    Hey! Sorry for your injury, but I bet we have *all* the answers you want - and some you might not even realize you needed :)

    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! :)

    If you can, practicing your ECV driving and parking skills with the electric carts at Wal-Mart, Target, Lowe's, the grocery store, etc. 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.

    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! :)
     
  8. musicmom3331

    musicmom3331 Mouseketeer

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    The above suggestions are great! I used an ECV for the first time in June. I tied a bandana to the handle in such a way I could drape it over the tiller when it was misty, and to block the glare of the tiller lights when it got dark out. Walmart has cute Disney bandanas. I also brought a beach towel to sit on. It prevented "swamp-butt", and also helped me find my ECV in the parking spot when I walked. The bus drivers were very kind and usually took over the controls to park it on the bus. I rented mine from Buena Vista because I knew their controls were the "pull with your fingers" instead of "push with your thumb". I've used the thumb ones and they really bother me. I practiced at Walmart and Target, too.
     
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  9. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

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    Etc. = on your lap. Yes, I've seen one adult on another's lap!
    ::yes:: A boat Captain had some guests stand next to the ramp to get the boat level with the dock, so I could exit.
     
  10. mamabunny

    mamabunny DIS Veteran

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    :::shaking my head::: Nope. No. That's just all kinds of wrong. Disney really needs to start enforcing this kind of thing. I am so sick and tired of playing by the rules, only to see others who think that they are somehow above the rules because... what? They think they traveled further? Nope, there's no contest for that. Doesn't matter how much you spend on this trip either, or how much you spent at WDW in the last 12 months/3 years/5 years/lifetime... again, there's no contest. (also, Disney doesn't care, btw, because if you drop out and never return, they know there is another willing victim idiot fan who will be happy to take your spot, and spend all the money and not cause problems.) What matters is that those rules are there for a reason, and Disney really does need to enforce them, or someone will get badly hurt. (Sorry for preaching to the choir there - guess I had to get that out of my system! Thanks! :))

    I've had that happen too - mostly it seems on those boats to and from FW/WL to MK (where I think they have ramps but just don't use them? I don't know!) It's still amazing to me that it's basically "Hey, let's get everyone over here to level out the boat!" In the end, my personal favorite route is from POFQ to Disney Springs (and/or OKW to/from DS) on the Sassagoula. I suppose it's silly, but thats one of my happiest places at Disney World, cruising down that river, listening to the frogs and crickets and just relaxing.

    I'm so glad that you had a great trip! :) But please know that you were "pixie dusted" when the drivers took over to help you park on the bus. That's not the norm at all, and so we try to not set that expectation for new users; we don't want them to be mad, upset, or embarrassed if they don't happen to get the same "pixie dust" that you did. :)
     
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  11. CatNipRules

    CatNipRules DIS Veteran

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    The first few times I tried to park the ECV on my last trip is was comical. I was more worried about holding others up. So, sometimes the bus driver would do it for me, but most of the time they acted like a cheerleader. LOL! Encouraging me and cheering me on. I was there for 14 days and after the 4th day I could pretty much park the ECV on my own. Except the one time that for whatever reason there was someone in the seat in front of where the ECV's park and they wouldn't move. So it was kind of hard, but the driver helped me with it. I'm hoping I remember how to do it when I go back in October. LOL!!
     
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  12. musicmom3331

    musicmom3331 Mouseketeer

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    Well.....for me, having the driver park my ECV for me was the norm. Sometimes they asked me if I'd like for them to park it, other times they just took over. A couple of drivers guided me to park. One driver gave me a great hint to park it myself.
     
  13. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    You were lucky.
    They are not required to offer to park the ECV for guests. Most are extremely helpful with directions and suggestions for parking, but they are not expected to actually park it (although some will, especially in situations where it might be more difficult than usual).
     
  14. Simba's Mom

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

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    I also very often had the bus driver offer to park it for me. They'd just "free wheel" it and move it into place. However, I remember once I refused the bus driver's offer (last day after multiple ECV trips, so I felt confident) and after I parked it, he high-fived me and said that most people can't park the ECV themselves.
     
  15. mamabunny

    mamabunny DIS Veteran

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    First of all, congratulations! You earned that high-five! :)

    But... I'm willing to bet that you had to drive it up into the bus yourself before the driver placed it into freewheel mode and "parked" it, right? The drivers will often "adjust" the device once it has been driven on board the bus, to make sure that the tie downs can be most effective (we all tend to forget sometimes, I think, that on a crowded bus, people have to stand right next to those scooters; if a 50+ pound scooter broke free while the bus was in motion, it could mow down half a dozen people easily) and I have seen them "coach" people on how to park, but I have never seen a driver just take over and bring the ECV all the way onto the bus and park it.

    My experiences could be a function of the fact that we tend to purposely avoid traveling to WDW during the busiest times; maybe during those times when buses are the most full, all the time, drivers employ a different set of strategies to help keep the buses moving. But I never want to set the expectation with anyone who might come along later and read an older post that they don't have to worry about learning how to park - it's an important skill that anyone capable of driving an ECV should - and can! - learn.

    Kudos to you! Once you saw how to do it, and had a chance to try it, you mastered it! I think we all feel the pressure of everyone waiting outside the bus, and so it's easy to feel flustered and just kind of panic. To everyone else, I would say don't focus on anything but making your way (safely) onto the bus, and parking your scooter. (You'll notice no one ever complains about driving *off* the bus - because it feels like there isn't anyone waiting on them; it's no one but their family and the driver :))
     
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  16. Simba's Mom

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

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    Thanks! Yes, I had to drive it on the bus and drive forward, but then they parallel parked it. To me it's kind of like parallel parking cars nowadays-I've seen cars with capability to self-parallel park, and I hear people say they can't parallel park cars. But I did watch several times, and I figured that if I can parallel park a car, I could probably do it with an ECV.
     
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  17. CatNipRules

    CatNipRules DIS Veteran

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    That's what I meant when I say they parked it for me. I often forget that there is more to it than simply parking it once it's inside the bus. LOL!!
     
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  18. cuucuu4karaoke

    cuucuu4karaoke Livin' Life in the Fastpass Lane

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    I've been using a scooter for the last 3 trips and probably will for the rest of my days. My tips to add are:

    when you get off your scooter for long length of time, fold the back down to cover the seat. The Florida sun makes those seats really hot when you return.

    have a big poncho handy for when it rains. drape it over the scooter to keep it dry.

    I park close to an outlet and top off my battery

    be careful in Animal Kingdom if you do the safari treks (walks). There are plastic chains that hang down from the doorways in some areas. Make sure the chain is held back completely away from your scooter. I had the experience of one of the links getting caught on my accelerator bar and it jammed and the scooter took off and I thought I was gonna crash.

    when going off the monorails, back up straight and take your time and you will be fine.

    water water water...take frozen water in with you and enjoy it through the day. I always take a small cooler and keep it in my scooter basket with enough to last all day.

    have fun and enjoy the view!
     
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  19. Simba's Mom

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

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    Another reason to fold the seat down is the unexpected rain shower. I once parked my scooter, went in for lunch, while it was sunny, pleasant looking. Came out to a wet scooter seat-there'd been an unexpected rain shower while we were in eating. Lesson learned the hard way!
     
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  20. kaytieeldr

    kaytieeldr Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

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    This may or may not be a good move. Please check with the manufacturer or rental company first.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
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  21. serenitynow

    serenitynow DIS Veteran

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    I’ve had that happen too, the person sitting in the last seat before the spot for wheelchairs refuses to get up for a second to make it easier to park. I just nervously giggled and said to the bus driver “oh dear, I hope I don’t run over another foot today” and the stubborn person jumped up. The bus driver smiled, shook his head and winked at me. For the record, I have never run over anyone’s foot or other body parts. :)
     
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