strollers, not just for babies - What? Why?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Back in my days as a CM at the Magic Kingdom, I swore (in my thoughtless youth) that I would never EVER travel to WDW with stroller age children. "Why torture yourself?" I thought. "Kids that age cannot even appreciate the experience," I soap boxed. "There is NOTHING more annoying than a stroller wielding mom nipping at your heals as you amble pleasantly (and childless) through a park while she counts kids, rams into your feet, and is distracted by the short people in her traveling posse." 

Yup. I cannot pretend that wasn't my position, but as with many things I have learned I was actually quite wrong about since becoming a mother, I was really wrong on this one. Sure, it would be nice to have children in the parks who can walk independently of us pushing them in what really equates to a luxury coach. Yes, it would be great to save the money on the rental, the time spent looking for it outside of attractions in a line of lookalikes. In reality, I think both my kids would need to be what? Ten? Older?! In fact, imagining WDW without a stroller makes me sweat more than traveling with one at this point.  Both my kids are now old enough to quite literally take off running in opposite directions at exactly the same moment. Now THAT is the kind of thing that has turned my hair grey. I am well aware that this type of scenario could still play out, even with a stroller, but anything to take the odds down a bit is a positive.

I have heard anywhere from seven to fifteen miles as an estimated distance walked per day at Walt Disney World. I'm sure it varies on which park you visit, how intense you plan your itinerary, which season you visit (brutal heat might slow you down), or individual fitness level. There is no way my nearly seven year old daughter is capable of walking even the lower end of that estimate, let alone waking up the next morning to do it all over again.

I'm also quite sure that I JUDGED the heck out of parents with children clearly capable of walking who were riding in strollers. They seemed like giants, legs all crouched up, backs hunched to fit under the canopy. I eye rolled those parents. I snickered. I made all those, "when I'm a mom," tsk tsk comments. I welcome the judgement because a happier kid will not only make my family's experience better, but yours too. The thought of pleading with my daughter to please walk to the next attraction makes me panic. I'd be making empty promises or buying her everything in sight to convince her that the walk back to Main Street will not in fact kill her. It wouldn't be pretty and we would all be exhausted. Asking my nearly four year old to walk even though he has not been pushed in a stroller in well over a year is laughable. My father spent an entire trip with my brother riding on his shoulders (why did they not get a stroller?!?) and since neither my husband nor I can do that without complaining ourselves for any distance greater than a city block, I'd say that is absolutely NOT an option. Additionally, the park exits are reason alone for a stroller with kids! They can sit securely in place and there is far less risk of getting separated or trampled in the push of the crowd. Imagining park close with Caroline walking makes me want to cancel the trip! 

Sure, this place IS for everyone. It is not just for families and kids and we get that. Perhaps if strollers could be more polite, more conscientious of others, and ensure that they aren't using their stroller as a crowd battering ram we could all get along just fine.

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