Using an ECV at Disney? Let’s Rank the Available Transportation Options!
The easiest mode of transportation was this one. The ramp to the ferry is very wide. It is not really steep. The main deck of the ferry is easy to navigate. You can either park at the center of the boat or pull up to the side railing for a nice view of the lake. Unless you brought your own vehicle and chose to park at the transportation and ticket center, this will be the mode of transportation used the most for on-site guests. It is good to be able to have options.
The Disney Monorail is a close second in terms of ease of navigation. You can easily get to the main loading platform via an elevator at the three monorail resorts or via a ramp at the Transportation and Ticket Center. The ramp on the monorail itself was a little steep, and in most cases you have to back up your ECV out of the car. I felt like I was going to fall backwards when I backed out of the car. It would be much simpler to drive forward. They don’t like when you try to turn your ECV around while in the car. Yes, I did try. I wasn’t successful.
The transportation and ticket center is one of the places where the Magic Kingdom monorail circles Seven Seas Lagoon. You will need to disembark from the Magic Kingdom monorail at the transportation and ticket center in order to board the EPCOT monorail. The transportation and ticket center is only accessible by the EPCOT.
There are 3 The friendship boats are at Crescent Lake resorts and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
There was one slightly harrowing exception to the friendship boats, but they were almost a tie with the monorail. It is very easy to access the boat. Once on the boat, the area to park a wheelchair or ECV is generous to maneuver in or out. The ramp from the dock to the boat is wide enough for an ECV. If you are not lined up correctly, there is not much wiggle room. You risk falling into the lake if you leave the boat onto the dock at a few locations. The speed dial should be turned turtle for this one.
The boats travel in a circle between the International Gateway, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Swan and Dolphin Resorts, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, and the Disney’s Beach Club Resort. You can walk from any of these resorts to the theme parks. Again, it is good to have choices.
4. Disney Skyliner
The Disney Skyliner is almost a dream come true for people in wheelchairs. You don’t have to worry about taking too much time and getting impatient glares from people who really want to get going with the separate loading area. Once you are in and situated, your gondola will be staged to join the main line. The opening for the double doors is very narrow, which is the only issue with the Skyliner. You have to back out of the gondola because there isn’t enough wiggle room. The easiest way to get into the gondola is to drive straight in and then a cast member will put wheel chocks against the back tires. It’s a challenge to back out. I was fortunate to be able to put the ECV into manual mode and push it out from inside the car. I have also been yelled at a few times for this method. If you need to leave the gondola, cast members can help.
There are stations at International Gateway, Hollywood Studios, Riviera Resort, Caribbean Beach Resort and Art of Animation / Pop Century. There is a separate loading area for wheelchair/ECV guests at all of these stations.
5. Disney bus
The Disney bus is the center of the transportation network and it goes everywhere. You need to get somewhere. A bus is probably going that direction. The bus drivers have a lot of experience with wheelchair guests and are very helpful. There are two issues with using the bus. You have to climb the ramp to get onto the bus. It is difficult to parallel park into one of the two spots. The one opposite the doors is the easier of the two spots. Parallel parking is difficult and can be very time consuming. It is more difficult to do it on the bus. In order to get out of the bus, you have to pull forward out of the spot, and then back up into a 90-degree turn, which is similar to the Friendship boats. I nearly fell out a few times because I wasn’t lined up properly. Continue driving straight off the ramp until all the wheels are on the pavement, or you risk tipping over, as the drivers tell you. This could happen to me. It was close.
6. Disney Springs water taxi
These water taxis are similar to a large pontoon boat that travels to Disney Springs from resorts such as Port Orleans French Quarter and Old Key West, but they are different. Since they are smaller, it is more difficult to drive onto or off of them, but once on the water taxi, parking and maneuvering is fairly easy. Because of the smaller waterways they navigate, you are more prone to dealing with waves and boat rocking while trying to enter and exit.
7. Resort water taxi
When I was at Wilderness Lodge, I only encountered this mode. Water taxi transportation was the only mode of transportation available from Wilderness Lodge to Magic Kingdom. They had two types of water taxis, one accessible and one not. If there is a water taxi that isn’t ECV accessible, you have to move to the side and wait for the next one. It is not ideal if you are running late or impatient. The most difficult boats in an ECV were the ones similar to the ones pictured. I thought I would drive straight to the open area. Quite contrary. They had me drive onto the water taxi and then park on the opposite side of the road, where the captain stands. I got hung up on something twice because it was very narrow. I am fortunate nothing broke off. I hated it. After I drove off the water taxi and onto the dock, I had to turn right in order to not risk driving off the dock into the lake. Unlike the boats, there is no ramp. There will be moments of the boat bouncing with the waves when you drive off the water taxi straight onto the dock. I didn’t think it was very safe.
ECV accessible water taxi transportation can be found from Fort Wilderness to Magic Kingdom. It is not available from the Magic Kingdom to the Contemporary, Polynesian, or Grand Floridian resorts.Tags: accessibility, accessibility at disney, accessibility at disney world, accessible travel, additional needs, boat transportation, disney bus, disney buses, disney ecvs, disney skyliner, disney transportation, disney with additional needs, disney world, disney world with disabilities, ecv, ferry, monorail, monorail resort, resort transportation, walt disney world, walt disney world with additional needs