Holidaying with teens can be tricky and finding activities that you can all enjoy as a family can take some careful planning. Now that our tribe are teens we have learned to fine tune our planning and we thought we’d share some of our successes.
Awesome theme parks – thrilling rides
We love the theme parks, after all, Disney know how to put a good one together! We have always made the most of the Fast Pass+ entitlement and 60 days prior to checking in to our Disney resort we book rides that we know tribe will want to do. Many of our family’s must do rides are very popular and attract the biggest queues so for a stress free day we make the most of the Fast Pass facility. Just a quick note here that if you are not staying at a Disney resort but purchase park tickets through Disney, you are able to book 30 days in advance – it’s well worth thinking ahead and doing this.
There’s no surprise that the most requested rides from our teens are the thrill rides and there are plenty to choose from. On the first day of our holiday we always head to Magic Kingdom and a must do is to go on the ‘Three mountains’. Splash, Space and Big Thunder Mountain are three great rides and involve high speed twists and turns and some serious drops.
After Magic Kingdom, our teens love to go to Animal Kingdom Park and go straight to the incredible Avatar Flight of Passage ride. This ride attracts huge queues and standing in line for a couple of hours in the blazing, August, Orlando heat is a recipe for disaster! This is a Fast Pass+ must! If you don’t manage to get a Fast Pass, and you are staying at one of the Disney resorts, then we recommend that you make the most of the Extra Magic Hours (extended park hours). This year (Aug 2018) we arrived for the morning Extra Magic Hours and managed to ride on Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey within the hour. Perfect! After this ride we walk through to Asia, taking in the sights, and head to Expedition Everest to jump aboard a carriage that will takes us through the Himalayas to the home of the Yeti. Cameras capture a snapshot of the rapid descent and our tribe enjoy deciding on the pose that they will strike.
Epcot is a fabulous park and is home to Test Track, a high speed, thrill ride that has our teens designing a car that will then be tested for handling, maneuverability, efficiency and power on a track. Each design goes through ‘vigorous testing’ and is measured against the design of others in the car. Our lovelies are very vocal when their design does particularly well – they are extremely competitive!
The glitz and glamour of Hollywood Studios calls and in it are a stack of rides that we love. Both Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror are rides that our teens would ride on time after time. Us grown ups like these rides too but can’t quite manage the drops, corkscrew turns and rollover loops over and over again. Luckily there is a single rider option on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster so our teens can ride these whilst we make sure we stay hydrated or try out a snack or two.
Toy Story Land opened in June 2018 and a fantastic addition to the Studios. It’s fair to say that our tribe were overwhelmed as they took walked into the park and were reduced to the size of toys. Slinky Dog Dash is a surprisingly fast roller coaster and takes along the ‘Mega Coaster Play Kit’ that Andy (one of the main Toy Story characters) has assembled. Although I don’t think they’d admit it, our teens really loved being little again and asked to go to this ride first. It really is something special and a total must do. There’s lots more that we could say about Toy Story Land so we will be following this up with a post dedicated to this park.
The Classics – still fantastic
Whilst thrill rides are often top of the list, our tribe love the classic rides just as much. Even walking around the parks and taking in the sights were as enjoyable as raising adrenaline levels. Some of our tribe’s favourites include Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan’s Flight, Jungle Cruise, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Soarin’ around the World, Spaceship Earth, the Haunted Mansion and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin . Our teens surprised us this year by wanting to ride It’s a Small World and Dumbo which really goes to show that in Disney World you really don’t have to grow up!
The imagineering in all of the parks is brilliant, and, for the Disney aficionado, there are lots of significant Disney dates and messages hidden away in the theming for you to find. It’s worth taking the time to look around and take in the surroundings and maybe find a hidden Mickey or two.
A walk around the World Showcase in Epcot is another must do. It’s made even more enjoyable when you stop for a snack or drink or watch the street entertainment. Our teens like to tell us that they’ve travelled the world all in one afternoon!
Shows, Light Shows and Fireworks
Disney do shows and fireworks well, actually they do it very well. Invariably we will watch a show and one or more of us are moved to tears. Disney shows and fireworks are great at getting a message across to the audience and it may sound corny, but it leaves our tribe feeling uplifted and inspired.
The Festival of the Lion King is a beautiful production and the music, acrobatics and choreography has us captivated. It’s even made one of our teens say that one day she’d like to be the bird in the show!
We love IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks and although we don’t always rush to see this show, we’d recommend that you add this to your list of must do’s as it is being replaced at the end of Summer 2019.
The Happily Ever After firework show is breath taking. The music, visual effects and the fireworks draw you into another world and the message of making your own happily ever after was so poignant. Even in the August humidity we finished this show with a huge group hug – it truly brought us together.
There is something for everyone at Disney and whilst we have shared our current favourites, we never fail to be surprised at our teens wanting to relive their younger years. We have had some of the most wonderful family moments and as Disney say in their advertisement ‘even the closest become closer – that’s the Magic’ – we couldn’t agree more. The magic is waiting for you.
If you are interested in reading more about the magic of the Magic Kingdom, click here to read our post about whether or not Teens still enjoy visiting this Disney park.