View Full Version : Too Young for Disneyland?
03-06-2006, 12:51 PM
When a friend asks me about their kid's age and DL (I wonder why I get asked this question a lot? :confused: :geek: ), I ask them the following: Will this be one of the few times they go to a Disney oriented vacation? Or are they planning on going every couple years? If it's the former, I tell them to wait until their kids are old/tall enough to enjoy quite a bit (if not all) of the attractions.
If not, I tell them that I think kids of any age can find something great to enjoy at DLR!!! Especially, if the family goes with only the expectation that the vacation will be fun. If they are more intent on going for the rides...they should wait. If they are going for the whole experience that is Disney? They should go (and go often! :p ) when they want.
I hope that made sense. As much as I love going to DL, I think it depends on the family, the child, and their expectations of the vacation.
03-06-2006, 12:54 PM
How young is too young for Disneyland..
In fact, I've come to the decision that stroller aged kids are just too young to enjoy the park.
Where I do not aggree with you is the part about to young to enjoy the park.
I took my kids to DL when they were very young, My youngest does not remember any of that trip (she is now 24) but I can tell you first hand she did enjoy the trip.
03-06-2006, 12:55 PM
With deepest respect you don't understand marketing. Sure - toys are for kids but huge snowglobes, Olszewski castles at $200, plates, coffee sets, adult play costumes, big figs are not. And I have to say that this "Family" thing does get to me. There are lots of people in relationships that are not families but can still enjoy Disney. No offence intended.:)
It's all a matter of what someone enjoys! Unfortunately my DH is not a big Disney fan (he does have more fun than he'll admit though, and when I mentioned going w/o him to DL he looked at me like I was crazy!!!) So for us, our "excuse" is we are going on a family trip with the kids in mind. I don't know if when our kids are grown if I'll be able to get him to go or not...maybe when we have grandkids....LOL!
03-06-2006, 12:55 PM
Hmm..where's AK when you'd like to her chime in...? :)
03-06-2006, 12:57 PM
This supposed to be a reasoned discussion not a fight!
03-06-2006, 12:57 PM
These posts have made me think...Ya know whats funny is that i don't remember the trips i took in 83, 85, 87 and 88 (being 3, 5, 7, & 8), but they started the foundation for how i feel about Disneyland now. so when i started going every year to DLR in 1992 (age 12), i already knew that i loved the place, the feeling, the atmosphere, so although i didnt (and dont) remember specific things about those early trips, i remembered the feeling of being at Disneyland when i was a young girl and already knew i loved it.
03-06-2006, 12:58 PM
Thanks for all of the replies. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinions here :)
I know my friend is worried about many things including the cost of the trip, the way his wife often gets in over her head and the way his son shies away from crowds & events. He's got to deal with an 8 hour car ride or add the expense of the plane which isn't all that much less stressful.. I can empathize with him.
I know that when I have grandkids, I won't be taking them to the parks until they are at least 6 years old.. if my kids want to take them sooner, that'll be their choice.
I will give you this - if you are a SoCal resident and you have APs and can just pop into the park for a few hours and it isn't a major family vacation, I'd be more tempted to go.. but since we're talking about a long drive and a multi-day trip, that's probably where my mindset comes from.
I think you have to be willing to adjust to the child's personal schedule. Take him back to the hotel for a swim and/or a nap. If you can resolve not to spend every single minute in the park, you're proably ahead of the game.
03-06-2006, 12:59 PM
Hmm....I don't really see people fighting, just stating their difference in opinion.
03-06-2006, 01:02 PM
For me it becomes a cost/benefit analysis. I don't see anything wrong with taking a very young one to the park and they will certainly have some enjoyment from it, but at what cost in terms of dollars and in terms of taking attention and time and therefore enjoyment away from older ones (assuming there are older ones).
If I lived near by and the cost of going wasn't too great or I had more money and the cost didn't matter as much, then by all means I would take them. For me, a trip is costly and a big deal and there are plenty of cheap things near by that I think a young one would enjoy just as much. For me the cut off age is five. We just went in December. I brought my eleven-year-old and my eight-year-old, but the two-year-old stayed at home.
03-06-2006, 01:02 PM
At the age of 3, my DD is asking every single day about our upcoming trip (they think this summer, really next month!). I can't count how many times today I've heard her say the words "charakers" (characters) and princesses!
ETA Right now she is wearing her Ariel costume!
03-06-2006, 01:02 PM
Hmm....I don't really see people fighting, just stating their difference in opinion.
Q.E.D. It would be a boring old life if we all felt the same.:)
03-06-2006, 01:20 PM
For me it becomes a cost/benefit analysis. I don't see anything wrong with taking a very young one to the park and they will certainly have some enjoyment from it, but at what cost in terms of dollars and in terms of taking attention and time and therefore enjoyment away from older ones (assuming there are older ones).When I started taking my sisters, they were 3, when I started taking my own kids, they were 3 mos on their first trip. We went every 6 mos or so thereafter. My kids enjoyed it, and while they don't have actual memories, they "remember" from photos. They consider Disneyland home away from home. They are now 16-20 (2 boys, 2 girls.) NOW, I do agree with the poster who said if this was a once every 5 year visit, I might agree with saying at least 4, but if this is a once a year or more, I'd bring the little ones too.
03-06-2006, 01:40 PM
Will this be one of the few times they go to a Disney oriented vacation? Or are they planning on going every couple years? If it's the former, I tell them to wait until their kids are old/tall enough to enjoy quite a bit (if not all) of the attractions.
We took both of our kids the first time at about 22 months. They enjoyed it. No, they dont remember it. But, they love to look at the pictures. My dd's 2nd trip she was 5, and 7 on trips 3 and 4 (after this weekend that is!). Ds was 3 1/2 on trip 2, and will be 4 on the trip this week. He has disney fever very badly. He talks about Disneyland almost daily. He watches the planning dvd more then anyone else in our house. He would really disagree in a HUGE way if he was told he was too young.
03-06-2006, 01:43 PM
I have 3 kids, 6,4,2 and we are heading for Disneyland in May. I've gone with my older 2 twice already (at ages 18months and 3 and then again at 2.5 and 4) They love it! The first time we didn't do many rides (casey Jr. being a favourite) but we saw Mickey several times a day and had a wonderful time eating ice-cream while watching the parade. Do they remember the first trip? No, but they do love to hear the stories and see the pictures of when we went. The second time my oldest braved more rides and felt a tremendous satisfaction in going on the Haunted Mansion ride when he knew the year before he had been frightened of it and didn't want to ride (from stories we told him throughout the year). His sister was in awe of the princesses and we had to wait in every line for every character so they could meet them. Do they remember the second trip? No, only from the stories we tell. It isn't the events that are important to kids but rather the feelings associated with them. My kids had a great time in Disneyland and the feelings they get each time we go are positive because their prior experiences were positive. As well, the younger kids actually believe! That is the magic, that is what makes it all worthwhile, when I see their little faces light up because they go to see the Real Mouse! By 8 or 9 they don't believe, they know the characters are just people in costume. I am really looking forward to our trip and I'm glad we go when they are young enough to believe and to have a fabulous time, not just on the rides but also with the characters and with the simple things like an ice-cream or a peek at the fire-engine. As for the stollers...I had one for my daughter the first 2 times but she will not have a stroller this time. I will, however, have a stroller for the youngest...her little legs need a lift once in a while. I go at kid pace, that means a long break at the hotel for swimming during the day and lots of time just to explore, walk and play. One night on the holiday I will go back to the park after the kids are asleep (and dad watches them) and spend the evening going on the rides for the older kids (adults).
03-06-2006, 01:46 PM
My earliest memories of DL were from 1967 (I was 5 at the time), and I barely remember the New Tomorrowland and the opening of Adventure Through Inner Space, but I'm sure I went at least once before that.
I was also there the day the Yippies invaded.
And I remember, albeit vaguely, and with the aid of slides (some of which I took myself, and some of which I bought) the original, pre-America-On-Parade version of the MSEP.
I also have a vague memory of a restaurant that was sponsored by Hills Bros. Coffee.
The funny thing is that I have other (non-Disney) memories going back to when I was only 3.
The kids probably won't remember a thing about a visit before the age of 5, but only the parents would have any basis for even an educated guess about whether they'd enjoy it.
03-06-2006, 02:31 PM
OK, I gotta chime in on this subject. First of all, I've been going to Disneyland every few years since I was 3, and I have very vivid memories of most of the trips, though most of the memories are bits and pieces that are jumbled together and I couldn't really tell you what happened on which trip.........but the memories are there. And if it wasn't for those memories, I probably wouldn't be so set on taking my own kids every couple of years so that they can have their own memories to treasure...........and so I can relive mine. ;)
I think as we get older, a lot of our enjoyment in going to DL is in reliving our memories, remembering a much more innocent time in our lives where magic and fantasy ruled over reality. We have to remember that the park is more for the kids, they are there for the magic, they are the ones making memories that will last a lifetime. There is nothing like seeing Disneyland through a kids eyes for the first time.
My DS will be almost 4 when we go down next week, and while I don't expect him to remember the trip in detail when he gets older, I do expect that he will be more "familiar" with Disneyland the next time we go, and more than anything........seeing his eyes light up as we visit the different attractions is worth 10 times the vacation cost. He already gets super excited just seeing Buzz and Woody on the vacation planning DVD, I can only imagine how it will be once we are really there!
03-06-2006, 02:45 PM
But surely a baby shouldn't be out at MIDNIGHT!:confused:
I had to laugh at this one......what if the baby is from the east coast.....is it ok for the baby to be out at 9:00? :D
Babies and children have the strange tendency of waking up at odd hours for food and companionship - should I be putting a clock in my baby's room so he knows that it is NOT appropriate at midnight? :rolleyes:
I'm being VERY sarcastic here - but from my point of view, if I'm going to be up at midnight hanging out with my baby, watching fireworks is a lovely way to pass the time. ;)
(I'll be sneaking around DLR with my 1 year old and 5 year old at the end of the month, I hope child protective services doesn't catch me!!:) )
03-06-2006, 04:42 PM
We're taking our 2 year old for the first time next week. And yes, I am the driving force behind this trip. I love DL and I want to experience it with my son (12) and daughter (2) and husband. But I don't think my daughter is too young to enjoy the magic of DL. She knows who Cinderella is! She recognizes the castle. She loves "No Wipes" (Snow White!) She loves Toy Story and Woody!! So, there are things she is going to enjoy. She's crazy about horses and choo-choo trains right now. I think she's going to really enjoy it. And we will be wise parents to go at her pace, as we usually do. She will maintain her afternoon nap - in our hotel room. She will maintain a normal bed time. She will only be out one night for Fantasmic at 10:30 because that was the only time I could make reservations during our visit. And my husband and I will swap off who stays to watch the fireworks and who goes back to the room with her. What parents need to do is take it at the pace their young ones can handle and expect nothing more. This is why we're going for five days and staying at a near-by hotel. Wish me luck though, I'm going to try the first day without the stroller because not only do I think people who "drive" strollers should be given lessons in doing so, I hate using mine. Just yesterday, we were at the Ren Festival and while I consider us to be very considerate while in use of our stroller, I couldn't belive how many people would jump out right in front of our stroller or try to smash our stroller in their attempt to "get around us". The "stroller" argument is a no-win argument. Strollers are a necessary evil and I look forward to the day we can throw ours away - for your sake and especially ours!!
03-06-2006, 04:47 PM
Honestly, I think this has way more to do with the personalities of the child and the parent than it has to do with the age of the child.
We took my son to DL for the first time when he was 8-months-old. He loved it and we loved taking him. He was mesmerized by the characters, totally entranced by the parades and loved the fireworks. He even smiled or giggled on the rides we took him on. And, for us, it was a breeze of a trip. He napped in his stroller giving us a chance to do some grown-up things, and it was fun.
But, we are VERY laid back parents. Yes, he has a bedtime, and yes he's disciplined, and no he's not allowed to do whatever he wants whenever he wants. But, we don't stress over the little things. And, our son is an easy-going kid even now when he's in the terrible 2s. Not much bugs him, and he's not easily scared or deterred.
But, in his 23 months of life, he's also driven cross-country three times and just last October we went to Disney World. The trip to WDW was a bit more difficult because of the time change and the unexpected crowds during off-season. But, other than that, it was a whole lot of fun and I'd do it again.
All that said, he's almost two and we're going to DL this week-end. He can say "Disneyland" and "mickey" and gets excited when we bring it up, so for him (and for us) he's more than ready to enjoy the trip. So, I really, honestly believe it's dependant upon the kid and the parent. And, at 2, he's still free for flights and attractions, so why not! :)
OH YEAH, I forgot to say that my parents took me to DL the first time when I was not even 2 years old, and I can STILL remember the parade I saw and of all things meeting the Queen of Hearts on Main St. My mom says I loved it so much that they had to try and keep me AWAY from the parade floats and the c haracters!
03-06-2006, 05:13 PM
My daughter had her first DL experience at 23 months, I can say with certainity she was overwhelemed, overtired and didn' remember a single thing. We took her again at 2 1/2 and she had a blast, loved the characters loved the rides and talked about it all the time when we got home. Wanted to know when she could go see Mick Maus again.
My son's first trip was December 03 when he was 3 1/2 months old, like a little meatloaf he cruised around in the baby carrier oblivious to it all. We would have left him at home with a grandma, but the whole family was on the trip. We go about 4 times a year and the now 5 year old and 2 1/2 year old, know the characters, love the rides and will randomly ask when they are going to Disneyland again.
However, taking kids so young is not for everyone. On our trips we are usually joined by my best friend and her family, frankly she needs to find someone to watch her 4 year old at home. Her older child (7) is great , the younger one, afraid of the characters, hates the dark rides,. whines, fights, wants to park in a stroller all day............................... Making for a miserable time for all around him when he flings himself to the ground in a shrieking fit when his mother pulls him out of the stroller.
Also, along with Pat and Eli's arguement that children should be older. I vividly remember my second trip to Disneyland in 1970, I was three and after a full day at the park, parade and fireworks had to be carried out of the park under my dad's arm having a complete meltdown. I remember riding ATIS and being terrified that we were really shrinking, and then being carried out by my dad, screaming at the top of my lungs.
So I guess where I am going, it all depends on the individual child, I'm very lucky my kids are congnitive of what goes on around them at DL and that they really seem to be having fun.
03-06-2006, 05:15 PM
I think there are factors that are being missed here: For instance, our oldest DS is 11 years older than our youngest. So, when we took him at age 12, we also took our then not quite 1 year old. I enjoyed having him with me (and there was no choice in him NOT going for several reasons), and he enjoyed the characters, the birds, the balloons, and Dumbo quite a bit! We went again when he was almost three and I was amazed at how much he enjoyed the rides. So...while I can appreciate the debate, some families just don't have the option to wait until all their kids are the "right" age (whatever that is).
Also, I would add that there is a big difference between parenting your kids in the park and pushing your kids in the park. I have always hated it when I saw parents pushing their kids for "one more" ride/event/character interaction or whatever. Fussy, tired kids belong back at a quite hotel room...NOT being hauled through the park long after their little legs have given out! (I don't have a problem with sleeping babies/toddlers in strollers, as long as their allowed to sleep. Kids don't care where they sleep!)
03-06-2006, 05:39 PM
As many have said or alluded to...it all depends on the child and/or parent.
I take my DD (now 11 months) every month or so (we are APers and So Cal residents). We can afford the cost & time to go, and for the benefit, it is more than worth it.
DD loves going, even if she'll never remember it. She gets excited in the parking lot now, and probably loves the parking tram as much as any ride (well, almost!) ;)
Like someone else mentioned...DH and I are really laid back, as is DD, so for us it is fun. Watching DD walk over to sit in Goofy's lap is priceless.
I would definitely take all things into consideration before going though (that's just the practical person in me!)
I have never hit anyone with a stroller, and the only time I have even come close is when people randomly stop walking in the middle of the walkway to decide something. (But then again, I would have almost run into them without the stroller anyway!)
03-06-2006, 06:02 PM
We go every chance we get and we love taking our little ones. We live a completely different life when we are at DL. The rest of the year is drudgery of eight pm bedtimes, healthy foods, sticking to a budget, limits on the tv watching and so on. When we go to Disneyland we stay up till midnight, eat junk food and "splurge" on souveneirs. My kids do not have meltdowns there and neither do we. We schedule in frequent breaks and naps.
I have searched and searched and I can not find any other resort destination within our budget that meets the needs of our entire family.
I have offered to take the kids elsewhere and the only place they want to go is Disneyland or the beach.
I would be happy for any family that was lucky enough to get a break and go on any kind of vacation. Family life can be very stressful nowadays and places like Disneyland that allow the family to have fun together are a great stress reliever and enhance family bonding.
03-06-2006, 06:35 PM
I think it's great to take little ones to Disneyland. We went with our niece when she was about 18 months old and she had a blast.
Also about meltdowns etc...I see kids having meltdowns at the gorcery store all the time too. Kids just have low points during the day and it isn't caused by being at Disneyland, it's just being tired and overwhelmed which can happen anywhere.
03-06-2006, 06:36 PM
My nephews first visit to DL was when he was 4 1/2 and his brother was 6 months old. He LOVED it. He didn't seem to be having a wonderful time while we were there. He seemed overwhelmed. But he couldn't stop talking about the park when he got home, and he remembers that trip and couldn't wait to go back. He LOVES Disneyland. The baby had a wonderful time at the park, too, although he obviously doesn't remember it - he just seemed to love the lights and colors and actions. The older child is sort of shy and a bit skittish, but he has learned to face his fears, and he did so with gusto - at one point he challenged Captain Hook to a sword fight with his light saber. The first time I was at disneyland, I was 2 and my brother was in my mother's belly. I don't remember the trip, but I have heard the story of how I cried "more disneyland" as I was rolled, exhausted, from the park, in my stroller. I think that going to DL when you are young helps to make it the familiar, homey place you can enjoy later in life, even if you don't remember all of the details. Memories are cumulative. We may start them at 2, then reinforce them as the years go on. As for your friends, I would encourage them to take both kids to DL. Invite the whole family, so they can all share their first visit. Remember - older kids need special trips when they have to compete for attention with new siblings.
Oh, and disabuse yourself of the notion that going to DL with kids is done for adults. When you visit DL with kids, it's about THEM. Adult needs come a distant second.
How young is too young for Disneyland..
You know, I've given this topic a lot of thought. Then yesterday my friend Rick told me his wife wanted to go down to Disneyland for a week. He has a 2 year old and a 5 year old. As much as I love Disneyland, I tried to convince him that his kids may be too young. In fact, I've come to the decision that stroller aged kids are just too young to enjoy the park. I have come to the conclusion that if parents take stroller aged kids to the park, they are not doing it for the kids, they are doing it for themselves.