One of the most controversial topics about Walt Disney World Holidays, many people wonder if their children can be too young to take them to Disney World. From the long-haul flight, coping with the heat and worries that they’ll not enjoy or remember the experience, there are many people who make the decision to hold off on a Disney Holiday until they feel their kids are at an appropriate age (sometimes branded foolish by those in the opposing camp). There are equally as many families who don’t hesitate to take their toddler or infant to Disney as soon as possible (generally branded selfish by others). So, is there really an appropriate age for a Disney Holiday? Can your child be too young?
I believe the answer to this question is a solely personal one, based on many family, lifestyle and finance factors that only you can work through to come out with the best decision for your travel party (and your kids!). If you are considering a trip to Walt Disney World Resort and you have younger children under 5, here are some key questions to ask yourself;
Will you be back?
To me this is key. If a Walt Disney World Holiday is a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity, then yes, it is probably better to wait until your children are old enough to remember the experience. However, if you know you’ll be back, even if it’s every few years, then I wouldn’t worry so much about waiting until kids are older; you’ll get to enjoy the ‘selfish’ part of watching your little ones enjoy the magic and they’ll still enjoy the memories you’ll all make together make on return trips.
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Are your kids in a Strict Routine?
Late nights, early mornings, and kids taking their naps in their buggies, children need to be a bit flexible for you to fully get the most out of your trip. If your kid follows a strict routine, will get upset by napping in a pram instead of their bed, or will be in meltdown mode without a full nights sleep every night, then you are probably better avoiding Disney until they’re a little older. However, if you are prepared to do Disney around the confines of your child’s strict routine, without worrying about what you may possibly be missing out on (fireworks would be a big one!), then there would be no reason to not book a Walt Disney World holiday!
Are Vaccinations up to date?
People visit Walt Disney World from all over the globe and as such its a potential melting pot for bugs and illnesses. I personally refused to consider a Disney holiday until I knew my kids had at least had their first 3 vaccination rounds (8,12 & 16 weeks). Yes, there will always be risks even if they are vaccinated, but it is worth considering timing your holiday so that it falls on the other side of vaccinations ( 17 weeks instead of 14, for example). This point is more a consideration as opposed to a key point to put people off, but it is another side to consider and may be of more importance to those whose children have weaker immune systems and could be more prone to illness. If you have a more robust child, or are anti-vaccination, then this issue may not have has much bearing on your decision to take a Disney World Trip with young kids.
Do they scare easily?
If your kids jump at every noise and are unsure of a trip to your local soft play area, chances are theres going to be a lot of fear associated with Disney World. Fireworks, Crowds, Characters and loud noises are all part and parcel of a day at the Theme Parks – and that’s before you attempt to take them on any rides. A Walt Disney World Holiday should be fun and enjoyable for everyone, and if you feel your little ones may spend their days there afraid of anything and everything, then that enjoyment will be tainted for everyone.
Are they easy to occupy?
It’s a 9 hour flight from the UK to Orlando, and that’s your minimum travel time, not including stop-overs. If you know you can pack a bag of bits and pieces to keep your children amused and occupied, than that travel time will be relatively hassle free. However, if you have a child who will refuse to sit, or you know they are a bad flier, than perhaps a Disney Holiday would be a better consideration in the future when they will travel easier. Travelling can be stressful on its own, even without kids; travel with kids who are bored, fussy and crying is not easy for any parent to handle, and you’d be forgiven for putting off your holiday for another year or two!
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Do you stress easily?
Regardless of routine, nerves or flight time, ultimately it comes down to you, and not your kids. If you’re relaxed and easy-going, then a Walt Disney World Holiday with young kids will be fine. If you’ll stress about their bedtime, or will end up fed up about missing the fireworks every night, then the holiday will be tense for everyone. If you are willing to take it at your kids pace, and not to stress if they refuse to meet any characters or go on any rides, it will make it a lot easier to consider a Disney Holiday with young kids.
We have 2 reasonably flexible little boys, who don’t mind naps in prams or the occasional late night. They are easy to occupy if armed with the right stuff and we try to remain as calm and relaxed with them as possible; our eldest was terrified of the characters on his 1st visit at 20 months – we didn’t push him to meet any and didn’t stress about it and he came round on his own. We’ve taken Walt Disney World Holidays as a couple before we had kids, and therefore we knew we’d be back time and again with our boys. That is why, for our young family a Disney World holiday works. We’ve taken 4 holidays to Walt Disney World with our boys; the first when our eldest was 20 months, and the second with a 3 year old and an 8 month old; a third with a 4 and 2 year old, and the fourth with a 6 and 3 year old! Each time has been an incredible experience for all of us, and it has given us so many memories to cherish.
However, a Walt Disney World holiday will not work for every young family so it is important to take everything into consideration before ruling it in – or out. And again, there is no right or wrong on this; for me, no age is too young for Disney – circumstances simply may not be right for a Disney World Holiday with your little ones. Most importantly, however, regardless of what decision you make, please do not be influenced by judgment from either side of the debate on this; the only way to ‘do’ Disney is to do it in a way that is right for you!