Disney with Tweens... any good tips/advice?


I only work for the vacation money
Dec 20, 2001
We've been going to WDW since before the kids were born and this June we're taking our 10 & 12 year olds for the first time in 5 years. From your experience, what are some good tips for that age?

Just when you master one age, they go grow up!
We've been going to WDW since before the kids were born and this June we're taking our 10 & 12 year olds for the first time in 5 years. From your experience, what are some good tips for that age?

Just when you master one age, they go grow up!

My daughters are teens now, but as 'tweens' (and now still) they love WDW maybe more than even as toddlers! As tweens, they loved coloring the Duffy bears at Epcot. They enjoy exploring the pavilion restaurants, shops and films at Epcot. MK is business as usual, as is AK and HS. The bonus at these ages is they can carry their own bags and water! I really can't think of anything they rolled their eyes at at 10 or 12. Business as usual, no special tips.
My daughter loves horseback riding at Tri-Circle-D ranch. Under 9 they have to ride the ponies, but over 9 you get to ride the big horses on a 45 minute trail ride through the "wilderness". She loves it and has requested we do it every time we go now. I think it's about $50 per person, so not much more than it would cost to do the same thing at home, but way more special!

First off PRAY. At 10 my daughter was I love your daddy. From 12 to 17 it was grunt city. Last year we stayed at AKL and she said I love you daddy again. It funny its like the last 5 years never happened. But at least mine kept her love of WDW during the whole thing.

By that age my boys had zero desire to follow an efficient touring plan....they wanted to steer the ship...skipping rides in favor of getting to their priorities. Last trip DS12 was very focused on wait times. We go prepared with FP+ and ADRs to enjoy together (they like helping to pick restaurants and do enjoy some character meals)...but beyond that we tour on whims and split up when people want to go different directions. I make beautiful touring plans because I enjoy planning.....but I go in knowing they won't get used (though I am fast approaching a trip when my husband and are are likely to be touring on our own a bit). Surely not all kids are like mine.....I guess the short version of my advice is "plan, but be ready to roll with it."
We had fun doing the "late night" things. Evening extra magic hours, etc.
Don't force them to take pictures or meet characters.
Beware of hangry and dehydration...I swear my son is a walking Snickers commercial.
My 9 yo really liked pin trading. She also loved the water parks and the pools.

I think this age also prefers to control the schedule so expect some kick back if you spend all afternoon watching the WS movies or Hall of Presidents followed by Tiki Birds.
My 2 youngest were 10 and 13 the last time we took them. They wanted to spend more time at the pool (SAB) and the arcade than in the parks. Once there my 10 year old really enjoyed himself, but my 13 year old could have cared less if he stepped foot on an attraction or not. That was our last trip as a family and we spent more time at the pool than any other previous trip.
Looking back I'm thinking we should have done the water parks option and spent less days at the other parks.
When my oldest was a tween, she loved everything about WDW and still does.
I think gender might matter as well. I went on a trip when I was in my early 20s, my cousins were 8, 10 and 13. The 10 and 13 year old boys were miserable lumps of clay...we didn't do a lot of touring as a horde (thank god) so I only had to tolerate them at big meals and at the offsite home that was rented.
We also followed our same touring style...wake up early, go to park, return around lunch time and nap if they desire and then return to park at around 5.

I also over the years have added more rest days/non park days.

Last August we did 5 park days and 6 non park so my kids could sleep in every other day if they desired (they were 17, 14 and 12). And they did but they were usually at the pool by around 10.

We also went to blizzard beach for the day and we rented a polar patio. Best money spent as we could veg out and they could go slide!
Mine is 10 now and we go in a few weeks. When I asked her what she didn't want to miss answer was: meet Pluto, Tiki Room, Country Bear Jamboree, Hall of Presidents, Boneyard, and Mission Space because we didn't get to them our first vacation. Repeats were World Showcase "especially Japan Pavilion":teeth: , Space Mtn, FOP, and 1900 Park Fare dinner. And "stay up later" AKA past fireworks. Think it's a good age they can tell you which things they are interested in, got the Birnbaums WDW book for kids, so she had a reference to what else there was to do. We still have midday breaks planned but even at 8 years old last time only one that used it as nap time: DH .


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