Is my toddler or preschooler too young for Disney World?

Are my kids too young to visit Disney World?

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So are you wondering if your toddler or pre-schooler is too young to visit Disney World? My answer is….it depends.  If your family is anticipating on planning a one in a lifetime vacation to Disney once and you’ll probably never do it again, then you may want to wait until the child is a little older so that you can partake in more activities and ensure that the he or she will remember the entire experience.  However, if you know that the pixie dust is going to lure you back over the years, whether it be once more in your lifetime, or several times, then I think Disney World is a great place to vacation with a wee one, whether it be for a few days or a longer trip.

In February 2013, when my son was 2 years and 3 months old and I told my husband that I wanted to take him to Disney World for 4 days by myself, he laughed at me and told me “good luck”.  My friends and family questioned whether it was a good idea for me to travel with my toddler alone from our smallish town of London, Ontario to Orlando, Florida. I had travelled extensively during my childhood with my family and as a adult, including 3 previous trips to Disney World, so I guess I might feel more confident than other moms in making the trip.  Ultimately though, it boils down to you and how well you know your child.  My son was relatively well behaved for a toddler…..he had his bouts of the “terrible twos” but the tantrums did not occur often and I felt that I could get a handle on the situation if a meltdown occurred. The previous summer, we had taken him to a local fair as well as a trip to Canada’s Wonderland, which he loved, so I knew ahead of time that he would enjoy the rides and attractions at DW.  I doubt I would have made that first trip not knowing this information beforehand. My only real unknown was how he would do on the plane for the first time, but I decided to take the chance.  I think the Disney Gods knew I was coming because my toddler slept through the 2.5 hour flight from Detroit MI to Orlando BOTH WAYS!  The trip went great, so I went back again in May 2014 with my TWO sons (ages 3 and 2) along with grandma.  We had such a great time that I’m already planning another trip for September 2014 and this time my husband will be joining us for the first time and I am ecstatic! We recently became Disney Vacation Club members and plan on taking at least annual trips to Disney World and can’t wait to share our experiences on this blog over the years.

So if you’re still wondering if your toddler is too young for DW, here are the top 5 reasons why you should go to Disney World with your toddler …some reasons are for practical and economical factors, while others are more nostalgic:

1.  Your toddler’s park admission is FREE under the age of 3 (according to 2014 admission prices, this will save you $324 USD for a 7 day magic your way ticket ).

2. Your toddler’s flight ticket is FREE under the age of 2 since they’re travelling as a “lap” child (this is generally a savings of at least $450 CND if you’re flying out of Toronto, and likely a couple of hundred dollars more if you’re flying during high season or other parts of Canada).

3. Since your toddler is not in school yet, you can travel during off-peak or low-season times of the year, saving you hundreds of dollars on flight and accommodation costs (more on this to come in my planning section).

4. Your toddler can remember the trip!  My son loves looking back at our DW trip photos and videos that I took. We occasionally talk about that first trip we took when he was 2 years old  (usually as a bedtime story) and I find this helps for the memories to remain fresh in his mind.  When we returned back to DW this past May (he is now 3.5 years old) he remembered many of the attractions and scenery that we had originally saw and was excited to be experiencing it again and showing grandma “the ropes” around DW as it was her first time there. Even if he or she doesn’t remember the trip, you will have some amazing pictures to look back on for years to come.

5. There is so much for your family to do at DW with a toddler.  You can easily spend at least two days alone at just Magic Kingdom with your toddler and still not be able to see everything in that one park.  If you were only taking a short trip and only had time to visit one park with your toddler, this is a no brainer….go to Magic Kingdom! I will be writing more on this on a future post.

6. DW and hotels outside of DW make it so easy and convenient for you to travel with your toddler. From baby stations at DW, stroller rentals (even stroller delivery to your hotel from third party companies), freedom to bring in your own food and drink into the park and free cribs for your hotel, it’s never been easier or more convenient to travel to DW with your toddler.

7. Disney’s Rider Switch Service allows the adults to take turns to enjoy “bigger” rides while the other adult waits outside and can do other things with the child.

8. Fastpass + now allows you to reserve passes to get onto the most popular rides faster (which is great for avoiding meltdowns during long wait times).

If you have any other great reasons why you think it is a great idea to take a toddler to DW, let me know and I’ll be happy to add it to this list.

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