Should you wait until your kids are old enough to remember their Disney vacation? Or maybe until they are tall enough to ride all the attractions?
Our answer is neither.
The Disney World rides and attractions are designed to entertain everyone from toddlers to grandparents. Disney World is even accommodating for babies with well-appointed Baby Care Centers in each park.
But the best age for Disney World is when they are in preschool. And bonus: Kids under age enter Disney parks for free and eat for free at the buffets.
should you wait until your child is tall enough to ride all the attractions
Some people feel their kids should be able to ride all the attractions before visiting Disney World.
With everything that Walt Disney World has to offer, there is no reason to wait until your kids finally reach those few 48″ height requirements.
height requirements are only on thrill rides
One of the best things about Disney World is that most of the rides are NOT thrill rides. Currently, on nineteen of the over 65 rides, shows and attractions have a minimum height requirement. That number doesn’t include parades, fireworks, character greetings, play areas, the animal trails at Animal Kingdom or all the World Showcase pavilions in Epcot.
- Barnstormer 35″
- Big Thunder 40″
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 38″
- Space Mountain 44″
- Splash Mountain 40″
- Stitch’s Great Escape 40″
- Tomorrowland Speedway 32″ to ride, 54″ to drive
- Mission: Space orange 44″
- Mission: Space green 40″
- Soarin’ 40″
- Test Track 40″
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster 48″
- Star Tours 40″
- Tower of Terror 40″
- Dinosaur 40″
- Expedition Everest 44″
- Kali River Rapids 38″
- Primeval Whirl 48″
- Flight of Passage 44″
not all children like thrill rides
Some kids don’t like the thrill rides. My daughter is one of those. We couldn’t wait until she was tall enough to ride her first thrill ride (Test Track.) She HATED the ride, and years later she still won’t try it again.
what about short kids?
My daughter is short. Very short. The average child reaches 48″ tall when they are seven years old. My daughter was 9.5 years old. Waiting for her to reach the tallest Disney height requirement was torture, and we visit Disney World at least once a year. I can’t imagine if we had waited until she was that old to visit for our first time.
what about your older kids?
If you wait until the youngest kid reaches 48″, how long do your older children have to wait? My son would have been 12 years old if we had waited until his little sister was tall enough.
should you wait until your child is old enough to remember their disney trip
Parents often worry that they will invest in a Disney World vacation that their child won’t even remember.
While they might forget the detail, even younger kids will remember parts of their trip. My daughter remembers the limo ride from Disney World to the airport when she was 18-months-old.
Your memories as parents are also important, and nothing compares to watching your young child experience Disney World for the first time.
preschool is a magical age to visit disney
We have visited Disney World with kids age 18-months to 70-years-old. By far the most magical time was when our kids were in preschool.
preschool kids are at the height of their disney obsession
Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse – virtually every parent of a preschooler is familiar with these shows. Preschool is the best age to visit Disney because it is the only place they can meet the characters in person.
preschoolers love to play dress up
Preschoolers love to use their imagination and dress up as their favorite characters. Disney is the one place where your princess can dress up, visit an actual castle, and meet her favorite princess. Swashbucklers can learn how to be a pirate from Jack Sparrow himself before taking a ride through the Pirates of the Carribean, and young Jedi’s can attend the Jedi training academy and then fly into space on Star Tours.
preschoolers are able to suspend disbelief
The thing I love about preschoolers is that they believe everything at Disney World is real. As a parent, it is so much fun to see your preschooler see the castle or meet their favorite characters for the first time.
One of my favorite Disney memories is watching Mickey’s Philharmagic next to a family with two-year-old. In the end, a tuba shoots out Donald Duck like a cannonball, and the 3D effects make you think Donald flies over your head. When you turn around in your seat, you see Donald’s tail end sticking out of a hole in the wall, and then he falls through.
As we exited the theater, the little girl pointed at the hole and started crying “Donald hurt Mommy!” “Donald hurt!” Her parents couldn’t convince her that Donald was okay. I pointed them to the gift shop at the exit where you can see Donald’s body sticking out of the wall. Once she saw that Donald was okay, she stopped crying.
preschoolers can enjoy most of the disney attractions
First-time Disney visitors often think that there won’t be any attractions for their preschoolers to enjoy. No worries! Disney isn’t your typical theme park. Most of the attractions are designed to be enjoyed by kids from one to 99. Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom is preschoolers paradise where they can fly along with Peter Pan, bounce along with Tigger.
preschoolers are old enough to make family memories
Your child doesn’t need to remember the details of the trip for it to become part of your collective family memories. They will also build fun memories based on the stories you tell them about your vacations.
Our family memories include my son noticing how Donald dressed in different costumes at each park – a sailor, a caballero, Davy Crocket, a chef, etc.. He told us that the reason Donald was grumpy is that he had too many jobs. My son doesn’t remember saying this, but he smiles, and we all laugh when we tell him the story.
preschoolers still ride in strollers
You might think needing a stroller is a reason to wait for your child to get older for a Disney visit. Trust me. Visiting when your child is still in a stroller is much easier. On average, our family walks eight to nine miles each day we visit a Disney park. That is a lot of walking for anyone, but it is hardest on kids that are too big for a stroller but not big enough to keep up with the adults. It is much easier to push your kid in a stroller than to carry a sleepy grade-schooler that just can’t walk another step.
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