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One of the things I hear all the time in regards to Walt Disney World vacations is “I’m waiting until my kids are older so they remember it” or “my kids are too young for it to be worth it to go.” So what age is a good age for your child’s first trip to Walt Disney World?

I have a bit of a hot take on this, take them before they are three. Yes, I said it, take your child to Walt Disney World before they are 3 years old. When I say this people always respond, “but Ellen, they won’t remember” or “but Ellen, they won’t be able to make it all day in the park” or “but Ellen, isn’t that a waste of money”.

Here’s the thing, before your child turns three, they are free! You may need to buy them a kids meal here and there, maybe a new plush at World of Disney or a cute t-shirt at the Emporium, but they do not need a ticket to enter the parks. By not paying for a ticket you relieve a lot of the pressure of feeling that you need to get your monies worth out of the trip. So what if they have to go back to the resort to nap, you’re not paying for them to be there (and honestly I don’t make it a whole day in the park without needing a nap and I’m 33).

The other perk a lot of people don’t realize is kids under three are also free at buffets. Want to take your princess obsessed 2 year old to Akershus Royal Banquet Hall; you only pay for the adults and kids over 3. Want to have brunch with Pooh and Friends at the Crystal Palace; only pay for the adults and kids over 3. It’s such a great way to capitalize on the experiences without having to pay a premium for your littles.

I get it, you want your kids to remember their first Walt Disney World vacation, but lets be honest…how much do you remember from trips taken when you were 6, 8, even 10? I know I went to Walt Disney World when I was 8, and I remember almost nothing except that giant pink cake that was Cinderella’s Castle (though it’s such a viral thing any more do I even remember it or do I just know I was there when it looked like that?) At the end of the day, your kids, no matter the age, may not have a great memory of going their first time, but you always will. We took my oldest for the first time at 18 months, and a year later my youngest for the first time at 10 months. I will always cherish those memories, even if they only remember through pictures.

The joy of a toddler in Walt Disney World is unmatched, so take that trip before they’re three, you won’t regret it.

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