Traveling with multi-generations

I’ve been lurking on this forum for a few months now and have found you fine people to be a wealth of information and ideas. As we close in on our May trip (more specifically March FP dates), I wanted to throw my situation out there and see what you think.

Our upcoming trip will consist of DH and myself, DS4 (will be 5 soon after we get back), and 4 adults 65+. We will be staying on property. It will be a shorter trip than I see most people take - 2 days in parks and 1 to “relax” (possibly Disney Springs) before we head back. It will be the first trip for DS. DH and I haven’t been there since we were small children in the 80’s, so kind of like the first time for us as well.

Going through the unofficial guide, I had big ideas of things we could do, especially if we used the touring plans. However, the closer we get the more I wonder if we should even bother with a touring plan. DS does not know we’re planning this trip, but has told me on several occasions he does not want to ride rides until he’s at least 10 (great). I know he may change his mind when we get there, but is it going to wreck his time if it’s spent waiting in lines for rides he doesn’t want to do, even if we can do a rider switch? He’d just be standing in line at Disney. I don’t want him to be carted off by another member of our party to do something for lengths of time while we ride because I want to share his experience with him. However, I don’t want want to have spent fare just to walk around. The other adults have said they are letting me plan the trip, but I’m not sure if we’re going to the same parks each day, let alone if we’ll be going at the same time (rope drop) or if they’re going to stick with us (or our pace).

Has anyone experienced this? What’s the best way to go about it? We plan on MK one day and HS the second day.

Thank you all in advance!

All my trips have been multi-generational. The 65+ crowd we have were convinced they could keep up with us. They did ok the first trip in 2011, but in 2017 they couldn’t keep up but they tried. They ended up miserable. They plan to take it MUCH easier in 2019 during our May trip (maybe we’ll see you there!). Definitely know about ECVs in case you need to call an audible and use one, as we did.

In general, we try to practice. So hikes with the family including the 65+ group if possible, to see how everyone walks. Local fair rides, if possible, to see what DS4 doesn’t like about rides. Then you can use that to plan which rides would be worth it. Also, consider using YouTube of rides to get him excited about rides that put him inside his favorite movies. Also try to practice with characters, parades, and fireworks and plan on his favorites!

Have a great trip!

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First question - what is your focus for the trip?
A. To watch your child experience Disney?
B. For you and DH to re-experience Disney?
C. For everyone to have a chance to experience a Disney favorite?

I ask because my DH and I are 60+ Disney fans who have at different times had all of these trips and enjoyed all of them.

So let’s start with A.
Child says “no rides” until age 10. I am curious where this is coming from? Is he worried about rollar coasters and/or rides that are dark and scarey? WDW has rides for all ages and you can watch You Tube videos of all of them so you can determine which ones he would be comfortable with. I will also say that my DH and I had just has much fun watching my DGD at age 4 interacting with characters, watching the parades and fireworks and watching the shows. There are more than enough not-rides things to do to fill your days.

Option B
Sometimes adults just have to be honest with themselves and admit the trip is really about them. I have read waaaayyyy too many TP and trip reports on this forum where you can tell the trip was really about the adults wishes. RD to close and have the kid nap in the stroller so you can ride all the mountains? Yeah, that’s not about “taking your kid to WDW”, that’s about adults getting their moneys worth. (Remember, I said I’ve done all of these options)

Option C
I highly recommend this one. Even if all of the adults are thinking they are just going to watch DS enjoy his first trip, it is a good idea to let each person pick a favorite thing to do. It can be anything - a ride, a show, a meal, etc. even if it is not something that appeals to DS that is OK. It will be good for him to be told - “we are riding Small World because grandma wants to ride it” (or dad or mom or whoever). Learning that WDW is for “kids of all ages”, even grandparents, is a good thing.

Whichever option you choose, you will have a great time!


This is what I would do just sit down and call him over like “hey come and see this neat video”. This way you can see if he is interested.


The hardest part of our first trip was not knowing what DD5 would like! Planned a “gentle trip” IASW, Dumbo, the Safari, etc. (trip was a surprise so no input from her). Well struck out with the makeover at the castle and the princess meet and greets but it turned out she was a daredevil (rode barnstormer 10 times in one day)! That was the only trip we watched the afternoon parade we had a FP for it and it was amazing! She loved KRR and FOTLK and character lunch at Tusker House. It’s been much easier to plan trips since then but we had a great time! I knew going in that she would want pool time and I would need a mid-day break. She had no trouble staying up until midnight our MK night but it was only a 2 night trip.
I would make a TP even if you don’t stick to it because it will give you a guide for avoiding lines. Lines would suck the joy out of a trip for me and using TP’s the longest we have ever waited is 30 minutes and that was for the Electrical Parade to start.
We have traveled with my parents (70’s) and they were happy to request rides they wanted, follow the TP, and take breaks as needed. I will say I wish we had known that too many roller coasters in a day can cause kidney stones to move! My Dad was having a blast on our trip riding every ride with DD (he has trouble walking so this was so much fun for them) but boy did he pay for it! By day 2 he was at the ER (he has a history of many kidney stones) and the FL ER docs
Said they see that a lot!
Hope you have a magical trip!


I love this!! Excellent point :slight_smile: I was also going to say something about watching on YouTube. We did that with my daughter, and presented it as SOMEDAY we will go to Disney, so what would you want to do?

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Your child is defective, but he is still under warranty - send him back for a replacement. :wink:

Seriously though, there is a lot of good advice above - @cfunkak makes great points about determining the focus of your trip and watching ride videos with DS to build his comfort level.

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Thanks everyone! We have done the YouTube thing and he seems to be sticking with “when I’m 10…” I guess we’ll just see how he does when we get there. I’ll make fast passes for things that the group wants to do and may have to do the Rider Swap. We’ll play the rest by ear, giving everyone a chance to choose something. We’re going to tell him 2 weeks before, so we’ll have some time to hype it up before we go, just not enough time to get good fast passes.

We did a multigenerational trip in 2015. The kids were 8 & 10. We’re going back this year, the kids will be 11 & 14 at time of travel.

Consider that maybe this isn’t a good “surprise” for him. One of my kids in particular would not have dealt with it at all. Yes, she’d have been initially excited, but then she just would have been overwhelmed. It would’ve been a disaster. Given that your kid sounds like he’s a deep thinker, and maybe kinda prone to worry, I’d really think about the advance warning as a way to prevent either a complete meltdown, or a kid who’s just so hyper they don’t really take anything in.

Give him the time to adjust to Disney as a reality, not just a “maybe someday.” Also, being part of the planning process, he may feel more confident, and more likely to get on that ride.


When he sees other little kids riding things, he may change his mind. But my oldest had his first trip at 5 and it was a struggle to get him on anything. He’s 24 now and he would be happy never going on a ride again as long as he lives. Sometimes they’re just not ride people.

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I bribed my DS when he ‘got the wobbles’ aged 7 with the promise of new super duper football boots…David Beckham, I think. He never looked back. I know ‘bad Mama award’.


DH isn’t super into thrill rides, so I won’t be surprised if he follows, but I would wish for him to try things before deciding he doesn’t like them. That goes for vegetables too. :slight_smile:


Haha! I know!

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You just never know with kids…my kids grew up going every year with us, and we took my grandson for the first time at 6 months…by the time he was 3, we were having meltdowns in the stroller because he wanted to “ride Snow Mountain!!” (his name for EE) Finally put some cowboy boots on him at 4 so he’d be tall enough, and he’s never looked back.

That being said, I didn’t get on a roller coaster until I was 14. I spent my childhood sitting and waiting for others to get off the rides at amusement parks.

Is he against all rides, or just the “thrill” type rides? Will he be ok with things like Peter Pan? Small World? I would definitely start with the slow, easy rides, and see how he does. Maybe tell him he needs to choose ONE ride just to try, like a vegetable. And let him choose the ride.


Definitely! But think through it. We started out with our youngest with slow rides. He was 21 months I think. We started our first day at Epcot with LwtL. A nice slow boat ride, right? Ha. The joke was on us. 20 secs in, it gets dark and there is a loud clap of thunder and a lightning bolt. He was a mess after that. I thought for sure our trip was going to be a disaster, as we had 3 other kids who like to ride. I think they might have been 9, 6, and 3.5 at the time. But it was fine after a few hours and he enjoyed the rides eventually. Now at 7, he’ll ride anything, well he says no to TOT

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Absolutely! Even rides that seem “easy” can have some sharp turns and swoops that may be scary if they are unexpected.

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Our rule with the kids, whether it’s a new food or a ride, is they have to try it once, then it’s up to them after that. My DD5 loved Barnstormer and 7DMT but didn’t want to do Splash, BTMR, or Star tours again. Just tell your son that he won’t be riding anything too fast or scary and leave it at that, don’t get into a discussion about it and distract him with a game or snack while you are in the queue, and start with the slow rides like peter Pan, winnie, dumbo.


The strategy I used with mine for new foods was, “you only have to try one new thing a week!” Knowing they wouldn’t be bombarded every day made them open up a little more, and we made a lot of progress.

Translating that to the theme park, you could say, “one ride each day, and after that I won’t ask you again.”

Mousegal - your 4 year old made it on with cowboy boots! My petite 8 year-old was asked to remove her baseball hat and shoes at any ride where she was close to the line. At Typhoon Lagoon, she took off her water shoes and that put her just about a half inch under the line, and they sent her out. She wasn’t allowed on Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster, either.

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We took him on a fair ride when he was about 3. It was just a bus that went up and down. I could tell he was nervous, but he didn’t seem to hate it. Last spring we went to a Lego Discovery Center and he rode one of those indoor rides that go up and down and he liked that. I’m not sure where it’s coming from. He might just be scared of being scared.

My hope is to get FPPs for later morning and ease our way into the day with Dumbo and Pooh and see how it goes. Unfortunately, the only thing he has shown real interest in (from YouTube videos) is the Tomorrowland Speedway, but it’ll be down for refurbishment while we’re there.

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Kids really do say the darnedest things! My youngest was 4 about to turn 5 when they had sign ups for soccer. Her best friend’s mother wanted us to sign up both girls and trade out driving them to practices. The two girls were practically inseparable so imagine my surprise when my daughter told me she didn’t have time in her schedule for soccer. I was waiting for her to pull out her Daytimer and pencil me in for lunch or something. :rofl::rofl: