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Disney World is exciting and fun for the whole family. But, it is also exhausting and comes with a lot of walking. Typically, you can expect to walk between 8-10 miles per day at Disney World! So, what if you have a child that is between the ages of 4-10? Can kids that age walk that far each day? Should you get a stroller? Will you have to listen to endless whining if you don’t? Isn’t it better to be safe than sorry-get a stroller just in case your little one wants to rest? You that you absolutely can go to Disney World without a stroller with a child over the age of 4 if you properly plan. How do I know? Because I’ve done it multiple times. Here, I will show you how to go to Disney World without a stroller (and without killing your child). But first, let’s look closer at the argument for and against strollers.
The Argument for Strollers
Some parents believe that their kids can’t walk 8-10 miles per day without getting tired. They maintain that they will have fewer meltdowns if their children, even at 10 years old, have a place to rest while in the parks. Another big reason to have a stroller is because it gives you a place to keep all the stuff you bring into the parks and carry around all day.
The Argument Against Strollers
Those of us who are on this side of the debate believe strollers should be used only for babies, toddlers, and physically disabled children. We feel that healthy children 5 and over should be able to visit Disney World without a stroller the same way they would visit any other place. Kids are much more resilient than parents give them credit for. And the parks are much easier to navigate without a stroller. Plus, you will save time by not having to worry about parking and looking for your stroller multiple times per day.
I have been to Disney World with and without a stroller. We started taking our son when he was 19 months old. His last trip with the stroller was at 4 years old. He has gone without a stroller multiple times since. I also took my nephew when he was 7 years old and never even considered taking a stroller for him. Both would have refused to ride in a stroller at that age. Both did fine without it.
How to go to Disney World Without a Stroller
To experience Disney World without a stroller and still have a good time, you need to do three things: (1) have reasonable expectations, (2) have a plan, and (3) train your kids.
Have Reasonable Expectations
The key to any successful Disney World trip is to go into it with reasonable expectations. This is especially true if you are going with kids. Think realistically about how far your kids can go, taking into account their ages, personalities, and energy levels.
Have a Plan
If your expectations are reasonable, you know that your kids can’t go nonstop for 8-10 hours. So, you need to have a plan for touring the parks with time built in for rest. I recommend taking a midday break at the hotel for naps. But, you could also sleep in and get a late start on the day or head back to the hotel early and keep your kid’s normal bedtime.
You also need to have a plan for when your kids get tired and whiney. What will you do to prevent those meltdowns from happening? You could stop for a snack, head to an air-conditioned show, or just take them back to the hotel at that point.
Train Your Kids
Just like runners train for a marathon, help your kids prepare for walking at Disney World by training. Start 3-4 months before your trip. Take a walk with your kids several days a week. Begin with going around the block. Each day, increase the distance a little bit. Once your kids get to the point they can walk for more than a mile without stopping, they will be ready to take on all the walking at Disney World.
Try to walk on consecutive days to prepare your children for walking each day of your trip. Have them wear the shoes they will wear in the parks during your training sessions. This will help break in their shoes and prevent blisters on your trip. Use your training walks to talk about your trip to get everyone excited about it. This is also a good way to find out your kids’ expectations about the trip. Use these expectations to plan a surprise for them which will help you have an amazing vacation.
Once your kids are over the age of 4, it is possible to go to Disney World without a stroller. And it is doable without epic meltdowns, as long as you have reasonable expectations and a plan. You also have to train your kids to prepare them for the walking they will do on the trip. For more tips on kids and Disney World, read how to prep your kids for Disney World, the perfect age for Disney World, and how to prevent Disney meltdowns. For planning help, see my step-by-step guide to planning your trip, the best resources for planning a Disney trip, and quick tips for planning a trip to Disney World. How do you prepare your kids for Disney World? Leave a comment and let me know! Happy Travels!