By Lyndsey Wells
To bring a stroller, or not to bring a stroller…that is the question on moms’ minds everywhere when there’s a Disney trip coming up. Even if your kiddo doesn’t usually ride in a stroller at home, traipsing miles through theme parks is a different story and it’s easy to wonder if you’ll need one – and, with recently changed guidelines on appropriate strollers, you might question whether your stroller will make the cut.
Below, we outline the most important reasons to bring a stroller along on your next Disney parks vacation – and go over everything you need to know whether you’re renting or bringing your own.
Whether you’re headed to Disneyland or Walt Disney World, here are 5 reasons you might want a stroller with you:
1. Little legs! By the end of a 12-hour park day, even the most energetic of children are ready for a rest. My 9 year old has even been known to take a spin in his toddler brother’s stroller on our way-past-bedtime walk back to the hotel! If you have a child 5 or under, I’d recommend that you bring a stroller – even if they’re excited and willing to walk all day, sometimes it’s nice to be able to strap them in and keep them contained while you walk long distances or cut through busy crowds.
2. Storage space. Kids are only half the reason to bring a stroller with you – because a stroller’s storage space is gold for a day at Disney! Save yourself the trouble of renting a locker and corral your gear, sweatshirts and souvenirs in the stroller instead.
3. Extra seating. It’s always nice to have a special spot for littles when it’s time to eat! Quick service restaurants throughout the park have plenty of comfortable seating, but you won’t have to worry about setting up a high chair or booster if you can pull the stroller right up to the table. I also like to give my kids a snack or a treat (I’m looking at you, churros) when they’re chilling out in the stroller so we can walk from place to place or take a break without them trying to run free.
4. Mobile naptime. Again, even if this isn’t something your kiddo usually does at home, never underestimate the energy crash that comes with the adrenaline rush, overstimulation, late bedtimes and different time zones you encounter on vacation. I’ve seen young kids zonked out in their strollers, sleeping away the late afternoon or waiting for fireworks to begin – it’s nice to be able to give them a place to nap on the go.
5. Great for parades. I always love having a stroller at Disney parks because it gives you more volume to stake out a spot for your family at parades, dance parties or fireworks. It’s also nice to give the little kids a higher, better view when you’ll be sitting on the sidewalk.
If you DO decide to use a stroller at Disneyland or Walt Disney World, keep these guidelines in mind:
· If you’re bringing your own stroller, make sure it’s no bigger than 31” wide and 52” in length – that’s the maximum size allowance for Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Stroller wagons are not permitted.
· If you’d rather rent a stroller, it’s $15/day. At Disneyland, pick yours up outside the main entrance (next to the kennels) – you can also rent a double stroller for $35/day. At Walt Disney World, each park entrance (and Disney Springs) has a stroller rental area, and you’ll save a couple bucks by paying for a multi-day reservation. They also have double strollers for $31/day. Disney World rental strollers cannot be taken out of the park you rent it at, so you can’t take it back to your hotel or Resort.
· You can find great deals on stroller rentals from outside vendors, who will deliver & pick up strollers right from your Resort! Ask your ConciEAR for prices on that – we work with a few trusted vendors and will be happy to recommend them and even arrange the rental for you!
· Keep in mind that strollers aren’t allowed on Disney park escalators, and you have to fold it up to ride on trams and monorails.
· There are plenty of ramps, elevators and ways to get around with a stroller! Ask a Cast Member if you’re having trouble getting somewhere, but for the most part it’s easy to get around.
· Do NOT use a stroller lock. Cast members occasionally need to move strollers around due to crowd flow and other operational needs, and if your stroller is locked they will be forced to cut the lock.
Here’s my best plan of attack for bringing a stroller to Disney parks. Before you leave for the day, pack your gear in two separate bags. One bag is for sweatshirts and water bottles and other non-valuable things you might not need until later in the day; the other (smaller) bag or purse / backpack is for your wallet, keys, and other valuables. Load both of those in your stroller, strap in your kiddo, and you’re off!
If you’ll be riding a tram or monorail to the park, be prepared to pull both bags out and fold up your stroller for the ride. If you’re walking in, you’ll love the simplicity of having at least one less little person able to wander off.
Once you’re in the parks, head to your first ride of the day and park your stroller nearby – look for one central spot in the land. Leave the sweatshirt bag, take the valuables bag with you, and hop from ride to ride before getting the stroller to walk to the next area and repeat. It's helpful to have the stroller close by, but not necessary to have it with you everywhere (especially since you can't bring them in line with you). Here’s a pro tip for you: Tie a brightly-colored ribbon to your stroller handle to make it easy to spot in a sea (literally, sometimes hundreds) of other strollers parked around yours.
By the time fireworks or the nighttime shows roll around, I guarantee you’ll be happy to have a stroller with you to corral all the gear and souvenirs, and haul your tired kiddos home for bed!