A question I get asked frequently by friends and family is, “what age is the best to bring my child to Disney World”. There is no easy answer to this question, there are a lot of things to think about. For example, is it going to be a once in a lifetime trip or the first of many. Personally, I think if it is a once in a lifetime trip the best age to have your child go is about seven years old. Here is why, they are tall enough to enjoy all the attractions but they are still young enough to enjoy some of rides geared to younger kids. Also at this age, it makes a little more financial sense for you since at age 10 your kids order off the adult menu. This isn’t a big deal for any of the counter service meals, but at the sit down meals this could get expensive for a lot of wasted food. For example, my oldest daughter will be 10 the next time we plan to eat at Cinderella’s Royal Table and she doesn’t eat a whole lot. I would have her order off the kids meals anywhere else we go, but since Cinderella’s Royal Table is a buffet for breakfast and a prefixed meal for lunch and dinner that is prepaid, this would be difficult. The price is $54 for an adult and $35 for a child 3-9 years old for breakfast, lunch is $58 adult, $36 child and dinner is $67 adult and $41 for a child, there is also an 18% gratuity included in each meal. As far as the resort’s go, if your child is 18 or older, there is a charge for having more than two adults in the room, this does not apply to DVC members. If you have multiple children at different ages, go when the average age of your children is about seven. One of the major plusses to taking your children when they are a little older is they will have a little more stamina to stay at the parks longer and later in the evening for the night time shows. There also isn’t a need for a stroller and you can pack less.
If this trip will be the first of many, I say bring them as early as you want. We have four children and one of our children started going at six months old, another at seven months. If your children are very young, take advantage of the Baby Care Center, (see Baby Care Center post for more information). There are also advantages to bringing your child before the age of three. With regards to the aforementioned Cinderella’s Royal Table, your child under three eats free and gets the same royal treatment and surprises. On the flip side to this, I have heard people say or ask, why take your children that early they will never remember anyway. To this I respond, you will have great memories, nothing is as magical as watching your child’s face the first time they ride Dumbo, or meet their favorite character. There is also something special at each new “Disney milestone”, like getting to be 36″ tall to ride the Barnstormer or the Seven Dwarves Mine Cart. Then 38″ for Kali River Rapids and at 40″ it opens up a whole new plethora of thrill rides. There are also different dining experiences to have as your kids get older too. My family and I enjoy touring World Showcase in Epcot trying more exotic foods whether it be a sit down meal, quick service meal or a snack from a cart. If this is the first of many trips for your child, you don’t have to rush to do everything each trip. Slow down, enjoy the parks with them, let them run wild at the many in-park play grounds and don’t skip out on the chance for them to explore Tom Sawyer’s Island at the Magic Kingdom or the Boneyard at Animal Kingdom.
Whenever you decide to go, make it a positive, memorable experience for your whole family. This can be one of the greatest trips you will ever take, or it could be the worst if you don’t plan. Your children will only be this age for a short time, make every moment count. Please leave a comment here or on Twitter, @disneyhelp.