Theme parks are a fun and exciting excursion for the whole family. We should know. Our family has been Disney World annual pass holders since our boys, now ages 10 and 15, were babies!
There's nothing quite like watching your child's face light up as they see their favorite character or a rollercoaster for the first time. It's truly magical.
But what about the youngest members of your family? How young is too young to take your baby, toddler or preschooler to an amusement park?
Technically, your child can go to an amusement park as soon as he or she is able to go outside, but it's not really as simple as that. There are several factors that can play into your decision to visit a theme park with your baby or toddler in tow.
Choosing the Right Time
When deciding when is the right time to take the newest member of your family to the theme park, you will want to consider the following five factors:
Will you be making the trek to the amusement park by yourself or with a full support system? This may seem like a ridiculous question to some, but there are moms out there who can do it all (almost) by themselves, but this is one thing that no mom should attempt on her own. For one thing, if you're toting a baby, toddler or even a preschooler, there's not much you can do at a theme park except walk around. If you want to have any fun or visit any rides or attractions, you're going to need someone to hold your littlest munchkin for a least a little while.
Another important factor when deciding when is the right time to visit a theme park is the weather. Younger children are more sensitive to heat and cold, so it's important to choose a time of year when the weather isn't too extreme. For instance, if you want to visit Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, it would be wise to avoid any month between April and October because it's just too hot. So, if you have to travel during the hottest months due to vacation time or school schedules, it may be better to wait until your child is old enough to withstand the heat.
If you visit the park with a young child, you need to temper your expectations. While a preschooler or even a toddler may buy into the excitement of the trip, your baby isn't going to care about anything except staying cool and being fed. Even your preschooler or toddler may stop caring after a couple hours of walking and waiting. You'll just have to learn how to savor the special moments and ignore the whining.
Amusement parks can be expensive - really expensive. The average price for a ticket to Disneyworld or Universal studios is well over a $100, so you need to decide if it's worth spending the money for a trip that may be cut short due to a toddler's meltdown or a fussy baby. On the other hand, if you're a season pass holder to your favorite amusement park, you're going to be less disappointed if something goes awry, and your excursion is cut short.
This is probably the biggest factor in deciding on the right age to start visiting a theme park with your child. Some young children and babies are laid back, love to travel and would be easy to take anywhere, including your favorite park. Some children, on the other hand, are more ... um ... a little more high maintenance. You know your child better than anyone, so you'll know when it's the right time to pack up the car and take a trip to see Mickey (or the LEGO characters or Harry Potter). If you're visiting Disney World, check out my article on whether or not it's a wise decision to rent strollers from Disney or bring your own.
Whenever you choose to make the special first visit to a theme park with your child, remember to cherish the moments and memories you make together as a family.
More Traveling with Baby Articles
Tips for Traveling Internationally with Baby - Jen Reyneri
Breastfeeding while Traveling - Jen Reyneri
Potty Training Tips When Traveling - Lena Vogelgesang
Travel Buddies or Travel Bandits? - Babywise.life
How to Obtain a Passport for Baby - Jen Reyneri