The best things to do with kids at Disney World sounds redundant doesn’t it? Isn’t Disney World made for kids? While the answer to that is yes, there are shows, attractions, and experiences that certain age groups will enjoy more than others. Though what’s most important is to listen to your kids and ask what they want. Here’s a guide to the best things to do with every age group at WDW.
Ages Newborn to 3
If your child is less than three years old, there is no cost for them to get into the park. Take this time to let your kid experience something new!
Eat at Family Style Restaurant or Buffets
Kids at this age get to eat for free at any family-style restaurant or buffet. Let them try some new things or enjoy a meal as a family at a lower cost.
Baby Care Centers
Unbeknownst to most families, every park has a baby care center for free. These usually include changing tables, feeding chairs, nursing rooms, a family bathroom, and a market with anything you might need at real world prices.
“Any Height” Rides
These rides include attractions like Dumbo or Kilimanjaro Safaris, where there is no safety risk for your little ones. Some of these rides are arguably the best in the park and a great way to gauge what your child likes.
Get their first haircut on Main Street USA
A well kept secret is that Harmony Barbershop does special first haircuts! You get special Mickey ears, a keepsake lock of hair, and a certificate.
Take pictures with Mickey Mouse (or any character)
Ages 3 to 6 (Preschool Age)
Your tiny tykes are ready to take on Disney World, and the world is their oyster. But be sure to plan for naps and breaks too.
“Any Height” Rides
Rides like Peter Pan’s Flight or Frozen Ever After still pack plenty of excitement for the little ones. They could even try Haunted Mansion or Toy Story Mania for a new challenge.
The current Festival of Fantasy parade at 3pm is a great time to take a pit stop. My personal favorite is the Move it! Shake it! Parade- get up and dance with your kiddos!
Introduce Them To “Big Kid” Rides
By that I mean rides with shorter height restrictions, like Soarin’ or Tomorrowland Speedway. Always make sure to measure your kids before you make your plans!
Do A Character Meal
This can be a memorable way to start or end your trip! I highly suggest doing breakfast, as it’s cheaper and your kids are less likely to be tired out.
Go To The Resort Pool
Many kids this age will get just as excited about the pool as Disney World itself. Take them at the end of the night to tire them out before bed.
Ages 6 to 11 (Elementary Age)
This was the age I was when I first went to the parks and I loved every minute of it. Though I don’t think there is a “perfect” age to take kids to Disney World, this is pretty close.
Bring on the Thrill Rides
Test Track, Slinky Dog Dash, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad are great for seeing what your kid is ready for. Use them as a stepping stone for the more intense rides in the parks.
Create Learning Opportunities
EPCOT can teach kids about countries and cultures, Animal Kingdom can teach them about ecosystems, Hollywood Studios serves a little lesson in movie production, and Magic Kingdom has something new to learn in every land. This can even be as simple as teaching your kids how to read a map!
Stay for the Fireworks
Meet Face Characters
Meeting Cinderella can be magical at any age, but seeing a favorite character can be the cherry on top of a great trip. This way your kids can have a conversation with them instead of hugging them and running away.
This age group is perfect for “shows” like Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor or Jedi Training! They can be a part of the action and get their time in the spotlight.
Though your children may be growing out of that “magical” phase, there are still plenty of things for them to enjoy! It’s all about listening to their ideas and suggestions.
The final stage of rides at Disney World- if they are ready that is. Rides like Rock n Roller Coaster or Splash Mountain are there for the adrenaline junkies.
Let Them Lead The Way
Though I don’t recommend letting them run free, maybe let your kids make some decisions of their own. Give them a gift card with a set amount to get souvenirs/snacks, or have them pick some fastpasses for your group!
Meet “Scary” Characters
I would never recommend purposely scaring your child, but I think at this age they may be ready to conquer some fears. Kylo Ren or Evil Queen can be intimidating at first, but the experience can help them gain some confidence.
Go To An After Hours Event
With younger kids, it might be difficult to get through a regular park day. But older kids will love being part of the small group in the park for Villains After Hours or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Make A Special Souvenir
With age, comes power and responsibility. Which is why I suggest this age group for an experience like Savi’s Workshop or Droid Depot.
Any Age Tips and Tricks
Shockingly enough, some people still don’t realize this service is free and can be made days in advance. Reserve them in the afternoon to prevent meltdowns or surprise your kids with their favorite ride!
Utilize Rider Switch
One parent can wait with the kids who won’t or can’t ride while the other rides and then they can swap. Just ask a cast member at any attraction entrance if that service is available.
Use the My Disney Experience App
The app can help you with dining reservations, wait times, booking fastpasses, and so much more! A must have for any parent with a plan.
Not only is food more expensive in the park, there can be lines for it too. Keep your kids happy with Goldfish between meals.
Prepare for Bad Weather
It’s Florida- it will probably rain sometime between 2pm and 5pm. Bring ponchos and keep some indoor attractions in mind to wait it out.
One big takeaway from this list is there is no age limit on fun. And making the experience enjoyable for you and your kids is key. These are merely suggestions as a good jumping off point for you to discuss with your family. And be sure to leave some wiggle room in your plans for extra magic. Let us know about your experiences in the comments below!