Deciding when to take your children to Walt Disney World can be difficult. Children ages two and under are able to get into the parks free of charge, but sadly, they may be too young to remember the experience.  Older kids, from ages ten and up, will no doubt remember their Disney World vacation, but they’ll also be expected to pay adult prices for park admission.

Therefore, in this article, I’ll discuss why I think a very specific age range of children (ages five to seven) is the most ideal when it comes to bringing them to Disney World and everyone in your party having an enjoyable vacation.  In fact, here are some of the key things to keep in mind when it comes to determining if your child would be a good match for Disney World:

  • Costs
  • Height
  • Disney Magic
  • Maturity
  • Memories

Costs

As mentioned before, the cost can be a major contributing factor to help determine when you take the kids to Walt Disney World. Kids who are two and under get in free, while children three to nine cost 109.00 for a value ticket at Magic Kingdom compared to 115.00 for the same ticket for someone ten and up. 

And, inevitably, these prices will likely increase over time.

However, as your child gets older, park tickets are not the only thing that will cost more. Room rates change based on age along with the costs for things like the dining plan.

Height

Walt Disney World height requirements must be taken into consideration when planning a trip. On average, five to seven-year-olds can ride a majority of the rides with a few exceptions.

Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster has a height requirement of 48 inches. Therefore, a very young child might not be able to even board this ride until he or she turns roughly eight years old.

By contrast, Mount Everest and Space Mountain are both 44 inches, and Big Thunder Mountain is 40 inches.

This is, of course, Disney World, so most of the rides are indeed geared towards kids that four and five year olds can enjoy.  But, as a parent, if you know that you’ll enjoy going on Space Mountain, but you’re kid is not tall enough to ride the attraction, that’s going to be disappointing for both you and your son or daughter.  So keep that in mind when planning your trip.

Disney Magic

A child’s innocence is one thing that makes Disney so magical. With innocent eyes, they see the world without a cynical view. Their favorite characters come to life as they explore Walt Disney World. Theming, music, and smells all stimulate the child’s senses and enhance the feeling of magic and the child’s imagination. 

Children between the ages of five to seven seem to get more magic out of the experiences of Disney. At this age, the characters seem real, and the children become excited to meet their favorite characters and enjoy interacting with the characters. 

Around this age, thrill rides can be quite intimidating. Walt Disney World has a variety of attractions and many geared towards those less into thrill-seeking. Children who are nervous about thrill rides can enjoy attractions like Winnie the Pooh, which is a car ride through scenes with a little movement.

Another enhancement to the Walt Disney World experience is the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and The Pirates League, which allows your child to transform into their favorite Disney princess or become a pirate or mermaid. These types of activities cost extra, and while they can be fun for all ages, they are ideal for ages 

Maturity

Disney is known for long lines and lots of walking. An age group of five to seven has started to mature and therefore will do better with waiting in long lines. This age group will also do better when their schedule is not consistent with their normal daily schedule. Children this age can follow directions and stay with the group.

Walt Disney World has updated many attractions to include interactive queues to entertain children during long waits. These games are great distractions for the five to seven age group. For example, Winnie the Pooh has a bee-catching game, vegetable instruments to bang, and a hunny wall. 

Children this age are more interactive with strangers. Interaction is a key part of the magic. Children this age will enjoy participating in attractions like Enchanted Tales with Belle. Kids can choose to be part of the story by acting as characters such as Maurice or the Beast. Some queues use human interaction as a distraction. For example, the queue for Phineas and Ferb meet-and-greet included music and dancing with cast members. 

Most children between the ages of five to seven are already potty-trained which makes it easier while on vacation at Walt Disney World. Nothing is worse than undermining your potty-training by going to a park that requires long lines for attractions and bathrooms. I have been caught in line with a four-year-old who has to go now. I have been caught in lines for the bathroom where my three-year-old could no longer hold it. Though these situations can occur with older children, in my experience, it does not happen as often. 

Memories

The main reason that this age group is the best is because of the memories you will create together. As a five-year-old, your child will be able to recall certain details from your vacation at Walt Disney World, and your seven-year-old will be able to brag in detail to their friends at school.

There are benefits to taking children of a different age group. Children two and under are free. Because Walt Disney World is a kid-friendly environment, there are several attractions that allow this age group to participate. For example, Pirates of the Caribbean at Magic Kingdom is a sit-down boat ride, and Turtle Talk with Crush is an interactive show that captivates little ones’ attention. 

To allow adults to enjoy their vacation with little children, Walt Disney World offers child care services at the resorts for an additional charge. The in-room child care starts around $18 for the first child and is an additional per a child for multiple children. There are different activity centers that allow the child to have supervised care while other members of the party enjoy other activities. These activities centers are located at the Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resorts, and Walt Disney World’s Dolphin Hotel. The price ranges from $15 an hour with a minimum of two hours to a flat rate of $55. Children are required to be between 3-12 and fully potty trained. Early reservations are highly encouraged. 

The parks, also, participate in a child-swap program (officially called the Rider Switch Program). This is where one person from the party stays behind while the others go through the attraction, then the individual uses a special ticket to ride the attraction with two additional people through the FastPass+ line.

Walt Disney World also has Baby Care Centers inside each of the parks. The center offers quiet settings for feeding. There are highchairs, microwaves, ovens and sinks. Also located in the center is a small shopping area for formula, food, diapers, and other baby paraphernalia along with changing tables and unisex bathrooms. 

Though some younger children are free, there are still costs associated with taking them to Walt Disney World. Before deciding to bring your younger child, you must compare the cost to the memories and experience your child will have and remember. 

Older children can also enjoy Walt Disney World. There are thrill rides such as Tower of Terror and Space Mountain to get the adrenal pumping. There is shopping at each park, in the hotels, and at Disney Springs where anyone of any age is sure to find something. There are all kinds of wonderful delights and great entertainment from fun laughs and great food at Whispering Canyon inside Fort Wilderness Lodge to Dole Whips at Magic Kingdom. 

The water parks are another fun filled adventure for older children. There is an additional cost to add the water park option to a ticket. Older kids can catch waves in the Surf Pool at Typhoon Lagoon or slide down the gut thrilling Humunga Kowabunga. If one water park is not enough for your older kids, then you can hop over to Blizzard Beach and enjoy one of their many water slides such as the Summit Plummet.

Depending on the age and maturity of the children, some age groups can be allowed to separate from the group and enjoy activities on their own allowing parents to enjoy adult activities while on vacation. Older children can stay behind depending on their age and maturity while the parents and adults enjoy adult activities such as Jellyrolls at Disney’s BoardWalk or Paradiso 37 Entertainment at Disney Springs. 

Each age group holds the opportunity for a different experience at Walt Disney World. When determining the perfect age for your vacation, think about the costs, maturity, height and planned activities. Walt Disney World offers something for all ages. The most important thing to remember is that no matter what age you decide to take your family, remember to enjoy the family time and memories you create together.

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