Kilimanjaro Safaris; Animal Kingdom; AA
  • On Feb 14, 2008
    Debbie from IN Asked Note: This answer was provided prior to the change to planDisney and may still contain references to Disney Parks Moms Panel.

    Experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    We are planning to take our 3 year old this year for the first time in the fall. Honestly, how much time can a three year old handle? I'm struggling with how much time to book. A week away last summer was too long for her, and for us too as a result.

    The answer to this completely depends on your child. Some children are very "go with the flow" and are completely unfazed by new situations. Other children thrive on routine and become unable to cope when overstimulated. When my twins were preschoolers, one was able to handle anything, the other was much more easily upset by new experiences. That being said, we did have several week-long trips to WDW when my kids were this age. It just took a bit more planning to make sure the sensitive one was having her needs met.

    With any vacation away from home there are stresses to consider: a new sleeping environment, lots of restaurants, unfamiliar foods, maybe a different schedule. Add to that the unique twists of a Disney vacation (possible crowds, rides with perhaps unexpected stimuli, large mice walking around) and a very sensitive child could easily have trouble. Some things to think about:

    -Does my child have difficulty with changes in meal or bedtimes?
    -Can my child sit still in a restaurant at home for a decent length of time?
    -Has my child ever seen a costumed character at another theme park or birthday party? How did he/she react?
    -Does my child get motion sick?
    -Does my child enjoy swimming?
    -How does my child cope in hot weather?

    If these things all seem challenging for your child right now, then maybe this is not yet the right time. Or maybe you want to start with a trip of just a few days. 

    To maximize the chance of success with any Disney vacation, I strongly recommend taking the theme parks in small doses. Go to the parks when they open, enjoy the attractions until maybe noon, and then go back to your hotel for some rest and a swim. Then you can go back to the parks for dinner. This plan works well for anyone on a Disney vacation, but it is all but a necessity for those traveling with small children.

    Hope this helps.
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Meet the Panelist: Erin, New York

I have three teenage daughters. We're DVC members obsessed with Disney travel. We've been to Walt Disney World countless times and have visited Disneyland & Disneyland Paris. We've taken several Adventures by Disney and Disney Cruise trips. Learn More About Erin

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