Feb 082010
 

Navigating Walt Disney World with a stroller can sometimes be overwhelming. After visiting WDW numerous times without a stroller, with a single stroller, and now with a double stroller, I’ve learned the most useful strategies to have a positive experience while taking a stroller into the parks:

  • Bring a hook or bag that attaches to the handle. Hooks can be purchased at a baby or toy store. These hooks can hold everything from a small bag to several large bags as you leave the park. Don’t forget to use Disney’s resort package delivery or front gate package service to help cut down on the amount of packages that you have to carry.
  • Buy a stroller cover in case of rainy weather. This will protect your children, but also your purchases too!
  • Keep in mind that where you park your stroller to enter a ride or attraction may not be where that you find it once you return. Many families get distraught upon finding that their stroller has been moved. Usually a Cast Member has moved the stroller to make room for other strollers. It can take some searching to find your stroller. Be sure that you park your stroller with the brake on and put it in a place marked “stroller parking.”
  • Make your stroller easy to spot. If you are getting ready to purchase a new stroller, buy one that is a bright color that can be seen easily. Tie a bandana or other colorful item around the handle to make yours stand out. A Disney balloon tied to the handles also works, and is sure to delight the stroller’s occupant. Anything that you can do to make your stroller more easy to spot will help with finding it if it has been moved.
  • If you have small children and don’t always want to take them out of the stroller when you or other family members have to use the restroom, I suggest looking for a family bathroom. These are often roomy enough to accommodate a stroller.
  • Put identifying information somewhere that is visible. Make sure that you put a cell phone number on your stroller in case another family takes it accidentally. The luggage tags that Disney sends to visitors staying on Disney property are great for this!
  • Decorate your stroller! Make it fun. Put pictures of Disney characters on the inside/outside of the canopy, cover the seat with Disney fabric, or add a Disney character pillow. Make it a family activity before you leave for your magical vacation. This will definitely help with being able to identify your personal stroller, but will also with your family’s growing excitement about their vacation!

Transporting strollers to and from the parks can often be a challenge as well. Here’s how to make it easier:

  • Strollers do not have to be folded on the monorail systems. Families can fold them if they want to, but strollers may remain unfolded. However, as a courtesy during peak travel times when the monorail is crowded, take pity on your fellow passengers and fold it up.
  • Strollers do have be folded to ride a Disney bus or a parking lot tram (in both Disneyland and Disney World). This can often be difficult when you have children and packages. However, it is mandatory for safety and space that you fold these up before you get on the bus or tram.
  • Folding up the stroller for bus transportation can be difficult, especially if you are using the space below the stroller for personal items. My family places all like items in a large plastic storage bag (for instance all snacks, extra clothes, Disney items, etc.). This helps with being able to get to what is needed quickly, but it also helps for folding up the stroller. We also take either a foldable bag or a reusable bag (like those with Disney characters sold at the parks and at the stores). We place all of the items, already in clear plastic bags, in these reusable bags while we are on the bus. We keep these items in the larger reusable bag through security as well to make it faster. Once inside the park, we tuck the items below the stroller along with the bag.

Stroller etiquette is also needed while in the parks. Often the parks are crowded and it is difficult to move a stroller through the crowds. This can cause harsh words from one tired family to the next. Keep the following in mind as you stroll through WDW:

  • Try not to stop in the middle of a walkway. There are occasions where this is necessary (like when a favorite stuffed animal is dropped), but it is better for everyone if those who are stopping, especially with strollers, move to the side to let the other families go by.
  • Make sure the space that you are using is large enough for your stroller. I have seen many occasions where visitors’ feet and other items have been run over or into because someone moving the stroller was in a big hurry and tried to move around everyone else.
  • If you move a stroller to get yours out of a place, put the other stroller back.

Often families with older children, debate if they should use a stroller in the park. Many times a child can walk a long way, but it is important to keep in mind that often visitors to the WDW parks walk 5 miles or more a day! If you find that you need a stroller while in the parks and did not bring one from home, there are some options.

Single and double strollers can be rented at each Walt Disney World park, The strollers in the parks do not recline and the canopy is stationary. These strollers also have no bags or baskets for personal items or purchases. They also look the same as the other rented strollers and can often be hard to spot in a crowd of strollers. Each stroller does come with a small family banner that is on the back of the stroller. Currently, a single stroller rental is $15 per day and a double stroller is $31 per day. If you choose a length of stay option, you pay once at a reduced cost of $13 per day for a single or $27 per day for a double.

There are however, some advantages to renting strollers in the parks. The strollers are rented at the front gate and returned there as well. This alleviates the need to take your rented stroller on Disney transportation. The strollers are also more weather-proof than a personal stroller might be and older children might fit more easily into these strollers than other smaller ones.

There are also options for rental strollers in the Orlando area. These can be found by doing a web search for “Orlando stroller rental.” Two companies that Magically Speaking has had good experience with are Orlando Stroller Rental or Magic Strollers.

These offsite rentals are often convenient as the strollers are brought to your hotel on your first day and picked up at the hotel on the last day. You can rent all types of strollers so you would be able to find one that fits your family’s needs. The prices for these can be expensive, but for some families this is the best choice. These strollers are more like the ones that you might bring from home so they often have baskets and bags for personal items and purchases.

There is also the option of buying a stroller once that you arrive at the parks or hotels. This can be a costly option as well especially if you are only using it for your vacation in the parks. However, many families feel this is the best option for them and purchase a stroller in their hotel lobby upon arrival. You can even arrange to donate your stroller to Give Kids the World at the end of your stay (e-mail us at info@magically-speaking.com to set this up.)

Whichever you choose, to bring, rent, or buy, having a stroller in WDW can make the experience for a family and children much more enjoyable, both for the stroller’s passenger and driver!

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