Whenever people ask if they should bring their baby or preschooler to Walt Disney World, I usually see a mixed bag of answers. Usually the people that love Disney, want their kids to experience Disney and have actually brought small children to Walt Disney World will answer with a resounding, “YES, DO IT!”. Then I see some “No, wait till they’re older so they will remember it” answers from people who didn’t want to “waste a trip” on a too small child. Of course there’s no wrong answers, because in the end, you have to do what you feel comfortable with and there are pros and cons on both sides of the question.
I will say that although I can see the good and bad, I will always be the one who thinks you should if you can. We have taken 4 of our 5 kids (my poor, sweet – yet deprived tiniest villager has yet to make it to WDW) to Disney World at various ages. We have basically been at Disney with kids who have been from 3 months old to 18 years old at the time and many ages/stages in between. As a mom who’s been there – done that, I will be honest and say that bringing small children does add a lot of work to a family vacation, but if the downside is not going, then I think the work is worth it.
Disney does a fantastic job of making sure every guest has a memorable time, even if the memory will be a short-lived one. For example, my then 19 month old had many fun toddler-appropriate experiences while on vacation a few years ago, BUT as far as I can tell, now at 4 he has no memory of anything that happened during those 10 days. Although as a coping method, there are two plane trips and a few restaurant meals, I’d like to wipe out the memory of as well!Should I consider it a waste that we spent all that (and I do mean ALL that) money on a family vacation because he can’t remember meeting Mickey and Minnie for the first time (he kicked Minnie) or doesn’t remember the 1/2 hour we waited in line (in 95 degrees with 95% humidity) for a 2.7 second Dumbo ride? Of course not, because not only did he have an absolute blast at the time, but we have the memories of having experienced it with him. Plus, when you are a family of more than 2 or 3, there may be older kids to think about as well – we can’t deprive them of fun vacation memories (and yes, Disney is my only vacation destination) because of the little brothers & sisters.
Don’t let all my bring-the-newborn-to-Disney talk fool you into thinking that I don’t look longingly at the blissfully, kid-free couples I see on the monorail, boats and busses, heading off to a stunningly relaxing dinner, dressed nice and looking calm and refreshed, because I certainly do! Imagine me across the aisle of the bus, probably standing, while I balance a baby on my hip so the other kids can sit and not get thrown around the bus. It’s been a long day (although it may only be noon). I’m hot and sweaty and probably a little crazed looking. In addition to the baby, I’m probably straddling a stroller, while holding onto 17 Disney gift bags with a a 15 pound camera dangling from my neck (don’t want to miss the toddler giving Minnie the stink-eye, right?).
All in all, I still think Disney with babies, toddlers and preschoolers is a great idea. In upcoming posts, I’ll tell you some of my strategies for dealing with the smalls at WDW as well as the best attractions, rides and restaurants to take them!
As my head hits the Disney pillow each night of our stay, I’ll dream longingly of the day Kevin and I can enjoy our diaper bag-free days someday when enjoying them today.
Have you or are you planning to take the tots to WDW? Did you enjoy it? Worth the work our do you wish you would have waited?