Mom Poll: What Is the Right Age For a First Visit to Disneyland?

Mom Poll: What Is the Right Age For a First Visit to Disneyland?

I grew up visiting Disneyland often. Not because we lived in California, but because my half sister did. Oh lucky stars!!! Visits to see her always included a trip to the Magic Kingdom. I remember when Toon Town launched and the first time I was actually excited to ride Pirates of the Caribbean rather than scared. And then California Adventure opened the first time I got to bring a friend along on our trip. Yes, no doubt, I have many amazing memories from Disneyland.

Now, with two children of my own I’m anxiously anticipating our first family vacation to Disneyland. I can’t wait to see their faces as we stroll down Main Street and they soak in all the magic. I know my son will be thrilled to see Mickey and Minnie in person … he kind of already has a little crush on Minnie. And my daughter is a self-proclaimed princess so she’ll fit right in 🙂

But … the big “but” … when do we go???


What is the right age for a first visit to Disneyland?

My son is almost 2 and my daughter will be 4 in the fall, I know if we went now, they would love it, but I’m wagering that if they were a bit older we’d all have a more enjoyable visit. Do you agree? From your experience or research, what do you feel is the right age to experience Disneyland?

Here are some questions and tid bits I’ve mulled over in my planning for our future trip …

  • How will they handle the flight?
  • Are they still napping?
  • Are they potty trained?
  • How do they handle dressed up people and/or life size characters?
  • Can they listen to directions?
  • Do they stay close in public settings?
  • How do they handle being tired?
  • How long can they walk?
  • How tall are they? Does it align with what rides they will enjoy?

Now it’s your turn to chime in! What other things should I consider? What would you say is the right age for Disneyland? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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Gretchen hails from the beautiful Pacific Northwest along with her husband and two young children. Before transitioning to life as a stay at home mom, Gretchen worked in sales and marketing while earning her Masters in Management and Organizational Leadership. Now her days are focused on managing meal plans and nap times while organizing her sewing stash and children's toy bins. My oh my, how life changes in the blink of an eye! Gretchen writes frequently about natural parenting, becoming more environmentally conscience, her affinity for thrifted treasures, and hopes of making it out of yoga pants each day on her blog That Mama Gretchen (


  1. Age 2 1/2 to 3 is a good age for a first visit. Take or rent stroller, you wll be surprised at how well they will walk but the stroller is good for bags, snacks, etc and if/when they decide they need a rest it will be available. At that age they won’t be able to ride everything, but you will have plenty to fill the day for that age. Not sure about Disneyland, but Disney World you get “fast passes” in advance to return to certain rides to avoid long lines…..especially the “meet and greets”. Time your visit if possible to cooler months, waiting in the heat makes for irritable toddlers and adults!! Multi day passes (time permitting and if in budget) is the best way to go so you and kids don’t feel rushed “to get it all in” and leave feeling you missed a lot. Taking plenty of snacks, both healthy and sweet (the sugar will give the kids more energy!!!) will save time and money. Just remember to have a great time and enjoy it, take a few pictures but don’t waste a lot of time posing…..use that time to watch the kids “taking it all in”, their expressions and actions are priceless memories! If they are recently potty trained you might want to take some pull ups just in case, just let them know the reason, plan regular potty breaks or everytime you past a restroom stop for a visit because you want to make sure they drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. If you are worried about them wandering off, dress them both in same bright color shirts so you can pick them out quicker in a crowd. (maybe right your cell phone # on the inside of collar or use an id type bracelet. So start planning now and ENJOY!!! It is so much fun with little ones!!

  2. We took my daughter at 18 months and it was truly magical. She was thrilled with every aspect of the trip from the flight to the hotel and every single part of Disneyland itself. She woke up at 5:30 am every morning so excited to see “da mouse” that she couldn’t sleep anymore. We brought the grandparents along and had a hotel right outside the gates which made afternoon naps and bedtimes easy. There are obviously some kids out there that wouldn’t be able to handle a disneyland trip at this age but for us it couldn’t have been more perfect. It has been 6 months and she still talks about the pirates and the tiki room on a daily basis.

  3. A lot of people seem to go shortly before their youngest child turns three. This is because I think kids under three get in free, so it saves a pretty penny. At least that’s the case for Disney world, I don’t know about Disneyland.

    • This is very important info to add to my list of considerations! I hadn’t even though if timing a “cheaper” option!

  4. We took my 1.5 year old and she had the absolute best time! The Disneyland resort was so easy to get back to for naps. Best vacation ever!


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