In this article we’ll cover:
- The benefits of renting with a non-Disney outside company.
- The companies you can rent from.
- What to look for when choosing an ECV.
Should I rent an ECV or wheelchair from Disney or from an outside company?
For some people it’s a better idea to rent from an outside company. There are a number of reasons for this:
⇒ $$$ – For ECVs, most outside companies tend to charge significantly less than Disney.
⇒ It’s a sure thing! Disney does not allow guests to reserve ECVs and wheelchairs in advance, and they sometimes run out of them. When you rent from an outside company you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’ll definitely have your wheelchair/ECV.
⇒ You can take them anywhere. When you rent from an outside company you’ll have 24 hour use of it anywhere. This means that you’ll not only have it in the theme parks, but you’ll have it everywhere else such as in your resort (most of them are large and sprawling), at any of the other entertainment areas such as the Boardwalk, and for getting to and from Disney transportation where there are often lines and waits.
When renting from Disney, you only have use of the wheelchair or ECV where you rented it, on that day. The one exception is when you’re park hopping (visiting more than one of the 4 main parks in the same day), but it’s not a guarantee that you’ll get a replacement ECV or wheelchair when you hop to a new park.
⇒ If you rent from an outside company you may have options with the type of chair you get. For example, if you plan to have your own car and want to be able to transport an ECV yourself, a smaller, more portable scooter such as the Pride Mobility Go Go Elite Traveler may be right for you. They can be disassembled fairly easily and put in the car, with the heaviest piece weighing around 35 pounds.
⇒ Non-Disney scooters can usually go faster than the Disney scooters. Personally we like to be able to speed around when needed. While they Disney scooters tend to be able to go faster than the typical settings you’ll experience with your typical grocery store ECVs, they usually can’t go as fast as the ones that you’ll get from an outside company.
How do I pick a non-Disney Wheelchair Rental Company?
There are many choices within the Orlando area. Some of these companies are full-service medical supply providers and can rent wheelchairs, ECVs and other medical equipment. All of these companies below will deliver the wheelchair or ECV to your Disney area hotel (there may be some exceptions so verify this with your wheelchair company), and they’ll pick it up when you’re done. Only 5 of them are Featured Providers and can pick up and deliver if you’re not there.
Featured Providers: Disney now has five vendors that they consider “featured”. Only these vendors will be permitted to drop off and pick up a wheelchair or ECV at Bell Services in the Disney World resorts without your being present. So if you’re staying in a Disney resort and you rent from a vendor not on their featured list, you’ll have to be present to pick up and drop off your ECV/wheelchair. This could be quite inconvenient.
The vendors not on the Disney Featured Provider list have relationships with some non-Disney hotels, so they’re able to drop off and pick up from those without you being present. If you’re not staying at a Disney resort, call each vendor to see if your hotel is on their list.
Who is best? Though we can’t endorse a specific company, we’ve used Scootaround and Care Medical and were pleased. Also, according to Sue Mickelson who is a moderator on a popular Disney related forum for people with disabilities, Apple Scooter, Walker Mobility and Randy’s Mobility are the companies that are most frequently discussed and most often recommended by participants on that forum.
The Disney World Featured Providers are:
Phone 321-Scooter [726-6837]
Best Price Scooters and Strollers
Phone (866) 866-3434
Care Scooter Rentals
Phone (407) 856-2273
Toll free in the U.S and Canada (800) 741-2282
Care Medical can also provide oxygen with a prescription.
Buena Vista Scooter Rentals
Local (407) 938-0349
Toll Free (866) 484-4797
Buena Vista Scooter Rentals has a location on Disney property, and other locations around Orlando. They can be found in front of the BoardWalk Inn. They’ll service your own personal scooter if it needs repairs. They can come to most Orlando locations, and they can rent you a replacement scooter while yours is being repaired. There’s a $50 service charge, plus parts and labor on all repairs. Additional fees may apply for them to come to you, depending on our location.
Other Disney area ECV/wheelchair vendors:
Scootaround Mobility Solutions
Phone (204) 982-0657
Toll free (888) 441-7575
Phone U.S. & Canada (321)-281-6603
Phone U.K. (02030062368)
Randy’s Mobility will sometimes rent ECVs to kids under 18 years old (usually older teens). Parents must be willing to take responsibility. This company does not leave its scooters with the hotels, but they bring the scooter directly to the client. This enables them to give the rider a lesson and to make sure they’re capable of controlling the ECV.
Toll free (888) 726-6837
Tips for Choosing the right ECV from an outside non-Disney company
- Smaller ECVs tend to have a better turn radius, which means they can take tight corners and sharp turns with more ease than larger ECVs.
- Three wheel ECVs tend to have a better turn radius than four wheel ECVs.
- The downside to a smaller ECV is that they tend to be less stable and can be more prone to tipping over. They also tend to be less comfortable, and with smaller batteries they run out of power sooner than the larger ECVs. However with our three wheel Pride Mobility go-go that we own, we’ve never run out of juice at Disney World, even after a full day in the parks.
- Larger scooters tend to have greater stability and a smoother ride.
- Most ECV seats have a vinyl covering including Disney’s, but some of the non-Disney companies have fabric-covered scooters. Some people feel more comfortable with fabric, as they’re softer and feel more “cushiony” on the seat and back. The downside is that if it rains, the fabric can get soaked.
- With any rental company, ask for the newest scooter available. We’ve found that older scooters tend to have more problems and are less comfortable. The cushioning on a newer chair is usually not as worn out, so it tends to be more comfortable. The newer chairs can also have features that make the chairs easier to adjust and use.
If you’re renting a scooter and staying off site in a non-Disney hotel, you’ll need to plan for transportation to and from Disney with your scooter. If your hotel provides an accessible bus to your resort, than you’ll be okay. Otherwise I’d find a rental place that can give you a pride mobility gogo scooter. Those are lighter than other scooters and can be taken apart. But that’s only if someone in your party can pick up a lot of weight. I think it’s around 45 pounds for the heaviest piece. It may be challenging to get it to fit in a regular car. We have an SUV and we put it in the back. If you’re unable to do any of this, I’d stick with renting from Disney, inside the parks.
Another option is to rent an accessible van that’s equipped to transport a wheelchair or ECV. We’ll be adding more about that later.
Do you have more tips or thoughts on this topic? Did you have a good or bad experience with a non-Disney wheelchair or ECV vendor?
Please feel free to post in a comment below. We’d love your input.
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