If you've landed on this page, you're probably considering whether or not to take a buggy vs hiring one when you're there, or perhaps even whether you will need one at all. We'll try to offer some guidance based on our experience.
Disney World buggy hire: Will my child need a buggy?
Honestly, if you're asking the question, the answer is probably yes. Our daughter is 5 years old and in the UK, hasn't been in a buggy since she was 3, even on our day trips to Legoland. But I wouldn't dream of taking her to Disney World, at 5, without a buggy. The amount of walking you do is phenomenal - it exhausts full grown, physically fit adults, let alone a child's little legs, not to mention all the additional running about they do. If you want to get anywhere at speed (and you will), and you want to minimise the amount of "I'm tired" you hear, a buggy is essential. And even though our child hasn't taken a daytime nap in years, even at Disney, I've seen much older kids completely zonked out in pushchairs so they are a handy place to nap.
She'll be 6 by our next trip and by then, we'll settle for a buggy-board attached to our youngest's pushchair. But if that wasn't an option, I'd take the buggy with us, but maybe not take it out every day. Dragging a 6 year old round Epcot World Showcase on foot is not appealing at all!
Disney World buggy hire: The options
You've got a few options when deciding what to do about a buggy in Walt Disney World:
- Take one with you
- Hire the Disney 'strollers', as the Yanks call them
- Hire a stroller from a specialist company
We'll take a look at the pros and cons of each.
Taking a pushchair with you
The biggest advantage of taking a pushchair with you is that you have it throughout. You've got long walks at the airports, and waits through security, and if you've got a very little one, it may seem to be a necessity. Especially when you arrive in Orlando and have to do all that when it is already past their bedtime.
The challenge may be the type of pushchair you have. Our first trip with our eldest, there was no question that we wanted to take a pushchair but we realised our regular pram just wasn't suitable, even though we'd had no problems in Disneyland Paris with it. If you are planning on using Disney transport, you will have to collapse them when getting on the Disney buses and boats, and occasionally on the monorails if they're busy. Our travel system style, where it breaks into two parts would have been impossible to manage, in addition to a toddler. I also didn't particularly want to check in our relatively expensive pram into the hold of the plane, which is where they typically take them after you've arrived at the plane.
The solution for us, after a LOT of research, was to buy a classic 'umbrella-style' buggy - we went with the Silvercross Zest. It lies completely flat (not all of this buggy-style do) which is fab for naps on the go. It is really light weight, so we can lug it on and off the buses and comes with a strap so you can stick it on your shoulder. And it caters for heavier kids (and therefore older kids) than a lot of pushchairs - up to 25kg (just under 4 stone), so it would last us till our children were much older. And while it is not cheap-as-chips, it is nowhere near the cost of a fancy pram.
However, if you'd prefer to hire a buggy at Disney, you could consider taking a baby-carrier for the airport. Baby Bjorn is the classic, although we've got a Manduca, that we love. You might find you can rent one from your local sling library. We decided against it as it ruled out one of us helping with bags. I also didn't think we'd use it much in the parks as it is so hot.
If you are taking with you, make sure it meet's Disney's size requirements - they must smaller than 31” (79 cm) in width and 52” (132cm) in length. (I think most British pushchairs are fine, but worth checking). They also do not allow 'stroller wagons'. They have recently started more strictly enforcing these rules, so check, even if you've been before.
Disney World buggy hire: Disney strollers
You can hire 'strollers' in the Disney parks. A single stroller costs $15 per day - or $13 per day for a 'length of stay' reservation. A double stroller is $31 per day, or $27 per day for a 'length of stay' reservation. They also require a $100 credit card deposit.
These strollers are hard plastic carcasses on wheels, with no recline option. They are suitable for older children, (although we'd still recommend taking a towel or blanket to make them more comfortable) but are in no way close to being a buggy. If you've got a toddler, who will need naps etc, or even an older child that will be in there a lot, I strongly recommend you consider taking your own, or hiring from one of the specialist companies. They are also completely unsuitable for babies.
The other thing to note about the Disney strollers is that they can only be rented for use in the parks. You will not have them between there and your hotel, or other parks, for instance. So you're carrying that tired kiddo back to the Disney transport or car after the fireworks.
The only time that we would recommend using the Disney strollers is if you've not brought anything with you and an older child has got to the miserable stage. It's essentially a last resort, or for when you only want it for a day or two out of your trip.
Disney World buggy hire: Rental companies
If you don't want to bring your own buggy, and Disney's aren't a viable option then consider hiring one from one of the specialist companies in Orlando. Disney have three featured providers - Magic Strollers, Kingdom Strollers and Orlando Stroller Rentals. This means they can deliver them directly to the Disney resort for you. They also work with almost all the other hotels in the region. They are left with bell services, on the day you arrive (you don't have to be there) and you just pick them up and return them to there.
Be aware these are American strollers - they're all pretty big (but will meet the Disney size requirements). And most sort of fold in half to collapse them - whether they are single or double, so they're still pretty big to be lugging on and off the buses.
Disney World buggy hire: Our recommendation
Every family is different and so there is no one-size fits all. Our personal choice was to buy a lightweight pushchair, as we'd be using it for multiple trips and it is more portable than the ones you hire. If you've got a very little one, I think you really do need it in the airports, so taking one with you is the best option. However, if they're a little older and you think you'll only need it for this trip, or want a double buggy, then hiring from one of the specialist companies can be a good option.