Monday, August 27, 2012

A Double Stroller with Options for Walt Disney World

Before Minnie was born, I started shopping for a doublestroller.  We already had two single strollers (Maclaren Volo and Bob Revolution) that we loved but with the girls only 25 months apart, Tink would still be young enough to need a seat too.  I wanted one stroller that would do it all but alas, that just doesn’t seem to exist.  We live in North Carolina with nice weather and lots of festivals so a Bob Dualie (clearance priced!) won out.  Bob makes a fantastic stroller.  They are easy to push with large seats, huge canopies, excellent suspension, and infant car seat compatible.  The weight isn’t really that bad since most double strollers are heavy; but it’s the overall size that makes it a less than ideal Walt Disney World or general travel stroller in my opinion.  Granted, we saw lots of Big Bobs at the parks in May but mine won’t be joining their ranks.  We now drive to WDW and we own a minivan but even with the wheels removed, Big Bob still eats up a lot of space.  I take it shopping but it’s really designed to be an outdoor stroller.  While jogging, it doesn’t feel nearly as tank-like as it does in the post office.  Plus, even on sale, Bobs are pricey and stroller theft does occasionally happen.

These concerns sent me back to stroller shopping around Christmas.  I knew we would be going to Walt Disney World this year and in years to come.  Minnie didn’t need much so if I found THE smaller double stroller, I’d put it on her Christmas wish list.  I found several great models but with so much already invested in the three strollers we had, it seemed wasteful to buy another. I still keep an eye out for a steal on a Maclaren Twin Triumph, a City Mini Double, a Combi Twin Sport, or maybe a Joovy Caboose Ultralight. 

One morning in December, I checked Craigslist and happened to find a used Maclaren Quest listed for $20.  Needless to say, I called.  The seller told me about the stroller and said she had received another call on it but she would be home that morning if I wanted the first look at it.  I rounded up the girls and drove the hour to her house.  The stroller definitely showed some wear and tear but the frame and seat were in good shape and I handed over the money.  The Quest has a reclining seatback and extendable footrest, both of which make it great for my smaller child.  It weighs about 12 pounds before accessories.  The foam on one handle has some damage and I’m thinking about wrapping the handles with bike tape in a bright color before our next WDW trip.  That will serve double duty as it will also help us find it faster in the stroller corrals.  I already owned a seat liner that fit nicely, provided a bit more padding and covered the sunscreen stains I couldn’t wash off.  I bought a sunshade and cupholder from Amazon.  We've used this stroller quite a bit for preschool, errands, etc.

So why did I buy another single stroller? Well, I also purchased stroller connectors from Amazon for $10 and viola, a double stroller.  The connectors work best when the stroller frames are alike or very similar in size.  Since my original travel stroller is a Maclaren Volo, it matched up nearly perfectly with the Maclaren Quest.  Now we have a lightweight double stroller for travel that gives us flexibility.  Tink is three and most of the time thinks she is too big for a stroller.  Minnie is 14 months old and while she is a great little walker, a stroller is a must for Disney days.  For shorter outings, we can just take one stroller.  In May, we went to Downtown Disney on our first night and left Tink’s stroller behind in the room.  We only took one stroller to Disney’s Hollywood Studios as well since most of what we would do with the kiddos was toward the front of the park.  The caveat with that statement is that my mom gets around Disney World on her scooter and Tink thinks riding with Granny is the best thing ever. 

Why have the second stroller when it is empty most of the time?  One word: naptime.  Tink still needs an afternoon nap but won’t take one willingly.  We won’t be making the trek back to Old Key West for an afternoon break because it would be a waste of time for my family.   We do take a break, but it’s either a visit to a resort or pushing the girls until they fall asleep in the stroller and then relaxing wherever we happen to be.  We normally travel with a group so there is always someone willing to sit with the sleeping child and people watch. That brings me back to another benefit of the two-stroller system.  It’s likely that the girls will nap at different times.  If we want to go in separate directions with strollers, we have that option.

The stroller connectors come in a set of three and the instructions show where to place them.  Inevitably the front wheels will occasionally tangle up.  I found this happened much less frequently when both girls where riding and therefore there was weight in the stroller.  It just takes a little time to get used to taking turns a little easier to keep the wheels apart.  However, it’s simple to disconnect them by leaning the stroller back a bit and gently shaking.

Two single strollers connected together is wider than a standard double stroller but you can rarely take a stroller inside at WDW so it wasn’t an issue.  We kept them separate until after we entered each park.  It was easier to go through the front turnstiles with my dad and I each taking a girl and her stroller.  Tink hated riding in the stroller on those mornings but it was nice to have her safely contained as we waited through bag check and entrance lines, as well as on a packed ferry to Magic Kingdom.  We also split the strollers and Dad and I each pushed a girl one day to lunch when we had all gotten too hot, tired and hungry.  I did run into a couple of spots where the combined strollers were either a little too big or just barely fit.  In those cases, we got through but it’s really not a big deal since I could always just unhook them and push them through separately if I had really needed to do so.

My dad was kind enough to do most of the stroller pushing during our trip in May.  Toward the end of the week, I asked him if he would have preferred the double Bob over the connected Maclarens.  He’s a tall man, so his answer was just “which has the highest handles?”  I’m closer to 5’5” so all of our strollers work for me height-wise.   I was pleasantly surprised with how well the connected stroller handled.  Other than the occasional wheel lock-up, it pushed great. 

Our next vacation is planned for November and this time we’ll have 5 adults and 2 kids.  If Tink doesn’t want to sit in her stroller as we enter the park, that’s fine because we will have enough hands to take care of kids and gear.  We’ll still have her stroller for nap purposes.  I wish we could figure out a way to attach one folded stroller to either the open stroller or Mom’s scooter but it’s just too big.   With the stroller connectors in place, the extra stroller rides like a sidecar to Minnie’s stroller and can always carry my backpack. 

I’ve recently scheduled a trip for January for myself, my two girls, and one of my best friends, also named Amy.  She and I will be using Disney transportation for the whole trip so we’ll need to get the two girls and two strollers on and off buses, etc.  Thankfully the Maclaren strollers are lightweight at 8 and 12 pounds and I think I can handle that better than one behemoth.  I’m flying and meeting Amy in Orlando so I’ll have the girls by myself in the airports and on the plane.   I have flown alone with Tink before so I am aware of how I’ll need to prepare.  I’m planning on checking the heavier of our two strollers with our suitcases.  We’ll take the smaller one with us through security and gate check it.  I have considered checking them both or just renting a double stroller for this trip but I think it will be worth it to be able to corral at least one of the girls in the airports.  Tink will get out a little energy by walking, which will hopefully help her sit still on the plane.  I can keep her close by having her hold her handle on the stroller.

I’ve really been thinking about a sit and stand type stroller for flying, visiting family in DC, errands, etc.  Again, I can’t justify buying another stroller but I have gone to test drive some just for the fun of it.  I didn’t care for the Baby Trend or Graco versions for my purposes.  I’d like to test out the Joovy Caboose Ultralight but I’ll have to do that some time when I am over in Charlotte as there isn’t a nearby store that sells them.  We tend to travel with the single Bob and Tink has figured out that she can jump on the front for a ride.  Minnie's legs are getting too long for this to work much longer since she's discovered that she can kick big sister.  Which brings me to another bonus of traveling to WDW with two single strollers...separating the kids.  The stroller connectors keep the seats apart so it's like having two captains chairs in a van.

We've been taking more family walks getting ready for our November trip.  I've taken the single/double stroller, which reminds me just how much I like this set up.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this! I had never even heard of connectors! We are debating on bringing our Joovy Caboose Ultralight (which you should definitely test when you can). I like the idea of being able to split the strollers if needed.


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