Our Privacy/Cookie Policy contains detailed information about the types of cookies & related technology on our site, and some ways to opt out. By using the site, you agree to the uses of cookies and other technology as outlined in our Policy, and to our Terms of Use.


No, They're Not Too Young to Go to Disneyland

Over the years I've read, listened to and participated in many conversations about whether or not taking a little one to Disneyland is worth it or if it is better to just wait until they're older. Will they remember it? What if it's a huge pain? My take: don't wait!

When my oldest turned 2 we made our way to the happiest place on earth. While things didn't go exactly as I hoped—turns out she was afraid of adult-sized Minnie despite being dressed just like her (goodbye perfect photo opp)—we had the best time. It was on that day that I learned that there is nothing quite like witnessing the magic of Disneyland through your child's eyes.

Now, when I bring her sister, my 3-year-old, I get to experience that pure excitement all over again. She thinks everything is real (even the characters in the rides), sings along during the shows and parades and is so easy to please (churros for lunch, anyone?).

Here's why you shouldn't wait to take your toddler or threenager to Disneyland.

RELATED: 7 Things I Used to Be Cynical About Before I Became a Parent

1. Until they turn 3 they're free

According to the Disneyland website, "no ticket is needed for children younger than age 3." Think of all the souvenirs and dole whips you can buy with the money you save!

2. There's a Baby Care Center

If you're potty training the idea of navigating a theme park and frequenting public restrooms may prompt you to veto any special trips until your toddler has mastered it. But trust me, you don't have to (lots of moms opt to have their potty training kiddo wear pull-ups just in case though). There are tons of public restrooms that are regularly cleaned, and even better, there's a Baby Care Center (there's one at California Adventure too) where you'll find "amenities for parents with infants and toddlers." It's filled with things that will make your time there much easier, such as high chairs, microwaves, changing tables and pint-sized potties. They even have pacifiers, which means there's no need to freak out if the binky goes MIA at some point during the day. There's also a shop that sells items ranging from wipes, juice and over-the-counter medicine.

3. The things your little one is bound to say

Toddler through preschool vocabulary is the best there is. I love hearing the things my little one says. Once she touched Minnie's dress declaring, "I like your dress." Another time she told Minnie she had a surprise for her (it was her stuffed Mickey doll). She had brought him with her, certain Minnie would be so happy to see him (she was totally right, by the way. Minnie twirled him around with excitement).

4. The cast knows how magical Disneyland is for littles and they do their best to add to it

The cast members of Disney know how special going to Disneyland can be for kids. Not only do the characters take their time saying hi and posing for photos but everyone extends patience and kindness, whether it's holding your little one's hand for a moment while they find an open seat in a sea of excited preschoolers (they've got some great shows) or complimenting them on their princess attire. Even when they are clearly in route someplace they will stop and wave or say hello. They understand the impact a wave from a mermaid or superhero can have on your kid.

5. They believe

I think one of the most magical things about Disneyland with a little one is that they still believe. To them, the characters are all real; they aren't just people dressed in costumes. Even the life like figures in the rides are worthy of enthusiastic waves and hellos. During a parade Cinderella blew my 3-year-old a kiss, and that was her favorite story to share for weeks. Recently Ariel stopped to say hello to her. She could not believe it. And whenever we see Minnie Mouse it feels like she's seeing an old friend. For the smallest of mouseketeers this isn't just make-believe, it's real life and it's pure magic.

6. Costumes

Little kids (and a select number of grownups who are still kids at heart) go all out at Disneyland, it isn't unusual to see a preschooler dressed in costume, even when it's not October.

7. You can bring snacks

There are a ton of dining options; however, if you've got a picky eater and are concerned about the offerings available you can pack a tried-and-true favorite.

8. There are tons of things to do

There are so many rides that little ones can go on. There are also shows, parades and play areas, too. No need to worry that they'll have to solely be spectators when it comes to all the fun.

9. There's a chance that they may surprise you

I could not believe when my little one insisted on sitting on the front row of carpets to watch a show. The front row meant that she couldn't sit with me, and even when her big sister decided that she didn't want to sit on the carpet being bumped by cute preschoolers, my little one still stayed. Clearly Elsa and Anna were worth it.

10. They are an easy crowd

You really don't need to get them souvenirs. You could simply bring a beloved toy character from home or dress them in a Disney shirt you purchased at Target the night before. They are just happy to be there. Besides a Mickey-shaped ice cream or pretzel is much more valuable than another stuffed character or set of ears.

11. You get to see Disneyland from a different perspective (and have a legitimate excuse to wait in line to ride the Dumbo ride)

Going with a toddler or threenager is such a different experience. I feel like I get to take my time and I see things that I might have missed while in line for all of the rides for big kids and adults.

12. Even if they don't remember you will

Chances are you'll take tons of photos to chronicle the day. There will be so many moments that you'll want to capture and others that you will want to soak up first-hand, leaving your phone in your purse and storing them in your heart. Your 3-year-old probably won't remember the way they practically leaped into the arms of their favorite character and held on tight. Or how they said "yes" every time someone asked them if they were the real (insert favorite character they went dressed as). They also won't remember that time you sat on a bench for two hours to ensure they could witness the magic up close for the parade. And later how you told yourself it was worth it as you watched them sing "Let it go" at the top of their lungs. But you will. You'll never forget the joy you felt inside as you watched your little one display every ounce of happiness they possessed inside on the outside.

RELATED: Moms Share: How Motherhood Changed Me

Of course there's a chance things won't all go as planned (do they ever?). Your kid may scream with terror when Donald comes close, you may spend more time people watching than riding rides, or find yourself with a tantrumming toddler (look around you're probably not the only one)—but most parents can attest to the fact that, even with a few hiccups, a day spent at the Magic Kingdom is worth it.

More from toddler