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People are always asking me when the best age is to take your children on a Disney vacation. Others say, “I’m not taking my kids till they can walk on their own, “or “If they are too little they won’t remember anything.”

I have many friends who waited and took their kids as teens to Disneyland® Resort for the first time and once they got there they immediately wished they would have gone sooner. They loved it of course but realized they couldn’t go back and capture the excitement that might have been.

“I can only imagine how awesome this would have been as a little kid,” and “I wish we had come here a long time ago when we were small,” said two different boys in their late teens after realizing they had missed out on the window of childhood fantasy and make-believe.

My first thought is always…please don’t miss out on the magic, if you wait till they are old enough to walk on their own…you will miss those first precious “Disney moments,” that only happen once! The excitement, the magic and the wonder of it all are those truly priceless moments that you will remember for the rest of your life. The photos in your scrapbook are your keepsake; the memories and the excitement of meeting Mickey or Pooh or a favorite princess are something that can be magical. These experiences are part of what keeps families coming back year after year.

My daughter was two and a half when we took her first trip to Disneyland® Resort and she was over the moon to meet Pooh and Mickey and the Disney Princesses. Seeing the magic through the eyes of your child is something no parent should miss. Our cherished photos will always tell a story of a magical time of our family spending time together, laughing having fun and leaving the real world behind for just a little while.

My son was three when we spent his third birthday at Walt Disney World® Resort. Planning, talking about what to expect and who we were going to meet was part of the fun! He was going to meet Woody & Buzz on his birthday and the anticipation of an almost three-year-old is not the same if you are ten or fifteen.

Our celebration started with breakfast with Pooh and his friends. We rode the Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin® Attraction for the first time as part of the celebration and headed over to the Disney’s Hollywood Studios® to meet his heroes! Let me tell you this…I have never seen a child so excited. We were in the line as they came out and he was squirming in my arms and shaking with anticipation! He started waving and squealing, “Woody! Buzz!” hoping to get them to look his way! It melted my heart and made us all glad we were spending this birthday at the Happiest Place on Earth because in that moment it was magic! And when he met them…priceless! The photo says it all and it will forever be one of my all-time favorite moments. We also met Mickey that day, had naps in strollers and shut the park down with the fireworks show! A perfect ‘Disney Day” filled with so many “Disney Moments,” on a third birthday we will never forget.

Here are some things to think about if you are “on the fence” as to when the best time to take a Disney vacation might be:

Only you know what your children are capable of and if they can handle the crowds, the possible heat and riding in a stroller all day. Most children do great and love riding in a stroller & having a comfortable place to nap if they get tired.

Using the “Child Swap” during little ones nap time works great if you have other kids who are still willing to go ride attractions. Mom can wait with the baby in the stroller at the exit while dad takes the other kids on the ride and then mom can “swap” and take her turn while dad babysits. The bonus for the kids is that they can ride twice in a row with both parents! Disney really does make it so easy for families to enjoy their time in the parks.

Every park has a “Baby Care Center,” where they have supplies you can purchase such as diapers, formula, and basic baby needs. This place can be a life-saver if you run out of diapers or need something that you forgot to pack as they think of everything. These centers offer changing tables and a cheery quiet facility for nursing mothers to relax and feed their babies.

Walt Disney World® Resort is the size of the city of San Francisco so families walk miles in a day and even adults get tired out. So expecting a six-year-old to walk and not ride in a stroller is going to be almost impossible. Luckily you can bring your own strollers with you, rent them in the parks or use our recommended travel partner: Baby Wheels Orlando. They will deliver and pick up from your hotel on and off Disney property and offer a 10% discount to our clients.

Part of the fun and convenience of staying at a Disney resort property is that you can go back to your hotel and enjoy many of the amazing dining options, nap, relax and have a little pool time in-between park time or after a long day.

Do they know the Disney Characters? Will they be over the moon to see their animated friends come to life? Let’s face it, some kids might be a little intimidated and some will want nothing to do with a larger than life Mickey, but millions of children live for meeting that favorite princess or character. Again knowing your children and preparing them for what they will see in advance can make a huge difference in how they will react.

Keep in mind; babies and infants under the age of two are free and do not need a park ticket. Children ages 3 to 9 are considered a “child” for ticket pricing and after the age of 9 years old they will need an “adult” ticket. So traveling with small children can be a little lighter on the budget as far as ticketing. Another bonus is that children’s meals are offered all over the parks and resorts. One of the best-kept secrets is that many adults order an occasional kid’s meal at the many quick-service establishments.

Planning a Disneyland® Resort or Walt Disney World® Resort vacation is so easy with the help and expertise of our team of travel agents here at Dreamers Do Travels. Many of us are former cast members who participated in the Disney College Program. So we “know Disney.” Many of us have children and have traveled with them to the parks over and over again. There truly is something for every age and every stage of a child’s life and because Disney is always changing and growing and adding new attractions and resorts no trip is ever the same.

Disney makes planning your dream vacation affordable with special offers year-round, free dining during select times of the year and even an easy inexpensive initial deposit. Making payments is easy and our knowledgeable Disney travel experts can answer all your questions at every stage of travel planning.

My kids have grown-up with the magic of Disney and every single one of our Disney vacations hold memories that will last forever. Nothing can compare to that look of total wonder and amazement the minute they see that castle or spot Minnie or Mickey waving from that parade float.

So take it from me, a former Disney cast member, travel agent, writer mom and lover of all things Disney… don’t miss out on the magic. Now is the time while they are young and they still believe in fairy tales and magic.

Planning that vacation is as easy as a click of the “mouse.”

Melinda Thompson

Personal Travel Planner

Dreamers Do Travels, Inc.

melindat@dreamersdotravels.com

503-816-9973