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Walt Disney World is well known as most magical place on earth. However, for some ages, it’s more magical than others.
Walt Disney World is best suited for children between the ages of 3 and 9 since these ages still beleive in the magic of Disney and everything that comes with it.
However, that’s not to say you shouldn’t visit Walt Disney World with children who are younger, older, or heck, no children at all. Instead, it just means that you’ll want to tailor your trip to ensure everyone has the best time possible.
We’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Walt Disney World Resort multiple times over the past decade, including;
- As a couple (where I proposed)
- With elderly parents
- With a baby
- With a 12 other people – both children and adults (for our wedding)
With such experience it’s safe to say we know a lot about what works well at various ages when visiting the Disney parks.
Visiting Walt Disney World With A Baby (Under 1)
Visting Walt Disney World with a baby can be just as stressful as visiting with a five year old (inc the tantrums).
The heat and humity in Florida can leave babies feeling uncomfortable, and the regular feeding & nappy changes can leave you having to take significantly more (and longer) breaks than you otherwise would.
Luckily, all the Walt Disney World theme parks have a complimentary Baby Care Centre that take some of that stress away.
Each air conditioned centre is equipped with changing stations, feeding areas, high-chairs and microwaves. Alongside this you’ll find an extensive array of nappies (diapers), babygrows (onsies), baby food, wipes etc. that can be purchased from the cast members on hand to assist you.
There’s no limit on how long you have to stay or how freqently you can visit a Baby Care Centre and each location is clearly marked both on the park maps (both physical and on the My Disney Experience mobile app) and on sign posts around the park.
Children under the age of 3 do not require park admission or park reservation when visiting the Walt Disney World parks.
Of course, in the case of a child under the age of 1 that’s primarily due to the limited number of rides and attractions that a baby can go on or participate in.
We had the pleasure of visiting Walt Disney World with our baby boy Oliver when he was around 7 months old and sadly he slept through all of the parades at Magic Kingdom (and the fireworks!) but managed to meet some awesome characters (inc Mickey Mouse & Olaf) and even go on the classic “it’s a small world”.
Of course, if you’re visiting as a couple with a baby then it’s important to consider who is going to look after the baby and who is going to go on the rides (either alone or with your other children where applicable).
While the child-swap programme is available at Walt Disney World, it can still leave you spending the majority of your day at the parks waiting around.
Visiting Walt Disney World With A Toddler (1 – 3 Years)
Visiting Walt Disney World with a toddler can be an incredible experience. At this age (under 3 years old) children can visit all of the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks for free which given the high cost of theme park tickets to Walt Disney World can save you upwards of $400.
Better yet, children at this age are significantly more aware and able to participate in more of the Disney magic while inside the parks when compared to a baby. However, there are still a number of drawbacks / things to consider when travelling to Walt Disney World with a toddler;
- Regular trips to the bathroom and the occasional accident may occur
- You’re still going to need a stroller given the amount of walking required
- Depending on the child’s height they are still unlikely to be able to go on the majority of the rides
- Children of this age can be hard to entertain during long lines for rides or to meet characters
- You may need to go back for a nap, find a way for the child to nap in the stroller or be prepared for a meltdown (or two!)
We visited Walt Disney World with 12 people (14 including ourselves) for our wedding back in 2019. The youngest member of that trip was our niece Matilda, who was aged 2 at the time.
Sadly the long international flight from the UK made her sick which resulted in her visiting the ER on day 3 of our 10-day trip which resulted in her being on medication for the remainder of our vacation.
This combined with the heat and humidity of Florida make the experience significantly more stressful.
While she had an incredible time running off with Donald and Daisy and meeting her all time favourites Mike & Sulley from Monsters Inc there were still a number of meltdown moments – including when everyone else could go on a ride (inc her older brother) but she couldn’t since she was too short.
Factoring out the fact Matilda got sick on this trip, I’m still confident that now at the age of 6 she’d appreciate the magic of Walt Disney World even more than she did just a couple of years earlier.
Visting Walt Disney World With Young Children (3 – 9 Years)
Visting Walt Disney World with a child between the age of 3 and 9 is perfect.
They still believe in all the magic of Disney, and are often tall enough to go on the majority of the rides inside the parks.
Sadly, Walt Disney World knows this and as such you will need to purchase a ticket and make a park reservation for a child above the age of 3. Given this, it’s worthwhile considering either going just before the child turns 3 or when the child is 4+ so you’re able to get more value from the trip.
The best Walt Disney World park for a child aged between 3 and 5 is going to be Magic Kingdom, where they can experience;
- Festival of Fantasy Parade
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- It’s A Small World
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Meeting Princesses at Princess Fairytale Hall
- Cinderella’s Royal Table
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
- Mad Tea Party
When it comes to the best Walt Disney World park for a child between the ages of 5 and 9 it really depends on their interests. If they love Star Wars or Toy Story then Hollywood Studios is going to be a must!
However, if they love animals and thrill rides then Animal Kingdom maybe the better choice.
When visiting Walt Disney World with a child between the age of 3 and 9 we highly reccomend taking their height in advance of the trip so you’re able to see which rides they are not eligable to go on.
This may influence when you visit Walt Disney World, or if you’ve already booked help you prepare your child for not being able to go on selected rides during your visit.
Visiting Walt Disney World With Tweens (9 – 13 Years)
Tweens are at a tricky age, they’re not quite teenagers but also not little kids. As such you may find that some rides inside the Walt Disney World park are too childish for them.
While Magic Kingdom offers a number of thrill rides including; Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train the theming may make them scoff.
Hollywood Studios offers a similar number of thrilling rides including; Hollywood Tower or Terror, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Millennium Falon: Smugglers Run and more mature theming with the likes of Stae Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story.
If your tween loves animals they’ll be in for a treat at Animal Kingdom, not only does the park offer some thrilling attractions such as Avatar Flight of Passage but due to it being a nature park there are also a number of animal encounters and shows throughout the day.
Finally, Epcot is going to be the best Walt Disney World park for older children who love learning. Here they can take part in a number of interactive experiences, visit countries from around the globe and try out some unique foods.
There’s also a number of thrill rides located inside Epcot including; Test Track Presented by Chevrolet, Soarin’ Around the World and Mission: SPACE.
Visiting Walt Disney World With Teens (14+ Years)
Visting Walt Disney World with a teenager is very similar to visiting with a tween. They’ll likely scoff at more of the magical character meet and greet moments in favour of thrilling rides across the resort.
In this case, you may want to consider also investing in Disney Genie+ if your budget allows. Disney Genie+ is an add-on to your regular park tickets and can be purchased for $15 per person, per day using the My Disney Experience mobile application.
Using this service you’re able to skip the standby line on selected rides at selected times including some of the most popular and best rides for teenagers within the Walt Disney World Resort including;
- Hollywood Tower of Terror – Hollywood Studios
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Hollywood Studios
- Avatar Flight of Passage – Animal Kingdom
- Test Track Presented by Chevrolet – Epcot
- Soarin’ Around the World – Epcot
- Mission: SPACE – Epcot
- Splash Mountain – Magic Kingdom
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Magic Kingdom
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – Magic Kingdom