The great parental debate , in our house at least, stroller or no stroller. No matter what side of the debate you are on this is a judgement free zone. Do you need a stroller at Disney? I’m just going to lay out the pros and cons as frequently discussed in our house.
For some background about our family: We have two boys that are currently 8 and 5 years old. They are around a combined 90 pounds. This is an important note. My boys are on the small size.. but they are still heavy to push through the parks. We also push a tandem double stroller, meaning the seat are one in front of the other. Shop our stroller here. We love this model because of the price, you can configure the seats as the kids grow and the cargo space was the perfect size for our snack cooler. We are looking to maximize our enjoyment in the parks and minimize our meltdowns. Like I said: no shade for pushing your kids in a stroller here.
If you have small children I feel it is a must. The stroller serves as a place to nap, have a snack and escape the sun and rain ( both huge issues in Florida). It keeps my kids for getting their shoes sopping wet by jumping in puddles. We even have a handy rain shield which I totally recommend. To read more about how to handle rainy days check out the post here.
The stroller is a great place to escape the massive crowds. Sometimes I made my kids climb in because I was afraid I would lose them in the crowds ( Food and Wine Festival after we finished our dinner!!). I may also make them jump in if we are rushing off to make a fastpass.
As mentioned before it is a great place to store all the things you need for a day in the park with young kids ( much younger than mine). We are usually toting water and snacks in our stroller.
Having a stroller eliminates the need to carry a tired child at the end of the night, or a cranky toddler at nap time. This has been the biggest perk and why we still have a stroller.. a cranky 5 year old. ( I wish my kids slept like this in a stroller)
Boarding transportation can be a pain. We never take the trams or a bus because we don’t want to unload the stroller, fold it up and haul it onto the vehicle in front of us. We will walk from the farthest parking lot rather then go though all that nonsense.
Who wants to push a stroller with heavy boys? Maneuvering through the theme park is tricky. People cut you off, walk or stop in front of the stroller and get upset if you can’t stop in time.
Parking a stroller any where in Walt Disney World is convenient. Always heading back to locate your stroller may not be. They are constantly relocated by Cast Members ( for good reason). Getting the stroller out of the stroller area is like driving in the most gridlocked city at rush hour.
I recently spent some time in WDW with my older son and no stroller and boy was it magical. We could hop on and off transportation with ease, walk through the crowds much easier and we never had to stop to find a place to park our stroller.
We didn’t miss the storage of the stroller and went with a less in more approach and carried everything in our backpack.
Taking a few more breaks or stops. Walking lots of miles on hot pavement in the sun can be taxing for anyone, but especially for the littles when they are not used to the miles or the heat. On second thought, this could be both a pro and a con. If you take your breaks experiencing something you may otherwise skip it could be a good use of time. Think movies around the world showcase, or shows in the Magic Kingdom.
Deciding to abandon our stroller is like leaving my security blanket behind. However, now that I have experienced it with one kid I’m ready to tackle both boys in the park sans stroller. Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how it goes!
My suggestion If you are on the fence would be to bring a light weight umbrella stroller. You could bring it into the park and park it in a central location. From there explore the park. It will be there if you need it. It push comes to shove you can always rent a stroller inside any Disney park. I personally feel like these a clunky uncomfortable plastic beasts, but it may be better than hauling an exhausted child through Fantasy Land.
Let me know what you think about using strollers in the park. What age did you stop using strollers with your kids?