To Stroller or not to stroller, that is the question. The question on every parents mind when planning their trip. Especially if your child no longer uses a stroller at home. I will tell you that if your child is under the age of 5 and not a marathon runner, the answer is yes. Beyond that its a personal decision. Now comes the why, when and how…
Walking is good for them right? Oh yes, but Disney involves a LOT of walking! Just getting from your resort room to the bus stop can be a haul. Disney parks are acres of walking, running, standing in line. A lot for little legs and short fuses. If your child gets tired you will be doing one of three things:
- Carrying Them-As well as your backpack, with your own tired feet. You will have no control over when or where this happens. So be prepared for #2.
- Negotiating-You will offer treats, another ride on Buzz Lightyear, a trip to Mars. Anything to keep them moving and off your aching back.
- Shutting Down-As you will have no control over #1 and #2 this is inevitable. If you are lucky this will just involve a “stop and drop”. It could turn into complete meltdown, carrying them out of the park screaming and crying, while you cancel the dinner reservations you made 180 days in advance.
This is why I recommend a stroller. Even if you take an afternoon break at the resort, Disney days are long. Often your child is up later than usual, and definitely on their feet more.
This answer is different for everyone and dependent on your child’s age, plus how often they use the stroller at home. Here are a few points to consider:
- Infants-They will almost always need a stroller. You can use a carrier but in Florida’s heat you will want to put them down in a stroller. If you are lucky, you have a baby that even naps in the stroller. Grab yourself a snack and park in a shady spot for an hour or so.
- The Toddler-This set will need a stroller as well. You might get away withOut it if you are returning to the parks for dinner after a nap, that’s up to you. Those little legs probably need a break. You may be able to avoid the stroller for quick jaunts throughout the resort at this age too.
- Preschoolers-Ah, this is where the decision becomes difficult. You probably haven’t used a stroller in a while at home. Maybe it’s still in the basement from your last Disney trip. We brought a stroller for son when he was 3 1/2 but not when he was 5. Being a city kid I kicked him out of the stroller about 2 when I was tired of squeezing it into small places. While used to walking all the time, Disney is a whole different animal. We mostly used it at the end of the day and more so towards the end of the trip. Otherwise it was a place to store our stuff while on the rides. (Disclaimer-when I say stuff, I do not mean cameras, iPods, or pocketbooks. Disney isn’t THAT magical unfortunately.)
Have I convinced you yet? More than likely you want to have a stroller on hand. Disney does not give you a prize for being the hero and carrying your kid around all day. Of course, that means you have to carry the stroller too. Not always fun with everything else you need to carry. Here are some options.
- Bring your Stroller from Home- Easy choice if you are driving. If you are flying you can check your stroller at the gate and it will be waiting as you disembark. This does not count against your luggage limits and there is no charge. This gives you a stroller at all times. In the airport, resort and the parks. Suggested if your little one is an infant. I recommend bringing a stroller that’s somewhere between a deluxe and an umbrella stroller. We bring one that folds in four and has a shoulder strap. Ideally if it reclines and folds up neat…that is a great Disney stroller.
- Rent a Stroller from Disney Guest Services-Single ($15/day) and Double Strollers ($31/day) are available to rent as you enter the parks. There are discounts for multiple day rentals. You will need to leave a deposit on your credit card. They put your name on the stroller and its yours for the day. These are not appropriate for small infants but the average toddler is comfortable. The stroller is hard plastic with a brake and sun canopy. It does not recline. There are baskets to store small items. Downside to this choice is cost and no stroller once you leave the parks. Doable with older children. When we travelled with my 5-year-old we rented a stroller a couple of days we knew we were going to “push him” (no pun intended), Epcot for example. FYI-Strollers are welcome but not available for rent at either water park. Double Strollers are not available at Downtown Disney.
- Rent a Stroller from an Outside Vendor-This is rapidly becoming a popular option. Especially when travelling with older toddlers/Preschoolers. There are quite a few companies in the Orlando area which provide this service. Some even provide baby gear such as travel cribs, car seats and more. The procedures vary, a company like Kingdom Strollers will deliver your stroller selection to your Disney Resort or Orlando area hotel/rental. This is a great choice for strollers more appropriate for infants. Much more cost effective for a double stroller as well. This means you have your stroller at the resort as well as the parks. Also means you will have to lug it back and forth to the resort. Could be a negative if you don’t use it a lot. This particular company also offers Special Needs strollers for older, disabled children. FYI-They will offer you stroller insurance. This covers the stroller if it is lost or stolen. This is a personal decision, I am unaware of the current crime rate statistics at Disney for Stroller Theft.
I hope this helps in your decision to use or not use a stroller in Disney. You know your child best so ultimately you have to pick an option that works for you. Be prepared with what options you have and think about it ahead of time. Disney is the most Magical Place on Earth. But not for feet, backs, cranky parents or tired kids!
- How to get baby and all of their “stuff” to and from Disney World (chipandco.com)
- Keeping Your Senses While Experiencing the Magic (chipandco.com)