/ Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

by Chris Fox

With most rules there are exceptions and this is the case here as well.  I have no problem introducing my four year old niece to Jack Sparrow the audio-animatronic but have no desire to introduce her to Jack Sparrow the cinema figure yet.  Pirates of the Caribbean is a great movie but it’s just not appropriate for younger kids.

Stitch’s Great Escape is an exception as well but for a different reason.  My niece has seen Lilo & Stitch and loves it, but the attraction acts as a prequel of sorts to the movie and has a very different theme and tone than the movie.

So, what do we do?

What about related, though perhaps indirectly, material?  Maybe the Pirates movies are inappropriate for young kids but the T.V. show Jake and the Neverland Pirates is created specifically for that demographic.  Peter Pan is, of course, the original Disney pirate movie.

Stitch’s attraction is a bit tougher because there are fewer Disney alien movies and the Lilo & Stitch spin offs aren’t really that helpful.  Treasure Planet comes to mind.  It is underrated and has a similar tone and theme to Stitch’s Great Escape.  Atlantis would be another one.  Unfortunately, Disney’s animated features don’t veer into the realm of sci-fi often.  A quick search of their live action films doesn’t turn up anything either.

We haven’t even brought up rides like The Haunted Mansion or Tower of Terror.

The first time I rode The Haunted Mansion was at night.  We were walking by it and my dad suggested it.  My response? “We’re coming back tomorrow, we can ride it then.  I just don’t want to go on that ride at night.”  It took some convincing, but eventually we decided to ride it that night and I really enjoyed it.  Of course, my ten-year-old self, knowing my dad’s propensity for practical jokes, let my five-year-old brother share a Doombuggy with him while I rode with my mom.  Yep, that was me.

My dad made a judgment call and, except for a slight, lingering fear of a hitchhiking ghost following me home (I had an active imagination), it worked out.

Ultimately, what it comes down to is doing a little planning and making a judgment call.  Going to a Disney park isn’t like going anywhere else for vacation.  Relaxation doesn’t come from down time, not at the parks themselves anyway.  Do some research, watch the appropriate movies with your kids, have some conversations and then make the judgment call.  Do whatever it takes to have the best time possible with your kids at Walt Disney World.

Chris is an avid fan of both theme parks and Disney, so it just makes sense that he would love something that combines the two.  He is a new dad to a daughter of two months and an aspiring writer in the process of launching a Disney World related blog at the beginning of the year (thedisneytourist.blogspot.com).