The answer, in short, is that there is no age that is truly too young to visit. The better questions here is what can you as the parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, best babysitter ever, etc. handle in a busy environment.
You will be toting your tot through crowds, loud noises (think parades and fireworks), new environments, characters, attractions, and an overall big giant place that isn’t home. You are the expert here as to whether or not they are going to be able to take it all in without becoming overwhelmed.
Some little ones are delighted by everything. The music and lights are mesmerizing, they love Mickey and will take pictures like old pros. Then there is the polar opposite that we’ve all witness at some point. The screaming, crying, please-take-me-home messes that probably could have stood to wait another year or two before giving this a go.
We took my son there when he was ten months old. He loved the lights and music, and he took naps on many of the dark, cool attractions. Haunted Mansion lulled him to sleep for the night during the Christmas party and even the 360 degree fireworks that night didn’t wake him. We just did our best to stick to some simple tips that helped him and us cope with a new situation.
- Don’t expect to make rope drop like you did before your little one arrived. You are only going to find yourself with an exhausted little person by lunchtime and will be making the trek back to your hotel room for a nap. Instead, let them wake up on their normal schedule just like at home. Normalcy here is key, so keep to your routines whenever possible.
- Does your tot have a favorite snack or toy? For all that is good in this world, don’t forget to bring it with you! We brought a soft-sided cooler underneath the stroller and packed it with baby food, puffs, water, and formula. I also found a really cool “leash” of sorts that wraps around your baby’s cup, bottle, or toy. It attaches to the stroller and prevents items from hitting the floor when they drop it.
- Is nap time still a thing in your house? It’s a thing at Mickey’s house too! Don’t ever take for granted the power a nap can have for an infant or toddler (or grownup!). These little guys and girls have smaller batteries than we do and they need to be recharged more frequently. There are baby care centers at each one of the theme parks that offer baby products, formula, clothing, sunscreen, snack, basic medications, diapers, and wipes. They also offer privacy and comfort for nursing, feeding, and changing. They have televisions, chairs, and couches to use during your downtime. If you don’t need the full experience of a baby care center, there are still lots of places in the parks that offer air conditioning, shade, and quiet time so you and your little one can rest and recharge. Think of all the splash elements in the Storybook Circus area, Test Track area, or even Disney Springs! Many attractions are also slow moving and dark and can be a great environment for getting your sleepy little Grumpy back to their rested Happy selves (see what I did there).
- Take tons of photos and videos and splurge on that PhotoPass/MemoryMaker deal! You can never relive those memories. Time travel simply isn’t a thing yet. So please, make sure you capture every hug, smile, and first ride, you can’t get those back! While MemoryMaker might seem expensive, you can buy it in advance of your trip and get it at a discounted rate. Every PhotoPass photo, on-ride photo, on-ride video, etc. is included in the price and provided to you in a digital format to download. We purchased it for our little one’s first trip and I would absolutely buy it again.
- Have fun and relax! Nothing will ruin a vacation faster than being stressed out, so be sure to take those small moment to enjoy what you’re doing and take in the scenery.
What age were you kids when you first took them to Walt Disney World? Do you have any tips to share? Be sure to share in the comments!