In this article, we will assume that you want to use a stroller during your vacation at Disney World. There are good reasons to do so, including the fact that some people estimate you will walk 13 miles a day during your Disney vacation. That’s a half-marathon every day! So if that much walking makes your feet hurt, imagine how painful it would be if your legs were just half as long, as they are for little kids.
Now that you have decided to use a stroller at Disney World, there are plenty of choices to make. We will take a look at some of your options here.
Bring Vs. Rent
Some people prefer to bring their own strollers. Some reasons why you might want to bring your own include familiarity with your stroller, for both you and your child, and a cost savings.
There are drawbacks. No matter how you are traveling, you will need to pack up and haul your stroller around, whether it is hauling it through the airport or finding a spot to store it in your vehicle.
If you rent a Disney stroller, be prepare for sticker shock. As of late 2013, it costs $15 per day for a single stroller or $31 per day for a double-wide (side-to-side) model. When you multiple this out by the length of your vacation, you can see how this can quickly add up.
Buy Vs. Rent
For people who don’t want to give Disney an extra $100 or more in stroller rental fees and who also don’t want to bring their own stroller, there is another option: buy a stroller just for your trip. If you are renting a car, you can make a run to a local Orlando Target or Walmart to purchase an inexpensive umbrella stroller for $30 or less. You can also purchase a stroller from Amazon.com and have them ship it to your Disney Resort Hotel. Then, if you use it for just a few days, you end up ahead even if you abandon your new purchase at the end of your trip.
Prepay Vs. Day-by-day
If you decide to rent from Disney, you can save a few dollars by paying for the full length of your stay on your first day. On the first day of your vacation when you rent the stroller, let the Cast Member know that you would like to pre-pay for the full length of your stay. You will save a discount of $2 per day for a single stroller, or a discount of $4 per day for a double stroller (prices as of late 2013). Hey, every dollar counts, right?
You will get a receipt for the full length of your stay. Show your receipt each day and you are good to go.
Disney Vs. Off-Site
There are many independent companies set up specifically to rent strollers to Disney vacationers. A simple Google query will return lots of options, nearly all of which have cheaper prices than Disney. However, Disney has three preferred vendors for stroller rentals and other similar rental items like cribs and booster seats. The three companies are Kingdom Strollers, Magic Strollers, and Orlando Stroller Rentals. Only these three preferred companies can drop off the rented item at the resort front desk of your Disney Resort where you can then pick it up at your convenience. If you rent from a non-preferred vendor, you will need to arrange a time to meet the vendor’s driver for pick up and drop off.
Choice Vs. Standards
Disney rents just two types of strollers: a single and a double. They are built like baby-sized tanks, complete with hard plastic and no padding or accessories. If you rent from Disney, make sure you can live with the basics.
With your own stroller, either brought from home, purchased locally, or rented from a third party, you have many more options: side-to-side or front-to-back for double strollers, glider boards, pouches for storage, or even cup holders for mom and dad.
Guaranteed Vs. Generally Available
Disney owns lots of strollers. Lots. Generally speaking you can be pretty sure you will get a stroller if and when you want one. That flexibility is nice, in case you are “on the fence” about your need for a stroller. However, on very rare occasions Disney has run out of strollers. Disney offers no guarantees that you will get a stroller.
If you need to be 100% sure you will get a stroller, consider bringing or buying your own.
Side-to-side Vs. Front-to-back
As mentioned above, Disney rents double strollers, but only the side-to-side variety. The choice on whether to use side-to-side or front-to-back is largely a personal preference, but note that the side-to-side versions may be a bit harder to navigate through merchandise shops or post-show crowds.
Everywhere Vs. Parks Only
If you rent a stroller from the entrance to a Disney park, you will only be able to use the stroller inside the park.
If you want to use the stroller around your resort, when going to and from Disney transportation, or off-site, you will need to bring or buy your own, or rent from a third party.
What is your best tip for using a stroller at Disney World?