I grew up going to Disney World. My parents took me, my brother, and two sisters multiples times while we were young. We went at different times and when we were of different ages. The first time my brother (the youngest of the four of us) made the trip was when he was 4 years old. During that visit, I was 12 and it never crossed my mind if Jared was old enough to go or could have gone when he was younger.
Fast forward a bunch of years. Just 10 weeks after I gave birth to my second child, my husband had a work trip taking him to Florida so the kids and I tagged along and we took them to Disney. Some of my friends and family said my baby boy was too young while others said no you are fine. That is a question that so many parents face when deciding to go to Disney World. How old should a child be to head off to the Magic Kingdom? Now, unfortunately, I’m not going to give you the defining – all-knowing magic answer but I will give you some thoughts on my experience as a mother taking four children at different ages.
Here are three thoughts on the topic from my experiences.
1. Taking a child under the age of one isn’t that crazy. Financially, it is nothing extra. This child is young enough that they will get into the parks for free. Also, when you are taking a child under a year old, you are still able to do things that are on your wish list. You can do this while they are comfortably napping or looking around in the stroller or baby wrap (my personal favorite baby item for traveling). I will admit, you will have to be more go with the flow. You will have to stop for changes, feeds, naps, or cuddles.
2. Next, let’s talk about taking a child who is 4 or 5. This is a great age for the first visit you get to experience all the Disney magic through the eyes of your child at this age. They can interact and choose things they want to do and see. You, as a mom, are able to experience all of the “picture perfect” moments -– cute Disney photos and amazing character interactions. While these children are a little bit older, I still highly recommend bringing a stroller.
3. Lastly, taking a child who is 8 or 9+. This is the time they really get to get into things. They know what they want and they will tell you what they want. They are really excited about the trip because they understand what is fully going on. The memories of these visits will more than likely stick with them for the rest of their life. To me, the only downside of waiting to take at this age is getting to the parks and wishing you would have taken them earlier.
As I said, I didn’t give you the magic answer, but I hope I gave some insight and some things to think about. There are so many factors in deciding what is best for each family. What I think is most important is to do what you feel comfortable doing. You know your children the best. Also, if you would like one-on-one assistance on this topic, ask any of the Me and The Mouse Travel agents. We have booked thousands of trips and have seen it all. Several of our agents have their own children at different ages that have gone to Disney World and can offer first-hand experience!