Thursday, August 26, 2010

What is the right age for Disney?

What is the right age to take your child to Disney?  This is definitely one of the questions I hear most from moms considering a trip to WDW or DLR.  So, what IS the answer? 

From my experience, there is almost no wrong age for a child to be at Disney!  Now, I wouldn't take a newborn, and I wouldn't take a really young one in the peak of the summer, but I've definitely seen my share of young babies in the park.  As a mom, though, I couldn't imagine dragging such a young child through the park, especially in the very hot and humid summer months.  It's not fun for the child, and it's definitely not fun for the parent.  But I swore up and down I'd never take a baby to WDW, and there I was in 2008 with a 10 month old, and it was really amazing to see her experience WDW.  We've also found that our favorite age to take a child has been when they are three, since the experience constantly changes.

A lot of making this determination depends on the child, of course, especially if there are any special considerations necessary.  However, for most children, I think most parents are just hesitant to take their child for a myriad of reasons, including that they are too young to remember the trip, that they will have to go back to the room to take a nap, etc.  And from my experience, a lot of these concerns come from a parent's fear of the unknown.  

One of the most important considerations is just be willing to rest during the day.  Have lunch, go back to the room, chill, sleep, swim, whatever; then head back to the park around dinner time.  You will feel better, your child will feel better, and you'll be in a better mood.   This is, hands down, one of the biggest reasons we stay on property.  We don't have to worry about travel time sucking away our precious time.  In fact, this has led us to stay at a monorail resort our last two times at WDW, and one of the deciding factors in staying at GCH on our recent Disneyland trip.  Rest is so important.  You don't want to be That Family - kids are screaming and whining, parents are rolling their eyes and yelling at the kids and everyone is hot and miserable.

If you're thinking about taking a baby, you should know about the Baby Care Centers, especially in WDW.  Each park has its own Baby Care Center, which is a nice, quiet, air conditioned little slice of heaven.  There's a private area for nursing, a waiting area for dad and the other kiddos with a TV, clean changing areas, things for feeding - mircowave, high chair, etc.  If baby has a blow out or you are out of supplies, they have some available for a nominal fee.  

Don't be afraid!  Make sure you know what Disney offers.  Consider staying onsite.  Know your family's limits.  But have fun!

Any questions you want to see answered about little ones at Disney?