Setting (and NOT Setting) Expectations
We too, had a few of those less-than-magic moments. But we also got to watch our younger son hugging Goofy, Mickey, Pooh, and Tigger with joyful abandon. And while our four-year-old informed us that Captain Hook was nothing more than "a man dressed up with a hook," he was convinced he had climbed "the real" Swiss Family Robinson Tree House in Adventureland, twice. Even the most organized parents, the ones who read the guidebooks, visit the website and plan their trips carefully, something the folks at Disney heavily push -- can find themselves confounded by their children's reactions.
David Globin of Manhattan had low expectations of his 18-month-old daughter, figuring she'd sleep through a great deal of it. Instead, "it was like she was on amphetamines. She was so keyed up. She loved it. She just kept saying over and over again, 'Small World, Small World, Small World,'" the infamous ride where dolls from different nations belt out the same tune in 124 languages.
Lori Hiller, a children's therapist from Brooklyn, figured her four-year-old daughter Emily would adore everything, and wrote off one-year-old Sam as far too young. As it turned out, Emily spent her first few hours frightened and somewhat overwhelmed, while Sam laughed and clapped and generally delighted in the entire experience.
The bottom line seems to be, it all depends on your child. But here are some tips from the experts to make the choices easier and the trip more worthwhile, and some the things to consider before taking younger children.