Traveling with teenagers and older children can come with its own unique benefits and struggles. You may need to look at the way you plan your next trip to Walt Disney World differently than you would with smaller children. With an endless array of fun activities for older kids and exciting things that families can do together, there's no better place than Disney World for your next trip. Here are our 10 tips for visiting with teens and tweens.
Plan the Trip Together
In the months leading up to your vacation, taking time to plan out some of the activities, dining options and more with your teens or older kids is a great way to make them feel like their opinion is important. Have them make a list of their "must-do" attractions so you know what not to miss. It will make sure there will be enough for them to do while you're there. Plus, it will take some of the planning burden off of you.
Book a Bigger Room
Selecting a hotel room with enough space for everyone is important, especially when traveling with older kids. Consider booking a room with more than one bathroom to make it easier to get ready in the morning. If traveling with kids of different ages, look into booking a suite that offers more than one bedroom as well. That may help with kids that have different bed times.
Special Tours and Events
Walt Disney World offers much more than just rides at the theme parks. For instance, did you know there's a special program where you can learn how to surf at the Typhoon Lagoon water park? From beginner to expert, classes let you surf the wave pool before the park opens or after it closes, letting you surf 100 waves!
One of the best things about visiting the theme parks with older kids is not having to worry about height restrictions for the rides. Many teenagers are known to have a bit of a wild side, so opting for that front row on roller coasters might be a fun way to bond. Rides like the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rockin' Roller Coaster, Expedition Everest and all of the "mountains" at Magic Kingdom are great for your adrenaline junkies.
Stay Late and Sleep In
While younger kids may need that afternoon nap or they'll get fussy, teens may need to sleep in or they'll get cranky. It may be more fun for everyone to allow some time to rest in the morning. That means you can stay up late, though, enjoying the theme parks all the way until closing time. Some parks even offer special After Hours events or Extra Magic Hours for guests staying on-site after the parks close, for even more twilight excitement.
Split Up in the Parks
Families traveling with both younger children and older kids may want to consider setting aside time to split up at the theme parks. After experiencing the shows and rides that everyone can enjoy together, dividing the group is a nice way to ensure no one is stuck doing something they really don't want to. Remember to always set a meet-up time and designate a clearly defined landmark to meet at, in case your cell phones aren't working.
Shop at Disney Springs
Teens love to shop, and Disney Springs offers over 100 different stores with everything from trendy apparel to Disney collectibles and more. Set aside plenty of time for window-shopping and maybe a meal or two at this expansive shopping and entertainment district, as there is a lot more to do than just shopping.
Save Time for Selfies
One of the most popular things for teens at Walt Disney World right now is to grab a selfie at an Instagrammable "Disney Wall." There's the purple wall at Magic Kingdom, the bubble gum wall at Epcot, moss wall in Animal Kingdom's Pandora and much more. Finding these fun photo locations is like a scavenger hunt, and the photos will make great keepsakes from your trip.
Explore Unique Dining
Now that your kids’ palates have evolved, take a chance and try some more exotic cuisine together. Some options may include the international spots around Epcot's World Showcase, or fancier restaurants at the resorts. Younger kids may not be able to sit still long enough to enjoy a quiet meal, so take advantage of this new opportunity. Look through the hundreds of dining options with them before the trip, and remember you can book most dining reservations up to 180 days in advance.
Schedule Something Special
Add a little bit of magic to your vacation with a special event or tour to surprise your family. Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise is a wonderful experience they'll never forget. Your family will get a special view of the nightly fireworks over the Magic Kingdom from a private ferry boat in the Seven Seas Lagoon. The event features unlimited snacks, drinks and desserts, plus activities and, of course, the incredible view. It could be the perfect way to cap off your vacation.