Teens not often agree with parents but when it comes to Walt Disney World is seems that for once everybody is happy. Granted, a trip to the Kingdom of the Mouse does not come cheap but it certainly comes with a lot of freedom and peace of mind for grownups.
Why Teens Love Walt Disney World Vacations
For one, teens can pretty much participate – if they choose to do so – anything that Walt Disney World offers. Next, parents can give their teens an amount of freedom they seldom can experience anywhere else. The entertainment in the Kingdom of the Mouse is proper and the venues are safe.
The venues and transportation system are set up in such a way that they allow a lot of flexibility while at the same time offering peace of mind to the parents. It is totally fine to send your teenager off on his or her own while you enjoy a romantic evening with your spouse.
All it really takes is a little planning, good communication and consideration. Parents and teens should sit down prior to the trip and decide which activities are a must for the entire family. Select the rides and meals you want to do together. Make sure all family members know what is expected from them and set some clear-cut guidelines. Next let your teens relish in their newly found freedom. It is an excellent learning experience.
Make sure your teen knows that communication is key. While you may be tempted to let them experience the repercussion of not charging their cell phone we suggest you make sure that their communication devices work and are fully charged!
For a mere $15 one can buy a small charger that connects to the phone and provides an extra full charge. Taking a phone charger to the park may come in handy if all else fails. There are plenty of outlets in the parks and Disney is very gracious about guests using them free of charge. Guest relations at all parks will charge phones in case of need. We are living in a world of constant news and social media interaction; don’t be surprised if your teen spends quite some time checking messages. If this is an important matter to you, discuss your expectations prior to your trip such as putting the device away during meal times.
Teens often will say one thing and do something else. When planning your trip don’t be surprised that a character meeting is out of question. Once at the parks be prepared for a change of mind. Go with the flow. The magic of Walt Disney World is not lost on your teen but don’t expect them to admit this publicly.
Most teens like the company of other teens and you may consider bringing a friend along. Make sure that everybody knows what is expected and that you have cleared with the family of your guest as to what your financial responsibilities are and how much freedom the parents of your guest are comfortable with.
Also, before you leave home, address what assistance, if any, you expect from your teen when it comes to helping with the younger siblings.
If your teen does not have such responsibilities at home, now is not the time to start asking for it. Rather, carve out family time where you insist on activities being done together and divert your attention to the younger kids when your teen is off discovering Space Mountain on his or her own.
This being said it is clear that one can find trouble anywhere but rest assure that nothing at Walt Disney World can be construed as a precipitant.
The parks, hotels and Downtown Disney are safe. Disney properties are constantly watched by security cameras and The Mouse also has security cars driving around the property.
Last but not least, remember that the Disney transportation system is vast and like every transportation system it is bound to schedules and the occasional delay can happen.
Most boats, buses and monorails run at least every twenty minutes. Sometimes however one can experience a 30 to 45 minute wait. If you want your teen to be somewhere at a specific time, make sure to allow enough time.
We recommend you tell your teen to be at the transportation station one hour before you expect them somewhere else. For more information on Disney Transportation, check HERE.
What are your thoughts on taking teens. Do you have any tips that make things easier when traveling with teens?
Liliane Opsomer is the coauthor of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids and a photographer to The Color Companion: The Unofficial Guide.
She is passionate about travel, Disney, fairies, hobbits and all things magical. Some of her favorite destinations are Orlando, Anaheim, Middle Earth, Belgium, Sydney, Dresden, Patagonia and Hawaii. Liliane lives in Birmingham, Alabama and visits the parks several times a year.