It seems as though when you have children, there is always the lingering question; what is the right age for their first Disney trip?
There are many different opinions on the matter, but no particular right answer. The appropriate age really depends on what’s right for your family individually.
For instance, if you are not a huge Disney fan as an adult and will make a Disney trip a very rare occurrence, I would suggest to wait until your child is old enough to remember the experience. However, on the opposite end of the spectrum, if you are a HUGE Disney fan and always have been(like myself), I feel like there is always a right time to go to the Disney parks with your children no matter their age.
A huge part of deciding when the best age to take your kids for the first time, is the financial side of the decision. As parents, we would love to give our child the magic of Disney at any given time, but that is not always possible. If you take your child before they are three, it’s absolutely free to get them into the parks. The only major cost (for them) you’ll have to figure in is if they are over 2 and you are planning on flying in which case you’ll need to purchase a ticket. Of course, they can’t get into the parks without parents or guardian, so it’s still a pretty penny even though younger children get free entrance to the parks. If finances are holding you back from taking your dream vacation and you are saving up, I’d recommend waiting until your children are between the ages 7-11 for their first visit to the parks. They will remember most if not everything about the trip and they will be able to go on all/most of the thrill rides.
If you are a well seasoned Disney parks veteran, I’d say go anytime with your kids if possible. However, if it would be your first trip as well to the parks, I’d recommend waiting until your child is at least 4. The reason for this is because the parks can get a little overwhelming the first time around without kids, let alone with a baby or toddler. It is doable if it is the parents first trip too, but it makes it much easier if you know your way around and what to expect.
I recommend if you do take babies to the parks to at least wait until they are 6 months old. My husband and I took our daughter on her first trip to Disney World at 7 months old and it was a magical experience for all of us. Of course she won’t remember any of it, but the pictures and videos that we captured say it all. The trip was about her being able to see the wonder of Disney, but at this age, it really is about the parents experience too. However, when and if you do take your baby, do not expect to have the same experience you did kid-less. The pace is much slower and breaks are of course more frequent, but the quality of time is well worth it. Also, we did take our daughter when she was a baby before the measles outbreak in Disneyland, which has thankfully been cleared up by now. As a precaution, make sure to check and recheck for outbreaks of any sort before you go to the parks with a baby since they may not have been fully immunized yet.
We have taken our daughter every year since she was 7 months and if I had to pick an age, I would say that the ideal time for the first trip is around 3 years old. The reason for this is because overall, it’s the most enjoyable for everyone because you can do more things and they are more aware of their surroundings but they still are amazed at every little thing. At this age, they are very much into all of the Disney characters and have their definite favorites. Also, if they are 3 or older then they will be able to go to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or the Pirate’s League experience which makes the trip that much more special. Everything is absolutely magical to them in this age group and they are completely captivated by all the magic around them. The looks on their faces are ones you will never forget. Even though we loved every minute of each trip when she was a baby, once she got a little older and understood it all it made the trip more magical for us too.
My view on the age question is, your kids are only little for so long. There is a small window of opportunity where they still believe in all the magic and wonder and their eyes still twinkle in amazement at every new sight. To be able to capture those moments and treasure those memories forever is irreplaceable to me. There are many different factors that go into deciding the right time for the first Disney trip, but whenever you do decide to go, it’s always the right time for your family individually.