What’s the Right Age for Disney? + Disney Vacation Giveaway

Whether you are planning a trip to Disney World or Disneyland, you are probably wondering “What’s the Right Age for Disney? Having spent my childhood visiting Disney and taking both my children to Disneyland, Disney World and Disneyland Paris, I can tell you exactly when that Magic Moment you dream of will occur and why you might not want to wait too long. Here’s are the top 4 reasons to take your kids to Disney now.

1. Disney is All About the Magic

Whether you walk into Disney at 4 or 40, your heart will palpitate as you venture through the gates and onto Main Street. It’s impossible not to be captivated by the history and pure magic of the park. That being said, there are a lot of reasons to take your kids way before they turn 7.

The main reason is this. Kids under 7, in my experience, do not question the magic of Disney. I have met at least 4 different Belles in the past 3 years and not once did either of my children, now 4 and 6, realize it wasn’t actually Belle. I can already see that starting to change. Will is getting little more savvy with things like Santa and mascots and soon he will realize one Mickey Mouse at Disney World talks while the others do not.

The simple answer is to take your kids before they question the magic. Sure they may not be tall enough for Space Mountain or reach the pedals in a car ride but when their faces light up when they see the characters, you won’t question the admission fee.

Here are some of my favorite Disney pictures capturing exactly these moments:

Disney Expressions C

Disney Expressions 2.0

Recently, my son has told me that even though characters are just people in costumes it is still fun to meet them. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that even that Will doesn’t believe anymore, there was a time where he got to experience the Disney magic as child who did.

2. The Majority of the Rides are for Kids

Disney's Animal KingdomI hear a lot of people say that they don’t want to take their kids to Disney until they can ride ALL of the rides. Here’s the thing, by the time your kids can ride all of the rides they probably won’t want to check out the kid’s rides anymore in places like New Fantasyland which is really the heart of Walt Disney World.

I was insistent on bringing Will to Disney’s California Adventure while he still believed in Cars and it was probably the best decision I have made. He lost a little piece of his childhood when he stopped living his life for Lightning McQueen but before doing so he got the unique opportunity when we were randomly picked as the family of the day to open the park and march in with Lightning and Mater.

Sure he couldn’t ride California Screamin’ which required kids to be 48″ tall but that didn’t matter when he was chatting with Lightning McQueen and telling the car how much he enjoyed Cars Land.

In reality, your kids can ride almost everything at Disney at a very young age. There are only two rides in all of the Disney World parks that require your kids to be taller than 48″ inches and only 5 that require your kids to be 44″ inches.

Disney's California Adventure

3. Disney Isn’t Just Rides

At the end of a day at Disney, my cheeks literally hurt. The reality is it’s not because I am smiling on the rides. In fact, the best times we have had at Disney have been during parades and character meet and greets. A few years ago, Charlie and Will got to meet Anna and Elsa from Frozen and hilarity ensued.

Will couldn’t believe it when Charlie scolded Anna for wanting to marry a boy she just met and loved when Elsa joined in. Sure the rides are fun but when you see your kids fighting to stay awake for one last Main Street Electric Parade, you won’t be sad that they couldn’t ride a medium sized thrill ride like Space Mountain.

Disney World

4. It’s Not Really About You

One of the things I hear most is parents saying “I just don’t want to go to Disney”. Totally fair. There is a lot I would rather spend that sort of money on. Still, if your children are the type that have fallen in love with Mickey Mouse and princesses, you might want to get it out of the way now. I hear a lot of people saying they don’t want to bring a stroller or want to wait until the kids are old enough to walk the parks. I can assure you at 37 I question if I am old enough to walk through all of Walt Disney World. No matter what age your kids are, you will need to take breaks. Don’t expect that walking around Disney with kids over 10 will be a delightfully complaint-free experience.

Don’t Miss the Magic

In reality, the right age for Disney will be different for some children. In a majority of cases, I would suggest that the right age is 3-6. I recommend deciding what you want your children to get out of it. If this is the one experience that will define their childhood for you and the memories will remain with you for years, then stop reading about it and just go. If Disney is instead something that you don’t necessarily think will matter, spend the money on a trip that will. I look back on the pictures of my kids at various points at Disney World and I remember the good and bad of them being under 6. Still, I didn’t ever regret going and never left thinking that we should have waited. Instead, I was thinking “Thank God we didn’t miss it“.

Right Age for Disney

 

Want more Disney Tips and the chance to win a Disneyland vacation? Check out this post from our friends at Trekaroo.com

 

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65 Comments on this post

  1. I have taken my kids to Disney at all different ages. Every time was magical, but I think you’re right…if you’re only going once, you should probably do it when the kids are young. This gets more complicated if you have more than 1 or 2 kids (I have 4)! Last time we went, my kids were 11, 10, 6, and almost 4. They ALL had so much fun, but the characters meet and greets for the younger ones were priceless!

    Alysia / Reply
  2. I’d agree with this! My mom and dad took us to Disney World when we were young, and we loved to go with them right up to our teens. Now my brother takes his kids, and my husband and I go on our own – and I still get excited to meet the characters at almost 40. The magic of the place is something that never goes away and is really an amazing gift for your kids. 🙂

    Nicole / Reply
  3. Such a great point to go before they don’t believe in “the magic ” anymore! I’ll have to get on this 🙂

    Maggev May's Gifts / Reply
  4. Such a great post. I’d say for Disneyland, you can even go a bit younger if you have the time and budget. Since it is a smaller property, it is easier to navigate and doesn’t require the logistics of WDW. We took my daughter to Disneyland when she was 22 months old for the first time, and she frankly had a blast. The only TV show she watched at that point in her life was Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, so she knew all the major characters. The look on her face when she saw Mickey in person for the first time on that trip was something I will never forget — pure joy!

    Leslie H (tripswithtykes) / Reply
  5. Do you know, I had not at all considered the whole belief in the magic aspect of it before. I was more focusing on the queuing endlessly for rides bit. Hmmmmm. My eldest is, you are right, getting towards the age of skepticism. I’m not sure we’ll make it to Disney, but I shall certainly have to line up some similar experiences.

    Mama Herself / Reply
  6. […] bits on the blog: What’s the Right Age for Disney? // A Road Tripping Mom’s Personal Memoir // Arbortrek at Smuggler’s […]

  7. We are planning on taking my son Liam for his fifth birthday. His little brother Logan will only be 14 months but I don’t think it’s fair to make Liam wait until Logan is old enough to remember. Who knows we may have another baby when Logan is 3 and imagine trying to wait for all of them to be old enough. The first and only time I went to Disney Land I was 14 and my little sister was 5. I had fun but I saw how enchanted my little sister was. I want my kids to have that kind of excitement as well. Magic Mountain was put of service when we were there so my height didn’t count for anything lol.

    Janna Law / Reply
  8. I think every age is the right age! My husband and I went for years without children and had a blast. We’ve taken our daughter twice- when she was one and 2.5. The first time she didn’t really get it, but we had a great time in 80 degree California during February, coming from snowy Utah. The second time she loved it, and even though I was six months pregnant I could ride almost everything she could ride. Now we want to take our family before our second child turns three. I’m excited to take our daughter on all the big rides now that she’s tall enough, and for our little guy to experience all the magic!

    Marta / Reply
  9. Definitely agree!

    Natalie / Reply
  10. Good points! I’ve never enjoyed Disney so much since having kit’s, much more magical!

    Tamara / Reply
  11. Super handy post. Thanks for sharing!

    Katie / Reply
  12. My whole family loves Disney! We’ve taken our kids as young as 10 months! Even though they may not remember that trip, they still had a lot of fun!

    Bernadette Nunez / Reply
  13. I LOVE this post so much! We brought our oldest son when he was 2.5yo because our friends were bringing their toddler. They had a BLAST and it was such a magical vacation! I’m heading back this summer with my 3.5yo and our baby and I’m so excited to see my oldest get more comfortable with the characters and hit up the rides he knows he enjoys!

    Marcie in Mommyland / Reply
  14. The great thing about Disney is that there is different and new magic at every age.

    Val S / Reply
  15. Good information. I think my kids are at a good age now because they can ride all the rides, but they have gone since they were under 1

    Julie L / Reply
  16. I took both of my kids as babies (before they were a year old) and it was magical each time :). They’ve visited several times since then and are now die hard Disneyland fans like me! I love that babies can ride a lot of the slower rides!

    Michelle Peterson / Reply
  17. 3 to 5 is the best age range I think. But there’s hope! Just when my oldest no longer sees the characters but sees actors in costume, she now wants to trade pins & ride more rides!

    Sabrina / Reply
  18. Disney sounds fun for any ages. I hear it’s magical at Disney.

    Sandra Caballero / Reply
  19. If you have annual passes, it can be fun to take younger kids (under age 2), as they get in free. Go with friends and do the parent swap so you can ride the “adult” rides while the kids are napping.

    GnuMom / Reply
  20. Any age is the right age!!

    stacy hunter / Reply
  21. My dad is a big kid, and he loved disney. He took us to one of the parks every summer. They even went when my mom was pregnant with me, and then again when I was about a year. I know he did a lot of planning to make everything go smoothly, and those trips are some of my fondest memories from childhood. I didn’t really even enjoy most of the rides till I was older, but even then I remember every trip being amazing.

    shannon fowler / Reply
  22. ALL ages are great for Disney. Being able to watch your kids enjoys Disney at a young age and have them grow/experience new things as they grow older is wonderful.

    Shannon / Reply
  23. I love the looks on kids faces when they go here for the first time! I still remember when I first went!

    Casey Edwards / Reply
  24. There is no wrong age, there is something for everyone

    Mary H / Reply
  25. Every age has its magic

    Kristy Ferguson / Reply
  26. This is sooo magical!

    kristen s / Reply
  27. Any age is magical. Even if its for different reasons!

    Maryanne / Reply
  28. Great info! Excited for our trip!

    Gay-Lynn / Reply
  29. My son is now 6 and I think he will enjoy Disneyland more than when he was 2 but any age is great for Disneyland

    Rosa cuevas / Reply
  30. The best is when they’re under 3 (because they’re free(; ). Lol honestly it’s catered to kids but is enjoyed by every age. When you go there look how many adults are there without kids. Disney does a great job making the park be enjoyed by all ages.

    Brandon / Reply
  31. I think you just convinced me to take my kids earlier than I had originally planned. 🙂

    Emily / Reply
  32. I think every age in Disney is amazing in their own ways!

    Nicole / Reply
  33. We’ve taken kids ages 9 months to 10 years old. Just make sure to do rider switch or bring an extra adult when they are little.

    Michelle Gray / Reply
  34. I hope I can take my daughter soon!

    Jennifer Crowell / Reply
  35. Disney is perfect for all ages!

    Kelly / Reply
  36. Disney at any age is magic!!

    Michelle Bartley / Reply
  37. Great tips! Thanks so much for taking the time to write this and to share it with others.

    alissa farias / Reply
  38. Wish more ppl would read this!

    Catherine Siewert / Reply
  39. Any age is a good age to visit Disneyland!!

    Jennifer W / Reply
  40. I love see Disney through my children’s eyes. Way better then memories going when I was a child.

    Nancy Curtis / Reply
  41. All three of my kids went to Disneyland at a early age. My youngest , we took her at 6 months. However, once all three kids hit the 40 inches mark, we were excited!! You just do what is best for you and your family! My kids are older now, 13, 11 and 8 and we love Disney! I

    Carolyn Phinney / Reply
  42. Going this weekend; thanks for the information.
    Jan K

    Jan Komancheck / Reply
  43. Thanks for sharing! I hope I can take my daughters soon!

    Yong / Reply
  44. I have to agree with you. First visit at 2 is no good. First visit at 9 is also no good. We have learned by trial and error.

    Anita Duvall / Reply
  45. The first time I took my son to Disneyland, he was only 4 months old. Obviously, he didn’t remember anything from it. I think the best time to take a child is when they actually know what the place is and what it’s about. As long as they have an understanding of the process, I think they’d be good to go. Every kid is different so putting an age number on it is hard. These tips are great!

    Gianna / Reply
  46. I think that you make some good points. I would not want to take a child under 1 I don’t think. Too hard! Thanks for the tips! I have been to Magic Kingdom and have never seen so many strollers in my life! Seriously! kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you. Happy Spring!

    Kristie / Reply
  47. my daughter went at 3 yrs old and loved it and remember what we did at disneyland. great tips

    tonni / Reply
  48. Thanks for great information! I dream of taking daughter 9 and nephew 7.

    Paula S / Reply
  49. Thanks for sharing. Disney is perfect for all ages!

    Yanhua T. / Reply
  50. I agree that the best part is watching their little faces take in all the magic around them. My son was 6 months when we went and he just loved the sounds and lights. We didn’t go again till my kids were 8 & 6 and i wish we had taken them sooner.

    Tara / Reply
  51. Every age over about 3/4 has been worth it for Disney holidays. Magic morphs into different beings at different ages. Lovely to observe.

    Stephanie V. / Reply
  52. 3 or 4 is so perfect. They still believe all the magic is real AND they’re potty trained!

    Erin G / Reply
  53. I totally agree! We took each of our daughters before they turned three and it was amazing to watch them experience Disney through their eyes.

    Marcella Brazelton / Reply
  54. We took my son at 4 and it was way too much waiting for him. He enjoyed staying at a hotel more than visiting the park.

    Megan S / Reply
  55. We’ve been going for years and years… the youngest was only a few months and she’s been probably a dozen times since and she is now 14. We have amazing memories from each and every trip! Believe me, if we didn’t live in BC we’ be in Orlando a lot more often that we have been.

    Tammi L. / Reply
  56. Loved the article, we took our kids when they were 11, 13, and 15 and they weren’t television or movie watchers they were pretty active in sports and the outdoors and only liked Epcot they did not like the rest at all (mostly they didn’t know who the characters were) but now as adults we went as a big family taking my grandkids (their niece and nephew ages 1 and almost 3) and everyone loved it even the 1 and 3 year old. My adult children enjoyed what they didn’t like as kids so I think it depends on the individuals. We had 6 adults and 2 children which helped a lot now everyone wants to go back!

    KATHRYN TEEL / Reply
  57. The magic never goes away!! 🙂 Any age is the perfect age and the kids will see things completely different each time and at any age. As the parent, I see something new with each visit and I am always delighted and amazed. *0*

    M Burrell / Reply
  58. My twins were too young when we took our whole crew (5 kids, 7 people total!)…they were under a year. Now they’re almost 5 and I think it’s time to go back, for sure!

    Emily Legendre / Reply
  59. Our children are 3 & 6 and we are planning our first trip to Disney. We wanted to wait until our youngest was old enough to enjoy it but before our oldest got to old. 🙂

    MaryAnn / Reply
  60. We took the kids the year after we lost their grandpa and took grandma with us! It was all about her and the kids doing this together. Lifted her spirits like none other. Making those memories. Would not want to take under 3.

    Jeane Campbell / Reply
  61. Love the recommendations.

    sunchicka / Reply
  62. Have a 7yr old and 3yr old. Looking forward to planning the trip before it is too late! Thank you!

    Hannah J. / Reply
  63. Great advice!!!! I wish I’d known most of these tips when I visited Disneyland when my kids were young 🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔

    Tony Cruz / Reply

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