Since I started selling Disney travel and getting really involved in learning about the parks and everything Disney World has to offer, one of the things I hear repeatedly from potential visitors is:
“We’re going to wait until our little one is 6 or 7 so they can enjoy and remember the trip.”
To that, I say hogwash! (Well, I usually something slightly not G-rated, but you get the point)
I encourage all new parents to bring their babies (disclaimer: by babies, I’m talking 7-8 months or older) to Disney World as early and as often as possible, for one HUGE reason. They are free.
Yes, that’s the cheap side of me coming out, but it’s true. Kids under the age of 3 are admitted to Disney World for free. Might not seem like a big incentive, but wait until they turn 3 and your vacation cost jumps $500 to $1000 in price and then you’ll wish you had taken them when they were 2. Or better yet, wait until they celebrate their 10th birthday and Disney considers them an adult. LOL
For all three of our kids, we took advantage of this perk and got them a couple of trips while they were still in diapers and strollers.
So, what are the big cons I keep hearing about bringing a baby to Disney World?
Well, number one is always “They won’t remember it.”
OK, they won’t remember their first four or five birthday parties either, but you still have them, right? And if you’re like us, those first two birthday parties are extravagant affairs. For our oldest son’s birthday, we did a circus theme and spent thousands of dollars on party rentals. You think he remembers that party? Nope, he couldn’t begin to describe it.
But, like his first Disney trip, he can see the pictures and know that he was there. Funny thing is my oldest remembers more about his first Disney trip (mostly from picture recollection more than anything) than a lot of previous events in his life.
So, forget about the not remembering thing. They won’t remember. But you will. And the pictures will remember.
The next one I hear is, there’s nothing for them to do or see. It’s all for older kids.
That couldn’t be more wrong.
Disney World is sensory overload central. I truly believe that an infant appreciates it so much more than an adult because it’s colorful and festive and vibrant, all things us adults take for granted.
They ride It’s A Small World and see it through a different set of lenses. Their eyes light up at the sight of Mickey Mouse, much more so than a 13-year old. They enjoy the sights and sounds and smells.
They enjoy the parades and the shows. And there are plenty of rides where they can sit on your lap or by your side.
The last big reason I hear is “They’re just going to be fussy in lines and I’ll get aggravated.”
Hey, I’m not going to argue that one. My 13-year old is fussy in lines and aggravates me. But I can’t put my 13-year-old in a stroller and have him take a nap while we tour World Showcase.
All kids are fussy in lines. The key is knowing how to handle that and keep it fun. We like to play games in line. We like to study the details of the queue (nobody pays attention to detail like Disney). Sometimes we snack while in line. Whatever we do, we try to keep busy and not think about the fact that we’ve waited 20 minutes and got another 20 minutes to go.
Also, keep in mind that Disney parks have baby care centers, where you can retreat during the day to put them down for a quick nap, feed them (especially if they’re nursing) or just let them sit quietly and watch TV for a bit.
So, that’s my argument for bringing your infant or toddler to Disney. We’ve done it several times and yes, it does present challenges, but so does going to the mall or eating out with infants and toddlers. You don’t stop doing those things, do you?
So why deprive your child of an unforgettable experience that will last a lifetime?