5 Thrills for the Whole Family Visiting Walt Disney World® With Tweens

Five Ways To Keep The Whole Family THRILLED!

By Amy Flynn July 20, 2023

If you haven’t taken a family trip to Walt Disney World Resort® yet, JUST DO IT! Our kids had been asking for years, and somehow we’d managed to get to the tween years without giving in. The idea of planning seemed SO daunting and overwhelming (and had been keeping me up at night!), so when the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity came up to join other Macaroni KID families on a hosted trip, we jumped right on it! 

After all we learned and experienced through the process, now I’m kicking myself for waiting so long! Here are my five tips and takeaways to help keep everyone in the family THRILLED both in and out of the parks:

The author was hosted by Walt Disney World Resort® to facilitate writing this article. All thoughts and opinions expressed are her own.

1. Thrill Yourself (and your kids!)

We’re a family of thrill seekers, so our first matter of business was hitting the most intense of the thrill rides. Plan ahead so you know which ones are your top priorities! Prior to having kids, I’d bungee jumped, sky-dived, and zip-lined my way across multiple countries, so I was ready for anything! Here are our thoughts on the thrill rides:

Top Thrills

TRON Lightcycle/Run (Magic Kingdom® Park): Newest ride at Walt Disney World Resort® - so fast and super-cool with unique motorcycle/lightcycle riding position

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster® Starring Aerosmith (Disney's Hollywood Studios®): The only Walt Disney World ride that goes upside down; all-indoor ride that’s super fast and plays awesome music

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad® (Magic Kingdom® Park): Classic wooden roller coaster feel with fast turns and drops; fun theme as the track goes through the mountain

Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain® (Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park): Themed wooden coaster that lets you conquer Mt. Everest (and escape the Yeti) with big drops and surprises at every turn

Guardians Of The Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (EPCOT®): Super-cool concept and fast, all-indoor coaster where your car spins (a LOT!) around the track while going backwards

Avatar Flight of Passage (Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park): Amazing immersive 3D experience that simulates riding your own Banshee through Pandora

Star Tours® - The Adventures Continue (Disney's Hollywood Studios®): 3D space flight simulator with fantastic graphics and story leading up to the ride

Mission: SPACE® (EPCOT®): The Orange Mission is another space flight simulator that allows you to command the spacecraft

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2. Pack It In!

Don’t be afraid to over-prepare/overpack for a full day in the parks. My husband and I each brought a lightweight, water-resistant backpack every day, and I’m so glad we did! Almost all of the rides had secure on-ride cargo storage, and the few that didn’t provided easily accessible, free lockers prior to boarding. 

We packed snacks (you’re allowed to bring in your own food!), water bottles, sunscreen, ponchos, device chargers, and even the kids’ tablets (don’t judge — they were an absolute lifesaver while waiting, and there’s good/free wifi all throughout the park!). If you have the game “Heads Up!” on your phone, there’s a free Disney Parks pack, which is a great way to pass the time in line. We played it a bunch, and saw many other families playing too — it was so funny to hear how other families give clues to each other!

3. Stay On-Property!

We were lucky enough to be put up at the BoardWalk Inn, one of the Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts modeled after the classic beach boardwalks of Atlantic City and Coney Island. It was an incredible location within easy walking distance of both Disney's Hollywood Studios® and EPCOT®, and offered a ton of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. 

All of the Walt Disney World Resort® properties have different themes, which are so creatively incorporated (along with your favorite Disney characters!) into every detail of your stay. And the most valuable benefit of staying on-property is the free transportation and EARLY ACCESS to the parks! Walt Disney World Resort guests get access to the parks 30 minutes prior to the general public, which makes a huge difference when you’re determined to get on the most sought-after rides!

4. Use ALL The Tools!

Did I mention how overwhelmed I was at the thought of planning a Walt Disney World Resort® vacation? I’m usually the one my friends and family turn to for advice on trip planning, and I didn’t know where to begin! However, once I got past the fear and started using these tools provided by Disney, everything was a breeze:

planDisney: SO much information and content from a panel of experts.

My Disney Experience mobile app and website: Tracks and manages all your hotel, park, and dining reservations — also allows you to view wait times, book Lightning Lanes, make/modify dining reservations, and place mobile dining orders for quick service restaurants.

Disney Genie+ service: This is a small extra charge per person, but SO worth it to book Lightning Lane entry for select times/rides (which allows you to save time waiting in line). I thought this would be so hard to navigate, but it was so easy and intuitive!

MagicBands: These act as a room key, can be used to enter theme parks, PhotoPass link, and mobile payment anywhere on-property or in the parks.

PhotoPass: This is a no-brainer and worth every penny. Photographers are available all over the parks to take magical and iconic photos that instantly link to your account to view and save.

5. Believe In Magic!

There’s magic around every turn at Walt Disney World Resort® — take it all in! Allow yourself to be a kid again, and feel all the feels. Say “yes” to everything — character dining, photo opportunities, fireworks, shows, concerts, etc. Your tweens might insist that they’re past the “princess” or “cartoon” phases, but when you see how awestruck your daughter is when her old favorites Anna and Elsa walk into the room, or when Donald Duck comes over to say hello to your son during dinner, you’ll feel the magic more than they will. 

And all of that doubt and anxiety you might have felt at the start of the process will magically disappear.

If you're ready to start planning your family's Walt Disney World vacation, check out the My Disney Experience app and Walt Disney World Resort® website for tips on planning a trip with tweens and teens.

Enter for your chance to win a vacation to Walt Disney World Resorts® from Macaroni KID!
Giveaway ends midnight EDT, July 31, 2023. Must be at least 18 at time of entry. Complete rules here.