The Great Stroller Conundrum

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If you’re a parent taking a trip to Walt Disney World, you’ll be faced with a grave challenge, presuming your kids are still in their younger years.  What should you do about a stroller?  Disney features lots and lots of walking, and young children are not going to make it doing that sort of thing day after day. 

Strollers can keep this look on your child's face.

Disney rents strollers, so that should solve the problem, right?  Rent a stroller from them and you’ll be all set.  There’s one slight little problem, though.  Renting a stroller from Disney can be unbelievably expensive.  I have two children, and a double stroller costs $31 a day.  For comparison, I can get a midsize car rental for about $4 more per day. 

So what to do?  If you are flying, it’s difficult to bring your own stroller with you, and honestly, sometimes if you are driving there’s not enough room.  Presuming that it’s not feasible for you to bring your own stroller, here’s three options I have explored in the past, and what I thought of each one. 

Buy A Stroller – I know what you’re thinking.  “I thought we were trying to save money?”  Well, you will, if your trip is long enough.  Assuming that you rent a car, you can buy a nice umbrella stroller from Walmart or one of the other off property stores for around $20.  I’ve done this

If you buy a stroller, you know when this happens, you're all set.

three times over the years, then sold the stroller in a consignment sale at home for $10 a few months later.  

The advantage of this approach is that you can save a lot of money over renting a Disney stroller.  Consider that $18 a day for a week long trip, and you come up with $136 plus tax, versus only $20 for a brand new stroller.  The disadvantage, though, is that you have something you might not need, and isn’t what you’re used to at home.  The stroller may be too tall or short for you, and if you have more than one child, then it gets really tricky.  Plus, umbrella strollers are not going to have underseat storage, which is crucial at Disney.  Still, this is the option we have done the most. 

Rent A Stroller Offsite – You may have heard about some of the offsite stroller rental companies.  The one I investigated was Orlando Stroller Rental, but there are many others.  The basic idea is that you book your stroller in advance, then the rental company delivers it to your resort when you arrive.  Consider it Magical Stroller Express.  

The upside of this is that you don’t have to worry about taking your stroller on the plane, and you don’t have to rent one when you get into a park.  You have the stroller for the walk out to the buses or your car, and you are in control of your time, not Disney.  Plus, the strollers the rental companies give you are going to be more like what you are used to at home, and will have good storage. 

On the other hand, the cost savings are not quite as significant as buying a cheaper stroller.  A single stroller at Orlando Stroller Rental, for example, will run you $70 for a 4-7 night rental, which is still a savings over the Disney prices, but not quite as significant.  Still, the convenience of having the stroller dropped off and picked up from your resort can’t be overstated. 

Rent A Disney Stroller – I know, this is exactly what I said not to do, but hear me out.  The Disney strollers are different than what you’ll get in the store.  They are large, spacious and hard plastic.  While they may not be hugely comfortable for your children, they do provide good cover from the Florida heat, and have good storage space. 

I can never in good conscience recommend that anyone spend their money for these strollers every day.  But every few days, it might be worth it.  If your kids are a little older, and you don’t plan to go all out every single day, renting one of the Disney strollers every other day or less often is an option.   Save it for the days when you’re really trying to maximize your time in the parks. 

On our last trip, my 9 yr old son wandered off frequently and my 4 yr old daughter was getting tired.  Our plan was to meander through World Showcase that night, so we rented a double stroller.  It worked like a charm.  We kept the kids in one place, had some peace while we strolled, and although we spend the $31 for a double stroller, it was well worth it to us for the peace of mind. 

So that’s three of my stroller “hacks” to steal a Betamouse term.  What are yours?  How do you keep your costs down but still use a stroller at Disney World?

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Posted on April 25, 2011

71 Responses to “The Great Stroller Conundrum”

  • We drive, so packing the umbrella stroller is no big deal. We’ve been traveling to WDW since our daughter was 4 (she’s 7 now), and have brought the stroller each trip. If we’re planning a quick morning trip to MK (especially on those extra magic hours days), we’ll leave the stroller at the hotel and fly through our planned rides. Then an afternoon in the pool and back to the park for the evening – with stroller. There’s nothing worse than a sleepy child in a bus line, and no stroller. We’ll keep using the $30, hot pink, umbrella stroller until it can’t support her weight. After that, we’ll rethink our touring plans and/or take a break from WDW until she’s better able to walk all day/evening.

    • I usually drive, so I’m in the same boat. What we’ve found as the kids get older, though, is they’re all revved up to walk in the morning, but after our afternoon break, it’s difficult to keep them in line. Like I said, renting the double stroller even with a 9 yr old worked like a charm.

      And yes, sleepy child, no stroller is a nightmare. I once went from the Studios all the way to Cinderella’s Royal Table with my 2 yr old daughter. Talk about a nightmare.

  • When travelling with the kids who do not need the every day stroller rental, we still get one for Epcot. As the miles wear on through World Showcase, we are still happily walking along. Well worth the high price for one day of happy kids.

    • I love that. “As the miles wear on…”

      Traveling through World Showcase with kids is difficult enough, as even the Kidcot stations aren’t quite enough to keep them happy. Glad to see I’m not the only one who caves on renting a Disney stroller for that purpose.

  • We rented the double stroller from orlando stroller. It really was gret. I have a six year old and three year old (my 6 year old normally is never in a stroller at home we didn’t have one to bring). Although the stroller was big the only time we had to fold it was to get on a bus. There was ton of storage (which was well needed) it moved easily and it was great to be able to leave the parkwith it. They deliver it to the hotel and pick it up at the end. So convenient. Well worth the 130 dollars for 7 days.

  • by Jul from MD on April 25, 2011, at 9:01 am EDT

    Another great benefit of strollers is that it gives kids a better vantage point for parade watching. Especially for the Main Street Electrical Parade or Spectromagic, it means that your kid will be less likely to get stepped on by people not watching where they’re going in low light.

  • I have spent an embarrassingly obscene amount of time on this topic. My son turned five years old last week. He and I are Disney bound on 5\16. We will be flying and staying five says. Physically my son is tall and thin and has been out of a stroller for some time. After reading the unofficial guide I decided on one of the $20 Wal-Mart strollers. However, after testing several of them, we found he is too tall to be comfortable in one of those for any length of time. So I have purchased a Maclaren Volo umbrella stroller. I purchased it new on ebay for around $60. Higher than Wal-Mart, Less than Disney. It has a large sun shade, a small storage net underneath, and a strap for carrying once it is folded. It is also large enough for my son. The drawback – it does not recline.

    One issue you did not mention was using the stroller to commute around the airport (strollers can be gate checked) or at the bus stops to and from the resorts. Not a possibility with the Disney rental and possibly not as easy with the large jogging types delivered to your room.

    Now my only stroller concern is it being stolen. I have read of some “stroller wars.” Hoping it is more of an urban legend than a reality. I am thinking of a way to label my stroller without permanently defacing it as I plan to sell it back on ebay when we return.

    • You beat me to it. The Volo is our lifesaver. Two very active young boys require something to keep the reeled in so a stroller is a must. The Volo’s are extremely lightweight, have a big under-seat bucket for storage, and fold down almost as small as the $20 Wal-Mart specials.

      Now if the Disney folks would just STOP playing stroller shuffle and rearranging all the stroller parking lots every 10 minutes, all would be good!!

    • I too am going to disney at the end of June and am having a hard time decided on which stroller to get. My kids will be 8 and 22months by the time we go and I need a sturdy stroller for my toddler. I don’t want to spend any more than $100 but need something that has storage and is sturdy (my toddler is pushing 30lbs). Recline is not that important as my toddler is not a stroller sleeper. I’m leaning more towards a baby jogger city micro due to the folding mechanism and it is easy to push, but like the comment above, I worry about it being stolen. I read one comment from someone that said they would take the front wheel off after they parked it and others said that bought a bike or stroller lock. I’ve also read that most strollers that are taken are either the rentals or the cheap umbrellas styles. I would think if someone took the stroller on purpose they would want to blend in with the crowd due to the fact if you get caught you get thown out of the park.

      • In your situation, I would honestly go with renting a stroller from one of the offsite companies. That way you can get what you need and be fully covered in cast of theft.

        I can say in reply to the theft concerns that I have been taking strollers to Disney for almost 10 years, and never had one stolen or confused. I think the issue is overstated, personally.

        • by Debbie from Chicago on April 25, 2011, at 11:04 am EDT

          I was also one of those that feared my stroller getting stolen. But, agree the issue is over stated and think that it’s more about the rentals being taken because they all look alike.

          • We’ve never had one stolen, either. We tie a bandana to the handle, too, in order to spot it easier. In fact, we’ll even leave some stuff on it, provided it’s not valuable. Sometimes, the Cast Members have to move them around at peak times, so the bandana really helps. I really wouldn’t worry too much about theft.

    • Like everything with Disney, it’s a time consuming process to find the right thing for you. You are correct about the airport/bus stop stuff. The larger strollers are difficult, but the Walmart specials are great for that.

      I definitely think that the theft issue is not a big deal. Never had a problem myself.

    • We also bought a MacLaren Volo (in pink) for a Summer trip to Disney, paid about the same on eBay. It holds up to 40 or 45 lbs if I recall… After the trip, we sold it on craigslist for $40, so our net cost for the 10 days was about $20.

    • Our hot pink stroller stands out in a stroller line-up – LOL! but, on our first few trips, we were using a dark green umbrella stroller. We tied a bandana to the handle to help us find it.

  • I am planning on taking or buying an umbrella stroller, and I’d like to donate it on the way to the airport. Anyone found a good place to donate between WDW and the airport? One of those drop-off bins found in random parking lots would be great.

    • That’s a great idea. I haven’t heard of any, but anyone else have a thought?

      • You could just leave it in your room. I have heard that Disney has a behind-the-scenes store for employees that carries abandoned items such as strollers. Or, you could offer it to a family checking in to your hotel or at the airport. That would save you a stop at a donation bin.

    • someone gave me one at the airport. the best place is at the Disney check in place. there is always someone without a stroller. another good place to give it away is at check in at your hotel.

      • Good ideas Amy and MW. I was thinking of donating the toys and books we bring along also. Less to take home.

  • Any child under the age of 6 will get tired at some point so strollers are highly recommended. For a child under 2 I would say bring your own stroller for others it’s worth buying one. Disney sells them for $50 at their gift shops. They are nice. In my last trip someone gave me their stroller and when I left I gave it to another couple with young children. If you’re there for 7 days it’s worth buying it and then giving it away at the end if you don’t want to take it with you. It will make someone’s day :)

  • So I have a very spirited soon to be 4 year old. Was not planning on getting a stroller but now rethinking that.

    Can you post a quiz for how many people use strollers by age of children? That would be: Have children aged x. Used Stoller y/n

    • by Mike Schwartz on April 25, 2011, at 11:42 am EDT

      You may not need one. I’m not a parent, but I’ve taken my Godson on three trips now, at ages 3.5, 4, and 5, and he’s never needed a stroller. He just seems to have boundless energy. Two of those trips were cool weather (January and December), so that helped I’m sure, but our second trip was hot (September) and he still didn’t need one. We were at the parks at opening almost every morning, and we left around 7-8 most nights (but we did stay later occasionally for things like Wishes and Illuminations).

      • Wow, Mike. My kids would never make it without a stroller. The 9 yr old can do it now, but the 4 yr old still can’t make it every day for longer than a weekend.

        WlldThyme, we’re looking to see if there is any data on stroller usage. I don’t know of any off hand, though.

    • We just did a trip in March and was so so thankful we rented the double stroller from Magic Strollers for my 3 and 6 year olds who have both outgrown a stroller for normal family outings. It helped my nerves to know they were safe and contained in the crowds, and we moved at the pace of the adults, not the 3 year old with short legs and a shorter attention span.

    • I would recommend some kind of stroller, there is a lot of walking for little legs. My 5 year old was very happy to have a stroller when we were there in August he even fell asleep in it a couple of times on the way to the bus. He has not used a stroller at home since he was 3. We had a Tigger umbrella type stoller and it worked fine.
      (My 7 year old wished he had a stroller a couple times by the end of the day)

  • I have a 5 year old son. We use a Disney stroller because the Maclarens and others we could buy are just not comfortable for his legs. I’m not sure why…he only weighs about 40 pounds and is average in height. He doesn’t like his feet to hang, and the shape of the Disney stroller footrests just seem to work best for him. He likes the Disney strollers, and doesn’t feel like a “baby” in them. I think it feels special to him because it is Disney… as silly as that sounds. I like the freedom of being able to abandom them at will, and pick up a new one somewhere else with our receipt.

    We take a deep breath and shell out the dollars because it makes the overall quality of our experience better. There is a very small discount for multiple days of rental. You don’t have to use them consecutively, and I think that they never expire. I do wish that there was an AP discount for the strollers, and it seems crazy that the doubles cost so much. If we needed a double, then I would have to give it some more thought.

    • The prices are outrageous, but like you, it’s a case of what fits your kid. My son was like yours, he didn’t like the small strollers and didn’t feel like a “baby” in the Disney ones. It made him so much easier to keep up with and enjoy our time together.

  • Have to agree that with a kid under about 7 or so having a stroller available is just being better safe than sorry. Adults don’t always consider exactly how much walking and standing goes into a Disney trip and how much harder it is on little legs. And it can be a real nightmare when a tired kid decides he just can’t walk anymore.

    I took 12 Disney trips in the last 12 months and never found having a stroller a pain. Quite the opposite. It gives me tons of space for bag, food and toy storage. I have never had my stroller messed with in the stroller parking and finding it after a ride has never taken very long. Just hang something unique on it to make it easy to find.

    My kids are 2 and 5 and I use a BabyTrend double stroller. They both love it. My husband and I love it because if we want to be leisurely we can be and when we want to move quickly, we can do that too without having to worry about pokey little legs. I can’t even imagine doing Disney with small kids without a stroller. In fact, I don’t even want to imagine doing Disney without a stroller at all. Where would I put all my stuff?

    • I hear ya on the kids getting tired and deciding not to walk. My 4 yr old is notorious for that. We generally don’t use a stroller now, but we’re debating how to handle it for upcoming trips, when she’ll be 5.

      • We don’t ever use a stroller now in our everyday lives. Both my boys walk in the mall, the zoo, the aquarium, the botanical gardens, etc. But Disney is a whole other monster. My 2-year-old has more energy than the other 3 of us put together but once he gets a couple miles on those pudgy little legs he is done for. The double stroller stays in the attic except for Disney trips and I keep telling my husband that I am going to bring the stroller for these trips until my youngest is 5 or older.

  • We use a Maclaren Volo for our son (now 5). He’s tall, but it still fits- and is way better than having him decide he’s tired 1/2 way through the day! It’s also not much bigger than an umbrella stroller, so we can cram it in the car. Now, since he’s bigger, we can pretty much park the stroller and tour and “area” before loading back in and moving on (like park it in Fantasyland and then get it when we’re done and moving on to Thunder Mountain), but it’s a livesaver, especially at a park like Epcot. There’s no way we’d get through a day without it- even with a return to the hotel in the afternoon. And we hike routinely- but it’s just way too much continuous walking and standing for a little guy. Ours is a standard gray Volo, so we put a tightly wrapped fluorescent orange running armband on the handle- it’s super-bright and reflective, and it’s position on the handle itself makes our stroller easy to spot, no matter how much Disney rearranges it :) And because it’s wrapped tight, it doesn’t bug us when we’re pushing the stroller- that handle is just a little bumpier than the other…

  • If you have a child with a food allergy, you really should take your own stroller or buy one there. Disney keeps them clean, but you still need to do your own detail job if you choose to rent one. I really think it’s worth the effort and expense to have your own. We have this tip and more Disney food allergy information at our website.

  • I’ve heard this a lot and never understood what people mean by “If you are flying, it’s difficult to bring your own stroller with you” Have flown from NYC area to Orlando twice and LA once, both times with our double stroller and neither time have we had a problem. Especially in an airport like Orlando, it is great having our stroller with us. We have a 5 and 2 year old. No need to have them walking and slowing us up as we’re trying to make it in and out of the airport.

    • Never understood this either. We drive now but before moving we came down from DC. Just gate check the stroller and it’s waiting for you when you get off the plane. We took a dozen or so flights in three years and never had a single problem. In fact, I would hate navigating major airports without a stroller for my little ones.

  • We used to pack the big, plush reclining stroller to WDW. We don’t anymore. It was great once we were in a park but was a beast to deal with at the airport and on WDW transportation. We’ve moved to the folding umbrella stroller, but not the cheap Walmart kind. We spent $60 on a nicer one with a storage net and a pullout shade. It’s been sturdy enough for multiple trips, reclines slightly (enough for our four year old to grab a nap), and folds up quickly and compactly for load ins on buses, trains, and trams. My only regret is that I didn’t figure this out sooner. By the way, once you have to carry a larger toddler from a park entrance to a bus or monorail and then to a hotel room, you’ll wish you had brought a stroller rather than just rented an in-park-only stroller.

  • One more thing, a stroller at the airport can also double as a luggage cart. Just remove your child first before loading it up. ;-)

  • I couldn’t imagine carrying my 42 lb. 5 year old, he’ll be 5 1/2 when we travel, at the end of long day, listening to the whining and crying because his little feet couldn’t take another step. This is how I put it to my hubby when he was in denial, “we DO NOT need a stroller, HE’S 5!” Once he saw my point, he sighed and told me I could buy another stroller. Another stroller, I can’t believe we’re buying another stroller. But I have this vision of what I described above and it’s not pretty. One thing to keep in mind, the umbrella strollers only hold 40 lbs. and under, most of them 35. If you have older kids, it might be a good idea for those who are purchasing a stroller to bring along to invest in a sturdier stroller so the older kids can take a break too. I’m sure my 8 year old will want to rest her feet a little too. It will definitely come in handy at the airport for us too. My 5 year old is a bit on the poky side, it’s easier to have him ride than to wait for him to get run over as we exit the tram to baggage or on the moving walkways. I’ve been debating between The First Years Ignite and The First Years Jet. Both have had great reviews and run between $40 and $60. After we return home, I can sell it and will have spent little money out of pocket for a week’s worth of use.

  • Magic Strollers were great!!!! They dropped off the double stroller at our hotel and it was very clean and in very good condition. Our six year old has a auditory processing disorder and cannot hear well in the parks. He had no problem sitting in the stroller, he is tall and thin for his age. He was able to relax and not get over stimulated by the constant noise of music and crowds.
    I was able to push both children with one hand and drink my coffee!! These strollers also come with double cup holders and a large storage basket underneath. They recline and also have a very large shade canopy. My husband is over six feet and had no problem pushing this stroller. The customer service was great and would not hesitate to use this service again. The price was $29.00 the first day and $9.00 a day after that. Loved having a stroller for parking lots and hotel.

  • Heading to the parks in September for a week with my 4 and 2 year olds and having this same debate. I think we are going to bring our maclaren umbrella stroller for the airport and around the hotel but renting the double in the parks. Only question is if the Disney stroller has enough storage space.

    • It doesn’t have a ton. There’s a net in the back to hold some things, and a cup/snack type holder near the handle. There’s not enough space to put a diaper bag or other bag in, though.

  • We loved Orlando Strollers. Well worth the price for a week’s stay. Very convenient. Only complaint is it was hard to fold up and get onto the parking lot shuttles, especially when trying to get kids onto the bus and deal with the doors now in place on the shuttles. I ended up loading my wife and most of the kids on the shuttle, and then walking from the parking lot to the entrance with a kid in the stroller. At Magic Kingdom (depending on where you park) that is a long haul. But once we got into the park, the rental stroller was perfect in every way and well worth every penny

  • Wow, I thought it was only my family with the Great Stroller Debate! We have decided to go with the Disney multi day rental. My 5 year old son will be fine in the mornings, and will need the stroller for evenings and Epcot — this way, we can pick up a stroller when we want, and not worry about it if he is on high speed! I priced it out, it was the same to rent from Magic Stroller as Disney, because I needed it a day before and day after (we want to be at the parks for rope drop and stay late our last night). Also, my husband cannot stand dealing with the strollers on the bus – so it was a fair compromise for all. And, nice thing about Disney, if you lose your stroller you just get another one!

    • You are definitely not alone. I think your solution is where I”ve netted out more often than not these days. It’s not technically worth it to rent a Disney stroller, but sometimes it offers better piece of mind.

  • WOW! Reading this I can’t imagine NOT bringing a stroller! Thanks for the tips!

    • It seems that if you’re driving, don’t leave home w/o the stroller. If you’re flying, rent one. Good experiences at airports are becoming rare, and the more stuff you have, the more chance you have of problems. Also, the gray market for the strollers near the park entrances is fascinating. I’ve gotten strollers that way for a few years now. Finally, theft of strollers themselves probably isn’t a big deal, but theft from strollers probably is. We had a diaper bag stolen from the seat of a stroller left under the TTA entrance inside MK. We shouldn’t have left it there, and some important things were stolen. Crime like this is the exception inside MK (I truly hope), but WDW response (or lack thereof) was easily the most frustrating and infuriating thing I’ve ever experienced in dozens of trips to WDW. The memory doesn’t stop us, but we no longer are under the illusion that nothing bad ever happens inside the MK. We carry everything with us if we all go on a ride, except for drink cups. It’s a pain for sure, but that’s the only way we feel that precludes a theft. Ideally, we travel with another family now, and usually someone is tired enough (or old enough) to sit out a ride. Cheers.

  • We are taking 4 kids ages 3-9 later this year. We are planning to bring our Inglesina double umbrella stroller. I bought it several years ago and honestly do not use it too much—but I figure it will get plenty of use at Disney. It is light-weight, folds down to a nice compact size, has small storage space underneath (we plan to bring 2 backpacks for more storage(these will hang off the back if the kids are using the stroller—and can be put in the seats of the stoller if no one is riding at the time), it has larger wheels and taller handles than $20 Wal-Mart/Target models. This is important to us considering the larger wheels make it easier to push–and the higher handles so we are not crouched over while pushing (we are 5’8″ and 6’2″). I figure we will definately use it in our initial “quick walk” after rope drop—and then again in the later hours of the evening–and the kids can switch out from time to time. Although my kids are fairly active, it will be nice to have this just in case feet get tired and also to carry around water bottles and snacks instead of carrying them on our backs the whole time.

    As for the theft of strollers, I have never heard of anyone’s personal strollers getting stolen… I do know people that have taken someone else’s Disney stroller by accident–when there are hundreds of strollers that look the same, you have to come to expect this. Friends of ours wrap masking tape around the strollers handle, and stick some chewed gum on the tape (not to deface Disney property)—they have NEVER had their stroller stolen—go figure—and it normally does not get moved around nearly as much as other people’s stollers. We plan to attach a family picture that says “this stoller belongs to this family”–and attach it with some cable ties that have to be cut off. I figure this will make our stroller less likely to be stolen if it has our picture attached.

    Another tip: Especially if you are using a rental stroller, attach something that glows in the dark to your stroller. This way, at night time, when the weather is really cloudy, or when the stroller parking area is not so well lit, you will be able to find your stroller fairly easy. We plan to attach some glow in the dark tape to our car antenna too—even if you know what section you are in, the parking lots are so big that it can still be hard to find your car–especially if it is a rental or a very popular make/model/color.

    • by Amy from KC on April 27, 2011, at 1:39 pm EDT

      My only tip for the “quick walk” at rope drop is to skip the stroller at DHS if you are heading for Toy Story Mania. You would lose a lot of time and be scores of people back if you have to park a stroller. We picked up our DIsney stroller after we rode TSM, and it worked out perfectly for us! If you have your own stroller, I would just carry the child and ditch the stroller as fast as you can as you walk past the stroller parking. Try to do it in one fluid motion…but without running anyone over with it! ;)

  • I guess it depends — on how many children you have (whether you’ll need the two-seater or not), and how long you’ll be there. For us, a length-of-stay rental via Disney was all we needed — and didn’t have to deal with folding a stroller on the buses, storing it in the hotel room, or figuring out how to deal with it on the plane. And that ended up being cheaper than buying one second-hand, really.

    (We don’t frequently use a stroller at home, but the jogging stroller we use on occasional longer outings [festivals, hikes, etc] was too bulky to consider dragging around on this trip. So much easier to just hop on board a bus and head back to the resort without fussing with stroller-wrangling too, you know? A sleepy kid is way easier to carry without having to try to fold up a stroller quickly, so’s to not be rude to other passengers trying to board the bus.)

    Plus, no worries about losing “our” stroller. If we’d accidently left it behind while park-hopping, so what? Show the receipt at the next park, get a fresh new one, same as the old one.

  • Our stroller WAS accidentally swapped, we believe, @ Fantasmic last Nov. What was left was one exactly like ours, with two extra toys in it, sans our name on the stroller. We can see it was a simple mistake, but now we might tie a ribbon on the handle or something more obvious than our name in Sharpie.

  • Great article! My wife and I are planning our upcoming trip for this fall and we’re trying to decide how to handle the stroller situation. We’re disney world regulars but this will be the first time with our daughter (she’ll be 10 months old when we go). We’re debating orlando stroller rentals or simply bringing our own.

    • I decided to buy a baby jogger city micro from albee.com for $100. In the end that was the best thing to do in our situation. I have a chicco cortina but that thing is too big and bulky, even when folded. I thought about renting one of city mini’s from orlando stroller rentals (fell in love with them in the store, but couldn’t bring myself to spend the money) but decided against it. For the same cost I bought my own and I know I’ll use again (needed something smaller to keep in the back of my car anyway). Even if I don’t I can always sell it on ebay or craig’s list and recoup most of my $. With your baby being 10m. at the time of the trip, she may need the full recline of the rental stroller for napping. Mine will be 22m when we go next month and she will not sleep in a stroller and I don’t think she would appreciate a huge canopy blocking her view so it was not worth spending an extra $140 for the city mini. Every child and family is different. You just have to assess your situation and do what is best for you and your little girl. Good luck!

  • Daughter is 6 years and nine months. Other than at Disney or travelling to Mexican resorts and the like, she hasn’t been in a stroller for years, but I cannot imagine not having a stoller for her to hop into when tired and to tote the stuff at Disney. Relieved a nine year old will fit into a Disney rental at Epcot – we may rent one for that park even then! Strollers are great at airports,too, and I just check ours at the gate.

  • I’m sorry, but I just have to say it. The real debate is not about which kind of stroller is best, about why we as a society have decided to allow youngsters who are physically able to walk the park to be to be strolled around in Disneyland at all. I can sort of understand why children shouldn’t be made to walk around all day at the part, but that’s when you and your children stop for a rest, instead of congesting Disney streets and scenic areas with strollers. It’s gotten ridiculous. I mean seriously, this was a big part of the point of Wall-E.

    • After taking 4 kids to Disney World a few months ago, I can tell you why taking a stroller for kids that are capable of walking is a good idea:

      1) Disney World is expensive and if you want to get the most ride out of your visit, you need to get to those rides fairly quickly. I could push 2 of my kids quicker than I could walk hand in hand with those 2 kids to the different rides.

      2) The stroller provided excellent storage for not only our water bottles that we brought in with us (saves TONS of money there)…it also provides storage for anything we bought there (which I am assuming Disney approved of us spending money on stuff there as well.

      3) My 9 year old walks a lot faster than my 4 year old. Pushing the stroller allowed us to get to rides that he wanted to ride quicker–which makes him a happier child — Disney is the happiest place on earth and I guarantee we would not have done 1/2 the stuff we did if our smaller children were made to walk all the time.

      4) Very rarely is Disney congested. They do an excellent job of keeping things moving. The only congested parts were during the parades or some of the evening shows….and those would be congested with or without strollers.

      5) When my 4 year old fell asleep mid-morning, I was very grateful to have my stroller, so I did not have to carry the different rides with my other kids. It would not be fair to them to miss a ton of stuff because ‘little sister’ can’t keep up.

      There are several other reasons I could list on why I did bring a stroller to Disney World even though my kids are all perfectly capable of walking just fine, and I would also do it again the next time—even if the kids are a little older.

      Also keep in mind that some kids have medical conditions that they can not stand for long periods of time, and even though they might look ‘normal’, don’t just assume that the parents are allowing older kids to be lazy.

  • Very great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to mention that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I’m hoping you write again very soon!

  • So I am wondering if you can squash ;) 3 small children onto the double stroller that you rent from Disney? I have a 5,4, and 2 1/2 year old we are taking in a few weeks. The older don’t often use a stroller anymore, but I feel like they will want it in the parks! If I could fit them onto a stroller all together, from time to time, it might be worth it to use a Disney stroller instead of trying to work out the logistics of using our double (that won’t really fit the three kids)…

    • Even though my kids had not used strollers for over 2 years when we went to Disney, I would definitely recommend it to anyone with small children. My kids were 4, 6, 7, and 9 at the time we went. We took our Inglesina double umbrella stroller and would do it again in a heart beat. The 4 and 6 year old knew that after every ride, they would jump in so we could get to the next one quickly. I never had to worry about losing the 2 of them in the crowds when the parks opened or when we were leaving for the day. It also gave them a seat to sit in while watching the fireworks shows.

      You might be able to fit 3 small kids in a double stroller as long as they don’t fight with each other. If I were you, I would probably take a double umbrella stroller and a single umbrella stroller. Hang the single umbrella stroller on the back of the double and let the 4 and 5 year old take turns walking. When they get tired of walking, break out the single stroller and it will make life a lot easier.

      Personally, I liked having our own stroller for these reasons:
      A) Disney rents their double strollers for $31/day
      B) When we got to the parks, we went straight to the rides instead of stopping to rent a stroller
      C) While you are in the show/ride, Disney employees will condense the strollers down and move them around a bit. It is a lot easier to find your stroller if it is different than everyone else’s. All the Disney strollers are the same color and unless you have yours marked REALLY well, it can be hard to find.
      D) At the end of the night, we still had the use of the strollers while waiting in line for the buses or trams. I don’t know how many times I would see parents waking up their kids so they could turn in their strollers—only to have to hold them in their arms for 30 minutes waiting for the bus or tram to come. One time we had an empty seat in our double stroller while waiting for the tram and another kid took the opportunity (much to his mom’s total embarrassment) to come sit down and rest.

      Even now with my youngest 2 kids being 6 and 8, I would bring my double stroller for the 6 year old and for the 8 year old to get a little rest here and there from all the walking.

      Another suggestion:
      When coming into the security check point, people carrying purses/bags have to have them searched before going in the park. One of us would walk through the ‘no bags’ area with the kids and stroller and the other would go through the bag check point. We took clear plastic backpacks and most of the time, they did not even make us open them (since they could see everything). Then when we got through security, we just hung the backpacks on the back of the stroller so we did not have to carry them on our backs.

      Hope you have a great time!