Effective October 1, 2019, Walt Disney World (WDW) implemented a new policy in regards to strollers, wheelchairs and electric convenience vehicles (ECVs, a.k.a. “scooters”) that are rented from third party vendors. Heads up that it could make a bit of a mess for those who use such services.
We’ve posted the options and pros/cons that have been available for those who want to rent strollers and/or wheelchairs and or ECV/scooters during their stay at WDW. For those who have chosen to rent these wheeled vehicles from third party carriers, their stroller/ECV/wheelchair provider of choice had been allowed to drop their equipment off at your hotel before you arrived.
From WDW’s official website:
Disney Featured Provider
Guests who use a stroller or mobility device when visiting Walt Disney World Resort have a variety of options including using a personally-owned stroller or mobility device, renting through ScooterBug—the Disney Featured Provider—or renting from another third-party company.
ScooterBug, a private mobility rental company in the Central Florida area, is the Disney Featured Provider to offer stroller, ECV and wheelchair rentals at Walt Disney World Resort theme parks and Disney Springs in addition to length-of-stay rentals for Guests staying at Disney Resort hotels. When Disney Resort hotel Guests choose to rent through ScooterBug, the Guest does not need to be present when the equipment is delivered to the Resort hotel. ScooterBug will work with Disney Resort Cast Members to manage deliveries and returns of rented strollers, ECVs and wheelchairs. Pre-orders and deliveries of mobility rentals through ScooterBug to Disney Resort hotels are available by visiting scooterbug.com/orlando or calling (800) 726-8284.
What does this all mean?
If you rent your stroller, wheelchair or EVC with Scooterbug, you’ll be able to have your equipment dropped off before you arrive, the same as you used to be able to do with other third party renters.
However, if you rent with any other third party vendor, you have to be on site and available in person for drop off of the equipment.
How will this affect stroller/wheelchair/ECV rentals from other third party renters?
Unfortunately, potentially lots of ways.
- Say your plane lands at 3pm so you make an appointment for them to drop your stroller off at your hotel, Caribbean Beach Resort, at 5pm. But then your plane is delayed. The third party company waits for you for a while but then leaves and can’t come back until tomorrow morning. You might not be able to get your stroller until 9am the next morning…which is exactly when you have Fast Passes for Flight of Passage, or breakfast at Chef Mickey’s.
- Forget about late night arrivals if you need to have your ECV available as soon as you arrive at your hotel.
- Previously, if you used one of the handful of preferred vendors, their representatives were allowed to enter the parks if you had a problem with your ECV. No word if that will still be the case or if only Scooterbug representatives will be allowed inside the parks to help with a dead Scooterbug ECV (so if you have an ECV from a different third party company, you’ll have to drag (?) the dead ECV to outside the park for emergency service?)
Why are they doing this?
Who knows…because it’s Disney and they can? 😉 People are coming up with all sorts of reasons – bell services was overwhelmed, as a way to “force” you to rent their own wheeled vehicles, to prevent lawsuits from ECVs that are dropped off but no one teaches you have to use them, etc. My gut feeling is that since Scooterbug was already providing the scooters, wheelchairs and ECVs for the parks and Disney Springs, they worked out some sort of exclusivity deal with Disney so Disney gets a cut (or more of a cut) of what will undoubtedly be more rentals, the same as they undoubtedly have with FuelRods.
Of course, we’ll never know the real reason why, because Disney never, ever tells that stuff.
Is there a workaround for this?
- The easiest one is to rent from Scooterbug. Heads up that unlike most other stroller/wheelchair/ECV companies out there, Scooterbug doesn’t have their prices online; you have to make a reservation to know their prices.
- Don’t stay at a Disney-owned hotel. It’s only the Disney-owned ones where this has become an issue. If you stay off site, chances are good that you’ll still be able to pick up and drop off the equipment with bell services. Here are some other things to think about when considering onsite vs. offsite.
- Prior to COVID, you could apparently call/text some providers to let them know you were on Disney’s Magical Express and they’d meet you when you arrive at your hotel. Those programs are currently on pause, but once COVID is no longer an issue, check with the provider of your choice about doing this.
Keep in mind
Check out these pages of WDW’s website for complete information about:
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary