Orlando Bound? How to Do Disney World with a Toddler or Big Kid

Preteens and Teens (10 and up)

• Keep in Mind: Kids will want the independence to explore, without you beside them. Depending on their maturity and your level of comfort, consider giving kids the opportunity to ride some attractions alone or with siblings. Understand that kids this age are very self-conscious and often feel embarrassed by their parents. So think twice before donning that Goofy hat!

• Parks You Should See: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach water park and the Disney Quest arcade located at Downtown Disney.

• Touring Strategies: Hit the parks early and head for the most popular thrill rides first. Utilize the FASTPASS system to minimize waiting time. Older teens can run ahead and secure the FASTPASSES for the whole family.

• Don't Miss:
In the Magic Kingdom: Space Mountain; Splash Mountain; Big Thunder Mountain Railroad; BuzzLightyear's Space Ranger Spin; Pirates of the Caribbean; Stitch's Great Escape; Celebrate the Magic! Castle Projection Show; Wishes Nighttime Spectacular fireworks.

In Disney's Hollywood Studios: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror; Rock 'n' Roller Coaster; Star Tours - The Adventures Continue; The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow; The American Idol Experience; Toy Story Mania!; Studios Backlot Tour.

In the Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest; Kali River Rapids; Kilimanjaro Safaris; DINOSAUR; It's Tough to Be a Bug.

In Epcot Center: Space Ship Earth; Test Track; Mission: Space; Soarin’; Innoventions; Illuminations;

• Parades to Catch: Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! parade of favorite Pixar stars.

• Skip: Character shows (kids will claim they're too babyish)

• Kids May Be Scared By: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror; Expedition Everest.

• Meal Plans: Restaurants with all-you-can eat buffets will satisfy teens' varied tastes and big appetites! Try out Boma at the African Kingdom Lodge Hotel, which features African dishes along with American classics. Ethnic restaurants are fun to sample, since kids are more adventursome eaters at this age. (There are plenty to choose from in Epcot's World Showcase!) And, if you have sports-loving sons or daughters, make sure you eat at the ESPN Club at Disney's Boardwalk. It's a fan's paradise, with televisions everywhere (even in the bathrooms!)

• Best Spots to Greet Characters: Parades -- especially the nighttime The Main Street Electrical Parade Magic Kingdom. Kids this age still love seeing characters, but don't always want to admit it. Parades allow them to view their favorites, without having to pose with them.

• Places to Chill Out: Water parks -- especially Blizzard Beach (where daredevils will zoom down the 120-foot Summit Plummit waterslide at speeds up to 60 miles an hour).

Hot Tips:
If possible, have kids travel with friends or other family members close in age.

 

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