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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.
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
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?