Many people focus on a Disney vacation as one for families and for those with young children. And while it is true that experiencing Disney with little ones is magical, I can also say that one of the best Disney World trips that my family ever made, was the year that we took my parents who were both in their 70s at the time. We definitely did some things differently in order to accommodate their needs, but it was a truly special and magical vacation for us. There is something about sharing the joy of Disney with those who are old in years but young in heart that is heartwarming in a way that is hard to describe. I treasure the memories that we created on that vacation!
Still, it does require doing Disney a bit differently. There are different needs to consider, such as getting around, dietary needs, dealing with heat/sun, to name a few. So with that in mind, I recently asked some of our Facebook fans the following question:
Have you visited Disney with a senior citizen? What tips would you offer to those who are planning a multi-generational trip like this?
Here are some of the responses we received:
Margaret K: I take my parents all the time now (late 70’s). Their first time ever was only last year! We take our time, enjoy the shows as a rest stop, and take in the sights also as a way of resting. Disney is fabulous about allowing your own food in the park, so we pack a snack that they can enjoy (special diets).
Ann B: My mother in law is not that elderly but she does require a scooter when we go so there is extra planning involved for us. She can not walk more than 100 yards without becoming out of breath. We have to ensure that we bring all of her medicine and info from her doctors for the guest assistance pass. Even with all of that, we all have a wonderful time whenever we all go together.
Krista C: Going with my Mom who is 70, I’m 46 and my Daughter is 28. We are renting a wheelchair in the parks for my Mom even though she said she wont need it, we know she will.
Janice J: I’m the Senior, and we always go as a family. My husband is able to keep up, but I use a scooter. Sometimes we are a large group, with a lot of kids, and sometimes we are a group of 5-8 with children. We have the greatest time. If we can’t keep up or stay out as late as the younger people, we get on the bus and go back to out hotel.
Renee G: Went with my mother and my in-laws and we did get slowed down a bit but it was still very magical being there with them and seeing them have fun with their grandsons. Don’t expect to see and do all that you normally would do…the pace is much slower. Take breaks as people need them, the older ones can sometimes need more than little ones… Let people go on there own, not everyone will want to do the same things. One day the grandparents went to the space center for the day and we got to do a lot with just our boys and make some special memories with just them!!! We even split up that day and my DH took one boy and did all the rollercoasters at MK and I took the other boy and did Epcot and then we switched at lunch…very cool doing what they each wanted to do instead of having to compromise. Did need to have a bit more of a plan since it was 7 of us instead of just 4…this was the 1st trip for my in-laws so it was fun seeing it through there eyes for the 1st time! Would do it again in a heart beat…only thing I would do different would be to have another day alone with my kids…
Laurie S: Kids, disabled guests, slowpokes, seniors, teens, etc. in your group means you have to tailor your trip for everyone or split the group so that each smaller group can have the most out of the experiences. I spent 3 years pushing my mother around Disneyland and I gave up most rides and shows that I wanted to do. I had to time meals because she had to eat at 5 pm or snack then eat at 6 pm. I slowed down and saw parks in a different way. I suggest speaking with the seniors and study their lifestyle for clues on how best to tailor the trip. My mother ate peanut butter and toast every morning at 5:30 am so I knew that on my trip I had to have breakfast that time in our hotel room or give her a light snack then breakfast at a restaurant. She loved nature, Disney, and park entertainment so that is what we focused on.
Susan V: I took my mom for her 70th and my daughter. It was my mom’s first/only time there. We went a bit slower, but we took the time to actually LOOK/see and enjoy the sights. We did the rides, (she LOVED Star Tours!) and had some very good meals. My mom was in very good health and walked several miles each day, so it was pretty easy going all day/every day. I think we just took the time to enjoy the sights, instead of racing from attraction to attraction.
Amy B: The best tip I have from traveling to Disney with my then 80 year old grandmother is to not assume that they will not want to ride something. My cousins and I got the greatest pictures with her on the Rock’n’Rollercoaster.
Wendy D: I spent a wonderful week with my mom at Disney. She has difficulty walking due to complications from cancer treatments so she was in a wheel chair at the time. Our favorite day was one we spent in Epcot. We took our time in each of the countries… going to the movies, getting a sample tasting from their counter service dining, talking with the cast members, exploring the shops. We ended up spending the entire day there (we usually take a break mid afternoon) but because it was so relaxing and we were moving at a easy pace we were not tired at all. We have been to Disney over 50 times and I must admit I learned new things from our slow and easy visit… take time to enjoy the countries…. there is so much to offer!
So there you have it….great tips for how to create magical memories at Disney with the seniors in your family. Have you traveled to Walt Disney World with an older person? What suggestions would you offer?