I know that I frequently mention that Guru Jenn is a genius…but here she is again. I am just going to change her name from Guru Jenn to Disney Genius Jenn…lol. Enjoy this HIGHLY informative article by Guru Jenn aka DisSavvy.
No trip to Walt Disney World with children would be complete without a stroller. As discussed last week, there is a LOT of walking involved in a trip to Disney and if YOU are going to be tired, your kids are going to be more tired. Be prepared to hear “I’m tired of walking” and not just from your spouse!
So now we begin the discussion on strollers. Let’s talk ages.
4 and under – stroller is a requirement
5-7 – your preference
over 8 – you’re walking kid!
There you go, all you need to know about strollers! Yeah right, if you have read anything I’ve written, you know a lot goes into every decision regarding a Disney vacation. SO here’s what to consider about strollers.
Don’t bring one of those huge travel systems – EVER. They are too big and cumbersome for a Disney trip. “But Guru Jenn, it holds everything I need and has a hook up for my ipod and three drink holders and -” Stop right there. I will explain my anti-travel system rule. (Mind you, I had an amazing travel system set and used it at home for both girls).
Let’s imagine. . .family of four departing for the day at the Magic Kingdom. Let’s say you pack up the car and drive in. You get your parking spot in the lot and unload the car. Mom sets everything perfectly in the huge travel system and they’re off for the day. Since they are far from the entrance, they board one of these. .
But wait…in order to board, you have to fold your stroller. Take out child, take out bags, take out coffee cup. Balance precariously while folding up huge travel system while tram horn is honking and cast member is making final boarding call. Spill coffee, swear loudly and shove everyone and everything into tram and avoid eye contact for rest of ride from embarrassment.
Let’s say you are staying at Port Orleans and will be making use of the bus transportation system.
As the shampoo directions read lather, rinse, repeat..so shall you be as the bus approaches and you have to unpack and fold up for the ride. Not to mention that now you’re concerns are if there is space in the bus (especially if you leave the park at close and you’re packed in like sardines, now you have a 50 pound piece of plastic on your lap AND a sleeping child).
Then of course, I’m not even mentioning boat transportation or monorails. If there is space on board the Ferry and Friendships and Monorail, you can keep your stroller open. On smaller watercraft, you’ll be doing the unload-fold process still.
So how about renting a stroller from the parks? I actually am NOT a fan. First of all, they are expensive of course. Secondly, you can only use the strollers IN the parks. You rent inside and have to return it before you exit. Older children shouldn’t have a problem with this. However, I have heard the complaint that if your child crashes out as you are leaving, you have to make that transfer out of the stroller. To transport back to your hotel you’re going to have to transfer BUT if there is a line for transportation, you get that extra time for your kiddo to sleep uninterrupted until your bus/tram/monorail/boat arrives.
What about bringing your own that ISN’T a huge travel system? Awesome idea. I actually had two strollers.
I liked that this one was really small. Katybug liked the taste of the straps. What I didn’t like – no storage bag of ANY kind. I’m tall but the handles on this stroller were short so it wasn’t comfortable.
When Allygator came along, I upgraded to something middle of the road.
This one has a few whistles – small storage area, reclines, light and high handles. This photo doesn’t do it justice, but Katybug could ride in it in a pinch as well.
What about independent stroller rental companies? I LOVE the idea. If we flew, we would do it. I am not endorsing any particular company, but here are the perks. They are a name brand stroller in amazing condition. The stroller comes in single or double. The stroller is delivered to your resort and you have use of it the ENTIRE length of your stay. It’s a reasonable fee. One site I looked at had a single for 1-3 days for $40 total. Sounds fair to me. Downside – if it’s stolen, there’s a HUGE fee for it. But, they come with a removable back wheel as a stroller lock to prevent stealing. So I don’t see a downside!
Part two of the stroller debate. I suggest NOT using a stroller in the Magic Kingdom. You read it correctly. Do not use a stroller in the Magic Kingdom. This is a frequent site in said park:
The famous stroller parking lot! While these exist in every park, they seem to be most prevalent in the Magic Kingdom. Here’s the thing about the MK. Every few feet you’re going to find something to do. Even when walking down Main Street, there are shops and photo opportunities. Once in a themed land, you’re going to be attraction hopping. I guarantee you that you will feel like you spent all day parking and retrieving your stroller.
The best is when you park it in one spot and the helpful cast members come along and “straighten” the rows and move your stroller to another area. After you’ve gotten over your freak out over possibly having your stroller stolen, you’ll curse yourself for losing time searching for it.
My solution with babies was to wear them. I had a sling that I used with Katybug until she was almost 3 and Allygator for her first year. I LOVE carriers in general. I suggest if you are using a more complicated wrap to refrain from a back carry so you’re not constantly unwrapping and wrapping your child up.
And of course, as your children get older, you can walk with them.
I have used a harness on my youngest. This is a point of contention among vacationers. “It’s a leash, your child is NOT a dog. Just hold her hand.” I thought this way too. My brother used a leash of sorts when he was young and I didn’t like it then. My first born is a clinger so I thought harnesses were nuts. My oldest would hold my hand. Check out Guru Kelly’s article titled: To Leash or Not to Leash.
Allygator was the game changer. Allygator runs. EVERYWHERE. When we visit the parks, we all spread around her like secret service agents, making a protective circle, while she runs through the parks. We can’t do that during busy times so we bought a pink poodle harness which she happily dons during busier times. I just recently found an old Mei Tei carrier that I’m going to try in the spring for Allygator.
The other parks are large in terms of space between attractions and entrances so I always use a stroller in EPCOT, Hollywood and Animal Kingdom.
So are you thoroughly confused? Don’t be. Here’s the synopsis:
1. Don’t bring a travel system.
2. Consider renting a stroller from an outside agency.
3. Try not to bring a stroller into the Magic Kingdom.
4. Use slings or other carriers with younger children.
Tune in next week for Stroller eitquette and security check points!