If you have a baby or toddler, a stroller is a must on a Walt Disney World vacation. Walking around the parks is enough to wear out even an in-shape adult, so it is definitely too much for little ones. All the stroller options, however, can seem overwhelming. Is it better to bring your own stroller from home, rent one from Disney, or rent one from a third-party off-site company? What should you do if you have two or more children of stroller age? Are some stroller designs better than others?
As a mom who has visited Disney parks on numerous occasions with babies and toddlers, I can attest that there is no right answer for everyone. I have learned, however, that there are a number of guidelines to follow to help you make the right stroller choice.
What Are the Stroller Choices?
1. Bringing Your Own
Bringing your own tried and true stroller from home is a choice that many families make. You know how all the features work and will not have to waste time learning something new. Parents can also choose the kind of model they like most – umbrella, jogging style, double stroller, sit-n-stand, etc. In addition, having your own stroller means you can take it anywhere – parks, hotels, off-property, and more. Plus, if you are flying to Orlando, you may find a stroller helpful for navigating large airports with young kids.
2. Renting from Disney Parks
Disney rents strollers in every park location and in Disney Springs. Many families opt for the ease of having a stroller when they need it without the logistics of bringing one with them. Disney charges $15 per day for single strollers ($13 per day for a multi-day rental for length of stay) and $31 per day for double strollers ($27 per day for a multi-day rental for length of stay).
These strollers have to remain in the parks and at Disney Springs, however, so they aren’t available for long walks through your hotel, on Disney transit, or for exploring off-property locations. Sometimes getting a stroller means a bit of a wait at the beginning of the day when your kids are ready to hit the rides. For that reason, it can be a logistical hassle on busy days.
3. Renting from a Third Party Company
Renting from a third party company gives families the flexibility of taking a stroller anywhere (including outside the parks) without the hassle of transporting the stroller to and from Orlando. Rental prices are roughly the same price as Disney park stroller rentals, but vary between companies and models chosen. The stroller is delivered to your Disney resort hotel for pickup so it doesn’t require many logistics for travelers.
Most third parties companies rent mainly jogging style, three-wheel strollers that have ample storage and large sunshades. The challenge may be that these are bigger than a standard umbrella stroller and take up more space when folded (especially the double stroller models) when trying to hop aboard Disney transportation.
4. Buying a New Stroller in Orlando
Although the vast majority of Disney guests bring or rent, the option of buying a new one at your Disney destination is a fourth choice not to overlook. You can buy one at a local discount store if you plan a trip to stock up on supplies and groceries. Some Disney stores on-property even have an umbrella model for purchase. Or you can always ship an inexpensive stroller to your Disney hotel (Walt Disney World resort hotels charge $5 for package delivery) and then either take it home, ditch it when you are done, or pass it along to another family.
Other Things to Consider When Selecting a Stroller for Walt Disney World
I’ve learned from many trips to Walt Disney World that there is no right answer as to which stroller is best. Different families have different preferences and needs. Here’s what I think are the most important factors when it comes to the stroller decision.
1. Park Touring Habits
Are you a one-park-per-day family or a park-hop-til-you-drop one? Do you go to the park from rope drop to close, or are your visits just a few hours per day? Your park touring habits definitely affect your stroller needs. If you like to tour parks quickly and nimbly while dodging crowds, bringing your own lightweight umbrella stroller is often the best choice. If you go all day and let your child nap on the go, the comfort of a nice jogging stroller with a good sunshade from a rental company might serve you best. If you plan to spend your Disney vacation with lots of time by your hotel’s pool and at the Disney water parks, a Disney rental only when you need it in the parks may make more sense.
2. Age of Your Children
Whether a particular stroller solution will work for your family often depends on the age and stage of your kids. With young babies, having your own stroller for familiarity and naps is usually the smartest solution. Disney strollers aren’t really ideal for infants, as they are unpadded and really meant for children who can sit up unassisted. If your child is under 12 months, I’d bring your own or at least rent from a third party company who can give you a more baby-friendly model.
For older kids, however, renting a stroller from Disney only when you need it may be the better option. My older child could walk around the parks all day just fine around her 5th birthday but it was nice to know we had the fallback option of a Disney stroller in an emergency.
3. What Transportation You Plan to Use
How you will get around Walt Disney World can inform your stroller choice. If you stay at a resort served only by buses, think about how you will best fold up a stroller with a babe in arms. An umbrella stroller you bring or buy may be easier to juggle than a large jogging stroller. If you plan to have a rental car or use the monorail where you won’t need to fold a stroller, a larger jogging stroller (either a rental or your own) may be perfectly fine.
Of course, cost is often the final consideration. For families on a strict budget, the cheapest choice is always going to be bringing something you already own. Even if you are flying to Disney, airlines do not charge extra for checking a stroller, so there is no cost associated with bringing your own. If you don’t want to bring yours, however, know that buying a new stroller (for longer trips) may work out to be cheaper than renting one.