Thursday, April 10, 2008

To Stroller or Not To Stroller

Word on the street has it that Walt Disney World has raised the price of stroller rentals at it's theme parks. Where a one child stroller used to set you back ten bucks a day, and a double eighteen Disney Dollars, they'll now empty out your wallet at $15 and $31 a day, respectively. That's crazy!

First, let me say that my family and I are road trippers when it comes to traveling to Walt Disney World. We make the 14 - 16 hour drive in a non-stop overnight run and we love it. Last year was our first trip to WDW with the need of the assistance of a double stroller. My two boys were 15 months and 3 1/2 at the time of our trip. Their Graco DuoGlider double stroller took up the majority of the storage space in our Plymouth Grand Voyager mini-van. Actually, let me correct that...my wife's luggage took up the majority of the space, when you added the double stroller there wasn't much room left for anything else.

We love having our own stroller while at Disney World. Sure, it's a small pain to fold it up and get on and off the Disney buses quickly. However, once you get back to your resort you can pop open the stroller again, plop the kids in it and make your way back to your room which can often be quite a hike. When you rent a stroller at the parks, you've got to leave it at the gate on your way out. You are on your own from the turnstiles for the rest of the night. But even though we really like having our own stroller with us we also like having clothes to wear and space for all the souvenirs we're going to go home with. So this got us to thinking about other options for our stroller needs.

Of course our first solution was to rent a stroller. A quick hop over to the internet to look at stroller rental prices revealed that we'd be paying $126.00 for the use of Disney's strollers. That was a good deal of our merchandise budget having to be redirected towards something boring. Plus I wasn't too thrilled about having to deal with getting in line to get a stroller each day. For $126 you can buy a pretty nice stroller.

That got us to thinking back to a 2005 visit to WDW where we had to stop at a K-Mart near Universal Studios and buy a new stroller because in a rush to pack the car an hour before we left home I broke the stroller trying to shove to much stuff into the trunk. There's plenty of places in the Disney area to buy a stroller - cheap. There's Wal-Marts, K-Marts and other kinds of Marts all over I-4, 192, and International Drive. The K-Mart near Universal had a lovely selection of strollers. At the time, we only needed a single and found a real nice one for around $50. We liked it better than the Graco one we got as a Baby Shower gift and we still use it, while the Graco still sits, broken, in the garage. So, buying a stroller in Florida is always an option.

However, to solve our dilemma we opted to get a storage unit for the top of our van. You know, one of those "turtle shell" things. We figured, even if we only use it for Disney World once, we could still use it for trips to the beach and other family outings. In the end, buying the storage unit and having the guys at Sears put in on the van for us cost us $124.00. So we saved two dollars, and we still have the unit if we need it for future trips. Which is good because a week with a double stroller would now set us back $217.00.

O.K....so, my point?! There's options to shelling out big bucks to lug around some Mickey Mouse stroller for a week. Think about adding storage space to your vehicle. Explore the possibility of getting a smaller stroller than your normal one. You only need to use it for a few days. An umbrella stroller (even a double) can fold up pretty tight.

If you're in Orlando without a car, it might even be worth it to call a cab and have them take you to a near-by shopping establishment of your choice to grab a low-price set of wheels.

There can be many advantages to having your own stroller while touring Walt Disney World. If you think outside the box you might be able to save yourself a few dollars in the process.

6 comments:

Biblioadonis aka George said...

I agree...

We rented this time even though we had two strollers. We bought a new one at Target (we hate Wal-Mart) on clearance and it didn't quite roll very well. Since we had an extra kid that wanted to ride, we rented a double stroller.

It was wonderful. We would not have paid 31 dollars for it, though.

Anonymous said...

WHAT?

Biblioadonis aka George said...

Ed...

Will you shoot me an e-mail?

biblioadonis AT yahoo dot com

Thanks!

-- Ryan P. Wilson said...

The other really wonderful part of this rate increase is that, in the past you could actually save some money by renting the double stroller (which, I'm sure, wasn't much of a consolation). Now though, it is actually a dollar cheaper to rent two single strollers.

Thanks for bringing this topic up, and offering some fine solutions too!

Michelle said...

Let's not forget that they're now selling umbrella strollers for $45 apiece. It's still probably less to take a cab to a nearby Publix and buy them there.

In the week since the price hike, we're not seeing many of the Disney-sold strollers, but there do seem to be less Disney strollers about. Which isn't to say that people aren't renting, there are still a lot... just not as many.

me said...

I visit the Disneyland park in California about once a month. They also significantly increased the stroller prices. Normally I don't have children with me when I go, but on the next trip I will. I was totally unsure what to do about the stroller situation. The children I will be bringing are 4 and 6. I know some people get all upset when older children are in strollers, but I think that 2 tired children are going to want somewhere to rest after a long day at Disney whether they are 2 or 7, and I personally don't want to carry 60 pound kids to the far away up the escolator parking structure. So I decided in this case a stroller would be best. But I wasn't sure what stroller to bring. Had the Disneyland strollers been cheaper or bigger I would have rented one, but the Disneyland strollers are NOTHING like WDW's. They are ment for toddlers. But I wasn't sure bringing the stroller I had was a good idea either due to it's size. I really wish that these strollers were just like the Disney World strollers. They don't even have doubles here. I think I am just going to have to bring the big stroller from home. The kids are almost too big for it, but could probably use it for just this trip if I remove the tray table for leg room. I still wish I could just rent one there. I love Disneyland but they need to get some new strollers.