Orlando Stories and Tips

Stroller Advice for Walt Disney World-goers

Walt Disney World is a well-oiled machine with distinct policies and procedures. Nothing escapes Disney planning and that includes how they deal with strollers, where you can and can't take them and when you must fold them etc. Here are a few things you need to know about strollers and Walt Disney World:

1. Where Walt Disney World transportation is concerned there is a firm, "all strollers are to be folded prior to boarding" policy. This is pretty much and unbending rule. This is not the fault of Disney persay but is in response to a broader state law (as it was explained to us). So...if you are with infant and said infant falls asleep while you are waiting for your bus, sadly, you will have to take him out and fold your stroller prior to boarding. Bear in mind it can be difficult to carry a baby and a stroller onto buses so you might want to factor this in when deciding which stroller you will travel with.

2. Disney has designated parking areas for strollers around its rides and attractions. You will be asked to park your stroller in these specific areas which are identified by signs. Know that the disney staff may move your stroller from one location to another to facilitate the parking of hundreds of strollers in a small area. So...your stroller may not be exactly where you left it when you went to ride the Dumbos.

3. Strollers are generally not permitted in restaurants though I did have mixed experience with this. We lunched at the Crystal Palace and were told we had to park the stroller outside. On an another day we dined in a sit-down restaurant for lunch and were permitted to bring the stroller (with sleeping infant) inside the dining room. So if it happens that you do have a sleeping baby in a stroller, it doesn't hurt to ask if you can bring the stroller into the dining area.

4. Strollers are not permitted inside the baby care centres. What? Yes, that's right. Crazily enough they must be parked outside.

5. Disney is BIG, really BIG...If you think you need a stroller, you probably do. Remember that a stroller can be a great place for even a 3 or 4 year old to take a nap or rest their legs. Just walking from the parking lot can tire a wee one out. Not to mention, strollers are a great place to stash extra clothes and food. If travelling with a small infant, consider packing a baby carrier (sling, baby bjorn or similar) so that when you park the stroller to ride the attractions you can carry the baby easily.

6. Rain happens. I'm an urban mom who walks ALOT so I have all the stroller gear you can imagine including rain covers for my stroller. It poured on my first day at Disney and I had moms and dads coming up to me all day asking where I had bought my rain covers. If I had known in advance, I'd have brought a pile of them with me and made a fortune selling them to desperate and wet parents. People everywhere were rigging up rain ponchos over their strollers to try to keep their babies dry. Chances are they sell rain covers for your stroller, or...most baby stores will sell genric "universal" sized stroller covers. These covers are much more durable than any rain poncho and will also help to keep your little one warm if you happen upon a chilly day. Invest, seriously.

7. Umbrella stroller or Bugaboo? Ah, this is the question. We met people who told us their "nice" stroller was stolen at Disney. Well, I can certainly see how this could happen given how often you will be parking it unattended to go off somewhere. My advice is to balance comfort against this risk. We brought two strollers along with our 6 month old and 3 year old. Both were expensive. One was an umbrella type, the other was a 3 wheel all terrain type (Mountain Buggy, if you care to know). Was I worried about theft? Not really. Personally, I rank comfort above the risk of theft. And I don't just mean comfort for the baby, I mean for you - you are pushing this...all day long...across uneven ground. You aren't going to convince me that a $10 umbrella stroller is as comfortable and manoueverable for the parent as either of the strollers I brought with me.

8. Finally, pack your stroller wisely. Knowing that you are going to be parking and leaving your stroller at times, you will want to make sure that you can abandon it quickly without fear of leaving behind valuables. We kept all valuable items in one backpack rather than distributing them around various stroller pouches and diaper bags. That way, you don't have to "think" when you run off to join the queue for your favourite ride!

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