What I Wish I Had Known on Our First Visit to Disney

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What I Wish I Had Known on Our First Visit to Disney










Traveling to Disney with young children can be exhilarating and exhausting at the same time.  When we traveled to Disney for the first time, our twins were four years old.  We were ALL super excited about them seeing their favorite characters in “real life”.  I had high hopes of them loving Disney on the “real” level…runnign to Mickey for a hug, giggling hysterically during It’s a Bug’s Life, and begging of ran other time on Peter Pan’s Flight.  Well, not so much.  While our trip was fabulous, there are a few things I wish I would’ve considered before going.

1.  A lot of Disney attractions are in the dark.  Yes, we all know that’s true.  Even a slow ride like Peter Pan’s Flight or It’s a Small World can bring on anxiety in young kids.  Perhaps a spin on Dumbo, Aladdin’s Carpets, or a ride on the Jungle Cruise would be an easier way to “break in” a child’s first visit to the Magic Kingdom.

Festival of the Lion King

2.  Disney is loud.  Since all guests at Disney are part of  a “show”, everything is over the top…including the volume.  I love sitting along Main Street during the Celebrate a Dream Come True afternoon parade or Wishes.  But viewing Wishes from outside the park could be less intimidating, and quieter than right there in front of the castle.  Taking a seat toward the back of the auditorium of The Voyage of the Little Mermaid or The Festival of the Lion King may be a better bet than sitting RIGHT in the front.   I want my little ones to see and experience Disney and all its magic.  But, I don’t want them to be startled by not only a HUGE Ursula on stage, but loud music as well.

3.  3D means right in front of you.  Combining the 3D effects, crawly bugs, and loud volume of It’s Tough to be a Bug can leave you scrambling for the door with a stressed out child.  Even to this day, my oldest will not wear his 3D glasses for Mickey’s Philharmagic.  We don’t skip Mickey’s Philharmagic, but I don’t make a big deal out of him just holding them and enjoying the show without them.

What I Wish I Had Known on Our First Visit to Disney

Starting your day at the parks with open rides, a few select character meet and greets, and a relaxed pace can make the whole vacation pleasant for everyone traveling.  Every child is different, but even though your kids giggle at Stitch’s antics on the movies or TV, doesn’t mean they’ll be thrilled with his running across their shoulders and screeching during Stitch’s Great Escape.

Have  you had an experience on a “scary” ride at Disney?  What freaked your child (or you) out to the point that you may not ride it again?


Magically Yours.


  • Five Rides for Little Guys (and girls) @ Magic Kingdom (chipandco.com)
  • Using Disney Calendars to Plan Your Park Visits (chipandco.com)
What I Wish I Had Known on Our First Visit to Disney


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6 thoughts on “What I Wish I Had Known on Our First Visit to Disney

  1. I took a first timer friend a couple of years ago, she is in her 40’s. Her comment when we were on our way home was she thought it was great except too many of the shows/rides ‘spit’ on her. She should be glad I made her wear a rain poncho on Kali River Rapids!

  2. The first time we visited the Haunted Mansion, I rode with my then 6-year old daughter. At the end of the ride, when a ghost follows you home, I leaned over and pretended to kiss the ghost. She was mortified that I would even think of kissing anyone other than her father and didn’t want to ride the ride ever again! Thankfully, she got over it!

  3. My son, who had been pretty sensitive to darkness and loud noises before our trip, did great everywhere except Mickey’s Philharmagic. He wouldn’t take his glasses off, which might have helped. His younger sister kept hers off and enjoyed the show. He made it through the whole thing but never wanted to go back.

  4. the first time i ever went on splash mountain, it was at disneyland and i was maybe around 6. i must not have realized the big drop because i refused to go on it again for several years at either park but i got over it eventually. now it’s a must do at least twice

  5. We just got back from Hollywood studios and my daughter was totally freaked out by Ursula and she’s 7. We did sit near the back to the left so i knew we wouldn’t be closer to her, plus you get to see the effects on the ceiling more that way. But dark rides are something all little ones are unsure of. Plus anything loud bothers her. Good advice to take it easy.

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