Planning a Walt Disney World Resort® Vacation with Tweens

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By Jamie Zagar, Macaroni KID Cleveland East Publisher July 20, 2023

Walt Disney World is a great destination for families with tweens. Here are some tips for planning a summer vacation at Walt Disney World Resort® with older kids.

The author was hosted by Walt Disney World® Resort to facilitate writing this article. All thoughts and opinions expressed are her own.

Plan ahead: Walt Disney World Resort® can be exciting, so it's important to plan ahead to make the most of your trip. Visit planDisney for answers to all your questions. Download the My Disney Experience mobile app so you can research the parks and attractions, make dining reservations, and let the whole family get in on the planning, Older kids can easily navigate the app and make choices for restaurants and attractions. For time-saving - consider purchasing Disney Genie+ or individual Lightning Lane entry.

Stay on property: Staying at a Disney Resort Hotel offers several perks, including early access to the parks, complimentary transportation, and access to Extra Magic Hours. The BoarkWalk Inn offered poolside games and a Community Hall complete with ping pong, pool, video games and crafts! Check your chosen resort for amenities for kids.

Visit the water parks or your resort pool: Disney's Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are both great options for cooling off on a hot summer day. Both parks offer a variety of water slides and attractions for all ages and each park has a huge wave pool and a relaxing lazy river. Your tweens will love the thrill of the waterslides!  

Try new foods: Walt Disney World Resort® is known for its delicious food options, so encourage your tweens to try new things. Consider booking a dining experience at one of the many restaurants in the parks, at the resorts or at Disney Springs. You can also mobile order food right from your My Disney Experience mobile app. This is a great way for tweens to explore the menu and try new cuisines! Advanced dining reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance and are highly recommended, especially for popular restaurants. You can make reservations right in the My Disney Experience mobile app!

Meet characters: Even tweens can enjoy meeting their favorite Disney characters. Encourage your tweens to take photos and get autographs from their favorite characters. Memory Maker lets you enjoy all Disney PhotoPass photos and videos from your vacation—plus special extras—for one price. Tweens will love the Magic Shots - your photos will have an extra dose of Disney magic.

Enjoy the shows: Walt Disney World Resort® offers a variety of shows and parades throughout the day. Encourage your tweens to take a break from the rides and enjoy a show or parade. Our favorites were Festival of the Lion King and the Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular!

Thrill Rides: Tweens will have a blast on the thrill rides at each park!

At Magic Kingdom® Park our favorites were:
TRON Lightcycle/Run presented by Enterprise (NEW!!)
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train®
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad®
Space Mountain®

And some classic rides that our tweens loved:
Haunted Mansion®
Pirates of the Caribbean®
Mad Tea Party!

Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park has an awesome coaster - Expedition Everest-Legend of the Forbidden Mountain® plus the exhilarating 3D adventure: Avatar Flight of Passage. Our tweens really enjoyed the Kilimanjaro Safaris® and the spectacular Festival of the Lion King performance.

At EPCOT® Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is a MUST RIDE for tweens and teens! We also all really enjoyed Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, it was one of my son’s favorite movies when he was younger!

And any Star Wars fan will be enthralled at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. You are transformed into a whole new galaxy! Make sure to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run.

For more thrills drop down The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ and go crusin’ on the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster® Starring Aerosmith. Watch the hair-raising stunts at Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular! Don’t forget to make a stop in Toy Story Land, ride the Slinky Dog Dash and Toy Story Mania® then say hello to Woody and Buzz!

Your whole day can be planned in the My Disney Experience App. We were able to see wait times for attractions, book dining reservations, get directions, enter the Virtual Queue, mobile order food, view PhotoPass photos, find showtimes and even unlock our Disney Resort hotel room door! All from the phone! It was a lifesaver!

These are just a few tips for planning a summer vacation at Walt Disney World Resort® with tweens. With a little planning and flexibility, your family is sure to have a magical time at the most magical place on earth.

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