What is the best age to take your kids to Walt Disney World?
As a Disney Vacation Planner, one of the most frequently asked questions I get asked is, "What is the perfect age to take my kids to Disney?" This is typically followed by, "I want to make sure they remember our vacation because Disney isn’t cheap!"
You will most likely consider taking a family vacation to Walt Disney World after you are exposed to Disney’s marketing merits of commercials, banner ads, mommy bloggers and contests. Don’t forget the contagious giddiness of your neighbours, co-workers and friends who just came back from their trip to visit the Mouse. Ask yourself, can really deny your children an unforgettable, dream-filled, fantasmic, wonderous, magical celebration at the Happiest Place on Earth? Disney is waiting for you to dig deep into your pocket and take the plunge, but what age is the perfect age?
I hope these tips will help you decide the best time for you and your family to take the journey to the World that Walt created.
Travelling with Preschoolers Ages 0-3
- They are free! Admission for this age group is complimentary and they can even eat for free at buffets and “share” at table service restaurants.
- You can place little ones in a stroller. This helps keep them safe and allows you to keep a good walking pace.
- Food and dining options are readily available for this age group.
- They take the cutest pictures at this age!
- Many of the attractions at Disney are suitable for preschoolers.
- Little eyes are constantly stimulated with music, lights, sounds and bright colours.
- Baby Care Centers are located at each park that supply for purchase baby food, formula, diapers and bottles. There is also a breastfeeding and potty training area.
- They won’t remember it.
- Height requirements will not allow them on some rides. Tip: Use a Rider Switch Pass. One adult can wait with the non-rider while the rest of the party experiences the attraction. The waiting adult can then board the attraction without having to wait in the regular line again when another adult in the party returns to supervise the child or children who do not ride—either because they do not meet the height requirement or simply do not wish to ride.
- You will need to bring extras like diapers, wipes and a change of clothes.
- Potty training.
- Napping could cut into your day (I suggest you take a siesta. A nice dip in a heated pool is always a relaxing midday break).
- Supervision near pools and water.
Preschoolers/Kids Ages 3-5
- Characters are REAL!
- They can walk and use a stroller if needed.
- You can purchase the Disney Dining Plan for them if you stay at a Disney owned resort.
- They are old enough for Child Care at Disney Resorts so you can have a much needed adults night out. Remember, it is your vacation too!
- Perfect age for makeovers at the Bibbidi Bobbiti Boutique and Pirate’s League.
- Disney resorts have shallow pools and some have splash pads.
- Themed Resorts like the Art Of Animation are great for this age. Imagine their faces when they walk through Radiator Springs from Cars, or see the largest pool on property themed with the character from Finding Nemo!
- Pre-schoolers can especially enjoy the interaction at a park like Epcot where there are hands on approaches (with a little Disney fun) to concepts like communication, energy and innovation.
- Interactive queues help to keep interest while waiting.
- Disney has targeted attractions for this age group in all four theme parks.
- If they are early risers you can hit the parks early before the crowds get too big. Tip: Shortest wait times are before 11am.
The bad and the ugly: See preschoolers ages 0-3
Kids - Ages 6-9
- No more strollers, we hope!
- They can last longer and go faster.
- Big rides are within reach. Who wants to go on Big Thunder Mountain?
- They still listen to Mommy and/or Daddy.
- Planning a vacation around a school schedule. In my opinion, at this age you can consider taking them out for a week.
- Prices are substantially higher on school breaks. Canadian Tip: The last 2 weeks of August in Walt Disney World has significantly lower crowds and huge discounted rates as southern U.S. schools return in mid-August. From previous years, Free Dining was offered for this travel period.
Tweens & Teens - Age 10+
- There is no limit to what they can experience! They can ride all thrill rides.
- They can help with a younger sibling.
- There are educational opportunities at some attractions. Many can be found at Epcot’s Innoventions.
- They are priced as an adult for park tickets and the meal plan.
- Feeling they are too old for Disney.
- School becomes very important so taking time off is not ideal.
- Their opinions…but that’s another blog post I would like to hand over to a parenting expert.
I have been travelling with my kids to Disney Destinations since they were 8 months old, so it’s hard for me to pick a perfect age. I believe you can be any age to visit Disney. Disney planned on that.
If you capture your vacation with photos, you can enjoy memories for a lifetime even if your kids are too young to remember. It is ultimately you and your wallet’s decision and what you feel you can manage as a parent. The best advice I can give to anyone planning a trip to Disney is to start planning your vacation six to seven months in advance. The pay-offs are big if you do this. You can dine with Cinderella, meet Anna and Elsa and become a Jedi if you research and prepare.
The best part of visiting Disney is that you will spend time with family and have a few days away from the ordinary. Days where your biggest worry is Space Mountain or Splash? What time are we swimming? or which Mickey Ears look best on me? Those are my favourite kind of days.
Photography & text used in the development of this blog post are the property of Disney©.
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