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Any experience with a small child who likes then hates Disney??


New Member
Original Poster
Does anyone have experience with small kids who had drastically different experiences at Disney at different ages?? Like loved it/hated it at different age cycles?

We took our daughter at 1 and 2 to Disney. She went on all the rides at 2, even Barnstormer several times as she is a tall one. She absolutely loved Dumbo, Barnstormer, Tea Cups... Was less of a fan of the inside rides. I also can’t say she “loved” Disney, she was always a little bit more “whatever”, but at least she loved the rides. Then she hit 3 and suddenly became super scared of ALL rides, even a carousel type of a ride.

I just took her to Epcot yesterday at 3.5 years and she basically did not enjoy any part of it, except for the character meet and greet, which she was terrified of at 2.

This was our litmus test ahead of a big trip we wanted to take her on in September - we thought she would be at the perfect age for more princess-y stuff, like afternoon tea at Grand Floridian, princess makeover, etc. I know Epcot is not the best litmus test, as it is pretty boring for toddlers, but it was the least crowded park and we were trying to avoid the long holiday weekend that kicks off tomorrow.

Also, I am a giant Disney lover so I can’t lie, this is so sad for me! When you love Disney and your kid tells you she does not love it, it is a little heart breaking, hahaha! The last thing I want to do though is book a very expensive trip on Disney property and have my kid hate all of it, but I do not know how much change there will be between 3.5 and 4...

Any suggestions or personal experiences will be super appreciated!! Did anyone else’s kids hate then eventually love Disney? If yes, how old were they when they finally came around?


Well-Known Member
I think she'd love it, if only she knew what else Disney has to offer. Perhaps you can show her one of the Disney planning videos (or one of the myriad blogger videos out there) that focuses on the Magic Kingdom and what there is to do there -- Princesses! Pirates! Fantasy and fun! Maybe show her a park map and talk about some of the attractions and characters that would most appeal to her.

Honestly, if I was 3.5 and thought that Epcot-in-its-current-state was all that Disney had to offer, I'd be pretty unenthused, too. ;)


Well-Known Member
You could always leave the Disney Hating kid at home :)


Queen of the WDW Scene

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
First I think that at 1-2 kids don't really even understand that they are going on rides so nothing really "scares" them as long as they are with you and you are going on it they are like ok if mom and dad are taking me then its safe.
I think a certain fear factor sets in somewhere around age 3-5 and they stop being so trusting.

My niece is super tall I mean like she's not quite 12 and she is 5ft8in.
When she was 2yrs4mos she went on Soarin' and TT and loved them.
At 3yrs4mos she insisted on going on TOT and was fine the first time but after that her attittude towards rides completely changed.
So there could have been a trigger for your child. Can you think of one?

I know that I was adventurous as a small child and wanted to go on roller coasters etc.
I went on the tallest and fastest at Cedar Point then we went the next summer and I refused to go on anything.
I was just terrified of everything and I cannot tell you why.
I got over it a couple years after that.

I'd suggest watching Disney movies to get her to want to see these characters in action in rides.
I'd also watch some of the rides so she can see what they are like.
My niece used to love when I'd bring up ride videos on youtube when she was little.
Show her there is nothing to be afraid of on the mild rides.
If mild is all she will do then don't push for Barnstormer etc.


New Member
Original Poster
Haha fair enough! I totally agree with all above - the fears set in at 3 for us and some are still there or new and some she got over fast. So 50/50.

She loves watching the videos and I showed her the video of the Frozen ride in Epcot recently (which she was on at 2). She was super excited about the video but when our boat came on the actual ride this week, she started screaming to leave, so we left 😂

I guess if we decide take her again in September at 4 years old, we just need to be prepared that all we may do is explore, do the little playgrounds/splash areas inside the parks, meet the characters, and call it a day! Have low expectations in terms of rides or even that she will find it “magical”. Or maybe we simply lay off Disney until she asks to go 🤷‍♀️

Club Cooloholic

Well-Known Member
With kids you gotta kind of roll with it and their moods. My daughter is a contrarian and has been since an early age, so if I pump up something too much, she will naturally be wary of it. Even now at age 10 she would rather just look at the animals at DAK than dare ride Everest. But being like this has made me slow down and appreciate smaller things too, and maybe not push to do EVERYTHING. You will find what she likes over time.


Well-Known Member
Honestly what scares her at 3.5 may not scare her at 4. What scares at 4 may not at 5! We did a lot of showing of pictures from the past trips to help solidify good memories. Show youtube videos as well. They definitely go in phases but they are just that - phases.


Well-Known Member
I agree with everyone else, kids change what they like from year to year. If she really does not want to do anything after your next trip. I would wait a few year to take her back and just go by yourself. I go solo every year for the F&WF because I love WDW and I enjoy the food aspect of it.


New Member
Original Poster
I agree with everyone else, kids change what they like from year to year. If she really does not want to do anything after your next trip. I would wait a few year to take her back and just go by yourself. I go solo every year for the F&WF because I love WDW and I enjoy the food aspect of it.
100% - I will always enjoy it, solo or otherwise!

We are actually returning another time in the next two months; my husband and I plan to leave my daughter with the grandparents and hit up Hollywood Studios (Star Wars) and Universal. So much easier to separate an adult experience from a family one. 😉 So if we do the September trip, we will focus solely on activities we think/hope she will enjoy. I think that helps, too! Not projecting what we like on her hehe.


Well-Known Member
Give her time - sometimes kids just need more opportunities to really make their minds up.
I mean what's not to love about WDW?

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