Disney Bans Parents From Using Parks as Free Babysitting

Rant 11

Disney WorldIf there's one thing I've learned since I became a parent, it's that you never know what is going to get a group of parents up in arms. The latest? Disney Parks have decided to put a new unaccompanied minor rule in place, essentially banning parents from dropping their kids off at the Happiest Place on Earth and booking it for the day. If your kid is 14 or younger, you're going to have to send someone 14 or older inside the gates to keep an eye on them.

The only question I have? What took them this long?

I know, I can hear how old I sound saying it. Has it really been that many decades since I was a young teenager, when I would have wanted nothing more than some free time in a theme park?

Indeed it has been.

I'm a parent now, and one who happens to have a fondness for all things Disney. If all goes well, I'm even hoping to take my daughter to the Florida park later this year. 

She's only 7 right now, but even if she were older, say 12 or 13, there's no way she'd be wandering the park without me.

Why? Simple. It's a big place. HUGE, even. And it's full of things kids can get into to cause some trouble. That's what kids of a certain age do, isn't it? Get into trouble? Not mean-spirited trouble, necessarily, but they're mischievous. They're immature. They don't think through to the consequences of their actions. And trouble just tends to follow them.

It's not just kids at Disney. Your average mall doesn't allow groups of teens to wander aimlessly without parents anymore. Our local pool has banned kids under 14 without a caregiver too.

The folks at Disney say the new admission rule is about safety, and, well, did I mention kids of a certain age don't always think things through? Their brains are still developing the ability to do that. That's why we don't put them behind the wheels of cars or let them vote either.

I want my kid to be safe. 

And more than that, I don't think it's fair to the employees of theme parks (or malls or swimming pools) to be treated like babysitters. They weren't hired to keep my kid safe; that's MY job.

So you can kvetch all you want that the mouse is being mean, mean, mean to young teens. I think it makes the happiest place a happier place for responsible parents.

What do you think of the rule change? Is 14 the right cut-off?


Image via Rennett Stowe/Flickr

behavior, activities


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Erin Mast

Been there a lot with my boys and I couldn't agree more!

fleur... fleurdelys3110

Good move, Disney! Having preteens and young teens running around unchaperoned probably does not make for a family friendly environment.

gabe05 gabe05

I had a hard time sending my ten year old son with my fourteen year old sister at Universal Studios to a roller coaster that was right by the ride we were on and we met them at the exit!  I cannot imagine letting a child younger than fourteen walk around alone at all, much less leave them alone!

Caera Caera

It should be 16.

Kimbyann Kimbyann

I agree with caera

amnew... amnewlon8982

My children do NOT go anywhere alone. Unless you count the 10 feet between my front door and my parents front door. And still, I text my mother to make sure they are there. Granted they are 8 and 2 and should always be accompanied by an adult wherever they go. I spent 11 years working as a law enforcement dispatcher and heard all the awful and terrifying things people do to one another, especially children. My children have freedom but until they are old enough to defend themselves and learn to distinguish those they can trust from those they can't, I will continue to be what most would call really overprotective. I couldn't live wiith myself should something awful happen to my girls knowing I should have been there to protect them as an adult and their mother.

Happy... Happydad73

Thank you Disney!!!! Its about time!

nonmember avatar MammaMel

THANK GOD!!! When we went on the Backlot Tour ride there was a group of rude preteens behind us that made is so much less enjoyable because of their sarcasm the whole time!

dks64 dks64

I go to Disneyland semi-regularly (I have a pass) and this is a great idea.

Ninja... Ninja_Kitty666

I agree with what Caera up there said, the age should be higher, but honestly 14 isn't really all that bad either. There are some very mature 14-year-olds out there, I was one of them. So good for Disney for sticking up for the safety of the young'uns and for their employees' right to not be treated like babysitters.

Now if only they could make a rule for the asshat parents who DO come into the park, but just let their kids run rampant and generally be obnoxious anyway. >.>

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