Touring in an Electric Controlled Vehicle (ECV)
Doris Burns offers her experience and tips for touring Disney's Hollywood Studios in an ECV. Readers are invited to send in your Epcot experiences to share with others!
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MOBILITY DO'S AND DON'TS for users of wheelchairs (WCs) and Electric Controlled Vehicles (ECVs) at the Disney's Hollywood Studios:
DO GO even though you have never visited WDW or are unaware of Disney amenities!! Disney has thought of almost everything conceivable that you might encounter.
DO know that the rental place for WCs and ECVs is just inside the entrance and to the right. I always enjoy getting a WC there, as it is an old-fashioned gas station with an old sedan parked In front. It reminds me of my childhood, which is great because I feel like a child again at WDW.
DO stop at Guest Relations as you enter to pick up a map and info on all of the entertainment.
DO know that WCs and ECVs are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
DO keep your receipts for WCs and ECVs. You may take your receipt to another park and pick up another WC or ECV at no extra charge. Also, keep your receipt for your ECV, as you will get $10 back upon its return.
DO realize that your vehicles cannot be taken to another park. They are only for the park in which they are rented, for that day only.
DO be careful and keep a good distance between the person in front of you as the ECVs do NOT stop on a dime. One of the things I am always amazed at is that people will cut right in front of you and not consider safety – yours or theirs.
DO know you must be 18 years of age to rent an ECV.
DO know that an ECV will be held for you if you plan to come back to that park the same day.
DO be aware that Disney does not allow a second person on an ECV.
DO know that resorts may have a WC for you to rent. They don't have many, so be sure to ask the CM at the front desk when you check in.
DO be aware the parks have oversized WCs, but they are very limited.
DO know that they have companion restrooms. I just discovered this on my last trip a few months ago. They do not have them at all restroom areas, but they have one at Fantasmic! and one near Tower of Terror. They are very convenient and a welcome sight when you need one.
DO remember that CMs are not allowed to personally help people in and out of WCs.
DO be aware that at some attractions you will need to transfer to a ride vehicle. You must be able to do that by yourself or have a member of your family help you.
DON'T stay home!!! Go and enjoy yourself and let the "kid" in you come out and play.
There are warnings on thrill rides throughout the park that you should not have back, neck or heart problems. Expectant ladies may not ride either.
FOR MOST RIDES: Get in the regular line and a CM will direct you. Usually the handicapped gate is to the left. If it is a ride with a handicapped entrance, then up to five members of your family may go in with you. If it is a theater presentation (and they are SUPER!), then your party can sit with you or near you. Indiana Jones Spectacular is one of my favorites. Park your vehicle at the very top row of the arena. Your party has to sit on the stadium seating in front of you. We always wait til the audience is nearly cleared out after the show ends to start exiting, as it is "every man for himself" and, trust me, it is better to wait until the crowd "thins out." You will have to back up, and there are always a lot of people who try to "beat the rush out." Consequently they are in your way.
FANTASMIC! is a nice stadium-type show. Enter in the regular lines. Disney suggests that you get there early. We did the last time, so I had to park at the far end of the stadium, since they fill in the rows from there first. Handicapped parking for the show is at the top of the stadium like at Indiana Jones. This is a problem if you need to use the restroom before the show starts — I had to drive against traffic, so I navigated toward the back wall to facilitate my travel. Well, it didn't! The moral of this story is: use the restrooms as you enter (on your left), as it will be quite a while until the show starts, and it is 25 minutes long. By the way, a CM directing incoming people stopped "traffic" for me to get to the wall and follow it. He was very nice, and even made a young man stop who had tried to push in front of me. The CMs are there to help you.
THE GREAT MOVIE RIDE is another where you enter in the regular line. A CM will direct you if you are in an ECV as you cannot go on the ride in one. They will provide you with a wheelchair if you need.
STAR TOURS is a very physical ride. I went on it when I did not need a WC many years ago but I do know you cannot stay in your vehicle, as you are strapped in a seat that moves as part of the show. You can transfer to a seat to experience this attraction.
TWILIGHT ZONE TOWER OF TERROR– Go in the regular line and you will be directed by a CM. This ride only lasts a few minutes. I won't go on it ever as I am afraid of fast descents, but my husband goes on. While he does, I park on the street leading to it, and enjoy watching people go by. They also have some benches along the sidewalk if you prefer. This is the same street which leads to Rock'n' Roller Coaster and Fantasmic! (Sunset Blvd.).
THE BACKLOT TOUR is another must-see attraction. It has a really neat ride through studio backlots and some familiar sights and movie props you might remember. Part of the tram is wheelchair accessible — the CM will direct you. Don't forget to sit on the left side if you don't mind getting a little wet.
THEATER PRESENTATIONS, such as Jim Henson's Muppet Vision 3D, Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, are very well done. The costumes and musical numbers and choreography are superb!! Try to see as many as you can. Just stay in the main line and a CM will tell you where to go.
They are all accessible, except that some have narrow lines. I recommend you have someone order and pick up the food for you. These counter-service restaurants are more reasonable and less time-consuming, if that matters to you. The Backlot Express and others like it have many food offerings, even dinner entrees. This type of eatery is good for lunch or snack, but I still prefer sit-down restaurants for breakfast and dinner.
The Brown Derby, Mama Melrose's, and '50s Prime Time Café are my personal favorites. My husband and I don't go at prime dining times. We either have a Preferred Seating time prearranged at mealtimes or we eat off hours without a PS.
I find it difficult sometimes to drive on the sidewalks as they are usually crowded with lots of window shoppers. I almost always drive in the street, and if I want to go into a particular shop, then I find a ramp and go inside. The shops are accessible, but probably crowded.