There are very few parents out there who own only one stroller per child nowadays. There's a stroller you bring grocery shopping (the big clunkers with the huge basket underneath), the double stroller (when both kiddos are in tow) and then there is the umbrella stroller (for quick jaunts running errands). Well then of course there must be a vacation stroller! This may not seem like a hard decision to most adults or even parents of children past that stage, but for parents with little ones, choosing the right stroller to bring on vacation is a HUGE deal. And, once you do Walt Disney World with the WRONG stroller, this decision will be an even bigger weight on your mind the next time you go.
As most readers of this column know, we have two very young children (3 and 1). So, our choices are limited to either a double stroller or two separate strollers. The first time we went to Walt Disney World as parents of two, we opted for one double stroller as we thought we'd be more bogged down having two. I should note here that, in case you weren't aware, you don't have to bring your stroller from home. Not only can you rent single or double strollers at Walt Disney World, but there are a plethora of Orlando stroller rental companies to choose from. We have always chosen to bring our strollers because of the age of our children. We use them right up until we board the plane and then gate-check them.
Our decision to bring one double stroller was a mistake. Here's why... Does your Disney vacation involve taking any kind of Disney transportation? As the Disney Parks get busy, so does the transportation. There will often be people standing in front of you at all sides. Well, If you already own a double stroller you know that they do not fold down into anything that resembles a small package that can easily be stowed away. A double stroller or even a big clunky single stroller takes up a LOT of room on a Disney bus, for example. Even on the monorail, where the stroller doesn't need to be folded down, it still takes up a lot of room in the tiny car. Then there's the weight issue. Even the lightest of double strollers is usually heavier than a single stroller. This can be a pain carrying on and off of transportation. A double stroller does not maneuver very well either. With all the weight, it's very hard to turn on a dime, whether it's to avoid the person who darts in front of you in the mad rush to Toy Story Mania! or when you have to take a quick detour for an emergency potty break.
So, the next time we went, we opted for two umbrellas strollers and have never looked back! They fold up so quick and easily and are able to be held so neatly in your hand or under a seat on the bus. They are so light-weight that we can zip in any direction we want without hesitation. And, one stroller per parent means that we can separate and fit through holes in the crowds to get to our destination faster! Lastly, having two separate strollers means not being committed to having two strollers. In other words, if we only want to take one stroller out because the older child wants to walk, we have that option. With a double stroller, even if one child wants to walk, you are still tied to bringing the double stroller everywhere.
Now, one may ask, "what about a sit and stand-type stroller?". This is almost a single-double stroller hybrid. There is one full seat and one bench like seat for an older child to sit. The advantage to these is that they are not as big and clunky as a double stroller, but there is still a seat for a second child. These are quite popular at Disney! However, I would not recommend these as the child relegated to the bench-type seat never gets a truly comfortable ride. As any parent who has been to Walt Disney World with kids knows, a day at Disney is very exhausting for children and they often fall asleep in their strollers. A bench seat makes this impossible. This Disney exhaustian is also why I always caution parents who do not want to bring a stroller for their children because they think they are "too old". Just because your child doesn't always use a stroller at home doesn't mean that they won't want to use one in Walt Disney World!