- See also Expectations, Fatigue, and Food
Having a stroller at the Disney Parks was a must for our family. Andy was about 5 years old when his stroller broke down. Because he could walk, we thought, no problem. That worked fine until we went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios one Saturday. I’m pretty sure he broke the record for number of meltdowns in a 4 hour period that day. So, we thought, maybe he was tired or hungry? The next weekend, we tried our luck at EPCOT, with similar results. Before the next weekend, we had purchased one of those massive jogging strollers. And, you guessed it, our next trip to Disney we were back to typical meltdown numbers. If a stroller helps your child manage at the Disney Parks, here are some tips to help you make it work on your vacation.
Of course, we all know that every autistic child is different. Some of our kiddos, hate strollers. However, Andy had been a stroller lover from the beginning. In the grocery store at 11 months old, he refused to sit in a grocery buggy. He would arch his back and I could not get him in it. So, I pushed the stroller and pulled the buggy! Other shoppers just had to wait for our train to pass before browsing any further.
So, if your kiddo likes his stroller, plan on bringing it on your Disney vacation. However, if you can’t seem to squeeze it into the car, or your airline has rules against your stroller, there are some pretty good options you can consider.
Rent a Stroller at the Park
In the old days, when my kids were young, theme park strollers were cute but not necessarily comfy. What kid wouldn’t want to ride in a dolphin, but sleep in one, that’s another story.
Nowadays, things are a little better, although these strollers certainly don’t carry all of the comforts of home.
Prices vary from $15-$25 a day. Although, the strollers are cleaned nightly, you might want to throw in some cleaning wipes, to be safe. Of course, don’t forget your kiddo’s favorite blanket or other comfort items. Andy seldom enters a theme park without his favorite stuffed animal.
Rent a Stroller from an Independent Vendor
Twenty-five years ago, when we moved to Central Florida, I had this idea to buy up a bunch of strollers, giant umbrellas, and boogie boards and start renting them to visitors. Hmm. Wished I had followed up on that idea! Today Central Florida and Anaheim have many rental companies which do just that. Prices range from $8-15 per day. Your search engine will bring up tons of vendors. Most deliver the stroller to your hotel room and pick it up when you are done. These strollers look more comfy than the park rentals. So, your child might feel a little more at home in one of these.
Disney’s New Stroller Policy
If you happened to follow the news on Disney Parks, you might have heard something about changes in stroller policies at the parks. You can find answers to your questions here. A quick call (407-560-2547) to disability services cleared up any concerns for me. If your child requires a stroller that is larger than the approved size, you will need to go to Guest Services, just outside the park gates, to receive a tag for your child’s stroller.
Special Tag Allows You to Bring Stroller on Some Attractions
Another great benefit to obtaining this tag is that it will signal cast members to allow you to bring your child into some attractions in his stroller much like a wheelchair. For example, if you are visiting the Voyage of Little Mermaid at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, with the tag, you would not have to leave the stroller outside the ride. You can just roll your kiddo inside and he can view the attractions from the comfort of his stroller. Big plus if you have a stroller loving child. Wish they had that rule when my guy was young!
The consequence of parking your stroller in a non-parking area is not quite the same as parking your car in a non-parking location, however, it can be a little frustrating. If you come out of an attraction and your stroller is not where you remembered parking it, keep looking. Sometimes cast members have to rearrange strollers that aren’t within the designated parking area. Many attractions have signs to signal where your stroller can come to a rest. Don’t panic, if it’s missing. Likely, its just been reparked. You might also want to bring some bright ribbon or sign that will help you recognize your’s among the masses. Strollers at a Disney Park are high maintenance but really worth it if your kiddo loves her stroller.
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