Many people think that Walt Disney World is just for children and many think it’s just for girls. Well, I’ve got news for them: Walt Disney World is for all ages and genders. I’ve recently had the opportunity to plan a trip to Walt Disney World with two teenage boys in mind. It has been a different planning process than when I had little girls, to be sure. No longer do we focus on the Disney Princesses, Winnie the Pooh, or Tinkerbell. Now it’s roller coasters and food! Those are two areas where I expect most teenagers focus when on vacation, so those are the two areas I’ll describe here.
- Roller Coasters! When your kids are small, the most adventurous attraction you ride is probably Dumbo the Flying Elephant, the Barnstormer, or Astro Orbiter. When your kids are teenagers, they’re looking for big adventures and thrill rides. It’s doubtful they care too much about meeting Cinderella or Snow White. They’re looking for the kind of fun you find on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Magic Kingdom, DINOSAUR or Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom, Mission: SPACE in Epcot, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Magic Kingdom, Star Tours or the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you play your cards right, you can convince them to ride some classic Disney attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, or the Jungle Cruise. They may protest a little, but secretly they’ll enjoy them! Now, if my teenagers are trying to get me onto some of these thrill rides, I look like the picture below. But, rest assured, if I tried to get them into Enchanted Tales with Belle, they’re likely to look just like I do in this picture! Don’t plan on your teenagers wanting to focus on Character Meet n Greets, either. I highly suggest taking group pictures in front of the castle first thing and then setting them free!
- Food! Most teenagers like to eat, especially boys. Teenage girls, at least my teenage girls, liked to eat, but always kept in mind healthy eating. You will find at Disney both healthy and not so healthy fare when it comes to mealtime. You can certainly find healthier options if you’re looking for them, but for my purposes, I’m talking about quantity over quality. I’m talking about feeding teenage boys! One of the joys of going to Walt Disney World over Disneyland currently is the use of the MagicBand and the Disney Dining Plans. You can purchase a Disney Dining Plan that includes a Table Service Meal, a Quick Service Meal, and a Snack for each person each day. Here is a link to an article I wrote recently about the Disney Dining Plans. Having the Dining Plan makes it ideal to slap a MagicBand on your teenager, feed them breakfast at your hotel or at a kiosk on the way into the park, take your castle pictures, and then set them free until dinner time when you all meet up to use your Table Service credit. You won’t have to worry about your teen going hungry because he can use his MagicBand to purchase a Quick Service Meal and a Snack on his own. Now this does suggest quite a bit of freedom and responsibility on your teen’s part, but I believe my son and his friend can handle it. This freedom of theirs also gives me freedom to go and enjoy the attractions I want while knowing they’ll get plenty to eat. And teenage boys who have been fed are happy boys!
So, as you can see, planning a Walt Disney World trip with teenagers is very different than planning with small children or toddlers. If you’re a Disney Lover like me, you’ll want to go to Disney no matter what age your children are. Planning strategically for teens will keep them happy and keep them wanting to return with you for many years.