One of the biggest debates while planning a trip to Walt Disney World® Resort after you have decided when to go, where to stay, where to eat, and which tickets you are purchasing is do you bring your stroller from home or rent one there. There are so many different scenarios that the answer really depends on your family situation.
First of all, what are my options? Of course you can bring your own stroller, rent one from Disney while you are in the parks, and then you can rent one from a local company.
If you have a newborn or a child under the age of 1, definitely bring your own stroller. Odds are your child will be napping while you are in the park so it’s best to have your child in a familiar environment and the rental strollers are not conducive to really little ones. Do you have a child under the age of 3? If so, you will probably be toting at least one bag and possibly a child after a long day in the parks. Bring your own stroller! The walks are long from your hotel, parking lot, or really anywhere to the park gates and once you’re inside you will definitely be doing a lot of walking. Do you really think your child and will walk this entire time? Odds are if they are under five they will ask to be carried several times a day. If you do bring your own stroller, be sure it’s a fold-up umbrella type. You will be asked to fold your stroller on all the buses and possibly on the smaller boats. The only transportation options that allow you to keep your children in their strollers are on the monorail and the larger boats. I have seen families with multiple children and bags and one of the parents is trying to fold the gigantic full-size stroller after the end of a long day while massive amounts of other park guests wait to load the busses. You really don’t want to be that person.
So what is with the Disney strollers? They are a good option for children who don’t normally use a stroller but are not strong enough to walk all day, every day. I’ve heard of parents of 6 and 7 year olds renting a stroller for their kids. It’s a great option if your kids are okay walking to the bus and then to the gates but will be tired after a few hours in the parks. I suggest this option for kids age 4 and up who will probably not need to nap in the stroller. You can rent them by the day or for multiple days. If you are going to be in the park more than one day then I suggest getting a rental for each day as the price is a little bit cheaper. You’re looking at $ 15 per day for a single stroller or $13 per day when you purchase the multi-day package. They also have doubles for $31 per day and $27 for multi-days. The strollers are not like ones you use at home. They are a hard plastic with a mesh canopy but sit lower to the ground. I like this feature because it’s easy for your kids to hop in/out between rides. As for storage you have 2 bottle holders on the back and a large mesh pouch. Most backpacks fully stuffed will not fit but you do have the option of placing your bag on top of the stroller. Since all strollers look alike and the cast members move them on a regular basis I suggest using some sort of identifying element to help distinguish yours from everyone else’s. Some tie balloons (except in Animal Kingdom where they are forbidden) or scarves. I’ve heard of one savvy traveler who tied a bag with a “dirty” diaper on the handle to be sure someone didn’t accidentally take his. Really it was a diaper with purposely dumped Coke on it. I hear this worked! I’ve also heard of others who bring a beach towel or blanket to lie in the bottom to make it a smoother ride.
What about rentals? There are several companies in the Orlando area that will rent all types of strollers and deliver them to your hotel prior to your arrival. I guess if you want your own stroller from home without bringing it either in the car or plane then this is your option. Prices are competitive with the Disney strollers so if you want a replica of your mega-stroller or Bob then you’re set.
One thing to remember is that your hotel room is probably not very big so keep that in mind when bringing your own stroller or renting one.
What have I done? When my boys were 2 and 4 ½ we flew direct to Orlando. I brought our MacLaren umbrella stroller for the 2 year old and rented a Disney stroller for the 4 ½ year old. This worked perfectly for us. As I said in the beginning this decision really depends on the age of your kids and what works best for you. Either way you’re going to be at the Walt Disney World® Resort!