You might be struggling with deciding whether you need to bring your stroller to Disneyland or leave it at home. A stroller can be a huge help, but at times, it can be a hassle. Maybe you are thinking of renting a stroller, and again, that comes with a whole new set of conveniences and inconveniences.
Though more often than not, we'd suggest bringing your own stroller for a variety of reasons:
- The Disneyland strollers are not ideal for small infants and do not recline.
- You may want to control your small child's environment and use the stroller as a familiar retreat.
Here are 10 tips for using a stroller at Disneyland to make the decision-making (and stroller-using) process much easier on you.
Mommy Frog's Hop Tips for Using a Stroller at Disneyland
1. Save Money by Bringing Your Own
If you have a multi-day trip, you can save money — from $18 to $36 per day — by bringing your own stroller. We are always looking for ways to save money at Disneyland, so bringing our own stroller can help us keep more green in our wallet. Your own stroller can be easier to find in a crowded parking area. Plus, it is a familiar spot for your little froglet. It's also nice to be able to take it with you back to your hotel.
Even while using our own stroller, we bring disinfecting wipes to wipe down the frequently touched surfaces of the stroller (the tray, buckles, handle, etc.) to keep our family healthy. Toddlers touch everything and put their fingers in their mouths so often! It's a good idea to wipe down that stroller anytime, really.
A negative to bringing a stroller is that it's harder to deal with on buses and shuttles. You have to remove your tadpole and fold the stroller up. (You also have to park it or fold it and bring it with you for the Disneyland Railroad.) The front row of the first and last cars of the parking structure shuttle has more space for strollers with wheelchair tags, but these rows also have significantly longer lines. You do not have to fold the stroller up in those seats if you have a wheelchair tag, but you do have to remove your child. Now that parking trams have returned, you can finally ditch the stroller for older preschoolers if they are ready.
When bringing your own stroller, you may find it easier to use the new pedestrian ramps from the parking structures to Downtown Disney (near the Disneyland Hotel). Then, walk to the parks. You can skip having to fold your stroller for the parking tram that way.
One of the benefits of staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel or one of the hotels near Disneyland is that you may be able to walk back to your hotel without having to remove a child and fold a stroller for transport. ICYMI: You can now get a jump on savings at Disneyland Resort hotels (in addition to other hotels in the Anaheim and Los Angeles area) when booking your stay through Undercover Tourist! Ribbit, ribbit!
Keep in mind that strollers larger than 31 inches wide by 52 inches long and stroller wagons are not permitted. On our last visit, we saw about 15 stroller wagons left behind (under Disneyland's care) at the parking structure because they did not make it through security. These guidelines went into effect on May 1, 2019. Disneyland does not even allow a stroller wagon that is smaller than the allowed measurements. The stroller needs to fit the guidelines when it goes through security. If your stroller is right at 52 inches long when the seat is upright, then make sure it fits the guidelines when you go through security. If you have a hard time measuring, try putting some painter's tape on the ground in a 31-inch by 52-inch rectangle, and wheel the stroller over it to check.
Despite the changing stroller rules, children with disabilities who use a stroller as a wheelchair will still have their needs met with accommodations. Nothing has changed there. Call 407-560-2547 if you have any questions about these updates. We have seen some exceptions for people who use their stroller as a wheelchair and have a special tag noting this. If your older child with disabilities needs a larger stroller, you might look into a medical device pushchair. It will be treated as a medical device and not subject to the new stroller guidelines. A visit to Guest Services can provide you with the accommodations you need for special needs stroller use.
Do you have a tiny baby and prefer to use an infant car seat that attaches to a stroller? Then definitely bring your own. If your baby cannot sit up yet, or if you have a child who likes to recline for nap time, bring your own stroller. The hard plastic seat of Disneyland rentals does not recline or support a newborn. The double stroller does recline a bit, but the back seat is really tight.
A downside to renting a Disneyland stroller is that you cannot bring the rental onboard the Disneyland Railroad because the rental strollers do not fold down. You'll have to park it and make a round-trip journey to get it back. If you bring your own, you can fold it and use the train as transportation. Be sure to ride it between Tomorrowland and Main Street U.S.A. if you want to see the dinosaurs! And your tadpoles definitely do!
2. Rent a Stroller for Convenience
Perhaps you cannot fit a stroller in your car with all of your luggage. Maybe your tadpoles have grown out of a stroller, but find a long day of park hopping to be a bit too much for their little flippers. Or you might find that your current stroller no longer fits the guidelines. If these are true for you, you might consider a Disneyland stroller rental. If you need a stroller for your entire trip, you might want to rent from an off-site rental company.
The new red Disneyland rental single strollers look a bit like plastic jogging strollers and have Mickey and Minnie on the sides. Single strollers cost $18 per day and double strollers cost $36. The rental double strollers are now the same hard plastic type as the single rental strollers. They do not recline for small infants and are better suited for toddlers and preschoolers. A larger preschooler may fit better in the double stroller.
Renting a Disneyland stroller rental can mean less hassle when taking shuttles and buses into the park. You can park hop with your rental stroller, taking it between parks with you. You can also take it into Downtown Disney to the edge of the security screening areas, but you cannot take it to the hotels, which are outside of the screening area. You can rent a stroller just outside Disneyland Park.
If you want to rent a stroller you can use both inside and outside of the theme parks, you might look for an off-site rental company. ScooterBug is Disneyland's preferred off-site rental company for strollers, adaptive strollers for special needs and wheelchairs. (This company does not rent other baby equipment.) If you are staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel, this is the only rental company for which you do not have to be present for delivery and pickup.
We've had several guests recommend renting a stroller from City Stroller Rentals. The strollers are compliant with the Disneyland size limitations. You can take them off of Disney property. The company also rents baby equipment. So if you need a pack 'n' play, high chair or other items, you can add that to your stroller rental. City Stroller Rentals rents single, double and sit-and-stand strollers. They also rent special needs strollers. The company cleans the equipment well after each use.
You can have your stroller delivered to most hotels within three to four miles of Disneyland. City Stroller Rentals may also deliver to hotels outside of that area. For some hotels, you do not need to be present for drop-off and pickup. For others, you need to meet the vendor. As of Dec. 1, 2019, Disneyland Resort Hotel guests must meet most outside vendors in person at specified locations for delivery and pickup, except for ScooterBug rentals.
3. Keep Your Receipt
You can maximize time at Disneyland by keeping your receipt on you! If you lose the stroller in the park, you can get a free replacement in the park with the receipt. (In other words, do not leave the receipt in the stroller or it can’t help you if you lose said stroller.) You can find a replacement stroller at Disneyland locations, including:
- Pooh Corner
- Little Green Men Store Command
- Gag Factory (It is still listed on the sign, but this shop is closed due to construction for Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway, so don't go looking for a stroller there.)
- Westward Ho
- Seaside Souvenirs (in Disney California Adventure)
4. Buy a Stroller at Disneyland
Disneyland sells small strollers (at the rental locations) that fold up at Disneyland. These strollers fit children 40 to 50 pounds and smaller. This might be a better deal for you if you are traveling and decide last minute that a stroller would be a good idea after all, but you also want to use it outside of the parks.
5. Mark Your Stroller or Take Steps to Secure It
Whether you bring your own or rent, make your stroller stand out. Sometimes cast members move strollers, so you may have trouble finding it again among a sea of similar strollers. Tying a sweatshirt, ribbon or balloon on it or finding another way to temporarily mark it can save you time in hunting for it later. When bringing your own stroller, write your name or engrave it onto your stroller — if there were a dispute between you and someone who mistakenly thinks your stroller is theirs, you can’t argue with a label. Take a picture of your stroller at the start of your visit. It can help you identify it in case of temporary loss or to prove it's yours.
It’s probably best not to bring your most expensive stroller. If that expensive stroller for comfort is important to your child, you’ll want to make sure the stroller is secure. Some people bring a Buggyguard stroller lock to secure the stroller. You may not lock your stroller to any object in the park, or a cast member will remove it. However, you may be able to bring a wheel lock or thin bicycle lock to lock the wheels to each other or the stroller, but no chains. The stroller should still be moveable by cast members. We’ve met some guests who hide a tracking device such as a Tile in the stroller if they are worried about losing it, but that only works if it's nearby.
6. Park Your Stroller in Designated Areas and Leave It for Longer Periods
It can be challenging to constantly transition a baby in and out of a stroller, find parking, find the stroller and move through crowds. When taking a toddler or preschooler, we tend to use the stroller for larger distances. But then we park it in one area or land and go on several attractions in that area before getting back in. If we are in Fantasyland, we park it in an approved stroller parking area. We leave it until we are done with Fantasyland and hop back in as we move on to another land.
That brings us to where to park. If you abandon your stroller in front of a trash can or bench, it will not be there when you return. It will probably not be too far, but cast members will move strollers to more appropriate places. They do this so they do not inconvenience other guests or create a tripping hazard. You will find designated stroller parking areas near most attractions. That being said, other people will come and go with their own stroller while you are away. That's why you can expect to find your stroller relocated in those areas. Cast members constantly move strollers to keep the area neat and to ease the flow of pedestrian traffic.
7. Plan Ahead for Parades and Fireworks
Foot traffic can be very heavy and challenging before and after shows, such as fireworks. Some areas work better for strollers than others. If you are the type to camp out early for fireworks, you might find a spot right in front of the castle where you can keep your stroller with you. You tadpoles can rest in it until showtime. Plus, if you stand behind the stroller you'll have a buffer of space in front of you so you and your little ones can see the show. For most viewing areas, you will be in a sea of standing people, so having a stroller during fireworks is a hassle. For Fantasmic! you may need to park your stroller before entering some viewing areas, including the dining package viewing.
If you know where you are headed after the show (i.e., the exit or another land), you can park it there ahead of time. It's easier to maneuver through the post-fireworks crowds without a stroller. If you keep your stroller, you may want to stay put after the show until the crowd thins.
For parades, that option will vary based on your needs. Many kids like to sit on curbs along the parade route. You may want to park your stroller at your next destination, but if your child can get a nap out of waiting for the parade, keeping it close can have its advantages too. It's a source of shade on a sunny day or rain protection on a wet one. It's a comfortable retreat for some down time while you wait for a show. You can store a thin blanket or tablecloth in your stroller to lay on the ground and sit on to claim a space before the parade if you like.
8. Watch Out for Other People
Traveling with a stroller means sometimes it will be harder to move through crowds. You will need to exercise patience and move more slowly and watch out for others’ ankles. Do not ram into other people who inadvertently cut you off or are moving slowly in front of you. Everyone needs to behave like a prince or princess and be courteous to other guests. Most people aren’t trying to cut you off. They are probably just distracted by all of the scenery and not paying attention.
If you tie a balloon to your stroller and then watch a show or fireworks with your stroller next to you, be courteous. Pull the balloon down and tie it off closer to the handle or else all the people behind you will see is your bobbing balloon blocking their view. These are just good unspoken theme park etiquette rules!
9. Use Your Stroller for Storage and a Place of Comfort
A stroller makes a great "shopping cart" for your sweatshirts, diapers, snacks, water bottles and souvenirs. A backpack can get very heavy. Being able to leave items in the bottom of the stroller can really save your back. We take our tickets, wallets, keys, rental receipt (if we rented) and camera with us. But we leave anything that is replaceable in the stroller. At security, you will have to remove bags from the stroller to have them checked. It is quite common to see people pushing strollers laden with backpacks, blankets and water bottles while the kids walk. If it gets to be too much, you can always rent a locker, especially for items you can't bear to lose.
You can make your baby more comfortable with a clip-on stroller fan. For nap time, a portable noise machine can help drown out all the other Disneyland music and voices. You can attach the pacifier or toys to the stroller so you do not lose them in the park. Never bring your baby's most prized possession to the park or you risk losing it.
10. Follow the Flow of Traffic
In the United States, people stay to the right when driving and walking. Sometimes at Disneyland, the cast members redirect the flow of people. Go with the flow and do not try to fight your way upstream with the stroller.
If you are bringing a baby or toddler with you to Disneyland, here are more helpful tips for making your day with a little one much easier. If you have a runner, it is easier to keep your eye on them in a crowd when strapped into a stroller. Children who are normally too big for a stroller may benefit from using one at Disneyland. Sometimes, we walk 10 miles in a day! It is much easier to put tired children in a stroller than to carry them or be stuck in one spot resting.
If you have a mix of ages, from teens to toddlers, you can definitely get more mileage out of the little one with a stroller. That way, your tadpole can take some breaks or naps in the stroller. A stroller can be the thing that helps you meet everyone’s needs and stay longer in the park without a meltdown. We find that a toddler in a stroller with a bubble wand makes for a pretty happy combination. Don’t let anyone guilt you out of one. Only you know what your family’s needs are!
Many children have hidden disabilities but do not require a wheelchair, so being in a stroller can help them enjoy the park too. Always be kind, because you do not know another family’s situation or reasons to use a stroller at Disneyland. If your child has disabilities and uses a stroller as a wheelchair, there is a special stroller tag. Pick up the tag at Guest Relations, City Hall or the Chamber of Commerce. The tag indicates to cast members that the stroller can go places where a regular stroller is not normally allowed, including in attraction lines.
We also know adults who have disabilities who use a stroller for support. Maybe they do not need a walker at home, but in a crowded theme park when they are on their feet all day and at risk of being bumped, a stroller offers stability. They also get the stroller tagged to alert cast members that they need it for support.
Have a question about using a stroller at Disneyland, or have a tip we didn't mention? Share them in the comments below!
Related: A Mom's Secrets to Taking a Baby to Disneyland