I get asked this question. A lot. And it surprises me every time!
This is my youngest daughter, Granuaile, during her very first visit to Walt Disney World. She was four months old at the time, and of course the memories of this vacation are not her memories. She will look at the pictures with me, and she admires herself, recognizes the people, places, and things, but the memories of the vacation are absolutely mine.
Does that mean she was too young? In my opinion, no. The memories I have of this vacation are magical. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
The reactions of children to Walt Disney World are always different, depending on their age. Granuaile didn’t know who Mickey Mouse was (no, contrary to popular belief, my children are not born wearing mouse ears and singing “It’s a Small World”), and certainly didn’t grasp the whole theme park concept. To her, it was just another day of amazing things to discover on this magnificent planet. But what better place to have a baby discover new things? She loved the music, the lights, the colors – her head was spinning around so fast to try and take it all in, we wondered if we should call in an exorcist.
Eilis learned to walk at Walt Disney World, and honed her skills at EPCOT’s World Showcase. She loved the characters from early on, and my favorite Eilis memory at Walt Disney World involved Winnie the Pooh, who she loved from the first moment she laid eyes on him.
At this age, the very tender four months old, Granuaile put her hand out to grab Mickey Mouse. Just a few short months later, she was afraid of the characters. These precious first moments with the characters would have had to wait until just recently, when she became brave enough to go near them again.
When considering taking a young child to Walt Disney World, consider the fact that they are FREE! That’s right – all this fun for absolutely no additional cost. Don’t put off your annual vacation to the World just because you have a new baby! If you love Walt Disney World, they will love Walt Disney World. And it won’t cost you a dime extra for two whole years to build a scrapbook of fabulous memories of wonderful times.
Beyond the theme parks, you have other things you can introduce your new baby to. Imagine the impression a bathtub the size of a swimming pool at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge will make – and the photos you can take! Picture your little one, for the first time, enjoying the Florida sunshine and the warm water. That alone is worth the price of taking them. Oh wait – it’s still FREE!
I always got the best facial expressions from my girls’ babyhoods at Walt Disney World. There were priceless early smiles and amazed expressions. I actually had one parent tell me it was a terrible waste, as babies that young could barely see to begin with, and there I was over stimulating my little ones. Resisting the urge to say “Bite me”, I sent her this photo in an email – showing my over stimulated four month old having the time of her life.
Even at four months old, she had an appreciation for Playhouse Disney.
My favorite infant memory of Walt Disney World, however, is also Granuaile’s. She is, as I’ve mentioned, only four months old, but as we walked down Main Street, approaching Cinderella Castle, I snapped this photo. I realize that at four months old, she’s not looking up at the castle, saying in her little baby brain, “Damn, did I draw the short straw in the parent lottery – look at the digs the kids who live HERE have!” But she did have a priceless expression the first time she laid eyes on the Castle. I cherish this picture as much as I would a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes – maybe even more. Because as I’ve mentioned, the memory I cherish of THIS moment was FREE.