It's been a bit since we've had a stroller in tow on a trip to Florida. While I sure do miss the adorable days of Tad and Lily as teeny-tiny tadpoles (do you think I can talk Leap into having another tadpole?), I know how troublesome it can be to worry about having a stroller with you on theme park adventures.
But have no fear! Your resident theme park expert, Flora Frog, is here to share my tricks of the trade to have a smooth trip, stroller and all. Below you'll find my top 10 tips for using a stroller at Universal Orlando.
Top 10 Hoppin' Tips for Using a Stroller at Universal Orlando
1. Bring Your Own
We have generally found bringing our own stroller to be the best method. We are used to how it maneuvered and even had our go-to spot for snack storage. (Don't get me started on how long it takes to learn how to quickly collapse a new stroller!) The fact that bringing your own stroller saves $15 to $25 per day is a huge plus, too! We are always looking for ways to save money ... or to transfer said money to our souvenir fund ;) If bringing your own stroller is a possibility for you, we highly recommend it. And if you have an infant, bringing your own is an absolute must, as the rental strollers available on-site are quite oversized.
2. Rent a Stroller at Universal Orlando
While we much prefer bringing our own stroller, we understand that's not always a possibility. Sometimes it's just not worth the hassle of packing it with your luggage for travel, whether driving or flying. Luckily, Universal offers stroller rental at both parks. Head left after entering either park to locate the kiosk. A single stroller is $15/day, a double is $25/day and either requires a $50 deposit to be refunded upon returning the stroller. If you have little ones that need to be occupied, we recommend spending the extra $3 for the "Kiddie Cars" with plastic steering wheels attached.
3. Keep Your Receipt
Be sure to hang on tight to your stroller rental receipt! If you leave the park for a break and come back later in the day, simply present your receipt to get another stroller at Universal Orlando at no extra charge.
4. Be Prepared to Make It Work
The rentable plastic strollers at Universal Orlando are quite roomy, which is great if you have a toddler or two who need a break from walking every now and then. However, for infants and little ones, they may be a bit too spacious. Bring blankets, small pillows or towels to create the right fit and comfort for your little one.
Of course, it's always safety first for us frogs! Whether bringing your own stroller or renting one, make sure the stroller is safe and comfortable for your little ones. Being prepared with fans and plenty of water is critical in the Florida heat, and following all general stroller safety is especially important during long theme park days.
5. Identify Your Stroller
Much like tying a ribbon to your luggage handle to quickly identify it as it shoots down the airport conveyor belt, it is equally important to be able to identify your stroller at Universal Orlando. Try putting a fun flag, balloon or cute signage on yours so it will catch your eye when it's lost in a sea of strollers. This is also a fun way to customize and make it a bit cuter for family photos at the park!
Our secret method is taking a photo of where you leave your stroller. Leap and I don't pride ourselves on great short-term memory, so we like to document where we park both our car in the garage and stroller in the parks. Snap a quick shot of your stroller with the surrounding area so it'll be easier to come back to later — especially if you're leaving it for an extended period of time.
6. Park Your Stroller in Designated Areas
The last thing you want is to have your stroller swept away by staff. If your stroller is left unattended in a non-designated area for too long, someone will move it to the nearest designated area, which will make it that much harder to locate. We're big on following the rules in Orlando theme parks, as we believe it makes things easier on everyone. Keep an eye out for the designated stroller parking areas, or ask where the closest area is.
7. Use Your Stroller for Storage at Universal Orlando
Universal is known and loved for its thrill rides. The only downside is taking the time to stow away any loose articles in a complimentary locker before hopping on. A stroller is a great place to throw those souvenirs you don't feel like towing around or to store a packed meal to save a few bucks on lunch. (During cold weather months, pack extra layers in the stroller for when that evening chill takes over!)
8. Care for Your Stroller at Universal Orlando
Tackling Universal with babies or toddlers can be a daunting task — trust us, we know! Make things easier on yourself by completing "routine maintenance" of your stroller. Have some downtime between rides? Clear out those snack crumbs your tadpole left behind so the brave and bold Universal squirrels don't try to sneak in a snack while you're away. Keep things organized to make your trip as smooth as possible.
Despite our love for using a stroller as portable storage, we never leave valuables in them. We have never had any reason to worry about our stroller being stollen at Universal, but accidents happen! Someone may take your stroller thinking it's theirs. When kooky things like that occur, you want to be sure to have your wallet and cell phone with you.
9. Follow the Traffic Flow
Navigating the parks is hard enough as an adult, especially an adult with children. It gets even more difficult when you add a stroller into the mix! While there are no rules set in stone, generally people walk on the right side of the "street" at the theme parks. Go with the flow of traffic rather than trying to swim upstream in crowds. This will make your experience much more pleasant, and help you get where you need to go more efficiently.
10. Be Weather-Prepared
Funny how the Sunshine State is also notorious for afternoon showers, right? While we always cross our fingers for clear skies, at least one quick drizzle is inevitable per trip. Bring a water-repellant cover for your stroller to keep it nice and dry for your little tadpoles. This also creates a safe haven for cameras, phones and other electronics during the waterworks!
Related: Best Time to Visit Universal Orlando
We hope these tried and true tips will help you have a fun, safe and smooth trip. Have your own secrets to successfully using a stroller at Universal Orlando? Share them in comments!