My Disney World: Are My Kids Too Young for Disney World?
My Disney World History
I have lived almost my entire life within a 2 hour drive of Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. It is truly a magical place. I consider myself to be a Disney Pro. My first sunburn came on my first Disney trip when I was 2 weeks old. My sister Jackie and I were there so often growing up that we actually thought our family owned it. Just for the record, we do not.
My adult life is really no different. Disney has always been special to my immediate family. And as my sisters and I grew up and scattered for college and beyond, Orlando was a great central location for us to get together. And honestly, if I am going to Orlando, I will be at Disney thank you very much. In my opinion, there is no place else to stay.
So it should have been no surprise to my husband that our kids would spend an inordinate amount of time there. I would guess that my munchkins have been on Disney property at least 40 times in their short lives. And I have easily been 150+ (we go frequently to the Resorts and not actually into a Park; I'll be blogging about the Resorts).
It bugs me to hear people say "my kids aren't old enough for Disney." Yes, they are. A person cannot be too young or too old to enjoy the Happiest Place on Earth. My daughter was about 6 weeks old when she went for the first time. And my son was 1 month. Obviously a newborn who can barely see past his own nose isn't being visually stimulated. But still, I think there are great reasons to take your munchkins early.
5 Reasons to Take Your Young Ones to Disney
As I said before, you are simply never too young to enjoy Walt Disney World. Here are my top 5 reasons to pack up and head to Orlando with your itty bitty boos:
- Get the kiddos used to traveling. I had my daughter on the move pretty much immediately. She learned to nap when she needed to, and it did not need to be quiet for her to sleep. I never understood how Mommies got anything done when they had to be home from this time to that and the house needed to be museum silent for Baby to nap. That would have driven me bonkers. This also came in handy whenever we were at a Theme Park and she needed to rest, she would. There was no rushing back to the hotel room, or worse struggling with an exhausted, screaming child in the middle of the Magic Kingdom.
- Raise genius babies. You know from my last point that I couldn't stand to be in the "baby bubble" for too long. There is plenty of research out there that says that exposing your tiny one to many sights and sounds help aid brain development. Your baby's brain makes sound connections first, and there is music playing all over the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
- Travel babies are better suited to stay the night away from home. It's not really rocket science that if you never sleep anywhere other than your own bed for the first 10 years, it's going to be a big deal to stay in a hotel - I see one of two things happening: [a] your child will be bouncing off the walls with excitement or [b] terrified of the new space, sounds and smells -- either one would be a parenting nightmare after spending a day in the hot Florida sun at a busy Theme Park.
- Kids under 3 are FREE! Disney is expensive. There are ways to budget yourself and make your trip "more cost effective." This is one of those ways. So why not take advantage of the opportunity to get at least one member of your party into the Park for free? And kids 3 and under can have a wonderful time at a Disney Theme Park. (I'll cover which Parks are best in a later blog)
- Disney is a magical place, but when you're tiny, it's AMAZING! Everything is exciting... just being on the Property is thrilling to a young child. And there is no corner of the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando that has not been touched by Mickey Magic! My husband always tolerated going before we had kids. But seeing his kids' faces light up at every turn (yes, even after almost 50 trips), his heart smiles. And he almost becomes a giddy child himself.
Sweets Sees the Disney Gates, age 2
The Magic Kingdom, Bird's Eye View
Walt Disney World
Which Park is your favorite?
Theme Park Must Dos
Must do (<4 yrs)
Must do (<10 yrs)
Must do (>8 yrs)
Pirates, Thunder Mnt
Splash Mtn, Space Mtn
Journey into Imagination
Test Track, Soarin'
Disney Jr, Live on Stage
Indiana Jones, Beauty & Beast Show
Rockin' Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror
Festival of Lion King, Nemo
Kali River Rapids
DINOSAUR, Expedition Everest
StuCrew Kids Run the Show
One of the biggest mistakes that I see parents make at WDW is stressing out about "getting it all done". I understand that for must, you only have a limited amount of time to experience it. But, I think stressing out and dragging exhausted, over-stimulated kids around a theme park or two is a bummer. How is that fun for anyone?
We usually game plan before heading into the Park. Our game plan includes a ride or two that each kid wants to do and a maximum wait time. My kids are prepped ahead of time that Mommy will not wait longer than (insert your own number here, mine is 30) minutes. We usually try to make their dreams come true, but sometimes the Parks are busier than I like. When that's the case, the kids roll with it. After all, it was on the game plan and anything missed on this trip will be attempted on the next.
Our usual game plan has changed a bit since the Magic Bands have rolled out and we can sign up for Fast Passes online. I LOVE this and will definitely discuss it in later blogs (probably the one where I discuss the Parks).