by Disney Magic Diva
While some of the attractions at Walt Disney World Resort require guests to meet a certain height requirement, thankfully there is no age restriction at The Most Magical Place on Earth. Whether you are a newborn or a centenarian, you can have fun at the Disney Parks. I first went to Walt Disney World as a young adult, then with a toddler while pregnant with twins, with pre-teens, teenagers, young adults and now with grandkids. Maybe it’s because I’m older and wiser, and I’ve been to Walt Disney World enough times to know my way around, but going with the grandkids is one of my favorite kinds of trips!
Taking your grandchildren to Walt Disney World takes some planning, undoubtedly. (You can find incredibly valuable tips about visits with babies and toddlers from Neverland Diva here and less common tips for traveling with kids from JollyFrogger Diva here.)
In planning, you’ll want to consider your grandchild’s age, interests, dining preferences, sleeping requirements, energy level and most importantly – melting point! I’m blessed with living close to my grandkids and spending quite a bit of time with them. I can “read” them pretty well, and know when they’ve had enough “fun” for one day.
We’ve walked out of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party right before the famous parade, even though we had prime curb-side viewing spots on Main Street, because our granddaughter was reaching her limit, and nothing is quite so scary as an over-tired 4-year old. Likewise, we forfeited reservations at Cinderella’s Royal Table, ten minutes before our scheduled time, because it was just getting too late, and, for her, the fun was over for the day. Heartbreaking? Yes. But try to keep in mind the purpose of the trip is to create lasting memories, and who wants a memory of a cranky child at dinner?
TIP: Be flexible! Don’t try to do too much in a day. Recognize your grandchild’s limits, and be willing to leave the park when they are tired. Everyone – you, your grandchild, and all the guests around you – will be happier!
If you’re flying with your grandchild and leaving the parents at home, you’ll want to check your airline to see if any certain documents are required for you to travel with a minor. Some airlines have suggested, for instance, that if a parent or guardian is not present we have a copy of the child’s birth certificate. A temporary power of attorney for you to act on the parents’ behalf in case of an emergency may be a wise option too. While thankfully we’ve never needed these documents, we always feel more secure knowing we can obtain immediate assistance for our grandkids if the need arises. Illness can come on suddenly and accidents happen in the blink of an eye. If you are faced with these emergencies you don’t need the added stress of paperwork! Getting medical attention will be much easier if you have proper legal documents in hand.
TIP: When traveling with a grandchild, consider bringing a copy of their birth certificate and a power of attorney for health care.
Although taking your grandchild to Walt Disney World requires, perhaps, more planning than a trip without young children, it also has tremendous rewards. Having time alone with our grandkids is such a bonding experience. We share secrets, make memories, introduce them to new experiences, and spoil them maybe just a little too much. As grandparents, we are happy to slow down, sit and enjoy some of the little things that others may miss as they rush to the next attraction. It’s amazing what young children notice if you just give them a chance and listen to what they have to tell you. Our grandkids particularly seem to enjoy the “wildlife” around the parks. We’ve enjoyed a relaxing respite while watching baby ducklings. One of our most memorable moments was sitting, for over 30 minutes, watching a very determined squirrel work to open a can of nuts someone had left in the bottom of their stroller. The kids thought it was absolutely hysterical and we enjoyed the down time!
Visiting Walt Disney World with your grandchildren also lets you see the magic of Disney through their eyes. We first took our granddaughter when she was just 2 years old. The memory of her walking down Main Street, her little hand grasping my index finger, is one I will cherish forever. She was in awe of all the princesses and we were in awe of her willingness to walk right up to them, as if meeting a princess was the most natural thing in the world to her.
The same wide-eyed wonder was in our grandson’s face when, at 11 months, he met Minnie and Mickey Mouse. He couldn’t stop staring! He had similar reactions with other characters. Most of the time his reaction was one that could best be described as apprehensive, but intrigued. But whether it was one of the Fab Five, a Princess or favorite Disney Junior character, he couldn’t take his eyes off the characters. We, likewise, couldn’t take our eyes off our grandson. That’s one of the biggest benefits of taking the grandkids to Disney World. You may think you are giving the grandkids a fun trip, but in reality you are giving yourself the gift of priceless memories with them.
Although our grandchildren were too young to remember these moments, we remember. We have adorable photographs to share with them. We can tell them stories, again and again, about their first trip to Disney World. They still aren’t quite tall enough to partake in all the attractions, but our grandchildren are old enough to enjoy the magic of Disney. And even as grandparents, we aren’t too old to appreciate a little magic too!
***Disclaimer – We at Tips from the Disney Divas and Devos hope you enjoy reading our articles, and encourage you to share any you feel may be of interest to someone else. We do ask, however, if you choose to share the photographs attached to our articles, you give credit to the photographer. Thank you for your cooperation and sharing our love of Disney!