Should I take my toddler to Disney? They won’t even remember it.
What age is a good age to take your child on vacation? Will they even appreciate it?
We were recently talking with a client who took their toddler to Disney World. Both of us have older kids and a baby-by-a-lot. Both of us hesitated to travel when our older children were younger. But now, we both find ourselves willing to brave the world of travel with our youngest because we realize our window of opportunity to travel as a family is getting shorter quickly.
To be honest, even as a travel advisor, my opinion on this has grown. I used to be scared to travel with my young children. Now, I realize I was considering the wrong kind of trip (more on that later), but I also had not experienced the magic of vacation memories. The first time I took my mid-elementary school-age kids to Disney, my heart melted toward traveling with children. And I regretted the years I was too scared to make memories with them.
Every family must make their own choice on when and how they involve children on vacation. We by no means want to give a one-size-fits-all answer because there isn’t one. The destination, flights time, and costs involved can all be a factor in deciding about when to take children on vacation.
But we do cringe a little when we hear things like “they won’t appreciate it” or “they won’t remember it” or “we’ll wait until they are older”…
For most families, this means waiting quite some time before all the children are at convenient ages to travel. For some families, this is truly best. But for most, it means that by the time they can start traveling, they have very few vacations left as a total family before the oldest children begin their own lives. After high school (and sometimes even in high school), it gets infinitely more complicated to balance the schedule of college and new jobs into a workable family vacation. The truth is, once you get on the school calendar, families have very few times together to travel before graduation. If a family starts traveling when all their children are school-aged, this usually means they have 8 or fewer summer vacations to take together. Eight chances to make memories before the family starts to morph in size and geography.
That’s not that many opportunities.
So, for those families for whom that isn’t enough, let us tell you a secret.
It’s okay to travel with younger children.
Will you have to accommodate their limits? Yes.
Is it right to plan a trip that is appropriate for their ages? Yes.
Will the rules have to be flexible? You bet.
Is it a good idea to pick a trip with a lot of support so that it isn’t more work for the parents? ABSOLUTELY!
We are a huge proponent of family-friendly all-inclusive resorts, food packages, and cruises for young families because they provide built-in support that allows for memory making instead of the regular day-to-day work routine. There is no sense in taking a vacation that is just more work to live life elsewhere. But some places do provide the food and entertainment that works for all ages of the family to be able to enjoy each other.
Will they remember it? Maybe not.
But you will.
Will they appreciate it? Maybe not.
But you can.
And that matters. Those memories are precious because you get to cherish up where your family is right at that moment in time. It will never be that way again. Disney will never be magical in the same way as it is through your small child’s eyes. Watching your child get brave enough to go down the big water slide or try a new activity at a resort is a fantastic experience that won’t happen again. Eating family dinners where no one has to cook or clean up are fantastic memories that won’t fade for you.
My children recently asked me to show them pictures from when they were younger… a trip they don’t remember. I tell them about all the things they did. How funny they were and what they loved. They eat it up. They don’t know. But I do. As they are rapidly getting older, I cherish those times. I’m glad we went, even if it took extra effort.
That client that just went to Disney with a toddler? Some days, the toddler had struggled with the heat or lack of naps. But she also hugged every princess with absolute awe. And she laughed and laughed. Her siblings made memories with her. They have family pictures with the WHOLE family. The photos are priceless.
So, if you need it, here is your permission to travel with your young children. Make those memories. Take those pictures. Cherish them up. There are only so many summers left.
Do you need vacation ideas that will work for younger kids and babies? Contact us today to start your planning.
About The Traveling Compass:
The Traveling Compass is a full-service luxury travel agency. Our success is built on a foundation of unmatched expertise and outstanding customer service. Our travel agents specialize in international travel, corporate incentive trips, destination weddings & honeymoons, multigenerational travel, luxury leisure, and family travel. We are also Authorized Disney Vacation Planners with experience assisting families that have children with special needs or large families or groups with complicated dining reservations for over 20 guests. Our personalized travel itineraries are designed to help discerning, time-pressed travelers plan the most elaborate vacations, down to the smallest detail. As luxury travel agents, we are dedicated to creating and facilitating travel experiences that expand awareness and give each person a real sense of the country and culture they are visiting. It is our mission to make sure you have the travel experience of a lifetime, every time.