My New Happy: Disney World With Older Kids - Part 2

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Disney World With Older Kids - Part 2

This is one of my most viewed posts - so I thought I'd share it again!


My hubby and I took the boys to Walt Disney World in December.  It was our third visit, but the first one with teenagers.  Even though nothing beats the magic of Disney with younger kids, this was our favorite trip by far.  

Nobody got cranky (well, except my husband, but I was prepared for that :), I didn't have to worry about losing anybody, and if someone wanted to do something else, they could go off on their own.  My only complaint?  The boys wore me out.  One night C talked me into staying until 2am - I am definitely getting too old for almost-all nighters!

Here are my top five tips for enjoying Disney with older kids:

--Get to the parks early.  I'm talking an hour before they open early. I can't say this enough, and it applies no matter how old your kids are.  Even though it means dragging yourself out of bed at a ridiculous hour, it's worth it.  By arriving before rope drop, you will save HOURS of waiting in line later.  Crowds really start to build about two hours after opening, and you can get so much done before the masses get there.

7am our first morning, waiting for the park to open.  It was so cold!
--Make a plan, but be flexible.  Have a general idea of what your must see's are, and try to hit them first. Unfortunately, Disney has become very schedule oriented - you have to make dining and fast pass reservations months ahead of time, which takes away a lot of the spontaneity.  So do those things when you have to, but leave room for the unexpected, and don't be afraid to change your mind.  There are so many things to see!

--Stop to eat.  My boys' lives pretty much revolve around food, and gone are the days when I can give them yogurt or crackers to appease them.  To avoid major grumpiness, plan to sit down and eat a full meal at least once a day.  There are plenty of quick service restaurants for the rest of your meals and snacks, but taking an hour to relax and get a good lunch or dinner is so important.  This was my husband's one request for this trip, and I'm so glad we did it. There are some really good restaurants at Disney, and except on the busiest days, you can get a seat without a reservation. 

--Take a break at mid day.  Disney is expensive - like, really expensive.  It's tempting to stay in the parks from open to close just to get your money's worth out of that ticket. But around noon it gets REALLY busy. There's no point in fighting the crowds just to stand in a long line and be irritated with your family.  Every day we would head to our room and go for a swim or take a nap.  Then we went back to the parks, refreshed and ready to party.

--Let them go.  This was the first time that I felt comfortable letting the boys take off and do the things they wanted to do.  At this age, all they care about are the rides, and hubby and I were starting to get nauseous! Many times we sent them on their way. One day they rode Splash Mountain nine times in a row - they were soaked but happy. Meanwhile, we strolled around and saw things we'd never experienced before.

Above all else, be in the moment and have fun!  About halfway through our trip I realized this was probably the last time our family of four would be together at Disney World. Which made me sad, but then I thought about how lucky I was to be there with them, and I needed to make the most of all the memories.  This may or may not be why I agreed to stay up with C until 2am.  I was dragging the next day, but it was worth every second.


  1. This is one of my dreams to take both my girls to Disney... I'll make sure to get up super early to skip the lines... then relax and rest in the afternoon. ♡

  2. Gosh this sounds exhausting! I never was into Disney as a kid so my parents got lucky. Like seriously I did not like Disney stuff at all!! Still not a huge fan. Now if Marvel had a theme park...maybe? But I don't do rides. Lol I'm more into shopping until I drop at malls and such!! Rest and relax with drinks and food mid shop!

  3. Thanks for the tips. We're hosting an exchange student this year. I'll use these tips for sure.

  4. Come home I miss youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu! Haha!

  5. Splash Mountain 9 times in a row? I am wondering if that is a record?! I hope you are having just as much fun, but perhaps feeling more rested, this week!

  6. Oh how refreshing to see an older kids Disneyland post! This is chalk full of great advice. Off to share.

  7. This was so great as fits our family to a T, with three teenage boys. We've never attempted Disney World but we sure do have fun vacations so I think it be great to give it a whirl! Great tips, great post!


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