I am a huge Disney lover. All things Disney. My first experience with the theme parks was on my honeymoon. Hubby and I spent a week at the Grand Floridian and had an amazing time. We spent lots of our visit at Magic Kingdom and Epcot. We thoroughly enjoyed Animal Kingdom, although only needed a half day or so to visit that park. For us, Disney Hollywood Studio's is our least favourite.
|Meeting Eeyore for at breakfast|
We could stay at the resort and relax on the beach or by the pool, or we could go off to the parks and have fun - whatever we wanted. Neither of us is a sit on the beach for a week person.
|hubby and I relaxing on the beach at the Grand Flo|
Again, we were met with questions and comments about why we would take small children to Disney - it's expensive and "wasting" money for that age (our kids were 3.5 and 5mths when we went).
So, here are my answers:
1) They won't remember it: Maybe, maybe not. Mr. J DOES have memories of our time at Disney. They may be vague, but he does. Often if we are looking at pictures it will trigger something. Besides, if I was only going to do activities with my kids that THEY will remember, I wouldn't be doing anything until they are well over 3. That involves ANY vacation, any family trip - so that theory goes out the window IMHO. There are pictures for them to look at, and part of it was so that WE could enjoy the wonderment that they experienced (honestly, the best part of that trip was watching the joy on Mr. J's face as he experienced everything and took it all in).
|Mr. J on it's a small world - look at the wonderment/joy on his face|
|happy boy meeting Chip and Dale|
2) It's expensive: Yep, it is. We aren't a "go on a vacation every year kind" of family. If we need to save for a few years to be able to go to Disney, then that's what we will do. Although, there are many ways to make it much more affordable (staying at a value resort or staying off site completely; they even have a campground if you have an RV or want to camp instead of staying in a hotel)
3) They won't enjoy it or be able to do anything: Wrong and wrong. While Mr. K screamed his way around WDW, that was his personality and he just didn't like being out of his own surroundings. He only slept well in his crib, so it wouldn't have mattered where we were. Once he settled into the non-routine of our vacation and slept on the go, he was happy and he DID get a lot of enjoyment out of it. Seeing the characters was a huge thing for him.
|Mr. K LOVED minnie - he wanted to eat her nose|
Mr. J - 3.5 was a PERFECT age for him to go. He was very familiar with Disney characters from movies that he had seen and LOVED meeting them (and was even tickle attacked by pluto); he enjoyed the games that he played and spending time with us and his grand parents. He had fun at the resort splash pad, playing games around the hotel and finding hidden mickeys in hallways and restaurants.
|tickle attack from pluto|
He had fun taking the monorail, riding the bus and a short train ride at Magic Kingdom. He loved being on a boat during the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and he had an amazing time on the safari in Animal Kingdom.
|Mr. J giving Winnie the Pooh a hug|
He was able to ride in a large go kart with his dad, go on mini-roller coasters with his grandpa and eat dinner next to an aquarium filled with beautiful sea creatures. He saw parades and fire works and took in all the magic that is Disney. It was a wonderful age.
|enjoying the go kart (first ride at disney)|
Hubby and I got to experience Disney through the eyes of a child, and that made the trip for us. We had an amazing time on our honeymoon, and I am certainly glad that I got to experience Disney as an adult without young children. However, I cannot wait to go back and experience all the magic that kids bring with them (this time without the screaming baby).
Personally, I think if you are only going to go once - then you should wait until the kids are old enough to remember the trip fully and have a different experience - I would say between 7 and 10 years old. However, if you are like us that plan on going every 3-5 years, then I think going the first time when they are still innocent and truly believe in the magic, is the best time to go.
|Family Picture at Magic Kingdom|