What led me to that decision? Well, for one, there was the layover in the very busy Atlanta airport to consider. My in-laws and I really didn't want to have to worry about gate-checking the stroller, getting it in Atlanta, trying to wield it through the rushing crowds and escalators/elevators, or risk damage while in flight (and after seeing one of my bags, I'm glad we didn't risk our nice stroller!), and then doing the same from there to MCO... all to do it all over again on the way home.
Why not rent from the Disney Parks? That just didn't make much sense to me at all! You're only able to rent a stroller for the time you are in a specific park. Yes, you can take your receipt with you to another park (on the same day) if you're park hopping, but what about the transition from park to park? Or more importantly, from the parks to your resort after a long, exhausting day?! Or how about Downtown Disney? I don't know about you guys, but my kids aren't exactly shopping enthusiasts, although my daughter is starting to come around :-) I couldn't go shopping without somewhere for my little guy to sit (or be strapped in, lol) so he wasn't getting into everything. Oh, oh!! And what about those sometimes long, but oh so lovely, walks from your resort room to your resort's food court/lobby? You get the drift...
What are the perks of renting from an area rental company? The obvious are all the things I just mentioned above. You have the stroller with you at all times, from parks back to the resorts, on the resort grounds, and at Downtown Disney. And for those that don't just stay on Disney grounds, really, you have them anywhere!! They deliver to most of the area hotels and even rental houses and condos! I loved the thought of simply making the reservation and picking it up at Bell Services at our resort. How easy is that?!
We utilized the services of Orlando's very first stroller rental company- Orlando Stroller Rentals!! And I'm sure glad we did!!
Shannon Tanner, with her husband Justin Tanner, founded the company after having visited Walt Disney World from Connecticut with her then 5 and 6 year olds whom had been out of strollers for some time. Once their little legs started to get weak her only option at the time was to rent in the parks. After having to return her rental and carry one sleeping child while the other tiredly (and I can imagine, grumpily) trudged all the way back to Beach Club Resort, she and her husband tried to figure out a better way... and you guessed it, this is where the Orlando stroller rental industry was born! She left her 12 year elementary teaching career and founded Orlando Stroller Rentals in June of 2008!!
Yes, there are now other companies in the area, so how did I come to choose Orlando Stroller Rentals?
- For one, after a bold move like the one
Shannon made in starting this company, how could I not choose to go
with her?! That chick rocks! She saw a need and came up with a solution!
- Secondly, the other companies didn't have near the selection OSR provided. They have multiple selections of both single strollers and double strollers, accommodating higher weights and heights.
- Thirdly, though we didn't need one, I liked the fact that they offered a special needs chair. Several of the blogs I read cover stories of children with special needs traveling to the parks. I can imagine some of them require special strollers and such, and I think it's wonderful that a company has thought of them as well!
- The last thing considered, before actually deciding on them, was another addition they offered that I didn't see elsewhere- a glider board! Though my daughter and I were "training" for Disney, I knew it was inevitable that her little legs would get tired at some point. The glider board comes attached to the stroller and easily flips down for the older child to ride along for a bit.
After having made our decision, working with Shannon was a breeze! Their website was easy to navigate and very informative. You can even see videos of each of the strollers in use, how to fold them, demonstrations of the sun canopies, how easily they turn, etc. When speaking with her on the phone she was oh so sweet and personable. Emails were responded to quickly and efficiently. Facebook junkie like me? OSR is on Facebook and quickly responds to your questions and concerns. Not sure which stroller is right for your child? Simply leave them a comment on their wall and you'll have your answer in no time! Not to mention you can find many satisfied customers there!!
Though I was able to utilize these amazing services at no charge, I still placed a reservation as everyone else would, online. And let me tell you, the process was effortless! The reservations platform on her website was very easy to use, and I quickly had confirmation emails in my inbox. When making your reservation you also have the option of purchasing insurance to cover your rental stroller in the unlikely event of damage or theft. Like I said, these things are unlikely, but when given the option of purchasing insurance the first thing that always comes to mind is an episode of Fresh Prince where they've rented a car and somehow they end up off the road and in a tree or something... and they didn't purchase the insurance for whatever the minimal amount it was... Needless to say, I always opt for it now. There's always that "what-if"...
So, what did we get and how did we like it? Based on our needs for my two year old son, and considering my 7 year old daughter, we ended up with a City Mini Single with a glider board! And as I'm sure you've probably guessed by now we loved everything about our experience! We also had a rain cover, but were fortunate enough to have no need for it.
We checked in to Caribbean Beach Resort and our stroller was ready and waiting with Bell Services. It had a large tag affixed to the bottom axle with our name and a packet attached to the handle bar, again with our name, a business card, and an information card. The card provided folding instructions, troubleshooting issues (if the wheel isn't turning- it may be locked, etc.), and how to return the stroller to Bell Services for pick up at the end of your stay.
Please feel free to double-click on any of the images to enlarge the photo to see more clearly
The stroller was very clean, and so very easy to use. I quickly figured out the quick-fold and L-O-V-E-D it! It was easy to carry, even with my being short. The kids loved checking it out once we made it to the room. The weight limit for this stroller was 50 pounds which covered both my children, and the glider board maxes out at 45.
Here's Tessa standing on the glider board in the room
Like I said, it folded effortlessly and I was surprised at how compact it got. I know the following picture doesn't focus on the stroller, but notice how little space it takes up. I like a clutter-free hotel room, especially since they're so space limited as it is. The stroller never got in our way and we could easily grab it and head out the door. To see more on how it folds down and how flat it gets watch this video.
This photo shows the storage pouch on the back of the seat. We placed our small backpack in there with no trouble, though it didn't have much in it. There was also a small basket under the seat.
I LOVED the multi-position sun shade. Again you can see more in the video, but basically there were two ways to position the shade... as shown below, and then you could extend it even further to cover their legs as well! This was a huge benefit!!
Remember that little packet that was hanging from the handle when we picked the stroller up? Well, it was attached with a cute little orange ribbon. This worked nicely in identifying our stroller in the masses when parked in stroller parking.
I also want to mention how very comfortable Colten was all week. This was very important considering he spent so much time in it for the week we were there. We really liked that it lay almost completely flat, and when laid flat it had a very nice vent in the back to allow optimum airflow to the sleeping/resting child. We only used this feature a couple times as Colten didn't want to recline too far because he felt as though he was going to miss something, lol.
The stroller was the perfect spot to watch the parades. We'd get to our spots early enough to scoot it right up to the curb and he could sit comfortably without anyone having to hold him up, which was nice for us adults who also wanted to use the parade times as a little rest :-)
Oh, and I forgot to mention how easily I was able to get the stroller on and off the buses, monorail, train, and every other mode of transportation we tried. It folded so compactly, I could easily fit it down the aisle of even the older buses which aren't as wide as the newer ones.
I even encountered another family renting from OSR on a bus to Downtown Disney. I asked how they liked the double they were renting, and they quickly told me how pleased they were with it. They said they were initially afraid it would have been too bulky, but they were surprised at how easily it maneuvered through doors and stores.
So, not only was I super-happy with OSR, I met another family who was genuinely glad they rented from OSR as well! Oh, and not to mention, I spoke with several others about the stroller while we were sitting waiting for parades, or parking the stroller. People noticed the rental tag (when the glider board was down) and asked where OSR was, were they in the park? When I replied that they delivered right to our room, they were surprised and said they wished they had known that before renting from the park "especially since it looks so much more comfortable than this one". Turns out I could have used a few extra business cards in my packet to give out.
Well, I didn't mean to get so carried away here, but as I'm sure you know, when you find such an amazing service or product, it's easy to get excited about it. I hope you'll remember them when planning your next trip.
Please feel free to ask any questions you might have. I'm happy to tell you more! And you can always contact Shannon or Justin directly, like I said, they were great!
Orlando Stroller Rentals
Shannon & Justin Tanner
By standard mail:
Orlando Stroller Rentals
1420 Celebration Blvd., Ste. 200
Celebration, FL 34747
Orlando Stroller Rentals
1420 Celebration Blvd., Ste. 200
Celebration, FL 34747