There are few happier things for vacationing parents to hear than something being free at a theme park. The Big Kahuna of theme parks is, of course, Disney World.
Two common questions I get from families: Are kids free at Disney World? If so, what age is free at Disney?
You might be wondering about all of the other events at Disney World and areas in the park where you use things like the FastPass+ and Magic Bands. Are kids free at Disney World even with those things in place?
Let’s look at all the places kids get in free and how to keep from getting confused about when and where you need to make reservations for your child.
So, Do Kids go Free at Disney World?
Good news if you have kids under the age of 3 year are free at Disney World in Florida.
However, you may have had the same discussion with your family like I have with my husband; “Do you think they will be too young to even remember the trip?”
My answer, “No!”. After all, memories are for everyone, and when you’ve built a collection of Disney souvenirs and pictures to cherish, you’ll have something to show them once they’re older.
If you need some expert back up, show the naysayers our What’s the Best Age to take Kids to Disney article.
If you’re staying at a hotel at Disney World, your child under three is still free, but you have to let them know the child is with you when you make the reservation. Your room rate won’t go up, but the hotel staff needs an accurate number of people in each room for safety reasons.
Knowing you have young children also lets them make you the best offer for your family regarding location and amenities.
Staying at a Disney World Resort
When you go to Disney World, you might stay at a hotel outside the park to save money or for other reasons. Consider staying in a hotel at Disney World instead.
When you stay at a Disney World Resort Hotel, you’ll benefit by enjoying the park before the official opening and after the official closing time in a way people who stay outside the park can’t.
Resort guests used to use FastPass+ to reserve rides and attractions up to 60 days in advance, but currently, you have to wait until you arrive at the park to make reservations with their new Genie+ system.
Because the system is new, this could change. Early reservation perks might come back in time.
Are kids free at Disney World, even in restaurants? Yes, kids under three eat free in most places at the park.
You’ll need to let the restaurant staff know that you have a child under three with you for occupancy and safety standards when you make a reservation, but most meals at restaurants at Walt Disney World are free for kids under three.
At the Disney restaurants that are buffet style and all you can eat, a child under three eats free even if you make a separate plate for them. When you order entrees at other restaurants, it’s perfectly acceptable for your child to eat off an adult’s plate at no extra cost.
The only food costs for kids under three are meals or snacks you order for them.
Genie+ (Formerly FastPass)
Hopefully, when you go to Disney World, you take advantage of their paid Genie+ with Lightning Lane program to reduce your waiting time for rides and attractions. Genie+ can make a visit to the park so much more enjoyable, though it costs extra for each person who uses it.
Are kids free at Disney World if you’re using Genie+ to get on rides, or do you need to pay extra for kids under three?
The Genie+ program is free for kids under three. As long as you have a Genie+ reservation, children under three who meet the height requirement for whatever ride you’re going on can go on with you for free. They can also go with you to any attraction or show you’ve reserved with Genie+.
If you have another adult with you, you can use the Rider Switch policy if your child is too short to ride something you want to enjoy. One adult can stay with the child while the other rides. Rider Switch lets the other adult ride immediately after.
This great Disney policy makes things easier on families with small kids and prevents you from having to stay in line twice as long for both people to enjoy the ride.
Magic bands at Disney World make getting around the park and getting into your hotel so much more straightforward than old ticketing systems. Disney World guests enjoyed using Magic Bands for free until the end of 2020. Now guests can purchase them up to 10 days before they arrive if they want the convenience.
Are kids free at Disney World if all the adults and older kids have Magic Bands, or do you need to purchase one for toddlers?
When Magic Bands were free, many toddlers got one simply because they were listed in the vacation package, and Disney sent the Magic Bands automatically. Now that you must purchase a Magic Band, there’s never a need to buy one for a child under three.
The only purpose a Magic Band could serve for a child too young for a paid ticket would be to open the hotel room door. Since a child that young won’t be alone, there’s little point in spending the extra money on a Magic Band unless you want it as a souvenir for the child.
Do I Need to Verify My Child’s Age?
Many visitors to the park worry about age verification for their children under three years old. You might wonder if a park employee at the gate or a restaurant will ask you to verify that your child is under three with some identification like a birth certificate.
No one will ever do this. Disney park employees don’t ask for proof of your child’s age. You only have to tell them that your child is under three, and they’ll be allowed into the park for free. Only children three and older require a purchased ticket.
Children 3 to 9 get youth tickets, and children ten and older get a standard Disney World admission ticket just like an adult.
When you book your Walt Disney World package online, you need to enter your child’s age as you register. The form won’t ask for age verification or proof. If you book over the phone, simply tell them about your children younger than three.
Birthdays at Disney World
Are kids free at Disney World if they turn three during the vacation?
Yes, as long as the child is under three on their first day at Disney World, they can stay the entire time for free and enjoy restaurants and rides with you at no extra cost.
- TIP: Make sure you give advance notice to your booking agent if there is a guest visiting Disney World at a special time of the year. You never know if there’s a little something special waiting for them to celebrate their birthday.
Will I Really Never Need Proof of Age?
If your child is exceptionally tall or often mistaken for a much older child and you’re concerned they might think your child is much older, you can bring a copy of the child’s birth certificate.
Only do this if it makes you feel better, however. Disney employees won’t ask to see it.
When you go through the front gate, you may hear employees ask a child’s age, or they may ask you the age of your children for ticket purchasing purposes. This is standard, and they won’t challenge you on the age you give.
Bottom Line: Are Kids Free at Disney World?
Children under three get into Disney World free, ride free, and enjoy most restaurant food for free.
When you book your trip, let them know you’ve got a toddler and enjoy your child getting in free at Disney World while they can.
More about our TFVG Author
A seasoned traveller, Dad, and avid sports tourist, James foundered The Family Vacation Guide to share his expert vacation experiences- especially when it comes to being a travelling family man.
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