Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Pros and Cons of Every Age Range

Many parents struggle with the "right" age to take their kids on a Disney Parks vacation. In my opinion, EVERY age is a great age! I've heard many say they are waiting until they are old enough to remember. I understand that. A Disney vacation can be expensive, and may be a once in a lifetime event for a family, so I understand the need to get the most out of the experience. But there are drawbacks to every age, actually. Not just the little ones.

Here's my list of pros and cons for each age range!

Babies (Ages 0-18 months)

Pros: Babies are easy. They sit in their stroller all day and don't ask for every souvenir they see. Most are content to sit and watch everything going on around them and will nap right in their stroller. Disney has Baby Care Centers that are a great place for a meal (for baby) or just some quiet downtime. There are many attractions that are perfectly safe for babies to ride on mom or dad's lap, so the family can still experience much of the park together. (Unlike many other theme/amusement parks) And for the bigger thrill rides, Disney has a Rider Swap program to minimize your line wait times. Babies are FREE! No need to pay for a park pass or dining plan.

Cons: There are many attractions that babies cannot experience, or won't want to (dark rides). You will need to tour the parks at a slower pace and take frequent breaks for diaper changes and feedings. You'll need to lug quite a good amount of stuff into the parks with you- diapers, wipes, food, bottles, extra clothes. Babies won't remember it. You won't be able to ride thrill rides with your significant other. Someone will have to stay with baby.

Toddlers (18 months-3 years)

Pros: At this age they're starting to recognize who Mickey and other characters are and most will be amazed at seeing them up close and personal. They get so excited! Attractions will be very exciting for them too. You may be sick of the song from it's a small world, but they will love it. Many kids this age will still nap in the stroller. Kids under 3 are FREE! Even if they turn 3 while at Disney, as long as they are still 2 at check in, you're good!

Cons: They're still too small for bigger rides. Some kids will be scared of the characters. They might not remember it. This seems to be the prime age for being scared of dark rides.

Preschoolers (3-5 years)

Pros: This is the best age for character interaction. They just love meeting the characters they adore and still believe it's really the character and not just a person in a costume. The amazement and wonder is still there. Many kids are taller by this age and can ride the attractions with a 40 inch height minimum.

Cons: Still too short to ride thrill rides. They're no longer free. Some are still scared on dark rides.

Elementary Kids (5-9)

Pros: They're FINALLY tall enough for Space Mountain and Rock n Roller Coaster! And they are so so excited to ride! Kids on the younger side of this spectrum are still into the characters, any many of the older ones too. They're still considered a kid, so they're cheaper for park passes and dining plan. They understand more of what's going on at Epcot and Animal Kingdom and get a kick out of things like Kidcot Stations at Epcot and Wilderness Explorers at Animal Kingdom. They'll definitely remember it, and will most likely talk about it for months after you go home. (Is that a pro or a con? LOL!)

Cons: By the later end of the spectrum, most kids know the characters are just people in costumes. No more strollers, so you get lots of complaints about sore feet. And lots of, "Can you buy me this?"

Tweens (10-12)

Pros: They have more stamina at this age and can make it all day and into the evening without needing a nap or being tired. Most will be ready for all thrill rides and want to do them over and over.  Their palettes are expanding so they will be willing to try all the awesome restaurants on Disney property, not just ones with chicken nuggets and mac n cheese.

Cons: Starting at age 10, they are considered adults and must pay adult price for park passes and dining plan. Kids start to get embarrassed at this age and might not be as willing to play along and have fun. They might be over the whole character meet n greet thing. They might not be as impressed with slower rides.

Teens (13-19)

Pros: You finally have mini adults on your hands and can enjoy the parks together. Teens are more appreciative of fancier restaurants and shows like LaNouba. They will be able to shop with you without constantly asking for things (hopefully) and can better understand the cost of things.

Cons: They might miss their friends at home and want to spend a lot of time on their phones. They might want to spend time on their own at the parks, without you. And two words- hormonal meltdowns. Teen years are so so fun.....

So there's my list of pros and cons! Got a pro or con of your own for a certain age range that I haven't listed?? Comment below!!

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