Walt Disney World: Practical Tips and Positive Mindsets

Getting Organized, Advice for Teenagers
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SLOW FOR THE SHOW: Take in a show and rest those weary feet (courtesy, Disney)

Develop a Game Plan. Divide and conquer.
Theme parks can be overwhelming even for adults. Do your research ahead of time. Remember, you can't see it all, but you can and should enjoy hitting what you really want to see. Decide first what the must-sees are for each family member in each park. Then get a map of the park and circle these places. Perhaps you and your teen want to head for rollicking Space Mountain, while your husband and eight-year-old ride the less intimidating Big Thunder Mountain and Grandma takes your four-year-old on "It's a Small World."

Establish a place to meet at a certain time. Keeping in touch by cell phone or two-way radios helps. After lunch, line up for Haunted Mansion and those other activities you want to do together. In the afternoon, when you're getting tired and need to be off your feet, take in one of the shows. Sit down, rest, and enjoy yourself. Then head back to your hotel for a catnap and an early dinner.

Return to the park for more rides and evening entertainment. You won't be bored. For example, the Magic Kingdom hosts SpectroMagic, an evening parade sparkling with rainbow lights and dazzling lasers.

Keeping Teenagers Smiling
You liked Twilight Zone Tower of Terror once, but your teenagers crave seconds, something you find too scary even to contemplate. If your teens are responsible, then give them some roaming room. Just be clear about where and when to meet.

The bête noire of traveling with teens—keeping them safely busy at night. That means supervised. Even if all you want to do is go to sleep by 8:30 p.m., don't.

Have some coffee and take your teens to Downtown Disney. Although too young for the clubs, high schoolers like making the scene and checking out the latest music at the Virgin Megastore. Book tickets for Cirque du Soleil La Nouba, a spectacle of acrobatics, odd characters, and music that appeals to teens as well as younger kids and adults.

Teens like to sleep in, even at Disney World. Don't fight to get them up for a 7:00 a.m. breakfast and park run. Take the young kids to the park early and remind the teens to meet you for lunch in a particular park at a certain place. It's their responsibility to show up on time. Keep those cell phones on.

And remember, there will be lines, crowded restaurants, costly lunches, and plenty of ways to get overtired and even feel underappreciated as a parent. Just keep your sense of humor and remember why you came to Walt Disney World in the first place—to have quality time with your kids. That way, you'll always find the magic.


Away.com's resident family expert Candyce Stapen has written the book on family travel, having authored some 1,400 travel articles and 27 books, 26 of them on family travel. She is the winner of the 2004 "Caribbean Travel Writer of the Year for North America" award and a three-time winner of the Society of American Travel Writers' Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism award. Her articles have appeared in publications including Nick Jr , FamilyFun , Parents , Better Homes & Gardens , Conde Nast Traveler , National Geographic Traveler , and the Family Travel Network , among others. Her book, the National Geographic Guide to Caribbean Family Vacations is available from Amazon.com.

Published: 11 Apr 2005 | Last Updated: 7 Nov 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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