One of the most hotly debated topics among those who are taking a Walt Disney World vacation with children is all about the strollers.
Should you bring one?
Should you rent one?
Do your children even need strollers at all?
These are just a few of the questions I’m asked all the time. Many Walt Disney World veterans have very strong opinions when it comes to strollers in the parks and resorts. I’m not going to try to push you either way in this article. I’m just going to give you some facts and let you decide for yourself.
Let’s get into The Great Stroller Debate!
My opinion: I bring strollers and use them often.
As I’ve mentioned before in some other articles I’ve written, I have three young children. Right now I have an almost 6 year old and two almost 4 year olds. Our last trip to Walt Disney World was just a few months ago and my wife and I brought a single umbrella stroller for our oldest daughter and a double umbrella stroller for our twin daughter and son. We didn’t use them every single time we left our hotel room, but if we had a long day planned, you bet we brought them for the ride (or the kids’ ride, I guess?)
My kids are very active at home and never sit down, but they don’t put in the kind of mileage at home that they do on a trip to Walt Disney World, so bringing the strollers is a no-brainer for us.
We usually fly Southwest Airlines so we gate check our strollers right before we get on the plane at both airports. It makes it easy for us and we never have to worry about renting strollers if we decide our children are getting too tired on our trips.
Question: “My children are older and never use a stroller at home. Will they really need them in Walt Disney World?”
You know your children better than anyone so honestly only you can answer this question. Here’s what I will say, though: my family and I average about 12 to 14 miles walked per day on our WDW trips. That’s a heck of a lot of walking for little legs who aren’t used to walking more than a couple of miles per day. But like I said, you know your children and you can totally make that decision on your own.
If your little ones can are used to that much exercise (and a lot of children have no problem with it) then by all means leave those strollers at home or in their WDW rental locations.
Question: “Should I bring a stroller from home, rent one each day in Walt Disney World, or rent one from a third party vendor?”
This is a question I get an awful lot from parents and it kind of varies from person to person.
Like I wrote earlier, I’m someone who brings the strollers from home. I know my children will need them most days and it’s just really easy for us at the airport to have strollers and wheel our kids through the airport check in, up to the security checkpoint, and to our gate. Most airlines will let you gate check strollers and pick them up as soon as you land for either free or a fairly low price so it’s an easy option if you’re thinking about bringing your strollers from home.
As far as renting strollers in WDW, it can get a little expensive. You’ll have the option of paying for a daily rental ($15 in September of 2016 for a single stroller) or a length of stay rental ($13 per day in September of 2016 for a single) so that can add up kind of quickly if you’re staying for quite a while.
Plus, you don’t get to take the strollers out of the theme parks, so if you’re going to be doing a lot of exploring at the resorts, you may be out of luck. If you decide to rent a stroller in Disney Springs, a $100 credit card deposit will be necessary for the rental (so you don’t run off with the stroller!)
Renting from a third party vendor may actually be a great option for you if you’re looking to rent a stroller for the length of your stay. There are several stroller rental companies that will drop off your rental stroller on your arrival day and pick it up on your departure day. Their rates are reasonable and they will have several different options for you to choose from. If you would like some help deciding who to use, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To Stroll or Not to Stroll. That is the question.
I’ve tried the no stroller days and have had mixed results.
We have had days where our children held our hands, listened very well, walked all day, and fell asleep in ten seconds when we returned back to our resort hotel room.
We have also had days where they refused to hold our hands, dropped to the ground, threw tantrums, had total meltdowns, and we had to leave the park after two hours.
We bring the strollers because our kids usually will nap in them and my wife and I can enjoy some down time and even go between two parks while they sleep (Magic Kingdom to Epcot on the monorail line or walking from Hollywood Studios to Epcot can be done without waking kids up and getting them out of their strollers).
In the end, it’s totally up to you. Hopefully I gave you some things to think about with this article and when it comes time for you to decide what to do about strollers in Walt Disney World, you’ll be a step ahead of everyone else!