Traveling with Small Children

A candid photo of my sister and me standing with 6 kids (ages 8 weeks to 13 years) in the Frozen queue on a multi-generational family trip in 2017.

A VERY common comment I hear when people discuss family vacations to destinations like Disneyland/Disney World, is “my kids aren’t old enough to enjoy/remember/do anything (insert reasons here).” Truth is, while all of those are valid points, they aren’t entirely true statements.

Over the next couple blog posts, I will be sharing some of my common responses and tips to this popular question.

Never too early or late to start traveling

Children are sponges. Constantly learning and absorbing everything around them. Sensory issues, anxiety and other things (both child and parent alike) play a role into deciding to take kids on a BIG trip. I always recommend that if you are concerned about your child’s reaction to the environment, start exposing them to components of a Disney type vacation to see the child(ren’s) reaction. If you have serious concerns, discuss with your physician and friends who have experience taking their children around the same ages.

Ways to test the water:

  • Take your child(ren) to a festival where there are a lot of activities and people. This will provide an opportunity for you to see (within a large but manageable crowd) how they handle the environment
    • How do you as the parent handle the situation? Are you able to enjoy the moment or stressed the entire time?
  • Meet the Easter Bunny, go to a local event with face characters and those in costume, etc., see how your child reacts when being near and/or interactive opportunities with the performers.
    • Do they love the whimsy and magic? Are they hard-core believers or they absolutely horrified? Sometimes the first reaction is not the true reaction. Having exposure to a few performers over a period of time can be the best indicator of your child’s comfort level. Don’t spring 10 folks in costume at once over to your home and see how they do. That’s terrifying for anyone!

Don’t change your schedule

It’s tempting to plan your trip to the full. Sure you want to maximize your time and your money but at the same time, you have to think — at what cost is it to your health and sanity? Let’s say at home, your kids normally wake around 7am and go to bed around 8pm. A destination, like Disney, is sure to make you feel excited and eager to go as early as possible–that’s awesome! However, you want to take into consideration energy levels and how your family handles long days in general.

Here are a few tips to make the meltdowns minimal:

  • If your kids aren’t night owls, don’t plan every night to be a fireworks night. Consider one or two nights out and allow them a day (or afternoon) of extra rest as time allows. Maybe a Fireworks Cruise or Dessert Party may be the answer.
  • Have a light day and make the evening the actual event of the day. Don’t push your family to have multiple days of 12-16 hours of activities. You will already be beyond tired from days in the parks. Cut everyone some slack. You will have more fun and enjoy more by accommodating everyone’s need for moments of rest and relaxation.
  • Consider penciling in some resort activities. The Walt Disney Resorts have wonderful pools, play areas, arcades, dining, special activities (such as movies under the stars or a special craft).
  • Talk to friends who have gone. Ask them how their trip went. Ask what they would do differently/same.
  • Leverage sites like, which has thoroughly detailed plans for park days with young kids, older kids, thrill-seekers, etc. It’s very helpful if having a detailed plan is your jam.

Most importantly, it’s never TOO early or TOO late to take your family on a trip to Disneyland/Walt Disney World. The parks are ever changing and there is something for every age group. Sure, your 1 year old may not remember but you will remember! The photos and moments are truly priceless.

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About Crush on the Magic

I'm a Midwestern mom that embraces fun whenever possible! Crush on the Magic is focused on all things Disney and Universal Destinations. I'm here to provide insights for all Disney/Universal vacationers, from the theme park regular to the once-in-a-lifetime trip goer, this site is for you! Thinking of booking a trip? I am happy to provide my expertise at no additional charge. Contact me at or complete my no obligation form at