ECV aka Mobility Scooters at Disney World
My Experience with Mobility Scooters - ECVs - at Walt Disney World
A mobility scooter or power scooter (commonly known at Walt Disney World as an Electric Conveyance Vehicle or ECV for short), can be a great help for those that have trouble walking due to a medical condition or disability. Being disabled at Disney World can be a painful experience because the place is huge. Those that are able bodied can be worn out by day's end, but for those that suffer from health concerns, The Happiest Place on Earth can be quite a challenge. The good news is that it doesn't have to be.
And so I've used a mobility scooter for a good many trips as my condition's warranted, because even though walking was a challenge, I still loved the World. And so I thought I might share my experiences with others in hopes that they too will not be discouraged from visiting by their handicap or condition.
Getting around WDW can be easier than you think in a mobility scooter?
Mobility Scooters For Sale at Amazon
Having your own scooter of course is the most beneficial because it will allow you to get around even when not at the theme parks. Amazon has some great deals on mobility scooters, that in the long run, could save you money and provide convenience.
Renting a Power Scooter
Where do I get one of those rascals?
Well chances are that if you are permanently disabled or have trouble walking a lot, you may already have one at home. If so, you are perfectly welcome to bring it with you. But this is often inconvenient for several reasons, not the least of which not every car is so equipped, especially if you are traveling with friends.
So the alternative is to rent one in Orlando/Kissimmee or at Walt Disney World, but there are big, big differences between the two as far as access goes and so we will cover each of them individually.
Renting from an Outside Source
Cheaper and Better
The best solution I've discovered is to rent them from a local scooter place in Orlando/Kissimmee.
There are a couple benefits to this method. The main one is that you can use the scooter not only in the parks, but the hotels, and anywhere else including other attractions like Universal Orlando, etc, while the rentals you get from Disney are only for their park that you rented it in. But more on that later. For now, suffice it to say having a power scooter at the hotels, which can be huge in themselves (like the Caribbean Beach Resort or Coronado Springs for instance) can be just as much of a godsend than at the theme parks.
The second advantage is that they are cheaper to rent on a weekly or even a daily rate. WDW charges last I heard was $50 a day, plus a refundable deposit. That can really add up when you need it for five or six days, where renting outside can run you around $30-40 and maybe even cheaper with longer stay discounts.
So, "How do I get one from outside?," you may ask.
The process is actually simpler than you think. When you have a date in mind, you just call the scooter rental place of your choice and reserve one. It's recommended you do this in advance of your visit, preferably as early as possible. But I have been able to reserve one on the spur of the moment when the urge hit me to go to Walt Disney World. There are plenty of places around that you shouldn't have any trouble getting one, but still, reservations are a good idea just in case. If you do reserve very early, you might want to call before your visit to make sure everything is still on and make any changes in the rare instance your hotel choice should change.
If you are wondering why the hotel is important, that is because that is where they deliver the scooter to, so that it's ready right when you get there. You don't have to go to their store, pick it up and figure out a way to carry it in your car to the Disney resort hotel. When you arrive, you simply go to the luggage area out front of the hotel's lobby, show them your ID and that you have a scooter waiting and it should be right there, ready to go, all charged up. When you check out, you just leave the scooter with Disney's luggage handlers and they arrange for it to be picked up after you leave. Convenient, eh?
To do this though, you will need a credit card (or in most cases a debit card will do) to reserve the scooter, as they will generally charge the card for the length of your stay or whatever you have arranged with them. Different rental places have different policies in regards to payment, so it's best to check with the one you are considering using for theirs.
Where to Rent Power Scooters from an Outside Source
Here are a few quality places to rent scooters from in Orlando
- Care Medical Equipment
One of the most recommended scooter rental companies!
- Scooter Vacations
A very informative site where you can rent scooters for your Disney vacation!
- Scoot Orlando
Low cost rates and they fit in a trunk!
- Walker Mobility
Orlando scooter and wheelchair rentals for vacations!
- Buena Vista Scooter Rentals
Various services including scooter rental, wheelchairs, lift chairs, and even oxygen.
Yup, if you know of a good place that rents them besides what is listed here (or you are an owner of a rental place) in the Kissimmee/Orlando/St. Cloud area, let us know. But please, no motorbike type scooter stores or rental places. We are only looking for places mobility challenged people can get one to use at the theme parks.
Renting an ECV from Walt Disney World
Good short term solution if you need it...
Credit: WDWMemories.comThis option is more for people who may find themselves in a dire situation during the day and cannot enjoy themselves because of pain from disability. When I first started getting into pain with muscles and such, I used this method, until I realized how expensive and inconvenient it was.
The cost is striking. There is a $50 a day charge, plus the $20 deposit, and you can only use them in the park that you rented them from. In fact, all four parks have their rental place inside the gates so that you can not leave, even to go out to the parking lot with one. And so, to park hop, you need to give back the scooter, get your deposit back, travel to the new park, give them back the deposit (but not another $50 if it's the same day) and get another scooter to use there. The rub here though is that there is no guarantee and no reservation can be made to insure you'll have one at your destination and so you may be out of luck or have to wait awhile, especially if it's early afternoon that you are doing the switch. Be sure to keep your receipt so that they know you already purchased one for the day.
The four rental locations are:
Magic Kingdom - Inside the gate to the far left (before you go under the train station), there is a stroller rental location. It is here you will also find the mobility scooter rentals (as well as wheelchairs).
Disney Hollywood Studios - Once inside the gate, there is a gas station to your right. This is where you rent the scooter, as well as wheelchairs and lockers.
Epcot - Once inside the gate you'll notice the legs of Spaceship Earth. If you follow the leg on the left to a small shop that sells merchandise. That is where they also rent the mobility scooters.
Animal Kingdom - Once inside the gate, there is a shop and the child stroller rental on the right hand side. Again, it's hard to miss. There you can get a mobility scooter.
There is also an option now to rent one at Downtown Disney. The cost is $50 too, but the deposit is $100. This is probably because Downtown Disney is not gated and so they are probably afraid that someone could reasonably drive off with it. The high amount also gives people more of an incentive to bring it back instead of just leaving it wherever their car is parked. You can find them at Marketplace's Guest Relations. Oh, and on that same note. If you are getting one, you will want to park in Parking Lot B, which is closest or they have free valet service for those with disabilities.
If you should have a problem with the scooter, there is a large plastic keyring that will give a phone number to call. You can go to any of the internal phones (found near any phone booth) and call that number for assistance. A cast member (employee) can also assist you.
While it sounds like it has definite disadvantages, a captive audience may find the scooter necessary, and they are provided as such.
Rent On Property / Off Property / Own
When visiting WDW and/or Orlando, do you rent a scooter off property, from Disney or own your own?
What Happens If My Rental Scooter Needs Service?
It's rare, but sometimes they do die. If it's a Walt Disney World scooter, then it's a simple as calling the number on the key. But if it's an outside rental, then you usually have to call the card or the number that is on the scooter itself. They will send a person out with a replacement or to fix it for you as soon as possible.
I had one do this one time at Animal Kingdom and it was a bit embarrassing, because it died in the middle of the street and suddenly I was surrounded by Disney security guards, which who knows what the crowd must have thought. That I stole something and made my get away in a mobility scooter! Uh no, anyway, they helped me push it to the front, which was quite a push for them and the company replaced it. Since I haven't dealt with others, I'm not sure what their policies are. You may want to ask if they will bring you a scooter inside the parks if the worse should happen.
If the battery dies, you can usually just find a wall socket and plug it in if it's running low, although a full charge at night should last more than a day. I've found the most convenient places are restaurants which generally have plugs around for their cleaning staff.
WDW Transportation and Scooters
Can I ride my scooter from the hotel to Epcot?
Credit: WDWMemories.comWell I guess you could if you were staying at one of the Epcot resorts that provide walkways to the theme park, but most of the time you will need to transport the scooter. Fortunately there is plenty of transportation options available around WDW if the scooter won't fit in the car.
Trams are an iffy situation at best. There are some cast members who may be accommodating and let you take the scooter on the tram, but many won't, because it's a time consuming process and they are on a tight schedule, especially in the morning. It also matters what kind of scooter you have as some are smaller than the others. What many will tell you is that you should have parked in the handicapped parking, instead of in the regular parking areas. If you have a placard (a handicapped sticker for your car), it's recommended that you do so. The parking will be pretty close to your destination, about as close as you can get, although at the Magic Kingdom, the trip is a bit further than if you had taken the tram, but not that bad.
Note: Trams do not stop at the handicapped parking areas as a general rule. An important point about the Magic Kingdom handicapped parking, you will want to follow the Villians side when entering, since it's next to what is now Jafar.
The most prominent of the transportation is the WDW Bus system which connects hotels to just about everywhere. Some people do, however, find this method a bit cumbersome at the start, but you get used to it.
In each gate for the buses is a handicapped spot (or queue) where you can wait with your party. When the bus pulls up, you will be at the back door, which is equipped with a lift system that will lift the chair or mobility scooter into the bus.
It's Disney policy that once the bus has unloaded, they will load you first before letting other people on. Of course, there may still be people on the bus as well depending on which bus it is. This is kind of embarrassing as you suddenly become the center of attention. And even more so for the next maneuver.
Once the ramp is lowered down to the ground, you will be asked to back the scooter onto the ramp. This is not always the easiest thing to do especially if you have spacial relationship problems. Before I got some practice, it took me two or three tries to get it, much to the chagrin of the other people. The bus drivers are always gracious though and will help you to maneuver. When you are on the ramp, it closes and you ride up the ramp for the next grand maneuver.
There are seats marked with a handicapped sign. These seats are put up by the driver, leaving a spot with two straps. Your next job is to move the scooter into position so that it can be locked down. This, again, is not always the easiest maneuver and even more nerve racking when there is a whole bus watching you. Once you make it into the spot, the driver straps down the scooter. He/She will then ask you if you want to sit in a regular seat or stay on the scooter. It's up to you. For your companions, there are seats nearby so that you can be with them.
There is only room for one wheelchair/scooter per bus. So if there is a line in the disabled row, you may have to wait for the next one. All the buses should be equipped these days to handle the scooters. Although the lift does vary between some older and newer revision buses, but they still use the same system for boarding / unboarding.
When you arrive at your destination, the way is much easier. The driver will let everyone out and then come and unhook the straps and setup the ramp. It's very easy to pull forward back onto the ramp, much easier than the opposite. You are then lowered to the ground and once there, you can just drive your scooter away. Your family or friends will most likely be asked to leave the bus the regular way before they take you out. If you need your loved ones there for some reason, be sure to inform the driver.
The Transportation and Ticket Center has ramps up to the monorail platform and so you can just ride it up the ramp for all three monorail tracks.
The Grand Floridian and the Polynesian both have regular elevators up to the monorail platform. The Contemporary is a bit different. You take an elevator to the third floor (commonly known as the Grand Canyon Concourse where Chef Mickey's and the shopping is). You will then need to take a special elevator that goes from that floor to the monorail platform. Once you leave the elevator, go left and then turn right and you should see it in front of you. Be sure you are on the side where the monorail is and not the other side. It's not hard to find and if you need help, talk to a cast member.
Getting in and out of a monorail is a very simple process and the cast members will be glad to aid you by putting down a small ramp so that you can just drive in. There is plenty of room for the scooter. However, there is only one scooter allowed per monorail, so you may have to wait an extra one if someone else is already in line.
The Magic Kingdom and Epcot monorail stations both have ramps for wheelchairs and scooters.
The Magic Kingdom Ferryboat
If you want to take the ferryboat by wheelchair and scooter, you can do so. There is a fairly steep bump that you have to get over which can get some scooters a little upset, but all in all, it's not that big a hurdle.
You will need to check with guest relations about other boat transportation as some are wheelchair and scooter compatible, some are not. Disney does have a guide for handicapped that outlines what transportation does and doesn't have facilities.
I do have experience with the boat that goes from Port Orleans to Downtown Disney. It does have a place for a scooter, but I'll be honest, it took me about four tries to get it in there properly. Not the easiest driving.
Cabs and Shuttles
Mears, which is the main cab company in Orlando, has wheelchair/scooter compatible vans, but they aren't anywhere near as plentiful as their cabs. In fact, last I heard there was only four for the entire area.
When calling Mears to get a cab, you must inform them that you want a wheelchair/scooter van. Otherwise they will just send a regular cab. The wait, due to the lower number, is often quite long, usually a half hour, but I've waited as long as an hour.
The drivers, however, are quite nice and are very helpful in helping you get the scooter in the van. They usually have you go up a steep incline into the van forward and then back it out at your destination. Once it's in the van, it's secured with straps like the buses. You have to option to remain in the scooter or you can transfer to a seat. Also if you aren't comfortable in loading the scooter yourself, the driver will generally do it for you.
The price for a wheelchair van seemed to be the same price as the regular cab, however I usually tip the driver a bit more because it is more work on their part than a standard cab would be, but again, it's up to you.
Getting Around Disney Theme Parks
What is your favorite mode of transportation at WDW?
Don't be afraid!
People may not see your disability, but it doesn't mean it's not all too real as you know. Don't hurt yourself walking because you are afraid of what people might think. Walt Disney World is not a place of torture, but of fun! Remember that and enjoy!
General WDW Mobility Scooter Tips
I got the scooter, now what?
I've found the scooter to be incredibly helpful in my enjoyment of the Disney experience, but there are some things I've learned as well.
The Walt Disney World Guide for Disabled Guests
You can pick this up at any guest relations, your hotel front desk, etc, at WDW. It outlines the attractions that are mobility compliant, those you have to transfer, etc. It also goes into transportation more than we did here. You can order one from Disney also, but it's quicker to just go to their website...
Be Careful of Others!
The scooters, though they are pretty slow, can cause quite a bit of pain for a person's feet if you hit them. It is important to keep in mind that you are driving something and thus need to pay attention to the road as well as the other sights. People will tend to dart in front of you on their own quest without looking, making it imperative to always be ready to stop. Good thing scooters do generally stop instantly, but it does take as much concentration as a car. I realize this is difficult with talking to friends and all the wonders there are, but it's a necessary evil.
Get the Chair, ignore the Stare!
This paragraph is as much for the general visitors as it is the scooter riders.
If you have health problems, don't risk a heart attack or go to Disney World in pain because you are afraid of what people might think. When I first needed a scooter, this bothered me a lot. While using it, I got some stares and heard some rather pointed comments. At that point, it was just the start of my degenerative nerve problems and so I could still walk a fair distance and do some tasks. But even for an athletic person, Disney World is very daunting and I couldn't do that without ending up in some serious pain. However, I could go up and get some food or get out of the scooter to reach for something and that brought a lot of people to think that I was cheating or something. It's hard for them to understand that reaching for something or standing for five minutes is much different than walking five miles. But after a bit, I started to ignore the comments because they didn't have my life. They don't know that I am this way at home as well as at WDW. I'd gladly trade riding a scooter for good legs that could once again walk all of WDW like I used to.
You can't really blame them that much really. There is a saying that EPCOT means Every Person Comes Out Tired and I think when you feel like your legs about to fall off from the Animal Kingdom Death March, people in scooters seem to be getting off easy. Again, that would be fine if tiredness was the only issue (and maybe for some it is), but most scooter riders are doing so not to avoid walking, but to be able to enjoy their visit with as little pain from their health issues as possible. Many don't look disabled. It doesn't mean that they aren't.
On the other hand, there were a lot more nice people who were always willing to lend a hand or hold a door. I really appreciated their kindness. One lady almost missed the show while trying to help me get the scooter in a tight spot. She didn't though and I was glad for that, but it shows how helpful people can be as well.
Charging the Scooter
All scooters need to be charged each night so they are ready for the next day. This usually requires them to be brought into the room where they can be plugged in at least once a day. You will also want to do this anyway so it doesn't get rained on or moved by the staff and/or someone else.
Getting them into the room can be a bit tight depending on the rooms. The value resorts have smaller rooms than their more expensive counterparts, so sometimes some furniture like a table may have to be moved to accommodate the scooters. If you have your family there, it's not too big a deal, as one can hold the door while you drive in. If you are alone, see the section on Scooters for One below.
You can also take them to the luggage handling desk and Disney will be glad to charge and store them. But then you have to walk back to your room, which may be a hike in itself.
Important Safety Tips
Always shut off the scooter with the key (and pull it out) before getting off of the thing. The Disney ones seem to have a sensor in the seat that doesn't allow them to move if you are off the seat. But the rental ones often do not have this. I got thrown pretty hard off one the first time I used it by assuming they were the same as the Disney ones were and there was no sticker to tell me otherwise.
As I said above, you should be aware of your surroundings at all times, like you are driving a car. The reason is that there are a lot of tight spots at Disney that you could potentially get into trouble with if you aren't paying attention.
Curbs are a big one. The scooter with you on it has a high center of balance. This means they tip easier than you would think. If you take the scooter off of a curb at an angle that causes two wheels to be up on the curb and two off of it, it's likely to tip over. Always go straight down a curb. I saw an unfortunate gentleman topple by accident at the MK and it fell over with him in it. Fortunately, there was a group of college guys ready to help. They picked him and the Disney rented scooter up. As far as I know, he wasn't hurt, but he could have been.
If you are going up a ramp, do not make a u-turn as this could also very easily tip the scooter. You might be able to get away with it if you put your leg out like they do on tight motorcycle turns, but it's better to avoid these situations.
Some dangers aren't as apparent. The Land in Epcot is one such spot. The elevator from the second floor to the first floor should be backed into. The reason I say this is so that you can go forward at the bottom. Why? Because on the bottom floor is the Living with the Land boat ride. And the canal for that is right next to the elevator. And if one isn't careful, they could wind up in some serious hurt if they were to back into it by accident since there is no guard rail.
Leaving Them Out Of The Room
Obviously it would be a pain in the butt to take them into the room if you only plan to stay for five minutes there. I was wary about leaving it outside myself the first time. The guy I rented it from told me that I could leave it out except at night. He said that he'd never had one stolen. Now I'm sure different rental places may have different rules on that, so it's best to check.
It's also best to check with the hotel, especially if you are staying at a non-Disney resort. I had quite an argument with the Hyatt in Disney Hotel Plaza because they didn't like that I left it in the hallway while I was only in the room a short time. Even though I assured them I would bring it in during long stays. They finally agreed to that.
Avoid Getting Them Wet
I have heard that they have battery/electronics trouble when they get wet, so it's best not to get them soaked as it can disable them. So when it starts raining, it's best to head indoors. This is especially true in the torrential downpours that happen almost every summer day that I call Flood and Flickers. Lots of lightning and lots of rain make up these evil storms. The only good part is they only usually last around a half hour or so, so if you pull the scooter into a restaurant or attraction, you'll be good. Besides, riding on something electrical in a thunderstorm is probably not the best idea.
Kids and Scooters
Some have asked can I ride my children on the scooter with them? Honestly, I've never tried it myself, but I have seen people do it quite a bit there. But from a safety point of view, there are some things to keep in mind. They should never stand while the power scooter is in motion. Most scooters can stop very suddenly with good brakes and this can physically throw a person off the vehicle if they are standing, especially a young child. If you do plan to let your child ride with you, let them sit on your lap and only do so for small children (less than 7 years old). Standing while the scooter is still, as if for a parade, is not a terrible thing for kids, BUT be sure that the key is properly shut off or pulled from the plug (if it's a Disney one) because any sudden lurch can toss the person if they hit the throttle bar by accident.
Also, please don't let your kids use your scooter as an alternative to Tomorrowland Speedway. Other guests that are hit by kids driving are not going to be happy campers.
General Theme Park Scooter Tips
Credit: WDWMemories.comFirst, be sure to visit Guest Relations at the parks or the hotels for a copy of their WDW for Disabled guide. It is very useful in telling you what attractions are accessible directly, what ones need you to transfer to a ride vehicle and which ones, are not disability compatible (such as the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse in Magic Kingdom). Another thing this free guide is good for is for telling you where the disability viewing is for parades and special events. These generally have wheelchair and scooter viewing locations that are fantastic. There is limited seating in these areas, so it's best to get there at least an hour early.
When you approach an attraction, there is always a cast member (employee) who is standing by the entrance to assist you. Sometimes he or she will tell you to go right in, or may tell you to follow a particular path or in some cases to go to the exit. It all depends on how the attraction is set up.
One particularly interesting show to get into is the American Adventure at Epcot. Assuming they are using the front door, which they usually do. You enter as everyone else does, but before the show starts you are escorted to an elevator that is hidden behind a door that matches the décor. The cast member then will ride up with you to the second floor and make sure you get off the elevator okay. Once on the second floor, you ride around to where the doors are to the main theatre. Eventually the people will come up the escalator from downstairs and stand with you. Once you go through the doors, you turn left and then another sharp left to go into the wheelchair row (which is the far top of the theatre). There you will maneuver between sections of seating, where there are guest seats for your party (I think 3 or 4) to sit with you. The only bad part about this theatre, to me, is that given how huge the place is (it seats 1000), it often makes the animatronics look tiny. But it's not too bad. At least you get the wide angle view though of the huge screen that goes across the entire stage.
When dining in self service restaurants, I highly suggest that you get a family member or friend to get the meal for you. It is often difficult to maneuver around the line columns to get your food. It can be done (see the Scooter for One section on tips), but it's not easy. The tables are usually very easy to get around and in between.
I did find that performers do tend to pay more attention if you are in a scooter or wheelchair which is fun. I got a big hug from Timon, actually cheered me up since i was having a rough time.
If you have any tips to add to this section, please let me know by leaving feedback below and I'll update it!
If you have any tips about using a scooter in theme parks that you'd like to see here, feel free to post them and I will put them up with proper credit of course.
Resorts and Scooters
© 2004 Louis Allen. All Rights ReservedI'm not familiar with all of the resorts as I've only stayed at the All Star resorts, Pop Century and Port Orleans Riverside, so if you have any other tips about other hotels, please send them to me and I will add them here with proper credit of course.
Port Orleans Riverside
This hotel is one that I had the most trouble with a scooter. Even though it is compliant with disability laws, it still seemed to be a bit more of a problem than the others.
Nearest to the lobby is the Alligator Bayou. Originally they gave me a room there. As I was waiting for check in time, I decided to go exploring. When I went to these rooms, I found that the sidewalk where you enter the rooms has quite a significant drop (around a foot) to the ground with no guard rail, just some bushes. It would make for some very tight maneuvering not to fall into them. If you are just learning to drive a scooter, it may not be a good idea to stay in this section.
They then assigned me a Mansion room. These rooms are much less dangerous to drive around on as the sidewalk does not have a drop off. However, there is disadvantage to these as well. To get to the lobby, you need to ride over the bridges. These bridges will shake you and the scooter up quite a bit. It got kind of annoying after a few days.
The other thing about Port Orleans Riverside is the doors are not automatic, but push button. You will want your family member to hit these buttons (usually found somewhere close to the door) as some are hard to reach from a scooter.
Pop Century, one of Disney's newest resorts, was designed for wheelchairs in mind, and I enjoyed staying there with the scooter. The doors are automatic, so there is no buttons to push or maneuver. The food court is fairly easy to get around as well and there are no harsh bridges or sidewalks.
They also had a wheelchair counter at the front desk which was lower so that you didn't have to get out of the scooter. That was a nice touch.
The only small problem was getting the scooter into the room, which required a little bit of rearranging of the chair and table, but minor.
All Star Music / Movies / Sports
These are about the same as Pop Century, newer and so they are more scooter compliant.
The tower has all automatic doors and while I didn't stay there, I've visited friends there and had no problem getting around. As I said earlier, they put in an elevator as well up to the monorail platform so it's accessible to wheelchairs / scooters.
If you have any resort and scooter tips, including those outside of WDW in Orlando or Kissimmee, let us know and I'll put them up (with proper credit of course).
Scooters for One
Can I go alone to WDW with a scooter?
Credit: WDWMemories.comSure you can! I've done it a few times on business and while it's a bit more of a pain, it can very well be done. But it does require that you are at least somewhat mobile since some tasks are easier without the scooter.
Self Serve Restaurants
The most frustrating place is the self serve restaurants when you are alone. The lines are generally very tight and aren't really designed for scooters (especially the non-wheelchair type). A lot of times there is a counter on the very end of either side that doesn't require too much maneuvering. I usually head for those when I need to get the food with the scooter.
Another issue is carrying the tray back. Although there are CM's around that would be glad to assist you in this respect. You'd also be surprised how many people are helpful this way too. If you have to get the food back to the table without help, the best way is to put the individual food items in the basket that generally comes with it, if it's big enough. If not, you can usually balance the tray on the basket, holding it with one hand, while driving with the other. You have to be real careful.
Don't fill up any soft drink cups you might have until you get the tray back to the table, because the cup will be the first thing to spill. You might also want to think about bottled water or soda as a beverage. At least if it falls, it won't spill.
If you are somewhat mobile, to be honest, it's sometimes much easier to just walk up and get the food. Again, this causes jeers, but sometimes it's just a more efficient process and less likely you'll drop the food.
Doors on Attractions, Hotel Lobbies, Etc
I've noticed that a lot of the doors are not automatic. If you are alone this can be a pain sometimes. In the resorts, many have push buttons for the door. They are sometimes not really in a place where you can maneuver, hit the door button and then get in place. Of course, you could ask someone to hit it for you. But one thing I found that helped was having an umbrella or a small pole of some kind. That way I could push it with that and still be in the position to get through the door while still open.
Hotel Room Doors and Scooters
Doors in the hotel rooms themselves are a bit difficult with a scooter. I found the best way to do this is to put the front of the scooter right against the door, lean forward, and turn the knob and at the same time move the scooter forward. This should push the door open further and further as you go in and then it will close behind you.
You won't be able to turn the scooter around in the room or at least it will be very unlikely that there will be room. Most hotel rooms are quite small on space. So to get out, you might try putting the key in the scooter making sure it's on. Open the door, and then hit the back button until the scooter is holding the door open. Then take the key out, sit down, put the key back out and get out the way you came.
As you can see, this is kind of a hard maneuver if you are by yourself, so it's probably best to not bring the scooter in for short visits to the room if you can avoid it.
Wheelchairs versus Scooters
A few have asked me whether or not a wheelchair is better or worse than a scooter at Walt Disney World. It is really hard to make that determination based on just opinion. It would depend a lot on the person, what they feel comfortable with, the type of wheelchair we are talking about (powered versus manual), etc.
If you are a person that has a severe handicap where you cannot walk at all, but are able to push yourself with a manual wheelchair or have someone push it for you then honestly, a wheelchair is probably a better choice. I say that because they have better maneuverability in tight spaces (such as queue lines, corners) and they have closer access as a rule to the ride vehicles in attractions that require the person to transfer from the chair. Some rides, such as Universe of Energy (Ellen's Energy Encounter), even have a way to put the chair into the vehicle, where scooters aren't allowed.
There are two kinds of powered wheelchairs. Motorized wheelchairs look like the traditional chair with the big wheels on each side and are generally powered by a small motor that basically turns those wheels. These would probably be at the same level of accessibility and maneuvering capability as their manual brethren. Powered wheelchairs, such as you see on TV or perhaps around your town, have a large wheelbase, are maneuvered by a joystick, and have what looks like a car seat. This type is considered in most circles to be in the same class as the scooters, which means they have the same access issues,
But given the two, I would recommend the scooter. They are faster, more natural because it's like riding a bike or playing in a toy car, and in my opinion, safer on Disney's uneven terrain. Power chairs have a higher center of balance than even the scooter has with no way to extend one's foot out if they should tip over, which means if they get to be too far at an angle, they could very well take the rider with them.
So that is my thoughts on Wheelchairs versus Scooters...
We'd like to know what you think. If you have a scooter rental place in the Kissimmee/Orlando area, let us know and we'll add you to our growing list.