Your Preschooler won’t Remember their Disney Vacation… Or Will They???

Snow White in Germany

There’s often the debate about whether or not parents should take their toddler or young child to Walt Disney World since the child may never remember the vacation.  Well, as an adult, I can’t be the one to convince you that toddlers do remember their Disney vacations… so let’s ask the experts – PRESCHOOLERS!  Here’s what they had to say about their vacation to Walt Disney World…

Jackson, age 3 (last WDW visit 11/2011 ~ at age 2 1/2)
  • What’s your favorite ride at Disney World?  Buzz!  (Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.)
  • What other rides do you remember riding?  Pooh & Nemo.
  • Who is your favorite Disney character?  Woody.
  • Did you get to meet him?  Yes and Buzz.
  • What other characters did you get to meet?  A lot!  Mickey & Goofy & Donald & Minnie.
  • What do you do when you meet the characters? I hug them.
  • What park is your favorite to visit?  Magic Kingdom.
  • What is your favorite Disney restaurant?  The Pooh restaurant (Crystal Palace.)
  • What did you bring home from Disney World?  A Mr. Incredible car, a Zurg in a car with a laser gun, and a lollipop with characters on it.
  • Anything else you want to tell me about Disney?  No, that’s all.
  • [Much later] How do you get to Disney World?  First, you take a car to the airport.  Then, you take an airplane.  Then you get off the airplane and take a bus to your resort house.
Bradyn, age 3 (last WDW visit 9/2011 ~ at age 2)
  • What was your favorite ride at Disney?  When I got to drive the race car and the teacups.
  • Who is your favorite Disney Character?  Donald.
  • Did you meet him?  Yes. I sat on his lap.
  • Did you like our hotel room?  Yes. I loved bouncing on the beds.
  • Did you like the food at Disney?  Yes. I loved the Mickey Mouse waffles.
  • What characters did you get to meet?  Mickey, Donald, Buzz, Woody, Pluto, the green army man, Cinderella, Belle, Ariel, Peter Pan, Daisy duck, Agent Oso, little Einstiens, Handy Manny.
  • What did you say to them?  I said my name and hi.
  • Which park is your favorite?  The Magic Kingdom because it had that race car ride and i hit the back of  mommy’s car that was in front of us.
  • Did you like the resturants we visited? Yes because I got to meet the characters. I liked the pizza place.
  • Did you shop at Disney? Yes. I bought a car.
  • What do you wish you could have bought?  I wish I could buy that firetruck.
  • Do you want to go back to Disney? Yes. I want to go Monday.
  • Is there anything else you can tell me about your trip to disney?  Airplane ride there. I liked sitting in the front and I liked when I meet Lilo and Stitch. I liked the fireworks in the castle and the headless horseman. I liked when he didn’t have his head but then he found it. I think this is all.
Atticus, age 3 (last WDW visit 5/2012)
  • What’s your favorite ride?  Peter Pan.
  • What other rides do you remember?  Winnie the Pooh, Buzz Lightyear, horseys (Prince Charming Regal Carrousel), “Yo ho pirates life for me”, Goofy roller coaster (The Barnstormer), Dumbo, “dinosaur ride” (Dino-Sue), the water ride (Kali River Rapids), small world, and the race cars (Tomorrowland Speedway).
  • Do you like the fireworks?  No, they’re scary so I don’t like them.
  • Do you like the monorail?  I like the monorail at Magic Kingdom.
  • What’s your favorite park?  Um.. I don’t know.
  • Can you tell me what your favorite park is?  Tell me.
  • Which park do you like the most: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom?  Magic Kingdom.
  • Do you like Epcot?  Nemo.
  • You like the Nemo ride? Anything else at Epcot?  Ya, the Donald Duck ride (Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros).
  • One week after this interview, an unprompted conversation between Atticus and his younger brother, Everett, took place.  Keep in mind, at 16 months old, Everett only says about 3 words.  Atticus: “You want to go to Disney World and ride the monorail at Magic Kingdom, Big Ev? Yes? Yes?”  Everett: “Ya”  Atticus: “Ok, you have to get your shoes and socks on and we will go.”  Their mother, Lauren, said overhearing this was the best part of her day.
Lucas, age 4 (last WDW visit 11/2011 ~ at age 3 1/2)
  • What is your favorite ride? The cars (Tomorrowland Speedway)
  • What rides do you remember? Toy story mania. I remember the Haunted Mansion too.  And the magic carpets.
  • Who is your favorite character: Mickey.  Actually, I like Goofy!
  • Did you meet them? Yes
  • What did you do when you met them? I took a picture and I asked for a hug.
  • What did you say to them? Well I remember Dad said ‘Hot dog!’ to Mickey.
  • What’s your favorite park? Epcot!  I like the Haunted Mansion!  (that’s his mother’s favorite answer!)
  • What did you like about the restaurants? I liked the pizza.
  • Do you remember shopping? Yes. Well, I liked when I shopped for my Jedi Mickey! I like when I shopped for my big Mickey hands.
  • Was there anything you wanted to get that we didn’t get? I wish we bought all of the Star Wars potato heads that were there.
  • What do you like best about Disney World? I like when we see all the characters. I remember we’re going there on the airplane.
Janey, age 4 (last WDW visit 4/2012).
  • What is your Favorite ride? Probably all of them.
  • What rides do you remember?  Snow white, the Dumbo ride, the Dinosaur ride (Triceratops Spin), the Magic Carpet ride (which she actually last rode in Sept 2011, not in April), and the horsey ride too!  The one that goes up and down, and you use the handles (Prince Charming Regal Carrousel).  And they’re building an Ariel ride!
  • Who is your favorite Disney Character?  Rapunzel.
  • Did you meet her?  No.
  • What characters did you meet?  Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, Jasmine, and I watched the Ariel show (again, from the Sept trip – not April).
  • What do you say to the Characters?  I give the Characters hugs and give them a high five!
  • Which park is your favorite?  Probably Hollywood Studios and EPCOT… and Magic Kingdom too!
  • What about Animal Kingdom?  Uh, I do like animals, but I don’t like going to Animal Kingdom, but sometimes I do.
  • What did you like about the restaurants?  For dessert, I liked ice cream, and for lunch I liked Cheeseburgers.
  • Did you like shopping?  Yeah, for a Tinkerbell doll, but I lost something that goes with that.  That’s bad.
  • What else do you wish you could buy from Disney World?  I wish I had all the fairies (dolls).
  • Is there anything else you want to say about Disney World?  At Walt Disney World, I like bus rides!

The truth is, sure – several years from now, they may not remember much from their trip at all… And while it may be short-term memories they’ve made, reminders and pictures of their vacation can help build a long-term memory.  But the best part of taking your toddler or young children to Walt Disney World is the fact that YOU, the parent, will remember their reactions and have long-lasting memories.  So the next time someone scoffs at you for taking your toddler to Disney, just remember, Toddlers DO remember their vacations… and so do you!

Special Thanks to these parents for assisting me in interviewing their children:  Erin & Kevin C., Cheryl & Scott L., Jon & Lauren B. from Mouse and, Robin and Aaron B., and Terri & Matt M.

In addition to writing for Chip & Co., Terri also writes for her own blog Walt Disney World Hints.  Additional hints can be found on her facebook page WDW Hints!


  • Five Rides for Little Guys (and girls) at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (
  • Disney World Quick Tips – Best Rides and Attractions to Nurse or Bottle Feed your Little Ones (

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