Thursday, January 9, 2014

Strollers in Disney

We are heading to Disney World soon and I've been doing a lot of planning. Our twin toddlers are two and a half years old. One thing my friends and blog readers know is that I am head over heels for our stroller, the Baby Jogger City Select with the second seat. I've written two reviews on it: "I love my stroller" and "0-2 years old: twin must-haves." From the time our twins were born, we have used 1 and only 1 stroller, our tried and true Baby Jogger City Select with the second seat. Now we have another baby on the way and we plan on putting our stroller through its paces again. So as I thought about our upcoming Disney trip, I started thinking about using my stroller there. There were pros to using my Baby Jogger City Select in Disney-- like the large storage basket underneath, how compact it is, how easy it is to maneuver-- but, when traveling, remember the Accidental Tourist: never travel with something you would be devastated losing. I know we are going to Disney-- the happiest place on earth-- but I would be so upset if someone stole our stroller while we were on a ride. I would probably be worried about my stroller parked out there in stroller parking the whole time I was waiting in line. With another baby on the way, I am going to want that stroller again this summer. With a heavy heart, I told our stroller that it would not be going to Disney with us.

Last year some time I traded in a bunch of Pampers Gifts to Grow points for an umbrella stroller. I got this stroller with the intention that it would stay in the back of my husband's vehicle, when he went out with the boys. Well, he got swamped in college and ended up never needing the stroller. It has sat unused in our garage for over a year. When I decided to leave our Baby Jogger City Select at home, I remembered the umbrella stroller in our garage. It is a First Years Jet Stroller, retailing for $49.98. I actually found the red stroller, same as the one I already owned, for $39.98 on Amazon. Because I used Pampers Gifts to Grow points for the first stroller, I only had to buy the second stroller. We also bought the Prince Lionheart Stroller Connectors for $8.01, bringing our total to $47.99 (one free stroller + one stroller for $39.98 + stroller connectors for $8.01).

Before buying the stroller, my husband and I did some brain storming. We are going to Disney with a large group of relatives. We have no idea how interested the toddlers will be in riding rides. What I do know is that there will be lots of hands available to push a stroller. When traveling with my family, we often break up into groups, especially since I'm pregnant and my elderly grandmother will be with us. If one of the toddlers enjoys riding rides and my sisters want to take him, it would be nice if I could send them with a stroller. I also thought about if everyone decides to ride something that the toddlers do not want to ride and I'm then stuck in Disney World with two strollers and two toddlers. My husband and I decided that two lightweight umbrella strollers with connectors were the perfect solution. When navigating Disney crowds we can easily disconnect them so we aren't pushing a side-by-side. We will have plenty of people available to help push strollers and I can easily connect them and push them myself when need be.

We did the math as to whether it was more practical for us to buy all this ($47.99) or rent a stroller while we are there. Disney World has two stroller rental prices for single strollers: per each day ($15) or length of stay ($13). If we rented a stroller day by day, we would pay $45 for 3 days, almost exceeding our total. We would pay $90 if we ended up renting a stroller for the 6 days we are in the park. If we reserved a stroller for length of stay (6 days total), we would pay $78. That is all for a single stroller rental. The double stroller price is $31 a day (2 days totaling $62, 6 days $186) or $27 for length of stay (6 days $162). Buying a second stroller and the connectors is far more economical. Once we get back from Disney, I plan on keeping one of the umbrella strollers, just in case my husband needs a stroller in the back of his vehicle, and we can donate the second stroller.

The nice thing about the First Years Jet Umbrella Stroller is that it is fairly tall, fairly comfortable to push, has a basket underneath, and has a "mommy console" with a cup holder and zip pocket attached to the handles. Here are pictures of the strollers and our Disney stroller solution. I will update this post after our trip to tell you how it went and if this really is a clever idea or not. {Scroll down to read my review!}


The First Years Jet Strollers
They have a nice hood to protect against sun and it is removable.
The basket underneath. Not extremely large, but still nice that there is a basket.
The "mommy console" on the new stroller we bought, zipper pouch and cup holders.
The "mommy console" on the stroller we got through Pampers Gifts to Grow. In addition to the zipper pouch and cup holders, it also has mesh pockets on the outside.
The Prince Lionheart Stroller Connectors from Amazon. They are very easy to use, much easier than I was anticipating.
Our five-year old helping connect the strollers.
The two umbrella strollers connected with the stroller connectors. When practicing pushing the strollers, I either pushed from the middle holding the two handles closest together or pushing both handles on one stroller. Either way was comfortable.
 
Close up of the connected strollers. The only time I had the two front wheels turn into each other while connected was when making a sharp turn. The trick seems to be making wider turns when connecting two umbrella strollers.
All three of the connectors fit easily in the zipper pocket of the "mommy console." For now, I'm storing them there. While we are at Disney, I may store them in the diaper bag. I'm going to hang a small back pack on the back of one of the strollers to use as our diaper bag.
 
_________________________________________________________________
 
{UPDATE ON STROLLERS IN DISNEY WORLD}
 
We are home from our trip to Disney World! I'm sure you are curious as to how our strollers did in action. Well, these clips suck. I did use them 3 times while at Disney World and they did do the job. However, with an almost 30-pound toddler in each stroller, the strollers were difficult to navigate while connected. If I pushed just one stroller, the other stroller had a tendency to drift slightly behind the stroller I was pushing and get the wheels tangled. If I pushed the handles closest together, I couldn't turn the thing. To be able to control the strollers the most, I needed to push the outside handle of one stroller and the inside handle of the other stroller. It was awkward and uncomfortable on my hands. It did get the job done though. I connected the strollers on our way out of Hollywood Studios the first day. There were a lot of turns to get out of Hollywood Studios and back to our vehicle. It was hard to make those turns with my stroller connected. The other 2 times I connected the strollers were at the Magic Kingdom. If you have walked Main Street and the Magic Kingdom, you know how difficult it would be to navigate a side-by-side double stroller out of there, especially a cumbersome side-by-side. I had a heck of time on the narrow sidewalks. The other horrible thing about these connectors is that if one stroller abruptly stops, they pop apart. For instance (no judgment, it is a crowded, busy place) a kid leapt in front of my stroller on our way out of the park and I didn't stop in time. One of the strollers came to a halt when it hit his feet. Two of the three stroller connectors popped apart so I was in the middle of the walkway unable to drag both of my umbrella strollers out of the way, apologizing to this kid and his family while trying to connect my strollers again. All in all, it did the job. No, I will never use these stroller connectors again. I did see two different people with these stroller connectors, the Munchkin Stroller Connectors, and they looked like they were much easier to push the strollers with. Mine were easy to get on and get off and did do the job, but the dang strollers were really difficult to push when connected.
 
 
Also, these umbrella strollers were next to impossible to push when a toddler was throwing a temper tantrum. One of our toddlers kept throwing fits and would stomp on the plastic foot rest. When the plastic strap was stomped down on, it would put pressure on the front two wheels and effectively stop the stroller. If he was arching his back and leaning to one side, the one side would stop and the stroller would make a sharp turn. It was really frustrating. You also could not push these strollers with one hand. So when my sisters would go and get FastPasses and then call to see where we were, I either had to push with the phone rested on my shoulder-- not easy-- or push with one hand and one elbow, holding the phone up to my ear. Even worse, sometimes I had to just pull off to the side and stop to take the call and then try to catch up with my party who was still swept off in the crowd-- not an easy task when pregnant.
 
 
Those were the downsides to the umbrella strollers and the connectors. I often wished that I had just brought my Baby Jogger City Select with a Second Seat and got over my worry of leaving it outside of rides. After going to Disney World and actually leaving strollers in the stroller parking, I would feel comfortable bringing my stroller and parking it there. I was kicking myself for being so paranoid and not just bringing it. Other times, like when we were boarding the tram or folding up our strollers and leaving them in some corner somewhere, I was really glad we had those umbrella strollers. It wouldn't have been so easy taking a tram in from the parking lot with my Baby Jogger City Select and both of the seats in our laps. And when we were navigating crowds, like the time we left during the fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom, it was nice to only be pushing one umbrella stroller. My mom pushed the other one and those things were really easy to get around with; they were very compact and really easy to navigate when pushing one (and the toddler wasn't throwing a fit). It also was really nice to only have one toddler to take care of instead of two. I talked to the toddler in my stroller and my mom talked to the toddler in her stroller. She got her toddler out and brought him up when we got to a ride and I got my toddler out and brought him up. It was much easier than dealing with both toddlers if I had pushed my double stroller.
 
If these were a better option than just bringing my Baby Jogger City Select with the Second Seat, I'm not sure. I do wish that I had just brought that stroller. As for other stroller options, I think this was way better than a tradition in-line stroller or a side-by-side. I really liked pushing one small stroller in the crowds and easily being able to fold it up or park it.
 
Disney tip: Instead of renting strollers from Disney World, I saw a lot of people had rented from Orlando Stroller Rentals. Their prices are much better than Disney's and the strollers were nicer!
 
 
For more tips on our Disney World trip, read how our Disney trip went in my blog post:
"
Disney World with young children."

6 comments:

Eights on the Move said...

I have NO kids. NO strollers. NO trips to Disney to plan. And yet somehow I found this oddly informative and fascinating. Such an awesome idea to make it work & stay sensible! Can't wait to hear how the trip goes :)

Kimber said...

Hahaha! Well, thank you! I am going to update this blog post when we get back to report whether or not this idea works out as well as we hope it will! :)

MrsSquires said...

We have a first years stroller and love it! My caution as you enter Disneyland with it, be careful when you open and close it with your foot. We opened and closed it so many times and our foot got caught on the underneath storage causing a hole at the seam. It is easily fixed, just makes it difficult to store thing there :) You may also want to mark your strollers some how for when they are separate. Disney workers sometimes move the strollers in the area to make space for others so yours may not be in the exact same spot as it was when you left it to stand in line.

Fe Adamsonn said...

I love the strollers. To travel with kids really requires a lot of preparation. Enjoy your travel and be safe. Disneyland on the go!

Military spouse

Kimber said...

We are back from our Disney trip and I updated this blog post. I posted a review at the bottom now that it is all said and done. :) Thanks for the tips! I always made sure to park in designated stroller parking, so our strollers were at least in the area we expected them to be, even if they had been reorganized by a cast member. I didn't have much of a problem with my foot getting caught in the basket underneath, but my dad did a couple times, though thankfully it did not rip (yet!). I did put stickers on the back of both of them with my last name and other markers to help make ours more visible when looking for them. I noticed a lot of these strollers at the park and was glad ours were marked! The one with the Lightning McQueen diaper bag hanging off the back was pretty easy to spot, but when looking for the other one, the stickers really helped!

Tonya said...

Hi Kimber, I am finding your blog to be very helpful to me. We have 14mo twins, boy/girl and we also have the City Select and yes I could write a commercial about this awesome stroller. We live in the Orlando area so theme parks are part of world monthly. We never leave home without our stroller. And yes we were very concerned about someone walking off with the most amazing stroller in the world. We bought a bike lock and thread it through the tires or sometimes lock it to a pole. I know its Disney, magical and no one steals there, whatever, people steal everywhere. Some people look at me funny but I just smile and wave. We have not feared losing our stroller at all. Thank you for all your tips.