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View Full Version : Age limit for kids roaming the parks without parents?


SFTrny
05-24-2008, 06:02 PM
Is there an age limit for kids roaming the parks on their own?

medic9016
05-24-2008, 07:15 PM
I think it is 12 or 13.

Young@Heart
05-25-2008, 07:01 PM
I know DH let DS 10 stay in the gift shop while he and DS 12 were at Philharmagic last trip. DD and I were at the Aurora tea party at the time. I was so :mad: when I found out! DH got a good talking to after that!

DS's will be 12 and 14 this trip, and I still won't let them go off on their own.

tinkerstinker
05-25-2008, 07:51 PM
When my 2 oldest were about 12 and 16 I let them go off on their own as long as we were in the same park. They are now 18 and 14 and go all over by themselves.

Mousemates
05-26-2008, 12:57 AM
We turn ours loose for a couple hours an evening (13 and 15), usually when we're doing a TS meal they aren't all that interested in. The personal time ends up being good for everyone. By the way...cell phones(which also insures they have an accurate clock) and texting are a good way to ease the anxiety the first time you let them leave the family nest.

cal5755
05-26-2008, 01:47 AM
I am already dreading this argument lol. DS will be 13 and his friend will be 14 on our next trip. I am thinking they may ask to go out on their own. I know DH will argue they are old enough to go by themselves but I just don't think so yet. Neither one of them look like teenagers they look much younger... and the last thing I want to do on vacation is worry...are they behaving, did they get hurt, are they fighting over rides, is someone taking advantage of them somehow??

I know probably wrong of me considering I went off with 3 friends when I was 14 in WDW....but things are just not the same now as they were then either.

RSGBSG2002
05-26-2008, 04:49 AM
I know it may sound dark, but I don't think a child should be allowed to roam anywhere alone unless the parent feels that the child is old enough to fend off an attacker or abductor. This may be 16 for some or 13 for others.

Just ask yourself if your kid could defend his or herself from a person more than 20 years old without you there. If you feel confident that your 12-year-old could outwit and/or escape from a 30-year-old abductor, then by all means let them run about in this world unsupervised. Otherwise, may be a better idea to give it a few years before they run amock unsupervised.

My son is only 4. I have many years before I have to make this decision for him. And I'm sure that no matter how well I explain things to him before I allow him to roam without a guardian, I'll be the "most unfair parent ever" until I say it's safe enough. ;)

GOLFDISNEY72
05-26-2008, 09:25 AM
We are dealing with the same issue right now. We are leaving this weekend with 4 adults and 7 kids. We are bringing my oldest sons friend. They are both 12. We are bringing radios and I think we are going to let them walk around but we are going to limit them to the same part of the park we are in.

Ladyvader
05-26-2008, 11:18 AM
I do know that we do not allow any child on a ride under the age of 7 to ride a ride by themselves. I will do some research into the exact age. I have witnessed under 10 by themselves, but I don't agree with this at all. I do think that ages 13 and up can definately have a great time in the park alone as long as the parents have set up lots of guidelines. Meeting places, emergency phone numbers, and where they can get help if they need it.
I feel that Disney is a very safe place, and hope with all my heart it will always be. The cast members are there to assist all guests, so if the child or teen knows that there is always help if they need it.
I would have to say that Disney is the only place that I feel my kids are safe. My kids have grown up in the parks and have never had a bad experience. Another thing to account for is do your kids know the parks well enough?

mrbghd
05-26-2008, 11:32 AM
I know it may sound dark, but I don't think a child should be allowed to roam anywhere alone unless the parent feels that the child is old enough to fend off an attacker or abductor. This may be 16 for some or 13 for others.

Just ask yourself if your kid could defend his or herself from a person more than 20 years old without you there. If you feel confident that your 12-year-old could outwit and/or escape from a 30-year-old abductor, then by all means let them run about in this world unsupervised. Otherwise, may be a better idea to give it a few years before they run amock unsupervised.

My son is only 4. I have many years before I have to make this decision for him. And I'm sure that no matter how well I explain things to him before I allow him to roam without a guardian, I'll be the "most unfair parent ever" until I say it's safe enough. ;)

I have been in law enforcement a long time and it amazes me how easily a child can be abducted...or worse. Your point is EXCELLENT and should be considered by every parent. Unfortuantely my wife and I do not have kids and we go to Disney every year and see some kid(s) on their own that look and act like they probably should not be. We all like to think nothing can happen at Disney but it is a public place that atrracts families with kids and places like that also attract the creeps and pedophiles. Parents you know your kids but think logically about if they would be able to stay away from danger.
Check out this link http://www.wltx.com/news/story.aspx?storyid=49288
It's a story from last year and it was at the Swan but it proves the point that things can happen anywhere, even at Disney

Disney Doll
05-26-2008, 02:12 PM
I think it depends on the maturIty of the kid not necessary their physical age. It's a personal decision and everyone has to do what they think is best. I personally think it's fine to let a 13 yr old have some time away from mom and dad. You of course go over a few brief safety tips, but you don't want your kid to be scared to walk outside. Yes occasionally bad things do happen, but you can't keep your kid in a bubble. If you have raised them right they will know what to do.

KAJUNKING
05-26-2008, 02:25 PM
i have a while before i have to worry about this my kids are still 6 and 8, but i would think the age to start to let them go out on there own is about 13 :mickey:

ASweetLov
05-26-2008, 03:40 PM
I don't have kids of my own but I think if I did and we were all on a family vacation then I would want my whole family with me at all times. Maybe 16 or around that age I would let them go around on their own but not any younger.

Earnhardt321
05-26-2008, 06:21 PM
I was 12 when we were allowd to go around the parks by ourselves. There were four of us. My cousin was 13. We had my 8 year old brother with us. We were with my cousins who knew the parks very well. We always had a meeting place every few hours but with cell phones now I think it would be better. I think you have to look at the child. Are they mature enough to go on their own and do you trust them to go alone. I douldn't have been comfortable if my cousins were not with us. It is a personal choice I think.

Mousemates
05-26-2008, 07:04 PM
I know it may sound dark, but I don't think a child should be allowed to roam anywhere alone unless the parent feels that the child is old enough to fend off an attacker or abductor. This may be 16 for some or 13 for others.

Just ask yourself if your kid could defend his or herself from a person more than 20 years old without you there. If you feel confident that your 12-year-old could outwit and/or escape from a 30-year-old abductor, then by all means let them run about in this world unsupervised. Otherwise, may be a better idea to give it a few years before they run amock unsupervised.

My son is only 4. I have many years before I have to make this decision for him. And I'm sure that no matter how well I explain things to him before I allow him to roam without a guardian, I'll be the "most unfair parent ever" until I say it's safe enough. ;)

I do understand your concerns given the dangers that lurk out there...but I will point out that if the "rule of personal safety" is being able "to outwit and/or escape from a 30-year-old abductor" then few teenagers, women or older retirees would be able to roam the parks unsupervised.

Could a bad thing happen in the parks...sure, bad things happen everywhere, even in our schools and homes...but a Disney theme park seems to be a relatively closed environment, with security, with lots of visibility, and lots of family oriented people who I beleive would be prone to "step-in"...so whenever the day of turning loose for a bit of freedom comes...I think this might be a good place for it to start.

RALPH
05-26-2008, 08:08 PM
We are dealing with this for the first time. DS will be 15 1/2 on our upcoming trip. We are bringing along one of his friends the same age. DS knows his way around the park as he has been there 10 times. We would talk to the other parents and see what they would be comfortable with.

Our plan is to allow them to roam together ( they would not separate) in the same park on some occasions. It will be a big adjustment for us as we are very protective. He is looking forward to his freedom, but it still requires a serious talk. Especially if he spots some girls of the same age he is interested in. Then they want to get rid of us so as not to crowd his style.

larandtra
05-26-2008, 11:08 PM
Depends on the maturity level of the kids and if they are alone, in a pair, or in a group. I would say 12 and up is OK as long as there are rules in place.

katzctkpt
05-26-2008, 11:32 PM
We have a 16 yr old and I don't think I want her wandering the park with a friend by themselves. I don't really like her going out at home by herself and it's a town where everyone knows everyone. Still too many creeps out there.

McGoofy
05-27-2008, 07:18 AM
Let's be clear...I am in no way promoting leaving small children alone. However, are you aware that in the Annual pass entitlements section of the annual passholder ticket keeper/benefits book, it says

Quote:
"Persons under the age of 7 years must be accompanied by a person over the age of 21 years when attending the Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, or Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park."
That means that children over 7 years old could potentially be dropped off at the parks and wander around all day without adult supervision. My DH and I were like "NO WAY!!" when we read that. Our DS is 10 and there is no way on earth we would let him wander around the parks alone all day. We do let him ride rides alone. For example, he loves the Stitch ride at MK, and we hate it. So we let him ride it, and we sit right at the exit and wait for him to come out. Even during that short time we make him put one of our cell phones in his pocket just to be sure that he has a way to contact us. That's as close as he gets to being alone for a few more years at least.

I also agree with somebody else that said the child's maturity has a lot to do with it as well. Disney, on the whole, is a safe place, so young mature teenagers should be fine. However, I have seen some very unruly immature, yet older, teenagers wandering around that really needed adult supervision! There are a lot of factors that go into whether or not your child should go solo. Only you as the parent know how your child can handle it all.

TheRustyScupper
05-27-2008, 09:48 AM
1) We let kids and grandkids run alone at about 10 or 11.
. . . they knew the parks,
. . . they knew when to meet up at about every 2-hrs
. . . they knew where to meet up
. . . they knew we were in the SAME PARK as they were
. . . they knew to stop a CM in case of problems or being lost
2) I would this age against how mature your kids are.
3) Disney does not have a kids-alone age, except to enter the park.
4) You see young kids running by themselves all day without incident.
5) We did start to drop them off alone at a park at age 15.

**************************************************

To quote the Buffalo Springfield (1967)
. . . "paranoia runs deep"

. . . the question is one of can the kids navigate the parks by themselves
. . . it isn't one of "30 year old abductors"
. . . can anyone name one single instance of such at WDW?
. . . there are too many security measures and CM's around
. . . let alone other parents

NJGIRL
05-27-2008, 01:09 PM
There was a book written years ago about Disney. It was not a favorable book and the author clearly did not like Disney but that aside it listed many many (copies of police reports were in the book) instantes of weirdos and freaks in the Disney Theme Parks. Face it this is a place where people know alot of kids are so it will attract adults looking for easy targets. It was not just guests but also CM that were doing things that were "not nice". At the time (I do not know if things have changed) Disney did not run background checks on their employees. Until my child is 17 he will stick with us.

mouseketeer mom
05-27-2008, 01:28 PM
My daughters are 14 and 12. We have started allowing them some autonomy this year.(they must stay together) They are both mature for their age, we have strict guidelines and they each have a cell phone and a walkie talkie with them. We do not allow them to travel from park to park on their own. They have travelled via monorail from resort to MK on their own remaining in good contact with us. My son is 8. He is not allowed any autonomy. They know the parks really well. Like the back of their hand. I do not worry when they are on their own. I would worry more at our local mall.

tyandskyesmom
05-27-2008, 02:52 PM
Skyler (3 at the time), Tyler (just turned 9 at the time) and I were in The World in January.

Tyler has some ride issues with "the troll ride". Skye wanted to ride.

He also is big enough to ride whatever he wants (which at this point is only "the Fast Train" - Big Thunder Mountain to you guys and Primvil Whirl) but Skye was at least 4 inches too short (and none too happy about it!).

He had a cell phone. It was just us three. He has been to The World many times since he was 2 and is very advanced for his age. He knoes his was around and knows what to do if he is feeling uncomfortable. He also does not have a problem walking up to someone who works someplace to ask a question.

So, he sat by the stroller when Skye and I went on "The Troll Ride" and waited for us. This happened twice.

He also was allowed to ride "The Fast Train" a few times by himself while Skye and I waited near the end of the ride. And we rode Triceratops Spin while he rode the other.

I was a little concerned at first and on that first wait for "The Fast Train". I think I called him when he was almost boarding the train and then as he was walking off of it.

I also was aware of the 7 year old entrance policy. For us, I don't think I will ever "allow" my kids free roam because we are there as a family to enjoy family time. But depending on your kid and the situation, I think 7 could be appropriate. After our first bout with it, I was pretty comfortable.

Ladyvader
05-27-2008, 03:01 PM
Unbelievable as it sounds the age is 7 years old. There is no way in this world I would let a child of mine run around unaccompanyied at that age.
I think the best way to make both the teenagers happy and the adults is to allow a few hours alone and always have check in times thoughout the day, to maybe meet for lunch or dinner. Make sure the kids have a cell phone and emergency numbers handy.
In this day and age you can never be too careful.

jrkcr
05-27-2008, 03:43 PM
All three of my DD's take aikido, and while my 8yr old can't really hurt anyone, she can escape from grabs, and has learned to yell really loudly,etc.:rant:
My DD14 I would not worry about her safety, as she is quick and uses stealth to get around. :bolt::spy::tiptoe:
and DD16..anyone who messes with her will regret it! :boxing::sumo::strong:
She can pretty much stomp anyone who messes with her!! She is a brown belt, so not a black belt YET. But she is very comfortable with fighting back and not being a victim. I would be scared of her! :blush:
We had a few terrible "incidents" around here(Reno) this year. I won't go into details since it would not be child appropriate, but we had several womens self defense classes, and college girls were buying up all the pepper spray, and guns. I mean shelves were BARE!! I went to the pound and got a black lab/retrievor adult female dog, and my kids kept going 5-7 days a week to aikido class. I figure learning to be aware of your surroundings and how to use your body language to send the "Back Off, I'm watching You" message is the best thing for young kids to learn.
Our last trip to WDW, we let DD16(then 14) ride Splash mtn while we were in the tea cup area. She had her cell phone(what did parents DO before cell phones??) She called us to say she got to the ride ok, and called after she rode it twice,to say she was walking back to the teacups.
And our trip to DL, we let DD16 walk back to the hotel(Paradise Pier) cause she was tired, while we all rode the Grizzly river rapids over and over. Again, she had her cell phone, and at least she could use the short-cut through the Grand Californian hotel. But this made me very nervous, and I stayed on the cell phone with her the whole time she was walking.

So I guess for me it depends on what situations your kid can handle, and if they have a cell phone, and are they responsible with their behavior.
Thanks to my kids for helping me write this!!

wire0monkey
05-27-2008, 06:47 PM
My parents allowed my brothers to roam around the World (Not just a park. The whole resort.)by themselves when they were 11 and 15. They took the buses from the resorts to the parks and they went into the parks by themselves. They just had to stick together and be back by a certain time.

Things to consider:
1. They were together.
2. My 15 year old brother was 5'11 and 145 pounds.
3. Both were pretty street-smart, and had some martial arts training.
4. They were city kids who had experience catching public transportation before trying to use the bus system at WDW.
5. My brothers were exceptionally mature, well behaved young men who would NEVER do some of the things that have been described on this board. (No swearing, line jumping, sasssing, or general mayhem. My mother would have skinned them alive.)

What happened on most days of that trip is that my parents and my brothers went to a park together. After dinner, my parents went back to the resort to relax and the boys went to a different park, usually staying for the fireworks.

They were totally fine. It was a great experience for my parents and for my brothers.

StillSimbaGirl
05-27-2008, 08:22 PM
Terrible things happen, it's true...but terrible things are far more likely to happen with people you know and trust rather than "strangers."

I can't say what the exact right age is for anybody's child to go it alone...but I hope my daughter at the age of 18 will confidently go to college somewhere - perhaps - very far away - and she will need practice going it alone.

Children need age appropriate freedoms in which to explore their own abilities to navigate the planet.

I would like to think that by the time my DD hits 16 that she will be able to fly to England to visit grandparents, negotiate a layover etc.

She should certainly be able to be with a friend in the parks at 12 or 13. Provided she doesn't turn into an idiot.

GOLFDISNEY72
05-27-2008, 09:55 PM
This post has actually changed my mind. I posted earlier that we are going next week and we were going to let my 12 year old and his friend walk around in the same part of the park that we are in. Since reading these post he is just going to have to deal with his old man.

KAT1811
05-27-2008, 11:06 PM
I know it may sound dark, but I don't think a child should be allowed to roam anywhere alone unless the parent feels that the child is old enough to fend off an attacker or abductor.

As a 31 year old 5'8" 145 pound woman with some serious physical strength I can tell you that I am not confident that I could fend off a 6' 200 pound (or more) attacker, never mind a child having to do so.

I have three DDs (11, 3 1/2, and 1 1/2) and I can tell you that I do not plan on letting them naviagate WDW alone on any of our trips regardless of their age. We travel as a family to spend time together as a family.

Regardless I would not be comfortable having my children hundreds of miles from home roaming around without DH or myself. It takes about 7 seconds for a child to disappear. There are some scary people out there, I'm not taking any chances with the most important people in my life.

I am also okay with being the "meanest mom in the world" not that my DD has ever thrown that one at me (at least not yet). Some day they'll know that everything I do is because I love them and want to protect them.

Remember the family that went on vacation, had dinner with their room in sight and their daughter disappeared? You can never be too careful, not in this day and age.

Just my :twocents:

KylesMom
05-27-2008, 11:11 PM
Unbelievable as it sounds the age is 7 years old. There is no way in this world I would let a child of mine run around unaccompanyied at that age.

I thought I remember in my "technical speak" reading that age 7 was the number - but I too thought it was just too insane to repeat!

teamblackwell
05-27-2008, 11:33 PM
This post has actually changed my mind. I posted earlier that we are going next week and we were going to let my 12 year old and his friend walk around in the same part of the park that we are in. Since reading these post he is just going to have to deal with his old man.

When I was 12/13, my parents let me roam the same park as them. I feel bad for your son, that he has to be strapped to your hip at his age. How about take a baby step forward and let him roam the same land as you(Tomorow land, you ride SM and while he rides Buzz?) Check-in after each ride, I think it would give him a big confidence boost. It did me, cuz I used to be a scared kid till that Disney World trip and I found out that I could handle things myself(wait in a line, buy a drink, ask for directions from CM's. )

GOLFDISNEY72
05-28-2008, 08:49 AM
When I was 12/13, my parents let me roam the same park as them. I feel bad for your son, that he has to be strapped to your hip at his age. How about take a baby step forward and let him roam the same land as you(Tomorow land, you ride SM and while he rides Buzz?) Check-in after each ride, I think it would give him a big confidence boost. It did me, cuz I used to be a scared kid till that Disney World trip and I found out that I could handle things myself(wait in a line, buy a drink, ask for directions from CM's. )

This was me plan. We are bringing radios and we were going to let them walk around the same areas that we were in.

NJGIRL
05-28-2008, 10:23 AM
It takes about 7 seconds for a child to disappear. There are some scary people out there, I'm not taking any chances with the most important people in my life.

Remember the family that went on vacation, had dinner with their room in sight and their daughter disappeared? You can never be too careful, not in this day and age.

Just my :twocents:

I agree 100%. People never think it will happen to them. For some reason people have this unrealistic idea that the Disney parks are only filled with kind and caring people. Anyone that has $60 can get in.

Sean Riley Taylor's Mom
05-28-2008, 11:39 PM
My kids are only 10,8 and 4 so we have quite awhile before we need to consider this.

But, maybe I was an oddball growing up but I stayed with my family on vacation. In WDW and everywhere else.:confused: We didn't ask to go off on our own, we had fun together. I hope my kids are the same way. If they are not we will cross that bridge when we get to it but, I am not going to suggest it if they don't.:secret:

They have age appropriate freedom at home. We do not keep them in a bubble but, I think they enjoy spending time with us on vacation.

elmjimmlm
05-29-2008, 10:50 AM
I will not let my kids go by themselves until they are at least 16 or so...Too many crazies out there...

illini
05-29-2008, 11:34 AM
I don't think there's any one number that fits all children. I have some time before I'll even consider it (oldest is only 9). We'll start with a ride alone, then move to lands. But I will allow it at some point. They need to gain some independence and while nowhere is completely safe, I do think that WDW is safer than most places. I don't think I'm being naive about that, either. There are CMs everywhere along with many families.
That said, I'll start considering it at around 14. Doesn't mean I'll agree to it.

Tygger7
05-29-2008, 12:15 PM
I feel that Disney is a very safe place, and hope with all my heart it will always be. The cast members are there to assist all guests, so if the child or teen knows that there is always help if they need it.
I would have to say that Disney is the only place that I feel my kids are safe. My kids have grown up in the parks and have never had a bad experience. Another thing to account for is do your kids know the parks well enough?

I agree 100%. As a kid, I was first allowed to roam "unsupervised" at 13. We had designated meeting times to check in and never had any problems. I let my DD go off without us at 14. She always has a cell phone and checks in regularly.

I'm very overprotective, and don't let my DD go anywhere else without adult supervision, and she's 15 now. For the first few days of our May trip to WDW, she & her friend stayed with my and DH. The last 3 days, we turned them loose. We had totally different interests and things we wanted to do and this worked out best for everyone. Besides, after being together some much, we were all ready to throttle each other. My DD knows WDW like the back of her hand and can navigate buses, boats, monorails without any problems. Plus, there are CM's every time you turn around, so I feel very safe letting her have some freedom...but only at WDW. :mickey:

Marceline
05-29-2008, 03:32 PM
The first time I went to WDW I was 12 and was allowed to wander the entire resort with my 16 year old aunt. We tagged along on a business meeting with my Father and Grandparents. This was the trip that made me fall in love with the world. The freedom to roam was wonderful.

That said.....subsequent trips have been as a big family group with my sibs, or just my DH and DD and I agree with Sean Riley Taylor's Mom that the togetherness was the whole point of the vacation.

My daughter is 6 now, I will allow her to wander DisneyWorld by herself when she is allowed to wander the real world by herself, at 16. But not alone....and hopefully she won't want to separate from us until she goes on her own family vacations anyways.

tmosier
05-29-2008, 03:47 PM
If things work out as I hope, my daughters will be just-turning-15 and 13 1/2 when we take our next trip to WDW. I think I would be ok with them going a little bit on their own in a park provided:


it's daytime
they stick together
they remain in the same area that we are in
they have a charged up cell phone with texting
they mind their manners

cinderellagrl
05-29-2008, 05:19 PM
my sister and I were allowed to venture through the parks alone when we were about 12 and 13. We had to meet up with our parents about every three hours, stick together, and knew where to go if we had any problems. We turned out just fine....

for all the people who are worried about sending a 16+ year old out on their own, all I have to say is they only have a year or two till they go to college and are on their own, perhaps 100's of miles away. In my opinion Disney was the perfect spot for my sister and I to begin experiencing independence. We started with small steps, and eventually were allowed to go to the parks ourselves.

If your sixteen year old cannot roam disney world by themselves will they be ready to go to college by themselves?

Janmac
05-29-2008, 06:43 PM
I have no answers to this question. We usually are a large family group at WDW and everyone tours together because, like another poster said, that's why we're there.

Except for our Blizzard Beach day the trip that our grandson was 13. We were all doing the Double Dipper and I looked around and he was not with us. We figured at first that he had not waited for us to get out of the pool but had gone on up for another go right away.

After waiting around and not seeing him come down we figured he went to another slide by mistake. We figured we'd see him. I was worried but my sister and my niece and my granddaughter (his cousin) were thinking pretty much - what can happen?

So we went on slides and kept an eye out for him but didn't see him for maybe 2 hours. When we did happen to see him he saw his aunt first and said, hey! in a happy sort of way. When he saw me he acted as tho his feelings were hurt and he'd been wandering the whole park for hours looking for us.

We figured he had been having a good time going at his own pace and not having to wait around for us old fogeys to keep up and the hurt feelings was an act in case he was in trouble.

Later on that same trip we 'lost' him and his 11 year old cousin for about 30 minutes at Typhoon Lagoon. Water parks are so difficult - no cell phones to call. Turns out they had gotten tired of the wave pool and had decided to go back to the shark swim again.

The next trip when he was 15, we just let him roam Typhoon Lagoon at his own pace. However, in regular parks he always stays right with us.

So, if you're wanting to keep your kids close to hand, it's really difficult at water parks. Still haven't figured out how to do it.

Jan

fairies*n*fireflies
07-18-2008, 01:04 AM
My family will be going to WDW this coming Christmas and I have 2 sons ages 12 and 17. We also have 2 DD ages 5 & 3. I told DS's that since I know that they wont want to do all the "princess" stuff that their sister will want to do that I thought they were old enough to go off together and ride their own rides as long as they stick together. They also both have their own cell phones.

I attended Disney and Universal with our Youth Group as a chaperone and we just let the kids go on their owns and each chaperone had assigned teenagers with their cell phone #'s. We touched base frequently and surprisingly, after hanging alone, many caught up with us and hung with "the old fogies" alot. Our Youth Pastor's FIL retired from Disney as one of the Managers of the MK and he told all of us (parents) at the trip meeting that WDW is very safe and that we would be surprised at the safety measures that they take, especially when there is a report of a lost child. It definately made me feel better hearing it from someone who actually was so high up at Disney and behind the scenes.

Camping Mom
07-18-2008, 01:27 AM
This has certainly been a hot topic! I have 3 DS and we didn't allow them go off until they were 17 and 15 and 12...and had to stay together in the same park. Funny thing is that when we said you could have some freedom for a little bit, they looked at us like we had lost our minds. They said "What is a family vacation if we all split up?" Bless my boys!!

Now they are grown and the last trip was in December...they are in their 20's and ran around with cousins the whole trip. They had a ball.

No way would I have allowed my kids to be under 12 and at a different park than my DH and myself.

TheRustyScupper
07-18-2008, 08:49 AM
I know it may sound dark, but I don't think a child should be allowed to roam anywhere alone unless the parent feels that the child is old enough to fend off an attacker or abductor. This may be 16 for some or 13 for others.

Well, per the above quote, so much for
. . . going to malls with other kids
. . . going to the movies
. . . babysitting for extra money
. . . walking to school
. . . mowing lawns for spending money
. . . being on the playground
. . . staying after school playing sports
. . . riding their bike
. . . walking to a friend's house
. . . going to school sporting events

NOTE: I do not think people have considered what would happen if a kid starts to yell or scream in a WDW park. I think it would draw a lot of attention from hundreds of guests and CM's.

NOTE2: I cannot get over the paranoia. We let the girls - and then the granddaughters - roam WDW at 10/9, when we were in the same park, and 13/12 when we were in a different park.

mrsgaribaldi
07-18-2008, 09:07 AM
NOTE2: I cannot get over the paranoia. We let the girls - and then the granddaughters - roam WDW at 10/9, when we were in the same park, and 13/12 when we were in a different park.[/I]

I don't think it's paranoia. I don't think anyone should be told they are paranoid when they are considering the welfare of their children. I think some people have a false sense of security when they are in Disney World.

Main Street Jim
07-18-2008, 09:26 AM
Believe it or not...official policy is that "children age 7 and under must be accompanied by an adult", which to me, says that "8 and up can run around alone". This is what all (at least) Attractions Cast is taught during their initial attractions training; at least, I was.

If a child shows up by him/herself that LOOKS younger than 7, we're supposed to tell them they need a parent/adult to ride with them, or at least be there.

KAT1811
07-18-2008, 10:20 AM
Well, per the above quote, so much for
. . . going to malls with other kidsThis is highly discouraged by mall officials and against policy at the mall where we live. In the city they have to have police details to monitor the large amount of kids roaming the malls. IMHO kids should not be allowed to raom the malls unless they are there to shop
. . . going to the movies I have yet to see any 9 & 10 year olds in the movies unaccompanied by an adult. When DD (11 1/2 wants to go to the movies with a friend they sit a few rows in front of or behind me and I keep a watchful eye on them.
. . . babysitting for extra money Secured in a private residence no strangers roaming in and out of the house
. . . walking to school Not going to happen any time soon.
. . . mowing lawns for spending money Can anyone say home owners insurance? Who lets a strange underage kid mow their lawn and assume the liability?
. . . being on the playgroundDon't let my children roam the playground alone either. Most child abductors/abusers claim this as a popular haunt.
. . . staying after school playing sports Always adult supervised. Even in highschool they must have a faculty advisor
. . . riding their bike Same rules apply I need to see you or I need to be with you.
. . . walking to a friend's house See above, if I can't see you I'll drive you.
. . . going to school sporting events Again always adult supervised.

NOTE: I do not think people have considered what would happen if a kid starts to yell or scream in a WDW park. I think it would draw a lot of attention from hundreds of guests and CM's. Probably not much. With half of the children that take horrible temper tantrums these days I'm not sure that anyone around would think anything was wrong, just another out of control child of a parent who has no control either.

NOTE2: I cannot get over the paranoia. We let the girls - and then the granddaughters - roam WDW at 10/9, when we were in the same park, and 13/12 when we were in a different park. The safety of ones children is never paranoia it's caring for ones children. I rather keep tight reins on my children and know they are safe then live with something happening to them because I was not doing my job.

Being a parent doesn't always mean that your on the top of your children's fan list but it does mean that you act in their best interest. Most child agencies site 12 as the minimum age for a child to be left home alone. I cannot imagine allowing a child even at 12 roam alone in a state thousands of miles from home never mind younger.

tink2006
07-18-2008, 10:36 AM
On our last trip DS15 took a friend (BF). The first night, DS wanted to show BF around the resort (POR). I thought what a great idea..go have fun so I can get situated in the room (unpack etc). I did not really think anything about this and forgot to have them take a cell phone. All of a sudden I realized it was very late...about 1:30 Am. I was concerned and decided to go walk around looking for them. There wasn't anybody walking around. I started to get concerned that it was so dark. I told myself...My son knows his way around POR since this is one of our favorite resorts and have stayed there on many trips. However, I was concerned that they got disoriented and could not find the room. All of a sudden I thought I cannot believe that I lost them on our FIRTS night... What is BF's mother going to say to me....:(

When I got back to the room they had returned. All was well.....I guess you never stop worrying about them regardless of their age, even at WDW

fairies*n*fireflies
07-19-2008, 01:31 AM
For us, the decision to let them go off alone, is based on the fact that oldest DS is 17 and driving and holds a job. I think that makes him responsible enough to take his brother and go it alone at least for a few hours. I wouldn't let them go all day mind you because this is a family vacation.

Mousemates
07-20-2008, 03:38 PM
[NOTE: (from RustyScupper)I do not think people have considered what would happen if a kid starts to yell or scream in a WDW park. I think it would draw a lot of attention from hundreds of guests and CM's.

From Kat1811 Probably not much. With half of the children that take horrible temper tantrums these days I'm not sure that anyone around would think anything was wrong, just another out of control child of a parent who has no control either.


Sorry, but I have to disagree with that statement...while there surely would be a few folks like you mentioned who might callously look away--- assuming that its just the child of a person who doesn't parent as well as they think they parent their own children...if I hear a child in a theme park scream the magic word...i.e. Help...you can bet your last dollar that I will come running.

And I certainly don't think I'm the only one at WDW who would react in this way...in fact I beleive the vast majority of guests and CMs would give the situation the necessary attention it deserves.

disneyworld55925592
07-21-2008, 01:47 PM
my sister and i when i was about 14 and she was about 16 would go off on our own even into a different park while our parents were out to dinner. But you see we know disney world like the back of our hand. We have been there many times and can navigate our way through it with no problem at all. we would actually get on a bus go to a park and make our way home back to our hotel room. its different for everyone.It really comes down to how well you know disney and maturity

Sharon1026
07-21-2008, 08:26 PM
[

Sorry, but I have to disagree with that statement...while there surely would be a few folks like you mentioned who might callously look away--- assuming that its just the child of a person who doesn't parent as well as they think they parent their own children...if I hear a child in a theme park scream the magic word...i.e. Help...you can bet your last dollar that I will come running.

And I certainly don't think I'm the only one at WDW who would react in this way...in fact I beleive the vast majority of guests and CMs would give the situation the necessary attention it deserves.

It wouldn't be Disney if there wasn't some screaming and crying...

Mousemates
07-22-2008, 04:48 PM
It wouldn't be Disney if there wasn't some screaming and crying...

:mickey:

dteed
07-22-2008, 04:52 PM
DS13 had the run of the place during his band trip. this labor day we will be there for baseball and both will be allowed to do what they wish, they are 11 and 14 now. Both have cell phones and, DS11 may not even leave us but if he does he will be with DS14.

MickeyMousse
07-22-2008, 05:01 PM
When our DS's are old enough to pay for their own passes, :spend: they can roam the parks without us!

But, all kidding aside, I don't foresee this happening until my oldest DS (who is 11 right now) is in his teens....and then he'd have to lug around his 4 yr younger DB.....that would be enough reason to stay with the old Mom and Dad! :old:

FenwayGirl
07-22-2008, 05:05 PM
I agree with an earlier poster who stated that they always stayed with their family because they enjoyed Disney as a family. My kids (now 26, 29 and 30) have been to WDW many times and I don't recall even one time that they asked to go it alone. Not sure why, but we had lots of fun. We still travel to WDW as a family, just now there are 5 grandkids. We still enjoy the park together.

Daddy Mouse
07-23-2008, 12:31 PM
DW and I allowed our DS 12 and DD 11 a few hours of freedom at DHS. With that being stated I was more worried about how they would were acting than someone abducting them, We followed them around for a couple of hours from ride to ride. They were well behaved and eventually called us because they wanted to be with mom and dad. (I am sure they’ll need therapy someday for that one.):D:D

garymacd
07-23-2008, 01:24 PM
I don't know if my kids are weird or not, but they WANTED to stay with us. Maybe it was our strange work schedules that rarely let them see all four of us together for any length of time and even at an early age valued our family time.

Next year, we are all going down together again for the first time in about four years. Our oldest daughter will be bringing her boyfriend on his very first trip to anywhere, and we will also be bringing one of our nieces. All of them are in their early 20's.

They have already said they all want to hang out with us, all together, for the entire trip! Little do they know that they will be making the FastPass runs. :thedolls:

Like I said: weird.

FenwayGirl
07-23-2008, 01:28 PM
Not weird at all. Actually very refreshing! We have had the same experience with our children (who are grown with kids) and they still hang out with us...we just have added 5 grandkids to the mix. We get to experience the "magic" through little ones eyes all over again

KAT1811
07-23-2008, 01:54 PM
So great to see a return to family togetherness. :cloud9:

FenwayGirl
07-23-2008, 02:00 PM
Not sure if you are serious or not, but we do like the fact that our family has stayed close. At one point a few years ago we had 4 genereations (my parents, us, my kids, grandkids) all living under the same roof. It was very interesting. But we enjoy our family! Especially at the happiest place on earth!

KAT1811
07-23-2008, 02:03 PM
I am very serious. Family is very important to us and I like to hear that other families are spending time together. Too many people caught up with aquisitions today.

FenwayGirl
07-23-2008, 02:06 PM
Glad to hear it. Must be our New England upbringing ;) Life just passes you by so quickly. We are leaving tomorrow for 2 weeks in NH with 5 grandkids in tow. Tiring (luckly we had our kids young) but such a joy!:cloud9:

Texas Tinkerbell Too
07-24-2008, 11:13 AM
My DS9 and DS5 will be roaming the parks alone this September with just 2 other kids....:secret:
their mom and dad! LOL!

FenwayGirl
07-24-2008, 11:18 AM
Love it! And how true!

Texas Tinkerbell Too
07-24-2008, 11:23 AM
No really...I am more like one of those paranoid parents. I think it's because I have grown up around law enforcement. I've heard lots of scary stories. I would say that some people in my family have a belief of "guilty until proven innocent." It must have worn off a little on me. Oh well...like someone else said... I would rather be safe than sorry. :thumbsup:

FenwayGirl
07-24-2008, 11:28 AM
I'm with you. Plus the parks are so much more fun when shared with family and friends...

4ubie1
07-24-2008, 11:45 AM
My parents let me and my sister roam around on our own when we were 11 & 12. We were also with a friend so I think they felt us safe enough since we were in a group and it was for only a couple hours. :blush:

PopDivaPaige
07-24-2008, 01:00 PM
I think it is 12 or 13. I can't be sure though.

Nurse Kim
07-24-2008, 01:27 PM
On our trip I allowed my son 15 to go on the speedway cars while DDs and I went to Stitch, Monsters Inc, teacups, and Splash Mountain. He had his cell phone and I spoke with him several times.

I believe I will let my kids go off by themselves this next trip as they will be 13, 13 16 as long as we are in the same park and they stay together