Friday, February 01, 2013

Disney Q&A Part I: What age should a child be to go to Disney?

Yay!  The questions are coming in!  Here are my thoughts about one of the first questions asked.

How old was Hannah when you went the first time?  
The first time Hannah was on Disney property was when she was 13 months old and had her passport for umm...2 weeks!  :)  You know Mommy was itching to take her to her favourite vacation spot so when the opportunity arose to head to FL for a few days and spend time with special friends we were all over that!  During that trip we stayed on Disney property, swam in their pools, went to Downtown Disney and met Mickey and the gang at Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary Resort.  We didn't visit any of the parks that trip but I sure was tempted!!  I'm so thankful for the few days we had to spend with D and her sweet baby girl!

The reason we didn't visit the parks in April was that I knew that November when she would be 18 months old we'd be going to Disney with Grandma, Grandpa, Nana and Papa!  How exciting it would be for her very first Disney experience to be surrounded by all her grandparents!  That trip we visited the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

What is the best Age to bring a child to Disney for the first time?
I have a couple of answers to this question. 

If you're able to visit Disney on a somewhat regular basis then I truly think no age is too early!  At 18 months Hannah was able to enjoy many rides, shows and admire the characters.  Will she remember it?  Only through pictures, videos, this blog and stories I share with her but I do so on a regular basis.  The next time she went she was 2 1/2 and it was a whole new wonderful experience with her at that age too!  From that time on Disney talk became a daily occurrence in our home!

That being said, if Disney will only be something you do once or occasionally I would recommend waiting until your child is around age 3-4.  By this age they are able to enjoy so much about the parks!  They will remember more parts of the trip and be able to interact with the characters a little more and better appreciate all that is around them!  One thing to note though is that even if your child is 4, 5 or 6 consider taking a stroller or renting one there.  There is a lot of walking at Disney and everybody is happier if you not consoling a whiny child or carrying them great distances after a long day at a park.

So truly, it's up to you.  Whatever age you decide to introduce your child to Disney it will be wonderful!  This year a friend is taking her teenage nephew and grandchildren and they're all excited as 2 of them have never been!  Disney brings out the kid in all of us so give it a try whether you're 1 or 81!


  1. We are big Disney vacation fans, and took our oldest for her first Disney visit at 2 1/2. It was great. She could ride little rides and loved character greetings. Key point for us here is that many rides have 32 inch height requirements. Magic Kingdom is the only park that has plenty of rides for little ones. We make sure to use the website to see what our kids can ride so they are prepared at home, and not emotional when everyone gets to ride but them. Kid switch is really great though. Disney gives you passes at the entrance to the line, so 3 of your party members can go through the fastpass line if you have a child that is too short to ride. The baby doesn't have to wait in line anymore, like they used to.

    Our son was adopted at 27 months (4th child). He had significant institutional delays. We went to Disney when he had been home for 12 months, (so he was 3). He doesn't care for TV and doesn't like princesses... He's terrified of stuffed animals, so obviously character greetings would be the stuff of nightmares. He actually did seem to like most rides, which surprised me. He's terrified of fireworks. I think he liked his Disney experience, but we had to go easy on him- it was very different than Disney with our other kids. Instead of 5 straight days of parks, we did park visits every other day. We left earlier most days. He couldn't walk as far or stand in long lines like the other kids, so we used a stroller more than we would have with them. Lucky my husband is strong, too! :)


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thanks for your tips Maria. I wasn't aware of the 32" requirement as there wasn't anything Hannah wanted to ride that she couldn't. You made a good point!

      You're so right that each child's likes and tolerance is different from one another. My niece was timid of rides, characters and even statues! Hannah - she doesn't blink and eye at any of them!


      PS Maria, I was trying to publish your comment on my iPod and my finger slipped and hit delete thus the Anonymous posting...and I accidentally called you Melinda rather than Maria. Must be Friday! :o)

  2. Thank heavens! I thought I'd totally lost it and forgot my name for a second! :)

  3. Hi Catherine: We went our first time when my daughter was 6. I thought it would be a one time trip (as my DH would say that was enough fun, let's go somewhere else) so we wanted till then. She loved everything about it and it was so magical. She remembers the cinderella breakfast etc. But now we are going back for our 5th time this summer. Take advantage of dining bounce back offers whenever you can. We have free dining as of August 18 this year because we pre-booked the bounceback offer.

    We used a stroller for her for the first year, rented a disney more heavy duty one the second year at Epcot and had a tired walking girl after that. Having a child happy to sit helps everyone else to have a good rest of the day. A child who didn't use a stroller at home for probably 2 years will sit in a princess chariot there (0ur stroller from home) and enjoy the view!
    Before that, at about 4, she was very afraid of characters in costumes where you couldn't see their actual face so we wouldn't have gotten her into any pictures. So it is important to know how your child reacts with characters, like Say Chuckie Cheese or ones in a parade. Or even Santa.

    My question: I see you have travelled with a family member with a scooter before. I am recovering from an ankle injury ( non walking cast 11 weeks, hobbling on crutches now)and we have a trip planned for August. What do you know about scooter rentals in case my foot isn't as strong as I hope it is and need to use one for the parks? I do not want anyone to push me in a wheelchair (my DH did that while the cast was on, that was enough) because it adds strain on them in the heat.
    Thanks, Theresa in Cambridge.

  4. Well done Catherine! We are planning another trip to Disney for next year (March 2014). It may be the last as my kiddos will be 7 and 13. Naomi is completely out of the princess phase and is more into scary roller-coasters so I am so glad we took her last year when she was 5 so we could do princess breakfasts, bibbidy-bobity-boutique, etc. *sigh* they do grop up really fast!

  5. First time we took our oldest he was 2.5yo and had a great time. We returned when he was 7 and his little sister was 3. Although he was a bit jaded to the magic, he truly enjoyed everything at the parks. And nothing beats a 3 year old princess obsessed little girl meeting her idols for the first time :)


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