• Anna Wildish

The Complete Guide to Using a Stroller at Disney

Updated: Feb 28



To use a stroller at Disney, or not to use a stroller at Disney. That is the question.


I know many of you out there may be debating this very question. Your son or daughter may be too old to need a stroller at home and you aren’t sure it would be necessary to take one on your Disney trip.


Or perhaps you are unsure about what using a stroller on your Disney trip would even look like. Would it be too much of a hassle? How do you get it there on an airplane? Would it be easier to just rent one?


Well settle in folks. Grab your sippy cups because I’m going to tackle all these issues and more in this Complete Guide to Using a Stroller at Disney.


Click here to request your free Disney Stroller Checklist printable. It includes a handy stroller checklist and stroller name tag you can personalize and print at home to use on your next trip to Disney.


Important: Disney Stroller Guidelines

Before we dive in, its important to point out Disney has very specific rules when it comes to what strollers are okay to use and which are not.


First there is the size. The stroller must be no larger than 31 in (79cm) wide and 52in (132cm) long. And yes, they do check. There are these handy little boxes painted on the ground near the park entrances. If your stroller does not fit nicely in the box, it will be not be permitted inside the park. Measure those strollers before you even leave your house.


Also, all wagons, even ones you can push, are no longer permitted inside the parks. People used to bring their posh Keenz wagons into the parks, but as of May 2019 those are no longer allowed. Sorry folks!


Even my then 6 year old used the stroller in a previous Disneyland trip.

Do you Need A Stroller?

Many folks might be wondering if they even need to bring a stroller on their trip. I mean, my youngest is 4 and hasn’t used a stroller in years when we are at home. Is it necessary to bring one to Disney?


Well, that is a question you will have to answer yourself based on your child. But I will say this. While my 4-year-old hasn’t used a stroller consistently in over 2 years, we still have our beloved Bob stroller in the garage, gathering dust, so its there for us to use on our trips to Disney.


Think about all the walking you’ll be doing. This isn’t just a trip around your local mall. We’re talking miles and miles of walking. And for several days in a row. It’s exhausting for adult legs, can you even imagine what it would do to those short little kid’s legs?


I love wearing my Fitbit to Disney because it captures how much walking we really do. I think we average about 10 miles a day. Of course, we take breaks and rest, however it’s a lot to ask of a little child to walk 10 miles a day for several days in a row. And in high heat and humidity a lot of the time.


I highly recommend using a stroller for at least ages 5 and under. After that you may be able to get away with not having one based on your child. But for those younger years using a stroller will save you from slow walkers, and whiny, tired kids. It also works great as portable napping spot, so the older kids don’t have to miss out on all the action while their younger sibling recharges.


Team Stroller all the way!


Bring Your Own or Rent?

So now that you’ve made the wise decision to use a stroller, should you rent one or bring your own?


Again, depends on your circumstances.


Bringing your own will save you a good chunk of change. You are already familiar with it and you can have it with you the entire time.


It’s very easy to bring a stroller from home, even if you are flying. Airlines will allow you to check the stroller for free. Or even better, bring it with you to use in the terminal and gate check it. You can bring it through TSA no problem. They can help you fold it up to put through the x-ray machine, or they will walk it around and test it separately if it won’t fit.


Once you are boarding your flight, you drop it at the bottom of the tarmac to be placed in the belly of the plane. When you arrive at your destination, they will bring it out to you and drop it at that same spot. Easy peasy.


However, if you don’t have a stroller that will comfortably fit your child for the trip, or perhaps you only have a single and will need a double, renting one would be a great option for you. Why buy something you will only need for this one trip?


You can rent one at the parks themselves, however, I do not recommend this option. They are hard, plastic strollers and they can only be used at the park themselves. Meaning if you have a sleeping child and would like to just wheel them back to your hotel room, that won’t be an option. They must be left inside the park gates.


There are several different stroller rental agencies that will deliver your desired stroller to your hotel the day you check in and pick it up from your hotel the day you leave. The strollers are all Disney size compliant and it’s yours to keep the entire length of stay. Some even include a rain cover and cooler bag free of charge. Score!


The rental companies I recommend are Kingdom Strollers, Magic Strollers or Orlando Stroller Rentals. They are all approved by Disney and have been doing the Disney stroller rental thing for years.


Update September 2019: Disney is now requiring all outside vendors meet with their guests face to face when delivering their items. Which means you will need to be present and meet any stroller rental company in the lobby area to pick up and return your stroller.


Kingdom Strollers now lets you pick up your stroller rental at the Orlando Airport. Super convenient way to get your stroller before heading to your resort.


If Disneyland is your destination, hit up City Stroller Rentals. They have the best selection, take great care of their strollers, and will deliver it to your resort. (Some resorts will require an appointment or for you to be present at time of delivery.)


What Stroller Type is Best?

What brand or type of stroller is best to use in the parks? Again, I feel like the answer to this question will differ person to person. You will want to find a stroller that is comfortable for your size child, but also comfortable for you to push around.


Make sure the stroller rolls smoothly so its easy to push, has a reclining seat and canopy to make it more comfortable for your child, has a decent sized storage compartment, and the bar is high enough that you can push it all day without slouching over. Because that will just do a number on your back and no one needs that kind of pain.


I also prefer the strollers with one continuous bar to push the stroller, versus the strollers with two separate “hook” handles on either side of the stroller. Not only is it nice to be able to push with just one hand if needed, you can use the bar for decorations and to hang bags off the stroller for easy access. (We will get to more of that in a second.)


I’m a huge fan of Bob strollers. They are easy to push, easy to fold, and can hold larger sized children quite comfortably. I’ve also heard great things about the City Mini, Uppa Baby, and Baby Jogger Summit strollers. But no matter what you choose, make sure its comfortable for both YOU and your child.


How to Prepare Your Stroller

If you decide to bring your own stroller from home, are borrowing from a friend, or even bought a used one just for this trip, you will want to take time to clean and prepare your stroller ahead of time. It will be getting lots of use on this trip and you don’t want to get a flat tire or deal with squeaky stroller parts!


First, give it a quick wipe down. As I mentioned above, our Bob Stroller sits in the garage and gathers dust until we need it for a trip to Disney. I always just give it a quick wipe down and maybe even vacuum out the seat and storage compartment a little bit. I’m not talking a gigantic, hours long cleaning session. This just takes me 5 minutes.


Make sure to check the stroller’s tire pressure and ensure there is the appropriate amount of air in each tire. You don’t want to have to deal with a flat tire on your trip! (However, if you did get a flat tire, the stroller rental desk or your hotel bell hop may be able to help you.)


Finally, give the stroller a quick once over. Make sure its wheels and gears are running smoothly and doesn’t need a little greasing, the stroller folds up easily and comfortably, there aren’t huge holes or tears in the fabric, and the handlebars are in decent shape.


A little stroller care and maintenance before your trip will go a long way in helping avoid any stroller drama at the parks.


Using the stroller at the parks

You are finally at Disney World or Disneyland, after much anticipation, and you have your beautifully maintained personal stroller or rental in hand. What is the best way to navigate the parks with this awesome child containing carriage? Here are some guidelines.


Put a Nametag on your Stroller

This may seem obvious but attach a name tag to your stroller. I’ve used our own luggage tags in the past, but you can get even more creative and make large, obvious stroller name tags that you laminate and attach to your stroller with zip ties. That way they last throughout the trip and they are not easy to just rip off.


Click here to request your copy of the Disney Stroller Checklist. It includes a stroller name tag that you can customize with your name and print at home for use on your next trip.


Don’t Lock Your Stroller to Anything

Cast Members need to be able to move your stroller around at any time. This is so they can keep walkways clear to keep traffic moving or to keep the stroller area organized as people take their strollers and new strollers are parked.


If you mistakenly park your stroller somewhere it is not supposed to be, a Cast Member will move it for you to the appropriate area. If your stroller is locked to something, the lock will be cut, and your stroller will still be moved.


Just be a good Disney stroller using citizen by following this basic rule and trying your best to park your stroller in the appropriate stroller parking areas.


And if you see your stroller being moved by a Cast Member, please don’t yell at them. They are simply doing their jobs. I have seen many a cast member moving a stroller being yelled at from a parent in line at an attraction. Don’t be that person people.


Don’t Leave Valuables in the Stroller Unattended

If you are wanting to lock it because you are worried about stroller theft, don’t worry because that sort of activity is extremely rare. However, it’s not impossible so its always best not to leave anything in your stroller that is valuable or cannot be replaced.


I keep things like our snacks, water bottles and even jackets in our stroller when we aren’t right next to it. But I always wear a small backpack or purse to keep my phone, credit cards, ID and hotel room key (if no Magic Band). That way if our stroller was the victim of theft, they’d be sorely disappointed by the lack of valuable goods they scored.


Consider Using a Locator Tile

Amazon sells locator tiles that are Bluetooth enabled that allows you to see where that tile is using an app on your phone. If you are concerned about stroller theft, or that you won’t be able to find your stroller after a Cast Member moves it, consider purchasing one and attaching it somewhere to your stroller.


(You could also get several more to attach to wandering husbands or children with a tendency to bolt. 😊)


Park it at One Place Per “Land”

What we typically do, especially since my daughter is really old enough to walk a bunch on her own, is find a central location in a particular land (example, Fantasyland, Pixar Pier, Toy Story Land, etc.) and park our stroller in a designated stroller parking area. We simply leave it there while we are enjoying all the attractions in that land and then go back to grab it once we are ready to move on.


This will save you the headache of grabbing your stroller at each attraction and moving it to the next. Unless your child has mobility issues, there is really no benefit to doing that. Just run from attraction to attraction and enjoy the land for all it has to offer without worry about the stroller slowing you down.


Bring a Rain Cover

Especially in Florida, surprise rain showers pop up all the time. If you don’t want to come back to a completely soaked stroller, be sure to cover it with your stroller’s rain cover whenever you leave it unattended.


As I mentioned before, many of the rental companies will provide you with a stroller rain cover at no additional cost. If you are bringing your own, make sure that’s an accessory you pack along with you.


Stroller Organization is Important

How you organize your things in the stroller is not only important so you can easily find what you need, but it will also help you get through security or on and off a bus easier.


It may be easier to remove all the bags and jackets from the stroller’s storage compartments to fold the stroller to get on and off the bus. And security will need to see everything in the storage compartment and look through any and all bags that may be in there before allowing you in the parks.


We don’t bring much with us into the parks in general, but what we do bring we separate into small backpacks or zipper bags so its easy to grab them when needed. The smaller the bag, the quicker and easier it is to get out from under the stroller. We usually have one small bag with food and snacks, another for other park necessities like medication (we have a peanut allergy in the family), extra socks or flip flops, and empty Ziploc baggies for our phones or leftover snacks.


You could also bring stroller carabiners to hang some of the bags from the stroller handle for easy access. (I’m a big fan of the Mommy Hook.)


Hanging a shoe organizer from the back of your stroller is a great way to organize everyone's watter bottles, wipes, and other items you want to access quickly. Just make sure to not overload it! Too much weight will tip the stroller backwards.


Decorate Your Stroller

I highly HIGHLY recommend decorating your stroller to make it stand out amongst the others. Not only will it help deter theft, but will help you find your stroller easily and quickly in the sea of other strollers in the stroller parking area.


It’s important to choose stroller decorations that won’t be annoying to deal with when walking around the parks or getting on and off the bus, but is also bright, colorful, and stands out.


I also recommend packing the decorations and doing the actual decorating once you get to your hotel. That way they don’t get ripped or ruined by the airline or transportation handlers. And bring something to cut them off when it’s time to leave.


Here are just some suggestions of things you can use to decorate your stroller:

  • Battery powered string lights (highly recommend this one)

  • Brightly colored ribbons, bows and fabric

  • Faux flowers

  • Triangle shaped fabric buntings

  • Pom Pom Garland

  • Fancy duct tape


Helium Balloons as Stroller Decorations

Buying a Disney helium balloon is also a great option to decorate your stroller with. They make it easy to spot your stroller from a farther distance, which is especially helpful if your party gets separated in the crowd.


However, there are some drawbacks to using the balloon.


First, balloons are NOT permitted at Animal Kingdom park for the animal’s safety. Make sure to leave your balloon at the hotel room when heading to that park.


Also, the balloon can get annoying to walk around with. The wind blows it, knotting up the string, and it hits you and others around you in the face. It also gets in the way of others at parade and other show viewing times.


To get around this set back consider bringing a large binder clip with you to the parks. Use the clip to tie the balloon down closer to the stroller when you don’t want it floating up high.


Probably the biggest drawback to the balloon is one of the reasons why they are so amazing. They last FOREVER. I’ve purchased a balloon on our very first day of a 6-day Disneyland trip and it was still flying high and full when it was time to go home.


But unless you are driving to Disney, you cannot bring the balloon home with you. Helium balloons are not allowed on airplanes. So be prepared for many tears from the kiddos when you have to say goodbye to the balloon when its time to check out.


Thanks for reading!

I hope you found this guide to using a stroller at Disney helpful. If so, please pin this article to Pinterest or share on social media so others can see it as well.


Click here to request your free Disney Stroller Checklist printable. It includes a handy stroller checklist and stroller name tag you can personalize and print at home to use on your next trip to Disney.


I am a travel agent with Magical Vacation Planner and can help you plan an unforgettable vacation with your family. Email me, head to my Facebook page, or set up time to chat if you’d like to start planning your magical vacation.


Or head here to download your copy of my free Disney Vacation planning worksheets.




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Hi, I'm Anna

I am a wife, mother, and travel planner extraordinaire. I hope to give people the confidence and inspiration to go on unforgettable family vacations.

 

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I'm also a Personal Vacation Advisor with Magical Vacation Planner. 

 

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