Taking School Age Kids to Disney? Read This First!

The majority of time you hear people talk about taking kids to Disney it surrounds how young is too young or tips for taking toddlers. Well, here we are headed toward less common ground. Below are some key tips for taking your school age kiddos to Disney.

Giraffes on Animal Kingdom’s Kilimanjaro Safari
  1. Even your school age kid may need a stroller or a break. The amount of walking you do around a Disney park is likely to be more than your kiddo has ever done in a day. Those little legs have to take a lot more steps than you do to cover the same amount of ground. A stroller can save those little legs from getting overly tired and may save you some time because you can just roll that tired kid along at the pace you want to keep.
  2. Give their interests some focus. When planning your trip, think about what your kids enjoy. If they have a favorite character, look ahead to see where you can meet that character. If they love animals, make sure you have plans to prioritize the safari and animal trails in Animal Kingdom. Have a kid that loves to draw? Take them for the animation experience at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Disney is a lot more than parades and rides. Take some time to focus on what matches with your crew.
    • Be aware of what may cause your kiddo to melt down. Are there things that cause your kids to freak out when they aren’t at Disney? Things like heights, scary creatures, loud noises? Well, guess what? You can find all those things in Disney World. My boys have never been fans of loud noises like fireworks but the fireworks at Disney are amazing right? If you want to enjoy the Disney fireworks but not have your child meltdown over the noise, bringing ear protection in your park bag can solve this problem for you.
    • Feed the children! Hanger is for real (and not just for kids). Don’t skip feeding your kiddo! Pushing through a mealtime or not being able to find something your kid will eat is a sure-fire way to end up in meltdown land. Want to make sure you prevent this? Pack a few of your kid’s favorite snacks in your park bag and take time for meals.
    • Don’t be afraid to split up. If you have more than one kiddo, chances are that your kids have some very different interests. Keeping your whole crew together all the time will lessen your opportunity to get in all of the things each kid really wants to do. If you split up, even for a short period of time, you’ll be more likely for each kid to make special memories of the things that they enjoy the most. You’re also less likely to have a kid standing around getting bored while they wait for their sibling to finish an activity. The other thing that I love about splitting up is the opportunity it gives you to give individual attention to that kiddo.
    • Be aware of height restrictions. Even school age kids may have rides that they are still too short for. Keeping this in mind ahead of time can save you from having a very disappointed child when they’ve waited for a ride and now, they can’t get on.
    • Start working with teachers before you leave. Notifying your children’s teachers ahead of time will allow them to gather work for you and communicate with you about what your child will miss. Having this work in advance will help you gauge how difficult it will be to get this makeup work done. If you are driving to Disney, this is a great time where you can work in a little schoolwork. You can also work in a little homework throughout the trip. Trust me when I say you don’t want to save everything until you are back home and on a tight timeline. Pacing this work out a little bit at a time will hopefully save you stress when your trip is over.

    Even taking older kids to Disney requires a little forethought. Knowing your kids and giving some thoughts to their personalities will save you a lot of headaches while you are trying to make those magical Disney memories.

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