It is well known that a holiday to Walt Disney World involves a lot of walking, and distances of 10 – 15 miles a day are not unheard of! We’ve spent many days pounding the pavement in Disney Parks, and know first hand that you need to make sure you are wearing the most comfortable shoes that you own, as well as building up your walking stamina before you go!
But what if you can’t manage that sort of distance, or stand for an hour in a line? Through disability, injury, medical condition, or other circumstance? There is no need to miss out on all the fun and excitement of a Walt Disney World holiday as you can hire either a wheelchair or mobility scooter (ECV) to get around the parks. You can hire directly from Disney, inside the parks, or from an offsite company such as Buena Vista Rentals, who are a Disney Featured ECV Provider.
In this post I will cover renting and using a mobility scooter (ECV) at Walt Disney World, rather than a wheelchair, as the former is what I have experience with and can confidently provide you with accurate information.
Renting a Mobility Scooter (ECV) at Walt Disney World
We are visiting Walt Disney World for the 6th time very soon, and this is the second time that I have had to rent a mobility scooter. Unfortunately I cannot manage the walking distance like I used to. It’s not just the walking around the parks, but there is lots of standing around waiting for a parade or show to start, as well as waiting in lines. There is also the walk from the car to the front gate (depending on where you park), as well as walking around resorts, and Disney Springs. I’ve even heard joke that Epcot stands for Every Person Comes Out Tired, because of the amount of walking involved!
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You can rent a mobility scooter inside the parks at Walt Disney World which (currently) costs $50 for the day, plus a $20 refundable deposit. Up to date prices and information can always be found on the Walt Disney World website.
Renting at the parks on the day is great if it is a last minute decision – as it was for me one year, when I just couldn’t manage another day in pain. I could only use the ECV within the park – I wasn’t able to take it to another park – although you can just product your rental receipt at another park, and just pay a deposit again. Bare in mind too, that there are only a finite number of scooters at each park, so if they’re all rented out, you are out of luck. The cost of rental is also high compared with an offsite company.
However, if you know you will need a mobility scooter to get around the parks, resorts and everything else you want to do when at Walt Disney World, you should look to renting from a company like Buena Vista Rentals. They are a Disney Featured ECV Provider which means they can actually enter the parks and provide you with another scooter should yours breakdown. They can also deliver to your Walt Disney World Resort too.
I rented an ECV from Buena Vista Rentals in 2016 for a month, and it was a very easy process which I was able to do online, from the UK without any stress. We actually picked up my scooter from their office on Kingspointe Pkwy, which is about midway between Orlando International Airport and Disney Springs. I was shown how to operate the vehicle, which is very easy, and we were on our way to enjoy our holiday – and for me, free from pain. Returning the scooter, we left it safely and securely with Bell Services at our Walt Disney World Resort.
Buena Vista Rentals have provided me with a mobility scooter for our upcoming trip, so make sure you are following me on Instagram to follow along!
They have three different types of scooters:
- Standard (up to 325lbs / 23 stone)
- Maxima (up to 500lbs / 35.5 stone)
- Portable (up to 325lbs / 23 stone)
You can also rent out a variety of accessories: sun shade, rear basket, cup holder, and a cane/crutch holder. As well as the motorised scooters, they also rent out oxygen tanks, manual wheelchairs, and strollers (pushchairs).
Buena Vista Scooters have been operating in Orlando for 20 years, and are a popular rental company – I see lots of their vehicles in the parks! Make your reservation in advance of your stay – especially at peak times like Christmas, summer holidays, and Easter/Spring break. Contact them here.
Using a Mobility Scooter at Walt Disney World
At the parks you will want to go as slowly as possible. Not only so that you can take all the sights in, but because of the crowds around you. In my experience, people are oblivious to an ECV; kids will dart in front of you, or people will walk across your path, or abruptly stop in front of you. If you are a car driver, then it will come naturally to you to be mindful of everything around you, as you would be when driving a car. But if you’re not a car driver, this may be a little difficult at first, but you should be aware of the crowds. At busy times, I would have my son walking just in front, and my husband to my side, just to make sure I didn’t have anyone suddenly move in front.
Your scooter will be given to you with a full battery charge. Buena Vista Rentals will guarantee no more than 6 hours of battery life for a day at the parks. There is a possibility for longer use, but it is always a good idea to bring the battery charger with you. There is a battery level on the dash which goes from green through orange to red, so it is easy to keep an eye on it. If you are stopping for any length of time, then switch the ECV off. There are electricity outlets around Walt Disney World, often in Quick Service Dining locations. Make sure you don’t block walkways when you are re-charging. When you get back to your resort for the night, give the battery a full charge ready for the next day.
There will be times that you may have to leave your scooter outside of an attraction or dining location. There is usually a specific area for them. Take the key with you – do not leave it in the vehicle. On some scooters, the back of the seat can be folded down – fold it down to shade the seat from the heat of the sun. You may find that your scooter has been turned around, or moved slightly. Cast Members will have done this for safety or convenience. There is a freewheeling lever at the back of the scooters that enables them to do that. If you find that you can’t turn your vehicle on, check that the lever has been put back as that can be the cause.
Rides & Attractions
You can pick up accessibility maps in the parks, which provides information about the various rides and attractions. You can also check the My Disney Experience App.
- Must transfer from wheelchair/ECV to ride vehicle
- Must transfer from ECV to wheelchair
- Must transfer from ECV to wheelchair, and from wheelchair to ride vehicle
- May remain in ECV/wheelchair
Problems with your ECV inside the parks
From the Buena Vista Rentals FAQs:
If you are experiencing difficulties with your unit you can call the 866 number to be found on the scooter. We have operators standing by to assist you. We will first try to trouble shoot the problem. If that is unsuccessful we can send a driver to you with a replacement unit. To avoid the battery running out please check the battery gauge from time to time to help maintain a workable charge. SCOOTERS CAN NOT GET WET….IF THEY GET WET THEY WILL NOT WORK AND WILL NEED TO SIT AND DRY BEFORE USE!
Florida has a sub-tropical climate, so while you have lots of heat, sunshine, and humidity, (take a towel to sit on for comfort in the heat!) you also have rain. Sometimes, a LOT of rain! If it starts to rain when you are in the Disney Parks, then get under cover as soon as you can. The ECV won’t stop working immediately if you are caught out, but getting water into the unit can cause a malfunction. One day in Magic Kingdom, it poured and poured down, and I had no choice but to drive from the park to the parking lot. I did panic thinking it would malfunction, but thankfully it didn’t. And it was fine the next day.
Using Disney Transport
Mobility Scooters can be used on Disney Buses, Ferries, and the Monorail. You can remain in your ECV, and will be directed what to do by a Cast Member.
If you have any questions about renting a mobility scooter (ECV) please contact Buena Vista Rentals direct where they will be very happy to help you.
If you have any questions about using an ECV in the Disney Parks, and resorts, then please contact me, or leave a comment below and I will help you to the best of my ability.