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I am starting a new series: Dreaming of Disney! It is no secret that I LOVE Disney and have such precious memories of visiting as a child and now with my own children. Over the years I have had LOTS of people ask for advice & tips – and I am more than happy to share to make their time more magical!! I am a self-proclaimed Disney expert =-) So I decided to share my tidbits with you =-) I hope they are helpful.
What age is the ‘perfect’ age to take kids?
I am sure there are lots of different answers here. I’ve heard lots of people say that they are planning on waiting until the kids are old enough to remember it. The problem with that is then they are too old for some of the magic that will light up their faces & create a magical memory for you! Plus I’ve heard with some kids then they say they are too old for Disney (shock! I will NEVER be too old for Disney myself!) Some guests I was chatting with at Disney (on the bus – you make lots of friends) said they waited and then their kids don’t remember going anyway. I don’t think you can necessarily ensure they will remember unless you wait until Junior High/High School and then they miss a lot of the magic!
- BABY (0-17 months) - We’ve taken a 7 month old who obviously won’t remember it. But it was so fun to watch her expression on the rides, seeing the fireworks, observing the characters, etc. She really did enjoy herself and was young enough to take around in a baby carrier. When she was tired, she slept – no biggie. Most babies are pretty portable this young! The characters were great interacting with even her and let her explore (like Mickey with his nose!) Did you know that stimulation/ seeing new things (think parades, rides, fireworks, characters) forms connections in children’s brains. Babies who are not stimulated don’t make the same connections. In elementary school kids’ brains use those connections to learn (we don’t really make new connections at this point). So perhaps we are helping her be a smarter baby later…. (I know you can stimulate a baby at home too…. but I’m just saying =-) Taking them at this point is fun for the parent – you will have the priceless pictures & memories. Would I plan a trip to Disney with only a baby, no probably not. But don’t hesitate to take a baby – they will enjoy it & what’s more YOU will enjoy watching them!! (I have lots more tips for taking a baby coming soon but wanted to let you know that each Disney park has a baby care center where you can sit & cool off, nurse in private, change the baby, use small potties, color,e tc. They are a HUGE gem!!)
- Toddler (18 months 35 months)- Taking my 18 month old was special! She really noticed details and LOVED Disneyworld. She would spot all the ducks (Donald & Daisy) before we would even see them & say “Duuuuck” oh so cute! She loved the characters & it was so precious to see her interacting with especially Pooh & friends. She loved the rides & even had favorites she would ask to go on. I loved her priceless smile throughout & sweet giggle. Would I take an 18 month old – if your child isn’t very scared (like by loud noises, or people in costumes) YEP! (I just got done looking through pictures to add these – oh it was sooo much fun!! Take them – you won’t regret it!)
- Preschooler (3-4 years) - My 3 year old was a DELIGHT! She loved EVERYTHING! Her little eyes danced with excitement and we had the BEST time. Everything was magical & a year later she still remembers and talks about things in details I wouldn’t expect her to remember. We got princess dresses on clearance after Halloween for 75% off. She LOVED dressing like the princesses, getting their autographs, taking pictures with the characters, and every ride she could go on. When we took our 4 year old it was the same AMAZING experience – he chatted with the characters, LOVED everything Pirate, got to open the park with Mickey, and even loved meeting the Princesses! Would I take a 3-4 year old – ABSOLUTELY!! I think it was incredibly magical & memorable!! My memories with them are priceless and we had the BEST time. I think this is my FAVORITE time!! I would really consider taking a Preschooler for the most magical experience!!
- Early Elementary (5-7 years) - Taking a 5-7 year old might be your magic spot! They are young enough to still love the magic and be delighted with everything!! But they are old enough to ride EVERYTHING (assuming they are average or taller) and remember things in great detail. My son loves to recount becoming a Pirate in the Pirate League, fighting Darth Vadar at the Jedi Academy, going down Splash Mountain (his favorite ride), evening parades & show, and It’s a Small World. He will still wear costumes (think Woody or Peter Pan), get pictures with characters excitedly, have autographs signed, take his OWN pictures, and have ideas on what rides he wants to go on. He will remember this for a long time (if not forever). He doesn’t wear out as easily as a Preschooler and is so fun to interact with at the park. Taking a 5-7 year old is a MUST in my book.
- OLDER KIDS - Sorry I can’t comment on the older ages (as my kids aren’t there yet). I know even as a High Schooler I loved Disney. But I did think that the Fantasyland rides were for little kids. I didn’t care about the characters either. Now I love the little kid rides for all the storytelling and think taking pictures with Goofy is great fun!! So there is a window where your Disney experience would be different- riding thrill rides, seeing fireworks, etc.
I hope this was helpful in figuring out when it would be the right time to take your family to the most magical place on earth – at least it is for us =-) We have so many priceless pictures & memories from our Disneyworld vacations…. and we plan on having a LOT more!! Look for more tips on planning a magical Disney vacation next week!*Please visit Disney’s website for any updates, changes, and current ride closures/refurbishments.
LOOKING FOR MORE?!?
Check out other helpful topics in the Dreaming of Disney Series below!
- When to take your kids (what is the 'perfect' age)
- Planning for your trip (time of year, how long to stay, Disney hotels, and affordability/deals)
- Tidbits (20 tips from the best place to see Mickey to strollers to super cool Disney features you may not know about)
- Dinning: My top picks for snacks, quick meals, and reviews on 12 restaurants (including character meals)
- Magic Kingdom
- Animal Kingdom
- Hollywood Studios
- Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland, CA
And if you are ready to book your next magical vacation may I recommend:
Lori Watson, of Watson Vacations/Mouse Tales Travel who is a stay-at-home, homeschool mom to 5. Mouse Tales Travel services are always FREE to you when you book your Disney/Sandals/Cruise/or any other vacation stay with us and our prices are the same as if you'd book directly through Disney. Why use an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner? We offer so MUCH more for free! Our concierge services include (but aren't limited to) resort booking, dining reservation arrangements, ticket purchases, special events, special park itineraries and planners to help you avoid crowds. We also offer weddingmoon and honeymoon planning, family reunion planning and Much MUCH more! For your FREE, no-obligation quote, visit mousetalestravel.com and click on "get a quote"! Make sure to chose Lori as your agent! You can also email Lori at email@example.com She looks forward to helping you plan your **MAGICAL** getaway!