THURSDAY THOUGHTS

Have you taken your kids to Disney?

My sister-in-law just surprised her two young girls with a trip to Disney World for spring break. Intrigued, I asked my mother-in-law a few questions who has been several times. Her ears immediately perked up at my interest. She apparently never thought I’d ask and is pretty eager to take my kids one day! I’m not anti-Disney (that’s impossible here in the U.S. anyway, just walk into a dentist office-maybe another conversation for another day!). It’s just my husband and I have always been in the mindset that if we are going to spend precious money or time on family trips, we’d rather it be camping in the mountains, discovering a new beach, or planning a trip somewhere a bit more foreign. So many places to explore in this beautiful world, and Disney has just never been one of those desires. Also, neither of us are rides people and the hustle and bustle vibe that I assume is going to Disney world just isn’t our jam.

But now I have two girls (4-years-old and 3-years-old) who love playing Frozen’s Elsa and Anna (even though they only recently watched the film) and it has me considering it one day. I honestly do think that at least our oldest would feel like she was in a dream at Disney World at the site of the characters brought to life and I’m excited now that she’s nearing 5 to introduce her to some of those classic Disney films I grew up watching. And hearing my mother-in-law explain how happy and friendly of a place it is, and how accommodating the Disney parks are for young families is tempting.

My curiosities are this-the planning and the cost of a Disney trip, is it worth it? And what is the best age to go if so? I think the toddler years are such a great age for the wonder and magic but then you’re dealing with kids who still need a good amount of rest and are easily overstimulated. I’m inclined to just put it off until the day it’s requested but then is there a sweet spot in terms of what age to go? We know grown adults who don’t have kids that go there for their vacations! It’s a huge thing here in the U.S. and nearly viewed as a right-of-passage to childhood and I can only assume that one day my kids will want to go one day.  I seem to have for whatever reason, a similar parenting style as this community here at Babyccino so am eager to know, have you taken your kids on a Disney vacation? Would you recommend it and at what age do you think is best if so? I’m all ears! Or eyes in this case.

Addie

P.S. I obviously don’t have any pictures of my kids at Disney World but there is no shortage of my kids in princess dresses like this one of my oldest and her friend at the beach recently. So much sass!


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Comments (23)

gillian porter
June 20, 2019

A little tricky because children can vary in their maturity – its not always connected to age – and of course trickier when you have more than more than one age to consider! Mine were aged 10 and 8. The upsides – they remember every moment and still talk about it (now 28 and 30!!) The eldest one at 10 loved the fast rides – the youngest didn’t (but to be fair he has never grown up to enjoy them either) They were both a bit too old in terms of the “wonder” when it came to the characters – actually they both felt a bit embarrassed at being too close to them! But they could appreciate the amazing late night shows and in terms of stamina, could do a long day. And the more educational activities at epcot were perfect. So I’d say just pick an age and accept that you will never tick all the boxes. But definitely don’t do it at a very young age unless you can afford to do it more than once. For me 6yrs would be the youngest for most children. And I’d happily take them up to aged 16! Never dismiss Disney as not being “your bag” – you can’t say that until you have tried it!! We loved it as much as an adventure holiday in Thailand – just in a completely different way – but I get that you can’t do everything and there are choices to be made in life! Good luck!


Addie Ladner
June 21, 2019

This is such a good point- to see it for the unique things it could offer, especially for older kids! Thanks for sharing. Xx


Allison
June 20, 2019

No Disneyland or Disney World for our family. I never went and wasn’t even aware of it as a child and our family is screen-free/media-free, so it doesn’t feel like a priority and my children don’t even know what Disney is. I have heard from people who love the theme park and rides and describe it as a magical experience, so no judgment here – but it’s not the right fit for our family’s interests and values.


Addie Ladner
June 21, 2019

Hi Allison-I’m curious if you live in the U.S.? Somehow my kids know about all sorts of Disney characters, the parks, the shows etc, even though we ourselves are (mostly) screen free and don’t really buy the branded stuff. They just see it everywhere!


Cara Grygo
June 20, 2019

Disney World can be overwhelming if it is not properly planned but if you stay at an on-property resort and utilize their pre-planning options on the My Disney Experience app you can really create a magical vacation for the whole family. Lines can be mostly avoided and crowds can be worked around. there are resorts that have giraffes outside your window or a boardwalk or even a campground with horseback riding as an option. Disney employs people from all around the world so a multicultural experience may be had because the quality of the regions they create in some of their parks and resorts truly transport your family. I would recommend it for young children as well sometimes their excitement and wonder at the things you will encounter make you feel like a kid again!


Addie Ladner
June 21, 2019

Oooooo! Ok these aspects of a Disney trip, I could get behind! Especially if there are minimal lines.


Meghan
June 20, 2019

we took our 4 and 2 year olds last year. There was a HUGE group of us 9 people total, including three teenagers who LOVED helping with the little ones. Our 2 year old was free and I am not a big rides person so we cruised around the park in her stroller where she napped and did the odd ride. I LOVED watching the magic on my sons face honestly 4 years old is the absolute best for our kids. I would not have done this trip as a family of 4 though haha it was a great trip because we had so many other hands, inevitably there are some adults that don’t want to go on some rides or others who are hungry or want to sit in the shade so it was great having so much help. The kids meals at the restaurants there and “snack packs” and carts with fresh fruit, giant pickles and turkey legs kept our kids fed and we didn’t spend a ton on food. We use the FAST PASSES everywhere ! Make someone in your group in charge of that alone. We also did the photo pass which allowed us to get some great shots around the park and we weren’t digging for our phones to take pictures (not like we could have any way we were so busy hahah) I have precious photos of the kids looking up at the castles and my daughter dancing around a fountain that the photographers took – they are EVERYWHERE throughout the park and that was worth the money. Yes it Disney is expensive but seeing it through their eyes when they are young and it’s still magical is priceless 🙂


Carolina
June 20, 2019

I took my 6 year old to Disney in Paris, and it was terribly crowded, endless lines to get to the rides, huge wait times. I contrast that with our experience with the Jardin d’acclimation in Paris or Tivoli Gardens in Denmark, two beautiful amusement parks. Much less direct marketing of low quality Made in China Disney products to kids, much better food options, nicer landscaping, much more agreeable for adults. I personally did not feel the Disney experience was worth it, starting with the 1.5 hours in line to get in, followed by a 50 minute wait for the first ride. And everywhere attempts to market direct to kids and make money for a giant company. It was also much more expensive than the other two options mentioned above. It is certainly our first and last Disney experience.


Addie Ladner
June 21, 2019

Oh I hadn’t thought about other iconic amusement parks. That’s a great idea one day!


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Gillian
June 20, 2019

We are taking our children to Disneyland this summer as part of a much larger West Coast trip. We took them to Disneyworld once about 5 years ago. It is very expensive and is definitely not my first choice of vacation but I will say my kids really enjoy it. I grew up going to Disneyland but just for a day when we visited family in California. The Disney experience has really changes since then. We still don’t do character breakfasts or appointments at the salon. We really just ride the rides. My kids go dressed in their regular clothes, not in costumes. We just chose a much more low key kind of trip. It can be done, you just have to chose to do it that way. If you are only going to go once, I would wait until they are older. Even though Disney markets to pre-schoolers the experience is much better with older children.


Lizzy in Minnesota
June 20, 2019

I too have mixed feelings about Disney. My uncle was an executive for Disney in Florida, and so when I was growing up, we made several trips to Disney. I have pictures of me there as a 4 year old and took my husband a few years ago when we were in our mid-20s. Although, each of these trips were made because we were visiting my family in the area. Now with two girls of our own (ages 2 and 4), we’re beginning to plan when we’ll take them to Disney. I know my girls, who are in love with disney princesses, will enjoy it. And, I do think there is something to say for going as a young child when you still believe in the magic of meeting “real princesses” and other Disney characters instead of taking them when they’re older; I think that’s what makes Disney different from other theme parks.

But, I think we’ll only take them to the park for a day (two max) and will spend the rest of the time doing other activities (beaches, new places, etc). And, if we didn’t have family in the area that we could stay with (making our trip more affordable), I don’t think we would make it a travel priority.


Mary
June 20, 2019

I’m NOT a Disneyland person because we went way too many times when my kids did music and dance competitions. I vowed when they graduated I wouldn’t go again until I had grandchildren. Then it happened! I have 1 grand daughter. I don’t get to she her that often(she lives out of state). And guess what? Then “other” grandmother gets to take her every year. (I’m not invited because they go for March madness) She’s been 3x, I’ve seen the pictures, I see her eyes are full of wonder and I wish I was part of it and there to experience it with her.My heart aches, not jealous (maybe a little). PLEASE let your MIL go with you! At least just 1x. I will mean the world to her, I promise! You have years to experience this with them, she doesn’t. She has wisdom, and that is why her eyes lit up! It really is magical for little ones!


Addie Ladner
June 21, 2019

Awww! Thank you for this perspective. Yes, I need to remember, it would be just as special, if not more for my mother-in-law. Will definitely invite her to join! Also, I’m sure there are plenty of other experiences unique to you and your grandchild that are just as special. 🙂


Rebekah
June 20, 2019

Oh this topic – I was so skeptical about a trip to Disney for all the reasons you mention (which make me feel like a 3-headed mister whenever I mention it to other parents). My kids are 9/7/3 and we did go as part of a big family group in Jan. They loved it but I only felt it was “worth it” because of the group time we got and because we stayed in a huge, off property house and took some days off to just have a vacation. I thought my oldest would be over it but she LOVED it the most I think. The 3 ye old was able to hang for two of the days. I thought we would go one more time in a few years if they are asking. But we went to Paris and London in March and, while NO ONE has mentioned Disney since we went, one of them has to go back to Paris and London or some other new city EVERY day. So maybe that was our only trip! And on that case I am glad I just waited.


Tina
June 21, 2019

My husband an I took my 8 year old boy and 5 year old girl to Disneyland last May. They definetely enjoyed the experience and I’m glad we went but would never return again hahaha. It is just too expensive, too many lines (we had fast passes and all, but still). I’d rather go to Europe or explore somewhere else, honestly.
Also, I saw many adults without kids in the parks. I wouldn’t do that in a million years, but everyone is different


Joy
June 21, 2019

A great way to “do Disney” is a Disney cruise! My mom took the whole family last year for her 60th birthday. My daughter was only 2 at the time and had very little Disney experience (including films) but she loved it! I think the best part is how much interaction the kids get with the characters on the cruise, like character dance parties and pajama parties. Here’s what I wrote about our experience! https://netanya.wordpress.com/2018/05/16/everything-you-need-to-know-about-surviving-a-disney-cruise-with-a-toddler/


Addie Ladner
July 6, 2019

You covered so much in your link! So glad for this intel. Thanks so much!


Kate
June 23, 2019

I’ve just come back from a trip to Disney World with my 4 year old. I’d never have considered it before but as we have recently relocated to the US it was much less of a commitment and expense so just went for it! I went twice as a child and loved it, my husband went as a child and hated it so I took just my middle child for a special weekend away. We stayed at a Disney resort (Polynesian) and that was essential to the trip being a success, we came back for naps, could watch the fireworks from our resort rather than the park. The monorail was so easy and the resort itself was so Disney too that it didn’t feel like we were missing out when we were having some (much needed!) downtime. My parents have always wanted to go with the children and I’ve always tried to put them off but after experiencing the resort version I might consider it. My 4 year old LOVED seeing the characters and as we were so close by we could overcome the tiredness aspect so I think that is a great age.


Laura
June 24, 2019

I have been to Disneyland the first time when I was 3 with my parents. Now I have visited several Parks ( Orlando Los Angeles Paris) several times and I still love it.
We took our son to Dineyland Paris for his first time when he was 9 and he was so excited. It think the right time to go to Disneyland is between 6-10 and depends on your child. When I think back the first thing I can remember about Disneyland was when I was 6.. and I Loved meeting Mickey and Pluto. So it is really worth the journey…


Miranda
June 28, 2019

I LOVE rides, as do my kids. I grew up going once a year, but to smaller amusement parcs, of which there are plenty in West-Europe. I made it a tradition for my family as well and we took the kids from very young age. We usually go on a rainy school day in autumn so that there are no queues and we can fully enjoy the parc. As you, I do value other types of holidays, but the adrenaline you get on those rides is something I value equally high. Funny enough, and despite my love for amusement parcs, I had never heard of Disney until age 30 or so!!


Emily
June 28, 2019

We took my daughter earlier this year, she turned four while we were away. My top tips would be do your research, use your fastpasses, and take some extra hands with you! My in-laws came with us and it was great, they are very chilled anyway and had been before so knew what to expect. Age four was good for us, my daughter absolutely loved meeting the princesses, Mickey, Minnie and Olaf, and seeing her little face wonder at all the magic was wonderful. We took a pram (stroller?) with us and she had naps almost every day, which helped her cope with the heat and the jetlag – we live in the UK. Do your research on crowds and queues, and definitely book for a quieter time of year. We did end of February to mid-March and the queues really weren’t too bad. We went for two weeks and it was a good amount of time, we had a couple of less busy days playing in the pool at the hotel (which my daughter loved), so it helped to break up the Disney madness. It can be quite overwhelming for little ones! Go at your child’s pace and don’t worry if you don’t do everything. If the child is happy, everyone should be happy 🙂 Also remember that there are more parks than Magic Kingdom alone – we loved Animal Kingdom for the slower pace, beautiful shows and the shade! Epcot is also great to wander round and eat, eat, eat! At Epcot we waited until just before the fireworks in the evening, and met Anna and Elsa with no queue whatsoever! My daughter is now talking about going back when she’s older, so we should probably start saving…


Addie Ladner
July 6, 2019

These are such great tips-thank you! I love the idea of some down days factored in and the sound of Epcot or Magic Kingdom are really appealing to us. Thanks again for sharing! Xx


Whitney
June 28, 2019

We live in the US and are not big screen people. My 3 girls know most of the disney characters just because of life and friends, but we don’t have Disney clothes or characters in our home which has eliminated obsessions. We, however, did take our girls to Disney when my husband had an unexpected long weekend from work. We roadtripped to save money, had two days of pure joy (my husband included as it was his first time as well), and we have such wonderful memories from that trip. Our youngest was a baby, but who cares? It doesn’t all line up and if we go again, it won’t be for another 4-5 years because we also like camping and travelling out of the country more. Our kiddos haven’t begged to go back because our conversations are focused on what is next (and again, not disney obsessed) and each of my girls have a country they want to go to for our next big family trip (we are still camping about twice a month during the warm months), but it has been a high point for sure. So, it can be such a fun experience without becoming an obsession if that is how you currently focus on it.


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