At what age is best for first Disney trip?

So I was reading another recent thread where this was being discussed but didn’t want to hi-jack it. So here goes. We are going to WDW this May. DD13, DW, and myself. We also have a DD27 and DGD2. With all the attention our DGD has been getting (Our first btw) the wife and I felt that a special trip for DD13 was deserving. DD27 completely understood and loves that we were doing this for DD13. We told DD27 we wanted to plan a trip for the entire family in the near future. (DD13, DD27, her DH, DGD2, myself and DW but we wanted DGD2 to be a little older. We took DD13 on her first WDW trip when she was 4 so I asked her what she remembered most about it…she really couldnt remember much. So we brought out the pictures and the scrapbook. After looking at pictures she remembered some things but not a lot. Which got me to thinking… what’s a good age to bring the DGD down to WDW? We want it to be memorable for her as well as us. We don’t vacation alot, about every 3-4 years but it’s always to WDW. We don’t skimp, when we go we go to have a memorable time. We do dinner shows, stay in moderate to deluxe, character dinning, safaris, firework cruises, etc…The trip we will plan will probably run around $10k when all is said and done for a week in the world. We don’t do it every year so I’m ok with that but I want everyone to enjoy it. So what’s your opinion on a good age for first time?

My youngest was 7 and it was ideal. As we are from uk it was to be a holiday of a lifetime ( which we ended up doing again 3 years later). If we were USA based I might have gone age 5/ 6 but I think that extra year meant she got so much more out of it. We did other theme park short breaks from the age of 4 at Lego land (UK) though which were great for little ones.

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I agree with 7 (also from UK). We took my oldest when he was 5 and all he remembers is swimming in the pool. He didn’t enjoy it as much as I had expected - he was hot and tired, he didn’t want to go on rides, he didn’t care about characters - and looking back I think he was just overwhelmed. My youngest was 7 on his first trip and was tall enough for everything at WDW though just missed out on a couple of rides at Universal. Everything about that trip was better.



Another from the UK here, we took ours DDx2 for a once in a lifetime trip when they where 5 and 7 (been back every year since now, 13 and 15) in October so not that hot.

They both remember that first trip vividly and while the 5 year old believed totally in the ‘magic’ the 7 year old didn’t quite get it until we saw Wishers Fireworks at MK. As Tinkerbell flew from the Castle to Tomorrow Land DD7 turned and said ‘That has to be magic daddy’ (tears in my eyes as I type.) If someone from Disney had approached me and said ‘That would be $1000 more Mr Stead’ I would have paid without question.

I guess what I’m saying is does it matter that they remember it’s the pleasure they get at the time I think, otherwise why do anything with them or do anything for them until they are old enough to remember :slight_smile:

Take your DGD and watch how much she loves it, I’m sure she will.




We took our children in 2nd and 4th grade. My 2nd grader was very petite and we wanted to wait until she was tall enough to ride all the rides. They were wonderful ages! Loved the trip, remember everything and we still laugh about a few funny things that happened while at WDW. We are like you and only go every 4-5 years but do it right when we go.

My youngest was also 7 our first trip (spring of 1st grade.) I felt like it was a great age. He’s very tall, so he was able to ride everything except maybe Rock 'n Rollercoaster. That made the trip nice and easy because we didn’t have any “you’re too short to ride that” discussions.

I like the idea of being able to tour without a stroller. We’ll see if I can wait that long, should I ever become a grandparent.

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We have a ds daredevil, so we waited until he was 48 inches. He still chickened out at TOT, but I think we have one more trip before we write it off. We also wanted to wait until we knew he would definitely remember everything (we paid for,) and we also wanted to wait until he was able to keep up. we went a month before his 8th bd, and probably going back around the same time before his 9th. After that, we might do a Universal trip, and then write off Orlando for life, well, maybe for a grandkid trip, but that’s quite a while.

Heh I’ve often wondered this too these past few months. My family only took one trip to Disney World during my childhood. I was 10 and my brother was 6 and while it had made a huge impact on me, it certainly didn’t have the same effect on my brother. I attribute most of that to our ages.

Being an adult now and looking back on that trip, I honestly don’t remember much of it. I wish I did. We were there for a week and there are bits and pieces that certainly stand out, but mostly I just remember really liking the place and having a good time. Maybe that’s all that matters…

So based on my oh-so-sciencey-and-anecdotal experience, 10 is probably ideal. :slight_smile:

But that’s for a one-off trip. Now, if you’re going every few years, it probably doesn’t mean much because even if they don’t remember everything perfectly, they’ll still have a good time most likely and they’ll make the memory-connections on the next trip.

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DD was 5 and it was a really good age because:

-she was still young enough that everything was new and exciting and amazing so we appreciated things more through her eyes
-she loved the character meets and to her they were the real thing rather than people in costumes (hoping we get back one more time before she figures this out)
-she had matured quite a bit between 4 and 5 and was willing to try many things she would have been too timid about at 4
-she was tall enough that she could go on everything she would want to go on; she will likely be well above height limits before she would be interested in 44" or 48" height requirement rides

I would say ask your DD27 what she thinks, and let her help plan the trip. I remember shortly after my son was born, my MIL showed up at our house with a Halloween costume. I think it was July. And the costume was a cat. In hindsight, it was cute. But my first child, and I don’t even get to pick out his Halloween costume…not happening. So, I hid the costume and bought him a shark outfit instead. Not to take away from the fun, but sometimes the best intentions can be seen as overbearing or overwhelming. Just my input as a parent.

Our sons were 6 for our first trip. I think it was ideal age for a first trip. They were old enough to get to enjoy more of the rides and be able to do longer days (even though we usually took a mid-day break) but still young enough to enjoy the magic.

I read a tip one time about this that I’ve kind of followed. It said if you plan to take them back multiple times, start them early; however, if you plan to only go once, wait until they’re old enough to remember it. We planned to take ours back, so we took DS first at 21 months. He doesn’t remember anything about that trip, but had a wonderful time. He was at the perfect age to really enjoy the characters. We took him back at 4 and he enjoyed some of the characters, but was really more interested in the rides. We’re planning to take him back in the fall. He’s 8. I think he’ll enjoy the Star Wars characters, but beyond that, only really cares about the rides.

I don’t regret at all taking him at 21 months and his sister will be 2.5 when we go this fall. I think it really depends on the child and how often you plan to take them back.


I would suggest if this is a once in a lifetime kind of trip to wait until she is tall enough to ride the majority (if not all) of the rides.

We went to WDW for the very first time February 2016 (me, DH, DS8, DD6)! I thought it was the perfect time for our family to go…I did not want to be carrying or nursing any child on this type of vacation. We had a great time and are going back February 2018. As we are planning this trip my kids will be in 3rd & 5th grade, it might be the last time we can pull them from school.

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Any age is the perfect age. Disney is an all ages play ground.

We didn’t want to go to Disney with an infant in tow so we waited until close to her 5th birthday. It was perfect.


That’s a great tip - our youngest was 3 1/2 when we first when and she handled it like a pro. She went on EE (which she called ‘the Yeti’ ride), ToT and any other ride she was tall enough for. Probably depend a lot on the disposition of the child, too.


This may not be the popular opinion, but I would say “any age,” presuming parents and co-care givers are up to the task. DW and I took our son at 13 months, 2.2 years, 3 years, etc. etc.
Disadvantage of that young age is they won’t remember anything, and it’s a lot of work.
Advantages include . . . it costs almost nothing to bring them (except for air transportation), and there will be priceless memories for parents as they encounter sights, sounds, food unlike home. First hugs w/ Pooh Bear. Sorting and eating Cheerio’s on their stroller tray as the parade goes by. Running around on Tom Sawyer Island. Splashing in themed wading pools and fountain areas. Free diapers at the Childcare centers!

At 4, they bump into Child pricing, but you can also leave them at the various Kids Clubs where they have “Games, toys and bathrooms, everything I need” (actual quote as our son said goodbye to us at the old Neverland Club). Ages 6 ~ 10 kept getting better.

Photopass package is a must.


I took my daughter when she was 3 1/2. That age was amazing: being able to watch her see everything when she was that young and precious brought me such joy. Of course that’s also 13 years of distance in between trips. She doesn’t really remember that trip at all, other than looking at photos in the scrapbook. As long as you accept that part going in, it’s so fun taking preschoolers to the world.

On the flip side: my youngest niece was 2 when she went for the first time. She was absolutely terrified of all the characters that weren’t face characters: she couldn’t tolerate Pooh, Tigger, any of them despite loving the movies. My sister was a little devastated- she was really looking forward to tons of pictures of her and Minnie since Minnie is her fave. Now that it’s two years later, I think she’d be a little more excited about it, but then again I was shocked she struggled in the first place.

I agree with what was mentioned above: make sure DGD’s mom is ok with taking her. Outside of that, you all know her disposition the best to know if she’ll like it or not.

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Okay I want to know how do you know it’s a once in a life time event. Most people on here are serial Disney visitors, I don’t think anyone thinks when booking a first visit “this is going to become a habit” :smile:

I know I not helping… sorry