DisneyWorld is such a magical place and there are so many tips and tricks to make your visit more enjoyable. Here are my favorite, some of which I’ve never read online. Please leave a few of your best tips in the comments section.
This seems obvious, right?! But, staying on the Disney properties gives families with tweens a bonus hour in the morning. You get to be in the park one hour before the gates open for the day to other guests. Extra Magic Hours are featured at each park each day. This is a huge perk! Imagine a photo of the castle without getting photo bombed!
You are on vacation, relax about the price of food. Eat ice cream for breakfast whilst there! Your tween will love you even more! DisneyWorld is way too much fun to spend your time complaining about food prices. If you are interested in the Disney Dining packages because of the convenience over deciding where to eat everyday, I would suggest getting one for your family. (If you are staying on Disney properties, you get extra days in advance to make your dining reservations -- which could be key to some of the more popular restaurants). In case you were not aware, there are many (MANY) healthy food options within DisneyWorld. If you are worried about allergies, all the restaurants accommodate ALL allergies! Our family motto is this: go to the most classic of all ice cream parlors right at the end of Main Street, USA, Main Street Plaza Ice Cream Parlor right before the parade or fireworks begin--stuff your face and rejoice!!
VIP Parade Seating
This is one tip that I don't usually read about. If you are looking for an awesome parade experience, VIP parade seating is the way to go. Did you know you can use your fastpast+? FastPass+ parade and fireworks viewing areas offer a luxurious VIP-style treatment that ordinary guests can’t have just vying for a peek amidst the crowds along jammed pack curbs. My young tween daughters will not leave DisneyWorld any time we visit until they have seen the Main Street Electrical Parade. It is one of our absolute favorite things to do at Disney. It is amazing from the VIP seating!
Good Location for Viewing Illuminations
In Epcot, the best area to view Illuminations: Reflections of Earth is the World Showcase. But sometimes you may not be near this area or it may be too packed for you to squeeze your tweens in. Another great location that my tweens and I enjoy watching Illuminations is the Lagoon seating area towards the France side of the Yorkshire County Fish Shop in the United Kingdom pavilion, United Kingdom lochside. This location is very low to the water, but it’s somewhat out of the way. There are private parties here, but if not the area is lovely. If this location isn’t open, opt instead for the bridge between the United Kingdom and France, preferably nearer to the United Kingdom, as the view is open and your pictures will be splendid.
Fast Passes for Fantasmic
You can use for FastPass+ for Fantasmic. The best news is your Fantasmic Fast Passes do not count towards for daily allotment, so you can still get passes for other rides while holding Fantasmic passes. This show is amazing and was the highlight of my young tween's trip. I would highly recommend getting fastpasses for Fantasmic. You can even dine at one of three restaurants and receive designated seating for the show with the Fantasmic! Dining Package! Remember if you are staying at a Disney property, you can make selections up to 60 days before your check-in date.
One often overlooked (or unknown) attraction at DisneyWorld is the Disney Animation Academy. I tend to take my tweens here in the middle of the day. It is a perfect time to rest and revive (and it is air conditioned). Animation Academy is located in Hollywood Studios in the back of Animation Courtyard. An academy runs frequently all day long, so if you miss one, just stand in line for the next. Once inside the drawing room, the drafting boards light up so that you can see through your paper as you draw. My tweens watched the large screen at the front, which shows the animator's work on their drafting table with rapt attention. The artist walks through each step and each line. My tweens LOVE Animation Academy. They finish one drawing and run to get back in line for the next one. The great aspect is the next session will feature a different character to draw. Your tweens will have a great time, relax, cool off and walk away with a free custom-made souvenir.
Pin Collecting & Trading
There are hundreds of official Disney pins available for sale throughout Disney parks. Any Disney cast member with pins on his lanyard will trade them with you if you ask. Think of the case members as human trading posts! One of my girls favorite tasks is to locate a new favorite pin for each trip. This last trip we were tasked to locate The Fox and The Hound. The cast members are MORE than happy to hep you. We had one cast member who took my girls hopes and turned them into huge smiles. She scoured everywhere with us until we found one. However, don't ask my girls to trade their pins--they are holding on to their for dear lives!
Stay in Line at the End of the Day
I can't stress this enough with tweens. We no longer have to rush back to our rooms for early bedtime! My girls can stay up late now and experience Disney at night. Which I have to add, is my absolute favorite time! If you are still in the parks late at night--get in a line. The line at closing time are fast. We were riding The Mine Train over and over late one evening, because there was not a line and why not . . . and we were leaving and happened upon Anna and Elsa who did not have a 2-3 hour wait time. Right inside we popped. This was fantastic! There was no crowd, no long line, no wait time, no rushing . . . just a leisurely visit with some of our favorite new friends. Staying late is a great way to extend your stay and experience shorter wait times for popular rides. Don't let your tween fool you either--they still want a photo with princesses!
Stay Up Late--Really Late
I know--I just said this. But staying at the parks late and staying up late with tweens go hand in hand. Your tweens will LOVE you to the ends of the earth if you let them sty up late--like really, really late. There is nothing better than riding the three mountains late at night! The Three Mountains in Magic Kingdom that is. Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain are must-rides late at night for tweens! Hint: Moms and Dads -- sit this one out -- let your tweens ride by themselves! Also, the view from Splash Mountain at Night -- spectacular!
Buy Souvenirs at The Parks
Some souvenirs are just more fun to buy in the park. My kids loved designing their own light sabers at the gift shop in Tomorrowland next to Star Wars. My tweens know they can select one souvenir from each park we visit. But they have to choose wisely. The best aspect about shopping for souvenirs and staying at the Disney properties is I simply let the gift shops know where we are staying, my room number and *poof*, our souvenirs show up in our room. I don't have to carry them around all day or keep track of them.
Stay Cool In DisneyWorld
On a boiling hot day at DisneyWorld, the Kali River Rapids is a cool place in the park. Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo the Musical and It's Tough to be a Bug are also a great spots to stay cool in Animal Kingdom. If you are in Magic Kingdom, the Carousel of Progress is a great place to cool off for a bit. It features a great history lesson for your tweens. Other cool spots in Magic Kingdom are The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Carribean and It's a Small World. I didn't think my tweens would want to ride It's a Small World this time around, but they surprised me stating, "we have to ride this ride"! You can also sit for a bit and see Mickey’s PhilharMagic and the much overlooked Tomorrowland Transit Authority. Another spot to rest your weary feet and take in an action packed show is Lights, Motors, Action! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The stunt driving is incredible in this show!
Bring something fun for your tweens to do whilst waiting in line. This could be notepads and pencils, iPods etc. Another great souvenir to purchase is the Hidden Mickey book and your tweens can hunt down all the images of Mickey Mouse hidden throughout the park.
GO WITH THE FLOW and ENJOY!
With all the planning to head to DisneyWorld, we have to keep in mind that sometimes everything does not go PERFECTLY. Remember to plan ahead, stay organized and bring along extras for your tweens. However, what makes a Tween Trip To DisneyWorld the most is just remembering that these memories will last forever. Enjoy yourself!
Have a wonderful time on your trip! Utilize the Disney Photographers! Disney Memory Maker is a favorite perk of ours. All our images were scanned to our MagicBands, and all of the images of us were available to download when we returned to our room to view. Once we returned home, all our images were available to download.
Please leave your own best tips and tricks in the comments below!
Thanks so much to the Disney Public Relations Team for including me and my daughters on the #WDWBigFun Tween Media Event. My thoughts and opinions are my own.