Trip Planning: Age for Childrens First Visit

Discussion in 'UK Trip Planning Forum' started by Orlando Planner, May 10, 2009.

  1. Orlando Planner

    Orlando Planner Earning My Ears

    May 10, 2009

    I appreciate this has been covered before; but I'd like to ask it more specifically from a UK perspective.

    We have two children, two years apart in age. What is the ideal age for their first visit to Orlando. I don't believe there is a bad time; and all children are different, but what are your views considering the following facts:

    - At best we would visit Orlando three times EVER whilst they are children.
    - I suspect a second visit would be within a few years of the first.
    - I suspect a third visit will be many years later.
    - We would visit Euro Disney in the interim years if there were serious withdrawl symptoms!!!

    We want them to be old enough to get the most out of it, but not too old to miss the thrill and excitement only young children can feel.

    Appreciate there is no exact answer, but would be interested in opinions.
  2. loobylou44

    loobylou44 Mouseketeer

    Mar 26, 2009
    We have two children that are almost exactly two years apart. We visited WDW for the first time in Feb 2003, our son was 9 1/2 and daughter 7 1/2, we went for 11 nights and just did disney, they were not into big rides and Pirates was about as daring as it got, but we had a fantastic time. We returned in 2006 kids 12 1/2 and 10 1/2, this time 14 nights and included US and IOA, son daring, daughter still a bit of a woose!! As you can see from my signature below we had our Disney fix at DLRP inbetween times! We are now planning what we think will be our last WDW trip as a family for December this year, kids will then be 16 1/2 and 14 1/2, will be doing WDW, US and IOA and SW, and both of them will be doing all rides, however 6 years on from our first visit I'm not so keen on thrill ride's!!!
    I think we have got the timing of the trips just about right in terms of their ages. As said first two trips in Feb, which we loved as virtually no queuing, but have to change now due to childrens school commitments - so as they get older that has to be considered also.Hope all this helps.
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  4. jackieleanne

    jackieleanne DIS Veteran

    Jun 17, 2008
    Hi, I can't say from a parents respective but I can speak from a child's respective. My first trip was at five years old my little sister was then 1 and my older sister 7, and I think those where perfect ages for us all as we got so excited to see all the characters and me and the eldest loved going on smaller rides and Big Thunder Mountain. We also loved doing Universal at this age, (IOA) wasn't there yet. We as a family have been back every other year and found it perfect as we all get our disney fix and find that Disney/Universal had at least one new addition for us to try when we returned. Here I am at 21 going on 22 and booked onto my next trip without the parent's and with the OH and we already plan on taking the children every other year and probably the youngest somewhere around the 1 year mark as we know it would be a magical age and totally different experience.
  5. fizz13

    fizz13 <font color=33cc99>Dreams about being stuck on Spa

    May 6, 2004
    hhmm have done trips with then starting at 5 months all the way through to 8. I think the ideal age was when was youngest DS was nearly 4. he had reached the magical 40" to get on Splash Mtn and a couple of other mild thrills and yet he was still little enough that he was in awe of all the magic around him, he loved all the characters, shows, and he was old enough that he had quite good stamina, toilet trained, you could explain what we were doing, where we were going etc. i think that was absolutely perfect. The only age i seem to have trouble with is between 2 and 3, more prone to tantrums, is tired but big enough to fight it, cant always express themselves as much as they would like which leads to meltdowns and frustrations etc. i also have great memories of taking them as babies and toddlers and loved that we got to be there for DS 1st birthday.

    but i stick by what i said earlier that 4 or nearly 4 was the best yet.:goodvibes
  6. Jets fan

    Jets fan DIS Veteran

    Jan 21, 2006
    My sisters two children first visited at ages 3 and 5. My best friends children visted at 4 and 6. My nephew first visted at age two and a half and he was perfectly fine and thoroughly enjoyed it. We have some great photos of his interaction with the characters. All of the above stay at Disney hotels - which does help when children are small as you can go to a park for a couple of hours, go back and nap/eat and then go to another park in the evening.

    Luckily in each case the children and adults have become hooked on Disney and now go each year.

    My neph is now aged 16, nearly 17 and has been to Disney every year and sometimes twice a year since he was two and a half and still loves it. We are DVC members and love holidaying there, although we only tend to go every other year now as we like relaxing on beaches as well.

    Our visits for the last 10 years have been much more relaxing, popping in and out of the parks and just relaxing around the pool. The more you go the less you have to dash around.

  7. higgy66

    higgy66 <font color=deeppink>I have to force myself to go

    Jun 20, 2006
    I think any age is perfect as long as you're prepared to go at the child's pace.

    There's only 14 months between mine and we went to DLRP when they were 3 & 4 and they loved it.

    We're going this Sept when they will be 6 & 5 and they can't wait. We only plan to do Disney and Seaworld so we can take it at a nice steady pace and also spend time in the hotel pool as they still love this as much as anything.

    Also we still have a reasonable bedtime routine on holiday with a couple of late nights for something special - this works for us as there' snothing worse that tired kids!

    Some people think we'll be bored after 2 weeks of Disney but we know from experience that when we come off a ride the kids always shout "again again" and we want to be able to go back and join the queue again and not be racing off to something else. Just hoping they don't go for a repeat of "It's a small world" - 4 times in a row! :scared1:

    We plan to go back several times and when they're 11+ we might go for an all out military style trip fitting in everything but for now we're happy to potter about Disney and take in all the bits you miss when rushing around.
  8. scottish mum

    scottish mum <font color=darkorchid>We still have 2 posties in

    Jul 28, 2008
    My sons 1st visit he had his 5th birthday there and had a great trip, my other son was 4 for his 1st visit and loved it but suffered from the heat and tiredness. My dd was almost 2 for her 1st visit and she loved it but we couldn't ride all the rides together as she was too small.

    We have been back often oldest ds hs been 5 times, other ds 4 and dd 3 times. I personally think the most magical is when they are aged somewhere between 4 and 8. Small enough to enjoy all the magic but big enough for nearly all the rides. They have gone past the baby stage and are at the fun stage.

    Our last holiday the kids were 4,7 and 11. They all had a ball and we were able to ride nearly everything as a family.

    No real right age but more of a right height, over40", if you all want to ride together
  9. pixiepower04

    pixiepower04 DIS Veteran

    Nov 23, 2005
    Our first visit was in 2004 when DD was 6 and a half and DS was 4 and a half and they loved it. Both my kids have no fear and are adrenaline junkies and I believe this is because we'd been taking them to thorpe park and chessington since they were titchy.

    We stayed onsite for 3 weeks in December so were there for Christmas and New Year and we had a blast but we missed so much because we were ill prepared.

    We went to DLP in 2006 and again in 2007 to get a fix because we never knew when we'd be going back and we had a great time but I really wanted to go to Florida again and we did manage to get back last September / October with DD10 and DS8 and again stayed onsite for 3 and a half weeks and had a fab time, much better prepared but still missed alot.

    We made the decision there and then to go back every 2 years so we will be booking to go back next September/October in the next month or two.

    I never had holidays as a child so for me it's really important that the kids have this as often as possible when it's possible.

    I work for myself and I take no school holidays off because I make wedding cakes so April onwards is my most busiest time so I made the decision to take 3 weeks off every 2 years for the October holidays with a week out of school at the end of September to give me a break and us quality time togeter as a family.

    We will continue to go every 2 years until the kids don't want to come anymore or can't come anymore but next year my kids will be 12 and 10 and then 14 and 12 and then 16 and 14 and then 18 and 16 so there's not many holidays left I suspect before they fly the nest :sad1::woohoo:

    Part of me thinks sod the money this is about quality of life and about what could happen tomorrow and part of me thinks I should be more sensible but the child in me wins hands down every time :lmao:
  10. darthtatty

    darthtatty Been There, Done That, Going Back!

    Apr 14, 2008
    id advise taking children before they first start school. :goodvibes
    we took son when he was 4, we went in May before he started school in the september. 5 years later he remembers so much of it.
    were going this week, 5 years after his last trip. i think thats a good time too just before he starts the last 2 years of primary school.
    we had planned to go in 5 years time but realise that will be just before his Gcse years so will prob delay this to when he has finished school.
    in the interim we'll go to DLRP, we're also going to OZ to visit my brother so may try to visit a Disney on the way eg hong kong.

    like you said though, any age is a fab age to go to Disney :goodvibes
  11. Haworthfamily

    Haworthfamily We can't get enough of Disney

    Feb 3, 2006

    We first took DD when she was 4, perfect age for a young princess to enjoy the 'wow factor' She was fairly well flown to DLRP before we saved for WDW.

    But....... This year we are taking our 1 1/2 year old twins too. We decided that they won't remember much, but will enjoy the colours, music and characters etc. Also they are free! The next trip they will be 3yrs and cost us lots more!
    I am really aware that on this trip, we will have to centre activities around them alot more, for example we are making ADR's for lunch times, rather than late night dinners etc.

    As a child I was 10 on my first trip and my sisters 6 and 4. I can remember everything from that trip and it was magical, although I didn't want to ride Space Mountain - even though I made my dad cue for nearly 2 hours and then changed my mind before boarding! ha ha ha ha ha. :rotfl2:

    Sarah X
  12. madmumof2

    madmumof2 DIS Veteran

    Jun 6, 2008
    My children's first holiday is in October and it's to Orlando :D

    They will be 6 and nearly 4. I think this is the perfect age to experience the magic, still believing that fairies are real and the characters are really the same ones in the films.

    We'll go again when Alyssa it 6 (nearly 7), and Cameron is 9. Not as much magic this time, they'll know the characters are just men in suit for example, but they'll be able to go on the bigger rides, have more memories of the trip and swim with the dolphins.

    Then I'd love to go when they're in their teens so I don't need to watch them as closely. They can do their own thing and I'll get a chance to do mine. If I could only got 3 times, these are the ages I would take mine.

    Hopefully I'll be able to go every couple of years though. :D
  13. madmumof2

    madmumof2 DIS Veteran

    Jun 6, 2008
    Meant to add, it really doesn't matter what age you go, there is so much to do for each age group. :D
  14. PChef

    PChef Mouseketeer

    Feb 2, 2006
    Our boys were 5 (nearly 6) and just 8 when we had our first trip to Florida. They loved every second of it. It was nice not to have a buggy etc. and they coped very well with all the walking. It was February so low crowds and not too hot, just nice and warm. We had been to Disneyland Paris the previous year so they were familiar with queing for the rides, characters etc. 5 yr old not into big rides, he did Big Thunder but not Everest, but old enough to eat nicely in a restaurant, not be scared by fireworks, go to the toilet when required!

    I don't think I could have coped with toddler tantrums, pushing buggies, fussy eaters, nappies etc. and enjoyed it all myself. However plenty of people do take littlies and seem to cope!

    Next trip the boys will be 12 and 9. We will do Universal as older one likes the wilder rides, didn't go there last trip. But they are insistent on doing Disney too!!
  15. torsie24

    torsie24 Mummy to a perfect princess.

    May 14, 2008
    I was 7 when we first went, and I can remember bits of it and had a wonderful time. I think we'll take our children when the oldest is 6 or 7.

    Knowing me though as soon as I'm pregnant I'll be planning their first trip to DLRP! I know they wont remember it when they are toddlers, but I will and it's so close I think it'll be a wonderful break.

    For florida though I say leave it until they are old enough to have a bit of input and be able to ride bigger rides if they fancy it. (Like BTM and Splash mountain)
  16. Shazzie B

    Shazzie B DIS Veteran

    Oct 22, 2006
    Mine were a similar age and it worked really well. Did you go in Feb to avoid the Pancake race!!!
  17. Beth__WDW23/6/02

    Beth__WDW23/6/02 <font color=deeppink>you can never mock anything u

    Mar 7, 2002
    Our DD was 2.5 years old when we first went...She's now 9 years old and still loves it all,as for the characters she still loves having her picture taken with them,and spotting them around the parks.:goodvibes
    Our other DD turned 3 last year out there and she just loved it,she adored everything :lovestruc

    I also agree with the school comment,its great to go before they start school :thumbsup2

    I personally think 2 upwards is a great (starting Disney age) :cutie:
  18. wicket2005

    wicket2005 <font color=deeppink><marquee behavior=alternate>H

    Mar 31, 2005
    I think it really depends on how much you want that child to remember that trip.

    My lads were 7 and 5 on their first trip and can only remember bits about it though they do have the feeling they had a fantastic time, they are 20 and 18 now. I think if you look back at your own childhood memories you will just remember bits and pieces of the different holidays. Lasting full memories of a holiday would only happen when the child was older.

    With children you enjoy doing different things with them as they reach different ages. Orlando is no different. Go now and you experience it at a different level than you would in a few year's time as that child's desires change.

    So for a lasting memory if an once in a lifetime trip is planned go when the child is older. If you plan to visit a few times, as I think you are planning, as the child gets older go whenever you want.

    What I would also add is life is short, if you can and want to do something just go ahead and do it now.:thumbsup2
  19. higgy66

    higgy66 <font color=deeppink>I have to force myself to go

    Jun 20, 2006
    I would just add that with the invention of camcorders I think it's easier for children to remember holdays etc.

    My 2 are always watching the camcorder especially our trip to DLRP and I think this really helps. I'm sure when they're much older and watch the tapes it will jog their memories and they will remember much more than just talking about past trips.:thumbsup2
  20. wicket2005

    wicket2005 <font color=deeppink><marquee behavior=alternate>H

    Mar 31, 2005
    Possibly but in any case, I fancy digging my old camcorder tapes out and watching them, thanks for the reminder. I always remember videoing MK fireworks and in the background my youngest son then 7 is shouting 'I love you Mummy'.

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