Why use a Wheelchair instead of an ECV at Disney World?

While visiting Disney World recently with my father, we knew that he would not be able to walk the miles and miles required for the daily trips to the parks.  We had discussed him getting an ECV for the trip once we were inside of the parks.  However, to get into the parks, there was still quite a long walk.  We were excited to see that there were courtesy wheelchairs close to the bus drop offs.  

After finding one of the courtesy wheelchairs, my father loaded into the chair and we quickly headed to the parks.  These courtesy wheelchairs can be used to assist people in getting inside the park.  They are free to use but must be turned in once inside the park, typically to the location where you rent an ECV or a wheelchair.  You will find them close to where the buses load or in a designated area such as the one seen in the photo above.  These chairs are much harder to push than those that can be rented once inside the parks.

When we got inside the parks, we headed to the location for renting wheelchairs and ECVs.  The current prices for ECVs is as follows:

  • Daily theme park prices: $50
  • A refundable $20 deposit is required at this location
  • Daily Water Parks prices: $50
  • A refundable $20 deposit is required at this location
  • Daily Disney Springs prices: $50
  • A refundable $100 deposit is required at this location

We also inquired as to the cost of the wheelchairs as follows:

  • Daily theme park prices: $12
  • Daily Water Park and Disney Springs: $12 
  • A refundable $100 deposit is required at these locations.

With the cost considered, my father decided that a wheelchair would be best.  At the end of the trip, we reflected on the use of the wheelchair versus the ECV and created the following list:

  • My father has no idea where we are going to be going or how to get there.  Once a scooter is pointed in the wrong direction, it can take a bit of time to get pointed in the right direction.  With the wheelchair, I was able to always point him in the right direction.
  • The cost was substantially less at a savings of $38 per day!
  • He did not have to concentrate on not running over anyone!  That may not seem like much to consider but with the levels of people traffic in parts of the Disney parks, it can be difficult to not run over people when in an ECV.

Of course, I want to be very frank, the parks are not flat.  You may think that the ground is fairly level.  However, after pushing a wheelchair through the parks, I can tell you they are definitely not!  For example, just getting into the Animal Kingdom, up the hill, then down the hill toward the Tree of Life was quite a workout!  On the days we went to the parks, the high for the day was only in the high 70s.  I cannot possibly imagine pushing a wheelchair on days when the temperatures are in the 80s or 90s! 

So, be sure before you head to the parks you consider all of the various things mentioned here before choosing either an ECV or wheelchair.

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