What Is the Best Age for Disney World?

Disney World is a magical place for kids and adults alike. However, many parents question when is the right time to actually bring children to Walt Disney World. What is the best age for Disney World? Some may argue that you should wait until your children are older for the best Disney World trip while others insist memories are magical no matter the age. 

Let’s cover all the factors parents should consider when deciding what the best age for Disney World is. 

What is the Best Age for Disney World?

There are many factors that go into this decision

  • Price
  • Height Requirements
  • Memory of the Trip
  • How many times do you plan to take them?
  • What are your children’s interests?
  • Belief in Magic
  • Are the adults in your party ready for the adventure?
  • Do you want to have to bring a stroller?

For each family, this decision is going to look a little different. My first son didn’t take his first trip until he was 18 months, but my second son had his first trip when he was 11 months.

Let’s dive into some of the factors to consider when booking a Walt Disney World trip that could impact your decision.

Disney World Child Ticket PriceBest Age Disney World

One of the main reasons why families are so hesitant to book their Disney vacations is because of the pricing. Disney is not the least expensive family vacation to take, but when compared to the experiences, Disney is a next-level, one of a kind, magical vacation that should be done at least once.

When visiting Walt Disney World, there are three price ticket tiers to keep in mind for tickets and food at the Disney parks.

Tickets for park admission are broken down into these age categories:

  • 0-2 Free
  • 3-9 Child Prices
  • 10 + Adult Prices

This means that if you bring a 1-year-old to Disney, they can get into all of the parks for free. A 7-year-old is going to have a discounted ticket price, but a 15-year-old will pay the full adult admission.

Pricing varies throughout the year, park to park, how many days you are going, etc., so it is difficult to say how much exactly you will save taking the younger kids versus the older kids.

For instance on a Saturday in May for Magic Kingdom an Adult ticket is $174.00 and a Child ticket is $169.00, so you are saving about $5.00, but again choosing different dates, lengths of tickets, and parks, these savings can vary.

Our favorite Disney-approved re-seller, Get Away Today, offers the best Walt Disney World discount tickets around. In addition to great discount prices, their customer service and easy support is absolutely fantastic. They have an entire department dedicated to making sure every order has a wonderful experience and they are on-call to help you during your vacation if you need them.

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Buying tickets from Get Away Today is easy and convenient since all their tickets are sent electronically. You can take their vouchers and head straight to the gate without needing to wait in any ticket booth lines. They also offer layaway plans so you can pay off your vacation over time.

Disney World Kids Menu Prices

You can also save at Disney World restaurants depending on the age of your kids when you go so that is another factor to consider for the best age for Disney World.

When eating at restaurants, anyone can order off of the kid’s menu, but it is specifically made for children 9 and under. The portions are a great size and usually come with an entree, one to two sides, and a drink. Most of the kid’s meals are going to be about $12 or less at the quick service (counter service) restaurants.

If you have a child that is 0-2, most of the time they are not going to eat a full meal on their own, so ordering an adult meal and sharing is the best way to not pay for them to eat. You can do this at table service or counter service restaurants throughout Disney World.

Best Age Disney World- Sleepy Hollow

If you are eating at buffet restaurants or family style restaurants, you will not pay for any child that is 0-2 years old. They still can eat from the buffet or the table food, though. This is a great way to make sure you are getting your money’s worth with the higher price points. There will also be a children’s price for kids 3-9 and an adult price for anyone over the age of 10.

With this pricing information, taking any child 2 or under is essentially free. For kids that are 3-9, you are going to pay a slightly discounted price for admission and kid’s meals. For any child that is 10 or over, they are essentially considered an adult.

This can help you factor in whether or not it may be worth taking your younger kids especially for more costly experiences like Disney World character dining. But, the next question is, can they really do anything if I take them while they are super young? Does that matter when thinking of the best age for Disney World?

Disney World Height Requirements

Walt Disney World is designed to be family-friendly just like Walt’s initial dream for Disneyland. However, family-friendly does not mean there are no thrill rides or height requirements for some of the larger rides.

Walt Disney World is broken down into four separate theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios. Magic Kingdom has the most young kid-friendly attractions and Hollywood Studios has the least.

Magic KingdomCinderella Castle

Magic Kingdom is typically the number one park for families with young children to visit when booking a park day at Walt Disney World. This park is the quintessential idea of what Disney World should be for visiting families. At this park, guests will find areas for princesses, Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Ariel, and so much more! At Magic Kingdom, there are 28 different rides with absolutely no height requirement. This means that no matter what age your child is, they can go on at least 28 different rides in the park. There are some rides that do have a height requirement for Magic Kingdom.

The six rides to check the height requirements for are:

  • The Barnstormer – Guests must be 35 inches (89 centimeters) or taller
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Guests must be 40 inches (102 centimeters) or taller
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – Guests must be 38 inches (97 centimeters) or taller
  • Space Mountain – Guests must be 44 inches (113 centimeters) or taller
  • Tomorrowland Speedway – Guests must be 32 inches (82 centimeters) or taller
  • Tron Lightcycle Run – Guests must be 48 (122 centimeters) or taller

Animal KingdomBest Age Disney World

Animal Kingdom has been falsely accused of being just an expensive zoo at Disney World. This is absolutely not the case. Throughout the park, guests are able to experience and interact with the animals who find their home here, but there are shows, rides, and attractions that are also focused on the animals found in Disney Movies. The UP bird show is one that can’t be missed. The Tree of Life at the front of the park is memorizing as you walk the trails around it looking for all of the animals carved into the trunk. The rides are incredibly entertaining and will appeal to children of all ages. Animal Kingdom has 12 different rides for kids of any height and four with height requirements.

The rides at Animal Kingdom with height requirements are:

  • Avatar Flight of Passage – Guests must be 44 inches (112 centimeters) or taller
  • DINOSAUR – Guests must be 40 inches (102 centimeters) or taller
  • Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain – Guests must be 44 inches (113 centimeters) or taller
  • Kali River Rapids – Guests must be 38 inches (97 centimeters) or taller

EPCOTEPCOT- Best Age Disney World

EPCOT is typically thought of as the park for adults, and while the counties are more interesting for adults, kids can still find plenty to do in the World Showcase, like the KidCOT fun stops. However, the World Showcase is just one part of EPCOT. There is an entire other side that invites children to explore their imaginations and go on epic adventures. The Figment Ride is a must do attraction for the whole family and Soarin’ allows older children to be able to experience sights, sounds, and smells from around the world. EPCOT has 14 rides that are available for children of any height and only 4 rides with a height requirement.

Those rides are:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – Guests must be 42 inches (107 centimeters) or taller
  • Mission: SPACE – Guests must be 40 inches (102 centimeters) or taller
  • Soarin’ Around the World – Guests must be 40 inches (102 centimeters) or taller
  • Test Track – Guests must be 40 inches (102 centimeters) or taller

Hollywood StudiosToy Story Land

If any park should be slated for older children, Hollywood Studios would be that park. The majority of the rides at this park have height requirements, but there are still plenty of shows and character meet-and-greets for younger children. Hollywood Studios is the park where kids can meet their favorite toys: Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Andy, and Bo Peep. Only at Hollywood Studios can children race through the track with Lightening McQueen with the help of Mater. At Hollywood Studios there are only 3 rides that children of all heights can ride, but there are 7 rides that have height requirements.

The height requirements per ride to be met include:

  • Alien Swirling Saucers – Guests must be 32 inches (81 centimeters) or taller
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run – Guests must be 38″ (97 cm) or taller
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith – Guests must be 48 inches (122 centimeters) or taller
  • Slinky Dog Dash – Guests must be 38 inches (97 centimeters) or taller
  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue – Guests must be 40 inches (102 centimeters) or taller
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Guests must be 40″ (102 cm) or taller
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ – Guests must be 40 inches (102 centimeters) or taller

Depending on the age, how many kids you have, and the height of your children, you can have a great time at many of the theme parks in Walt Disney World when the kids are young, it just may take some planning.

Rider Swap

If you have a child that fits some of the height requirements and another child that doesn’t, Disney has a rider-swap option. We used this on our last trip. When you are at the attraction you want to ride and one of the adults needs to stay with a child, you let the cast member at the front know you need to add rider swap. They will attach it to your ticket. The first adult rides with the child who is tall enough while the second adult waits, then the adults switch. With most attractions, we were given the option to have a child who is tall enough to ride the ride twice!

Disney World EntertainmentFestival of Lion King

In addition to rides, most parks also have shows like the Frozen Sing Along in Hollywood Studios or the Festival of The Lion King show at Animal Kingdom that kids will enjoy if they can sit. Each park also has fireworks or a nighttime show to attend. There are character meet-and-greets in every park, and so many more activities for kids of all ages to enjoy.

There are amazing attractions, shows, and entertainment for kids of all ages in each park! Even in Hollywood Studios with the limited rides, the shows, character meet-and-greets, and the Fantasmic! Nighttime Spectacular are things not to be missed.

It is an amazing time to take advantage of the discounts due to the age of your kids while experiencing all of the magic. This may lead to another question about the memories made, will your young children remember this life-changing trip?

Will My Child Remember Disney World?Daisy and Donald Duck

I loved Walt Disney World before I had kids, but there was nothing that compared to seeing the light and happiness that my kids had when we went to Walt Disney World when they were young. Watching Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom and dancing in the street and the giggles as Dumbo spun them around and around are memories I will never forget as an adult, no matter if they remember the trip or not.

Children that are as young as one or two are most likely not going to remember the trip when they become adults, but you will. You will get to make memories of eating ice cream on the hub grass in front of the castle or your kids recognizing their favorite animals on the Safari in Animal Kingdom. The memories are there to be created.

My four-year-old loves Disney and always asks when we can go back. He loves to look at the pictures and he does remember our trips now. We watch videos on YouTube of park walk-throughs, look at our old pictures, and show him the memories we created. I don’t know if he will remember everything that we did when he becomes an adult, but I would like to think he will at least remember we had happy trips when he was a kid.

Older kids, closer to the 5 and 6 year old age may remember their family trips or at least pieces of them. I have memories from when I went as a 7-year-old watching the fireworks in Magic Kingdom and visiting Toontown where guests were able to walk around Mickey’s and Minnie’s houses.

We never know what kids are going to have as a core memory when they get older, so if you are ready to take your children, you get to keep the memories, even if they don’t. With social media and cell phones these days, you will always have photo and video keepsakes to show them, no matter what age they go.

Walt Disney World will always be the most magical place on Earth, but there really are times when the magic seems to just flow through kids in a special way.

Taking Older Kids at Disney World
Lightning McQueen

As your children get older, many times the magic starts to fade. When deciding the best age to take your kids to Walt Disney World, their interests and belief in magic should be a big factor.

Kids begin to get interested in other things besides meeting Mickey Mouse on Main Street. They also start to realize that the Mickey they saw on the screen at home is not the same as Mickey Mouse at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT on the same day. This magic is something you can never get back the longer you wait to take your children. This belief in the Magic that is Disney is so important.

Interest in what is offered at Walt Disney World should also be a factor. You don’t want to just go because the children are young enough to believe that Tinker Bell truly did fly from Neverland to meet them.

If your child is 3 and loves the fab five(Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto), it may be a great time to take them even if they won’t remember because you will have those memories of them meeting their favorite characters for the first time. Going when they are super young, may be the best decision.

However, if you have a 6-year-old that hates riding rides at the state fair, taking them to Walt Disney World to ride a bunch of rides is probably not the best idea, so you may want to wait until they are older and like rides more.

If you know that your children can’t sit in a stroller for a long period of time, but get insanely tired when walking, you may want to wait to go until they no longer need to rely on a stroller.

If you want to take your baby, but are worried about having to lug bottles around the parks, then you may want to wait as well. Babies can be difficult to handle in the Florida heat, but so can your teenager’s attitude when they are just not interested in everything that the parks have to offer.

Going when children are young versus when they are older, their interests in the types of rides they want to go on will change, they may be more focused on a good meal as a teenager instead of watching every character cavalcade that parades through the parks. No matter what age you take your children, their interests are going to change as their age changes, so each trip will be special and new.

There are so many factors that are completely independent of your own individual children, that the decision as to what is the right time is truly a personal one.

Future Disney World PlansFantasyland Magic Kingdom

Another factor when you take your children to Walt Disney World is what are your future plans?

If you only have one child right now but plan to have more, and you know you are going to take multiple trips to Walt Disney World, then it won’t be a waste to go now. But, if you have one child and only want to make one trip to Walt Disney World, then it may be best to wait until you have your other children.

Think about certain movie characters that you may want to meet or a ride that is going to open soon (Tiana’s Bayou Adventure) – when these characters or rides are open may be a factor in waiting if you are trying to plan a trip where you can fit the most in.

Your budget restraints may also play a role in whether you choose to plan your trip now or wait and save for a larger Disney trip. If you know that you are getting a one-time bonus at work and want to use it to pay for an amazing trip, then it doesn’t matter what age your kids are, go. If you have been saving and saving, but have to use that money on something else that popped up, then wait until you can truly have the trip of your dreams.

Ranking Best Age for Disney WorldDisney World Entrance Best Age Disney World

0-2 Age


  • Free park admission
  • Tons of rides and shows to keep them entertained
  • They nap in the stroller
  • Magic of Disney is present


  • Don’t remember the trip
  • May require many items in the parks (bottles, changes of clothes, diapers, wipes, snacks)
  • Need to be held or in a stroller

3-5 Age


  • Discounted Park admission
  • Tons of rides and shows to keep them entertained
  • Interact with the characters and attractions
  • They nap in the stroller
  • Magic of Disney is present
  • Depending on height, new ride opportunities present


  • Might not remember the trip
  • May require many items in the parks (bottles, changes of clothes, diapers, wipes, snacks)
  • Need to be in a stroller to get around the park a good portion of the day

6-9 Age


  • Discounted Park admission
  • Interact with the characters and attractions
  • Don’t typically need naps throughout the day and have more stamina to stay in the parks longer
  • Magic of Disney is present and will remember a many portions of the trip
  • Depending on height, new ride opportunities present


  • Limited to going when kids are out of school on crowded break times or have to pull them out of school
  • Starting to eat more and may want to order off of the adult menu
  • May be more interested in rides and less interested in characters

10 and up


  • Can typically stay in the park all day
  • Will remember all parts of the trip
  • Should be tall enough to ride all rides


  • Limited to going when kids are out of school on crowded break times or have to pull them out of school
  • Adult Prices for food and tickets
  • Magic of Disney may be gone
  • May be more interested in rides and less interested in characters
  • May be less interested in a family vacation and want more independent time

So What Is The Best Disney World Age?Best Age for Disney

There really is no “perfect age” to take a child to Walt Disney World. There are just too many factors that are personal to your family.

There are also so many different activities, rides, shows, resorts, restaurants, entertainment, and shopping that really any age can be the “perfect” age to go to Walt Disney World.

But… having been multiple times with multiple different ages, if you were only going to make one trip to Walt Disney World, I would aim for the 4-7 year range. They are old enough to have snippets of memories, a lower price point in tickets and food, still want to experience the magic, and may not need as many “extras” when walking around the parks.

Is it worth taking a four year old to Disney World?

Yes, it is worth taking a four year old to Disney World. The long answer is there are many activities in each park and throughout Disney property to entertain children of all ages. For four year olds, many of them will start to meet the height requirements for larger rides, so at this age, they typically will have new ride experiences than when they were younger. Kids around 4 also start to shift their interests in what shows and movies they watch and will be able to have meet and greets with some of the characters on property, the Disney Junior Character Breakfast at Hollywood and Vine may be of great interest to them now.

Is Disney World worth it for a five year old?

Yes, five is a great age for Disney World. At the age of five, children are typically more self-aware and are becoming very independent and opinionated about what they like and dislike. This is a great age to adventure to Walt Disney World because they will get to experience a trip in which they can help plan some of the activities they are interested in doing. They can decide at this age if they want to ride a ride or meet a character. Planning at trip to Walt Disney World for five year old children allows them to be involved in the planning and making this vacation a magical one for everyone on the trip.

Is it worth taking a six year old to Disney?

Age six is a great time to take your children to Disney World. At age six, kids are very independent. Most of the time, you can get through the day without needed to take a long time for naps, allowing your entire party to experience the magic of the parks for longer. Kids around six can also stay up later and may allow for more night time activities in the parks like seeing Happily Ever After or Fantasmic!. Six year olds are still discounted tickets to get in the parks, but they truly can experience almost all of the rides and attractions that the theme parks have to offer. Tron and Pandora Flight of Passage may still be out of reach, but the parks truly are the playground for children around this age.

Is it worth taking a three year to Disney World?

While three year old children are no longer free to enter Disney World, this is typically the age where they start to recognize the characters more and interact with them. Meeting the princesses or doing a character meal at Ohana or Chef Mickey’s should be at the top of the to-do list with this age. While three year old children still need breaks during the day, you can get a lot more done with a three year old than a one or two year old in terms of their stamina and attitude. The magic really begins to come alive for children around this time as their interests start to expand.

Plan Your Walt Disney World Vacation

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About Jessica Miller

Jessica is a full-time high school teacher and a part-time writer. She is also a full-time mom! When she isn't working, she loves to take vacations with her family to Disney.

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