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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Strollin, Strollin, Strollin (Part One)

The stroller question is probably the number one question I get when friends ask me for Disney advice.  We've used (still do) strollers for all my boys, including my 7 year old, every time we go. It just makes traveling through the parks easier and faster. You can easily cover 5 miles a day wandering through the theme parks and it is just too much for little legs. And I'm sure your kid has walked all over Europe and Asia when they were only 3 and then ran a marathon the next day, but trust me, they will be whiny, hot, tired, and sore after standing in lines and crossing the parks all day. Do yourself a favor, keep them in a stroller for as long as you can! Not to mention it gives me an added sense of security that no kids will wander off in the (sometimes massive) crowd of Mickey admirers. So what are our recommendations?

1. Bring your own, don't rent
2. Avoid double strollers if at all possible
3. Go as lightweight as possible
4. Avoid the buses if you have kids in strollers

Renting: There are two options when it comes to renting strollers at Disney. You can rent from Disney themselves at any park and return the stroller at the end of every day or you can rent through an outside company and keep the stroller for the duration of your trip. The Disney strollers are great for older kids, like maybe 6 and up. They are a hard plastic shell like stroller that doesn't offer much shade and doesn't recline at all. (see photo below). They have double and single stroller options. Renting is extremely easy, often just inside the turnstiles at every park. You get a large name placard that stays with your stroller all day and you simply drop the stroller off when you are done.  **BONUS you can drop them certain places in the park and simply get a new one later i.e. the train through Magic Kingdom**.  They are fairly pricey, with single strollers at $15 a day and double ones $31. For an average 6 day stay, that comes to a grand total of between $90- 186!! And you don't even get to use them to and from the parking lot or in the airport! For the same investment, we recommend you purchase a good, lightweight stroller (more to come on that) that you can reuse on subsequent trips. The second renting option is to go through one of several local companies and rent a stroller at a set price for the duration of your stay.  They often deliver it to your hotel room and pick it up as well.  You can choose from several makes and models and the price is fairly equivalent to Disney's rentals.  We still suggest bringing your own though to help with airport transport and to get the most out of your investment.  If it is the same $100 regardless, might as well own the stroller at the end of the trip.

Disney Rental Strollers (image courtsey of

Double or Single: Many people with more than one child often assume that a double stroller is the way to go when traveling to WDW or DL. Incorrect my grasshopper.  Double strollers are bulky, hard to turn, and hard to navigate through the large crowds of people. I don't care how amazing your triple level, platinum edition BOB type double stroller is, it is harder to use than a lightweight single stroller.  Every single one is hard to collapse to get on and off buses and monorails, a central part of your trip and one that can cause incredible stress. Plus, double strollers make it very difficult to split up when you need to. EVERY DAY that we are there we split up for something: bathroom breaks, nap time, snagging Fast Passes, big kid vs little kid rides, etc. We recommend getting two lightweight strollers and purchasing clips that can turn them into double strollers if needed like these Stroller Connectors or Stroller Links. That way, each parent can quickly and  easily maneuver/fold/separate a single stroller but you can link them and have one parent do double duty if necessary! What if I have more than two kids oh Disney oracle? Well it depends on the ages.  For my boys, (7, 3, and 6 mon) We do a regular stroller for baby so he can recline and nap if needed, and a lightweight stroller with a stand board for my middle and big boy. I would also consider a sit and stand before I did a double stroller. It gets us all where we need to be, no double stroller fuss, and we're able to split up if need be!
Stroller Connectors and Links

Check out Part 2 of Strollin, Strollin, Strollin

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