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Older Kids Touring the World

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I know guests under 14 need to be accompanied by someone 14 or older to enter a park and I believe it's 7 or older to ride unaccompanied once inside of a park. My questions is how many of you have done this with your kids? My older one is about to turn 14 and the younger one is 11, so it's a park touring possibility I'm looking at for the near future. I'm envisioning a F&W trip at some point where DH and I enjoy the food and drinks in the WS at Epcot while the kids are off playing at MK or HS.

Between cell phones and GPS tracking apps, there's more peace of mind letting them do this nowadays, but DH isn't entirely comfortable with this idea. And I get it...just because it's permitted doesn't mean it's the wisest plan, especially since some kids just aren't as responsible yet for this kind of freedom. How many of you have done this with your kids, what ages were they, what rules or measures did you put in to help, and any thoughts about it now?
 

Queen of the WDW Scene

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
My parents let my sister and I go off on our own while they did attractions we were not into when we were 14 and 12.
They then let me wander alone when I was 14.
We never spent more than an hour or so apart because again it was really just if it was an attraction we didn't care for like the river boat.

I wouldn't hesitate to let responsible acting teens/tweens wander around for a few hours. Key word is responsible.
 

RememberWhen

Well-Known Member
I’m 36 and definitely did this as a young teen. So, 20ish years ago. Without cell phones! 😳If your kid is responsible I think it’s a great opportunity for some relatively safe independence.
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
My parents let my sister and I go off on our own while they did attractions we were not into when we were 14 and 12.
They then let me wander alone when I was 14.
We never spent more than an hour or so apart because again it was really just if it was an attraction we didn't care for like the river boat.

I wouldn't hesitate to let responsible acting teens/tweens wander around for a few hours. Key word is responsible.

Responsible is definitely the key word. I wish I could remember how old I was when I could wander off. We moved to FL right after I graduated from HS, so most of my "on my own" memories are from that period...and there's (usually) a big difference having a 17-18 yr old on their own vs. a 14 yr old. Not Disney, but I know I went to our local Six Flags with friends, even before I was a licensed driver. So, I'm thinking I was 14 or 15 at the oldest when I was allowed to do that. With the hour+ drive involved with that, that's feeling scarier than having my kids out on their own at WDW.
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I’m 36 and definitely did this as a young teen. So, 20ish years ago. Without cell phones! 😳If your kid is responsible I think it’s a great opportunity for some relatively safe independence.

At 36, you are closer to those early teen years than I am 🤣 Who knows, by the time we're ready to try, they may be a little more responsible and I'll feel a bit better about it.
 

Figgy1

Premium Member
We did let our kids roam last trip but in the same park and it worked out rather well for the most part. The rule was they had to stay together and get along, meet us at meeting times and call or text back right away or they'd be tethered to us on WEDway the rest of the trip
 

jaklgreen

Well-Known Member
Mine were a few years older when they started going off on their own. I think that I might have felt more comfortable if they were in the same park as me at that age. I also do not feel comfortable drinking when I am responsible for my kids. So if we are on a trip with just my kids and me, then I don't drink on that trip. If both my hubby and I are there, then 1 of us would keep a clear head just in case of an emergency. But we don't drink often and are lightweights so a couple of drinks and we are tipsy.
 

epcotisbest

Well-Known Member
So, we don't have kids and probably should not weigh in on this but will anyway.
At 14, I could be trusted to do what was right and be somewhat responsible much more than at 17. I personally never went as a kid, but if I had, I think I would have felt special if I had been trusted to be on my own and would have wanted to prove to my parents their trust in me was warranted.

...Now that I read that back, it sounds kinda iffy, especially since I don't know how much teens these days try to test their parents to see how much they can get away with. Not suggesting your girls would do that...I don't know.
 

kimberlymautz

Well-Known Member
I used to go to amusement parks with just my friends around 14-15 years old. I think it depends on your kids. There's definitely a lot for them to do in Epcot that they could easily spend the day there even if they're off doing their own thing.

My best suggestion though is to test it. At another park before that day give them an hour or two to go off on their own and see what they do and how they handle it. Give them times and/or places to check in and see how it goes. If they're good and you and your husband can both be confident that they'll be okay on their own at a different park then you then awesome, if not you can make a plan accordingly. Definitely don't want to wait until that day (and several drinks in) to have them call with a problem or concern and not be anywhere close by.
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
We allowed our kids to do this the last time we visited - although only when we were in the same park (e.g., enjoying a "fancy" dinner the kids had no interest in).

They are 11 and 13 and the eldest had his phone with him. The "rules" were: they had to stay together and stick to a spending limit for their CS dinner/snacks (their MagicBands were configured so they had charging capabilities). They were not to leave the park. They could text us with questions or concerns at any time. Also, thanks to the [free] Life360 app, which was installed on my phone and my son's, I could pull out my phone to see exactly where they were (or at least, where my son's phone was) at any given moment, which added some peace of mind. (In fact, the app notified me at one point that my son had briefly taken a drive, reaching speeds of about 30mph -- alarmed, I checked it out and saw that the path of his "car ride" was really the tracks of Expedition Everest!) ;)

It went great -- they had a blast and so did we.
 
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JoeCamel

Well-Known Member
I was 13 when I went to Disneyland. Didn't see my parents til time to leave after taking off for the Matterhorn at rope drop. This was many years ago when I could play outside all day without worry. Not the way it is today but you know your children best. Give it a try and even if it doesn't work out it is one of the safest places to experiment. Cell phone kinda removes most of the risk.
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Just saw all of these replies :) Things have been busy and the July trip didn't happen, but I'm seriously considering letting them go off on their own in February. If things are still in a one park per day place, it's pretty easy to just all go to the same park and make sure they have some way to pay for food and stuff when we're not together. They know the parks fairly well, they both have smart phones, and they sound excited about not being with us. I also have the GPS app I use on them, so that should help track their whereabouts.
 

Pooh'sBuddy

Well-Known Member
The hubby and I have been talking about this lately. For example, instead of paying for all of us to have dinner at Biergarten and one of us (not me) not enjoying the food, we were thinking that the boys could go off to play in Future World and forage for themselves.
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The hubby and I have been talking about this lately. For example, instead of paying for all of us to have dinner at Biergarten and one of us (not me) not enjoying the food, we were thinking that the boys could go off to play in Future World and forage for themselves.

That's an excellent point, because I usually make ADRs and sometimes get hit with questions on why we don't do this or that. It's usually from my husband. Our kids aren't picky eaters, but I'm usually throwing kid stuff into the mix when making my choices since I lean towards nostalgia and experiences with them.
 

Oliverwilson1987

New Member
In the Parks
Yes
I am very worried about my daughter who is only 13 years old. I can't imagine how I would let her go alone to the park unattended.
Perhaps if I had a son I would be calm
 

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