Safari ride at AK with ECV

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by arminnie, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. arminnie

    arminnie <font color=blue>Tossed the butter kept the gin<br

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    My DH and I had FPs for the Safari yesterday. I drove my ECV to the point where they asked if I could walk from there. As I cannot they rerouted me to an area where ECV riders who cannot walk or do stairs and wheelchair users board. A year ago I would have been able to walk the distance - but there were a lot of stairs that were not mentioned. So even if you can walk - be sure you can also do stairs.

    Here's where things went wrong for me. I will know better next time. I was directed to a spot to park my ECV. It was probably 8-10 steps from the vehicle. I could not have done that alone - but I was able to stumble over there holding on to my DH. But I had great difficulty in actually entering the vehicle. I fell on my knees twice. It's a very high and wide step. The second time I fell into the vehicle and was able to pull myself up on the bench.

    What I did not know, nor was I directed to it by a CM was that there is a ramp for wheelchairs in the front row which was empty. I realize that an ECV would not fit there - but I could have driven my ECV to that point and managed (with help from my DH) to walk up the ramp. And then my ECV could have been moved to a parking place.

    I would never try this ride alone after this experience. When I got in the vehicle after falling down I said "well this is my last time to ride this." I did enjoy the ride very much. It was about 4pm so they were feeding the animals so there was lots to see. I am glad that I did finally see the ramp after I was in - but I wish the CMs had been more helpful. They totally ignored me when I fell both times. So if you cannot do a big step or walk several steps unassisted be sure to let the CM know that their directions do not work for you. I did not know to do that.

    I realize that most people in an ECV have some ability to walk. Yes I'm probably getting close to being wheelchair bound - but at home I do quite well with a rollator. I just can't transport my rollator on my ECV.
     
  2. Bete

    Bete DIS Veteran

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    The only suggestion I can make here is to say to ask more questions of the cast members before entering the ride. Then, you may get more options and then you can decide what's best for you or if you should not go on the ride. There are cane holders for scooters. Although, not a rollator it may help in some instances.

    Not sure if they would allow anyone to use the scooter to the ride because of the extra handling involved by cast members. On some rides they do it, but not all.

    Also, there may be some u-tube videos that would make it more clear, but those videos will be hard to come by.

    Also, some rides allow you to transfer to a wheelchair but then someone has to push.

    Much of this is by experience and we are all different. So now you know. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  4. DisneyOma

    DisneyOma DIS Veteran

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    Where are the stairs? I don't remember any stairs? Of course, I was in agony from an undiagnosed infection at the time, so I might have just stumbled up the stairs oblivious...
     
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  5. gap2368

    gap2368 DIS Veteran

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    The only ones are the one or two steps going into the vehicle ( this is if you take the wheelchair ECV One) been a few years since I went with out my friend with her ECV
     
  6. arminnie

    arminnie <font color=blue>Tossed the butter kept the gin<br

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    At the point where I was asked if I could walk the rest of the way there were several steps down on the path I DID NOT GO ON. there were no step on the diversion path. Just steps getting into the vehicle. I could have easily done the steps to get into the vehicle six months ago.

    I have a degenerative nerve disease that is rapidly progressing. It’s not really a huge step up. It just is something I personally can no longer do. I cancelled all my FPS for “boat” rides as I am afraid I would not be able to get out of a lowered ride vehicle.
     
  7. Simba's Mom

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

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    I feel bad for you, arminnie. As a fellow scooter user, I've usually been very pleased with how Disney accommodates scooters. I don't know why they couldn't have been more accommodating to you. Frankly, I don't see why they don't allow scooters on the ride, and it makes me nervous. Like you, I have a progressive nerve disease, and I love the safari. So far I can manage parking my ECV and walking with a cane for the 8-10 steps to the vehicle (without a cane, forget it!). But the day may come when I can't-I know they can take wheelchairs on certain safari vehicles, certainly at the very least, they could have offered to transfer you to a wheelchair to get you from the scooter to the vehicle if the safari truck isn't "shaped right" to carry scooters. I'd question the guest services re disabilities on that-frankly I don't think they handled things well.
     
  8. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    An ECV can’t be taken on the safari tram - the space is too small and too tight for an ECV to make the turn into the tight wheelchair spot.

    For the Safari, they do have attraction wheelchairs at the mobility device parking area where guests with disabilities load. It is possible use an ECV in line, then park the ECV and transfer into a wheelchair so you can ride it onto the tram.
    CMs generally assume someone using an ECV is able to get out to board a ride vehicle. If that’s not true, the Guest needs to make their needs known. DD uses a wheelchair and are asked at every attraction, even those with wheelchair cars, if DD can transfer.
    Just to clarify, there are no stairs in the AK Safari queue.

    Every Safari tram that loads at the handicapped loading area can hold one wheelchair in the first part of the tram.
    The space is too small and too tight for an ECV to load there.
    Many of the other trams that load at the usual loading area also have that space, but wheelchairs can only be loaded at the handicapped loading area because that area has a permanent concrete ramp with a metal ramp that folds down to allow loading.

    Now that you know, you can ask to transfer from your ECV to a wheelchair. Since there is only room for one wheelchair, there may be an additional wait.
    It’s unfortunate that the CM didn’t notice the OP falling and suggest moving to a wheelchair. I know from riding the Safari that the CMs attention is very divided - helping people getting off to get to their mobility devices; helping people getting on to park their devices. It’s possible the CM did not even see the OP fall.
     
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  9. Bete

    Bete DIS Veteran

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    I think the OP was trying to ask about taking a scooter closer to the safari ride, not on the ride. Then, the more mobile person in her party would park it for her in the scooter parking area.

    This is were a cane could have helped for getting on the ride from being closer up, too.
     
  10. DisneyOma

    DisneyOma DIS Veteran

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    One reason that ECVs are not on the Safari: evacuating a vehicle with a person who needs to be on a scooter is a lot different than one in a wheelchair. A wheelchair is light enough for one person to put on the ground, light enough to be moved over uneven terrain, with help. Not so sure an ECV could be removed that easily.
     
  11. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    A cane would have possibly been helpful, but the scooter parking area is on right the accessible loading platform.
    I have seen people do that almost every time we ride the Safari. They park the ECV so that they have only one or two steps to get into the tram. If that is what a person needs, there is nothing to prevent it and I have seen CMs move the ECV out of the way after the person has gotten on.

    The step into the tram is still high, so might be an issue for some guests.

    My suggestion is for guests to be assertive about their needs. The tram won’t be moving until it is totally loaded and all guests are safely seated. If you are not sure about getting on, step back and watch other guests get on for a minute. Have a member of your party get the CMs attention if you can’t to it and be very specific- ie. I can’t make the step up. What are my options?

    Unless the guests say something, the CM doesn’t know who has an ECV or wheelchair because they can only walk a few steps with difficulty compared to another guest who is totally mobile, but it using the ECV because they can’t walk 5 miles a day.
    Guests using power wheelchairs are able to ride the Safari in their wheelchair. Power wheelchairs are much heavier than ECVs - 300 pounds or more empty.

    The wheelchair space in the tram is not much wider or longer than a wheelchair. A manual or power wheelchair can turn pretty much in a circle not much larger then the length of the wheelchair. ECVs are not able to do that, so they can’t load.
     
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  12. Simba's Mom

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

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    Thanks-makes sense now. And I did wonder about the space on the vehicle itself. So I did wonder about having a wheelchair in the boarding area for transfer use by guests during the ride. Sounds like others may have wondered. I suspect untrained CMs. I encountered the same type of situation (untrained CMs) at Test Track, so now I'm reluctant to try the ride again.
     
  13. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    D2060469-F025-4D91-8F6D-548CB94A88D3.jpeg 88C112A8-6465-4B81-A0AE-561B83CFEEFE.jpeg These are not my pictures - mine got deleted. The first picture shows the safari ramp and the empty space.
    It looks like a pretty large space, but the second picture with a wheelchair shows just how tight the space is and how narrow the ramp is at the top.

    The space is just too small for an ECV to be loaded. Weight of the ECV or evacuation is not an issue since power wheelchairs weighing much more are able to be loaded onto the safari tram.

    There are attraction wheelchairs available, so someone who can’t climb onto the tram could use one to use the wheelchair spot.
    Guests do need to ask though - CMs can’t tell who is not able to climb on. Everyone boarding at that area is either using a mobility device or part of a party with someone using one.
     
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  14. arminnie

    arminnie <font color=blue>Tossed the butter kept the gin<br

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    Let be clear. The purpose of my post was not to blame Disney- it was to warn others to be more observant than I was. It’s best to be prepared.

    I seriously doubt the CMs saw me fall. They were busy helping others park. To be honest I did not know that I was so incapable of doing the step as I could do it a few months ago.

    I am aware that ECVs just don’t fit on rides. I like the idea is transferring to a wheelchair for the ride. I did not see any there after the ride - it it could have been out in another vehicle. So I did not know that was an option.

    What would have worked for me with no WC would be riding my ECV up to the ramp and entering there with help from my DH. There are a couple of seats for someone traveling with someone in a WC. As there was no one with a WC on our ride those seats were empty.

    Probably 90% of ECV users can just park and
    get on maybe with a cane or help from a person. My mistake was being ignorant of the boarding process options.

    There’s so much good information here, but sometimes the “must be able to transfer” option does not give enough information to me. So when I learn something the hard way I try to share.

    Transferring to Soaring is a piece of cake for me as I don’t have to step up. I am now afraid to try Pirates. I know I can get in the boat. But what if I cannot get out? I would be horrified to shut down the ride until EMS would have to come rescue me. I can pull myself up steps IF I have a railing. But there’s no test car to try.

    I hope my post will help others.
     
  15. Simba's Mom

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

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    You did such a thorough job of explaining about the safari, would you be willing to explain how you transferred at Pirates and Soarin. I'm especially interested in Pirates. I didn't even know I could bring my ECV into the queu and it's so dimly lit, that I wasn't sure about riding it.
     
  16. DisneyOma

    DisneyOma DIS Veteran

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    How do they evacuate a power chair from the vehicle then? It's not like a regular ride - those animals do not have on/off switches. If one vehicle breaks down, and there's an issue, and they can't get another vehicle close enough to do a transfer, then what? I'm actually rather surprised they allow power chairs on the attraction.
     
  17. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    Any guest using a wheelchair needs to wait to be evacuated.

    Even though my daughter uses a manual (push) wheelchair at WDW, she could not be easily evacuated.
    And, she is not big - 5 feet tall and about 80 pounds.
    Her manual wheelchair weighs around 30 pounds.

    And, keep in mind that those safari trams are not close to the ground. The seats are a good 30 -36 inches off the ground, so not easy to lift a wheelchair off.
     
  18. arminnie

    arminnie <font color=blue>Tossed the butter kept the gin<br

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    Simba - when I rode Soaring I rode my ECV all the way through the queue. There were two of us in ECVs and they had us move to the front when they were ready to start loading. We loaded first. The CMs asked how many were with us and allowed spaces for our family/friends who were waiting to load. This was at the last part just before getting on the ride. Even without a cane or my DH it was quite easy to slide into my seat as I could hold on to my ECV and the seat.

    The CMs moved our ECVs off to the side. When the ride was over the other ECV rider and myself stayed in place. My DH helped me walk over to where my ECV was parked. I would have asked a CM to bring it back to me if I was not with my DH.

    Unfortunately I chickened out and did not ride Pirates - although it is one of my favorite rides and we had FPs. I did check it out a little. The area for parking ECVs is not where the strollers park. It is much closer to the ride. There were wheelchairs there for one to transfer to. They looked to be in pretty good shape. My DH could have pushed me or I could have used it as a walker - but after the Safari experience I was just afraid that I would not be able to step out of the boat. I know Bill Sears has written about how he handles it. But he is 20-30 years younger than I am and has significant upper body strength from years of using a manual wheelchair.

    We are going back in May for Flower and Garden. Maybe I'll be brave and try something in a boat that I have to step out of.
     
  19. BillSears

    BillSears DIS Veteran

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    Hi, unfortunately things have changed with the new boats. The sides of the boat are lower than the older ones so I can't get in and out of the POTC boats anymore. But for those able to take a few steps it might be easier.

    My old method was to lower myself from my wheelchair to the side of the boat. Then from there to the seat. On the way out it was from the seat to the side of the boat and then slide up and back into my wheelchair.
     
  20. DisneyOma

    DisneyOma DIS Veteran

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    I used to work with a student in a wheelchair - so I've hauled chairs around quite a bit. His mom, half my size, used to be able to just pop that chair into the back of her van. I was always very impressed! But I guess I'm thinking about an animal issue - I guess they'd just tranq the animal if there was a problem? I would hope other guests and the CM would help unload the chair and help with your daughter if there was a need to evacuate quickly? I know I would offer, and my husband could easily lift a 30 lb chair 3-4 feet off the ground. I'm guessing others on the vehicle would be able to as well? And yes, I've gone way off topic (again!) I'm sorry - it's just something I've thought about while on the ride - I must have been a risk evaluator in a past life?
     
  21. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    My understanding of the Safari ride at AK is that there is a great amount of imagineering with the habitats. The most dangerous animals are not able to get anywhere close to the ride vehicles despite the fact that it looks that way. And the keepers can corral the animals back into their "homes" if necessary (which I believe was done for the hurricane earlier this fall). In the event of an emergency requiring evacuation from a ride vehicle out on the safari, precautions would be taken to make the evacuation safe for guests stuck on the ride as well as emergency responders. CMs or guests won't be lifting a wheelchair off -- Reedy Creek would be responsible for evacuating guests requiring assistance. Whether that would include removal of a powerchair plus the guest, or just the guest transferred to another mobility device, would depend on the situation. I trust that Reedy Creek has an appropriate evacuation plan for that ride. They've gotten people down off stuck monorails, I'm sure they have plans for pretty much every situation that might occur at WDW.

    OP -- thanks for sharing your experience so others can learn from it. I'm sorry it happened but glad you didn't let that ruin your whole trip.
     
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