Monday, September 28, 2015

Taking young kids to Disney...yay or nay? I say YAY!

Look at those smiles!
This was back in 2008, when my kids were 6 and 20 months.

Many parents state they are not taking their children to Disney World until they are old enough to remember it all. This seems kinda silly to me. Kids who are 1 or 2, even 3, don't remember anything from that age, so any vacation they're taken on will be a long forgotten trip. So why not go to Disney?

To me, vacations are all about family bonding, fun, togetherness. Enjoying each other without the responsibilities of home, whether it's an amusement park, a beach, camping, historical sites, museums, parks. The point is to be together and have fun. And young children aren't going to remember playing in the sand or roasting marshmallows either.

My first, and probably the most important reason, to take young children to Disney is that Disney knows how to cater to families. We've done family vacations to other places...not so easy. The restaurants aren't entertaining and the kids get bored. It's not always easy to find a bathroom or somewhere to change a diaper or nurse a baby. People give you dirty looks if your kid cries or throws a little tantrum. Strollers are frowned upon and often hard to maneuver in many places. And if you've ever tried to take a stroller on a sandy beach, you know it's nearly impossible! LOL! Disney makes traveling and touring with kids so easy...effortless. Which allows parents more time to relax and enjoy themselves.

Secondly, compared to other amusement parks, Disney does it right when it comes to families and small children. If you go to any Six Flags park or other similar park, you're lucky if you find 2-3 family friendly rides. Mostly they have thrill rides or rides just for small children. There is rarely anything parents and kids can enjoy together. Well, guess what, the majority of Disney attractions are family friendly. We even took our son on most things when he was only 9 months old. Obviously the roller coasters are out, and a few others, but Disney knows how to make attractions, and Broadway-style shows, that families can enjoy together.

Reason number three is all about money and the money-saving aspects of taking young kids to Disney. This is the only time you can take them and not pay for them. Once the kids turn 3, they need a park pass and if you decide to do the Disney Dining Plan, you need to pay for a plan for them too. When the kids are under 3, all you pay for is the adults. A value resort room is roughly $90-$130 a night, depending on the season. In my experience, it's hard to find a hotel or accommodations anywhere else in the country for much less than that. Add on your entertainment, which in Disney is the parks. For two adults, you need to figure roughly $500 for 2 basic park passes for a week, which includes all four main parks and all the attractions and shows within them. Anywhere else you go, you have to pay entertainment costs, whether it be museum entrance fees, mini golf fare, Six Flags entry, etc... Yes, camping is pretty cheap, and the entertainment is pretty much free, hiking and what not, but it is not easy to take small children camping. I can't see how that is a relaxing vacation. And I guess if you take a beach vacation and do nothing but sit on the beach everyday, you can eliminate entertainment costs there too. But, if you're like me and like to do and see things while on vacation, it adds up fast.

Lastly is the memories parents will have. The kids will not remember it...we know that. They won't remember anything from that age. But you as a parent, you sure will remember it, and remember the smiles on their faces going on fun rides for the first time, experiencing attractions together. You will have pictures of your toddler with Mickey and Donald, excited and happy with a pure joy that wanes as kids get older. You will remember how it it felt to sit in front of the castle at night as fireworks explode above, cradling your sleeping child in your arms.

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