Toddlers to Teenagers: Making Sure Everyone Enjoys Their Trip - PassPorter.com
PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks

   guidebooks   |   news   |   podcasts   |   boards   |   blog   |   worksheets   |   photos   |   articles   |   updates   |   register   |  


Toddlers to Teenagers: Making Sure Everyone Enjoys Their Trip

by Sara Varney, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 05-12-2011
  



PassPorter.com > Articles > Walt Disney World > Planning  

Four years ago, I wrote an article on "How Young is Too Young?" Since then a lot has changed!


My son is now seven and, in addition to my work with PassPorter, I am now a travel planner affiliated with Mouse Fan Travel. This means I get asked this question more than ever! Recently I have noticed a trend in our area -- families with three or more kids, with ages ranging from toddlers to teenagers.

Over the past few months, multiple clients have expressed concern that their children are "too old" for Disney. Needless to say, it is often difficult to contain the horror in my voice when I answer! So far I've been able to refrain from answering, "Well, I'm 36 so..." But I get it. Taking a jaded "too cool for school" 10-year-old is a different experience than bringing a wide-eyed three-year-old. The situation is even more complicated when you have significant age gaps between your children. How do you create a trip that is magical for everyone from toddlers to teens?

The first step is to get everyone involved in the planning process. Pore over your copy of PassPorter's Walt Disney World (giving each person a different colored highlighter helps with this), order the Walt Disney World vacation planning DVD, and check out the Walt Disney World web site. Have each person pick one or two things in each park that are on their “must do” list. Some examples of “must do” items are a ride that your thrill-loving 13-year-old just HAS to ride, or a Princess meal that, without which, your six-year-old's life simply won’t be complete. Then commit to at least one of these items for each family member! (You too, Mom and Dad! This is your vacation too!)

Once you have the “must do” list in order, it’s time to move to the “wanna do” list. And anyone with an older child knows that the “wanna do” list can go on for days, so be sure to put a cap on the number of items each person can contribute! Some examples of “wanna do” items might be a Backstage Tour or a special one-on-one meal with a parent. Maybe a romantic meal alone for Mom and Dad while the kids explore the Neverland Club?

Kids Love Walt Disney World! photo
Kids Love Walt Disney World!

The PassPorter Moms' boys at Walt Disney World: Alexander and Ryan. Listen to the PassPorter Moms Podcast at http://www.passporter.com/podcast - photo by Jennifer Marx

The next step is to adjust your expectations. My trips with my son, now at age seven, differ wildly from his first trips as a toddler! At three, he was fearless and rode anything. At seven, common sense has kicked in (somewhat) and he is not as likely to go on everything we go on. Plus, he has learned to roll his eyes, so there is plenty of that when Mom and Dad insist on trying on Mickey ears in every store. (Not that this stops us…) Where he used to be happy to sit and watch the fountains at Epcot for hours, he now runs right past them without even looking up, in his pursuit of a seat on Mission:Space.

But if you are patient and let the magic come to you, miracles happen. That 12-year-old who was “over” the Princesses, when finding herself face to face with Cinderella, may just melt enough to pose for a picture.

Last step–divide and conquer. Yes, vacations are family time. But when you are trying to keep kids of all ages entertained, sometimes a little splitting up goes a long way! I know, I know–little Timmy HAS to see Handy Manny in Disney Junior–Live on Stage. But can his older brother Jimmy go check out Tower of Terror with another grown-up during that time? At least the second time around? And again, this goes for grown-ups, too. Mom, consider hanging at the pool with the kids while Dad grabs a round of golf. Dad, do the same for Mom while she is at the spa!

The best thing about any Disney destination is that there truly is something for everyone. From a young one’s first ride on Dumbo to your teen’s ride-along at the Richard Petty Driving Experience, I guarantee that each person will have their very own “wide eyed” moment!



About the Author:
Sara Varney is the Editor of PassPorter News, the Co-Host of the PassPorter Moms Podcast and a Travel Planner affiliated with MEI & Mouse Fan Travel. More importantly, she is a proud wife and mom.


Recent Walt Disney World Articles:
Viewing Wishes From a Different Perspective - A Walt Disney World Planning Article last updated 05-21-2015
Citrico's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort - A Walt Disney World Dining Review last updated 05-21-2015
Cheering at a runDisney Event - A runDisney Event Article last updated 05-14-2015
The Health Nut's Guide to Quick Service Dining at Walt Disney World - A Walt Disney World Dining Review last updated 05-14-2015
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - A Disney Film Legacy last updated 05-07-2015

More Related Links:
Disney + Disabilities = Magic! - Enjoying Disney World with Disabilities last updated 11/07/2008
Saving Money for Disney - Tips and Tricks last updated 2/25/2011
Baby Steps - Six Sanity Savers For Baby's First Trip to Walt Disney World last updated 3/7/2011
Disney Dreaming - Book Excerpt from PassPorter's Walt Disney World last updated 1/16/2009
Walt Disney World for Veteran Visitors - Finding New Things To Do last updated 1/16/2009




Reader Comments:


Love this new article Sara! Although challenging, I agree any kid of any age can enjoy WDW! It is the one place on Earth where there truly is some magic for everyone. Thanks!

     Pooh#1 on May 15, 2011 @ 9:48 pm
View all 1 comments in forum thread

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)




Updated 05-12-2011 - Article #638 



Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  

-HTML

 
 

We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2015
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

       SEARCH
       LEARN MORE
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


 


RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - 13,14,15,16,17,18
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Discussion forums about Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel provided by PassPorter Travel Press, the ultimate Disney travel guide and book series.


Disney refillable mugs into the parks or leave in the room?
by Gal
24 May 2015 at 2:29pm
Do you bring your refillable mugs into the parks, or leave them in the room? It does not sound like you can get drink refills in the parks, so do...
(click title above to view replies)

Pay with Disney Dining Plan and still collect Open Table points?
by Her Dotness
23 May 2015 at 6:18am
Anybody here know if this can be done since there are some DTD/Disney Springs restaurants bookable through Open Table? DH saw someone ask this on...
(click title above to view replies)

disney live cams
by TINK2843
22 May 2015 at 3:37pm
Just watched the 3 pm parade from the WDW live cam. If you haven't checked it out yet you should. Just google disneylivecam.com. Or you can go to...
(click title above to view replies)




Total Visits: 7008


PassPorter ~ 1998-2015 ~ 17 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Press
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
Guidebooks
About
Previews
Buy
Reviews
Updates
Features
News & Updates
Articles
Podcasts
Photos
Message Boards
Newsletter
Concierge Desk
Desktop
Trips
Books & E-Books
Tips
Settings
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Contests
Checklists
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.