Disney Stroller Rental - Should I Rent or Bring My Own?
Insider Guide for Theme Park Stroller Advice
As long time Florida residents, we're huge theme park fans, especially Disney. We've been enjoying the magical kingdoms of Walt Disney World Disney as annual pass holders since our double-digit boys were babies.
Because we're frequent visitors, many friends come to us for "insider" advice on surviving the thousands of acres filled with attractions, shows, dining options, and yes, people. Tons and tons of people, especially in the summertime.
One of the questions I'm most frequently asked is, "Should I take my stroller to Disney or just rent a stroller once we're at the theme park?" This post will help you come to the conclusion best for your family adventure.
Know a friend planning a trip? Share this with them, too.
Should I Rent a Stroller at a Disney Theme Park?
The question of renting or lugging your own stroller through a Disney theme park is entirely dependent on your family's travel style and the plans for your trip. Use these points to help you determine if renting or taking your own stroller makes sense for your family.
Disney Rental Strollers
The big strollers available for rent at the Disney Parks (and most other theme parks) are pretty standard. They're low to the ground, available in a single stroller or large one for two children. The theme park strollers are constructed from hard plastic and don't have any kind of head support. Truly they don't work well for infants. (Whether or not it's even advisable to take a small infant to a theme park is an entirely different conversation!)
If it rains, which is a frequent occurrence in Florida, you, your stuff and your little ones in the stroller are getting wet. There are cup holders on the back of the strollers, and a small storage pocket underneath the large handlebar, but no basket for gear underneath the seat. The push feel is almost that of a grocery shopping cart with large wheels. The park does make sure the strollers are sanitized after each use.
How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Stroller at Disney?
Disney stroller rental is available throughout the Disneyland and Walt Disney World theme parks, as well as their Orlando shopping/dining/entertainment area now known as Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney). A single day Disney stroller rental is $15 while a multi-day/length of stay rental costs $13 per day (as of when this post was originally published).
The rental carriages are not magical Cinderella luxury, by any means, but a simple, heavy-duty transport device. Each rental stroller, will be given a sign with your family name visibly marked on the back. You can save a little bit with multi-day rentals (see below) and you are required to leave $100 deposit for each rental. Keep in mind, single strollers are recommended for children 50 lbs. or less.
Related: Expert checklist for taking a road trip with baby
The price of renting a double stroller at Disney goes up to $31 per day or $27 per day for a multi-day rental. For a length of stay rental, simply pre-pay the number of days you wish to rent the stroller, then all you have to do is show your receipt to the rental location to retrieve your stroller for the day.
Consider the cost factor, too when determining whether or not to rent or to take your own stroller to a Disney park. The strollers will not go between parks if you plan to park-hop, but are simply for one-park per day use. Better suited for larger children who want to walk (and run) a bit throughout the park, they're definitely a bit cumbersome to maneuver through crowds.
One of the most amazing parts of a Disney vacation is their free connecting transportation system throughout their theme parks, resorts, waterways, shopping and dining areas, and even campgrounds. However, if you're using Disney transport and carrying your own stroller, you'll be folding and unfolding your baby's buggy every time your hop on and off one of the available methods of transportation.
Depending on where you're headed and where're you're staying within the parks, this can be multiple times and methods per day. You may need to make route changes for connections. For example, if you hop on the bus from your resort, you'll need to fold down your stroller to the Magic Kingdom. Then, you'll still need to take the monorail or ferry to the main entrance. The monorail transportation doesn't have much space for accommodating strollers as they become packed with passengers.
If you drive into the theme park in your own vehicle, you'll need to fold your stroller and squeeze it into the parking lot tram. Remember, your stroller will be full of gear and probably souvenirs, so it's not just a simple fold and unfold. I never recommend you take your big, fancy baby stroller to a theme park for these reasons alone. Keep it to a simple and practical portable folding stroller.
Pack Light on the Stroller Gear
Regardless of which stroller you decide to use, remember to pack extraordinarily light on the stroller gear, as you'll be lugging it with you multiple times a day. Almost all attractions and shows designate stroller parking areas outside, often quite a walk from your destination's entrance. You won't want to leave important or valuable gear in the stroller, as it is vulnerable to the weather and to theft.
Consider an all-purpose messenger or backpack type bag to hold everything you'll need for a day's adventures, and nothing you won't. As careful we always are with our belongings, we once had a video camera stolen from what we thought was a secure spot in a baby stroller, while it was with us. (In Europe, not in a theme park, but you never can be too alert with your gear in crowds of people.)
Disney Child Swap
While you may be able to take baby and small children with you on some attractions aimed toward younger children, such as the classic Prince Charming's Carousel or It's a Small World at the Magic Kingdom, many of the attractions you and your spouse may want to ride or see, like the famous Space Mountain, offer an option to child swap. You'll just be taking turns riding the ride and watching baby.
To take advantage of the convenient baby trade, simply approach the attraction line and let the uniformed attendant know you''d like to child swap. They'll hand you a paper ticket. Most of the time, you can wait in line together and trade off baby once it's your turn in line. When you reach the actual ride boarding, in most instances, you'll present the ticket to the attendant who will show you to a waiting area. Once the ride for passenger one is over, the rider will meet you there and you'll take the pass and your place in the front of the line.
Voila, child swap.
During your whole waiting process, you'll either be separated from your stroller and carrying baby or waiting outside with your gear, not able to wait in the line together. Because no strollers are allowed in the lines, it's one more reason to pack light.
My Best Theme Park Stroller Advice
To keep your journey at the Disney theme parks a magical experience, my best advice is to make sure you take a great baby carrier. Leave the simple but practical portable stroller (my favorite is the easy-to-fold Uppababy G-Luxe for all your lightly packed gear, or for a sleeping baby who's able to hold her head up on her own.
Save the rental strollers, and possibly even the theme park visit, for when the children are able to walk around a bit on their own, and you'll truly make some magical family memories. Remember the sunblock, hats and rain cover for your stroller. Lastly, make sure you download the My Disney Experience app, link your tickets, and book your fast passes 30 days in advance (60 days if you have a connected Disney resort reservation.)
Most importantly, spend some time relaxing at your resort's pool and avoid squeezing too much activity into one day, or you'll come home from your Disney theme park vacation needing a vacation.
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Renaissance Woman Jen Reyneri and her husband Luis often live life on the road with their two home-schooled sons. Popular author and speaker, Jen is founder of WordTraveling.com. Spirited and spirit filled, she savors life, poetic words, sabbaticals and strong coffee.
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