Family Travel Question:

Q | What is the right age to bring a kid to Disney World or Disneyland for the first time?

What is the best age for a child's first foray to the Orlando amusement parks? Is three too young? Any recommended itineraries/parks to start with for a toddler? -Cyndy, NY

A | The right age for a Disney trip is any age

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Disney World is for kids of All agesThere is magic at every age at Disney World. Our oldest was six months the first time he went. It was fun to watch him look at all the lights and my middle son loved crawling all over the play spaces at the Magic Kingdom before he could walk. I have some incredibly adorable photos of him peeking through play windows.

Although no age is too young, don’t expect a three- year-old to experience Disney the same way you did as a ten-year-old or as you would as an adult. I worked in guest relations at the Studio at Disney World and we’d have parents come in mad as heck that their kid missed the Power Rangers and it was ruining his vacation – meanwhile the exhausted child was asleep in the stroller. Have a plan before you go. If your child would love to see a princess, then figure out where you’ll be able to see her, whether a character breakfast or in the parks and work your schedule around that one activity. Don’t expect to “see everything” or go with the idea that “I’ve got to get my money’s worth.” The joy of seeing your kids light up when they see Mickey or ride their first roller coaster is worth it. Don’t ruin it by trying to check off all the attractions on the list. That said, if you have a plan, you’ll be able to see a lot more without waiting in lines.

Keep in mind that what you may think is awesome, may not be for your child. I once called for 7 hours (our entire drive to Orlando) to get my five- and three-year-old sons into the Pirate Adventure program, because how cool was going out on a boat with Mickey pirate ears and looking on islands for buried treasure? We were on a budget trip; my in-laws paid for the hotel and food, and we had tickets from a previous trip and it was the only way we could go at the time. I say this because springing for the 35 or 40 dollars per kid for a ninety-minute pirate adventure was a real stretch.

You know the end of the story….The older one was excited but the little guy would not go. No amount of coaxing, pleading, and finally just yelling worked. He actually hid behind a trash can. My mother-in-law had to take him to the pool (which was free but made him completely happy) while I tried to compose myself.

Photo courtesy of Sue Rodman

2 Responses

  1. suerodman says:

    RT @FamTravelAdvice: The right age for a Disney trip us any age