The age old question… Do you need a stroller at Disney World?
I mean technically, for those that need it, you never stop needing a stroller/transportation device at Disney World. But for typical kids, there comes a point where it no longer makes sense to have a stroller.
Keep in mind, on a Disney Vacation, You can easily walk 20,000 steps in a single day! Then multiply that by a weeklong stay and it’s pure exhaustion if this is out of the norm for you. (And even if it’s not, a heavy rainstorm resulting in wet shoes and blisters will incapacitate the most athletic of us)
So when talking about a stroller, view it as part of an overarching strategy for tackling Disney World with smiles, memories made and having tons of fun (with the least amount of melt downs)
Does a 5 year old need a stroller at Disney World?
If you are headed to the Parks for one day only, and have the capacity to carry the 5 year old at the end of the night, then No. If you are going for more than one day (say 2-6 days) and want to maximize your time in the parks you will need a stroller for a 5 year old.
Does a 6 year old need a stroller at Disney World?
Many 6 year olds can walk their age in miles ( so 6 miles for a 6 year old) but the issue is doing this day after day in the Florida Humidity, Sunshine and Rain. The majority of 6 year olds will benefit from having a stroller, especially as a full Disney day is close to 10 miles.
Below you’ll find all the reasons you’ll want a stroller at Disney World!
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Why you must have a Stroller for 1-4 year olds (or a baby carrier)
In a nutshell, they aren’t biologically able to walk that far.
You will be walking 8000-25,000 steps a day
You can easily walk, just on a half day at the parks getting content I walked 13k steps (my phone was on the shelf at home and I don’t have an apple watch, so this is accurate of my time inside Disney World)
Carrying kids for hours is no fun. Bring a stroller, or if you are going for a half day or popping in to one of the parks after hopping, you can consider a baby carrier.
I recommend packing several pairs of shoes even with using a stroller. I’m a huge fun of crocs for kids, since they air out nicely and dry quickly. Packing at least two pairs of shoes allows you to swap them out each day to prevent blisters.
Getting sore feet and blisters is NO FUN. and for all the people in the back DO NOT WEAR NEW SHOES. Not shouting- just want you to remember, break in the shoes and wear ones you know are comfortable. Parents and Caregivers need to be comfortable walking all those miles too.
You can do Strollers one of four ways…
✔️ Bring your own stroller.
✔️ Buy a ‘cheap’ umbrella stroller there. (they are 39.99)
✔️ Rent from a reputable company (these strollers are more comfortable, plus come with some perks like a rain cover like when you rent from Kingdom Strollers)
✔️ Rent from Disney World each day (Pro: not having the strollers on transportation. Con: Rock hard, and eats into your park time having to rent and return them, they could be sold out)
✔️ Technically there’s a fifth, you could purchase a used one from a BST site, or buy an one from a local store.
Genuinely though, I do believe that renting from a reputable company or bringing your own is the best strategy. When renting from a place like Kingdom Strollers, you get your own rain cover (which is much needed) and when you bring your own, you have the comfort of home +reliability of your own stroller.
As you can see the Disney Strollers provide no protection from the rain (on the left of this image) and the stroller in the middle didn’t have a rain cover and was completely soaked!)
Related: Planning Guide for 3 year olds at Disney World, and Planning Guide for 4 year olds at Disney World
Why you should have a stroller for 5-7 year olds at Disney World
I’m not one of those sancti-parents that likes to tell you what you should do…
I’m only saying that *if* you want to do several days in the parks (and not very many rest days) you will want to have a stroller for 5-7 year olds.
Strollers are useful for many things (I’ll list below!) but most importantly they help reduce the tiredness that comes from walking and standing and being outside for days on end at the parks!
Simply put, having a stroller is part of a strategy that will keep everyone in better spirits, increase your time in the parks, give your kid a rest area where they can decompress from the sensory overload, and save you money!
Here’s why you’ll want to have a stroller at Disney World for your 5, 6, or 7 year old, Either one you bring, or rent. Based on personal experience (because I’m not going to recommend something I haven’t tested myself!)
- Gives your kid a place to rest so they aren’t exhausted and melting down (or if they are exhausted, they can catch a nap)
- Helps you bring in everything you might need to do a full day at the parks (like extra shoes, snacks, water (at 4 dollars a bottle, a stroller with water is a super saver strategy!) Extra clothes
- Helps reduce the souvenir buying as A. you can bring in toys you pre-purchased or they already have B. limits the frantic running through the stores (think Target toy section on steroids)
- Separates siblings and parents because a few days in (honestly one day in) of getting stepped on, tugged on, pulled on, asking to be carried 100 places is enough to make a vacation *significantly* less fun
- Using the canopy or rain cover can keep kids (or souvenirs) somewhat dry when the inevitable Florida Rain Strikes
- Provides a great way to stay on schedule, as you can put your kid in the stroller and easily navigate the crowds. This is especially true of strollers you bring or rent, not really the ones you get from Disney proper, as they are a bit clunky to navigate.
- Protects your kid from some accidents (this is my primary reason I bring a stroller in for my half park days) People are rushing, there are thick crowds, toes get stepped on, heads bumped, people slinging around souvenir popcorn buckets like it’s a middle school dance party.
- You are walking close to 10 miles a day (around 20,000 steps) on a full park day. Kids typically walk a mile per their age, so a 7 year old should be able to walk 7 miles. But 10 miles, day after day is enough to cause fatigue and quick tempers. Plan to rest!
Strollers are also a great, ‘it’s better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it’. You can park them in the designated stroller areas for hours on end and only using it when moving from sections of the park (or if your kid does a 360 mid afternoon and has an epic crying meltdown, the stroller can be a safe place to decompress)
See the size limits that Disney Recommends on their site here.
Places you might not need a stroller at Disney World
There are a few places where you don’t need a stroller at Disney World.
The water parks are smaller and, obviously, very wet. I don’t recommend them there, or bringing them. Some people do so they can carry all of their things, or they bring them so that they can do half a day at the water parks, change, and then park hop. There is plenty of space to bring a stroller in, if you’d like to.
When I go to the water parks with my three kids, I bring the small umbrella stroller to for the youngest and to help with the bags. If you are staying all day, and think you might need multiple bags or a non sandy place to nap-bring the stroller.
Putt Putt Golfing. Disney World offers two different putt putt courses. I don’t recommend a stroller here, mostly because of how difficult it is to navigate the course with a stroller.