Disney to begin enforcing age limit for getting into the parks alone
Written by Robert Niles
The Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort theme parks this weekend will begin enforcing consistent rules on how old visitors must be to enter their theme parks. Starting March 23, visitors who appear to be under age 14 won't be allowed to enter the parks alone any longer.
Sorry, kids. If you're not in high school yet, you'll need someone else with you to get into the parks now.
Of course, since most kids in their early teens don't have IDs with their ages on them, it'll be up to front-gate cast members to play "guess my age" when deciding to let a kid into the park without a parent or older sibling.
Disney's not had a consistent rule on this before. I spoke with a Walt Disney World cast member this week who said that there had been a policy that one had to be 14 to be use the WDW transportation system alone, but that parks weren't consistently enforcing any age rules once you were at the front gate. When I worked at Disney, kids had to be at least seven to ride attractions on their own, but I don't recall any explicit age limit to get into the park without a parent. At Disneyland, in California, some local parents for years have been using the park as a babysitter, buying annual passes for their children who more often than not go to the park on their own.
Fourteen's the average age for a high school freshman, so the policy will hit some middle school and elementary students who'd been using the parks as an after-school getaway. Maybe some kids staying at the Epcot resorts won't be able to run over for pastries in France while their parents take a nap or hit the hotel bar, either. But I suspect that resourceful kids near the cutoff age simply will find a way to "blend in" with some adults or older kids who look like them when they're entering the park. And, of course, kids under 14 will continue to be able to go on many attractions alone once they are in the parks.
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