As a mom, that’s had a tween or teenager for 12+ years, I know just how hard it can be to try to plan a family trip anywhere. Especially if you have younger kids in tow (which we do)! We love to travel and our two best vacations for teens are Disney and cruises.
After going to Disney MANY times with teenagers, there’s a lot I’ve learned! Here are 10 tips for visiting Disney World with teenagers from my experience and I think most of these apply to tweens too. The goal is to make magical memories rather than leaving the park arguing and as we say “having too much Disney fun”.
Book a bigger room
Teenagers (and Mom and Dad) will have a better experience if they don’t have to share a bed or a bathroom. Consider booking a larger room or even multiple rooms if you are going to be traveling with teens.
2 Words: Star Wars
If you have teens, they are probably going to be interested in Star Wars. There is already lots of additional Star Wars themed attractions as we move to the Star Wars Land opening in Hollywood Studios.
Plan for more thrill rides
Your teens are going to want to do a lot of thrill rides! Make sure when you’re planning trip and booking FastPasses you keep this in mind to maximize Disney for teens!
While no one can resist the thrill of It’s a Small World (you know you’re humming the song), thrilling will likely mean Space Mountain or Test Track.
If you have younger kids in tow, utilize rider swap and your older kids will get to ride twice.
Plan on staying up late and sleeping in
There are very few teens who want to wake up early, and they will usually be a lot grumpier if they have to. Instead, consider staying up later and sleeping in instead!
This is where staying on-site and using Disney transportation for the mature teen can be super handy.
Leave some of the ride planning to your teens
If you want to make sure your teen has a great trip, let them call the shots! Have them choose FastPasses or decide on the park! Let them be in charge of some of the ride planning to make sure they get to ride the stuff they want to.
I do suggest visiting ALL 4 parks. By getting the teens involved, you will have more luck having them be excited about each park and its more thrill type attractions or those that give your teen a little nostalgia – like Slinky Dog or Toy Story.
Plan some Disney fun for the older kids
Teenagers probably won’t want to stand in line to meet Cinderella (or they might), so make sure you plan some fun for the older kids if you have younger kids going with you!
All the kids should feel like the vacation is meant for them too and that they get to do something they want. So leave some of the ride planning to your teens above.
If you are kids are wide age ranges, like ours, be willing to have parents split and take the different ages to different things and maybe switch later in the day or the following day. Just keep in mind that some teens still get in the spirit of the character meet and greets.
Explore some of Disney’s unique dining options
Teenagers are going to be more receptive of unique dining experiences than little ones. Consider really exploring some of Disney’s fine dining or unique dining options.
Food is important in our Disney trips. Disney with teens means that we can expand the venues and include things like the Polynesian for dinner and other more elaborate dining experiences.
Plan for some shopping time
Take a stroll down Disney Springs or the Disney Boardwalk with your teen! There are so many fun activities to do and shopping for those nonpark days. At Christmas, there are themed Christmas trees at Disney Springs that are always a hit.
Let them ride some rides on their own
If you don’t want to ride a certain ride or they want to do it by themselves, don’t worry too much about it! It’s okay to let your tween or teen ride by themselves or with a sibling! Just make sure to be there when they get off or have a specific plan for reconnecting.
I’ll meet you at Dumbo is not specific enough, it can get very crowded during peak season. I will meet you outside of the entrance to the queue for Goofy’s Barnstormer is much better.
Consider doing some late night extra magic hours
Late extra magic hours are great for teens who stay up late! Consider splurging for the chance to walk on their favorite rides and build memories together! I will warn you that weekend extra magic hours can be very crowded so plan accordingly. The parks at night and early mornings are my favorite times, but we like to go back during the heat of the day and rest or swim.
Give them some space
Teenagers don’t want to hang out with their parents all day. Big surprise right? Let them have some space and if they’re old enough, maybe even let them explore the parks for a few hours on their own. My kids also always want some pool time when they are little so this is another great time to split up if you have mixed ages. Grandparents are also great to have a long to help keep all the age groups happy.
If you follow these Disney World tips, your family vacation to Disney will be a blast and you’ll be planning your next trip before you leave. Planning a trip isn’t easy, but these tips can help!