You see it over and over again on Disney forums across the internet. The dreaded s-word. STROLLERS!!! It strikes fear in the hearts (and ankles) of pedestrians all over the theme parks. But are they so bad? I know we were sad to see ours stay home, but something tells me the eight year-old wouldn’t go for it.
Strollers: convenient parental aid or vicious battering ram? You decide!
Let me start by saying that having our own stroller on the first couple of trips with the kiddos was invaluable. My boy could fall asleep anywhere, and we were definitely able to stretch some park days because he was happy as a clam catching a few ZZZs in his Peg Perego (with full recline!). Our stroller also happened to have a footboard on the back so my niece could hitch a ride, as well. Definitely made better time heading to Toy Story Mania without having to hold back for short legs.
At that age, the kids also had a couple of costume changes during the day, and it was nice to have a place to store my niece’s glitter covered princess dresses when the itch factor got to be too much on a warm Magic Kingdom afternoon. The storage also came in handy for a small cooler packed with water and juice boxes. We saved lots on bottled beverages during the stroller years.
Transportation was pretty hit and miss. While it was nice to roll onto the monorail and some boats, having to unpack and fold up the strollers to hop a bus or parking lot tram was kind of pain especially when the kid was still sleeping in it. Much harder to fold that way. 😉 We did get a little system going, but it was a chore.
Stroller parking. I appreciate the stroller parking, I really do, but the constant reorganizing of some of the busier areas (which I completely understand) could mean a slightly panicked few minutes trying to find your stroller in a sea of P3s and Jeep Doubles.
Get Park Wise: Do something to make your stroller stand out from the crowd. Flashing lights, hot pink zebra duct tape, your very own Jolly Roger. Something that lets you know “Hey, that’s my ride!” when you’re scanning Fantasyland for your buggy.
To Bring or to Rent?
We always brought our own stroller for several reasons. First of all, I already paid for it. I didn’t want to shell out the cost of a new stroller when I already owned one (or three…I was a stroller addict even though my little walker didn’t use one often past the age of about 18 months). It was also a great convenience having our stroller at the airport. We could hang our carry-ons off the back, throw one kid in the seat, a niece on the footboard, and off we went to our connecting flight. Finally, it was great at the end of a long park day not to have to carry the dead weight of a sleeping child back to the room.
However, if you have older kiddos, renting may be the way to go. They may or may not even be into catching a ride once they hit the parks. If you don’t already have one and they won’t be using one at home, grabbing a stroller once you get to Disney is probably smart. I hear the strollers are very comfortable for the kids (well, to be honest, I’ve even seen some dads in them while waiting for parades), and they have a great big shade to keep them cool in the afternoons.
Get Park Wise: If you do decide to rent a stroller, ask about a length-of-stay rental from the parks or consider a local stroller rental company.
Stroller drivers, do not use your stroller as a weapon. Lots, maybe even the majority, of us park-goers have kids. Having one in a stroller does not make you king of the road. “Lady with a baby!” may get you special treatment at some locales, but Disney is not one of them. Even if you’re not intentionally bruising ankles, keep an eye out for those around you. And, remember when I said folding and unfolding strollers for transportation was kind of lame? Well, just suck it up and get it done before it’s time to load. Don’t make the entire tram/train/bus wait for you to pack up your stroller right before it’s time to board. And when it’s time to get off, move out of the way before you snap that bad boy open and start loading.
Non-stroller friends, please watch where you’re going, too. Stepping out in front of a stroller more or less guarantees a smack in the shin because those things don’t stop on a dime. Those of you cheaters who smoke outside of designated smoking areas, your ashes are right at eye level of stroller bound babies, so please be cautious. When waiting for the parade or fireworks, a stroller that you don’t own is not a spot to set your drink or something to lean against.
Let’s just all practice being aware of our surroundings, and strollers and walkers can all live in magical harmony.
What are your stroller sentiments? Have you used one at the parks? Do you run screaming in the other direction when one’s coming at you?