Renting Wheelchairs and ECVs at WDW

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Sometimes life has a way of dictating what we write about.  Such is the case this

Photo by Carolyn Citro

week for my blog post.  I’ve always been lucky enough to be healthy, and my only thought about making my way around the parks has been to have a good pair of sneakers.  However, a few weeks ago I injured my foot while working out.  It has gotten significantly better, but after a busy holiday last weekend I was back to limping and finally decided to call a the doctor.  There I learned that I have done damage to the tendons in my foot, and it may not be fully healed by the time I leave for my upcoming trip to Walt Disney World.

This news has got me thinking about what I’m going to do about getting around the parks with a bum foot.  My injury is has been symptom free for the last week as long as I stay off my feet as much as possible.  I’m afraid it will be seriously aggravated by the ton of walking I usually do when I visit Walt Disney World.  So the solution to my problem may be to rent a wheelchair or ECV (Electronic Convenience Vehicle) during my Disney vacation.

The most affordable option is to rent a wheelchair.  They are available at the WDW theme parks as well as Down Town Disney for $12 a day.  This is probably what I’ll wind up doing.  Since I am not positive I will need assistance during part, all, or none of the trip it seems to be the most logical solution for my situation since it will be easy to grab one at park if it is needed.  Also, even if I did start to have a bit of pain, I can get around well enough to walk around my resort so I think I’ll only need help when in the parks.  You see, if guests rent a wheelchair through Disney they cannot take them back to their resort.

However, if you or your loved one needs a chair in and out of the parks, renting one from a third party may be your best bet.  That way wheels will be accessible during your entire trip, rather than only being able to use it at certain times.  Keep in mind you will have to either get it into your car, or get special assistance from bus drivers in order to use the Disney transportation system.  There are a few third party companies who rent wheelchairs to guests who may need them.  However, the ones I came across appeared to be more expensive than the Disney alternative.  I think you best bet if someone in your party is need of a wheelchair is to use their own if they have access to one.

Many guests prefer have a bit more independence with an ECV rather than requiring someone to push them in a wheelchair.  ECVs will be available at the same kiosks where guests can rent wheelchairs at kiosks near park entrances.  They are available at these locations as well as Down Town Disney for $50 a day plus a refundable security deposit.  Once again, if maneuvering around the parks is your main concern this may be a good option for you.  However, if you require assistance making your way to and from your resort you will want to seek out alternatives.

There are several third party companies who rent ECVs.  Many of these rental agents provide different varieties of scooters to suit your needs whereas Disney only provides one type of ECV.  Third party options may also be more affordable than renting on property, so shop around before you make your selection.  Something to thing about when using another company though, is that you will have to make arrangements prior to your arrival in order to have it delivered.  If you select one of these companies, they will bring your ECV to your resort where you can retrieve it from bell services.

Photo by Carolyn Citro

Hopefully this post will assist folks who were unsure about using wheelchairs or ECVs in the Disney parks.  Many other guests need these services on all of their trips, and I will count myself lucky that this is a temporary ailment.  While I’m not looking forward to the possibility of needing to be pushed around the parks, it may be a necessity.   Now that I know my options I feel a little more secure in knowing there are ways to ensure my comfort during my vacation.

If you or someone in your family has needed these services on your trip please offer any advice you may have to your fellow readers and I in the comments!

Next week I’ll be taking the week off since I’ll be in Walt Disney World.  Safe travels to all of those who might be there next week too!

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Posted on May 4, 2011

26 Responses to “Renting Wheelchairs and ECVs at WDW”

  • Kristen, I really hope your foot heals by next week and all of this research was for naught, but it was very informative nonetheless. Being a ridiculously accident prone person, I have unfortunately had to navigate the parks in crutches, wheelchairs and ECVs. One thing you may not be aware of is that most of the Disney resorts have wheelchairs that you may use for free during your length of stay. They are also able to be taken into the parks. Hope this helps someone out if they need one and it can save some money too. Best of luck to you!

    • My grandpa has a bad leg, so he needs a wheelchair during WDW trips. We’ve stayed at Disney resorts and – as Betsy mentioned – have always gotten one from the front desk without problem.

      Some resorts we’ve stayed at require a sign-in, others don’t but all have allowed us to keep the chair after check-out so we can conveniently tour the parks on our trip’s last day.

      We’ve always gone during off periods, however. I would imagine this benefit is first come, first served, so probably touger to take advantage of during the summer and holidays.

      Kristen, good luck on your trip..and either way, don’t forget the Advil.

      • Thanks for the tip, Wally. Since is this is my first time thinking about renting a wheelchair so I never thought about getting one at the resort. This is great for other folks to know as well. I never leave for a Disney trip without advil. Not to worry! Thanks for the comments and for reading!

    • Thanks for the well wishes, Betsy! Thanks for the tip about resort wheelchairs! I’m sure some of our readers (and maybe me) could take advantage of that. Looking forward to seeing you next week!

  • by Amy from KC on May 4, 2011, at 8:52 am EDT

    We have used Walker Scooters to rent scooters for my mother with great success. Their scooters will work in the rain. (Word to the wise: I have heard that some scooters stop working when they get wet, and have to dry out before they function again.) We always pay extra for the insurance, which is well worth it considering you will be parking the scooter outside many attractions. They also have an option to pay extra for a sun shade, which comes in handy in hot weather. If you are renting a car, you can get a portable recharger and leave the scooter in the trunk. With the extra recharger, you just take in the batteries and plug them in in the room. This allows you to skip taking the whole scooter in to the room to recharge it. Walker has internet specials, so be sure to ask for extra discounts.

    The one important thing to remember is that an ECV is NOT a front of the line pass. Cast members will be very accommodating to you if you have specific legitimate needs. ECV’s don’t, and really shouldn’t, allow you to bypass everyone else and jump to the front of the line just because you happen to be riding one.

    • My friend I consulted about renting wheelchairs and ECVs also recommended them. It is good to hear about a company who provides a great service, especially when people are so heavily dependent on them to have a good vacation. Thanks so much for the comments and for reading!

  • by John E. Levis on May 4, 2011, at 8:55 am EDT

    My wife and I have used ECV’s rented both from the Parks and from an outside vendor. There are pluses and minuses to both. We’ve found outside vendors that are cheaper than Disney and provide options to sizes of their ECV’s. I’m a big man and that mattered. Having a non-Disney scooter meant that we could go from the park right to our car. Not all the parks provide wheelchairs to make that transition. A consideration is how you get the ECV into your vehicle. They are not too difficult to break down, the one my wife used simply folded. The one I used broke down into three parts. You need the room in your vehicle to transport it and they can be both heavy and cumbersome. We’ve used a wheelchair in the past and my wife got to push me around. Make sure that whoever is going to do that for you is up to the task. Propelling yourself via the wheels is not as easy as you think. Good luck! Without the ECV’s my wife and I could not enjoy the parks.

    • Thanks for the comparison of Disney rentals vs off site companies! I think that will be really helpful for people who are wondering.

      I tend to travel in a herd in WDW so with several people around I’m sure we’ll manage to get me around if I do wind up in a wheelchair. I’m so glad to have good friends who are willing to push me around!

      Thanks so much for the comment!

  • by Elescia DuPlessis on May 4, 2011, at 10:07 am EDT

    I actually fell and badly sprained my ankle in Magic Kingdom on the first night of our trip this past February. Walker Scooter rentals were a godsend. They met me at Animal Kingdom the next morning so that my daughter would not have to miss our breakfast with Donald and the gang. They were very affordable, at only $30 a day, and this way I had a way to get around the resort as well. My trip would have been ruined without them, and I cannot recommend them enough!

    • Oh goodness! Thank goodness you were able to make arrangements so quickly and salvage your trip. It stinks to get hurt when you’re on vacation, but it looks like you were able to make the best of it! Thanks for the glowing recommendation for Walker and thanks for reading!

  • I also have a foot injury the doctor’s are still trying to diagnose with the pain coming on again/off again all the time. I’m aware of the wheelchair option but would feel really guilty using one what I don’t really consider myself “injured.” Although I’m sure my husband will make me if the pain gets too much and I complain too often. Does anybody know how using a wheelchair works at the rides. Do they hold it for you for when you get off? Do you park it with the strollers and hope nobody takes off with it?

    • I hope the doctors are able to figure out what’s wrong with your foot and fix it quick! I’m going to try to get around without the wheelchair, but if I need it I’m not going to push it. I think you can park your wheelchair with strollers and I’m sure it will be fine. However, many attractions have wheelchair access and cast members will direct you as to what to do with your chair while you ride the attraction. I hope that helps!

  • by Janet Sala on May 4, 2011, at 1:39 pm EDT

    We’ve rented a wheelchair from Walker for my mom’s 90th birthday trip to WDW. It worked out well. They had a range of sizes to choose from, so that might be something to consider vs. renting a chair at the parks.

    I also have a very good friend who loves WDW and is a paraplegic. He uses a self-propelled wheel chair all the time. You might be able to rent one of those for use in the parks, Kristen, just bring gloves. The are much more maneuverable than conventional “push” wheelchairs. Also, a dose of Aleve before you head out in the morning might be something to consider. Just be careful to not do more damage to your tendons. The pain is a warning, and ignoring it is not a good choice.

    • Thanks for the tips! I’ve been taking Aleve as directed by my doctor already so I’ll be sure to pack it for the trip. I think for my purposes I’ll stick with a regular wheelchair, but maybe one of our readers will be interested in your friend’s self-propelled wheelchair. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  • by Melissa Gorvett on May 4, 2011, at 2:56 pm EDT

    We will visiting in June with my father-in-law who is planning on renting an ECV from Disney. One morning we have a reservation at the Crystal Palace before the park opens. Does anyone know if we will be able to rent one before our breakfast even though the park is not open yet?

    We usually take a midday break and return in the evening. If the ECVs are gone when we return, will they allow you to take a wheel chair instead or do you have to purchase the wheel chair rental?

    Thanks for any insights!

    • by Amy from KC on May 4, 2011, at 6:28 pm EDT

      My aunt ran out of steam halfway through a trip once, and she was able to rent a scooter from Disney. We are early arriving, get there before rope drop people. The ECV and wheelchair rental locations were always open along with the other entrance vendors. You should be fine. You can always call or email Disney and ask them. They are the ones who first suggested an off site ecv rental for my mom. They even gave me a list of companies to contact. It was very helpful.

    • We just got back from a trip with my mother, who rented an ECV from Disney. She was able to rent at Magic Kingdom before rope drop as the rental area is between the turnstiles and the walkway under the WDW Railroad (before Main St., USA). (They usually open that area up much earlier than the park opening time.)

      However, the rental area at Epcot is closer to Spaceship Earth and we had to wait until they let us through the turnstiles, closer to the actual time of the park opening.

  • I’m assuming the stroller and ECV rental will be open, but I don’t know for sure. Maybe someone with experience could answer Melissa’s question? I’m also not sure what the procedure would be if they run our of ECVs. If someone has insight please let us know! Thanks for reading and commenting, Melissa!

  • by kerrythomas on May 5, 2011, at 12:35 am EDT

    I discovered this little resort guest perk last year. If one is available, go to luggage assistance at your Disney Resort (I did this at Pop Century) and ask to borrow one of their wheelchairs. They’re complimentary for resort guests. PLUS you are allowed to take that wheelchair to the Disnwy parks! In fact, the resort will allow you to keep and use that wheelchair during the entire time you are a guest at the resort, free of charge! It’s not something they promote, but it does seem to be a policy they follow.

    • by Janet Sala on May 5, 2011, at 12:34 pm EDT

      These are very limited in number, so, please be considerate of others who might have an emergency. Most of all, don’t expect one to actually be available.

      • The resort wheelchairs are a great option, but Janet brings up a great point. We shouldn’t depend on one to be available and we should be aware of other folks with similar needs. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • by John E. Levis on May 6, 2011, at 4:56 am EDT

    I rented an ECV from an outside vendor. I had a soft tire and went to the rental area at Animal Kingdom. They were very helpful and provided a compressor to inflate the tire at no charge. Keep that in mind but for more serious problems call your vendor.

  • by David Ackerman on May 7, 2011, at 11:51 am EDT

    My father went to WDW with us a few years ago and took his own ECV. Worked out fairly well.
    Two words of caution:
    1) Ask before heading into any queue with the scooter. Got to watch someone try to back out of a crowded queue once. Not a pretty sight!

    2) Beware of mothers pushing strollers. The biggest problem that dad had was folks cutting in front of him with their strollers. Nearly T-boned a few. Scooters stop fairly fast, but not instantly.

    Have a safe trip. We’ll be down at WDW starting the 11th.