Renting a double stroller was hands down one of the best decisions I made when planning our recent Walt Disney World trip. My one-year old clearly needed a stroller but my four-year old hasn’t used one, well, since his brother was born and he was unceremoniously ousted. However, I knew from experience that we would be covering a lot of ground at Disney and even the most energetic preschooler would need a little help in the personal transport department.
Problem was, I don’t own a double stroller and buying one just for the trip wasn’t high up on my list of things to do. The next option was to bring two single strollers – our sturdy, everyday stroller and the umbrella stroller – but that solution didn’t make the cut. Having two strollers meant having to have two adults with the kids all the time and as much as I’m a champion of family togetherness, this isn’t really practical. How many times have I wanted to run into a shop while my husband was with the kids? How often does my husband take a short detour to pick up a snack while I forge ahead to Mickey’s Toontown Fair? A double stroller it would be and absent a large purchase, renting would have to be the answer.
Disney rents strollers but frankly, it’s expensive (Single; $15/day, Double $31/day) and while some have extolled the virtues of the stroller’s maneuverability, the hard plastic and the inability to recline would be challenging for the baby. But there’s an even larger problem. Disney strollers must be rented at the park or Downtown Disney and returned to a rental location when you’re ready to leave for the day. There’s no taking the stroller back to your Disney resort or even to the resort transportation waiting areas. This is a problem for us. A major problem. Here are three of many instances where having a stroller to use throughout the entire Walt Disney World Resort made our trip that much easier.
Sleeping Children. After Illuminations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot, my oldest fell soundly asleep in the stroller. We were able to leisurely walk back to our resort in Disney’s Boardwalk area without taking him from the stroller. I shudder at the thought of having to make the ten minute walk carrying a sleeping child, who we all know seems to weigh double what he does when he’s awake. What if I was taking bus transportation to a resort? Well, there can be long waits for the bus after the park empties for the evening and oftentimes it is a long walk after a long day from the resort’s bus transportation location to your room at many of the Disney resorts.
Crowd Control. Getting to the parks when they first open can be a bit chaotic – there is sometimes a crush of people moving through security and the park entrance. Add to that opening up bags for a security check and juggling theme park tickets while trying to firmly hold the hand of a very excited four-year old and I can become a bit frazzled. Entering the park was much easier with the kids secure in the stroller.
Theme Park Commando. We definitely are not theme park commandos except perhaps during the first hour of every day where we are able to ride the majority of the day’s must-do attractions. The key is taking in the most popular rides before crowds build. The last thing I want to do is waste valuable touring time having to pick up a stroller after I’m in the park when I could be scoring a ride on Soarin’ or picking up FastPasses for Toy Story Mania!
So, what were the key characteristics I was looking for in a stroller? That would have to be maneuverability, comfort for a one-year old and a four-year old, a canopy, and easy folding of the stroller. But my criteria didn’t end there. I also needed the company I rented from to be reliable, to have clean, well-maintained strollers, to be reasonably priced, and to deliver and pick up the stroller from my Disney hotel. Orlando Stroller Rentals was the answer to my stroller dilemma. They delivered. Both literally and figuratively.
First the stroller. I chose the City Mini Double stroller and loved it. At first I was concerned by the “Mini” in the description. Would my four-year old who is tall be comfortable? Shannon Tanner, the owner of Orlando Stroller Rentals, assured me the older guy would be comfortable and she was right. Both kids were right at home and the baby even napped for long periods in the stroller. My two favorite features were maneuverability and the canopy. The maneuverability was awesome – with an extremely tight turning radius, it was a cinch to move through the large crowds of guests at the Disney World theme parks. Even better – pushing two kids was hardly any more effort than pushing the empty stroller. As a mom whose kids don’t leave the house without a hat and sunscreen, I was ecstatic about the canopy. It provided nearly full coverage and the kids loved the shade. Was there anything I would have changed about the stroller? Sure, because nothing is perfect. The stroller was a bit awkward to fold since two hands were required and the storage was a little limited. I would have loved drink holders but it makes perfect sense why a rented stroller wouldn’t have one – cleaning up sticky soda rings is a chore. These were extremely minor inconveniences, especially given the stroller’s comfort, maneuverability, and shade. We put the stroller through its paces and easily walked ten miles a day with it. You know you have a well designed stroller when you love it as much the last day as the first.
Would I recommend Orlando Stroller Rentals to my family and friends? Absolutely. The service was great from start to finish. Shannon was very helpful and responded quickly to my email with questions about the different stroller choices. Once I made my selection, I simply had to show up at my resort’s bell stand and ask for the stroller to be delivered to my room. The stroller was in mint condition and extremely clean. That’s a very big deal to me and I can’t emphasize enough how comfortable I felt using the rented stroller because of how clean and well-maintained it was. It even came with instructions on the basics of using the stroller which was very helpful. On the last day, we simply returned the stroller to bell services and boarded the Magical Express. Unfortunately, we had a small glitch returning the stroller as bell services misplaced it. Orlando Stroller Rentals was helpful, friendly, professional, and put me at ease when we communicated and tried to locate the stroller which was found later that same day.
A 4-7 night rental of the City Mini Double will run you $85. Compare that with $31 a day to rent a stroller at Walt Disney World and you can see how quickly the savings add up.
Bottom Line: A stroller is a must for kids, even as old as five or six, at Walt Disney World. If you are going to rent one, give Orlando Stroller Rentals a try – you won’t be disappointed. Visit them at www.orlandostrollerrentals.com or call 1-800-281-0884.
*Disclosure. Orlando Stroller Rentals provided a complimentary stroller for my family. This did not affect my review and the opinions expressed here are my own.
Lisa M. Battista is the author of Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers When she’s not chasing after her little ones, you can most likely find her at the beach or in the kitchen trying her hand at a new recipe. You call follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DisneyExplorer.
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