Kids venturing by themselves

Discussion in 'Disneyland (California)' started by StyledSugar, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. NHKristy76

    NHKristy76 Senior Mousketeer

    Jan 18, 2009
    My issue with this would start with my 14 and 9 year old insisting anything... But that might just be me!

    I'd be likely to let the 14 year old go with a friend of the same age... Bur not really with the 9 yr old.
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  3. Mom2Christina

    Mom2Christina Earning My Ears

    Jul 19, 2009
    I think it really depends upon the child whether they are mature enough to handle the responsibility of going on their own. Ask yourself this. Do you currently allow them to wander the grocery store or department store alone? As you said, Disneyland is much larger, but if they handle that okay and feel comfortable on their own and get back to you when they are supposed to, perhaps they are ready.

    I will be honest I am too tired tonight to read through all of the replies, but I did see someone post about the what ifs, earthquake, accident and the child needed medical attention, etc. I would keep that in mind when making your decision and perhaps only allow short jaunts on their own. Have planned times to meet back and tell them to check the time on their phone often and if they will not be back on time due to lines to let you know.

    Make sure they know what to do in the even that you do not respond to your cellphone because you do not hear it or do not feel it if you put it on vibe, believe me, this has happened to me at the parks. Also, tell them what to do if they lost the phone or the phone battery died or just bad reception and could not make a call. I would have them go directly to City Hall in the event that they can't reach you, and if you could not reach them, eventually you would find them there.

    After today's tragic events, it does bring to mind that there are crazies out there and I do remember a couple of things that happened at the resorts that were certainly unexpected. Several years ago there was an incident at the Grand Californian Hotel where my husband encountered someone who was naked in the elevator. I had almost had my son run up to the room to get what we had forgotten when my husband said he would go, it was pretty late at night and obviously they were drunk. There was a report of an almost child abduction at World of Disney a few years back as well. I am not a paranoid person but again just consider everything before sending them off on their own.

    Do they each have a phone to carry? Just wondering what if they get separated while walking through a crowd or one uses the bathroom and the other comes out and can't find the other for whatever reason. I am a planner like you so I figure you will want to have all your bases covered. Tell them each what to do if they end up losing track of one another.

    All of that being said, we have let our son go on his own around the age of 12 (I believe) but he had also been to Disney many many times and knows his way around the park very well. He has always been just fine. :) Have a safe and fun trip!
  4. Malcon10t

    Malcon10t DIS Veteran

    Feb 21, 2006
    My daughter just shook her head. I think one of the most important things we can teach our kids is independence. I really think it depends on the kids. My younger son is ADHD, but I also know he respected his older sister, and he respected his independence. And they created a bond. My younger daughter is Aspergers. She stayed with me until she was 14. At 14, I did allow her to go with a sibling. She needed to learn independence, and it was a safe environment.

    I have to agree with you. I have always been very surprised at how fast security, or undercover security, arrives at a scene.
  5. MateasMom

    MateasMom <font color=teal>We're Mimis junkies<br><font colo

    Jan 8, 2003
    My kids were 11 and 9 when I started letting them run ahead of us to ride something. We'd meet them at the exit. They had a cell phone with them, I'm sure I wouldn't have been as comfortable if that hadn't been the case. They also have been raised going to Disneyland a couple times per month, so I trust that they know their way around, and who to see or where to go if an issue arises.

    They're 12 and 14 now and we've never let them go to the park alone, but I wouldn't be against the idea. We just live far enough away that, if I'm going to drive down there, I'm going to Disney, too. Lol. To be honest, I really can't imagine NOT letting my 14 year old walk around Disney alone. In just 2 short years she will be a driver, and 4 years she will be expected to navigate the world alone. Walking through Disneyland alone at 14 seems a perfectly logical stepping stone to me.
  6. venusthrow

    venusthrow Earning My Ears

    Oct 22, 2009
    honestly I was 15 or when I flew down to disneyland (from nor cal) with a 14/15 year old friend stayed the night by ourselves for 2 or 3 days and went to disneyland by ourselves and it went fine. I even stayed out late because the indiana jones ride had just opened. I don't know if I would do that for my kids (they youngest is 6) but I could definitely see them at the very least being 12 and going around the park themselves. I think it really depends upon their maturity and sense of direction. Also their ability to follow directions. Meaning you want freedom to wander around fine but you better be where I say to meet up (or at the very least give me a heads up to tell my why not) or big trouble.
  7. StyledSugar

    StyledSugar Love The Mouse

    Jul 10, 2011
    Thanks everyone for the responses. We have decided (with the assistance of cell phones lol) we are going to let them go off on their own for an hour or two at a time. We'll see how that goes. They are pretty responsible kids and stick together like glue so I'm not worried about that. I'll report back to let everyone know how it goes. Like others in this thread said, if I let them wander the Stampede grounds by themselves then there is no reason not to let them have a little freedom at Disneyland. :)
  8. bcla

    bcla DIS Veteran

    Nov 28, 2012
    When I was younger, I remember we went as a group with the entire extended family. A few of us younger (but not the youngest who was about 7) ventured off on our own. We were given a place to meet and showed up on time.

    I remember we must have gone on POTC about four or five times in a row since there was virtually no line. It was raining that day, and the crowds were sparse. This was before cell phones. Somehow it all worked.

    However, I'm not sure how it would work with big crowds. We were able to keep each other in sight with a small group. I remember being in a larger group for our Grad Night trip, and we ended up splitting into smaller groups simply because we got lost.
  9. Judy from Boise

    Judy from Boise <font color=teal>Watch out – might take away your Moderator

    Aug 24, 1999
    Yup another person who was allowed as a child to wander at will with my older brother way before cell phones.
    I let my DD wander at about 11, with commonsense guidelines.
  10. spellhex

    spellhex Mouseketeer

    Jul 1, 2005
    When I was 12, my parents would allow me and my 10 and 8 year old brothers go off on our own as a group, although we usually had a walkie talkie (this was right before cell phones became ubiquitous among kids). I had experience babysitting them, which helped as well.

    A year later, I went to Disneyland with my school's choir, and my friends and I went around the park without chaperones - just a specific time and place we were supposed to meet up with the rest of the group.

    At that age, I loved that I was able to have the independence to go around the parks without adults, and so was happy to respect meet-up times.
  11. FreeTime

    FreeTime DIS Veteran

    May 11, 2000
    My girls will be 12 & 13 when we go to DL and I have told them that I want them to go and have some time together alone. We will have rules about no park hopping, a lunch budget, etc. We will also have some family time and some time where each of them get alone time with mom or with dad. I agree that vacation is family time, but we also do lots of activities together at home. I think it is important to give them some freedom so that they can learn how to interact without their parents around to help them. Recently, they told me that they could go to WDW on their own! They proceeded to tell me in great detail how they would go to the correct gate at our airport, where they would catch magical express, how they would find their room, etc. I told them there was just one little problem with that...they aren't old enough to check into the hotel! :rotfl:


    Oct 26, 2012
    Had a rough day today thanks for the laugh:rotfl2:
  13. StyledSugar

    StyledSugar Love The Mouse

    Jul 10, 2011
    LOL!! Kids tend to forget that while they believe they are old enough to do everything without parents (or at least my 14 year old does lol), there is a little thing about having the means to do all of those things. Plus I'm sure there would be questions about 12 or 13 year olds trying to check into a hotel alone. lol Too cute!
  14. jacs1234

    jacs1234 DIS Veteran

    Jun 28, 2009
    My older kids will be 12 and 14 if we are able to go again next year and I was thinking of letting them loose by themselves for a few hours, while we take the younger ones on the little rides. I think 14 is old enough for a few hours at disneyland. My dh is a lot more protective than me so I don't know if he'll allow this though lol
  15. Disneylovers2000

    Disneylovers2000 DIS Veteran

    Mar 25, 2011
    Count me out! I won't/wouldn't let my kids roam alone. Tooooo many unknowns and situations that could arise that I don't think "kids" are mature enough to handle even when rehearsed over and over. I work in a school and work with kids all day long as well as being a parent, I have had many encounters with kids and feel confident with the opinion that I hold on this. I live in Alberta and under NO uncertain terms would I allow my kids to go to the Stampede/Capital Ex alone EVER! I truly believe that people living in Canada and those who go to Disneyland and other happy places have a false sense of security. And again, IMO, a family vacation means just that...
  16. kevdo

    kevdo Kevin Crossman

    Aug 27, 2011
    You know your kids better than we do but I think it's reasonable.

    Checking in every 30 mins seems a bit "tight" to me. We allow our kids of about the same age to do their own thing with these guidelines.

    1) Don't leave the park
    2) Set a time/place to check-in (usually 90-120 mins later)
    3) They have a cellphone (with "find my iphone" feature) so that we can get in touch / track them
    4) Remind them to deal with cast members if there's a problem
    5) Yes, stay together

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