There are many questions about Disney that spark heated debates among Disney fans. The one I believe is the most discussed, and the question I get asked most often by friends and clients alike is, “What is a good age to start taking my child to Disney World?” I usually tell them that I believe the right age depends on the child and the parents. Then, I follow that up by telling them about choosing the right time of year to visit, explaining about height requirements, etc.; then, we normally start talking about their wishes for their trip and the children. The decision is ultimately theirs, but my opinion for my own life has for years been set in stone.
What I have always said to my closest friends and relatives is that I personally would NEVER take a child in diapers to Disney. I am not the most patient person so lugging a diaper bag around, spending half my time in the baby centers rather than in the parks, not being able to ride every ride, having to go back to the resort for mid-day breaks, pushing a stroller around in the crowd, and dealing with a cranky child is not something that interests me. All these things, coupled with the fact that the child wouldn’t even remember the trip, are the reasons I said I personally would never take a child to Walt Disney World until after they were potty-trained and could walk around the parks without a stroller. Absolutely NO diapers at Disney! Well, that was before!
Isn’t it funny how life changes us; how it softens our hearts? Paramount to my hard-headed, and possibly perceived hard-hearted, ways is that I am first and foremost a Disney lover. When my first grandchild, Aleyah, was born at the end of October I was head over heels in love. What is the thing I want to share most with those I love? Disney! I am already planning our trip for November.
Now that you know my secret, you should know that I have added to my list of considerations when it comes to taking a young child to Disney. These new additions include: who will be going, when will you be visiting, where you will be staying, and how much do you love Disney? For me, this year’s will be a multigenerational trip consisting of my husband and myself, our adult daughter, our youngest (adult) son, and our oldest son with his wife and Aleyah. With a ratio of 6 adults to 1 baby, we should be able to pull this off with flying colors.:)
We will be spending Thanksgiving at WDW just as we have many years before so the weather will be cooler and the Christmas decorations will be up. We will stay on property for the convenience, as well as for being completely submerged in Disney 24 hours a day. Being a faithful Disney fan and frequent visitor, I can’t wait to share all Disney has to offer with Aleyah.
Because I want to make this trip enjoyable for everyone, I will plan carefully to help make the trip as magical as possible. That said, there are certain offerings that Disney has spent a lot of time and money developing, and that we will be taking advantage of for the very first time since my youngest was already 6 when we made our first trip (not because of my “baby rule” but just because we could not afford to go until then). These Disney offerings will help us to keep baby, and everyone else, happy and keep the trip at ‘maximum magic potential.’
Baby Care Centers: These comfortable and clean centers, hosted by Carnation Baby Formulas, are available throughout Walt Disney World Resort to make taking care of baby more enjoyable while in the parks and at Downtown Disney. The centers offer changing rooms, nursing areas, electrical outlets, wooden rockers, and a calm atmosphere. They also have necessities for sale such as Carnation Good Start formulas, Gerber foods and juices, Huggies diapers and wipes, bottles, lotions, sunscreen, and some children’s over-the-counter medications. For our convenience, they also house a microwave and sink.
Stroller rentals: Since we drive to Walt Disney World each year, we will take Aleyah’s stroller with us to WDW. But if we need to, it’s great to know that we could rent a stroller at a variety of locations throughout the parks and Downtown Disney. For guests like us who would require a stroller rental for multiple days, we would be able to purchase a length-of-stay rental ticket which would allow us to make a one-time payment for as many days of rental as we would need. Each time we enter a park, we would just show our receipt at the stroller rental location and we’d be expedited through the queue with a reduced wait time. The multiple day rental fee is $13.00 per day for a single-passenger stroller.
Rider Swap: Disney’s Rider Swap option is available at select attractions in all 4 theme parks at Walt Disney World. Rider Swap is when guests take turns waiting with the child who is too small to ride, then “swap” with another adult guest from their party to experience the ride without standing in line twice. Although my son has visited many times, his wife has never been to Disney before (yea, another first timer with whom I will get to share Disney), so I would like for he and his wife to be able to ride together as much as possible and have lots of fun together. For this reason, I am planning to share the rider-swap responsibilities with them. My hubby and I will do the ride-swap part of the time so we can all enjoy riding by switching off with this duty.
Disney resort transportation: Aleyah will likely get tired, overwhelmed, and fussy. She might even sleep through great surprises in the stroller. Thankfully, I will enjoy just snuggling with my sweetie while the parade strolls by, or the fireworks fly. For times when it is necessary, any of us will be able to hop on the bus and take her to the resort for a mid-day break. When it’s my turn, I will get a little quiet time as well while her parents want to stay in the parks.
Unique resort offerings: We are seriously considering staying at a deluxe resort or villa for this trip. There are so many things we can do with Aleyah at the resort. For instance, watching the animals on the savanna at Animal Kingdom Lodge or playing on the beach at the Contemporary. There are many options for spending time at any Disney resort, no matter the category. This will provide a great opportunity for quality time for my kids to have together and/or Date Night for my son and his wife. They can take advantage of later park hours and have a bit of free time exploring the parks, or go and hang out for a while at Downtown Disney. We can take Aleyah and show her some treasures we think she’ll enjoy. This will be great for everyone!
PhotoPass CD: This is somewhat unrelated but I think this year would be the best time ever for purchasing a PhotoPass CD. Although we typically don’t buy the CD, this year will be a great time to capture wonderful memories of ALL the family together. That way, we can have pictures in all kinds of poses with different family members and keep them all. Realistically, Aleyah will not remember this trip. Thankfully, she will have pictures to look at for the rest of her life when all her family was together celebrating the magic of Disney with her. She will even know that Mickey, Minnie, and all the princesses welcomed her on her first of many visits to “the world.” Soon, the cost of the PhotoPass CD becomes minimal!
So, things in life can totally change our minds about how we see things. Yes, I could take my younger kids and leave my oldest, his wife and my granddaughter at home. But I went on our trip this past December without two of my kids and, to that, I say no thank you! To me, a Disney vacation translates word for word to “magic with your family.” My ideal vacation is having all my kids with me…and now my new precious grand-princess. Disney is the best place in the world for creating priceless, family memories!
It just goes to show how the desire to share Disney with those we love changes everything!
- Disney World Planning 101 – Using Childcare Services (chipandco.com)
- Do You Need a Car while at Walt Disney World? (chipandco.com)