Six Things To Consider Before Bringing A Young Child To The Disney Parks

One of the great debates about Disney has to do with the perfect age for a first visit. How young is too young, and when is a child old enough? There is no right or wrong answer to this question, and you’re the only one who knows what is best for your child. Here are six things to consider before traveling with a little one to Walt Disney World. If you have any suggestions that will help other parents of young children, feel free to leave them in the comments below.


6) Schedule

Some small children can go with the flow, so to speak. They don’t have a set schedule that they need to stick to without the world falling apart. Others need things to be the same every day. They wake up at the same time each morning, get hungry at a set time, take a nap near the same time each afternoon, and like to be asleep in the crib as the sun sets nightly. Will your child be able to handle several long days of a different schedule? If your young child thrives on a set routine, you might want to hold off on the Disney trip. If he or she doesn’t need for things to always be the same, maybe this is a good time to look into it.

5) Type of Travel

How do you plan to get to Orlando? Flying is hard on some children because the change of air pressure hurts their ears. Those children will usually cry the entire flight. Driving might be easier because you can then set your own schedule. If you drive, you can also pack more things for the trip instead of having to buy them once you arrive. Of course driving is not always practical. If you plan to fly, talk to your pediatrician and ask for advice on making the trip tolerable for your child.

4) Stroller Rental

If you’ve decided to head to Florida with your little one, you’ll need to decide just how much to bring with you. It’s too easy to over pack. Instead of checking your stroller (and paying a baggage fee), consider renting one instead. There are many companies in Central Florida such as Kingdom Strollers that will deliver strollers and cribs right to your hotel. It will cost less than renting a stroller in the parks, and your child will ride in comfort. You also won’t have to worry about your stroller getting damaged in the luggage compartment of the plane. Even if you’re driving it makes sense to rent a stroller, it’s one less item that you will have to find room for in the trunk.

3) Characters

Toddlers and characters can be a dangerous combination. The parents hope for a perfect first picture with Mickey, while the child instead is scared and starts to cry. One way to avert this disaster is to book a character meal for early in your vacation. The atmosphere at a meal is much more relaxed, and your child will be able to meet Mickey on a full stomach. Once a child realizes that the characters aren’t scary, he or she might even be willing to wait in the lines for more pictures and hugs. Remember, dining reservations can be made 180 days in advance, and some of the more popular restaurants will fill up that quickly. Even if you’re not sure whether or not you want to head to Florida, make a character meal reservation. Cancel it if you’re not going to use it, or else your credit card will be charged.

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2) Illnesses

Walt Disney World is a germ-filled place. People come daily from all over the world, and bring their germs with them. Most guests will not cancel a vacation for a cold or even a mild case of the flu. Make sure that your child is up on his or her vaccinations before leaving home, the recent measles outbreak at Disneyland is a good reminder of how important this is. If you decide to travel to Florida with your young child, wash hands often and use hand sanitizer. You don’t want your child to bring home an unwanted souvenir.

1) Time of Year

One of the most important things to consider before heading to Disney with a young child is the time of year that you plan to travel. Summers in Florida are hot and humid, which makes most children (and some adults) miserable. It also rains briefly most days during the summer. Winters can get cold, which is something that many parents don’t realize when they pack for their trips. If you have no school aged children in your family, consider taking advantage of the lighter crowds and better weather in the late fall, or maybe look into early spring. No matter what time of year you choose, check the forecast right before your trip and pack appropriately. Don’t assume that The Sunshine State is always warm and sunny, because it isn’t.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.