I know, I know. The words that can strike fear in the hearts (and ankles!) of park-goers everywhere. Strollers!!! But here’s the deal, if you’re frequenting an extremely child-friendly destination such as the Disney Parks, they’re gonna be there. So, let’s save the admonishments for another day (in fact, we’ve already had that battle here on Park Wise). Today we focus on how to make the stroller set a little wiser at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

Stroller survival guide.

To Rent or Not to Rent

This has got to be the number one question I get from guests taking young children to the parks. Should we rent or bring our own? While the parks do offer strollers for rent, I always suggest taking your own buggy. While the Disney variety are tried and true and can easily stand up to the abuse of a day in the parks, you have to leave them at the parks. That means when you get back to your home away from home, someone’s stuck carrying a sleeping, limp noodle, dead weight kid back to the room. Not the way I want to end my day.

• Get Park Wise: Don’t have a stroller anymore or don’t want to deal with packing one? Outside companies near both Disneyland and Walt Disney World offer stroller rentals giving you the rental option but still allowing the luxury of use outside the parks.

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He even slept through being marched down Main Street flanked by the band during the flag retreat!

What Type of Stroller?

Thinking of purchasing a stroller? Rental company have lots of options? Think of how you’ll be using your stroller. Back in our stroller days, I went all out. Granted, this was partially because I was a stroller addict despite the fact that we didn’t use one for every day life past the age of one. My Pliko P3 was one of my favorite baby buys. Full recline, complete cover sun shade, huge storage basket, adjustable height handles and a foot board for an older kiddo on the back. Seriously, the perfect stroller. This allowed us to easily maneuver both kids down a crowded Main Street USA or gave one of the littles a chance to comfortable catch a few ZZZs (with adult supervision, of course) while we rode the thrillers.

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Maybe you’re just looking for a place for junior to rest his legs mid-day and a spot to hang your backpack. You can let the bells and whistles fall to the wayside and opt for a more simple option. Umbrella strollers can even be purchased at the resorts. I will say, as a girl of 5’10, an umbrella stroller would’ve absolutely killed my back, so be sure to take your comfort into account, as well, when you’re looking at models.

• Get Park Wise: More than one kiddo? I still say opt for single strollers. I bought a double before the kids’ first trip (told you I was a stroller addict!), but I decided to get rid of it knowing that, inevitably, the kids would end up wanting to go different places or one would poop out before the other. Two singles allowed us the freedom to split up while still having a stroller with us.

Stand Out in the Crowd

You’ve finally picked out the perfect stroller, and you’re ready to hit the parks. Guess what. Chances are a few dozen or more other parents thought it was the perfect stroller, too. Put on your crafty pants and make your stroller stand out from the rest. I’ve seen everything from simple ribbons around the handles to flashing lights and neon paint. We opted for patterned duct tape strategically placed. Whatever you do, make it easy to spot, and you’ll be glad when you emerge from it’s a small world and are searching in the sea of prams after yours has been rearranged.

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Practice Your Routine

Don’t be that family waiting until it’s time to hop on the bus or tram to unload your kid, unpack the basket and fold up your stroller. Give everyone a job (you hold the baby, you grab the bag, you fold the jogger) and be ready to roll when your transport arrives.

• Get Park Wise: Strollers can be left open at Walt Disney World on the monorail, ferries and Friendship boats.

Safety and Smarts

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When you leave an attraction to find a sea of strollers, it helps to have something easily identifiable on your buggy to help you find it in a jiffy.

You’re carrying precious cargo, so be sure to pay attention to your surroundings. It’s our job as grown-ups to make sure our littles our safe, not everyone else’s. Be aware of other guests in front you, as well as items that may be eye level to a stroller sitter.

When using the storage baskets or handles to tote your totes, remember that although you’re in Fantasyland, you’re surrounded by very real people. And some of those people may be very real criminals who know vacationers can travel with valuables. Never leave anything you can’t live without in your stroller unattended. Yes, that includes the kid.

What would you add to our stroller survival guide to the Disney parks?

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I look forward to hearing from you!