There is a picture of me from 1982 visiting Epcot® Center for the very first time right after it opened and I am sitting in a red checked umbrella stroller. Fast forward five years, and my brother is in that same stroller while my sisters and I stand next to him. I can tell you from experience that a trip to Walt Disney World® is not easy on six year old legs. Now, my sisters and I have children of our own. My husband and I spent the first few years bringing our stroller from home, but we also lived about four hours away from the park. When our daughter was two, we had moved further away and we had to fly. We brought our own stroller on that trip also, but it was a little more difficult. There’s nothing easy about gate checking one of those big, bulky strollers. However, we learned over the years that the storage space offered by having a stroller is invaluable, and couldn’t figure out how we got through a trip without one before we had our daughter.
Now, she’s getting bigger, as kids do, and she’s a bit big for our old stroller. We have also noticed that our trips tend to get longer as we try to visit family in addition to going to Florida, so that stroller takes up a lot of room that we don’t have. So, we have turned to rental. It would be unfair to immediately discount Disney’s strollers. You can rent a single stroller at the gate of every park and at Downtown Disney® for $15 or a double stroller for $31 per day. If you rent at Downtown Disney®, you also need to leave a $100 refundable deposit. You can also pre-pay for the length of your stay at $13 a day for a single stroller and $27 a day for double strollers. The prices aren’t terrible and that isn’t why I don’t rent my stroller from Disney. Disney strollers are hard plastic and uncomfortable for kids. Napping in them is almost impossible. If you go in warm enough weather, the plastic heats up, and it gets too hot for little legs. There are also about a million of them, and they all look the same except for your name. There’s also not a whole lot of storage and you can’t remove the stroller from its park.
Last year, Disney made a list of approved vendors for outside sources for strollers. Approved means you do not have to be present for the vendor to drop off your rental and pick up your rental when you go home. It will all be done through bell services. It also means Disney has found these vendors to be most reliable for their guests. The approved vendors are:
Personally, I prefer Kingdom Strollers, but they are all good. You can go to the website of the company you choose, or call to reserve your stroller. You can get a single or a double from all three companies. You give the company your travel dates and the name of your hotel. Upon arrival, go to bell services, give them your name, and they’ll direct you to your stroller. It will have your name on it and it is yours until you check out of your hotel. That is actually the part I love the most about not renting from Disney, because my sleeping child can stay in her stroller until we get on the bus, and then I can put her back in the stroller when we get to the hotel. 40 pounds may not seem heavy for a minute or two, but from the bus stop to your hotel room is a totally different story.
Strollers are not the only wheels you might need in Walt Disney World®. My grandmother began to have difficulty breathing as she got older, and walking long distances was out of the question, but she loved visiting Walt Disney World®. So, she chose to rent an Electric Conveyance Vehicle (ECV) in the park. Wheelchair rentals from Disney are $12 a day, or $10 a day for the length of stay option. Downtown Disney® also has the $100 deposit requirement they have for strollers. For the ECV rental it is $50 a day with a $20 a day refundable deposit. There is no length of stay option for ECVs. My grandmother used to save for months beforehand to make sure she had enough money to cover her ECV rental in addition to the rest of the money she needed for the trip.
Now, Disney also has approved vendors for wheelchair and ECV rentals, with the same rules as strollers for using approved vs. non-approved vendors. The approved vendors are:
I have not had occasion to rent a wheelchair or ECV since my grandmother passed away ten years ago, so I don’t have any experience with any of these companies, but the best reviews I have read were for Apple Scooter. With any of these vendors, the deal is the same as with the strollers. Give your length of stay and the name of your hotel, and you have a wheelchair or ECV for the length of your stay that is approved for Disney buses and doesn’t have to be left in the park at the end of the day. In both cases, strollers and wheelchairs, the prices for the off property vendors are considerably better than the in park prices. Whatever you choose, make sure you do your research to make sure you get the best deal for your money. It’s your vacation.
I did not receive compensation from Kingdom Strollers or Apple Scooter. My opinions are my own.