Would you take an infant to Walt Disney World? Why or why not? What about a toddler? Pre-schooler? Teenager?
Like anything else, what works for one family might not suit the next. For us, it worked out that we had accumulated a lot of Disney Dream Reward Dollars from our Disney Visa by Chase when our youngest son was almost 2 ½ and our oldest was just over 3 ½. Financially speaking, this was a great time to go as we did not have to pay for the 2 year old and both boys were right in the midst of their pre-school aged stages. My husband’s brief argument was ‘they won’t remember it.’ False. They may not remember it 20 years from now, but just less than 16 months after our trip, they still bring up random memories on a weekly basis. Looking at our photo book from the trip and talking about all the fun we had will either stir up their memories or re-create them. For us, 2 & 3 were the perfect ages to introduce our children to Walt Disney World. Their favorite movies and TV shows came to life, literally, right before their eyes.
Preschool years come with perspective and imagination that only kids in that age range possess. Seeing our kids’ reactions to characters and rides was an absolutely precious experience for us. I told my husband that the ‘memories’ weren’t only for kids, but just as much for the parents. Walt Disney World elicits all sorts of memories for me, from my own childhood, from doing the College Program there in 1999, and from trips with just my husband. Even if my kids don’t clearly remember their first trip, I will never forget watching my kids absorb the magic of Disney World for the first time. There were so many firsts, like riding the Magical Express, the Monorail, and their first flight. Standing in line for an hour to meet Buzz and Woody followed by my 3 year old telling me that was the best day of his life.
Some parents have no interest in taking their children to Walt Disney World and others say it’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip (so they have to be old enough to remember). I know we will return, over and over again, and have no regrets about waiting until they were 2 and 3 and I certainly don’t wish I would have waited longer. Every experience will be new and different as their personalities grow and mature. I’m so looking forward to taking my sons at every stage throughout their childhood!
Candice was raised in east Tennessee. While in college, her best friend dragged her to a Walt Disney World College Program recruiting session at the University of Tennessee and the rest is Disney history. In the Fall of 1999, Candice became a quick service food hostess for Sunset Ranch Market and Fantasmic at Disney-MGM Studios – or what is now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While soaking up her time as a cast member, she met Ryan, a neighbor and a fellow college programmer who worked as a custodial host at Epcot. Four years later, Candice moved to the Midwest and married that boy from across the hall. They now live in Greenwood, Indiana with their two little boys. The Disney-loving foursome took their first family trip to The Happiest Place on Earth in 2013 and Candice is eagerly planning their return. Candice also works full-time at a community mental health center and enjoys taking photographs and blogging at Mommy in the Midwest.