I have to admit this title may be misleading and I apologize for those who came here hoping to find an exact age. I could have spent hours working on an Excel document with average heights at each age to determine how many rides kids could go on, assessing how often kids get scared of characters through the years, and figuring out the weight of snacks, diapers, and extra pairs of clothes that parents have to carry for children at each age. But, I would have ended up exactly where I am now.
One of my pet peeves is when parents say “We are heading to Disney this year because Sam and Sally are the PERFECT age to go to Disney.” Really? It takes every inch of pixie dust in me to smile politely back and say “Oh yes, I am sure they will especially enjoy it this year.”
It is sort of like saying “I am giving my child ice cream this year because they are the perfect age to have it.” Almost everyone I know (children and adults included) enjoys ice cream. When kids are little, they might not be able to finish a small cup of ice cream or might make a mess of the cone. When they become a little older, they might eat too much ice cream and then get a stomach ache. When they grow to a pre-teen or teenager, they will aim to finish the largest sundae possible. And then when they are an adult, they might eat ice cream a little slower than a teenager, but will still enjoy it immensely.
Bringing it back to Disney, if you bring a baby to Disney, they will make a mess at meals and will spit up probably and need a diaper change or four. But they will still smile while meeting the characters and going on rides. Yes, they might sleep or cry but they will do all of this at home as well. An elementary school child might think they can go on all of the big rides and go non-stop but will eventually end up napping in the stroller as well. But they will love getting to go on roller coasters and seeing the fireworks at night…Just like ice cream, everyone loves Disney (and if they don’t please don’t send them to my blog, haha).
The biggest concern I hear parents say is that “Susie won’t remember a Disney trip until she turns # years old.” Okay, this is a (somewhat) valid point. Susie might not remember the Disney trip. However, you can take photos and videos so that she can look back and see what the trip was like when she was a year old. And you’re going to have fun watching her expression as she meets characters and goes on “It’s a Small World” for the first time. You won’t be able to rewind time once Susie is a rebellious teenager and no longer wants to meet all of the characters. I am a little biased since I don’t have kids of my own and I also took my first Disney trip when I was 6 months old. I might not remember the trip I took when I was 6 months old but I feel connected to Disney and to Winnie the Pooh and some of the restaurants we often eat at because those experiences from a young age have never left me and are somewhere in my mind.
I realize taking babies and young children on any vacation (but especially Walt Disney World) is no easy task. I also realize a Disney vacation costs a lot of money, so I want to point out how I am not referring to when vacationers save up for a Disney trip and choose when to go based on when it makes the most sense financially. If you can’t take the family until the children are adults, they will still LOVE it (and might have fun drinking around the world instead of forcing you to go on Peter Pan’s Flight). I simply wanted to address those who believe that there is a magical mathematical formula for picking a time in their child’s life to go. In other words, the perfect time to go to Walt Disney World is whenever you are able to go, whether that is once every 20 years or once every weekend as a Florida resident.