What Is The Perfect Age To Take My Kids To Walt Disney World?

People ask me all the time, “What is the perfect age to take our kids to Walt Disney World?”

I get it. You want to know the best age to take your children to Walt Disney World because you don’t want to miss that perfect window of opportunity or waste money on a vacation they may not remember.

Years ago when the boys were 10 months, 20 months and our daughter was 11. Fanny packs and all. (Oh, she’s going to kill me for posting this!)

My kids have been at all ages. When they were infants. Toddlers. School age. And now, with our oldest, young adult. It’s hard to pick a perfect age. It all depends on your means, motivation and method. Taking that all into consideration, I will often say……..

“Age six.”

Six is perfect. She still loves princesses and not afraid to meet one. He can join in the swashbuckling fun of playing pirate with Captain Jack Sparrow. They can ride Toy Story Mania and Haunted Mansion for the perfect kid-sized scare.

But wait. If your six-year-old isn’t 44 inches high yet, she can’t ride Space Mountain.

So then, I say, “Ten.”

He can ride Space Mountain. She’ll probably sit still for and love Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage. Hmmmm. But at 10, he’s not as interested in meeting characters anymore. And she’ll get bored with Hall of Presidents or Illuminations or the countries of World Showcase.

Helping us finish off The Kitchen Sink at about age 10.
Helping us finish off The Kitchen Sink at about age 10.

So, then, I say, “Whatever age your kids are right now.”

Many of us do not have the luxury of planning our vacations around just one child. If you have a 3 and a 7 year old, do you wait until the 3 year old is 6? But wait. With a 6 and 10 year old, you have to consider little brother who just turned 2. Does the 10 year old have to be 14 before he first goes to Disney? (Stamping foot, stomping off to room and slamming door. Ahhh, the teenage years.)

Big sister teaches little brothers the ropes at the Animal Kingdom arcade. (Ages 10, 19, and 11)

Any age is the perfect age. Disney planned it that way.

There are rides for the tiniest guests; Dumbo, It’s A Small World, Living With The Land, and Muppets 3-D. There are character meals galore. And character meet and greets. And parades.

There are rides for the mid-aged, kid-sized guests; Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Expedition Everest! There are characters and games and fireworks displays. And swimming and fishing and horseback riding.

There are rides for teens; Mission Space, Test Track, Rockin’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. There are interactive gaming areas like Disney Quest. Fantastic resort pools. And for my favorite teen, my daughter, shopping. Lots and lots of shopping.

Meeting Cinderella with the reservations we made (that are absolutely necessary!) at Cinderella's Royal Table
Meeting Cinderella, one of her favorite princesses, as a teen.

And then, of course, there’s every age in between. But if you’re still undecided, here is a complete Pro & Con break-down for infants, toddlers, elementary, pre-teens and teens.

If you can afford to go, GO. Whether your children are 3 or 8 or 14 or 19, you will create memories to cherish. I will never forget our sweet, little, 3-year-old boy. He loved Donald Duck. He waited patiently in line to meet him. And when it was his turn, he ran up to Donald. He hugged him and clutched him like he would never let go. His eyes were welling a bit with tears, but a huge grin was on his face.  And he said, “Oh, Donald! I waited so long for this. I want you to know, I love you soooooo much!”

Even Donald’s handler had tears in her eyes.

He is now almost 14 and he says he still remembers that moment. Maybe what he is remembering is our re-telling of the story.

But it doesn’t matter.

What matters is the time we spent together. The pictures we took.

The memories we created.

And most of all, the stories to share years later.

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