5 Reasons why Disney is better with Older Children

Why visiting Walt Disney World is better with older children.

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Don’t get me wrong, there really is something magical about taking the little ones to the Disney Parks. They marvel at the castle being larger than life, their favorite characters in person, and the sheer joy of a Mickey bar. Visiting Disney with little ones creates a lifetime of memories.




I have had a ton more fun visiting Disney with my older, pre-teen children.


Let me step back a moment. We live in the Orlando area and while we don’t always have Disney annual passes, we’ve had them at different stages of my kids’ lives, babies, toddlers, young children, and now pre-teen years. Plus, we’ve visited the resorts, the character breakfasts, and the water parks during our “off-pass” years. While this does not make me an expert, just lucky to experience it at different times. So with that…here are


Reasons why Disney is better with Older Children

No Strollers

I’ve been there. I’ve been there in a double stroller. And yes, I’ll tell you, you need to slow down and a stroller definitely forces that. But getting those things and two small kids onto a bus, boat or monorail is a PITA (hit me up if you don’t know what that means.) Pushing those contraptions through the crowds is no picnic either. The sooner your kids can walk, the better. And from what I’ve seen at Disney, they can walk a lot sooner than you think.


Here’s the thing I do miss about strollers… the storage. I like to bring in snacks and lunch to the parks from time to time and it was nice having the basket to hold my stuff. But I have found that the older my kids are, the less we need and cooler backpack does just as well.


No height restrictions

Do you have a little one that likes the thrill rides? You may be disappointed when they are not tall enough to ride Space Mountain. Older children get all the perks of all the rides. And by the time they’ve reached a certain height, it means we no longer have interest in rides like Dumbo or the Magic Carpet ride. For me those are definitely on the been there, done that list.


More Adventures

One of the hidden gems at Disney is the adventures you can find in each park that are not the big-ticket attractions.  Little ones can and do enjoy these, but as they can sometimes take a little patience, you may have to play it by ear. This past year we discovered:

  1. Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
  2. Pirates Adventure – Treasure of the Seven Seas
  3. Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure
  4. Hidden Mickey Scavenger Hunts
  5. Pressed Penny Collections
  6. Pin Trading

Each of these activities could warrant a page unto themselves.  What I like about these little details is that the whole family can participate and enjoy together.




No Coloring Stations at Epcot

I know this list is starting to turn into a bunch of no’s. But really it’s more than that. It’s about spending time together as a family and the various coloring stations at Epcot, to me, take that time away. I get they are there to provide the kids with something to do in each country, as there aren’t many attractions for the preschool set. However, I found that you had to wait for a place to sit, wait for your child to be done and then they still don’t want to explore what the pavilion has to offer but move on to the next station.  The cast members at these stations vary from lackluster to engaging, so you never know what you’re going to get out of it. My kids liked these stations, but were also okay when I found other ways to engage them through entertainers, and exploring different areas of the shops. Which leads me to…


Older children appreciate Epcot


Epcot is a great place to drink, eat, and shop and is often more popular with adults than kids. But if you do it right, Epcot can be a lot of fun for kids who like to learn. It’s like visiting the best museums, entertainment, and restaurants each country has to offer. If you set the right expectations going into Epcot – yes a few thrill rides, but more of a slower, cultural day – your visit can be enjoyable for all. Older children enjoy things like trying on kimonos and viewing the samurai swords in Japan, taking silly pictures in the totem poles in Canada, or sampling caramels in Germany. There’s replica Stave Church in Norway, a Mexican folk gallery, and more. Not to mention, simply talking with the cast members that represent those countries.

Then there’s the food in Epcot. This year my son chose Germany as the place he wanted to celebrate his birthday dinner. A 12-year-old in an all you can eat… that’s another story. We’ve had Scotch Eggs in the UK, tabouleh in Morocco, pastries in France and so much more. If you can’t travel the world, Epcot can bring the world to you and your children. It’s just a different approach than the other theme parks.


Bottom line, I’ve loved every age my kids have been. With each passing year, there’s more to appreciate and I’m enjoying the journey to young adults.

Reasons why Disney is better with older children

What about you? Do you find Disney is better with Older Children? What other activities have been better as your kids get older? Comment below and let me know.

24 thoughts on “5 Reasons why Disney is better with Older Children”

  1. Agreed! The first time I visited Disney I was nine years old, and it was so memorable (my parents surprised us with the trip). My brother, who was a lot younger, barely remembers the trip, but I loved it!

  2. I never went to Disney as a kid. I was 20 when I finally got there with some friends as part of a roadtrip- and I can see why it makes sense to go with older children. I was exhausted after one (amazing) day!

  3. You make some really good points! I was lucky to visit Disney World a few times as a kid, once as a pre-teen. I remember not being all that into Epcot until I was older. Then it just made me want to see all of those countries for real!

  4. I completely agree! First off, we were never big Disney people, both my husband and I only visited when we were very young and never really felt the need to go again. Our daughter never mentioned wanting to go until she was about 8 years old because it is when she found out about it through friends who have visited. We finally gave in when she was 9 and I believe it was the best time to go. We were able to enjoy all that Disney had to offer and she was able to ride anything she wanted. At the end, it was so easy and fun that both husband and I ended up really enjoying our time there as well.

  5. I’ll start by admitting that I’ve never been to Disney – and I don’t have children. But I can totally understand where you’re coming from. And being able to go somewhere near to home where your kids can experience other cultures through food – such a brilliant idea.!

  6. I first visited the Magic Kingdom in 1972, shortly after it opened, Tonya, and I live less than an hour away today. I agree with you that visiting with older children can be more pleasant, especially at Epcot. I am having flashbacks even now to leading sixth-grade field trips before I retired from teaching last year. Still, I cannot forget seeing the parks through the eyes of my nephew Nathan when he was yet a wee lad.

  7. I haven’t been to Disney park. (Sad, I know) But will definitely visit one next month in Tokyo Japan. Im from Singapore and its the nearest one hahahaha. But basing on the other disney post I read, young at hearts also enjoy it as much as the young ones do!

    1. Most definitely, Carla! I’m very jealous as I would love to visit Tokyo Disney Sea. Hope you have a wonderful time!

  8. Cute post! I love that you are all about the no strollers just like me, thoughI think some parents are more well behaved with the strollers than the older folks with the scooters. I love Disney even without my kids (though they are 20 and 23) and we have just recently started doing the pin trading and the keys to the Magic Kingdom. Fun stuff, always a wonderful time.

  9. I couldn’t agree more. I don’t have kids, but I live in Orlando and used to work for Disney and always said I wouldn’t bring my kids here until they were old enough to enjoy it…. without a stroller!

  10. I have never been to Disney, but I can totally understand what you are saying. I think that pre teens have a better appreciation of some of the attractions available. Plus less limitation because of their age makes it even more worthwhile.

  11. As someone who is short and frequently went to amusement parks with my parents…I really hated when I was too short to ride a ride. My poor parents had to then deal with me crying. It’s true it would be better if you didn’t have to worry about height restrictions.

  12. We don’t have kids at the moment, but I could see it being a whole lot easier with older kids, I just can’t imagine taking a small one there with the heat and crowds! Though the awe of meeting characters might be fun, I’m sure that experience can be had else where! Keep enjoying Disney 🙂

  13. I actually thought the same when I visited, because there is so much to do and learn from. Especially Epcot, a child would have fun but wouldn’t be able to absorb as much as a pre teen would. It was a very educational visit there, for me!

  14. I went to Disney World a couple times as a kid because my grandparents live in Miami, but when I visited Disneyland as an adult it was so much more fun and memorable.

  15. When I have my mini-mes, I will take them to Disney when they are older. Sounds like you had a lot of fun and it was a great bonding activity. At an older age your kids can also better appreciate the experience.

  16. I first went to Disney World as as teenager. I had my first Japanese food at Epcot Center. I think my parents were OK being a little daring there because they figured, hey, it’s Disney. I agree with everything you say. Bottom line, as they get older kids can do more stuff that parents like too, like more exciting rides, shows, nice restaurants, so it’s more of a balanced trip.

    1. I agree Eileen. It’s such a big vacation, and many can only do it once, and nicer to be able to do more.

  17. Thanks for your post! I’d been seeing a bit about Disney on Social Media and wondering whether my “gut instinct” was off… that it was a big expense and whether it would be better to wait for the kids to be a bit bigger. This post gives specific reasons why its the right decision to wait. (they are currently 3 and 6…)

    1. We are lucky that we’ve been able to do Disney at different ages. And while there’s wonderful things at the younger ages (think photo ops) I have more fun now that they are more self sufficient, enjoy a wider variety and I don’t have to navigate a stroller.

  18. Pingback: What Is The Best Age For A First Trip To Disney? - Smart Mouse Travel

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