For parents of children at a certain age, strollers are a must at Disney World. It is impossible to make it through an entire day and cover miles and miles of land without one. Some insist on making sure that they bring the one they are comfortable with, while others do not want to handle the stroller situation along with all the other stresses associated with travel.
Fortunately, at Disney World, renting or bringing a stroller into the park is both acceptable. There are pros and cons to each solution, which means there is no blanket answer.
Why a stroller is essential
An average trip to any of the parks at Disney World means about 8 to 10 miles of walking on average. Factor in the central Florida weather, and it can be an extremely tiring day for anyone. Adults have to take breaks, so of course, younger kids will need some rest from time to time.
Some kids are very against using the stroller at the beginning of the day, but they come around once they start to tire out. Not only does it take the stress off legs, but most strollers will provide a solid amount of coverage from the sun to cool things down a bit.
Parents with younger children that go without having any stroller are just asking for problems. It puts more stress on the parents as they try to deal with their own struggles. It takes a toll on adults having to walk so much during a long day, and it is a stress issue overall.
What are the advantages of bringing a stroller?
If possible, the majority of people will end up bringing their own stroller. It makes the most sense not only when visiting Disney, but going to other places in Central Florida as well. Instead of having to rent all the time and factor that into the budget, having the stroller for every stop helps.
An understanding of how it works
Even the most high-end rentals are still going to be different than what a person is used to, and it is never fun having to fight with a stroller when trying to move around all over the park. All sorts of adjustments can be necessary when using a stroller, and having to do that again with any rental is frustrating.
Easier life outside of the park
Having a stroller that does not need returned before leaving the park can help in so many different ways. Some people have strollers with a removable car seat, making it much easier to pack up and go home. There is always a return station for any of these rented strollers, which means that the final leg of getting back to the car or other form of transportation can be a little tricky.
Yes, taking a stroller on vacation is going to cost more money than leaving it at home. There is a fee on an airplane, but that can be small compared to the amount of money a person spends on a rental.
Rentals add up quickly at Disney, and there is no super cheap option to go pick instead. Since it never is a truly permanent solution, there is not the opportunity to store anything in the stroller either.
There are some extended rental options available from third parties targeting vacationers, but that is not a very cheap option. The rentals also must be treated very well to avoid any additional charges once returned.
People are paying more attention than ever to general cleanliness when using anything at the parks. No matter how many times a rental is cleaned off and prepared for the next person, there is always a little bit of doubt on the thoroughness. Bringing a stroller from home ensures that just one person has used that stroller, and it can be as clean as a person wants it.
Kids have plenty of germ exposure at Disney as-is, so cutting down on exposure with a personal stroller certainly helps prevent going home with a cold.
There are pretty standard sizes with a stroller rented out while at Disney World. It might not cater to a person’s specific needs, and that is going to be an issue over a long day.
A stroller can be extremely comfortable for a two-year-old, and absolutely dreadful for a three-year-old. Instead of playing the guessing game, most people have already spent money on a stroller that they know works.
The same goes for overall protection. There needs to be some sort of overhang with the stroller, but not to the point that it overheats the child inside. There is a chance that a rental does not offer the same type of coverage that is necessary for a specific size child. Assuming that always have multiple options to choose from is a big risk before scheduling a trip to Disney.
What are the advantages of renting?
There is a reason why there are so many rental companies serving Disney visitors in some capacity. People have their reasons why they never bring their own stroller, and the competition keeps prices down. There are some reasons why renting makes sense, and dismissing the notion makes no sense.
Not everyone is going to Disney for a long vacation. Locals in Florida will plan shorter visits to the parks, and it might not make as much sense to bring a stroller in that regard.
Showing up to use a rental just one day will not cost all that much, and that ends up making a decent amount of sense.
Most strollers are acceptable at Disney, but they do have some restrictions. For example, there are no traditional pull wagons allowed at Disney. They also need to be a certain size, and they are subject to inspection if a security team member thinks there is something wrong.
Renting a stroller once in Disney makes a lot more sense if it may seem like a stroller is not going to be accepted.
No risk of damage/theft to expensive strollers
It is not exactly easy for a visitor to steal a stroller and get away with it, but it does happen on occasion. By renting instead of bringing a very expensive stroller to the park, a person does not run that risk. Everything is protected if it is a rental, so it takes some of the stress away for those who don’t want to leave it unattended for too long.
Damage is inevitable for any stroller that is used a lot, but an intense trip at Disney can certainly speed up the process. If the usual stroller is just too expensive, it might be better to keep it in a safe place.
Is it worth buying a stroller upon arrival?
A third option that might make sense for some travelers is to go ahead and buy a stroller once they arrive in Central Florida. This is usually recommended to people who plan on staying for a while, allowing them to cut down costs that start to pile up from renting. International travelers will use this tip as a way to avoid too many fees on longer flights.
Buying upon arrival likely will lead to a bit of an overpay, but there are some local places to shop that have competitive prices. There is also the opportunity to purchase a stroller online and have it shipped to the hotel or rental.
People save money because they only have to pay for the return trip if they take it with them. There is also the option of trying to sell it before leaving, although that can put some people in a rush situation.
Common questions people have about strollers at Disney World
Still have questions about anything stroller-related before packing up for Disney? Guests are still a little bit unsure about what to do before and during a trip to Disney World with their stroller. Knowing as much as possible beforehand can make life a lot easier.
What are the parking restrictions for strollers?
Every Disney park has designated stroller parking that they enforce pretty heavily. The goal is to keep everything as orderly as possible, and not to disrupt everyone else who is visiting the park.
Cast members do reprimand some people for putting a stroller elsewhere that blocks traffic. However, they usually will move them at the very least and treat the first time as an honest mistake. If for some reason the stroller is gone, ask someone nearby where stranded strollers go.
What happens if a stroller is missing or stolen?
The first thought is to assume the best, and that is covered a bit above. It very well could have just been moved by a cast member, and they will be able to show the visitor exactly where it is.
Another common issue is that no one actually stole the stroller, but mistakenly taken by someone else. There are only so many different types of strollers out there, and they can all start to blend together if there is a pack.
If it is neither of those two things, reaching out to a cast member and tell them the situation can at least put everyone on the lookout for a stroller that might be missing. It is very hard to steal a stroller and get away with it at Disney World, especially once inside a park. They are most vulnerable near parking lots, as it makes for an easier getaway.
Do Disney stroller rentals fit any type of children?
An issue that a lot of people run into with rentals at Disney is that most designs cater towards older kids. They are mostly for those who can sit up straight and have a little bit more body control. The lap belt is decent at keeping a child in place, but there is no harness for kids to stay locked in.
While it is possible to use these strollers with infants and very young children, most do not recommend it. Explore alternative options before sticking with a rented stroller.
What is the general etiquette with strollers?
Most people at Disney are pretty understanding about families moving around with a stroller. Areas are spread out enough that even on busy days, strollers do not get in the way nearly as much as some other locations.
When walking in crowded areas, stay to the right-hand side of the walkway. Keeping in the flow of traffic is going to cut down on the chances of any complications. This is a must for people who do not want to cause any issues with other guests at Disney World.
Yield to pedestrians that might be cutting through or simply not spotting a stroller at first. When there are a lot of people around, a stroller can blend in until a person is right in front of it.
In limited space like during parades, do not take up a lot of unneeded space with the stroller. Is recommended to park the stroller someplace else, and then move up towards the front of the parade. Not only does this offer a potentially better viewing spot for everyone, but there will be no angry looks from others for not giving people space.
Are there rental opportunities for special needs?
Most of the rental places for strollers in Central Florida offer a few options for special needs. There should be no issues finding something specific, but at times, it can cost a little bit more money.
What if there are multiple young kids in a party?
Disney permits double strollers in all the parks, and there are even double stroller rentals to make life easier for parents. They are obviously a little bit more cumbersome to move around the park, but it is preferred over having two separate strollers.
Anything bigger than a double stroller is not permitted. Parents who have triplets, or even more kids in the party, will need to go with at least two different actual strollers. This restriction keeps the pathways as clear as possible.
Do the parks ever run out of strollers?
Parks can run out of strollers, but it rarely ever happens. This is because all the parks have a cap as far as how many people can be inside. They have years and years of data that shows just how many people are likely to rent, and they have more than enough for all scenarios.
They do tend to go a little faster on days with bad weather, as well as short holidays. Parents are looking to protect the kids as much as possible if it is incredibly sunny or bad weather might hit. During short vacations, people are more likely to leave their traditional stroller at home and go with a rental instead.
Renting has its advantages, but using a stroller people depend on all the time anyway just makes more sense. That initial cost is frustrating, but renting costs plenty of money as well.
Whether it is bringing a stroller, renting, or buying, there is no doubt that a Disney experience is that much better with a stroller ready to go at any moment. It can not only save a child from having to call it early due to being tired, but it can be a perfect spot for storing other items accumulated throughout the day. Strollers make a lot of sense to make the Disney experience overall that much more enjoyable for families.