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WDW Trip With Kids Planning Guide
Visiting the resort with your children
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Brian Bennett

Traveling With Kids - Stroller Issues

Rental Issues

Rental strollers may be rented at any of the parks for $7.00 daily fee, which includes a $1.00 refundable deposit (you get your money back when you return the stroller).  Double strollers are available at all of the parks at the slightly higher rate of $12.00, although there are generally only a few available so you might have to ask for them.

The rental strollers at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot are older style steel (heavy, flat, non-reclining, and not too comfortable for the child) with a wire basket.  The rental strollers at the Studios and Animal Kingdom, three-wheeled canvas-on-frame strollers with a net basket.

Magic Kingdom - Strollers are available for rent on the far right-hand side of the park entrance.  Also, they can be rented at Tinkerbell's Treasures in Fantasyland (to the left as you walk through the castle).

Magic Kingdom and Epcot single stroller.
Single (above) and double strollers (below) that are available for rent at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
Magic Kingdom and Epcot double stroller.

Epcot - Strollers are available for rent at the right-hand side of the park entrance plaza as you enter the turnstiles at the main entrance, and at International Gateway if you're coming in from the back entrance.

Disney / MGM Studios - Strollers are available for rent at the "Service Station" located to the far right as you enter the turnstiles.

The Studio's single stroller.
Single (above) and double strollers (below) that are available for rent at the Disney / MGM Studios.
The Studio's double stroller.

Animal Kingdom - Strollers are available for rent at the right-hand side of the park entrance plaza as you enter the turnstiles, at the Gateway Gifts shop.

Animal Kingdom's single stroller.
Single (above) and double strollers (below) that are available for rent at Animal Kingdom are identical to the ones at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot except for the color scheme.
Animal Kingdom's double stroller.

Make sure you 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.

Personal Stroller Issues

I personally prefer taking my own stroller, since I don't have to return it as I exit the park, so Allan can ride all the way to the bus stop (or van or whatever transportation we're heading for).

If you're paranoid about leaving the stroller unattended, you can lock it with a bike lock so it won't be swiped either intentionally or inadvertently. (We were given an excellent Combi stroller as a shower gift and a bike lock. We used the lock all the time, just for the peace of mind that the expensive stroller was safe -- especially since the Grandma that bought the stroller was on the trip with us.)

A suggestion from one of the readers of an earlier version of this document pointed out the luxury (or maybe necessity) of taking a stroller - even for an older child. Kids as old as six or seven can get extremely tired by the end of a heavy day in the parks. Karl's suggestion was to take an umbrella stroller from home. If you fly to WDW, Karl suggested that you go out and buy an umbrella stroller, since they are relatively inexpensive (between $20-30), and even consider disposing of it at the end of the trip if you don't want to lug it home.

We loved our Combi carriage stroller so much that when Allan was older and it was time to buy an umbrella stroller, we picked up a Combi Savii.  The Savii is incredibly light and compact, yet is very sturdy and easy to maneuver.  Our two Combis have been on multiple vacations and been put through hard use at home, but still look and operate like they're brand new.  When we add to the family, I don't think we'll have to buy a new stroller at all.  The Combis are expensive, but less so than the top of the line Peg Peregos...and they look much better, even after multiple trips, than the beat up Gracos and other K-mart specials that are typically bought.

When Michael joined our family, we decided to get a double stroller. We 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 15/16 ths 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.

Strollers and Attractions Issues

In general, you can not take strollers into attractions.  There are minor exceptions, but normally, you'll have to take your child out of the stroller and leave it outside.  On a few attractions, though, you are permitted to fold and bring along your stroller, such as the Backlot Tour at the Studios and the railroads in the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, as long as you can bring the stroller into the seating area with you.  Suggestion:  if you can take it, take it!  Otherwise, you'll find yourself doing some (perhaps a lot) of walking without it.

Don't leave valuables (cameras, etc.) in the stroller when it's unattended.  It's not likely that the stroller will be stolen, but don't tempt fate (or the immoral among us) with bait.

Personalize your stroller with a non-valuable personal item (to mark it as "owned" by a guest) whenever you leave it unattended.

When you enter an attraction, put a large poncho or rain cover over the stroller if even a hint of possible rain is showing...sudden rains can drench the thing while you are inside an attraction. Frankly, this advice comes from others because we never had rain during our last trip.

Be aware that Disney cast members often rearrange the strollers that are parked outside of attractions in an effort to keep the area neat and safe...if you can't find your stroller when you left it, look around the area...it was probably moved by a well-meaning CM.

Restaurant Issues

In general, you will not be permitted to bring any stroller into a restaurant.  However, the rule can be bent by CMs if your child is sleeping. 

Transportation Issues

You will always be asked to remove your child from the stroller before you enter any of the transportation boats (the possible exception is the larger ferries that run between the TTC and the Magic Kingdom, you might get away with strolling right onto those boats.)

On the smaller transportation boats you'll be asked to fold the stroller as well.

You will also be asked to fold your stroller on the WDW Transportation buses, but a lot of people cheat on that one.  In any case, try to be courteous as you deal with a stroller on a crowded bus.

Generally you can take the stroller (with or without child) right onto the monorail.

Stroller Choreography 101

Here's a tidbit that I'll share for free...When Barb and I are preparing to board a bus or boat, we take Allan and Michael and our bags out of the stroller then one of us (generally me) fold the unit up.  Then, as soon as we enter the bus (or boat) we make our way (with our whole party) to the very back of the bus.

Since we're at the back of the bus, we usually have more room for the stroller and have fewer people trying to climb over it as they make their way to their seats.

When we exit the bus or boat, I try to be among the first off the vehicle.  I take the stroller and walk clear away from the unloading area of the vehicle.  (At the bus stops, for example, I walk past the loading queue and away from the unloading exit walkway to a less traffic-congested spot and THEN unfold the stroller.)

By the time I have the stroller unfolded, Barb and the boys have arrived and we can return the bags and kids to the stroller and move along on our way.  There are really two reasons for this:

  • First, getting out of the way is courteous to the other guests.  By making sure that I am clear of their egress, I can be a bit more polite to them.

  • Second, getting out of the way makes it a bit easier to deal with setting up the stroller and getting situated just because we're not in a high-traffic area.  It just makes sense!

General Issues

When pushing the stroller in crowds, avoid coming to a complete stop. Gradually slow down, if necessary, but if you come to a complete stop, people will cut you off and leave you stranded.

You can push a stroller (if you have your own) right up to the park gates.  The CMs there will open the gate for you (and assist you with your park port).  Be prepared for brief delays, as the CMs are often busy with many, many folks entering the parks, so they might not immediately come over to the gate to let you through.

 

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