In addition to the lure of a magic-filled vacation, some families are drawn to the Walt Disney World Resort by the promise of accessibility and accommodation for their loved ones. I’ve been able to take my father to Walt Disney World twice, despite his long list of medical conditions — some of which do not allow him to walk long distances. Because of his mobility issues, an Electric Conveyance Vehicle (ECV) rental was inevitable. In this article, I wanted to share the reasons that lead me to rent an ECV from a third-party Disney Featured Provider (as opposed to renting an ECV through Disney directly).
As I was planning the first trip with my father, I pondered the logistics of getting him around the massive Walt Disney World Resort. According to Walt Disney World’s website, an ECV can be rented at any theme park or water park, or at Disney Springs. However, I immediately noticed some information on the website that made me question whether a Disney ECV rental would work for us. Here are the issues I had:
- An ECV, once rented, cannot leave the location from which it was rented. For example, if you rent an ECV at the Magic Kingdom in the morning and later decide to visit Epcot, you must return the ECV at Magic Kingdom and get another ECV at Epcot. For us, that would mean that my father would have to walk to and from the busing, monorail, or boat locations when we park hopped or took a hotel break, which would be a lot of extra steps for him.
- The daily price for an ECV rental at a Disney park is $50, or $300 for a six-day vacation. When checking into renting third party, we found that we could do a six-day ECV rental for around $180.
- ECV rental at the parks is on a first-come, first-served basis (no advance reservations permitted). I’m sure they have a lot of ECVs available, but I felt uneasy not having a guarantee that my father could get an ECV for each day of our vacation.
- We were staying at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort for the trip. What would he do if our room was not near the food court and/or a bus stop? Or if he wanted to wander around the resort to admire the scenery at his leisure?
For the reasons listed above, I decided to rent an ECV through a third-party vendor. Currently, there are four “Disney Featured Providers” for ECV rental listed on the Walt Disney World website. In my opinion, the best part about using a Disney Featured Provider for ECV rental is that you are able to pre-order your ECV and the provider will deliver it to the Disney resort hotel of your choice. This was paramount for us, as it would allow my father to have mobile freedom throughout his entire vacation, from the time we checked in until the time we checked out.
Initially, I checked out each Disney Featured Provider’s website and called to ask questions and get a quote for our vacation dates. I learned that there is a wide variety of options available for ECV rentals (unlike the rentals available at the Disney theme parks). For example, we opted for a three-wheel design, in the hopes that it would be easy to maneuver through some of the tighter queues, with a “Captain’s chair” option for added comfort.
While I appreciate that Disney has ECVs available for rent at the entrance to each theme park, my father simply would not be able to cover all the steps leading into and out of the parks as well as the sprawling grounds of our resort hotel. Moreover, the thought of potentially being denied a rental if they ran out of ECVs that day made me anxious. I loved knowing that we had a pre-ordered ECV that would be delivered to us and would cost us less money for the week, with no restrictions. But most importantly, I loved that my father, who doesn’t visit many places because of his health issues, could look forward to and enjoy his entire vacation through the promise of unlimited mobility.
As a scientist and a Disney die-hard fan, I believe that my yin and yang interests are the perfect blend of logic and fantasy. I love talking about all things Disney to whoever will listen, and I especially enjoy visiting the Disney Parks with my friends and family every year. My husband and I are thrilled to be taking our 1-year-old daughter to Walt Disney World for the first time in fall 2018, and we're looking forward to a wealth of magical memories to come!