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?
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.
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
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!
Recent Walt Disney World Articles:Read additional articles from PassPorter.com
Top 10 Things I Love About Disney's Hollywood Studios - A Walt Disney World Park Review last updated 01-29-2015
Camping at Walt Disney World - Making Disney Affordable last updated 01-29-2015
The Fab Five Family at Walt Disney World - A Walt Disney World Planning Article last updated 01-22-2015
Our Must-Dos at Walt Disney World - A Walt Disney World Planning Article last updated 01-22-2015
My Top 10 Table Service Restaurants at Walt Disney World - A Walt Disney World Dining Review last updated 01-15-2015
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
View all 1 comments in forum thread Pooh#1 on May 15, 2011 @ 9:48 pm
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!
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
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!|
We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result
in more spam! We guarantee it.
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.
| LEARN MORE|
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks|
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.
Leaving items to transfer to another Disney resort after cruise
31 Jan 2015 at 3:17pm
I don't know if anyone's done this before and can help me. We're at Bay Lake Tower just before we go on a four night cruise on the Dream, and then...
(click title above to view replies)
What would you say to Walt Disney if you could?
by Her Dotness
30 Jan 2015 at 8:58pm
As most of us are aware, Walt Disney sadly died before construction of his World had even begun.
But, let's pretend that Mr. Disney is still alive...
(click title above to view replies)
Tampa airport to Disney [transportation suggestions?]
17 Jan 2015 at 8:54am
Is there a cheap way to get from Tampa to Disney. The air fare is so much cheaper for us to fly into tampa (like $800). Is there a car service that...
(click title above to view replies)
Total Visits: 6415