You know that you want to take your kids to Disney World, you just don’t know when. Now? In 2 years? 5 years? Is there an ideal age for a first Disney World vacation?
There’s no one right answer for families. But we can take a look at what each age and stage brings to find your best fit!
There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, like the way a little one’s eyes light up at the sites of Disney World. This is the age and stage in which they fully believe in the magic. In their mind, that is absolutely the real Mickey Mouse they are hugging and Cinderella has in fact joined them for dinner. It’s magic at it’s finest! Yes, kids this age may be too short for a handful of rides, but most of my clients are surprised at just how few those are. The vast majority of Disney rides are for all ages. With this age, staying at conveniently located resorts, such as on the monorail, is especially valuable for easy access to naps and breaks. Worried that a break means getting less done? A great plan lets you get far more done that you would otherwise AND let’s everyone rest during the heat of the day and peak crowds! Refreshed little ones usually can then make it to the fireworks and night time shows without being overtired.
This age is primed for Disney World fun. Typically, they’re tall enough for all the rides (though not all kids are up for thrills regardless of height) and usually they still have an affinity for meeting the characters. Sure, they may have caught on that it’s just actors playing them, but they’ll play along and enjoy the meets just the same. They usually have strong favorites that can be incorporated into the plans. Kids this age get a kick out of the themed meals and can really appreciate them. When traveling with kids in this age range, consider a resort with a truly fantastic pool area – many love to play in the water almost as much as being in the parks! Giving some time to cool off in the pools keeps everyone happy.
Tweens are in an interesting space – not quite little kids, not quite teens. One excellent perk about traveling with kids this age is that they tend to be more open to trying a wide variety of attractions, and generally tire out less easily. This means longer days are possible, if you prefer that. The two Disney water parks are often a huge hit for tweens, so be sure to build in a couple days for those, if you can. Tweens can also fall into the category of needing to feel “cool” and may say they don’t want to meet characters or do character meals. But that simply opens up the door to some other really cool themed dining experiences.
Are you wondering if your teens are too old to enjoy Disney World? That’s a definite no! There’s a ton of rides for your teens to enjoy and their age means they’re allowed to ride without adults. It’s up to you if you feel ok with allowing them to venture off, but if you have more than one teen, this might mean you can take some time to enjoy adult time seeing the sites, riding other rides, taking in a show, or even having a couple’s dining experience. Teens love having some independence in the park and can even get around between resort and parks on the free Disney transportation. Teens are also at an excellent age to really appreciate some of the fantastic behind the scenes type of tours offered in the parks. Or, take an Ultimate Thrills tour that’s sure to impress them! If you think your family would benefit from separate sleeping areas once your kids are teenagers, there’s a variety of resort options that allow for separate bedrooms.
Bottom line? There’s no one best age for Disney World. Each age has its own magic and it’s own advantages. We’ve planned trips for clients with babies to trips for teen graduations and even adult kids – they’re all magical in their own way! The key is to put together a trip that matches the preferences of each family member, right at the stage they’re at.
Authorized Disney Vacation Planner | Disney Earmarked Gold Level
Since 2012, the Enchanted Traveler has become the go-to travel agency for moms and dads who want to save time and relieve the stress of planning a family vacation to Disney destinations and beyond.