This October I made my triumphant return to Disney for the Food and Wine festival to see Hanson again after not having been there since 2017. Before going, I did a lot of research because since COVID a lot of things at Disney had changed. One thing I saw repeatedly is that the ECVs in the park were often selling out, especially if you were park hopping. I ended up renting from an outside company – Gold Mobility. This is one of the companies that you need to meet for pick up and drop off because Disney hotels are ONLY partnered with ScooterBug and their reviews were less than stellar. I was set to pick up my scooter at the front of the hotel at 2pm on Thursday.
But first – I had to get there. Initially I had booked a flight on points via Southwest from Hartford. There were not many direct options and after Southwest did me dirty a few times, I ended up keeping an eye on Avelo which has direct flights from New Haven. When a 50% off sale popped up I managed to get direct, round trip for $219 (including luggage and seat fees as everything is a la carte). Despite it being a very small airport they still had said to arrive 2 hours before your flight. I got there at 5pm for a 7pm flight – only to find out that the earlier 12:30pm flight – hadn’t left yet as they were waiting for 2 crew members! They ended up leaving around 6pm and then confused crew members started showing up for my flight. I think that my crew got bumped to the other flight and they had to scramble to get back ups for the later flight as we ended up delayed about an hour waiting for our final flight attendant. We also ended up taking a different plane than we were supposed to, so several rows were missing (it went 10, 11, 21!) those in 12-20 ended up being placed in the back of the plane as it was not a full flight and there was plenty of room. We made it to MCO at 11pm and of course, Uber surge pricing was in effect and it cost me $100 to get over to Pop Century.
I had asked for a first floor room at Pop, since I knew I would have my scooter with me 24/7, but they put me on the top (4th) floor and one of the rooms furthest away from well, anything. (Yes, it was an accessible room!) I hoped I would be able to figure out the elevator with the scooter but it being nearly midnight by the time I got to the room I just wanted to get some sleep.
The next morning I got ready for the Halloween party that afternoon, made it to the cafeteria for some lunch and then wandered around until 2pm hit and my scooter was delivered. I ended up heading to the Magic Kingdom shortly after to try and get in for the Halloween party at 4pm. The bus driver was absolutely amazing and parked the scooter for me after I told him I had never done it before. It was H-O-T at Magic Kingdom but at 4pm they let us in and I wandered around to get my candy bag and just check out the park and remember where everything was located. 2 hours in, the battery level dropped significantly on the scooter. I found a spot with an outlet to charge and sat for 30 minutes as I was advised to charge it for 30-45 minute 2 or 3 times throughout the day to make sure the charge would last. It went back up to full, but after 30 minutes dropped down again. Overall, I ended up stopping to charge the scooter 5 times throughout the night (twice a cavalcade parade ended up going by as I sat so at least I wasn’t missing out on all the fun). This didn’t seem right. I did manage to meet Minnie in her witch outfit (after waiting in line early to knock it out right away and being told there was a delay and to leave – when I went back much later there was no line at all and Daisy was nowhere to be found) and hit up a lot of the photopass spots for photos. I wanted to hit up Main Street for some more photos but with all the timing of everything and not knowing when I’d need to charge again by the time I made it over that way the 2nd parade had ended and it was a steady stream of people leaving and my scooter was on RED. I tried to get in to meet Mickey, who had no line, and repeatedly got asked if I had a disability by a cast member. I told him yes and he wanted to see something on my phone? I think a DAS, which I don’t qualify for and I have no idea why the 20 questions as if I couldn’t take the scooter through the line he should have just told me? And once I did get in with it, Mickey’s attendant told me their last scooter died as they were leaving the room – I told him mine was dangerously close to that and I was hoping I’d make it back to the hotel!
I ended up leaving around 11 for the bus and this bus driver would not touch the scooter and instead got very panicky trying to direct me on how to park it myself on the bus. Not helpful when I was already frazzled from all the battery drama! The hotel was supposed to be having a power outage between 12 and 5am. I could see workers on a different building as I made my way back to my room and wanted to make sure I was back and settled by the time it went out in my room. I ended up getting the scooter up the elevator and in the room after a couple of attempts and got settled in bed. Then I was feeling cold so I went to change my pajamas a bit later and as soon as I got one leg back in the bed, the power went out. Perfect timing!
First thing when I got up Friday I called Gold Mobility to tell them something was up with the scooter. He said if it was still acting up after 2 hours again at the park, they’d bring me out a replacement. I ended up changing my reservations from Animal Kingdom to Epcot for the full day as the terrain at AK drains the battery much faster. Sure enough, 2 hours after getting to EPCOT it went from green all the way down to red. Not even into orange. I was struggling to find an outlet that was actually powered on and texted to get that replacement coming. It took a bit longer than their estimate, but I was happy to (hopefully) have one with a better functioning battery. I ended up getting it around 12:30 and while I did stop to charge it a couple of times, it never lost any of the power lights for the rest of the day! I managed to navigate a couple of food & wine kiosks on my own and then met up with a friend. And by total surprise another friend who was visiting Disney (and not there for Hanson) was in front of us in line at the Germany kiosk. You know what they say, it’s a small world!
Then it was time for the Hanson concerts… to be honest I’ve waited so long to post this they’ve all kind of melded into one in my brain so here’s the setlists:
Saturday was our scheduled all day EPCOT day. I saw that my friend ended up snagging us reservations for Guardians of the Galaxy and made sure to take my motion sickness meds before I left. (Bonine – which I also found helped with the skyliner) We did a bunch more of the food and wine kiosks and ended up knocking out just about everything on my to try list.
Halloween we split our time at Magic Kingdom and ended up riding Haunted Mansion and getting a bunch of fun photopass photos. We also got to check out the Hocus Pocus 2 photo op and get Mickey ice cream bars! We had more dining reservations at EPCOT, this time at Garden Grill which meant we got to also meet Pluto, Mickey and Chip and Dale during our meal! Of course I sat on the end where they would sneak up on me and scared me several times! (Pluto and I think Chip came around twice while we were eating) Then it was time for our final night of Hanson shows!