Scooting Around the World: Exploring Walt Disney World on a Scooter or ECV
|by Deb Kendall, PassPorter Message Board Guide (Moderator)|
Last modified 11-17-2010
PassPorter.com > Articles > Walt Disney World > Touring
About 15 years ago I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. For those not familiar with this, it is a connective tissue illness that causes all-over pain, fatigue, and "brain fog." The first few years I didn't want to accept this diagnosis and tried to do Walt Disney World on foot. I found that after one day of walking the park I was in so much pain I couldn't take a step without tears in my eyes. It made for a non-magical vacation.
I decided it was time to get a scooter (also known as an ECV, which stands for Electrical Conveyance Vehicle). It is a whole different "world" going to Walt Disney World on a scooter. You have to learn how to board buses, boats, and monorails. And it's not as easy as it looks!
I was luckier than most people because I had my own scooter at home and had learned to drive it pretty well. Driving the scooter at Walt Disney World is still a whole different animal--lots of people everywhere not looking where they are going, kids dashing out in front of you, doors closing in your face... you really need to be on the lookout at all times. You also must be able to drive backwards, and parallel park on buses, etc.
The first thing I learned is to be very aware of my surroundings, especially keeping an eye out for "dashers." Most people think scooters have brakes. They don't! There is an accelerator--when we push it the scooter moves, when we take our foot off, the scooter stops. It takes a little bit of space for a scooter to stop when we let off the accelerator. Please be aware of this when you stop in front of us.
Here's a tip for those on foot, when you or your group decide to stop, please move over to the side of the pathway so you don't cause a hazard for those of us on wheels. We really don't want to crash into you or have to suddenly swerve and possibly hit someone else. Please remind kids to also look before they run off. It is so scary for us driving scooters in crowds at closing time or when shows let out. I usually pull off the pathways till things thin out because I get so nervous, fearful that I will clip someone.
Even on a scooter you can have a wonderful day at the food & wine festival - photo by Eeyore Tattoo
Some other tips regarding folks driving scooters or ECVs: It is fine to hold open a door for us--I really appreciate everyone that has been helpful to me. I have found most people I encounter on solo trips are wonderful, polite, and treat me with kindness and respect. We are lower to the ground than most other people and do encounter obstacles, but we love to interact with everyone and are friendly people, too. We love Walt Disney World and PassPorters love to chat!
Buses: Scooters are loaded first, but exit last. We are loaded first because we need the scooter to be strapped down. When parking on the bus I always parallel park. It takes some practice but once it is mastered you can get the scooter in place pretty fast so the rest of the guests can load. Buses can only carry two scooters and there are times we wait bus after bus till we can get on one with room for us. We know you want to get on fast and we apologize for making you wait. Thank you for your patience.
Riding the monorail is fun! It's easy to get on and off with the ramp. But I always worry that they will forget to let me off. When I travel alone I always ask someone exiting to let the cast member know I need the ramp. The worst that could happen is another trip around. It is a great means of transportation for those with wheels.