While navigating this path of planning our next family vacation at Walt Disney World, we’ve run into a bridge and I’m afraid it’s time to cross it. We’ve gone in the past with kids every age from 2 to 5 but this time around, the boys will be 6 and 7 years old. We no long own or use strollers and something inside of me is saying “don’t go back there.” How old is too old for a stroller? If we used one at this point, it would be a rental. Shouldn’t we just condition them to be able to make it through a week at the World without strollers?
In asking friends and strangers who have experienced Disney with kids these ages, I’m hearing a theme. “JUST TAKE STROLLERS.” “You won’t regret it.” “Tired kids make for a miserable day.” Really guys!? I’m positive when I was 6 or 7 years old in the 1980s and my family spent the day at an amusement park, strollers were not on my parents’ radar. Are kids that much lazier nowadays or am I just underestimating how tough it’s going to be without strollers?
I’m a pretty careful planner so I’ve been taking lots of different things into consideration. Without the underneath storage or cupholders, we will have to get creative and bring a lightweight backpack for essentials only. A couple carabiner clips might come in handy to hook extra items onto the backpack if necessary.
We will want to plan carefully to avoid wasting a lot of time and steps traveling back and forth between the same areas of the parks over and over each day. For example, it will be important to look at the map or be familiar with the layout of the lands of each park when making Fastpass+ selections and dining reservations. We also may want to think about including more indoor attractions to take advantage of the air conditioning and having some time to sit and rest.
For the first time, I am strongly considering going back to our resort for mid-day rests and pool breaks. We’ve never been in September before so on top of not having strollers, I realize that it’s still going to be really hot. We will definitely feel refreshed after taking a couple of house to sit and relax or splash around.
Between now and then, we are going to practice. We are going to buy comfortable walking shoes and break them in. We are going to take long walks around the neighborhood on Spring and Summer nights. We are going to spend some Saturday afternoons hiking in central Indiana. We will traipse around the State Fair in the blazing sun for an entire day or two.
The biggest thing I am going to try to remember is that our pace is going to be different. We are used to being able to rush from one land to another or even from one park to another; from the resort room to the bus stop. I think the boys will really enjoy having more independence and going at their pace. I think mom and dad are really going to enjoy not having to deal with stroller parking and trying to figure out where our strollers have been relocated after each attraction. If I’m wrong, I will be the first to admit it and I will break down and rent a stroller. I hope I’m not wrong, but knowing that is an option makes me more comfortable with giving this crazy idea a shot.
What do you think? What’s the oldest your child has been in a stroller at WDW? What’s the youngest you’ve taken a child without a stroller?
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.