Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Stroller at Disney World

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We have young kids, so we knew we would need a stroller at Disney. Our big question was whether to rent one or bring our own. Here is what we did and why, the pros, cons, and a few surprises.

First, your kids may not have used a stroller in years, but Disney isn't exactly a walk around the playground. Here is why you might need one:

Your kids still nap when they get tired.
Your kids are 7 or under (although we saw kids much, much older in strollers).
You plan on doing Epcot's World Showcase with kids.
You will be hitting parks for many consecutive days or full days.

We ultimately decided to rent. I love my City Select and airports have destroyed lesser strollers. If we were driving, I wouldn't have wanted to waste the car space on our stroller. (As it is, the car was filled going to the airport.) We don't really need strollers in airports, even for our 2.5 year old, especially since we had a direct flight.

I chose Magic Strollers because they had the lowest price on high-end strollers. They delivered the stroller right to the bellhop at our resort before 7am on the morning of our rental, and we could keep the stroller until 4pm on the last day. We skipped renting for the first day we were at the park, seeing as we arrived at 2pm, and picked up the stroller the next morning. I received a text message just before 7am telling me the stroller was ready and waiting at the bell hop desk! It was in great, used condition, and very clean. The stroller was all black, which isn't really an issue unless you are going in the summer. (You can put in requests. I saw several other rentals from this company around the parks in an array of colors.) For 5 days it came to just over $60 for a double City Mini by Baby Jogger. A rain cover was included, which came in very handy. The stroller also had a parent console attached, which is important for carrying coffee. (We used it for other things, too, but coffee is what is most important.) We never had an issue finding our stroller in the sea of strollers, despite it being the most common color and type, and my complete lack of marking. Magic Strollers also included an identification tag with our name, right on the handlebars.

My biggest issue is with the stroller itself and a few Disney policies. (Magic Strollers themselves was wonderful to work with, and these are things beyond their control.) The bottom mesh basket is pretty awful and you aren't fitting anything larger than a purse between the bars. It can hold a decent amount, just not one big thing, like a cooler or twin diaper bag. This becomes a bigger issue when you need to fold the stroller, which folds from the middle, effectively dumping out anything you had in any pocket.

We wouldn't have folded the stroller at all, but Disney busses require you remove kids from the strollers to ride the bus and that strollers be folded. This stroller does not fold into anything manageable, especially once you take everything out of the bottom so it doesn't dump out, and factor in juggling your kids. Maybe it is just because I'm used to big city busses that allow you to keep kids in strollers with the breaks on, but I think this hassle is a bit ridiculous when the bus is empty and the kids are asleep. We definitely extended some other passengers' rides. Sorry, other people. We did the best we could.

The stroller parking around the parks is well-labeled and we never had an issue with cast members moving our stroller out of the designated areas. A few times it took us a moment to find where in the parking lot they had moved our ride to, but this wasn't even a thing, despite what other bloggers had lead me to believe. (I was most impressed with the parking at the Fantasmic! show. Those people had the system down!)

The glitter. My daughters wore princess dresses every day. Cast members sprinkled them with pixie dust. The cost of renting the stroller was worth not having all that glitter in anything I own. I shook it out the best I could before returning it, and Magic Strollers didn't mind at all. I imagine they see much more glitter than I do in their every day, but not having that to clean was a huge relief. Because we all know that glitter never really leaves you.

Since we stayed at Bay Lake Towers, having a stroller to push the kids in while we walked made our "commute" to the Magic Kingdom about 5 minutes. Yes.

Our stroller at home has in-line seating. The person in the back sits up higher, and getting in and out can be tricky. This one was easy for both girls. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have been able to get in our regular stroller with those dresses. The downside to the seating arrangement is that they can't be divided. "She's in my spaaaaaaaaace!" got old very quickly. Do they make stroller dividers? They should.

This particular stroller reclined, was well-ventilated, and was much nicer than a park rental, which is made of hard plastic and costs over $30 per day for a double.

I wish I hadn't forgotten my Mommy Hook. I would have loved to hang my big bag that wouldn't fit underneath from the handle. If you go, I advise bringing at least one. Two is better.

After our last trip to the park on our last day, I shook the stroller out, folded it up, returned it to the bellhop, and that was that. I received a thank-you email with a discount code for our next rental, and one to share with a friend.

Overall, renting a stroller was definitely the right choice, and Magic Strollers could not have made renting their strollers easier. Despite my qualms with the actual stroller and Disney's bus policy, I will definitely choose Magic Strollers if we return to Disney any time soon.

All opinions expressed are my own and I received nothing in compensation or for trying out Magic Strollers. They were just so good, they deserve their credit!

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