Disney with Little Ones: How Old is Too Old For a Stroller?

1097189_10101937237682224_7397468992761235270_oMy children have been to Walt Disney World two times so far: at ages 2 and 3 and again at 4 and 5. When we go back, they’ll be…you guessed it… ages 6 and 7. In planning our previous trips, the strollers were a no brainer but 6 and 7 year olds might look a little ridiculous in strollers that were intended for toddlers. My kids no longer use a stroller any other time – we don’t use it because they are lazy. Long days in the parks can be taxing on short little legs. The boys did their fair share of walking last time, but when they’d start to get grumpy, I was more than happy to chauffer them around in their multi-purpose strollers.

Pros for using the stroller include not only letting them rest their legs, but the fact it’s much easier for them to eat a snack or have a drink on the go while sitting. They may actually take a nap, it is easier and safer to navigate through a dense crowd with a stroller, and arguably just as important – the parents have built in storage and cup holders. As long as we are pushing strollers, I’m not the mom stuck holding everyone’s commemorative cups, misting fans, leftover Uncrustable sandwiches, and souvenir balloons. See, when the kids give up the stroller, it’s actually the parents who lose the most.  Kids can get hot and tired whiny and might want to be carried. Moms and dads undoubtedly end up carrying their weight in STUFF, and maybe even end up carrying a kid by the end of the day. If the kids are borderline too big or heavy for a stroller, this is hard on parents who are also hot and tired and whose legs (and back) could use a rest.

So, what are the cons for continuing to use a stroller for as long as the children fall under the max weight? Good question. I. Don’t. Know. The condescending looks I anticipate receiving from strangers as they peer down their noses at my kids’ long legs hanging down with feet dragging the ground are enough peer pressure me for me to start trying to condition them for walking longer distances. Hey, we did go on a 3 mile (round trip) hike in the Smoky Mountains this fall. Forget that it was 50 degrees outside and that’s only a third (or less) of the walking you’ll do in a typical day at Walt Disney World.

Or…maybe we’ll try to squeeze into the strollers for one more trip. When did you officially give up the strollers at Disney World?

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Candice was raised in east Tennessee. While in college, her best friend dragged her to a Walt Disney World College Program recruiting session at the University of Tennessee and the rest is Disney history. In the Fall of 1999, Candice became a quick service food hostess for Sunset Ranch Market and Fantasmic at Disney-MGM Studios – or what is now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While soaking up her time as a cast member, she met Ryan, a neighbor and a fellow college programmer who worked as a custodial host at Epcot. Four years later, Candice moved to the Midwest and married that boy from across the hall. They now live in Greenwood, Indiana with their two little boys. The Disney-loving foursome took their first family trip to The Happiest Place on Earth in 2013 and Candice is eagerly planning their return. Candice also works full-time at a community mental health center and enjoys taking photographs and blogging at Mommy in the Midwest.

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One Response to Disney with Little Ones: How Old is Too Old For a Stroller?

  1. Taryn Duncan says:

    I just got back from Disney World and my six year old most definitely used her stroller. In fact, ours broke in the middle of the week and it was a tragedy! She is an extremely active, energetic child, but days and days of walking through the parks is simply too much for a little one to handle and still actually have a good time. We travel with four adults and her, and having the stroller means that we can move at the pace of the adults and be in the parks all day without her getting exhausted or potentially hurt in the huge crowds. When she wanted to walk, we used the stroller to hold our bags, which was a great relief. We are heading back in October, and I will be the mother that has a seven year old in a big stroller. It doesn’t matter to me how people look at me. This isn’t their vacation, it’s mine, and I want my little one to have a wonderful time, and that means not being exhausted, stressed out, or sore because of walking 15 miles a day. I’ve seen children that were at least nine curled up asleep in those big double strollers you can rent, and their parents were still having fun walking around the parks. Go for the stroller. It will be a much better trip because of it!

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