What age to let kids go off on their own a little?


DIS Veteran
Feb 6, 2002
No right or wrong answer here. We were just wondering at what age did you start feeling comfortable allowing the kids to go off on their own a little? DD's will be 11 & 10 this year; I'm not ready to let them go yet, am I overprotective?
That was about the age we started letting ours go off on their own...we usually had breakfast together..did a few rides and then they headed off.

I of course...was a nervous wreck...hubby was good at calming me down though...lol.

We were staying on property...so we set them their own credit limit in their room key cards for food/souveniers/recreation. (disney doesn't control this...you and the kids do...so you have to trust them...because the could go crazy if the wanted to...lol)

We told them they had to stick together in whatever they were choosing to do. Funny how a sister and brother who fight like cats/dogs can make this work at disney. Hubby and I had to laugh...but they did it...they had great fun.

Now, in the age of cell phones/and those little two way radio things..it makes it really easy to have close contact if you need to. We didn't have cell phones then...They knew that they could ask any disney employee/security person for help if they needed it.

We had a place to meet back later in the day for dinner or whatever.

I know it is hard to watch them go off on their own..but they will love it. Just wait until you watch them drive out of the drive way for the first time on their own...now that is hard...and then...their first apartment...even harder...so ...

you might as well give yourself a break here..and break yourself in little by little..lol..disney is the perfect spot to give this a try.
I know it's gonna be tough letting them go a little, but, I guess disney is about as safe as anywhere to start. Thanks for the comments.
This yr we lat DS go off on his own at Cedar Point and US/IOA he is 12.

I deffiently DO NOT think you are over protective. I would not let my 11 yo off on her own or with a sibling or friend. IMO disney is a family vacation so the family stays together. I can't see me letting my kids " go off" by themselves, well ever.

I disagree with the thinking that disney is safe. Someone looking to "target" kids would go to the place where kids would be. Disney being among them.
My sister let her DD's ages 10 and 12 go off some on their trip in Nov. both in the hotel (WL) and parks. I personally would not feel comfortable doing this at those ages. She did a funny parental thing with the room charges, she told them the cards were only good for food, not souviners. They bought it and never tried them anywhere but food places. To each his own I guess, even in my own family!;)
no kids, but there is an eight year diffference in the age of my sister and I and since my parents divorce there were times I was more like her mother than sister. She is 14 now and will go to the local amusement park by herself all day with a group of friends, I (or my parents) would never let her go off by herself, even if we were in the park, too many things can go wrong, even with one other person it is ok though. The same would apply to WDW, if the situation were to come up, my sister is very responsible but I would never be able to let her go by herself, with a friend for a couple of hours sure, if I was in the park and we had meeting time every couple of hours, but not by herself.

At your kids ages, it would depend on their maturity, if I thought they could handle it I might let them go together for 1 or 2 hours, once then see how they handled it, with one of those radio things, then go from there, if they met me on time, were ok and together, then maybe do the same thing once a day during the trip, no more than that. Even then I would be so nervous.

Last year we said our 15 & 13 yo DD's could go off on their own for a short time each day. either in the parks or around the hotel. They said it was a FAMILY trip and they wanted to be with us in the parks! LOL I almost fainted!!

They did miss a few rides with us, to do some shopping nearby, and they did go off on their own when our younger ones were napping or playing. But mostly we stayed together.

Their choice, but I was VERY happy with it. I don't think I would have let them go off on their own much before this. Even at home, I'm pretty protective.
Thanks for all your comments. I'm feeling better about not really wanting them to go off on their own yet. I'm really thinking they are still a couple of years away from stuff like that. To be honest, they have'nt even mentioned it yet, I was just kinda wondering for myself. I don't want to be a prude, but I do agree that this is our vacation and it's two weeks where we can actually be together as a family(no clients, no classes, no music or dance lessons, etc...)thanks again....can't wait for may to get here....so we can get there!!
Three years ago, we let our then 11 y.o. DD and 14 y.o. DS go off on their own within the same park that we were. Not always though. Rules were to keep together at all times, except for restroom breaks. It is amazing how much good it is for them to bond together. Last year they were 13 and 16. No problem. We used our Sprint PCS phones and kept in touch at all times. That worked much better than the two-way walkie talkies. The people we saw had trouble with static as well as distances. This year we will do the same. Two kids that don't particularly get along at home can amazingly get along great at WDW.:D Plus it's good for mom and dad to do what they want, too. There are advantages to having older kids, I guess!


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