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Parenting in the Park
Tips and ideas for the traveling family
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Adrienne Krock, editor
Adrienne's eMailbox June 14, 2000

I received lots of email feedback and questions after my stroller renting column and even a third party Instant Message. (To the lady at the bank with a stagecoach: please email me and tell me why...)

Some of your questions will be answered in next week's column with bringing your own stroller tips. Meanwhile, here are some responses I've gathered to share.

Adrienne's Mailbox for 6 /14/00:

Reader Rich wrote:  

Thanks so much for providing your wonderful insights about parenting in the park. It's much appreciated.

As much as I appreciate your column and value your perspective, I'm going to have to disagree with your assessment of the new strollers. Your column mostly pertained to the Twinkie stroller and we rented the three wheel variety (Baby Jogger II-12), however, we found that stroller to be more than adequate during our recent visit to the park (mid-May).

When we rented the stroller at the main entrance stroller shop, we simply asked the CM for a three-wheeled stroller with a padded handle and waited patiently as they found one for us. We tried to be polite and let several other families receive their strollers ahead of us as the cast members located our requested stroller.

As you noted in your column, these strollers are more oriented to an upright sitting position and do not recline. However, our two year old daughter seemed to enjoy the stroller (no problems staying buckled in) and was easily able to nap in them. The basket underneath was also easily accessible and we simply draped our diaper bag over the handlebar for easy access to wipes, and so forth. For our finishing touch, we brought along a clip-on style cup holder, which really worked out well with the padded handlebar. Only once during our visit did we receive a stroller that had the frayed seams to which you refer.

We decided to rent the stroller at the park for our once-a-year visit rather than bring our own because we book extended (5 day) trips to the park and we really struggle with all the luggage and transportation of the stroller around the airport, rental car vans, and limited hotel room space that makes traveling with a stroller a real pain. Unloading the stroller so many times and holding up others waiting to board these vans (or the DL monorail/railroad, for that matter) is no fun and borders on rude. While most people generally seem good natured about having to wait for us, why have to go through all that fuss when we can just rent a stroller in the park and not have to worry?

As a last note, we did carry our diaper bag and coats with us from the bus loading area into the park and back, but compared to the hassle of traveling with a bulky stroller, I'd say it was worth it. So I would weigh in on the side of renting the park strollers and traveling light so parents and kids can spend more time enjoying the park. After all, that's what it's all about for us!

Thanks again for your great column!

 After I replied to Rich's initial email, he further wrote:

We never did get a Twinkle during our trip because of the very things you mentioned. The first day of our trip, we looked at the strollers coming out of the rental shop and noticed there were different models. After looking them over, we requested the the Jogger II-12 each day we were at the park. Why?

Well, we also objected to the built-in reclining angle of the Twinkle for our two year old and because we didn't rent it, we never had any first-hand experience with the problems you mentioned on the site. Our daughter normally prefers to sit up and take in the view as we stroll along so the Jogger II-12 seemed to suit her orientation a bit better.

BTW, you mention on the site that some of the Jogger II-12s don't have the padded handle. Our first stroller did not have the padded handle and my wife *really* likes her clip-on cup holder. Ever the resourceful one, she simply got a handful of napkins from the Blue Ribbon. She then proceeded to soak the napkins in water, folded them over the handlebar, and attached the cup holder. Voila! The cup stayed in place all day, even after the napkins dried out. How's that for practical!

Thanks for your kind comments, Rich and thank you for taking the time to reply. I appreciate your perspective and I hope this gives people another viewpoint to consider. 

I also drape my diaper bag over the handle bars and then I pop my camera and fanny pack or purse into the basket. (Yes, I care a purse and a diaper bag separately. I refuse to drag a diaper bag everywhere. I often just leave it in the car for when I need it so I don't use it as my purse. But of course, you didn't ask that, did you?)

Diane offered another perspective:

I have to say that the canopy does come out of the metal support in the Babyjogger I have (it is the Babyjogger II with 16" wheels). I also would never bring it to an amusement park. It is too cumbersome, hard to steer and maneuver. The basket is more accessible than that one you had, but it still isn't as nice as my Evenflo stroller's basket. I love my babyjogger, but only on the open road!

You know, I've seen people with jogging strollers with larger wheels on them at Disneyland, and they do take up a lot of room getting around. 

Thanks for the feedback, Diane!

Anita asked: 

I am planning a trip to Disney World in the fall. Do you know if they have the same kind of strollers? I was actually considering a rental because of mine possibly being stolen while we were on a ride, but now I don't think that is such a great idea.

Anita, the answer to this question is complex. The stroller status at Walt Disney World comes down to is this: While the old blue vinyl strollers are in my opinion, yucky, they are also sturdy. 

The newer strollers have not been as sturdy and they're needing to replace individual strollers more frequently than anticipated. Right now, the WDW parks are using a combination of both the older vinyl and the newer jogging strollers, along with a third plastic style from MGM Studios. 

One other thing to note is the policy at Magic Kingdom that rental strollers can not be taken onto the trains. (If you'll recall, one nice thing about the jogging strollers is they folded up so you could take them on the train at Disneyland and get off of the train at a different station.) So if you get off the train at a different station than the one at which you boarded, they're supposed to give you a new rental stroller, but you may not the same style you left behind. 

As for not getting your stroller stolen, I'll leave that comment in as a teaser for next week's column...

Adrienne's eMailbox

Child Carrier Backpack Comments

In our family, when we choose vacation lodging, 3 and 4 star motels and hotels are the standard. But we also regularly enjoy camping. (Can you hear Al groaning? - Al's note: If God wanted you to visit somewhere, he'd have put a Hilton there. ;)

This year for Father's Day, Dr. Krock picked out a new backpack child carrier. It's perfect for our upcoming trip to the High Sierras with Matthew. (Wish us luck, this is our first camping trip since he was born.)

Personally, I can't think of why anyone would bring one of these backpacks to Disneyland. Here's my rundown of why:

* having to take it on and off or taking your child in and out of it frequently

* storing it while on rides

* carting it around all day

* getting hotter and sweatier than necessary (when camping it's one thing, but at Disneyland?)

* where do you put the diaper bag?

So I turn this one to you-- if you have used or would use a backpack carrier at Disneyland, please email me-- and note: I'm NOT talking about soft sided front infant carriers like my beloved Baby Bjorn. To see the style I'm thinking of, click here.

Send your Adrienne's eMailbox / Parenting in the Parks questions or comments to:

Keep in mind all questions submitted to the Adrienne's eMailbox column become property of this site. They may be edited for length or style and in consideration of a family readership. Questions may also be quoted on other parts of the site too.

Not all questions may be responded to, but all will be read so I can have an idea of what you all think out there.

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