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When to Bring the Kids to Walt Disney World

Updated on April 14, 2019

There’s no denying that a trip to Disney can be a magical experience for a child. But how young is “too young” for trip to the happiest place on Earth? On this hub, I’ll go over the pros and cons of bringing your little ones to Disney World, and cover everything you’ll need to know to make their first trip, a magical one.

Mickey Isn't The Only One Who "Comes To Life" At Disney World
Mickey Isn't The Only One Who "Comes To Life" At Disney World

Behind The Magic

Before we go any further, let’s get a few things straight. Young children (and by young, I mean four and under) generally do not like Disney World. Now I know that may come as a shock, because they may love the Disney channel, and their Mickey Mouse doll, and their Disney movies, and all other things Disney, when they’re at home. However, it’s a lot different when Goofy goes from being Mickey’s clumsy pal, to a 7 foot tall, walking stuffed animal, that doesn’t talk. Remember, all of the Disney Villains are real here too, so there is s good chance you're kids will bump into Jafar, or Captain Hook at some point.

Most parents who bring young children to Disney World, aren’t doing it for the children, they’re doing it for themselves. Now that’s perfectly fine, but you need to know just exactly what you’re getting into before you decide to make the trip. So here are a few of the key differences between what most people think their trip will be like, and the way it’s actually going to be.

It’s All About Perspective

For adults, the Walt Disney World resort theme parks are some of the most amazing, most magical places on the planet. The attention to detail in the designs, the vibrant colors, and all of the other things that go in to bringing the magic of Disney to life are a true testament to the vision of Walt Disney, and his Imagineers. For little kids however, well, forgive me for being blunt, but it’s nothing but a collection of asses.

You have to remember that, unless you carry them all day long, your kids are not going to see 90% of this amazing scenery. Your kids are going to see the exact same thing they see whenever they’re out in public anywhere else in the world, people’s asses. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but when you combine large crowds and children under 3 feet tall, their perspective, becomes very different from yours.

Space Mountain
Space Mountain

Water, Water Everywhere, And Not A Drop To Drink

Staying with the “height theme”, you also need to remember that children under 44 inches are not allowed on most of the best rides. If your child is under 44 inches, you can pretty much forget about anything with “mountain” in its name.

Now yes, there are parent swaps; places where one parent rides while the other sits with the child, and then they switch. You still have to wait in line however, even for parent swaps. So that means your little one gets all the joy of waiting in line (in the hot Florida sun), and then, not only do they not get to go, but the parents get to go twice. How many times do you think they’re going to put up with that before they have a fit?

It’s Called “The Sunshine State” For A Reason

They didn’t call Florida “The Sunshine State” just because we needed a clever nickname, it happens to be very true. The part that they left out however, is that Florida also has ridiculously high humidity for most of the year. For those of you who don’t remember science class, let me Schoolhouse Rock this for you: when humans get hot, we sweat. As the sweat evaporates, it cools us off. The problem is, in Florida, the humidity is so high, that the sweat doesn’t evaporate very fast, which leads to not only hot, but hot and sticky.

I can pretty much promise you that, after about 10:30 - 11:00 am, you and your kids are going to be miserable. If this wasn’t bad enough, during the summer here in Florida (which is basically April - November), we get afternoon thunderstorms. They usually only last for about 15 -20 minutes, but they drop enough water so that when the sun comes back out a few minutes later, you’re now walking around in a steam bath.

Let’s Make A Memory…

Do me a favor, think back to your third birthday, or Christmas, or Chanukah from when you were three. I want you to take note of all the details you can remember and write them down. Are you starting to get my point? Your young children are not going to remember this trip when they grow up. All they’re going to have are a bunch of pictures of a day they have completely forgotten about. Sure they might remember a couple flashes of something, but not in the way that older kids and adults on the trip will remember it.

So What’s The Good News?

I know that I’ve spent most of this Hub telling you all of the reasons why you shouldn’t bring little kids to Disney World (kind of a strange thing for a cast member to do, I know), but the simple truth is, that if you wait until they’re at least 5 years old, or 40 + inches tall, then your trip will be exponentially more fun. After working in guest services for over 15 years, believe me, I know what I’m talking about.

With all of the money you’ll be spending on this vacation, you want to make sure that you get the most “bang for your buck”. You’ll want to be able to ride all the rides together as a family, actually see all there is to see, and be able to remember the trip when you get home. There’s also one more reason to wait until the kids are a little older, and this is probably the biggest.

To You It’s A Magical Experience, To Them… It’s Tuesday

The Walt Disney World Resort is a magical place, only once you’re old enough to appreciate it. For little kids, magic and imagination are already their world. They don’t appreciate the wonder of seeing these things come to life, because to them, they’re already alive. Seeing Tinkerbell fly across the Magic Kingdom isn’t special for a little kid because Tinkerbell is supposed to fly.

For little kids, Aladdin and Jasmine have always been real people, Dumbo has always been able to fly, and R2D2 has always been puttering around all over the place, they won’t think it’s special. Sure, they’ll be excited for a little while, but all of the things we talked about earlier will make that excitement wear off quick. Your children’s first trip should be a magical memory that stays with them for the rest of their life, don’t ruin it for them by taking them before they’re old enough to remember it, and treasure it for what it is, a trip to the most magical, most wondrous place on Earth.

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