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6 Topics Disney Parks Fans Have ZERO CHILL About

5. Bringing babies to Disney parks

Two baby friends in strollers (one is asleep)

Image: Amanda White, Flickr (license)

This is a subject where my own opinion has adjusted significantly over my time working for Theme Park Tourist. It’s actually one of the subjects where our readers have actually altered my opinion: should parents bring babies and small toddlers to Walt Disney World, or should they wait until kids are closer to 4 years old, a solid age where they are more likely to enjoy the attractions and parks a whole? It’s a topic fans are extremely passionate about, and it makes sense because it all comes down to wanting what’s best for kids at the Most Magical Place on Earth.

On one hand, there are some sound arguments against bringing babies and small toddlers to Walt Disney World. Children under the age of four are much more psychologically impressionable, and they don’t yet have the ability to distinguish between fantasy and reality like older kids do. Attractions that may not scare older kids or adults might frighten babies or toddlers. Mickey Mouse with his giant, inhumanly sized head absolutely freaks out some small children, and the stresses of a theme park can overwhelm some little ones, especially if long lines and blazing Florida heat is involved. Most regulars have seen a baby or toddler who is just not having a magical time on their Disney day. Experts have found that often, for babies and toddlers, their favorite part of a Disney vacation is playtime in the resort pool. Waiting until kids are older also can potentially eliminate the need for a stroller.

However, there is another side of the argument that is equally valid— some babies and toddlers do great at Disney parks, depending on their temperament. For one thing, babies and toddlers get in free! That’s a huge bonus! Families with multiple kids may not want to wait four years until a baby is older for the other kids to get to visit Disney parks, which is understandable. Each kid is different, and as long as parents are flexible, it is totally possible for toddlers and even babies to have a blast at Walt Disney World. I’ve seen babies light up with joy at the sight of Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck during a character meal, and as long as parents don’t ignore the need for nap-time and keeping an eye on energy levels, many toddlers do well too.

Toddler girl crying while dad holds her on Dumbo

The key is realizing that if you are bringing very-very small children to Disney, it’s no longer all about your plans—experts agree that parents must be willing to adjust to the energy level of your kid. Plan nap times (including a mid-day break at your resort, if possible), snacks, and outdoor play time for toddlers. Take advantage of Disney’s excellent Baby Care Centers, a wonderful haven for parents to take a break. Bring activities to keep them engaged in line and be prepared that they might like the pool more than the parks. Oh, and this is important—if at all possible, don’t come during the busiest seasons. Blazing Florida heat and long lines are a recipe for a disaster with a flustered baby or temperamental toddler who just wants to cool down and have fun.

Another factor that plays into this issue is where you live. Florida locals and passholders will likely have a much easier time bringing babies and toddlers to Walt Disney World. They can bring the child multiple times to the parks more easily and get them used to it. If the kid just isn’t having it, it’s much easier to change plans. For families visiting from abroad, there might be some good reasons to wait, especially if you’re planning a once-in-a-decade Disney trip that you’ll be saving up years for. If that is your situation, it may be worth waiting until your kids are past the toddler stage and can get the most out of Disney’s amazing range of attractions for children and families. Every family is different, and it’s understandable this is an issue that gets both parents and non-parents passionate.

6. Adults who visit without kids

Happy couple enjoying food and wine festival

Image: Disney

You knew we were going to go there…

Let’s clear one thing up—among Walt Disney World fans, the vast majority of regulars understand that the Most Magical Place on Earth is a destination for many different audiences. It’s a top vacation destination for families with kids, for honeymooning couples, and for adults, single or in groups. It’s just not rocket science to deduce that, especially once you leave Magic Kingdom, Disney wants to appeal to as many demographics as possible.

I’m loathe to even draw attention to certain rants about visitors-without-kids that somehow escaped the Twitter-sphere, but every few years the same discussion gets launched back into the headlines: should adults without kids be going to Walt Disney World? Are childless adults ruining the Disney vacations of families who just want their kids to have a good time?

Most Disney parks regulars will agree that the argument is ludicrous.

Walt Disney World is a destination for all. It is one of the top family vacation spots in the world because there is something for every age range to enjoy, whether a family has babies, seniors, teenagers, special needs children, if they’re just a couple in love, or if your family is just you! Families without kids are still families, and there is so much at Disney for single adults to enjoy too! It is profoundly absurd to assume that Disney parks are only made to appeal to a single demographic—families with kids. Consistently, those in the media and on social media who continue to proliferate the idea that adults without kids shouldn’t visit reveal that they don’t have the foggiest clue why people love Disney parks.

Breaching the divide between families with kids and adults-without is simple: be kind to one another and have reasonable expectations.

Little kids dancing with Stitch at Typhoon Lagoon

Image: Disney

You are responsible for planning your own Walt Disney World vacation in a way that will produce the best experience possible for your family. If you have small children, don’t visit during the hottest, busiest times of the year. Do your research and aim to plan your trip during seasons with moderate crowds and weather where your kids won’t be stuck in line the whole vacation. If you’re an adult, don’t get so sloshed drinking around the world at Epcot that you disrupt other guests, especially freaking out those with kids. Make way for that mama juggling three sodas and a stroller who is just trying to get down Main Street. Be willing to give up your seat on the bus if you see a family in need or an elderly person enter. Smile and cheer with your crazy bus driver to celebrate the honeymooning couple with the matching Mickey ears.

We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: Walt Disney World truly becomes the Most Magical Place on Earth when we love one another and do to others what we’d have done to us (and vice versa). We each can act with courtesy and kindness, recognizing that theme parks are crazy spaces where we may not always agree, and that many people in one space will always cause some stress. Be patient with one another, and no matter our differences, we can always make the Most Magical Place on Earth just a little more magical.

What are some other subjects you’ve seen where Disney parks fans have zero chill?

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