Tuesday, October 26, 2010

To Bring Your Own or Rent a Stroller

When traveling to Walt Disney World with children, I would like to say that a stroller is a must for children 5 and under. You have two options. You can choose to bring your own from home or rent one. If you don’t want to rent from Disney and you don’t want to bring your own, you can even rent them from off site companies, such as Kingdom Strollers. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. But in the end, as I have mentioned in my other articles, you know your child better than anyone and what works best for them.

I have always brought my own stroller. My son was only 14 months for his first trip. We wanted to have the stroller to get him through the airport, as well as be able to have a stroller he was familiar with and felt comfortable in. Because he wasn’t walking at the time, had we not brought our own, we would have had to carry him through the airport with all of our luggage. In addition, we would have had to carry him all over the hotel when walking back and forth to the food court, pool or gift shop. Being able to put him in the stroller and go made those quick trips much easier. We also loved having the stroller to walk all the way to the bus depot (we did not rent a car on that trip) from the park exit. At the end of a long day, we certainly didn’t need to be carrying a child from the park, to the bus, and to the hotel room.

For our last trip, we brought two strollers. Emily was ten months and wasn’t walking yet. We used the other stroller to alternate between Hayley (age 2 at the time) and Joey (age 3.5 at the time). Neither of them needed to be in a stroller all day, so it was nice that they both would use it when needed. Since we rented a car on that trip, it was convenient to have both strollers to get the children back to the car. Having your own stroller is also great if your child still naps. But, there is a disadvantage to bringing your own stroller. Depending on the size of your stroller and how full the bus is, getting on and off Disney transportation can be difficult. We always brought the umbrella stroller, which was quick to fold up and carry, but we have witnessed many people bringing their large strollers and try to cram it into an already full bus. Those large strollers are great if your child will nap in them, but otherwise, they can be very cumbersome. Personally for us, the advantages of bringing our own certainly outweigh the disadvantages, though I would highly recommend bringing an umbrella stroller or smaller stroller that can easily fold up and is easy to carry.

If you want to rent a stroller, you have two options. Your first choice is to rent directly from Disney. As with anything in Walt Disney World, the cost is expensive - $15 per day for a single stroller/$31 per day for a double stroller rental. There are discounts if you plan to rent for multiple days, though it only reduces single stroller prices to $13 per day/double strollers to $27. For a family with three children, we would have to rent a double stroller, which would be $184. To put that into perspective, I purchased a nice umbrella stroller at Wal-Mart for $15, the price of a single day rental. I not only used it the entire week in Disney, but am still using it a year later! Another disadvantage of Disney strollers is that strollers are on a first come first serve basis. If you get to the parks and they have rented all the strollers, you are out of luck. They can only be rented as you enter each of the four theme parks, both water parks, and Downtown Disney, and must be returned as you exit. This means no stroller from the exit to the bus depot, boat landing or monorail station.

If you want to rent a stroller from someone besides Disney, there is a place called Kingdom Strollers. At their site you can see images of all the types of strollers they have available for rent. The best part is they will deliver it directly to your Walt Disney World hotel, or off property hotel in the Walt Disney World area, and have it there when you arrive. They have many options in strollers, including specially designed strollers for children with special needs.

Overall, I think having your own stroller is the best way to go. To have a stroller for the hotel, to and from the bus or parking lot, in and around the airport is a tremendous convenience, especially if you have a toddler or infant. Plus, I am always trying to find ways to save money at Disney and bringing my own saves us significant money – enough to go to two character meals, which bring us many more magical memories than the rental stroller would!

Do you bring your own stroller?
Have you ever rented a stroller from a company off Disney property?  How was your experience?


DisneyBabies said...

I brought my own and plan to again on my upcoming trip.. but we're staying off property at a villa that has a stroller.. tempting to leave ours and take theirs, but you never know the condition..

Beth Doda ~ disneymom2jhe said...

Good idea! :-) That would be just my luck to depend on it being the perfect stroller on arrival and realize it isn't! When are you going again? We just went in March, but we won't be back until Dec 2011 unless I can convince my husband to make a quick trip early next year for the Princess Marathon.

Lisa Battista said...

We've done both. When it was just one child, we brought our own since it was so helpful in the airport.

With two, our oldest didn't use a stroller any longer at home but would need one at Disney. Since we didn't have a double stroller, I brought the umbrella stroller for the little one at the airport but rented a double stroller from Orlando Stroller Rentals for the parks and it was one of the best decisions I made.

Beth Doda ~ disneymom2jhe said...

Our next trip may be stroller free. My youngest will turn 4 while we are there, but she hates being in a stroller. It's tough because she will be at the age that really doesn't have to have one, but it would be nice if she would use it to give her little legs a rest!