Since I go to the Disney theme parks all the time, people often ask me, “What’s the best age to start taking your child to Disney?” This age can be different for each child and each family situation, but I encourage families who can, to take their kids early. Personally, we started taking our daughter at eleven months old. I know what you’re thinking, “You took a baby that young to Disney?!” Yes, yes we did, and I would do it again. Below are four reasons to take your child to Disney before they are three.
- Everything is new. At this age, everything is new for your little one. From seeing the castle at the end of Main Street, U.S.A., riding Dumbo, or meeting their favorite character, all of these things are new and different for your kiddo. Heck, just riding in the stroller and seeing that many people can be exciting for them! Our little girl had just started walking on our first trip. Her favorite part of the trip was being able to play on the balcony. She was outside, but safe because of the railing. We left the door open and let her go in and out on her own. We could still keep an eye on her, but she had her freedom. She absolutely loved it! Another great thing is when you come back when they are older, all of this will be new to them again.
- Makes you slow down. Before our little girl, we literally opened and closed the parks. Once we had her, we had to schedule in downtime. Her little mind can’t handle all that stimulation at once for really long periods of time. Plus, little ones need naps. These downtimes were good for us adults as well. Heading back to the room during the hottest part of the day for a nap was just as good for us as it was her. I never realized how much nicer an evening in the park was when I was well-rested. Plus, it made her much happier for the rest of our day. Another thing that we did for the first time when bringing a little one was eating in our room. After a really busy day, she went down for the night at 7pm. Now, what do we do? We ordered pizza and watched a movie together. It was a mini date night on vacation.
- Cost. This is one that hits home for a lot of people. A Disney vacation is expensive, especially when you consider that once your child is 10, they are charged as an adult. Kids three to nine are cheaper, but still cost a pretty penny. Kids under three? FREE! She does not have to have park tickets or a dining plan until after her third birthday. The little ones just come on with you when entering the park, and on Fast Passes for rides where they meet height requirements. For rides they don’t meet the height requirement, there is rider swap. If you are on the dining plan, the little ones are allowed to eat of the adult’s plate. At some of the table service restaurants we ate at, we ordered her a side item off the menu. Many of them did not charge us for this extra side, they just included it with our entrée. If you are flying, there are savings there too. Most airlines don’t charge for “lap babies” which are kids under two sitting in the lap of an adult.
- The number one question I continue to get when we take our daughter on vacation is “Why are you taking her when she won’t remember it?” Well, part of that is a little selfish, I want to go! But in all honesty, she may not remember it, but I will. I will never forget her running up to Anna when she met her for the first time or the huge hug she gave Tiana. I’ll always remember the “Wow!” she let out while watching Wishes. These and so many more are etched into my brain. I also have the pictures I can share with her. Some of my all-time favorite pictures of her were taken at Disney.
In closing, the question of what is the best age to take your kid to Disney will have to be a decision you make as a parent. But if you think you can make it, I highly encourage you to take them when they are little. I guarantee you will come home with so many great memories, it will be worth the trip.