Using an Electric Scooter (ECV) at Walt Disney World

by on January 22, 2015 46 Comments

Filed under: Accessibility, Adults, In the Parks, Transportation, Trip Planning, Walt Disney World (FL)

Renting a scooter can help your senior keep up.

Your chariot awaits!

My mom, Terri, has two autoimmune diseases: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Rhematoid Arthritis (RA). Because of this, walking for long periods of time (especially in the hot sun) causes her pain, dizziness and exhaustion. We have visited Walt Disney World many times and each time, she did her best to explore the parks on foot. However, as her diseases progressed, walking became more and more difficult for her. She tried to walk slower and take more breaks, but we could still see the pain in her eyes. My mom is a selfless and caring person, so she felt guilty. She felt she was holding us back and letting us down. She saw us changing plans to accommodate her and so she started making excuses to stay behind in the room to prevent any inconveniences.

Time for a Change

I noticed her attitude change, and explained that she was neither an inconvenience nor letting us down. I don’t see her as a woman with two diseases. I see her as my loving mother. My family and I love spending time with her and were so sad to see her missing out on the fun. I spoke with my Dad and we approached the subject of an electric scooter, or electric conveyance vehicle (ECV). At first, she declined. She was embarrassed because she thought she would be the only one using one. She thought getting around would be difficult and using Disney transportation would be a hassle.

We continued to encourage her, stressing how much easier and more enjoyable her vacation would be. She looked back on the previous year, remembering all the fun she missed out on and all the pain she experienced pushing herself past her limit. She agreed and decided to use an ECV.

The Renting Process

There are many different ways to rent an electric scooter. Walt Disney World offers ECV rentals. The cost to rent one in the parks is $50 a day with a refundable $20 deposit. Unfortunately, I immediately saw several problems with using WDW as a vendor. First off, it is a first-come, first-served basis. I had spoken with a Cast Member who said the scooters easily sell out by 11 a.m. Reservations cannot be made in advance, so there was no guarantee my Mom would even get a scooter. Secondly, the scooter cannot be taken outside of the park. My mom needed something she could use all over Disney property. Finally, the cost to rent the scooter through Disney was more than we were looking to spend, especially if we could only use it during park hours. The search continued.

The wonderful internet (seriously, how did we do anything before the internet!?) produced an overwhelming number of options for scooter rentals in the Orlando area.

As I browsed, I noticed that 90% of the vendors offer free drop off and pick up to your hotel. In addition, the products through each vendor can be used at Orlando area attractions such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. Now, here’s where things get tricky.

Some of these vendors are Disney Featured ECV Providers. This means:

– You (the renter) do not have to be present when the company drops off or picks up the ECV. All you need to do is pick up/drop off at Bell Services (although some non-preferred vendors offer the same perk, so it’s a wash).

– The company has full access to all of the parks. Should your scooter break down, you do not have to push it to the front entrance of the park. Someone from the company will enter the park and bring you a new one.

Below are a few Disney Featured ECV Providers. Prices are based on a standard scooter that does not disassemble:

Apple Scooter $150 for 5 days

Buena Vista Scooters $155 for 5 days.

ScooterBug Mobility Rentals $155 for 5 days

Best Price Mobility: $150 for 5 days

Here is a selection of non-prefered vendors:

Walker Mobility $185 for 5 days

Sun Mobility: $115 for 5 days

Scootarama: $200 for 5 days

So at the end of the day, why should you pick a Disney Featured ECV Provider over a non-preferred provider? The only “one-up” they really have over all the non-preferred vendors is that they can enter the park if your scooter breaks down. That’s it.

For me, it really came down to which website provided the following information in a clear and concise way:

– What hotels they deliver to

– If you (the renter) have to be present at drop off and pick up

– Prices

– Detailed product information

We decided to go with Apple Scooter. I felt the rental price was very fair and making a reservation was super easy. About one month ahead of time (although from the website, it looks like you can book as late as two days in advance), I filled out Terri’s personal information, selected our hotel from the list provided and clicked on the dates and times we wanted the scooter delivered and picked up. For those wondering, we picked out the Pride Victory 10 Super Deluxe Scooter.

Apple Scooter, as well as most of the other vendors, does not require a deposit. However, the companies do have a cancellation charge should you cancel the order after a set date. This varies from vendor to vendor. BuenaVista requires a 48 hour cancellation policy while Apple Scooter states you can cancel at any time, as long as the scooter has not already been delivered.

Note: We stayed on-site, so transportation to WDW resort wasn’t an issue. However, if you will NOT be staying on Disney property, consider a transportable scooter that can be disassembled to fit in the back of a car or van.

BoardWalk EntranceScootin’ Around

The day we arrived at the BoardWalk Inn, my dad walked over to Bell Services and inquired about Terri’s scooter. (Side bar: It’s SO weird using my mom’s real name, instead of “Mom.”) A Cast Member immediately went to the back and retrieved it. When the CM came back, he showed my Mom how to use the ECV. It was beyond simple. Holding down the right handle moved her forward while the left handle moved her backward. A small knob adjusted the speed and a charger was waiting in the front basket. It took a little trial and error, but soon Terri was speeding around the lobby ready to go!

It’s no secret that as lovely as the BoardWalk Inn is, the hallways are about 10 miles long. You should have seen her face when she realized she no longer had to waste energy walking around the hotel. For the first time in a long time, she was leading the way! She had a huge smile on her face as she breezed down the hallway without breaking a sweat.

Things were going well at the BoardWalk, but Terri was still nervous about transportation to the parks. How long would it take to load the ECV? Could she still take the boat over to Epcot or Hollywood Studios?

The worry was completely unnecessary. When using boat transportation from the BoardWalk, the captain ‘parked’ the boat so close to the dock that Terri could just drive the scooter right on board. When it came to bus transportation, the drivers were so professional and efficient. There was never a situation where there was more than one scooter waiting to board, so there was always room for Terri’s ECV. The bus driver lowered the bus down a few inches and pressed a button to release the ramp. There are the options to push the scooter onto the bus or drive it on yourself. Being her first time, Terri asked the driver to manually push it on and strap it in using the appropriate restraints. He took care of everything and we were all so grateful.

When we arrived at the parks, Terri’s anxiety of being the only one with a scooter melted away. She saw so many people making use of ECV’s and wheelchairs. It was truly a regular occurrence. The walkways in the shops were wide enough to take the scooter indoors and there were even designated areas to park the ECV (and strollers too) if she wanted to experience an attraction or go eat at a restaurant in the park.

Although Disney strives to make each attraction as accessible as possible, there are still experiences that exclude the use of wheelchairs and scooters (Think Tower of Terror and Mission: Space). My mom fortunately still has the ability to stand and walk short distances, so she was able to take part in everything she wanted, including Spaceship Earth and Pirates of the Caribbean. I know this is not the case for everyone using a scooter, so Disney has provided a list of accessible attractions as well as a list of attractions where wheelchairs and scooters cannot be used.

Terri’s scooter guaranteed a battery life of 16 miles (roughly 6-8 hours). The Cast Member at Bell Services assured us that it would last throughout the entire day but told us we would still have to charge the scooter every night. We were staying in a one-bedroom DVC villa at the BoardWalk, so Terri would park her scooter in the kitchen. The charger used a three prong plug, so any outlet could be used. The only thing I noticed was that the charger made a quiet buzzing noise when it was plugged in, but it didn’t affect the quality of the charge.

There are no designated charging stations for electric scooters at Walt Disney World but as the battery life is so good, I doubt you’ll ever need to charge it in the parks. To keep an eye on your battery life, most scooters have a light-gauge: A green light indicates a full battery while red represents low battery life. On the off chance your charger is defective and your scooter does die while at the parks, non-preferred vendors will bring a new one to the park entrance, while the Disney Featured ECV Providers will bring a brand new scooter right into the parks, free of “charge.”

Important Notice: Electric Scooters CANNOT get wet! I know Florida weather can be unreliable, but it is very important to take cover in the event of a rain storm. The water may cause the scooter to malfunction and it will stop working until all the parts are completely dry.

Looking back on the experience, Terri found only one drawback to using an electric scooter. She noticed that guests frequently cut in front of her when the park was busy. Because she was technically operating a small vehicle, she often felt frightened that she would hit or run into someone. Funny enough, the insurance included in the scooter rental only covered loss and damages. None of the websites offer any coverage should you hit another human. The terms and agreement simply state that the company and its employees are not responsible for any injuries than may occur while the scooter is in use. After talking about it, we realized that the exact same thing happened when pushing a stroller. It seems like people were in a hurry and didn’t want to wait behind anything with wheels, so they were always cutting us both off.

Terri found that at the end of the day, the pros WAY outweighed the cons. First the first time in years, she had an amazing time, free of exhaustion and additional pain. She did every single thing she wanted, went to every park and didn’t feel held back despite her limitations. Every concern Terri had prior to using an electric scooter had been proved wrong. Using the ECV was easy as pie. Getting the vehicle onto a bus or boat was not as time consuming as she had imagined. Finally, she didn’t feel like an outcast as many other guests were also using electric scooters. She appreciated the support and encouragement from her family and said if you’re thinking about using one for the first time, “Just go for it. You’ll have more energy and be able to enjoy the things you really want to do.” I gotta listen to her. After all, Mother knows best!

Have you used an electric scooter at Walt Disney World? Are you thinking about using one for the first time? Let me know in the comments!

Posted on January 22, 2015

46 Responses to “Using an Electric Scooter (ECV) at Walt Disney World”

  • “After talking about it, we realized that the exact same thing happened when pushing a stroller. It seems like people were in a hurry and didn’t want to wait behind anything with wheels, so they were always cutting us both off.”

    Why should they?

    My dad had a stroke in 2002 and was confined to a scooter until his death in 2013. I can tell you from personal experience that it helps to have someone related to the person driving the scooter walking in front of it and to one side of it at all times. This prevents these types of accidents.

    There is another, bigger problem that we have noticed with scooters and strollers, however. Many people pushing strollers and driving scooters for some reason feel that they have the right of way. As you say, a scooter is technically a powered vehicle, so pedestrians have the right of way in every case. Also, we have noted many instances of scooter drivers using their scooters and strollers as battering rams when MK gets crowded around Wishes or castle lighting time. Both my wife and I have been standing in that immobile crowd, only to have a scooter or stroller bust its way through and run over us, telling us to “get out of the way”. It is sad to us that people behave this way at the “happiest place on earth”. My wife and I have both had minor cuts and bruises from this. It’s almost to the point I’m going to start getting names and addresses and contacting them for damages. It really is that bad.

    And don’t get me started on double-wide strollers and how much room they take up in crowded pathways at Disney…

    • by Angela Dahlgren on January 22, 2015, at 9:15 pm EST

      Lee,

      I’m sorry you haven’t had positive experiences with people bumping into you and your wife. My mom would let so many people cut in front of her (so she wouldn’t accidentally hit them) that sometimes, she would be stopped in the middle of traffic for at least five minutes. It was so bad during the Food and Wine Festival that she finally had to find a place to wait while my dad and I went to grab food from the kiosks.

      Great idea to to have someone walk in front/side of the person using the scooter. I suggested that tip to my Mom and we’re going to do that on our next trip.

      Appreciate the comment!

      Angela

  • I think ECVs are great invention, and a great tool to improve the quality of life for people who need them, unfortunately they were one of the few causes I saw red at Disney. Worst of all it was by people who didn’t even need one.

    We were staying at the Boardwalk waiting for the bus and a huge party, 20+ people rolled up, one guy sitting on a scooter, normally you wouldn’t think twice about it, but since he rolled to the front of the line in the little parking spot, I was standing close enough to hear him explaining to one of his first time guests that a scooter rental was the best money they could spend as a group, as rather than renting a car, it was fast pass for Disney transportation. Scooter rider and their party would get on, before everyone else, didn’t even need to use it in the parks, just park it near the front in one of waiting areas, pick it up on the way out.

    Sure enough exactly that happened, bus to AK arrived, he and his whole party got on, filled the bus and the other guests who had arrived first, had to wait for the next one. I know changes have been made since then, but I can just imagine how many others waiting in line suddenly painted everyone on a ECV with the same brush so to speak.

    • by Angela Dahlgren on January 22, 2015, at 9:20 pm EST

      David,

      I’m so sad to hear this story. It’s hard to hear how some people pretend to have a handicap to save a little time/money while individuals like my mom use a scooter out of necessity. I can completely understand your anger and frustration.

      Thanks for reading.

      Angela

  • Great post. I wish I could have convinced my Mom to use one before she passed. I think it would have made her last few trips more enjoyable. Glad your Mom had a good time.

    btw, I have never been run over by a scooter nor has anyone in my party.

    • This is SOOOO common. The abusers of wheelchairs and ECVs because of the implied special treatment have cast a stigma not to mention the normal stigma that some people think are attached to a person with mobility challenges.

      Personally, if I needed it, I’d use an ECV. It’s just too expensive to get one just because I get a little tire every once in a while or because I’d like to get a good seat to Fantasmic.

      Anyone who is undecided about whether or not to get one, don’t ruin your trip because of vanity or concerns that you’re being obnoxious. You can always park it and walk for a little and then ride the rest of the time. And some of the options allow you to return a scooter or only rent it on a daily basis.

      If you might need one, get one. Better safe than sorry.

    • by Angela Dahlgren on January 22, 2015, at 9:21 pm EST

      Bobaloo000,

      I appreciate the comment and for taking the time to read the article. 🙂

      Angela

  • We are from Australia and are going to Disneyworld this year in September. Whilst there we will also be going to Universal Studios and IOA. Cant the ECV’s rented from say Apple etc be used by overseas renters and in these parks?? My mother also has the arthritis mentioned above and we were looking at renting a wheelchair to push around if she needed it but as she is a larger lady it might be better with the ECV.

    • The real issue is how you are going to get from Disney to Universal. If at any point you’ll be in a cab, then you should get an ECV that can be taken apart and stowed in a car.

      My mother in law uses one like the Go-Go Elite Traveller.
      When “stowing”, the battery comes off, the seat comes off, the handle bar folds down. And each component is something I can lift into the trunk. But the person using the scooter can’t disassemble it, assemble it, or stow it on her own.

      But it’s a 3 wheeler, and it’s probably not a whole day affair. It says 175 pound capacity too. And the scooter store really wants you to stick to that. My mother in law is heavier than the weight limit, and she is wonders why she sometimes has trouble with it.

      So, if you can wait on handicap transportation (wheelchair van), then you can get a more robust model.

      Call the store via Skype out or some other google voice service or something to make the international call and talk to the vendor. They are very helpful.

      I don’t know if the ID requirement or credit requirement would be for a foreign renter, but there’s no license requirement to drive and ECV.

      • by Angela Dahlgren on January 22, 2015, at 9:29 pm EST

        Jacky,

        Ron answered this question perfectly. A special thanks to Ron!

        I would definitely suggest using the ECV over a wheelchair if you don’t mind paying the extra money. It will be faster and give your mother the autonomy to get herself around.

        Universal Studios has wheelchairs available to rent. However, if you call a week ahead of time, they can reserve an electric scooter for you. Here is the link below to the number.

        https://www.universalorlando.com/Resort-Information/Rentals.aspx?Intsrch=wheelchair

        That way, you won’t have to worry about renting a transportable scooter and it’s weight restriction.

        I hope that helps!

        Angela

      • Yes getting to universal for a few days would have been interesting thanks for the reply it is really helpful I will phone or email the providers listed and see what
        their booking terms are

      • Thank you also Angela. We are only going to Universal and IOA for one day each so if you can reserve one with them it would definitely be preferable to having to try to rent one that dissembles or get special transport. I will bookmark that info to use closer to the date. Again thanks for that Ron and Angela, champions 🙂

  • Yes. People walking cut off the ECVs. It’s a fact of life.

    But it was almost always an ECV that got caught or stranded in the middle of a crowd. It rarely happens just out in the open. Some free range teens can be a little excited and (sometimes inadvertently) impolite.

    It also happens when the driver of the ECV is somewhat new to the experience and I would guess that often there are situations where that person is also not really a good driver of any vehicle because their handicap restricts their ability to drive a car.

    It takes a little empathy from the people around. It also takes patience from the scooter rider. Don’t go into areas where a big crowd is going to form unless you want to deal with cut-offs.

    People get annoyed that the scooter rider “cuts in line” at the bus or sometimes “cuts in line” at the rides (although the new DAS system has curtailed that a little).

    But if the ECV user was patient and courteous to people while traversing busy areas, then that person was delayed in actually getting to the bus stop or ride.

    The biggest tip for using an ECV without incidents is also the same for ambulatory people that want to avoid being caught in a crowd.

    Use a touring plan!!! Get set up for parades or fireworks, and stake out the spots. The handicapped viewing areas are great views but will fill up.

    The nice thing is that someone who is mobility challenged will typically enjoy saving a spot for parades and fireworks while allowing a very active member in a party time to go and sneak in a fast pass ride or less busy attraction.

    A younger adult person in my party several years ago, who is normally able bodied got a horrible foot ankle or some kind of condition, and rented a WDW scooter for a day. She thought it was great and didn’t really worry about the people that cut her off. But she also didn’t look like she needed the scooter either, and I’m sure people thought WTF when seeing her.

    • by Angela Dahlgren on January 22, 2015, at 9:41 pm EST

      Ron,

      Thank you for bringing attention to both sides of the situation. It takes a little patience from both parties: those using a scooter and those other guests walking around.

      My mom didn’t use a scooter before the new DAS system, but I can say that she was never given the opportunity to cut in line for an attraction. That being said, she didn’t go on that many either.

      I agree, using a TP and allowing plenty of time to get to your destination is the way to go. It reduces stress and makes the entire experience more enjoyable.

      I appreciate the comments!

      Angela

  • Good article.
    We had to rent one around 2000 when my partner sprained an ankle the day before we left. The not walking thing was the only benefit, especially at the Yacht club which has the same miles of hallways, and the door closest to our room had stairs so we had to go to the main entrance to access the building.
    I don’t see why people think having a ECV is a great thing to have for ‘skipping lines’ at Disney.
    The drawbacks include: Fear of running into people. Limited views in crowds. Being seated at not so great seating area at shows; sometimes in the back or to close up. Getting in and out of people mover attractions.
    Maybe you could do a Part II with focus on the experience at the attractions.
    Things may have changed since our last visit.

    • by Angela Dahlgren on January 22, 2015, at 9:45 pm EST

      Winston,

      There are definitely pros and cons to using an ECV. However, if you need it, you need it.

      I’m interested to hear more about your Part II idea. What information would you like me to research?

      Thanks for the comment!

      Angela

      • Part II could including thing specific to the attractions. Such as:
        The Queuing procedure.
        The Loading and Unloading procedure. Do they have to stop the ride to let people board that need help?, If you leave the scooter to get on the omnimover type rides…where do you leave it, where do you pick it up? Will a cast member drive it to the unloading area?

        And for shows; where is the area for EVCs, and how good is the view? (IE: I seems to remember someone saying the Hall of Presidents had their area way in the back and I remember the Tiki rooms had the area right up next to the wall)

  • I used a scooter this month for nine days in the parks, and given the injuries I’m currently recovering from, it made the trip possible. It wasn’t entirely easy learning to navigate crowds well; one evening after fireworks I was stuck in one spot in the MK hub for several minutes, unable to move at all as people walked quickly around me on all sides. Also when taking Disney buses, I usually couldn’t get on the first bus that came, for one reason or another (for example, a bus already had one scooter on board and wouldn’t board another).

    It was especially difficult when I was solo. It’s hard to open, hold, and pass through a standard hotel door in a scooter. And don’t even think about getting food from a quick service counter to your table alone!

    I’m glad I rented the scooter. I’m also glad I don’t usually need one! With all the little inconveniences, I can’t imagine why somebody would “fake it” just to occasionally bypass part of an attraction queue.

    I would rent a scooter again without hesitation.

    • by Angela Dahlgren on January 22, 2015, at 9:49 pm EST

      Jennifer,

      Thank you for sharing your experience. I hadn’t considered how difficult it would be navigating around the parks solo. My family was always available to open any doors or grab food at quick service.

      I really appreciate you enlightening us on those difficulties. It gives a different perspective I wouldn’t have considered.

      Angela

    • Exactly. We so many stories about people ‘faking’ scooter disabilities.

      In reality they are a pain to use. And even 15 years ago when we had to use one..it was not a great queue passing thing. Stopping to load and unload. Buses, etc. And while Disney had great resorts not all the entrances are accessibly to scooters.

      I hope this site will do a follow up on using a scooter and attractions. Loading and Unloading. And shows such as viewing areas etc. I even in the Tiki Room (circa 2000) the scotter area was pushed way back to the walls.

      I it would be nice to see a update here about where scooters and seating etc. Because some people can get out for a bit and maybe get a better seat for a show.

      • by Angela Dahlgren on January 22, 2015, at 9:57 pm EST

        Winston,

        I’ll be with my mom at WDW in a few weeks. I will take notes and see if I can put something together for you.

        Thanks for the quick response!

        Angela

        • I have heard (ages ago) that for some attractions you park your ECV outside and transfer to a wheel chair to load. We never did that but we didn’t go on many attractions that trip. I think the Haunted Mansion, Peter Pans Flight, Mermaid and Phoo would be a good sample for the various procedures used.

  • Do you know anything about the weight limits of the different models?

    • They are suggestions and can be overloaded and still work to the tune of about 100 pounds. But they’re rental units. The renting agency really doesn’t want you tearing up the equipment. And the battery needs to be bigger and have more capacity for a heavier load.

      The apple web site has weight capacities.

      The Disney scooters seems like they would handle about 350 pounds just like the non-transportable model Apple offers.

      Pay attention to wheel size etc…

      Check out this bad boy:
      http://mobility-scooter-reviews.com/blog/evrider-royale-4-dual-seat-two-person-mobility-scooter

      It’s a monster. I’m not sure what the disney policy would be for allowing in the park. I saw a bunch of these cruising around the Illinois State Fair however. They’re good outdoors too.

    • by Angela Dahlgren on January 22, 2015, at 9:53 pm EST

      Reid,

      The different websites are good about displaying the details of each model, including the weight restriction.

      For those using a scooter that exceed a weight limit of (I think) 350lb, most companies have a different model that will accommodate them.

      As Ron said above, the transportable scooters tend to have a lower weight limit, so be sure to double check with selecting an ECV.

      I hope that helps!

      Angela

  • Imagine cruising around in this at WDW:
    http://www.evrider.com/products/sportrider-dual-electric-scooter.html

    It looks like a Harley mated to an ECV.
    Nobody would dare cut you off!!

    • by Angela Dahlgren on January 22, 2015, at 9:55 pm EST

      Ron!

      I laughed out loud when I saw this. It’s amazing and I wish I would have booked this for my Mom instead of the standard model.

      Hilarious! 🙂

      Angela

  • We rented two ECV’s when we were there for nine days Oct/Nov. My father needs one full time,heart issues, I’ve been going through Chemo and my mother had a major surgery a couple years ago and never regained her full stamina so she and I shared one. We also have a stroller/wheelchair for my youngest. I can honestly say that WDW is the best place we’ve been for our multi challenged family.
    We rented from an off site vendor who met us at BeachClub. Great service,they responded immediately when we had a small power issue, it turnd out to be a loose connection but they traded out just in case. Loved Walker!
    With this being a slightly slower time of year we never had to go on more than one bus,there was always room for the two ECV’s and we calpsed our large stroller/wheelchair as there isn’t room for three vehicles to be locked down on most buses. We did have to split up once when using the boat from HS back to BC.
    I do agree that there needs to be a little give and take between the walkers and the riders, as a motor vehicle we need be vigilant but walkers can’t cut in front because they don’t want to wait,we can’t stop on a dime.
    While our trip overall was wonderful we did have two minor stories. My mother didn’t realize she turned the key when she put in the EVC and hit the handle as she stepped on, needless to say she was flat on her back……..not hurt but so embarrassed! Make sure your machine is turned off when getting on and off. Our second issue made this mother of a special needs child a bit upset until I decided to chalk it up to an over excited/slightly rude teenager. He actually stepped over almost on my daughter when our little caravan was stuck in traffic.
    If you have stamina issues rent an EVC it will make your trip so much more enjoyable,you’ll also see more behinds than you ever thought existed!

    • by Angela Dahlgren on January 27, 2015, at 9:18 pm EST

      Kim,

      Thank you for sharing your experience using Walker. I think it’s great that readers are willing to share their thoughts regarding different scooter companies. It gives those looking for a vendor different aspects to consider.

      Good luck with your treatment and I hope your parents and daughter are doing well!

      Angela

  • I rent scooters and love it, and here a few minor problems here I have expereienced. I have rented from Disney and an outside vendor,
    and would recommend the outside vendor unless you using a car for your transportation.

    1. Charging – I rented from an outside vendor and after Illuminations at Epcot
    ran out of charge just as we were leaving the World Showcase.
    I do not remember if I did not have it charged fully or it was because we were in Epcot all day and overused it, but as luck would have it, we were near a shop and
    the Cast Member said they usually do not allow people to charge the scooters but there was an outlet in the
    corner and she allowed me to charge it. Maybe because it was the end of the day but it was my Disney magic moment.

    2. Disassembling – If your rent from outside and have a rental car the bottom piece is extremely heavy. My poor husband had to disassemble and assemble it every day, we are elderly and not very strong and it took both of us to lift the bottom piece into the car. I understand they make lighter ones now, but they do have weight limits.
    It took both of us to lift that piece into the trunk of the car, and my husband was not very happy to do this every day, especially after a long day.
    Because I can walk for short periods and always get to the parks early, we decided to pay the extra and rent from Disney from now on, it has turned “Grumpy” (AKA – husband) into “Happy”. So unless have a rental car I would definetely rent from an outside vendor to save money.

    3. Keys – Twice I lost my keys using a Disney rental. Be aware at all times of where your key is. First time I was on the Buzz Lightyear Ride, and although Disney replaces it, you do lose your deposit and valuable park time.
    You think I would have learned my lesson but the second time I lost my key on the Great Movie Ride. We went back in and I remembered
    who our tour guide was so we were able to wait the for the car to come around and luckily there it was on the floor. (again valuable park time lost!)
    So although they give you a thing to put around your wrist with the key attached, it still can be lost, so be aware of where your key is at all times. I think next
    time I will put it on a lanyard.

    As an FYI renting at Universal Studios is pretty much the same as Disney.

    • by Angela Dahlgren on January 27, 2015, at 9:27 pm EST

      Donna,

      I had been curious about the difficulties of using a transportable scooter. After your thoughts, I think we’ll stick to using a standard one. My parents stay on Disney property throughout their entire stay, so I don’t think they’d benefit from one anyhow.

      And yes! Holding on to your key is so important. My mom would put it in her purse so not to forget. It’s so small that it’s easy to lose.

      I appreciate your comment!

      Angela

  • Because of arthritis, I’ve rented an EVC at both Universal, which allows you to take it from one park to the other, and Disney. It is worth the money if you have physical issues! Depending on the venue, they might bring the wheelchair/EVC people in before others, just to get them situated and out of the way before loading others into a theater, but I don’t consider this cutting in line. At Tree of Life in AK, this means you are at the back and miss the “seat action” unless you park your EVC and take a close by regular seat. In Tiki, I was directed to the first row as everyone entered. I think it depends on space and how to efficiently move a lot of people. Disney has a great guide to the rides …look for Guests with Disabilities under HELP. As far as navigating through crowds, a smile and “I’m sorry” usually works for both sides.

    • by Angela Dahlgren on January 27, 2015, at 9:54 pm EST

      JoAnn,

      My mom hasn’t rented a scooter from Universal, so i’m curious to see how it compares to the ones at Disney. I wonder how comparable the costs are?

      Thanks for the comment!

      Angela

  • I hear Donna loud and clear about the disassembling/transporting! It’s not as easy as the scooter companies imply. I was on site for some nights, off site for others, so I had a rental car for the duration of my stay. It’s a good thing I just had foot injuries, and nothing wrong with my back! Disassembling the scooter and lifting the pieces into the trunk of the car was quite a task. I got pretty good at it by the end of my vacation, though!

    Also, about the occasional “cutting in line” benefit of ECVs . . . At DHS, Epcot, and AK, queues are designed for ECVs and wheelchairs, so while the boarding procedure is different (and may be in a different space) you mostly wait in the same line as everyone. One noteable exception is TSMM, where you’re in the standard queue until the part where it goes up the stairs; you probably do bypass 10-15 minutes of waiting on that attraction. MK is a little different as most queues weren’t designed with ECVs in mind, and it’s likely you’ll have to transfer to a manual wheelchair (not a big deal perhaps if you’ve got friends or family to push you . . . it got complicated for me on the occasions that I was touring solo, as I don’t really have the upper body strength or skills to get myself around in a manual wheelchair). But overall, this “cutting in line” benefit wasn’t enough to outweigh the difficulties of using an ECV, especially when I was solo.

  • Fortunately I have not needed a scooter or wheelchair while on vacation at WDW. I’ve been cut off, bumped into, and stuck in one spot for minutes at a time, too… By other walkers at WDW. It’s a crowd. That’s what happens in crowds. To everyone. Everywhere. Then I remember I’d rather be bumped into at WDW than anywhere else and I get on with my Touring Plan.
    Good article, useful facts for those who need a scooter. Thanks for doing the research!

  • My sister and I are both in our mid-twenties, and we did a Disney vacation during the Food and Wine Festival this past November. She had broken her foot the month prior, and got out of her cast two days before we left for WDW! The first day at the parks was a plan for a full day at MK ending with the first night of MVMCP, which we knew would be too much for her. We didn’t want to deal with the cost or complexity of an ECV, so we decided on renting a wheelchair for the day at MK.

    Imagine our surprise when we showed up to check in at Art of Animation, and they told us we could borrow a wheelchair for free! Both of us being athletes, it wasn’t any trouble for me to push her around all day – actually, as I have foot problems of my own, it was kind of nice to have something to lean on all day!

    There were some issues, though. The wheelchair at AoA was designed for someone much larger than my sister. That meant that while she could store all of our significant souvenir purchases in the spaces next to her in the chair, it was difficult to get the chair up and down the ramp on the bus, and to navigate crowds – she STILL teases me about my “driving”! One thing I noticed is that yes, people cut you off and that makes it very difficult to avoid them, but the worst is when they cut you off and then stop right in front of you. Things with wheels do not stop well, and they certainly do not maneuver well! We didn’t hit anyone, but there were a few close calls, for sure. A lot of times, I think people just don’t pay attention, or don’t realize that what they are doing is dangerous. Overall, though, I was shocked at how pleasant and accommodating the cast members were, along with most of our fellow guests. It helped that she was in a visible boot, but she was able to walk the tiny distance from the wheelchair to the “car” in boarding the attractions, so we were afraid of being judged as one of those trying to cheat the system. Not so! People were (mostly) so nice!

    The only “advantages” of having a chair (or crutches, which she used on later days) was that, while we waited in the same queue as everyone else, for some attractions we were split off from the group when we got close to the front of the line, and were taken to a special boarding area to get on the ride. This meant that we occasionally got on a ride 5 minutes earlier than we would have, but I don’t think that’s something to write home about. We used the return ticket for Jingle Cruise, and that was convenient because we could use the restroom and look around while waiting for our return time, but we still waited another 10 minutes for our specific boat to arrive at the dock, so I certainly wouldn’t call it a time-saver.

    Also, if you do go with a wheelchair and want to stay until past midnight, bring a blanket! We had to use a t-shirt, as we hadn’t anticipated how much colder it is sitting in shorts in a mesh chair in the cool Florida nights!

  • I was speaking with the Bell Services team at the Contemporary last year and they do not recommend Apple Scooter. Apparently, there is no local customer service number if there is an issue. Bell Services cannot call the long distance number that they provide, so they cannot intervene on behalf of a guest if there is a problem. I asked who they prefer and they felt that Scooterbug has the edge if there is a problem. Because they contract with WDW to provide scooters, they are usually around and available to help with any problems very quickly. They also have local number so if there is an issue with a scooter, Bell Services can oftern resolve the problem before a guest even knows there was one!

    • by Angela Dahlgren on January 27, 2015, at 10:18 pm EST

      Ginger,

      Thanks for letting us all know! I will definitely consider ScooterBug next time my mom makes a trip to WDW.

      Angela

  • I have used an ECV from Buena Vista in 2013 and 2014. I have an “invisible” bad back. Disney CM are the best at accommodating ECV users. Bus drivers and ride CMs never made me feel like I was inconveniencing them in any way. I too, found that visitors cut me off and glared at me for holding THEM up! It was a bit scary when trying to exit a FANTASMIC show. I tried riding against the curb to stay out of the way but people were so rude and wouldn’t let me move over when I came up on a trash bin. I did get caught out in the rain on one day. Buena Vista provides a very large rain poncho that covered me and most of the ECV. We headed back to our resort ASAP.
    I would not hesitate to rent an ECV for future visits because it sure beats not being able to see/do the attractions because of back pain.

    • The post-Fantasmic crowd is THICK.

      Tip for other readers in the future:
      If you’re prone to being trapped and unable to move in crowds because the ECV is constantly being cut off by people walking, you’ll probably be better off waiting about 5 to 10 minutes for the crowd to thin out a bit.

      It’s not a choice of being able to get out sooner or waiting for the crowd to thin out:
      It’s a choice of waiting inside the crowd “trapping” you, or waiting where you were seated during the show.

      The biggest crowd trappers: any time the “show” ends. And those shows are the various parades, fireworks (at DHS or MK), Fantasmic, anywhere on main st or in front of the castle in the evening or post parade at MK.

      The advice: Ask a cast member for a recommendation for a good viewing location without the need to move in front of the castle.

      And be prepared to be there a while. Know the route to the bathroom if that’s a concern.

      There’s always the fastpass+ options for parade or firework viewing.

      • Agreed on those tips for crowds. One warning: If you use FastPass+ for the Main St Electrical Parade, you may well be “trapped” in that spot until the crowd thins out after Wishes. Being in the central hub during the parade means you’re immediately surrounded as the parade finishes, and the crowds rush in for the good view for the castle show and the fireworks.

  • We will be going to WDW in May, our third trip in 7 years to take our grandchildren as they become “age appropriate”. I can’t walk long distances or stand due to back problems and foot neuropathy from chemotherapy. Unfortunately, not all disabilities are visible. I have rented an ECV for each trip from CARE. They have been wonderful to work with and the ECV is waiting for me when we arrive at our on-site hotel. My only difficulty is maneuvering on to WDW busses. I find it difficult to make a sharp right turn from the back door and get the unit parked! The driver, however, always helps.

  • thanks for the info. We are coming over to Disneyland in May and I am a little worried how I will go for multiple days with my Lupus. I will keep the scooters in mind in case I do completely crash after the first day.

  • My mom broke her ankle right before our December 2013 trip – so I rented one you can disassemble from walker – I am in my 30s and strong so just took off the seat, batteries – then folded down the handles and we put it in our SUV (Thank god a foot and not back injury). A SUV for a rental made life way easier. Some people were great – some were really rude about the scooter and would cut you off. We always tried to avoid crowds and would wait a bit after fireworks/fatasmic and such. So happy to be rid of it – so we trained for our October 14 trip – walking 4-6 miles a night and using our Fitbit to try and get 15K steps in per day. 4 days into the trip I twisted wrong and pulled a hip muscle – ouch. Next day was Epcot and I rented a Disney one to help me survive.