So, you’re contemplating taking the kids on their first trip to Walt Disney World. It’s can quickly become overwhelming when you start researching and bring up a lot of questions. For example, “What’s the right age to take your kids to Disney World?” Well, that’s complicated. When people ask me this question, I counter with a host of other questions to help me best help them.
Is Disney World a once-in-a-lifetime trip for your family? As hard as it is to believe, some people have no intentions of returning to Disney World over and over again throughout the years. While I believe there’s something for everyone there, I can accept that it’s not something everyone wants to do year after year. If Disney is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, you might want to wait until your children are old enough to appreciate and remember the trip (I’m thinking around 8 years old). Furthermore, if it’s only going to happen once, you’ll want to be sure to check weather and crowd patterns to make sure you get the most enjoyment out of the experience.
If you could foresee revisiting Disney World multiple times during your kids’ childhood, I’d strongly recommend taking them before they turn 3 for their first trip. Not only do you get to skip paying park admission for them, this is a truly magical time in their little toddler lives and although they likely will not remember it, this makes for wonderful family memories (and photos) for parents. Seeing the magic of Disney through a small child’s eyes cannot be beat! They become ecstatic over seeing their favorite characters and may even still take a nap in the stroller, which is a great time for parents to shop, relax, and/or take turns riding the more exciting attractions with the Rider Switch option.
Of course there are advantages to taking older kids as well – you haven’t missed your window of opportunity if you already have tweens or teens. Part of the beauty is that they are able to save for and budget money for their own souvenirs. Some families with older kids enjoy that the big kids can go ride the thrill rides while parents enjoy something more mild, then meet back up. Teens may not enjoy meeting the characters like your child under 10 does, but it can still be lots of fun and plenty magical. Older kids might enjoy some of the special tours that are available.
Basically, I said all that to say – there is NO wrong time to go to Disney. There are pros and cons to visiting during every age and stage of childhood, which to me is all the reason to go as often as you can while you have children (and when you don’t…but that’s a post for another day). Just go!
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.