Before our trip to Disney World we debated whether or not to take a stroller. At the time our boys were 3 years old and 5 years old. We had not used a stroller in a while with either of them. I’ll walk you through our thoughts and conclusions and hopefully this will help you determine your stroller needs for your trip to Disney World.
We ended up settling on the idea of taking a stroller for convenience. Several friends had gone to Disney World and recommended taking a stroller even if their kids were beyond it in their every day lives. Here’s a summary of their reasons for taking one that I found to be true on our trip:
- The kids get tired from all the walking and excitement. It’s nice for them to be able to ride for a while. And it’s nice for you to not have to carry them. Just ask my niece who carried our 3 year old out of Epcot on an afternoon that we opted not to bring it. She insisted on carrying him (she’s an adult, by the way) but it cannot be easy carrying 35 pounds of sleepy toddler all the way from the World Showcase to the front of the park.
- You can do the big bag, little bag technique. Pack a bigger bag with the stuff you don’t need all the time (ponchos, extra clothes for your kids, snacks, sunscreen, etc) and put it in the bottom of the stroller. Keep your phone, ID, and money in a small bag that you can wear on the rides and for walking around. Let the stroller carry all the bulky or heavy stuff while you just carry the valuable stuff.
- The parks get crowded. Especially at Christmas time, which is when we went. It’s nice to sometimes use the stroller to corrall your kid. For example, when you are walking a long distance between attractions in the park it is nice to have your kid strapped into the stroller so you don’t have to stress about guiding him through the throngs of people or worse losing him. I found this to be especially true at night time.
Now, there is one con to taking the stroller. If you bring your own from home (as opposed to renting) then you have to get your stroller in and out of the park which means you might have to get the kid and stuff out of it to get onto a boat or bus back to your resort. With the boats you will have to take everything out and fold it for some of them but not for the bigger boats. Just something to keep in mind.
Our jogger only holds one kid but it’s much easier to steer and to fold. The Sit n Stand, on the other hand, would allow both our boys to ride. We ended up taking our Sit n Stand on our trip. It worked fairly well for us but we would have also been OK with the single stroller. Our 5 year old did really well with the walking and didn’t really need to ride all that often. I think he mostly liked riding because of the novelty. It’s been a number of years since he was in a stroller and having his own special seat in the back was something he liked. If you’re like us you might have more than one stroller to choose from so you’ll have to consider what might be the best option for your particular situation.
As I mentioned before you also have the option to rent strollers. And you can rent from Disney Parks or from an outside vendor. I don’t know too much about the outside vendors but I do know that there are some great companies out there that I have heard others recommend. They will deliver a stroller to your resort and pick it up at the end of your stay. This is nice because you don’t have to pack one in the car which can save you so much room. The one thing worth noting here is that if you rent a stroller in the park then you cannot take it out of the park. So you cannot take it to your hotel. If you rent from an outside company you can take it to your resort.
If you rent from Disney Parks you can get a single or double stroller. These are not like your regular stroller from home. They are hard plastic shells with a small canopy. They do not recline. We ended up renting a single on the second day of our trip. We went into the park that morning without the stroller and then went back to our resort for an afternoon break. We had our kids lie down but no one napped. We headed back into the park at dinner time and decided to go without the stroller again since the morning had gone well.
On the boat ride over my 3 year old fell asleep on my lap. I carried him through security and the park gate and he was still out. So we opted to rent a single stroller for the evening, rather than waste time going back to the resort to grab ours. I know, we could have saved the money but it is only $15 to rent a stroller and we were on vacation. To me it was worth it not to have to waste that time when we could be having fun as a family. Our son was able to sleep a little longer in the stroller and I liked having it that evening because it got really, really crowded.
So overall my thoughts on strollers at Disney World are this:
- If you think you might need one, take it!
- If you don’t have the room to take one then rent at the park or through an outside company.
- The Park strollers are not bad, they are just a little different so make sure you take a look at them before you go.
So Disney veterans, what do you think? Have any stroller thoughts or questions then share them in the comments below.