There is often a great debate about the right age to take a child to Disney World. Is it advisable to take your kid only once they reach six or seven years old, or is it fine to take pre-schoolers, toddlers, or even infants or newborns on a Disney Vacation?
And once you do decide to take your children to Disney World, especially when they are younger, how can you make sure that they and you have everything you need?
Let’s first take a quick look at the common debates on the right age for taking kids to Disney, and then let’s look at some ways you can make your trip with little kids as successful and stress-free as possible.
How Young Is Too Young?
There is no one right answer to the question of how young is too young for a child to visit Disney World. It really depends on you and your children. Let’s look at pros and cons:
They Are Still Too Young
Some people will argue that it doesn’t make any sense to take kids to Disney World until they are 6 or 7 year old, since they won’t otherwise remember the experience. And it is true that the youngest children will not remember their visit to Disney. Some people also say that it will be too much of a hassle to haul diapers and all the other equipment and supplies that little kids need. And that can definitely be extra work.
They Are Never Too Young
Others say that it is perfectly fine to take an infant on vacation – as long as you are prepared and feel comfortable in doing so. They argue that young children live in the moment, and will enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells all around them. Just as much as they won’t have specific memories of all the hours you held them and kissed them as little babies, they won’t remember their Disney vacation as a very small child – but they will enjoy it in the moment and they will bond to you through the process.
Tips For Taking Little Kids To Disney
Let’s say that you’ve decided that you and your child are ready for a trip to Disney World. Perhaps you want your toddler to experience the magic that Disney creates for families, and maybe you want to have some fun yourself too.
Here are ten tips for making a great trip to Disney World with little children:
1 – Ship Supplies To Your Resort
Little kids, especially while they are still in diapers, needs lots of supplies. From diapers to wipes, you need plenty of equipment and disposable stuff. With the cost of checking bags on airlines, it could cost quite a bit to bring everything you need along with you.
Here’s a great tip: Order your supplies from an on-line store like Amazon and take advantage of its free shipping. Have the store ship what you need directly to your Disney Resort Hotel. Time the shipment so that it arrives a few days before you do, and have the on-line store put your arrival date on the shipping label. When you arrive, just ask for your package and Disney Bell Services will deliver it to your room. How convenient is that!
2 – Bring A Stroller And Give It Away
You can rent strollers from Disney or third-party companies. But there can be complications. You won’t be able to take the stroller away from the theme park where you rented it, and there is a chance that Disney would run out of strollers, leaving you without one.
Here’s a great tip: Purchase an inexpensive stroller when you arrive in Orlando, or have it shipped to your room in advance using the technique described in the first tip. You can use it wherever and whenever you want – which is a great convenience. Then at the end of your trip, give it away to someone at Disney who needs it.
3 – Choose A Larger Room
Many of the Disney Vacation Club rooms and family suites have great amenities that can really help families with small children.
Here’s a great tip: If you can afford it, get a resort room with a kitchenette and laundry facilities right in the room. This will give you extra options for cooking meals, doing a quick load of laundry, and maybe even saving a bit of money on food and laundry bills in the process.
4 – Use Resort Laundry Service
Little kids mean dirty laundry. But you are on vacation and don’t necessarily want to spend your time taking care of piles of dirty clothes.
Here’s a great tip: Consider using the resort laundry service. All hotel laundry services are expensive, and you probably don’t want to send them all your dirty clothes. But if you have something important that is dirty and need to get it clean, you can splurge on a few items and send them to the hotel laundry.
5 – Take Advantage Of Baby Care Centers
While you are in the parks, you might need a break – whether it is a place to nurse, change diapers, or just get out of the heat and away from the crowds and noise.
Here’s a great tip: All four parks have Baby Care Centers. These are calm places that offer space, privacy, and supplies you need to handle everything from nursing to changing. The Disney cast members who staff these locations are very experienced in dealing with all kinds of issues that kids have. They are extremely helpful.
6 – Use Child Swap
When you visit Disney World, you probably want to have some fun too and go on rides that aren’t appropriate for your little ones. Does this mean you have to miss out? Fortunately, Disney offers a terrific free service that allows you to enjoy any ride you would like, even if your kids aren’t ready for it.
Here’s a great tip: Use Child Swap. It’s an odd name, but a great service. Here is how it works. Let’s say you would like to go on a ride that your child isn’t ready for, like Space Mountain. Tell the Disney cast member at the queue entrance and in the loading area that you would like to use Child Swap. Then your entire family waits in line – perhaps two adults and an infant. When you get to the loading area, one adult stays with the child while the other goes on the ride. A few minutes later when the adult is finished riding, he or she takes the child and the adult who just waited gets to ride. This means you only wait in line once, and you get to ride whatever you want. Nice.
7 – Use Kid’s Nite Out
Adults deserve some time away. Wouldn’t it be great if a well-vetted baby sitter would come to your room to watch your kids?
Here’s a great tip: Disney has partnered with a service called Kid’s Nite Out that allows you to pay for a baby sitter to come to your room while you enjoy a few hours away. (I think the name should really be Kid’s Nite In, but you get the idea.) You will know that your child is in the care of a background-checked sitter; you will know exactly where they are and how to get in touch with them. Your kids can enjoy the familiarity of the room they have come to know as home on their vacation.
8 – Use The Children’s Activity Centers
Yes, your kids love you, but they would also enjoy a special time with other kids doing things that kids love.
Here’s a great tip: Make a reservation for your kid to enjoy some time in an Activity Center. They are located in Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, and the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel. They can play games, watch a movie, create a craft, and eat dinner. They are sure to have a blast!
9 – Take Kids To Restaurants
Some parents are concerned about taking little kids to anything but a quick service restaurant. But this is Disney World!
Here’s a great tip: You can take your kids with you to nearly any restaurant on property – except for the ultra-gourmet and expensive Victoria and Albert’s. You might want to make an early reservation so that the place isn’t so crowded and you get faster service. It will give you a chance to enjoy a fine meal and your child a chance to learn about restaurants and perhaps try a new kind of food.
10 – Take It Easy
When you visit Disney World, you probably want to see it all. Now that you have a little kid with you, it doesn’t work that way anymore.
Here’s a great tip: Plan to take it easy. You won’t see it all, so don’t tire everyone out trying. Visit the parks in four-or-five hour blocks, and head back to your room for a rest and a nap. If the kids are wearing out, call it a day and hang out by the pool. Remember to slow down, enjoy each moment – whether it is an amazing show or just watching the people walk by. Take off the pressure and you are sure to have fun.
Do you like taking little kids to Disney World? Is any age too young?