The Disney Experiment

When we ran our advertising business and ministry, the Brewer family was always on the move. Between school, community events, working the business, working within the different aspects of ministry we needed a place to just go and… have fun. For awhile that was Dollywood; but when we moved to Florida it became Disney World.

Getting Started

At Dollywood I used an electric go-go scooter to get around, but I needed to sell it to pay some bills once we made it to Florida. Money starting out in our new ministry was tight, but the family worked just as hard to make everything work. Over time the business began to pick-up and made available the opportunity to go to Disney.

I tried for a couple of visits to get around with a walker, but it really slowed everything down. A Pastor at the church in Fort Myers had an old Hoveround that needed to be fixed up that he donated to me to help me out. New tires, batteries, wiring repairs got the chair up and running for around $250.

So Began The Problem

With Disney visits we discovered that it was much louder than Dollywood. Everywhere there was a crying or screaming child, the music was loud… it was too much. In the lines it was worse as kids got tired and cranky; screaming got louder. You see part of the nerve degeneration was hyper sensitivity to certain sounds; a very painful result. Ear plugs only helped so much.

Lori, my wife, suggested placing a bubble machine on the wheelchair to give the kids something to do; that actually worked. Which is also what started the whole wheelchair transformation.

Cast Member Suggestions

When cast members at Disney noticed the bubbles, they all though it was cool. Then they all started to make suggestions on what I should add next. Coupled with our own ideas I tried to add something new every month. Well as you can imagine there isn’t a wheelchair accessory store that sells bubble blowers, chrome attachments or sound equipment; so everything had to be handcrafted, tested, redone, tested and tested again. Disney became the ideal place to try out the new projects, make adjustments and sometimes… abandon all together for something better.

The Component Conundrum

We added so many little things that it became cumbersome to set-up for each trip. Controls, blowers, speaker, batteries, lights… it took 20 min to get it ready. So I took the summer and build a single unit that enclosed as much as we could… This build began the Powerwheelz branding as a Mustang inspired wheelchair.

Dapper Day 2016

Dapper Day in 2016, I decided to take the Powerwheelz to the next level adding the side panels and armrests. This build created a larger footprint for the wheelchair, providing real estate for Stickers (and later interchangeable placards) on the sides and rear. It also allowed the space needed for later additions of the 19” Screen, wiring, water chambers for the Exhaust FX’s, batteries and more.

On the Horizon

Even with all the stuff currently loaded into this wheelchair, I still have some ideas. Part of the Powerwheelz story is the fact that it is always changing and improving as I come up with things to build. It is very relaxing to me to be run wires and build something outta a handful of things… that were never intended to be on a wheelchair. As all of the current build of Powerwheelz is still on the original frame constructed in 2014 a rebuild will be in the future. What might the lessons learned in development and construction bring on the horizon?

Keep in touch to see.

 

 

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