Little J has been to Disney seven times, from 2 months old to 5 years old, and I have brought a different stroller (almost) every trip. Yes, really. Some might say that’s excessive. I say… have you ever had to deal with a stroller at Disney?! You need to have a stroller that is easy to use or you’re going to go batty!
What makes a good stroller? Read on!
Stroller #1: Eddie Bauer something
June 2011. I’m not actually sure exactly what model stroller this is. When my sister-in-law and I turned up pregnant within months of each other, my mother-in-law went out and bought this Eddie Bauer stroller at a yard sale to have at her house, and then she very graciously let me use it. I think I was paranoid about checking a stroller on the airplane and didn’t want to risk my own stroller. The thing I loved most about this stroller was how when it was folded down (like to get on the bus), items could stay in the under-seat basket and not fall out. That was amazing! I also loved the parent organizer up at the handlebar. Two giant cupholders and a nice compartment to put little items. The seat laid down flat, perfect for a sleeping infant, and the canopy was huge.
Stroller #2: Chicco Cortina
June 2012 and October 2012. This was my stroller from the Chicco travel system I got for Little J. It was a pretty awesome stroller – very similar to the Eddie Bauer, just newer and a little more updated. Unfortunately, when it was folded down, items didn’t stay in the basket. This is not a huge deal at all, I think most strollers are like this, but it is one extra step you have to do before getting on a bus, so it is definitely something to check out beforehand. It was easy to break down, at least. The material on this particular model also didn’t seem to breathe quite as well as some others, and Little J would get really sweaty. But the adjustable handbar was nice!
Stroller #3: Peg Perego Pliko P3
March 2013. By this point, I wanted something a little smaller than a travel system full-sized stroller. I spent months researching mid-sized strollers – not huge but not the tiny little umbrella strollers either. I eventually narrowed it down to this, the Peg Perego Pliko P3, and the Peg Perego Vela. In the end, I read about some Vela recalls and went with the Pliko. Little J liked it just fine, and it definitely had a good sized basket. Unfortunately, this was my first experience with separate handles instead of one handlebar, and a lack of a parent organizer, and I was not a fan. This was also the first trip the boys and I took without Michael (who is usually the stroller pusher). I was not in love. It wasn’t a terrible stroller by any means, but I knew I would be selling it as soon as we got back home.
Stroller #4: Britax B-Agile
October 2013. I went back to the single handlebar here! But… there was no attached parent organizer and I had to buy a clip on one. It wasn’t great, and felt very unsecure. I was always afraid our cups would spill out. As you can see from his relaxed pose, Little J loved this stroller. The storage basket was on the smaller size for a bigger stroller, but it was adequate. This was one of the easiest strollers to maneuver, but folding it was hit or miss for me. I don’t remember Michael having many issues, but I could either fold it right away easy peasy, or I couldn’t fold it at all and would break down crying because I was a failure as a mother. No in-between.
Stroller #5: Kolcraft Cloud
October 2015. I decided to finally cave and bring a real lightweight umbrella stroller. The coolest thing about this one is how cool it kept him – the back cushioned panel rolled up to leave a mesh panel that let air flow through. It also had a great canopy for a smaller, cheaper stroller. The basket was tiny though, and the only cupholder was one of those clip on kinds. Also, back to the separate handles. Ugh! Thankfully I had Michael back and willing to push the stroller for me!
Stroller #6: Disney Baby Mickey Mouse
October 2016. Another umbrella stroller. Another trip without
the stroller pusher Michael. This one hands down won on cuteness factor, but it was pretty crummy to push. The wheels constantly felt like they were stuck. I felt like I was grocery shopping with a broken cart! The lack of the cupholders was lousy too, but Little J didn’t have to sit in the stroller as much anyway (remember, by this point he was 5!) so we could often dump our stuff in the seat.
So, what makes my perfect stroller?
- One single handlebar, instead of two separate handles.
- Easy to fold.
- Parent! Cupholders! Seriously. No joke. Real parent cupholders, not just the little clip on, crummy, going-to-fall-off-at-the-slightest-breeze cupholders.
- A seatback that reclines at least somewhat, even if it doesn’t go completely flat.
- A good sized and easily accessible under-seat basket.
Out of all the strollers I brought, that original second-hand Eddie Bauer was actually my favorite. The only real downside to it was how bulky it was. The later strollers, the “umbrella style” strollers, win out on lightness, but they can be difficult for taller people to push, and the wheels stick, and there are no cupholders.
Of note: like bringing a baby to Disney, strollers can be a hot topic. There will always be people saying that a child is too old to be in a stroller (even if your child is only 3!), or that babies should be held instead of being in a stroller, or whatever. You do you. So long as your child safely fits in the stroller, use it if you want to. We plan on going next year when Little J will be 7 1/2 years old, and I’m probably still going to bring a stroller. He isn’t likely to be able to handle all the walking we do at Disney, and although he’s lightweight for his age, he’s heavy enough that I sure can’t carry him for hours at a time, days on end.