How Old Should Your Kids be Before Taking Them to Disney World

How Old Should Your Kids be Before Taking Them to Disney World?

So, you’re thinking about a trip to Disney World, however there is this one fundamental question that has been nagging at you.  “How Old Should Your Kids be Before Taking Them to Disney World?” you ask yourself.  Or maybe, you’re asking if you can enjoy a trip to Disney World with your kids?  We’ll assume the former.

The reality is that almost any age of kids can have a great time at Disney World.  There is no cutoff age in our minds.  Are there some things to be mindful of?  Sure, but that doesn’t mean your kids need to be teenagers before taking them on a trip to Disney World.  In fact, there are some great reasons to take younger kids.  In this section we’ll give you our view on some of the common reasons people do or don’t take younger kids to Disney World.

Reasons to Take Younger Kids

The Characters

Younger kids are for more interested in the characters than older kids will be.  And man, there a lot of characters at Disney World.  There is truly something for every kid.  Everyone knows about the smorgasbord of princesses around the parks along with the Fab Five.   However, Disney has done a great job of bringing in other characters that are well known in the kid community, but maybe less so in the adult community unless you are a parent of one of these children.  You can meet up with Jake, Doc, Sophia, Vamparina, and more.  Those are Disney Junior characters, if you aren’t familiar with them.

Meeting all of these characters can be a truly memorable experience for your kids and potentially you.  The cover photo above is just one such experience with our daughter Elsa.  We took her to Disney World when she was one year old.  As part of that trip, we decided to pop in to the Mickey and Minnie meet and greet at the Town Square Theater in Magic Kingdom.  It was the most magical experiences, some of which I admit was luck.

We were fortunate enough to be the last in line to see Mickey and Minnie before they took a break.  With nobody in line behind us, we were essentially left alone with Mickey, Minnie and the photographer.  Because of this, Mickey and Minnie took their time having fun with Elsa.  The watched her react as they let her touch their faces, giving them kisses on the nose.  What is normally a couple of minute visit lasted almost 10.  Elsa was on cloud nine for the rest of the day.  At eight years old now, she still has this picture framed in here room.  Every once in a while, we will find her staring at it.

So, why did I mention this story?  If you don’t go and give these types of experiences to your kids, you’ll never see if something truly magical can happen.

Kids Can Do Dress Up

Whether your kids are boys or girls, Disney has plenty of dress up participation events and interactions.  Most girls love their princesses and what better way to live out that dream than meet your favorite princess wearing her dress?  We have reviewed Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and all that kids can do there.

And for many boys, it’s a pirate’s life for them.  Dress up as one of Jack Sparrow’s mates and sail the seas.  In the case of our family, our girls even love the ability to dress up as a young Padawan and join the Star Wars universe and have an encounter with Darth Vader.

Young Kids Can Enjoy Plenty of Attractions

While younger kids may not be able to ride every attraction out there, there are still plenty of ones they can take in.  Height restrictions will rule out some rides, but those rides may not be appropriate for some young travelers anyways.  I couldn’t imagine taking a 3-year-old on Tower of Terror or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

There are tons of attractions that still mesmerize our kids.  Taking them to Animal Kingdom and letting the doing the walking tours or Kilimanjaro Safaris where they can see all the wonderous animals roaming the plains never gets old for them.  Whatever your kids might be in to, there are plenty of attractions that will captivate them.

Younger Kids Can Still Ride in a Stroller

Why is this so great you ask?  Well as someone who has to wrangle an eight and five-year-old and make sure they don’t wonder off or get lost, being able to strap a kid in a stroller and keep them on lock down has its conveniences.  It also gives you a mobile sleeping spot for you kid.  Instead of having to take your 6-year-old back to the hotel for a nap or leaving the park early in the evening, we’ve had great luck letting them nap right in the stroller throughout the day while we continue taking in the attractions.    It lets them get some much-needed rest and us have more time in the parks.  Just don’t leave them in the stroller by themselves while you go off to catch another ride!

Really Young Kids Get in Free!

That’s right, you won’t have to pay a dime to get your kid in.  Now this only applies to kids under the age of three, but that is a target rich age to bring your young ones.  But wait it gets better.  Not only do you not have to buy park tickets for them, but they can eat “free” in some restaurants.  Take your kids with you to a nice buffet style meal and let them eat off your plate.  This is perfectly acceptable and you won’t get kicked out of a restaurant for doing it.

Baby Care Centers are AWESOME

Okay, so this may not be too important to your kids, but it will be really great for you.  When you have especially young kids, I’d say 3 and under, the baby care center is still important.  First, it gives you a place to change a diaper.  Next, and more importantly, it gives you a place to rest in peace for a few minutes in…wait for it…wonderfully air-conditioned bliss.  Those valuable 10 of 15 minutes spent in the care center are a great way to rejuvenate yourself.  Bring a kid with you and nobody with think anything of it.  Come in by yourself and you might catch some eyes.  Carla’s Note:  the first time I walked into one with baby Elsa, I may have teared up with joy.  They are that fabulous.

Reasons People Don’t Take Younger Kids

The Kids Won’t Remember the Trip

Ah yes, the kid won’t remember it so why bother?  You’d be surprised what a kid can remember.  Especially when they are very powerful memories.  And if we’re being honest, who cares if they don’t remember the trip.  These trips are just as much about you making memories of your kid’s time there.  Take the memory I shared with you in “The Characters” section above.  We will never forget that moment and it made that trip worth it on its own.

The Kids Can’t Ride All the Attractions

This can be true depending on what exactly their age is, or actually what their height is.  But as we laid out above, there is still more than enough to take in at the parks.  And guess what, if you don’t find there is enough to do, just plan a shorter trip.  Nothing says you have to spend a solid seven days at the parks.  Go for four days, save yourself some money and make some memories.

So How old Should Your Kids be Before Taking Them to Disney World?

Only you can decide.  There are lots of special memories that you can make with them.  We’re advocates for taking them at any age, but you know your child and family situation.  Just don’t let their memories or lack thereof be the deciding factor.