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Parenting in the Park
Tips and ideas for the traveling family
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Adrienne Krock, editor
Double Strollers

Yes, strollers, again. As my experiences broaden so do the information and opinions I have to share! Today, with the help of fellow MousePlaneteer Brian Bennett, I have not only the opportunity to show you what to expect when you rent a stroller at Walt Disney World, but Brian and I will also discuss our double strollers.

Rental Strollers at WDW

The canopy of the Animal Kingdom rental strollers ties in nicely with the park's theming.
The canopy of the Animal Kingdom rental strollers ties in nicely with the park's theming.

Ah, rental strollers. For many reasons that I detailed in an earlier piece, I encourage visitors to bring their own strollers to Disney's theme parks. Parents with older children may find rental strollers helpful when young legs get tired quicker than expected, but these rentals also have several drawbacks. At the end of the day, when it's time to travel back to your hotel, you must leave your rental stroller inside the parks.

On a related note, save your receipt if you rent a stroller! If you park hop, you can transfer your stroller rental. That is, if you rent a stroller at Magic Kingdom in the morning and then visit Epcot in the afternoon, your Magic Kingdom rental receipt entitles you to use a stroller at Epcot without having to pay the rental fee again.

The hard plastic seats on the rental strollers are not very comfortable, especially for infants. If you intend to rent a stroller at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, or Animal Kingdom, I recommend bringing a blanket or towel to add some cushion to the stroller seat.

MGM-Studios is the only major WDW theme park to rent jogging-style strollers to guests.
MGM-Studios is the only major WDW theme park to rent jogging- style strollers to guests.

As of this writing, strollers at MGM- Studios are different, a jogging- style stroller offering a bit more comfort. Their lightweight frames, however, seem prone to damage and difficult for Disney to maintain.

The spacious WDW parks also rent double strollers for guests that have multiple children. The style pictured below is also more comfortable for older and often larger single riders. For pack rats like me, with apologies to MousePlanet's packing- light advocate, Lani Teshima, double strollers give guests the option of using the extra seat space to carry gear through the parks.

The Epcot double stroller.

Twice the strollers for twice the kids!

Both the Bennett's and the Krock's increased their family sizes by one this year! Although our paths to two- child families were very different, we both found ourselves needing double strollers! Interestingly, each of us chose the stroller brand that we used for single strollers. Brian and Barbara chose a Combi side-by-side while Kevin and I bought a Peg Perego tandem stroller.

Here's what Brian says about the Bennett's double stroller:

I choose our Combi Twin Savvy for several reasons. First, I preferred the idea of a side-by-side. Allan (4 1/2) and Michael (1) are close enough in age that they keep each other amused when they're together. I didn't think that the front / back arrangement would be as good for that. Also, I was concerned that whichever boy was in the back wouldn't be able to enjoy the view and would, very likely, get much more ornery just out of boredom.

Besides that, we've had great success with two other Combis. We have a Combi Spirit carriage stroller and a Combi Savvy lightweight stroller (it's not fair to call it an umbrella, but it's tiny when folded and extremely light).

Click here for more info

The double, as I said, is a side-by-side (shown above). It's only 32 inches wide, so it wasn't a problem getting it around the parks, though I did struggle with getting it on and off some of WDW's watercraft. The boat that runs between Wilderness Lodge and the Magic Kingdom has doors that must be about 31 and 15/16ths inches wide. ;)

The double has a front "rail" that is easily detached. Allan was able to let himself in and out of the stroller without problems. Michael, on the other hand, was still always very secure.

When folded, the entire stroller got down to the size of a cylinder about three and a half feet high and about 16 inches in diameter; it weighs only 15 pounds!

Though not as easy as our Savvy, we found it to be sufficiently maneuverable, particularly when you consider that two heavy kids were in it. I was concerned, before we bought it, that having two kids of mismatched weight would cause the stroller to be hard to control, but my concern turned out to be unwarranted. It worked just fine.

The only negative is that each of the wheels must be locked individually before you can fold up the stroller. The center front wheel was especially irritating, because I couldn't get my foot in there to lock it (I could for the two outer wheels). So, I had to reach down to the ground to lock that center wheel. I found that to be a pain, but manageable.

We could fold the stroller even if it had some things in the basket below, but if the basket was full (lots of stuff) then we had to empty it before folding. That wasn't usually a problem, either.

It cost $319.99.

Kevin and I chose a tandem stroller for our boys. When Matthew was born, I selected the single-rider Peg Perego Milano. I wanted a stroller in which Matthew would be comfortable when riding or sleeping. Further, I wanted something lightweight, easy to steer, easy to collapse, and easy to carry. I also did not want a stroller with a lot of "extra plastic" in the form of trays or drink holders.

The Milano gave me all of those features, plus more that are particular to single strollers. I also found out from experience that my Milano was sturdy enough to hold a well packed diaper bag hanging off of the handles. Keep in mind that you need to be careful hanging diaper bags and other belongings over the handles of strollers; strollers can become off balance and tip over from this practice, even with children in them!

Click here for more info

Because I loved my Milano so much, the double stroller that I gravitated to was the Peg Perego Tender (shown above). Side- by- side strollers never appealed to me because I just don't like how much room they take up when "driving" down the sidewalk. Our tandem stroller feels no wider than our single stroller (according to the Peg Perego Web site, the Tender 23.6" wide, less than one inch wider than the Milano).

In addition, our boys are spaced out chronologically such that Spencer spends most of his time in the back sleeping while Matthew is in the front enjoying the view. These days, Matthew prefers to spend as much time as possible out of his stroller so I anticipate that we will move Spencer to the front when he starts sitting up regularly and Matthew can sit in the back when he wants to rest his legs.

With a 2 1/2- year- old and an infant, we've found that big brother, although he loves his baby brother immensely, often has a hard time distinguishing between loving playfulness and annoying harassment. In a tandem stroller, it's easier to make sure that Matthew leaves Spencer alone, especially now, when Spencer is too young to defend himself!

When we brought our new stroller home, I must admit, it sat in the garage unused for quite some time. I was a little afraid to use it. I didn't want to find out that my huge investment was a pain to drag around. Fortunately, I was very pleased the first time we took our double stroller out to the mall! I was surprised at how easy it was to maneuver. You can test drive a stroller in a store, but using it in real life situations is a different matter! We are able to very swiftly "parallel park" our stroller in crowded elevators. At amusement parks, we have encountered few problems driving through crowds. I also like that I can have one baby in the back, reclined, asleep, with the hood pulled down, while big brother in the front is awake doing his own thing.

My favorite feature of my Tender, is a lesson learned from my two single strollers: the children inside the stroller cannot reach the wheels of the stroller with their feet! How many times have you been pushing a stroller only to have it suddenly stop when small feet grip onto the wheels? Or have you ever had a child push the locking lever so that the front wheels won't turn to steer? I have found blissful independence from these aggravations!

The basket is a little small, but as I mentioned earlier, I'm of the habit of hanging bags on handlebars. One advantage of the Tender's small basket is that it pulls out completely, or I can pull it out partially and find it holds drinks like a little tray. The stroller folds pretty easily, although you'll find it best to use two hands.

The Peg Perego Tender sells for around $369, and it's worth every penny.


Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Adrienne here.

Double Stroller Reviews

All photographs in this column by Brian Bennett

MORE ON THE STROLLERS:

Neither Brian nor Adrienne have been compensated nor provided any incentives for their stroller testimonials. We're merely very happy customers of our respective stroller brands!

Peg Perego's Tender Stroller:

  • 5 point safety straps
  • Adjustable backrests
  • Adjustable leg rests
  • All suspension wheels
  • Removable basket
  • Washable upholstery
  • Independent hoods
  • 26.6 lbs
  • Unfolded: 50"x23.6"x47.75"
  • Folded: 41.75"x23.6"x15"
What Combi says about their Twin Savvy Stroller:

"We are happy to announce the birth of the new Combi Twin Savvy Side-By-Side Stroller. The lightest twin stroller on the market, weighing only 15lbs. The Twin Savvy 7000 is an aluminum frame stroller that is available in four prints. Removable guardrail provides comfort as baby grows. 3-point seat belt for maximum safety. Extra large canopy with visor protects from the sun. Fully reclining 3-position seat for resting comfortably. 4 wheel suspension for smooth and restful ride. Plush, removable pillow for baby's comfort. Window on Canopy allows y easily and is self-standing. Two large baskets keep hands free. Back pockets on canopies for storing small items. Ultra lightweight - only 15 lbs! Carrying strap lets you keep hands free. Comes with free Stroller Pack - a new stroller accessory that has two insulate pockets and a storage pouch."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adrienne gathered experience taking children to amusement parks when she worked as a day camp counselor and director. She was an elementary school teacher before she started her favorite job: being Matthew and Spencer's mom.

Adrienne, Matthew and Spencer visit Disneyland several times a month, usually with Daddy.

Besides Matthew and Spencer, Adrienne and her husband Kevin created and maintain the award-winning Happiest Potties on Earth here at MousePlanet.

You can contact Adrienne here.

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