Traveling to Disney: How Young is too Young?

Walt Disney World Resort

It is a question that is being asked quite a bit across the Internet, in forums, blog sites, even on the Walt Disney World Mom’s Panel.  How young is to young to take your child to Disney World?

The answer to this question isn’t the same for everyone.  For us, when we had our daughter, she was born seven weeks early, and weighed four pounds, two ounces.  We decided early on that her first trip to Disney would be when she was older, and had “caught up” with the rest of the kids her age.  As a result, Sophie was four when we went to Disney for the first time with her.

However, we have seen families with newborns at the Magic Kingdom, and if you are considering a trip to Disney with your young family, there is great news for you!  Disney has considered all sorts of the possibilities for young families, and is very accommodating towards younger family members.  Here are some of the tips that you should know if you are planning that trip:

  • At each of the theme parks there is a Baby Care Center, which is for families to take care of such things as diaper changes, nursing mothers, and other needs.  The nice thing is that there is are rooms for Moms and their babies, and a room for Dads and their other kids to wait comfortably.
  • Another thing that is really nice to keep in mind is that Disney will supply a Pack ‘n’ Play in your room for children under age three, so if you have a family of five and one is a younger child, there is a place for them to sleep that doesn’t include between Mom and Dad.
  • A very important consideration to keep in mind is that all of you, but especially you and your baby, need to stay hydrated.  Make sure that you have plenty of fluids for all of you to drink, especially during hot days.
  • When you have a baby, it’s important to keep in mind that the pace that you will visit the parks will vary significantly to the pace you set when you are all older.  Remember that your visit with a baby should be much more relaxed, both for your sake and your baby’s!
  • One thing that Disney does to help new families enjoy the attractions is to have the rider swap capability.  This program, which is available at select attractions, allows one of you to wait in line while the other waits with your child, and when they get off the ride, they can approach a cast member for a fast pass that the other parent can use to go right to the front of the line to enjoy the attraction.
  • Another thing to keep in mind is that all children under the age of three are admitted free to the parks, so if you are interested in taking a vacation with your family, you won’t have any costs for the vacation related to your baby!
  • Make sure you pack extra clothes and diapers, and be sure to take frequent breaks so that you all stay refreshed.

Whether or not to take a young child to Disney World is a decision that is different for every family.  However, if you have considered it and have made the decision to make that trip, there are a wealth of resources available to you to help you plan that trip.  One of the best that I have found is a book written by Lisa Battista, Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World With Preschoolers.  This book has a wealth of information for parents with young children, so consider taking a look at it if you are planning that trip.

As always, remember that the point of your Disney World Vacation is to have a good time, so take time to plan the things that are most important for your family – regardless of their age – and that will make your vacation that much more special.

Mike is a writer for Chip & Company, and a Disney fan.  His current obsession is planning his upcoming family vacation to Disney World in June!  When he isn’t writing for C&C, you can also read him on his personal blog My Dreams of Disney.  You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.


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9 thoughts on “Traveling to Disney: How Young is too Young?

  1. We took my son at 18 months for his first trip! We had an awesome time. He enjoyed seeing all of the characters, rode all the rides he was able to, and we went to character breakfasts. He did so well. And although he may not remember that trip my husband and I will and he reacted to things differently then he would had he been a couple years older. We’re hoping to go back this summer!

  2. The youngest child we’ve taken with us was 14 months, and we had an excellent time! He could ride almost everything I could ride. To make our lives easier in line, I wore him in a hip carry using my ring sling (many available, just google “ring sling” to see what I’m talking about) and we could go from standing in line to boarding the ride with very little adjustment. I used the baby care centers for mealtime nursing, but if he was just a little fussy (he cut 4 teeth on that trip) it was never hard to find a secluded area where we could discreetly nurse on demand.

    I’m expecting again and (if all goes well and we have a healthy baby) we’re planning on taking him/her as early as 6 months of age. We’re DVC members so we don’t feel that crunch of having to see and do everything each time we go anymore. It’s a refreshing way to experience WDW, for sure!

  3. We have taken our children at all ages, though 10 months is the youngest. But you are so right, the age you bring your child is based completely on what you feel is right for your family. It is also is dependent on how often you visit. If you plan your trip as a once and a lifetime trip (though I think most of us know how that goes, you definitely go back-who can go just once? :-)), you would want your child to be old enough to remember it. For us, we go often enough that even though my children may not remember certain magical moments, my husband and I do!

  4. We took our son on his first trip when he was only 7 weeks old. (We took him back again 6 months later) Besides the difficulties of having a newborn, Disney makes it really easy to have a baby. We took turns on the different attractions, and even took him on a few, like It’s a Small World. We had a blast. It was nice to take the parks at a slower pace for a change.

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