The Great Disney Stroller Debate

Written by Jessica Ma'ilo. Posted in Disney, Disney Parks, Features, Park Wise

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Published on August 08, 2013 at 1:00 am with 100 Comments

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!

Pros

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.

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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.

Cons

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.

The ridiculous amount of things hanging from our stroller made it easy to spot!

The ridiculous amount of things hanging from our stroller made it easy to spot!

 

ŸGet 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.

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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.

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ŸGet 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 Etiquette

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.

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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?

About Jessica Ma'ilo

Jessica is a special education teacher by day and blogger and Fairy Godmother Travel agent by evening. When not supervising play dates or sleepovers, she can be found creating, sewing or singing. She loves hitting the Disney Parks, and she and her family escape to the World and Land as often as they can. She can be contacted at [email protected], and you can also check out her family blog, Magic, Memories, Mayhem.

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  • daliseurat

    The issue gets ugly because people don’t like to admit that maybe they are one of those who utilize a stroller when they really don’t NEED one and get defensive. And on the other side, people who just complain about it without admitting that, yes, some people really DO need that stroller, or the dreaded double stroller. I don;t like them period, and I used one only when me child was around 2 and not even much then. I find ways to navigate around the everyone’s stroller, but when people use it as a battering ram or block pathways when they don’t need to or try to take up extra space saving a place, I stop and say something. Here’s a tip to all stroller users…when you are at a parade, or other show with your stroller…take down that helium balloon that is attached to the handle because it blocks the view of everyone behind you. And for those who aren’t using a stroller and feel the need to shout obscenities at a stroller user, stop. Children don’t need to hear it. And it’s just going to ruin everyone’s day.

    • http://magicmemoriesmayhem.com Jessica Ma’ilo

      Nobody needs those horrible doubles. ;)

      I agree with your thoughts totally on this one! Whether the stroller debate is on the boards or in the parks, it would be much more productive if each “side” were more aware of how they were coming across and adjusted accordingly.

  • StevenW

    Stop with the do’s and don’ts of stroller etiquette. It doesn’t matter. People will still complain and it doesn’t change the situation. If you don’t like strollers, Disneyland is not the place to visit.

    It’s sort of like complaining about Bug’s Land especially when they don’t visit. They want it to be removed for something else. Perhaps Bug’s Land is needed to keep the strollers out of your way. If you visit Disneyland and you don’t like strollers, perhaps you’re at the wrong place, and it is likely that you were introduced to the park when you were the kid in the stroller. How we quickly forget.

    Disneyland has done an excellent job of directing traffic and they have adequately addressed stroller parking. The gripe about a stroller being too big is equivalent to someone having too much time on their hands. They ought to stop letting these things bother them.

  • Tigger1134

    I agree on the stroller situation. They keep getting bigger and bigger. About a month ago I saw someone trying to take a double wide stroller into the restroom. There was a woman in an ECV trying to get out as she was coming in. Seriously? I promptly left and went to use other facilities. Please, leave strollers outside the restrooms whenever possible.

    I also have issues with people getting strollers for kids who are way too old to need one. Why does a 7 or 8 year old need a stroller? If your kid that age can’t walk around the whole day, please take them back to the hotel or home for a nap! It’s not fair to your kid or to everyone else. And if you have too much stuff to carry around – get a locker!

    My final pet peeve about a strollers is in Tomorrowland. Was it really a good idea to put the Astro Orbiter on the ground, block the entrance to the area with large rocks that serve no purpose and conveniently put stroller parking right behind this blockage? Ever tried to get through there during parade time on a busy day? I hope they fix this with the upcoming changes.

  • MikeT1975

    Why do I still see this for my post? “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    • http://magicmemoriesmayhem.com Jessica Ma’ilo

      I think all the links in your comment had it flagged for spam/advertisement.

  • Bugbealady2nite

    Unfortunately, there will always be rude people. It is even more unfortunate the role model they are providing for their children who will undoubtedly continue the cycle of rudeness.

    I think Disneyland has done a great job handling the stroller population in the park, there are some that are pretty monstrous looking. We used our own stroller for our son (he was 18 months his first trip, then 3, then 5), he was rarely in it, but when he was tired, it was a nice place to rest where he could lay down. By the time he was 5 we no longer had a stroller so we rented one in the park, it would have been cheaper to buy one (they were $15 a day, we were there for 5 days) for the occasion and keep it on hand at home until he was too big.

    I also believe that Disney likes the use of strollers and won’t dictate size until it is absolutely necessary. When you have a stroller, you are able to stay in the park longer and thus spend more money. That’s another unfortunate situation; the transformation of Walt Disney’s dream into a profit driven machine. But, that’s a whole other topic.

    • http://magicmemoriesmayhem.com Jessica Ma’ilo

      You’re so right on that last note. As long as the strollers are in tow, the wallets are, too.