There are so many exciting things to do at Disney for tweens, teens, and older kiddos that the whole family just might have more fun than ever before. On our last trip with our teenager, family bonding happened and memories were made that can only happen at Disney. We laughed, we shopped, we ate the Disney food, we talked, we took selfies, we dreamed and we rode Disney rides together. Let me share our ultimate list of ideas that your family (that includes older children) doesn’t want to miss at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Can I confess something to you? It’s more fun at Disney with older kiddos. There, I said it. Think about it friends, they don’t need naps, don’t have tantrums, and they can stay in the parks until late without incident. We honestly had way more fun with Princess at Disney World as a teen than we did when she was a little girl. It brought me so much joy to watch her enjoy Disney World on a whole new level.
THINGS TO DO AT DISNEY WITH OLDERS: Park Hopping
You’ll be able to move faster, lighter, and with a lot more ease (olders can help if you have young ones too). Fatigue for tween and teens isn’t as prevalent as it is with toddlers and this makes it easier to see more and do more. Park hopper tickets are a wonderful idea and it’s totally doable to visit multiple parks in one day. Talk about more for your money!
On our last trip to Disney with our teen, we all agreed to take a slower pace and enjoy two to three parks with our park hopper tickets. Because we stayed in a Disney resort with magic hours, we were able to hit the Magic Kingdom park early, visit Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival and then see and do everything we wanted to until really late at night.
It was fabulous!
THINGS TO DO AT DISNEY WITH OLDERS: STAY AT A MODERATE DISNEY RESORT
One special tip for a family vacation to Disney with your older kids is to stay in a moderate resort hotel if you can swing it. Though a little pricier than the value resort hotels like Pop Century, hotels like Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort are a little more grown-up but still loaded with fun. Choices of moderately-priced resorts are Port Orleans, Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach Resort and the cabins at the Fort Wilderness Resort.
These slightly more sophisticated resorts are quite an experience in themselves. It’s definitely recommended by us to spend a whole day exploring and relaxing at the resort of your choice if possible.
THINGS TO DO AT DISNEY WITH OLDERS: PLAN RIDES AHEAD OF TIME
If you and yours want to be able to walk onto Disney Park rides without waiting for unreasonable amounts of time, you’ll want to book your fast passes ahead of time. Not sure about all the fast pass hoopla?
Basically, you are able to choose three ride reservations within the Disney Park you are currently visiting. The reservation can be made on the My Disney Experience App. If you don’t already have it, go download it now and click around. It’s very neat and user-friendly! You can only reserve fast passes at one Disney park at a time.
You can certainly reserve fast passes on the app as you walk through the park but you risk the chance of them being full. I suggest choosing the rides you want to ride online and reserving them before you ever leave home. We knew we wanted to ride It’s a Small World, Haunted Mansion, and Jungle River Cruise at the Magic Kingdom park, so I secured those quickly before we visited the park.
THINGS TO DO AT DISNEY WITH OLDERS: VISIT DISNEY SPRINGS
I booked our last Disney stay to intentionally have a leisure day to check out Disney Springs, once known as Downtown Disney. We’d never been and honestly wondered what the big deal was about. It’s where shopping and dining meet magic! It’s an incredibly clean, whimsical and upscale outdoor shopping mall with Disney-style beauty and fun.
All surrounding a beautiful lagoon, there are different sections to cater to the serious luxury shoppers, those seeking celebrity chef eateries, and fun for children and kids at heart. Don’t miss the LEGO store, World of Disney store (largest Disney retail in the country), Ghiradelli Ice Cream & Chocolate shop and Goofy’s Candy Company. Enjoy the video below of the fun ideas we had:
THINGS TO DO AT DISNEY WITH OLDERS: EAT YOUR WAY THROUGH DISNEY WORLD
We decided before we ever got to Walt Disney World that we would fully enjoy many of the Disney choices we’d heard so much about. Whether it’s nachos at Disney Springs, pork tacos and Dole Whip at Epcot, it’s fun to experience these popular foods together as a family. We opted to only eat one big meal a day and share small snacks throughout the rest so we could truly taste it all.
We didn’t come close to tasting it all but we had fun trying!
THINGS TO DO AT DISNEY WITH OLDERS: BE SPONTANEOUS
There are a plethora of entertainment things to do within the magic bubble of Walt Disney World. Plays and musicals can be found at every Disney park. There are two Disney water parks open seasonally. Have you heard about the ESPN Sports Hall of Fame? Listen to a free concert at Disney Springs. Visit your Disney resort’s pool and grounds to relax and explore. Catch a movie at the AMC theater at Disney Springs.
Be sure to let your kiddos know that they can let loose and act like a kid. I hope you adults are too! One of the most fun and entertaining things we did at Disney Springs was quite spontaneous. We walked up to what’s known as The Boathouse where they offer an Amphicar – part car and part boat. It’s just easier to show you the video below so you’ll understand.
Not only is it free to park at Disney Springs, there’s no charge to visit. So, technically, your family could check out Disney Springs without ever spending a dime. It’s so much fun though that I’m just going to tell you, “Good Luck on that!”
Our family fell in love with the laid-back, whimsical vibe of Disney Springs – so much that we went on two different days during our Walt Disney World vacation. I hope this helps you to plan your own vacation and soak up the time you have with those amazing older kids.
Which things to do at Disney are on the top of your list?
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