As we discussed in our first article, if you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World and you’ll want to make sure you have the stroller that will make your trip as easy and enjoyable as possible.
We’ll start our decision making process by thinking about the trip. Both flying and driving come with different challenges and benefits.
Flying is my preferred way to get to Walt Disney World. I love spending less time traveling and someone else does a majority of the work. When trying to decide on the right stroller, flying has some advantages. First, since your stroller will be checked at the gate, for this part of the trip you can really take any size stroller you want. As long as you can get it to the airport, you’re really not limited to size or weight. Most airlines still include checking a stroller as a free service to their passengers. Second, since you will have your stroller right up until you board the plane, it can help you carry some of your smaller bags through the airport.
Some things to think about when selecting your stroller if you’re flying. You still have to get the stroller through security. If you’re traveling with a double or a larger stroller that does not fit through the x-ray machine, it may take a little longer to go through the security process. The biggest thing we think about with airline travel is how our stroller will be treated when it’s not in our possession. We regularly have bags that are damaged by the baggage handlers so we don’t expect our stroller to be given any nicer treatment. Once folded and left at the bottom of the ramp, your stroller will be open to the same treatment as everything else getting thrown (literally sometimes) under the plane. If you have an expensive stroller or one that is not super sturdy, you may want to consider other stroller options over the one you own. Some strollers have an optional travel bag that you can purchase to protect your stroller when it goes under the plane. You also might be able to find a universal carry bag that snugly holds your stroller. While a stroller travel bag won’t stop heavy abuse, it will help keep down the minor bumps and bruises.
One other thing to consider if you’re flying is if you take one stroller or two. If you have more than one child traveling you could take either a multi-seat stroller, multiple singles, or a combination. As long as you have enough kids for the seats, the airlines won’t charge you if you decide to take more than one stroller. We will discuss the pros and cons of one or more strollers in the parks later, but for travel consider how many adults you’ll be traveling with to how many children. Would it be easier to separate the kids or keep them together? Would it be easier to have smaller strollers to move through security and a crowded airport, or just one stroller to keep track of? A single parent with two children will probably be better off with a double stroller. On a past trip we had two children and four adults. Two singles worked out well because we were able to separate them through security and while entertaining them before we boarded the plane.
Unlike flying, a benefit to driving is your stroller stays in your possession and therefore should be fairly well taken care of. However, you probably don’t have unlimited space for packing your stroller. Here some serious planning and research will come in handy. The first thing you should do is try to figure out how much space you actually have for your stroller. On our last two trips I would take our suitcases and duffel bags (empty) out to the car and load the trunk of our small SUV before we started the packing process. From there, I play the jigsaw game where you test and try different configurations for packing the car, allowing for a little expansion when the bags are packed, until I have the perfect setup. I take a picture on my phone so I remember how it is packed, then I take the bags into the house. This has helped for a handful reasons: testing with empty bags is so much easier than when they each weigh 50+ pounds, it gave us a predetermined number of bags we could take (instead of having to repack at the last minute when something didn’t fit), and it told us exactly how much room we’d have for our stroller. Remember when you’re testing your packing, the wheels on almost all strollers are removable. Taking the wheels off for the drive there and back may make the stroller more compact and the wheels can be tucked into free space elsewhere.
Whether you’re flying or driving, there are distinct challenges and benefits when picking your stroller. You might not have a choice between flying and driving, but hopefully we’ve given you a few things to think about that might make the process a little easier.
In our next article we’ll look at the things to consider when using Walt Disney World transportation and a stroller. If you have any tips, tricks, or thoughts on picking a travel stroller, lets hear them!