I had been having pain in my knee for a few weeks when one month before we were due to leave for Disneyland I twisted my knee and felt immediate pain. Two days later it was very swollen and it stayed this way for a week before I decided to see a Doctor. The MRI showed some problems so I was sent to a surgeon. The surgeon doesn't want me 'traipsing' all over Disneyland so I will be using an ECV instead of a wheelchair because I can't roll myself. I can't do stairs without tremendous pain, and after being on my feet for a few minutes the pain sets in and I just want to sit with my leg in its favorite position: Not straight but just slightly bent is the most comfortable.
It was after seeing the surgeon that I began researching the best company to rent a scooter from, check reviews and see if there were any tips for use. One tip, 'practice' makes sense but I have no where to do that easily. I figure I can practice at the hotel when we arrive, and plan on making sure I can go both forward and backwards and I want to check the turning capabilities. I do not plan on running into people, but I also know how people are because I am one. For years we used a stroller and it is amazing how many people stop right in front of you, or cut in front of you. I am a little concerned about this, so want to see how quickly I can stop and how quickly I can turn, and I will know this before we get to Disneyland.
I found several companies mentioned that came with good reviews. American Medical Supply and Scootaround were two companies I looked at and I even made a reservation with American Medical Supply because they were open late at night when I called. I am still waiting to hear from Scootaround on renting a scooter (it has been four days since I sent them an email from their website).
The next day I called the company that was recommended by more with glowing reviews. Deckert's Surgical rents scooters (ECV's - electronic convenience vehicle) for $40.00 a day, but they do run specials. I happened to be going to Disneyland during one of these specials and so my rate is just 25.00 a day. I confirmed that with Rick, one of the owners and then cancelled American Medical because I had a cheaper price for a company that came very highly recommended. One of the first things he mentioned is that their scooters plug into an outlet in your hotel room so you don't have to worry about battery issues.
After ordering my ECV I went back to the tips I had found and another struck me as important. Whenever you get off the scooter, remove the keys. Then what do you do with them? Put them in a pocket where they can fall out? Stuff them in your bag where they are hard to find? No! Bring your own key ring, preferably one you can simply slide around your wrist. I had one of these on hand and it is currently in our October Disneyland envelope. This envelope holds the flight information, hotel information, Halloween Party Tickets, doctors letter and anything else needed for our trip. Then we just grab the envelope, put it in a computer bag and we are good to go with everything at our fingertips. I also put empty envelopes in there. One for receipts and one for various paper collected (park schedules, park maps and so on) so it can all be kept together in one place.
So now I have my scooter rented and it will be at my hotel when we arrive. I need to call the hotel and let them know we will have a scooter so that we are in a room that has a door wide enough to accommodate a scooter. Since our hotel won't have our names until three days before we arrive I will wait until that point to call them.
My biggest challenge with all of this is mental preparation. Since this is an injury and not something I deal with daily as others do, then I need to prepare myself for not using my own two feet. I can walk a little bit, but not much. I will have to remember not to hop up every time I want to, but to keep my chair and navigate wisely. Yes, it will be slower, but at least I am able to visit my favorite place in the world.
I have also done the research and found much good information on our site, but have compiled all the pertinent information here that gives information on how you enter a queue for each attraction when you are in a wheelchair or an ECV.
Rides at Disneyland that you can go through the regular queue with an ECV or wheelchair are Roger Rabbit, The Matterhorn, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and Winnie the Pooh. Mickey and Minnie Mouse can also be seen by going through the regular queues without having to leave your ECV or chair. The Princess Fantasy Fair, Pixie Hollow, Rapunzel and all shows at Tomorrowland Terrace, Fantasmic!, Billy Hill and the Hillbillies at the Golden Horseshoe are through the regular entrance.
Below is a list of entrances and requirements for getting off your ECV or wheelchair in order to ride.
Main Street U. S. A.:
The Disneyland Railroad - the main street station is NOT wheelchair accessible. At each other station in New Orleans Square, Toontown and Tomorrowland you can go up the ramp to enter the train. The last car on the train has limited wheelchair and ECV accessible spots.
The Disneyland Story and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln - go through the main entrance doors to the lobby and the Disneyland Story. When the doors open for Mr. Lincoln a Cast Member will direct you to wheelchair/ECV seating.
Main Street Cinema - go through the entrance and detach the rope on the side of the turnstile to enter the theater.
Main Street Vehicles - wheelchairs can be folded on the Omnibus and the horse-drawn vehicles. These are one way trips. If leaving a wheelchair or ECV be sure to ask the driver if you can ride round trip first.
Tiki Room - enter through the main entrance. Elevator is to the right of the stairs.
Jungle Cruise - go through the exit. There is an ECV and wheelchair accessible boat.
Tarzan's Treehouse you can ask a Cast Member and they will let you roll up to the interactive area at the end of the attraction. You must be able to navigate stairs for the bulk of this attraction.
Indiana Jones you go through the exit. You must be able to get out of your chair or ECV to ride this attraction but using the wheelchair entrance gives you an elevator instead of stairs. There is a step to get into and out of the ride vehicle.
Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes - go through the exit which can be found near the Hungry Bear lower level stairs and ramp.
Splash Mountain - go through the exit which is by Pooh Corner. There is a wheelchair transfer seat available here.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh - use the main queue. There is a wheelchair vehicle available. If you are in an ECV you would need to switch to a wheelchair to use this special vehicle.
New Orleans Square:
Haunted Mansion - use the main queue until you get to the porch. Wait at the chain for a Cast Member. If you can't negotiate a few stairs or stand for a few minutes and walk for a few more, be sure to let a Cast Member know and you will enter a side entrance. They will stop the ride for you to get in your Doom Buggy.
Pirates of the Caribbean - go through the exit and proceed to the access gate on the left.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - go through the exit to the boarding/unloading area and stay behind the yellow line. A transfer accessible vehicle is available.
Big Thunder Ranch - this area is wheelchair/ECV accessible.
Fantasmic! - the viewing area for those with disabilities is located in front of the Golden Horseshoe.
Frontierland Shooting Exposition - the guns on the left are wheelchair and ECV accessible.
The Golden Horseshoe Stage - use the main entrance and remain on the lower level.
Mark Twain Riverboat - enter through the access gate to the right of the turnstile. Lower level access only as you must be able to navigate stairs to access the upper level.
Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island - enter through the standard queue. There are many pathways that are wheelchair and ECV accessible.
Sailing Ship Columbia - this ship is not wheelchair accessible. You must be able to navigate stairs to enjoy this attraction.
Astro Orbitor - wheelchairs enter through the main queue. ECV's enter through the exit ramp across from Star Tours.
Autopia - go through the standard queue and proceed to the elevator. There is a hand held accelerator and transfer seat available.
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage - go through the wheelchair accessible queue. You must be able to navigate a narrow circular stairway to board and disembark the submarine. If unable to do this there is an alternate viewing experience available with benches and wheelchair/ECV spaces.
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters - use the standard queue until you get to the marked door near the loading zone. A wheelchair accessible vehicle is available for those who can't leave their wheelchair.
Captain EO (which has replaces Honey I Shrunk the Audience for the time being) - enter through the main queue.
Disneyland Monorail - go through the main queue. There is an elevator available.
Honey I Shrunk the Audience - go through the main queue. The floor moves during this show so be sure to lock your wheelchair and ECV's.
Innoventions - use the main queue to enter the lower level. There is an elevator to access the upper level games and ASIMO show.
Space Mountain - go through the exit and follow the arrows to the left. A transfer seat and special loading area is available.
Starcade - use the main entrance and proceed throughout the game room.
Star Tours - use the standard outdoor queue and when you reach the building's entrance ask the Cast Member for boarding instructions.
Alice in Wonderland - go through the exit. A transfer vehicle is available.
Casey Jr. Circus Train - go through the exit which is located across from the Village Haus Restaurant.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant - go through the wheelchair designated exit which you will find to the left of the main queue. There is a transfer accessible vehicle available.
Disney Princess Fantasy Faire - go through the main entrance. There is an elevator available to take you to the main floor when needed.
"it's a small world" - enter through the left side and stay to that side. There is a wheelchair accessible boat here. If you are in an ECV you can transfer to a wheelchair and ride that boat or walk onto a standard boat.
King Arthur Carousel - go through the wheelchair queue which is to the left of the main queue. A bench and a wheelchair accessible space is available on the attraction.
The Mad Tea Party - go through the main queue. Before reaching the area in shadow (the chalet) a Cast Member will direct you to the appropriate entrance.
The Matterhorn Bobsleds - go through the main queue. Before reaching the area in shadow (the chalet) a Cast Member will direct you to the appropriate entrance.
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride - go through the wheelchair entrance to the right of the main queue. This is for wheelchairs only. Please park ECV's outside the attraction.
Peter Pan's Flight - go through the exit. This is for wheelchairs only. Please park ECV's outside the attraction. There is a transfer vehicle available here.
Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough - if you can navigate narrow winding stairs then you can enter through the standard queue. If this is not possible there is an alternate viewing area available.
Pinocchio's Daring Journey - go through the exit. This is for wheelchairs only. Please park ECV's outside the attraction. There is a transfer vehicle available here.
Snow White's Scary Adventures - go through the exit. There is a special transfer vehicle available here.
Storybook Land Canal Boats - go through the exit next to the entrance. There is a step when boarding and disembarking.
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