I have read a lot about when (at what age) to visit Disneyland with your child(ren). Many insist that if you wait, your child will remember it and cherish it more, and the time and money spent taking them will be more worthy somehow. I couldn’t possibly agree.
My girls have been lucky enough to visit Disneyland several times. My eldest has been to the Park four times since she was three years old, and on our most recent visit, she was 10. Every time it’s been a slightly different experience, but each time equally memorable. Here are five reasons to take your child to visit Disneyland when they are little.
Believe in the Magic
Whether you have a boy or a girl, the Disney characters are iconic; from princesses to live talking cars and toys. When children are young, they believe that the magic of these characters are completely real. The first time we visited Disneyland my girls were 3 years and 18months old and they believed with all their heart that the Disney Princesses lived at Disneyland and we were at their home. The character visits were slightly intimidating for the 18 month old, but we have unbelievable photos of her facial expressions of awe and wonder when she met them, or pointed at them from afar while watching the parade.
The Rides Are Built for Them
Disneyland is built for kids. The rides are primarily for little kids, too. There are only a handful of rides that little ones can’t go on. Visit Disneyland.com …. to see which rides you can ride with your child before you leave home. Preparing siblings ahead of time for which rides the big brother/sister can or cannot ride can go a long way on park day. (TIP: If you and your partner want to ride a ‘big’ ride that your child cannot, you can wait in line once, take turns staying back with your little one and each take a ride.)
They’ll live without a Nap for a couple of days
I am a huge believer in sleep needs for our little ones. We typically have our kids in bed by 8pm (even on vacation) and even though we’ve visited Disneyland four times we’ve never managed to stay in the park for the late evening fireworks. That said, don’t feel bad if your child naps in the stroller a few times over the visit. You can always head back to the hotel for a mid-afternoon break as well, if you’re staying nearby (more on that in a post to come!).
As my eldest daughter has gotten older, she’s lost some of her fearlessness and is slightly more afraid to ride the bigger rides than she was was she was little. When she was only 5 years old, she rode the Matterhorn (a ‘bigger’ rollercoaster) with my husband, and on our last visit she flat out refused. My Ivy, she’s four, just rode the Mickey’s Toontown Rollercoaster on our recent trip and demanded to ride again (and then requested more)
When they’re little, you have your stroller with you (bring your own or rent there for $15/day). This your own personal shlepping-stuff-around-vehicle. You’ll want bottled water, camera, snacks and sweaters or change of shoes, plus diapers if necessary, so having a stroller is fantastic.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, they’re free up to age 3! As soon as your child hits age 3, it’s $92 per day for a one-day-one-park ticket.
Some other great posts and tips on visiting Disneyland with Toddlers and Preschool aged chidren:
One Smiley Monkey on taking your toddler
Go Los Angeles on Disney Tips with young children
Some Disney tips on Disney-related message boards