Disney Parks: Mickey Mouse Ain’t Your Babysitter, Unaccompanied Kids Must Be At Least 14

For those of us who didn’t grow up near Disneyland, it sounds like we were missing out of a heck of a fun time: while parents used to be able to drop kids off at a Disney park for the day and have Mickey Mouse and friends babysit their offspring, a new admission policy requires that kids be at least 14 if they’re not with adults.

Again, while we were stuck in basements watching Bozo the Clown, other kids were getting dropped off at freaking Disneyland? Totally unfair (although the basement was carpeted, at least).

Walt Disney Co. says the rule sticks for any kids going to its U.S.-based theme parks, reports the Los Angeles Times. Disney World in Orlando, Fla. has had the age requirement for a long time, so the company is just getting consistent with its policies.

Back in the day, parents basically used the theme parks as day-care facilities in the summer months and on school breaks. Give’em some money for lunch and see ya later, kids.

But now these kinds of rules are taking root across the industry, say experts, as we’re reconsidering how safe it is to leave a child at a theme park. Alone, except for strangers in animal/fictional character costumes.

Parents who can remember being dropped off at the park as a youngster now say there’s no way they’d let their own kids have a day on their own among the rides.

“I do see the world as much more dangerous,” one mom who use to have Disney as a babysitter told the paper. “I can never trust the security at a place as big as Disneyland.”

It’s kind of an expensive babysitter, as well — a day pass for Disneyland is $87 for anyone over the age of 10.

Disney parks to require that unaccompanied minors be at least 14 [Los Angeles Times]