Would you leave your 12 year old in the gift shop...

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies' started by ShannonMB, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. ShannonMB

    ShannonMB DIS Veteran

    Dec 2, 2008
    My daughter (12) and I will be travelling to Disney in March with another adult, a 21 year old gal who love, love, loves everything Disney and has never been. DD and I are beyond thrilled to take her for the first time and can't wait to see her face when she finally sees what she's always dreamed of!

    DD is a bit of a ride chicken and still won't even consider ToT or RnRC (although she actually is willing to give Everest a try for the first time this trip!). I want our friend to get to see these, and I can't decide if I should send her on her own and stay back with DD, or if, for crying out loud the kid is 12 years old, I was babysitting at her age, and of course she will be just fine hanging out until we get off and go along! I hate to miss them myself on any trip! It's just the 3 of us travelling.

    Which part of me is crazy? I should add that she occasionally is home for an hour or so alone, is a very bright and responsible girl, and knows all about stranger danger. :p If she were with a friend it would be a no brainer. But alone? Opinions?
  2. Suellen

    Suellen DIS Veteran

    Nov 25, 2007
    You k ow your child best. I have an almost eight year old I would allow to wait. I have an almost six year old that I doubt I will leave like at before she is 30.

    If you told her to stay and not wander off -would she follow direction?
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  4. tsme

    tsme DIS Veteran

    Aug 5, 2010
    I wouldn't with my DD. My DD is 10 now, but I wouldn't leave her alone at 12. When my son was 12, I didn't leave him alone. I trusted him & he was mature. I worry about the adult's behavior that are roaming around.
  5. AlixaLock

    AlixaLock DIS Veteran

    Aug 10, 2010
    Obviously, you know your girl and will make the right decision. Personally, I think an average, well-behaved and reasonably responsible 12-year-old is safe wandering a gift shop at WDW while you ride rides. Re-enforce stranger danger, who she should trust (CM, security) if anything does arise and where to meet and she'll be fine.
  6. SnowWhite607

    SnowWhite607 DIS Veteran

    Apr 29, 2006
    Another vote for "no" here. But only you know your child best. It is actually the other people I worry about, and not so much about my kid wandering off. How about you wait with DD and let the friend ride and then when she comes back, let the friend wait with DD while you go ride. Not ideal, I know, but it solves both problems.
  7. GovieMom

    GovieMom DIS Veteran

    Sep 29, 2007
    Yes but ... only if you and your friend used FP's for those rides. Because they would most likely have long standby waits, and your daughter might feel anxious waiting that long by herself in a giftshop.
  8. ErinsMommy

    ErinsMommy And though she be but little, she is fierce.

    Apr 20, 2011
    As a pp only you know how responsible your kid is, but personally speaking I wouldn't leave my 12 year old unattended as I feel no place seems safe anymore.
  9. Jennasis

    Jennasis DIS life goes on

    Jun 11, 2000
    Yes. Make sure she has a cell phone and strict instructions on where she is to stay while you're gone.
  10. mom2rtk

    mom2rtk Bring Back MARIE!

    Aug 23, 2008
    My DD 12 is checking out babysitting courses for this summer. So can watch OTHER people's kids.

    So yes, I would and did. On our last trip. She also did a few fastpass runs for us. And LOVED it.

    No place is completely safe, including Disney. But it is a great place to let them spread their wings a bit and try out a little independence. But I agree with making sure they have a phone.

    I woudln't leave her at the local mall, but for a little bit at Disney? Definitely.
  11. zy144622

    zy144622 Mouseketeer

    Sep 17, 2012
    I agreed with the "you know your child" I was alone at the mall/movie theater/roller rink by that age. As an alternative there are many kids clubs throughout Disney ad you do not need to be a resort guest to use them. I would offer this as an alternative to waiting for you. Who knows she may just want a break for mom too :)
  12. kymom99

    kymom99 DIS Veteran

    May 24, 2008
    If she has a phone I would say she should be fine. The only real reason the phone is needed is in case you have trouble finding her. My son rode rides at DL alone this summer. He is 13. During the time he was in line, F! let out and the crowds were INSANE for a brief time. Had he come out then, we never would have found each other. He didn't have a phone with him. Lesson learned.:thumbsup2
  13. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

    Aug 29, 1999
    My DD is now 13, but I would have had no problem leaving her in a gift shop alone at WDW when she was 12. In fact, I know I did! What is going to happen to your DD? She won't be raped or otherwise sexually assaulted by some pervert, dragged away and killed by a passing murderer, propositioned or groomed by a pedophile or knocked upside the head and have her iPod taken by a bandit.

    Make sure she has a cell phone so you can text when you're off the ride in case she wanders away.
  14. MinnieGirl33

    MinnieGirl33 Hockey Mom

    May 16, 2003
    Yes, I would.

    Another idea is to have them wait in line together & have your DD use the chicken exit. She could then simply wait at the off-load point. It would, at least, minimize time she spends alone.
  15. ttintagel

    ttintagel DIS Veteran

    Nov 28, 2011
    My sister and I were 12 and 13 when our parents turned us loose in the Magic Kingdom.
  16. rebeccaariel

    rebeccaariel DIS Veteran

    Oct 14, 2012
    Disney World is one of the safest places on earth, and at 12, she's old enough to know basic rules like "don't go off with a stranger" and whatnot. I think she'd be fine, as long as she's okay with being left. At 12, I was a babysitter, and my brother took the subway by himself to school. The age certainly isn't a problem. As long as she's okay with it, I say go for it.
  17. gtpoohbear

    gtpoohbear DIS Veteran

    Apr 15, 2008
    As long as she is of at least average maturity for a 12 year old she should be fine. If she has a cell phone, I'd even be comfortable letting her wander a bit, otherwise I'd probably make her stay parked on a bench or confined to a small area.
  18. mfd25wife

    mfd25wife DIS Veteran

    Jun 24, 2008
    My vote is that she is old enough at 12 to be in a gift shop by herself. 12 is when most of the day camps quit taking kids around here so I would be fine at WDW leaving a 12 yr old in a shop while I rode a ride. Then again, since it could take a little while, I would probably buy her a cup of "froo froo coffee" or hot chocolate and a muffin and let her sit in The Writer's Stop. She can look at books, drink, relax, etc. If she likes that kind of stuff, she is less likely to get bored and wander off.
  19. BelleBway

    BelleBway Spreading Sparkly Purple Pixie Dust

    Dec 7, 2008
    Get in line with all 3 of you; when you get to the front, explain to the attendant that your 12 year old won't be riding. The CM will direct her to the gift shop and she will only be alone for a few minutes. This is what I've done when traveling with my 2 nieces, one of whom is a ride demon and the other of whom is a ride chicken.
  20. mousermerf

    mousermerf DIS Veteran

    Jun 26, 2006
    The only real guidance Disney offers is that children under the age of 10 must be accompanied by someone 16 or older. So you're two years past that limit.

    At the parks as a teen/tween growing up we were often allowed to break up into small groups on field trips and do our own thing - on school sponsored field trips mind you. I remember running around Universal Studios Orlando until 1am in 7th grade.

    Leaving the park for any reason was forbidden of course, and getting in trouble would result in suspension/detention/etc.. Everyone had money or vouchers for food depending on the trip (you'll see kids that age group ALONE with these at Epcot/MK if you pay attention on any given day).
  21. DorianDonP

    DorianDonP Mouseketeer

    Mar 14, 2011
    12 is middle school. That usually means old enough to walk to school, ride a bike, or take a bus. She'll be in High School in another (few) trip(s) to Disney or so.

    I don't see why being alone at Disney World would be an issue. Then again, I was walking parks by myself when I was 10.

    I do echo the you know your child best sentiments. Talk to her and see how you feel about it then.

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