I’m an (admittedly) crazy Disney mom with two princesses, aged 3 years and 6 months. Knowing my affinity for the Mouse, people I know (and people on Instagram) often ask me what the best age is to take their kids to a Disney park for the first time. While I don’t think there’s a single answer to this question, this guide is designed to help you make the right decision for your family based on a few simple questions.
Do I care about doing naps and diaper changes?
While Disney World offers plenty of free diaper changing facilities and a dedicated Baby Care Center in the Magic Kingdom, it is true that your day will be slowed down when you take little ones. You won’t be able to easily stand in line for an extended period of time (I have a particularly harrowing Frozen Ever After diaper changing tale) and you can expect at least a couple of hours of every day to be allotted to bathroom visits and stroller naps.
Who is going with you?
I know from experience that Disney with little ones is easier when you have extra adult hands on deck. Taking grandparents is an especially great idea because it allows your family to create long-lasting memories together!
If you have additional people in your travel party, particularly if one person isn’t a big fan of thrill rides like Space Mountain, it’s easier to split up and have someone take the kids back to the resort for rest while everyone else takes advantage of “scarier” Magic Kingdom rides and rollercoasters.
For couples who plan to travel on their own with babies and toddlers, expect to forego some rides and attractions you may otherwise have chosen. Only you can decide whether or not this is a deal-breaker for your family. Remember, though, at the end of the day, the point is to make incredible Disney memories with your family and there is plenty to do with small children in the Magic Kingdom!
So, what’s the magic number?
Personally, I don’t think you can put an age on Disney magic. Even if my daughters won’t remember their first trips to Disney theme parks, the memories of the joy I see on their faces (and the pictures) will last a lifetime. That said, if I had to select a “magic age for the Magic Kingdom,” it’s 5.
5-year-olds are generally tall enough to ride all major Magic Kingdom attractions, including classics like Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, so you won’t have to leave them behind with another member of your party or utilize Rider Switch, which is a great option, but can be frustrating if you and your partner really want to ride at the same time.
Furthermore, by age 5, kids are potty trained and should be completely done with baby and toddler foods. This is great news when it comes to packing. Taking formula, toddler snacks, and other specialty food items can become tedious at airport security. Waiting until your children are old enough to fully engage in mealtime also opens up a world of dining possibilities, including Cinderella’s Royal Table and The Crystal Palace with Winnie the Pooh and friends.
Finally, 5-year-olds are likely to actually remember their first visits to WDW. If your family won’t be visiting Disney’s largest theme park frequently, I believe it’s wise to wait until your kids are past the toddler stage.
If, however, you decide to visit Walt Disney World Resort with children under kindergarten age, Magic Kingdom is one of the best parks to choose! Even small kids are in awe of Cinderella’s Castle and there are numerous all-ages rides throughout Magic Kingdom. The Mad Tea Party, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, and Peter Pan’s Flight are all wonderful, iconic rides that are perfect for the entire family!
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