I had been apprehensive at first. Sure I was the one who had originally initiated the idea, but now that the notion I thought an impossibility was becoming quite the reality I wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew. The House of R would be going on a Disney Vacation with a 4 year old and 18 month old, and considering Mr. R had never been in his life, and my last visit was somewhere around 1991, I had no idea what we were walking into.
“Are you ready to ride some rides,” Mr. R would prod our son B.
“Don’t tell him that, we don’t know how much he will actually be tall enough to ride,” I scolded.
Fast Forward four years and we are now Orlando residing, card carrying, Disney experience junkies, and the most common question I come across amongst friends, social media, and the blog is “what is a good age to start taking my little ones to the parks?”
I thought about just spewing out my personal opinion, which is the magic ages 4-5, but then I thought I’d hit the streets and ask the public first. When I hit up my Twitter followers (who mostly consist of millennial aged retail enthusiasts who don’t really have kids) ages 6-7 won with 47% of the votes. Then I turned to an Orlando mom Facebook group and out of 76 moms surveyed the results came out very strongly for the age of 2 (kids are free under 3) with 22% of the vote, while 6-7 received only 7% of the vote.
The second runner up with the Disney Parental Experts of Orlando: the magical age of 5 with 17% of the vote.
This past summer we invited my darling sister-in-law on a Disney VIP Tour where we would hit all the classic Disney Rides of Magic Kingdom in one day. Strapped to her chest was my adorable five month old nephew who was able to ride each and every ride we experienced that day.
I am often met with the argument that parents would rather wait until there kids are 7 or 8 so that they can ride all the rides. The only ride my four year old cannot ride at Magic Kingdom is Space Mountain, but honestly is Disney about the rides or the magic? If you are visiting Disney for the thrills please let me be upfront and say you should save a couple hundred bucks and just find your nearest Six Flags theme park.
There is no age limit on the immersive scenery, enchanting character experiences, captivating productions, delicious indulgences, nightly firework extravaganzas, and whimsical shops. ::phew::
The Younger The Better?
Pocahontas has become our real time hero over the past month. Though A prefers the sequel little Kiwi is just happy to have her on the TV screen. Finally we met her in person last week and it was a heartwarming scene full of stories, hugs, cuddles, and ended with a sweet kiss farewell from Kiwi bird.
Sure you want your kid to remember their Disney trip, but a trip when they are younger will spark a deeper sense of imagination and wonder that will stand as a building block in the foundation of their cognitive development forever.
It was incredible watching B’s eyes widen as Lightening McQueen and Mater took the streets talking and driving. My stepson B is a serious kid, he has never been one to jump up and down in exuberance when experiencing fun and exciting things. But as his eyes soaked in this sighting his jaw dropped and he looked up to me with this gaze of glee and wonder that could never in my heart be met, “I didn’t know they were real!”
Six was when the magic died for B, mostly because a friend mistakenly pointed out that Chewbacca was just a man in a costume in front of him. But he remembers that first trip and cherishes it perhaps most of all.
The question should be parents: are you ready? Are you the parent that is laid back and rolls with the punches, or are you the parent that requires order and routine? How are you with trips to the mall or the grocery store with your bundles of tantrum lashing joy? Be honest with yourself, know your limits, and plan accordingly.
Disney is enjoyable at any age if you as a parent have prepared yourself. Spend one day a month or two in advance scheduling out your day with a Disney Park Map. Familiarize yourself with the locations of the baby centers, restrooms, and first aid. Make your fast pass and dining reservations, make sure the order of these reservations make sense on the park map. Doing the prep ahead of time will ease the stress, that allows for the entire family the opportunity to enjoy the magic of Disney, even you.