The Highs and Lows of Bringing an 8-Year-Old to Disney World

Disney World is probably one of the most exciting places you can take an 8-year-old — but what are you really signing up for if you do?

Quincy in Magic Kingdom

I go to Disney World almost every day for work but it was a whole different ballgame when I went with a friend and her 8-year-old sister. So, I turned to the my team and polled anyone who has been, has known, or does know an 8-year-old in Disney World. Now, I can definitely talk about the highs and lows of taking an 8-year-old to Disney World.

Before we dive in, you can check out this video on our YouTube channel to learn more about Disney World with kiddos!

But now let’s get into it.

The Highs

First, let’s cover the “highs.” After all, taking kids to Disney World is often the whole reason for going and can even be something that lifelong Disney fans look forward to for much of their lives.

The “Perfect” Age

8 years is considered by many to be the “perfect” age to take a kid to Disney. Obviously, all ages can have fun in Disney World (That’s the whole point!) but 8 and 9 year olds get a special enjoyment from the parks.


At 8 years old, kids are young enough to still enjoy meeting characters and the magic of kid-geared experience but they’re also old enough to enjoy a wider variety of experiences and remember the trip.

In fact, for families that might not be able to go to Disney World more than one time, 8 years is a great age to consider bringing the kiddos for that once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Making It To Fireworks

Many of the parents on our team mentioned that when their kids reached 8, the days started to be a bit more manageable for them.

Happily Ever After

With younger kiddos, making it to the fireworks might not be a guarantee but an 8-year-old can make it to the show without being exhausted or asleep by the time the music starts.

Seeing the Park Through Their Eyes

The most exciting thing for me was getting to see the park through a kid’s eyes. I remember how magical Disney World felt when I was 8, and all of those feelings came flooding back seeing a little girl wonder at the shows and giggle on the rides.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The Lows

Of course, the highs make it all worth it — but you’ll want to be prepared for the lows, as well.

The Character Conflict

One thing that you might run into with this age is that your kiddo might really want to meet characters but think that they are a bit too grown up for it. The 8 year old I went with met Moana and then decided she had no interest in meeting anyone else.


The Stroller Dilemma

Kids this age are a bit too heavy for a stroller and probably don’t use one at home anymore, but Disney World is different. Walking all those miles in the heat can be a lot on little legs so you might still need a stroller for little ones.

Height Requirement Dramas

If your kid has their sights set on a ride only to find out that they are not quite tall enough to ride it, you could be in for a day-ruining meltdown. Make sure to measure your kid ahead of the trip and find out which rides won’t be an option in advance so that they don’t get their hopes up.

Height Check at Slinky Dog Dash

“Not that one!”

8-year-olds have big opinions. Several moms on our team quoted, “That ride’s for babies!” when talking about some of the most famous and popular rides in Disney World.


On the other end, if your kid isn’t ready for thrill rides, you could scare them for the next several years if they end up on too intense of a coaster or attraction. Sometimes, a simple negotiation will help with a hesitation to ride but when in doubt, don’t push your kiddo to ride something that might very well make for a bad experience for them.

Odd-number Issues

This one won’t always occur but if you have an odd-numbered family and your 8-year-old is the oldest, they’ll be the one that has to ride alone on attractions while the youngers are paired with the adults. That can be a big bummer!

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Line Tolerance

This age is also one that’s full of energy, and that means longer lines can be an absolute no-go. Any enthusiasm for an attraction could completely evaporate after waiting in a 30 minute line. We recommend using Genie+, Disney’s skip the line service, but you’ll want to budget it in as it does cost extra.

A Bit of Both

And there are some things to keep in mind  that are both good and bad.

It’s All About Them

Disney World trips with an 8-year-old are going to be more about the kid. It’s a schedule based on what the kid wants to do and what energy the kid has. This can make for an amazing trip because, like I mentioned earlier, it can be very magical to see the park through a young one’s eyes.

Cinderella Castle

But that also means it won’t be a trip geared toward what might be the most fun for the adults. It’s just something to be ready for!

Lots of Breaks

8-year-olds also need a lot of breaks and trust us, you don’t want to push through. Breaks are a must to make sure kids stay comfortable and happy. If you’ve gone to Disney World a lot and have a go-go-go habit, this will be a change of pace for you.

Pool Fanatics

Kids also love a hotel pool. I don’t know what it is, but I hear kiddos ALL. THE. TIME. asking to go back for some pooltime at the hotel. This can be a good thing for parents that want a little rest, but it can also be a bit of a bummer when you’re spending a lot of money to be IN the theme parks.

Fort Wilderness pool

Hopefully this helps with expectations for Disney World with an 8-year-old! Keep an eye on AllEars.Net for more Disney tips!

Looking for some park day gear? Check out this post about a favorite of mine!

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