You've finally decided to take that Walt Disney World Resort family vacation. Your accommodations are booked, theme park tickets are purchased, reservations are made, transportation is sorted. Now it's time to start thinking about all the gear you will need for your vacation. Car seats, extra supplies, and the dreaded strollers. Yes, you will likely need a stroller on your vacation, even if your young children don't normally use one at home.
Many parents wonder if their younger children will need a stroller while visiting the Disney theme parks and my answer is always a resounding YES!!! Even if your child is capable of walking, there will come a point in the day where their little legs will be so tired and you will end up carrying them. If you've never visited a Walt Disney World theme park, it can be exhausting, especially if you are there all day and trying to fit as much into your visit as possible. Most adults are exhausted after a day at the theme parks so imagine how a child is going to feel. The average guest at a Disney theme park walks 7-10 miles per day, and if you are doing that multiple days during your trip you will have a recipe for some very tired kids. My youngest daughter is still young enough for a stroller at the parks, and my soon to be 9 year old still thinks she occasionally needs one. I don't anticipate she will utilize a stroller often but I want to have one if she needs a break or wants to have a quick nap. You would be surprised at the places children will nap at the theme parks; after all, there is no tired like Disney tired.
Once you've decided that your child(ren) will need a stroller, the next decision is whether to bring your own, rent a stroller at the theme parks daily, or rent from an offsite rental company. There is no right or wrong answer here but there are a few things to consider.
Bringing Your Own Stroller
The most obvious advantage to bringing your own stroller is that there is no additional cost as it is something you already own. This is advantageous in itself as vacations aren't cheap and any way to save a few dollars is a welcome reprieve for most people. It's also great to have your own stroller that you and your children are familiar with. Assembly will be quick and it will be easy to fold when using onsite transportation because you already know how it works. Bringing your own stroller also gives your kids a familiar place to rest throughout the day. Additionally, using your own stroller means you won't have to return it on your way out of the park and end up carrying sleeping children while waiting for transportation (which can take quite some time depending on how busy it is). There are also disadvantages and factors to consider when bringing your own stroller. You will have to fold it on Disney buses and the Skyliner Gondolas (if it is a side by side double stroller) and this will likely require that you remove all of your gear from the stroller. This doesn't sound so bad until you are juggling sleeping children, folding a stroller, all of your gear, and crowds. You will also have to ensure your stroller fits within Disney's guidelines as they have restrictions on the size of strollers that can be used in the parks. Please note: wagons of any kind are not permitted at the theme parks, not even stroller wagons. The only exception to this rule is when the wagon is given a medical exception which requires a visit to Guest Services and obtaining a blue medical stroller tag.
Renting a Theme Park Stroller
Renting a stroller from the theme parks is convenient for families who want the ease of picking up and dropping it off at the beginning and end of each day. You simply pick one up as you enter the theme park, and drop it off at the same location when exiting at the end of your day. You won't have use of the stroller for anything outside of the parks but this is perfectly fine for some families, especially if you are staying onsite and don't want to store it in your hotel room.
Renting From An Offsite Company
If it fits your budget, renting from an offsite rental company is a great solution. You have the convenience of a comfortable stroller that has storage, something that you can take outside of the parks with you but you don't have to worry about it while navigating the airports. You don't even have to worry about picking up or dropping your stroller off, these companies will deliver directly to you and some even have locations at Orlando International Airport that allow you to grab your stroller when you land and drop it off prior to departure.
If you are staying a Walt Disney World Disney resort, it is important to know that you are required to meet most stroller delivery drivers in person for delivery and pick up. This is a policy change that occurred in 2019 but the stroller companies are incredibly organized and have various time frames to choose from.
Another benefit to renting a stroller is that the rental companies have done their due diligence and only provide strollers that fit within Disney's stroller measurement guidelines. When you rent from one of these companies you will never have to guess if your stroller will be turned away at the gate.
For a nominal fee you can also purchase insurance and accessories for your stroller rental.
There are many different stroller rental companies in the Orlando area but my tried and true company is Kingdom Strollers. Their prices are reasonable, they offer airport pickup and drop-off in addition to delivery in the Orlando/ Kissimmee area, and their customer service is top-notch.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to renting or bringing your own stroller to a theme park. It is simply a matter of preference and what works best for you and your children. Whichever option you choose, just make sure that you and your children are comfortable and able to enjoy your vacation!
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