4 Year Old's First Visit

So, I am taking my 4 year old son for his first visit with his 13 year old sister to Disney parks BY MYSELF because my husband does not like Disney and will be back at the hotel, lounging by the pool. Anyhoo, my question is related to attractions. I know all children are different but I had a general question about tolerance for rides. My son has really never been on any rides except for those you put quarters in at the mall. I suspect he will enjoy most rides, if I can get him on them, but I am trying to figure out Fast Passes. His sister is a Disney pro and loves any and all rides (the scarier, the better) so she will single rider line the big ones (the Mountains, Rock N Roll). Any rides we should skip (I’m already not planning on taking him on the Mountains, Tower, Expedition, even though he meets the height requirements)? We’ll start out slow with Dumbo, Aladdin, etc. but what are thoughts on Seven Dwarves, Dinosaur, etc.? If I freak him out on a ride, he is the type of kid who will refuse to go on another ride the entire time we are there!

Any other tips with a small child? The last time I took a small child (his sister) we had annual passes and lived in Florida so, if she was having an off day, we could always come back on another day and never had to feel like we had to fit it all in. This time, the four days we are there are it so, we have to make the best of it, understanding we won’t be able to do everything.

I started taking my now DS6 to WDW by myself when he was 4. At that age, he was just like your son- one scary experience on one ride and we were done for the day. So I avoided all of the mountains, 7DMT, HM, etc… (he now loves BTMR and 7DMT) I would stick to the smaller, less scarier rides. He may see his sister going on something and want to try it so I would just go at his speed. We took lots of breaks and I mixed in the rides with shows to keep him entertained. We also did pool time and relaxing at the hotel. We go every year so I just had to keep reminding myself that whatever we missed this trip, we’ll do on the next.

Hi there! At the end of our first family trip, our son turned 5. So he was an “old” 4 for most of it. He wasn’t terribly consistent - some of the quick rides, like BTMRR and Test Track - he loved (Barnstormer, too). But some of the dark rides (Star Tours, Dinosaur, and even Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin) were too scary for him (he did them, but then really wished he hadn’t). And both my kiddos (2 and 4-turning-5) really seemed to love pool time more than anything!

We’re going again next month, and he’s talking about doing HM when we’re at the Halloween party… we’ll see… :wink:

Ds5 has even going since he was two- he is funny- sometimes wants to ride this and not that- loves and will not miss at mk - the Swiss fam tree house/“cars”/buzz/teacups/pp/small world/barnstormer sometimes-- loved meeting goofy/Donald/and the girls in the big top too! will not touch haunted mansion- hates pirates and pooh because of the scary rain part? Kids are so funny and different! He also loves WS at Epcot and TSMM at HS! Have fun!!! 3/4 was when my ds and I had APs and I will never forget him at that age and our trips!!!

I would avoid Dinosaur for sure! It is incredibly loud, like I had to cover my ears in hopes of preventing hearing loss. It’s a very well-done ride, but the noise is just too much for my kids and makes me not really care to go again. When my DD was 3 or 4, she really didn’t like the queue for Buzz, but she liked the actual ride. Same thing with Pirates. Both of my kids hate the Haunted Mansion.

For your FPs, you should book separate ones for your daughter and for you and your DS. Only a few rides have a single rider line - TT and EE and one more that I can’t remember.

You know, that you can not “fit it all in” not unless you are there for 2 months.

I advise no STITCH, skip dinosaur, skip universe of energy, the dinosaur sequence may be scary, but the rest to long and boring for a 4 year old. If you do the Haunted Mansion ask if you can bypass the stretch room.

Make sure to fast pass peter pan, seven dwarves is a hard fast pass to get, maybe better skipped because it is a bit fast, not really scary, but see how he would do on barnstormer first. Toy Story Midway is another you need to fast pass.

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If your 13-year-old is willing, maybe she can ride a few things by herself, or the two of you can ride them while dad and your sun hang at the hotel. (Which, who are we kidding, is every kid’s favourite thing to do at WDW anyway.)
Agree with others: NO to Dinosaur, Stitch, RnR, Star Tours, Mission Space. Caution for the Great Movie Ride (the Alien scence), Tower or Terror.
I think your plan to ease in is a good one. Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, IASW, Under the Sea, Dumbo, Tomorrowland Speedway, Teacups, Carousel to start, then test the waters with Barnstormer or 7DMT.
Also, my 4 year old loves, LOVES meeting characters. It’s his favourite things. We tend to pick the less popular ones without extra-long waits (Chip and Dale, Buzz, etc).
Sounds like a fun trip! :slight_smile: My DH wishes we’d left him back at the pool a lot more on our recent trip…

We just returned from a WDW visit with my 4 YO son. His first trip was as a 3 YO, and he did fine with rides like Peter Pan, It’s A Small World, Dumbo, etc. We took him on Barnstormer, Test Track and Splash Mountain (he said he wanted to ride them), and all three scared him. On this year’s trip, he wouldn’t go near those three rides or any others that looked like them. I tried to prepare him for those rides before the trip by talking about them and watching You Tube videos, and he seemed excited about riding until we got there. Maybe we’ll try again in a few years! Good luck!

Sadly, I think it’s hard to predict. We took DS for his 5th birthday back in January, and he loved everything we took him on. 7dmt, BTMRR, ST, HM, PotC. No space or splash (weather), no ToT, but otherwise plenty of rides. Nothing scared him. We went back 6 months later, and suddenly he’s afraid of BTMRR, went once on ST and had a total meltdown. We RD’d Hollywood Studios, and he refused to ride ANYTHING at the park after a single ride at ST - not TSMM, nothing. Next day at MK, we had pre-RD BOG, went on splash and he was crying the whole ride, then basically refused to ride anything the rest of the morning at MK. It was very, very odd, because he was refusing to do stuff he’d happily done, laughing, the last trip just 6 months before.

So I think it’s hard to predict. Hard as it is, I think you also need to work to not get too upset that kiddo is “ruining” your vacation. I was very frustrated with DS, because at times it seemed like he was refusing to do things just to oppose us and power struggle. He was well rested, fed, and still being a PITA. I say that only to say, be prepared for anything. Parenting is an adventure.