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Our family’s first trip to Disney World was very spur of the moment. My parents invited us to go with them, and the trip was in less than six weeks!
So we didn’t have the luxury (or is it a curse?) of pouring over articles like this one to decide on the perfect strollers to bring with us. We quickly decided against renting a stroller (I’ll explain why in a minute) and bought two cheap umbrella strollers (that didn’t even have a canopy or basket, yikes!)
We really had no complaints, and I loved NOT having a big, bulky double stroller. But it we hadn’t been so rushed, we would have probably explored more options and possibly made a few different decisions.
So for those of you who DO have more time to plan your first Disney World trip with toddlers, here’s everything you need to know about strollers.
Table of Contents
- 1 Do I Need a Stroller at Disney World?
- 2 What about a Stroller for my 6 year old and 8 year old?
- 3 Disney World Stroller Policy
- 4 Strollers vs. People at Disney World
- 5 Can You Take Strollers on Disney Buses?
- 6 How to Make Your Stroller Stand Out at Disney
- 7 Stroller Options: To Rent or To Buy?
- 8 Option 1: Renting a Stroller at Disney World
- 9 Option #2: Renting from an Outside Stroller Company in Orlando
- 10 Option #3: Bringing Your Own Stroller
Do I Need a Stroller at Disney World?
I would argue that is it, if you have multiple children that are toddlers or preschoolers, and definitely if you have more than one of them, like we did on our first trip.
1) If you’re like the average Disney guest, your family will be walking close to ten miles a day.
2) Not only that, but it’s likely that you will be walking in 90 degree heat.
3) Your child can take a nap without having to go back to the hotel room.
4) You can use the stroller to store things like food, water bottles, and backpacks.
5) A stroller can keep a toddler safer in a huge crowd, especially in situations like when the fireworks show has just ended and literally tens of thousands of people are swarming toward the park exit at the same time.
What about a Stroller for my 6 year old and 8 year old?
Well, like most situations where people can anonymously and publicly criticize someone else’s parenting skills, this can be a topic of hot debate.
Some people, like these folks over on the DisBoards, think that a stroller for an older child is so absurd that just the fact that you had to ask means there must be something wrong with you:
Since you asked — I think a 6 and 8 year old in a stroller is ridiculous (absent special needs, of course).
And I know you said that they aren’t lazy, but really that is what it is. And I’m speaking for experience …
I get it, it is easier FOR THE PARENTS to have two kids in a stroller. But, you aren’t doing your child any favors by permitting this — especially at 6 or 8.
I would like someone to explain to me why kids now NEED a stroller when they never used to?
Seriously why in the last 5 yrs have 6-8 yr olds suddenly needed strollers?
If you went 20 yrs ago you never saw anything but preschoolers in one, 15 yrs ago you almost never saw a kid older than 4, 5 tops in a stroller,
10 yrs ago a few more 5 yr olds still very few older kids; 5 yrs ago strollers everywhere with old kids! why?
Magic Kingdom is still the same size mostly, EPCOT same size as when it opened, Studios same size, AK same size. It isn’t physical kids have been walking long distances for hundreds of years.
I have really wondered this and can’t come up with a legitimate reason why kids in the last less than 10 years now need strollers when they didn’t in the past.
Kids haven’t changed so it must be the parents? :confused3
Disney has had all 4 parks for better than 10 yrs so it isn’t just an additional park.
I honestly would like to understand this because Disney was so much nicer without the massive amount of strollers.
Others, however, think that it’s simply smart to bring a stroller and will make everybody happier:
I for one don’t see any problem with having a child use a stroller for the times they are tired. I am not saying, “Hey, lazy kid you can ride in this stroller the entire time we are at the parks”.. I am saying “for the sanity of myself and your father and for those times during the day when you are tired and whining and cranky, and for those times when we still have stuff to do in the park, i will get a stroller for those times.”
But probably the wisest comments come from these folks, who make an excellent point regarding strollers:
One of my happiest Disney days ever was the first day in the park without a stroller. I always found that the stroller slowed us down. I thought it was a pain to not only find the stroller after each attraction but strap her in and out. I loved the freedom that not having the stroller allowed.
Personally, I was glad to be done with the stroller. My kids graduated from using one before they started school. I hated pushing one thru the crowds.. Dealing with people who would walk with a cigarette dangling right at the height of a child’s face when seated. Having people cut in front of you and having to stop quickly to avoid running them over.
I was usually the one who was tired and complaining at the end of the day because MY feet hurt. *I* was tired. And it frustrated me to no end that my stroller was never where I left it when I came out of an attraction.
Waking a sleeping child in order to return the stroller or fold it up and get it on the bus? No thank you! Struggling to get the thing on the bus? Not a picnic in the park!
It was amazing how little we needed to bring into the parks once everyone had to carry their own stuff instead of tossing it in the stroller. Maybe that goes along with the kids being older but suddenly there was no need for a diaper bag full of things when no one was potty training or diapered …
So what’s my personal take on all this?
Absolutely a stroller until age 5.
At age 5 or 6, I could see it going either way, depending on the particular child and your tolerance for dealing with a stroller all day. (Mine is low, and I probably would opt for no stroller for a 6 year old.)
Older than 6 — nope.
Disney World Stroller Policy
There aren’t a whole lot of rules involving strollers. They can’t be any larger than 36″ x 52″ (92 x 132 cm), although I’ve never seen Cast Member measure them, and I’ve never heard of someone being told that their stroller was too big.
Wagons, scooters, and trailer-like objects that are pushed are towed by a stroller are not allowed.
Some additional things to keep in mind which drive Cast Members (and perhaps other people) crazy:
1. Practice folding up your stroller before you enter the park.
I remember a scene in a Jennifer Weiner novel where the main character is “stroller-jacked” at gunpoint, and the thief has to ask her for help figuring out how to fold up the high-end stroller.
Yeah, those babies can be pretty tough to figure out, especially if you’re mechanically challenged like I am. Since you’re going to be going it several times throughout the day, you’d better get good at it beforehand. You don’t want to be struggling with your Monstrosity on Wheels when your Tier 1 Fast Pass is about to expire and/or when all the exhausted guests on an overcrowded bus are giving you the Evil Eye.
2. Park your stroller in designated spaces, and not “wherever it’s convenient.” If you can’t find one nearby, feel free to ask a Cast Member for assistance.
3. Do not let your 8 year old push his 3 year old brother around in the stroller (now matter how cute you think it looks).
4. Please obey the speed limit.
Well … I don’t know exactly what the speed limit, but “normal walking speed of a sane person” is probably a good guess. (BTW, I could picture me becoming guilty of this, because I tend to panic when I’m running late for things.)
And — as much as you can when you’re walking through a Disney crowd — try to keep some space between you and the person in front of you. I’ve heard people complain that half their Disney trip was ruined because Stroller People kept clipping their ankles.
Strollers vs. People at Disney World
Can You Take Strollers on Disney Buses?
Yes, but it MUST be folded. stroller that goes on a bus MUST be folded. So if you plan to be riding the buses several times throughout your stay, give this some thought when choosing your stroller. How easy is it to fold up, and how difficult will it be to haul up and down the bus steps?
(The monorails and some of the boats DO allow you to roll a stroller right on without folding it or taking your child out.)
The key to not making this stroller-and-bus combo miserable (for both yourself and others) is to be prepared and have a battle plan. Assuming their are two adults in your party, have one always be in charge of the stroller while the other manages the kids.
Here’s a thorough strategy from DisBoards that even works well with a big double stroller:
One parent is in charge of the kids, one the stroller and backpack. Use time waiting for the bus to repack the back pack, get the kids out of the stroller and fold it. Nothing annoys people more than you blocking the way onto the bus because you spent your time waiting doing nothing and now you have to pack 5 bags worth of stuff and wake up a kid and fold a stroller etc etc.
You will get separated on the bus. Assume this. The person with the kids finds seats. The person with the stroller heads to the back. Do not stop at the first seats you find and then have the stroller person stand in front of you or sit with you (unless you get a unicorn empty bus). This will impede the loading of the bus and will not make you popular.
Although some people think that taking a double stroller on the bus is so unpleasant that it’s worth driving to the parks instead — even if it means having to rent a car.
Taking the double stroller (while helping your kids) on the bus is a huge pain, since you’ll probably be traveling at times when the buses are over-full. Lots of people do it – you might get 4 other double strollers on your MK morning bus – but it was usually the worst part of my day, especially when we were one of the first to board a bus, so I had to lug it all the way to the back. Much better to drive to Epcot, HS, AK, and anywhere offsite.
How to Make Your Stroller Stand Out at Disney
To make things worse, a Disney Cast Member might have moved your stroller while you and your family were riding Dumbo — not for kicks, but because their job is to make room for more strollers and to properly park the ones that were not properly parked.
So you want a way for your stroller to stand out, preferably from a distance.
The problem/challenge, of course, is that everyone else is also trying to make their stroller stand out.
At first, the idea of attaching a Mickey head balloon to your stroller sounds like a great idea, right? They’re cute! They’re colorful! You can see them easily!
However, there are certain problems with balloons that may want you to re-think that idea (not the least of which are that balloons aren’t even allowed in the Animal Kingdom park).
A couple wise people on the DisBoards had this to say:
I have noticed over the years that many people attach a balloon, and we tried this the first time we went with a stroller.
We found that:
1) It was not unique,
2) It was a pain to deal with when riding the bus, and
3) It came off and floated away, causing a melt down for DD who was 18 months at the time.
And this person points out that a balloon on your stroller may cause others to hate you:
Do not. I repeat do NOT try to use a balloon unless you want to be smashed in the face and bonk every stranger in the face along the way as the wind constantly changes. We didn’t even do this for ID, just because my kid had to have a $12 red Mickey balloon. Just…no.
Tying a bandana (or two) with an unusual color or design will make it easier for you to spot and will make it less likely that someone else will take your stroller by mistake.
It’s also not obtrusive, so it won’t bother you or anybody else, and it won’t cause any extra problems when you’re getting the stroller on and off Disney transportation.
Soft Bendy Flowers
When my girls were little, we got some cute “bendy flowers” with smiley faces on them from The Dollar Store we tied to their crib rails.
It never would have occurred to me to tie them to our stroller when we went to Disney World … but what a great idea! Almost nobody else is going to do that, and since it’s “bendy,” you can push it down whenever you need to so folding up your stroller quickly won’t cause a problem.
Ponchies Pom Luggage ID
Here’s another idea that “everybody else’ probably won’t be doing. (Well, um … until they read this article.)
Created for identifying luggage, these Ponchies are made of a stretchy fabric and an elastic band with a button closure.
They’re also just kinda fun-looking. You can use it as a cute keychain between Disney trips.
Colorful Rubber Bands
Something quick, cheap, and effective is to just stick a bunch of colorful rubber bands on the stroller handles.
Brightly Colored Duct Tape
Along the same line, you can wrap colored tape around the handles. It’s not exactly “pretty” or “cute,” but it gets the job done.
Stroller Options: To Rent or To Buy?
You basically have 3 options for having a stroller at Disney:
1) Rent it at the Disney parks;
2) Rent it from an outside company in Orlando;
3) Bring your own stroller.
So let’s break each of these down:
Option 1: Renting a Stroller at Disney World
How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Stroller at Disney?
$15/day for a single stroller
($13/day if you pre-pay for multiple days)
$31/day for a double stroller
($27/day if you pre-pay for multiple days)
That’s kinda pricey, in my opinion, considering you have nothing to show for it at the end of the week.
Is there a Weight Limit for the Disney Strollers?
Single Strollers are recommended for children 50 pounds or less. Double strollers are recommended for children 100 pounds or less.
What Do Disney World Strollers Look Like?
Kind of, um … well, not that great, actually.
I was totally turned off when I saw the Disney World rental strollers on our first trip with kids. They looked ugly, cumbersome, hot, and generally uncomfortable. If I were a kid, I wouldn’t want to ride (or nap) in one, and as a parent, I wouldn’t want to navigate one through crowds of people all day long.
Not only are the Disney strollers made of hard plastic, with no padding or cushioning of any kind, but they don’t recline. That means your two year old can’t even take a nap in them. And putting, say, your six month old in one is out of the question.
It’s also worth noting that the double strollers have no physical barrier. In other words, instead of there being two seats, it’s one big seat.
If you have more than one child, I don’t have to explain what this inevitably translates into.
And to top it all off, the Disney strollers don’t offer much in the way of storage space.
Obviously I’m very biased against renting a Disney stroller, but of course there are advantages, the biggest one being that it never leaves the park, so you don’t have to worry about hauling it onto the bus (or for that matter, getting it to and from Florida in the first place).
Of course, this works both ways. Using a stroller that can’t leave the park means that … you don’t have a stroller when you’re not at the park (or Disney Springs).
Like when you’re at your resort. Or either of the water parks. Or any of the Disney parking areas. Do you really want to be completely stroller-less during these times?
If you do decide to go with the Disney stroller rental, make sure you always hang on to your receipt and tickets. If the stroller gets lost, you can just go to the stroller rental area at the entrance of the park and get a new one. And if you “park hop,” you just take your stroller’s name placard and your receipt with you to get a new stroller at your second park of the day.
Option #2: Renting from an Outside Stroller Company in Orlando
If you like the idea of renting a stroller, but want more options than Disney’s ugly, hard plastic thing and want to keep it with you the entire time, there are several local companies that you can rent from.
This is probably one of the most popular stroller rental companies and is one of Disney’s “preferred providers.”
They they deliver to your location, whether it’s a Disney resort or a hotel in Orlando. They have a wide range of strollers to choose from, and you can even go to their store to see the selection in person. The strollers are described as easy to maneuver and have a protective overhead covering, and a “parent console” (which means a cup holder). Plus you get a free cooler with each rental.
Unfortunately, they are pretty expensive. Single strollers cost $40-$50 per day, and double strollers cost $55-$75.
This is another one of Disney’s preferred providers, and they deliver also will deliver your stroller to you. They were described as having a good variety of strollers that were easy to fold and that came with rain covers.
According to Touring Plans, their strollers don’t include a
parent console cup holder. That may seem like a small thing, but I could picture it easily being aggravating, especially for as much as you’re paying. Touring Plans also felt the instructions they provided were lacking.
The rates are $40 – $45 per day (single strollers) and $50 – $65 for double strollers.
Kingdom Strollers also rents full-sized cribs.
Their strollers come in a nice, black, carry bag and you have to attach the wheels yourself. Touring Plans says they are more strict about their drop off and pick up times than the other rental companies. Also, they send you a text when our stroller is dropped off. They include a certificate from the company that cleaned and sanitized the stroller.
Yet another of Disney’s preferred providers who is also to deliver.
Rain covers available for free by request, and parent consoles included
Their rates are lower than some of the other companies, with a single stroller costing $15 for the first day and $10 for every additional day, and a double stroller costing $25 for the first day and $12 for every day after.
Baby Wheels Orlando
They provide both single and double strollers that have rain covers and parent consoles. The strollers can easily be folded and stored, and comes with a complimentary tote bag. Their offer flexible drop off and pick up times.
Touring Plans says:
If I ever need to rent a stroller in Orlando again, I would rent from Baby Wheels Orlando. They had, by far, the most detailed instructions, they were incredibly flexible with pick up and drop off times, and they had the best selections of add-ons, many for free. They were not the cheapest company, nor were they the most expensive. They sent a text the morning we checked in confirming our stroller was there, and were extremely helpful when I needed them.
Singles cost $30-45 for the first night, then $5 for each additional night.
Doubles are $40-50 for the first night, then $5 for each additional night.
If all these options are sounding too expensive for you, but you really want to rent a stroller, you might want to consider Apple Stroller.
They only offer one style, but the strollers were reported as clean, well-maintained, and cleaned between each use.
The single strollers cost $5 per day while the double strollers cost $7.
There is also a $5 delivery fee and a $5 pickup fee for every rental. There is a minimum 3 day rental.
So do you get what you pay for? Perhaps, but while reviews appeared mixed, I was surprised by how positive they were overall. One person described their stroller as “worn, but clean.” I suppose it depends on what your expectations are.
Option #3: Bringing Your Own Stroller
This is the option that makes the most sense to me — although, to be fair, we always drive to Disney and have never had to deal with bringing a stroller on an airplane.
Like I said earlier, our only experience is with little umbrellas, but I wouldn’t recommend doing that. At the very least, I would absolutely get a stroller with a canopy and a storage basket.
The Best Lightweight Strollers for Disney World
Here are some of the strollers that got great reviews for their comfort, adjustability, maneuverability, and storage features:
The Best Double Strollers for Disney World
Personally, I’d be hesitant to bring a double stroller to Disney World. You have more autonomy with two smaller strollers, and having the option of bringing one kid back to the room while the other parent stays at the park with the other kid.
Still, there is certainly something to said for having one quality stroller instead of hauling around two. Here are some double strollers that people loved using on their Disney trips:
Now I want to hear from you.
What has been your experience with using strollers at Disney World? Do you rent or bring your own?