If you are traveling to Disney with teens and tweens and wondering what are the best things to do at Disney World, you will love this list. I have first-hand experience and can tell you, without a doubt, Disney World isn't just for little kids.
Here's how I know. When I was graduating from high school, my parents took my sister and me on a family vacation to Disney. Now, we are a Disney family. So any Disney vacation is magical in our book., whether you're going to Disney World with toddlers and babies or older kids.
But what I didn't realize is how many cool and unique things there are to do that Tweens and Teens will love. Like I always say, there is something for every age and stage at Disney World, and kids literally grow WITH Disney. Every time we have visited Disney World, the whole family has a lot of fun.
Here are the very best things to do at Disney World with the Tween and Teen set.
This post contains affiliate links which means I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you should you make a purchase using this link. See my disclaimer. Cover photo credit: Joel Sutherland/Unsplash stock photos
Why Take Teens And Tweens To Walt Disney World
Here's the thing. There is no “perfect age” for Walt Disney World. In fact, I would argue every age is the BEST AGE because Disney literally grows WITH the family. If you have kids in all age groups and are visiting Disney with teens and tweens, their younger siblings will love the experience too.
No Walt Disney World vacation is ever the same because each age and stage is a new experience. There are new attractions to ride, new restaurants to try, and your kids' interests change as they get older.
Take it from someone who has been to Walt Disney World Resort close to 100 times and was a Cast Member! For each age and stage of kids, Disney World offers something different.
First trip to Disney or need some expert tips? Check out my Walt Disney Resort For Beginners: A Complete Guide To Plan A Disney Vacation for my ultimate planning tips!
Tips For Taking Tweens and Teens To Walt Disney World
- Teens and tweens will enjoy most of what the younger kids enjoy. But they will also enjoy more thrill-ride adventures and longer shows.
- With more stamina, teens and tweens can enjoy longer days from morning to night, staying from the opening of parks to the closing of Walt Disney World.
- When you visit Disney World with teens and tweens, they get more time in the Disney Parks. They will love the Extra Magic Hours in the morning and late at night.
- Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane services will help your tweens and teens ride their favorite rides without spending time in queues. (More on this later in the article.)
- Park Hopper passes would work well with this age group because they can manage a long day and be flexible.
- Teens and tweens are the most likely age group to have a phone while at the Disney World Resort (next to adults, of course.) They will love to use the Play Disney Parks app and can separate and meet up at a designated place. BVWK Tip: Walt Disney World Resort has several portable phone charging system kiosks on the property.
- Remember that even though you are visiting Disney with teens and tweens, you can spend off-park days exploring some of the other awesome things to do in Florida. Many are a short drive from Orlando.
- When in doubt? Shop! Most Teens and Tweens LOVE to shop, and Disney World offers so many awesome shopping opportunities. They have some of the best Disney souvenirs at DisneySprings, but definitely also check out the shops in each of the Disney theme parks. Some of them carry items unique to that park.
The Very Best Things To Do At Disney World With Teens and Tweens
So now you know tweens and teens will love a Disney World vacation. Let's talk about the very best things to do at Disney World for this age group.
Behind The Scenes Tours
Special Guided Access Tours can be interesting and educational. Not only will this age be inspired by the work of the Imagineers in terms of design, science, technology, creativity, and thought that goes into each of the parks. But you get to see how the magic is made.
We attended the Backstage Tales tour and learned about how the animals at Animal Kingdom Park are cared for, what they are fed, and all that goes into caring for them. It was a very interesting and educational experience for everyone, including their younger siblings.
It took exploring Disney World to a whole different level because we all loved learning more about the exotic animals at this Disney park.
Tours vary in theme, including:
- Backstage Magic – behind the scenes of the art and technology that goes into the Disney theme parks.
- Ultimate Day Of Thrills VIP Tour – a VIP tour of the most exhilarating attractions at Walt Disney World theme parks
- Ultimate Nights Of Adventure VIP Tour – enjoy exhilarating attractions and experiences in Disney's Animal Kingdom Park
- Wild Africa Trek – Privately guided VIP exploration of wild animals up close
- Backstage Tales – A backstage tour to see behind the scenes and how Disney Cast Members tend to the 1500 animals in the park
Walt Disney World Water Parks
What tween or teen doesn't love an awesome water park? Disney's two water parks are a great way to spend the day cooling down and enjoying the thrills of the slides and wave pools.
Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
Themed like you are on a tropical vacation, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon water park is full of splashing entertainment tweens, and teens will love. In addition to the wave pool, there are so many waterslides and activities to keep them happy. Some favorites include:
- Humunga Cowabunga
- Crush ‘n' Gusher
- Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool
- Castaway Creek for some lazy river time
Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park
Don't be fooled by the name. Though it is winter themed, the only thing cool at this Disney World water park is all of the fun teens and tweens will have. Some of the best things to do at this Disney World water park include:
- Downhill Double Dipper
- Summit Plummet
- Slush Gusher
- Toboggan Racers
- Melt Away Bay Wave Pool
Disney's Theme Parks And Thrill Rides
Teens and tweens can of course enjoy any of the best Disney World rides for toddlers and attractions for school-age kids. These rides are really suitable for all ages. And these are some of my favorite Disney rides for multigenerational families.
But tweens and teens do love a bit of a thrill, and these are great add-ons for this age group, even in Magic Kingdom. In fact, some of these are STILL my favorite rides since I was a teenager!
Best Thrill Rides In Epcot For Teens and Tweens
Epcot has many amazing things for teens and tweens to do. You don't want to miss walking the World Showcase as it's a great activity for kids and adults. Everyone will love shopping and visiting the different countries, and sampling food from around the world at the World Showcase.
And these are some of our favorite rides in Epcot:
- Test Track
- Mission Space (Green or Orange Mission)
- Soarin' Around the World
- Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind
- Remy's Ratatouille Adventure (not a thrill ride but great fun for teens and tweens)
Best Thrill Rides In Magic Kingdom For Tweens and Teens
The Magic Kingdom also has some great rides and attractions for teens and tweens.
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Big Thunder Railroad
- TRON Lightcycle / Run
- Tomorrowland Speedway
Other Magic Kingdom attractions and activities include:
- The Walt Disney Railroad
- Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
- The Hall of Presidents
- Jungle Cruise
- Haunted Mansion
And many more. What I like about the Magic Kingdom is the broad variety of rides and things to do for kids of all ages. We also love the various dining experiences the Magic Kingdom offers.
Now, some people say Magic Kingdom is just for little ones. The truth is Magic Kingdom is for everyone! Either you enjoy some of the thrill rides like the new TRON Lightcycle / Run (an amazing ride), Big Thunder Mountain or Space Mountain or you enjoy some of the attractions that remind you of childhood. And, who doesn't love Main Street, U.S.A., the Disney World castle, shopping and eating?
Best Thrill Rides In Disney's Hollywood Studios For Tweens And Teen
Disney's Hollywood Studios has some of our favorite rides in all the Disney theme parks, including:
- Rock “n” Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Star Wars: Rise Of The Resistance
- Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Toy Story Midway Mania
I think you're teens and tweens will love hanging out in Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park because of the rides and other activities they can enjoy, such as Fantasmic, Indiana Jones: Epic Stunt Spectacular, and more. If they love Star Wars, Hollywood Studios may be their favorite theme park.
There are also some amazing restaurants to eat at in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Best Thrill Rides In Animal Kingdom For Tweens and Teens
Disney's Animal Kingdom is a fun theme park with many rides and attractions your teens and tweens will love, including:
- Expedition Everest
- Avatar Flight Of Passage
- Kali River Rapids
- Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition
Play Disney Parks App
Teens and tweens will love the chance to play several interactive games throughout the Disney theme parks on their own phones. It is a great way to keep them busy if they are waiting in line or just to add some additional magic to their Disney vacation!
Disney Springs is an ideal spot during your Orlando Itinerary with teens and tweens! They will love the collection of activities, entertainment, shopping, and dining at Disney Springs.
It also has some of the best indoor things to do with kids in Orlando, including Splitsville Luxury Lanes bowling alley and M & Ms World. These will come in handy on rainy or super hot days in Orlando.
But whether it is to pick up some of the latest Disney fashions or Disney souvenirs or dine at a fun thematic restaurant, there is much to make a full day or evening out of a trip to Disney Springs.
For that sweet tooth, don't miss the cupcake ATM (yes, it's a real thing) at Sprinkles. Some of the best things to do at Disney World's Disney Springs include:
- Splitsville Luxury Lanes
- M & Ms World
- AMC Movies at Disney Springs
- Amphicar Ride
- Hot Air Balloon Ride
Need more ideas on the best things to do at Disney World with teens and tweens?
Sometimes getting OFF the Disney World property for a bit is fun for teens too! Check out 20 of the best things you can do on International Drive in Orlando (not far from Disney property!)
Tips for Enjoying Disney with Teens and Tweens
As you plan to visit Disney with Tweens or Teens, there are some tips you need to know to get the most out of your trip.
Take Advantage of Disney Genie, Disney Genie+, and Lightning Lane Services
If you are like me and were a little disappointed when Disney removed the Fast Pass system, I have good news for you! Disney has introduced something even better! That is right, Disney has blessed us with Disney Genie, Disney Genie+, and Lightning services which you can find in the My Disney Experience App.
With these new services, planning a Disney trip with your tweens or teens will be so much easier. These services will help you create a personalized itinerary depending on what you and your teens are interested in. I call them my new favorite Disney tour guide; think of them as your “genie-p-s” here to help you navigate the parks seamlessly.
However, since they are a bit similar but still unique, some people find them confusing! But since you are here, I will explain in detail how each feature works.
How Disney Genie Works
This is one feature you should use by all means since it is FREE! What Disney Genie does is to design a personalized itinerary depending on the attractions or themes you and your tweens or teens select within your “My Disney Experience App.” It can be as specific as the Big Thunder Railroad ride or a general theme like thrill rides.
And during your visit, Genie will keep suggesting other interesting attractions based on what you selected earlier.
It gets even better! On top of the personalized itinerary, Genie shows you the estimated wait time for each attraction so that you decide when it's most appropriate to go to that particular attraction. It doesn't get any easier to navigate Disney than this!
Disney Genie + Service
If you're already impressed by Genie, wait until you hear what Disney Genie + Service can do.
In addition to what Disney Genie does, Genie+ does much more! It saves you time which your tweens or teens can use to enjoy other attractions.
With Genie, you can only know the wait times for each attraction, but Genie+ gives you the option of booking the next arrival window to over 40 attractions in all the Walt Disney World theme parks for the new Lightning Lane entrances so that you arrive just in time to get on the ride. How cool is that?
Of course, it doesn't come free, as you'd need to pay $15 for each individual per day, but the idea of literally skipping the lines in Disney is so worth it.
Besides that, you'll have access to Disney PhotoPass Lenses and Audio Tales with the Disney Genie+ service.
Not sure what they are? Disney PhotoPass Lenses will enable you and your teens to watch impressive augmented reality effects, while Audio Tales will give you behind-the-scenes insights that you can listen to on your phone throughout the day.
A Quick Overview of How Disney Genie+ Works
Agreed, all this is exciting, but there is a catch I think you should know before you go.
While you can pre-book arrival windows for some attractions, this can only be done for one attraction at a time from 7 am on the day of your visit.
When you visit that particular attraction or if your pre-booked window passes, that's when you can book another arrival window. Then the cycle goes on throughout the day, just like the old Fast Pass system if you used to use it.
Lightning Lane Service
I know I said earlier that I love Genie+, but Lightning Lane Service is my favorite feature so far, and I know your tweens or teens will love it too. It adds a whole new world to your Disney Parks vacation.
With the ability to have fast entry to 2 attractions per day with no queues, no feature is as cool as the Lightning Lane Service.
However, I know some people confuse it with Genie+, so I'll explain how different they are and how it works.
A Quick Overview of How Lightning Lane Service Works
The first thing you need to know about Lightning Lane Service is whether it's an independent feature or an add-on! This means that even if you don't pay for Genie+ and just use Genie, you can still take advantage of Lightning Lane Service. But, even if you pay the $15 for Genie+, you'll still need to pay for the Lightning Lane service separately.
However, it doesn't work at all attractions but at select ones and only the most popular. You can check out the participating attractions here.
When it comes to how much to pay for Lightning Lane, it varies, unlike Genie+, which has a fixed amount.
The price varies depending on the time of the year, and the specific attraction you want to use it for, but you'll be able to know the exact amount when you select the specific attraction on the day of your visit.
Another important thing to know about Lightning Lane service is that you can only use it for an attraction once. Let's say your tween uses it for Haunted Mansion the first time, and they enjoy it so much that they want to ride it again! Unfortunately, they'll have to queue normally the second time.
Dine in Space with your Teens or Tweens at the Newly Opened Epcot's Space 220 Restaurant
This is the age when most kids start getting obsessed with Space and stars. If your teens or tweens are die-hard fans of Star Wars or any space-themed movie, then they will thank you for taking them to Space 220 restaurant. Visiting Disney World with teens is not just about the rides – it's about the experience, including the dining!
This is not just another Ol' restaurant! It is a place that offers much more than just a dining place but rather a glimpse into Space! And you thought Disney couldn't get any more magical! And, it is one of the most immersive experiences at any of the Disney parks.
Your teens or tweens will officially get bragging rights about visiting Space because Disney has made Space accessible to anyone in EPCOT.
Once you arrive, you'll board a special elevator and ascend through the stars; no doubt, this will be the highlight of any teen or tween. What is even more exciting is that Space 220 gives both daytime and nighttime views of the earth (EPCOT in this case).
When you finish taking in all the wonders of Space, gorge on the delicious space-themed meals carefully created by professional chefs but leave some space for dessert because there is plenty of that too.
Now, I know some people may want to just come to dine at the restaurant without actually visiting the park, but this is not possible. You will need to purchase the theme park tickets to have access!
For such a once-in-a-life experience, you can be sure that many people want to visit this restaurant, so be sure to make a reservation in time not to miss out on this incredible space experience that provides a glimpse of the things your favorite Star Wars characters experienced.
Get Your Teens or Tweens Ready for Disney's 100th Celebration
If you haven't heard, Disney is celebrating 100 years and, boy, they know how to throw a party! There are special foods and Disney snacks and of course wonderful anniversary souvenirs and my favorite, Disney backpacks.
Now, if you are visiting Disney World with teens, there is plenty of shopping opportunities they will adore. It's not just Mickey ears and princess dresses. There is unique and cool merchandise to purchase that teens and tweens will love.
But there is more than just this; you can expect enchanting night spectacles, exciting performances from cast members, and new attractions that will make the Disney experience even much more magical for your teens and tweens. And, Disney World with teens means they can stay up later and enjoy all of the nighttime spectaculars or even Extended Theme Park Hours (for select parks and dates when staying at Disney Deluxe Hotels.)
The best part is that the celebrations will be happening in all 4 parks, so regardless of where you go, you'll be right in the middle of the party.
New Disney World Attractions Teens and Tweens Will Love
- Remy's Ratatouille Adventure: Based on the hit movie Ratatouille and a replica of the one in Disneyland Paris, Remy's Ratatouille Adventure is the newest best ride in EPCOT. The ride tells the story of Remy in his quest to make the perfect Ratatouille dish and win points among critics. Your teens or tweens will enjoy the idea of being compressed into a size of a rat using 4D technology as they follow Remy's story. Be sure to watch the movie before you go; I promise it is much more relatable.
- TRON Lightcycle / Run: If you are visiting Disney World with teens, you will definitely want to check out this new attraction on your Disney vacation. Climb aboard your Lightcycle and get prepared to enter the Grid on this incredible new form of a thrill ride. Part indoors and part outdoors, you will race across the universe in this unique attraction based on the Disney movie Tron: Legacy. This ride is located in Magic Kingdom.
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Cosmic Rewind: Take off on an intergalactic thrill through space and time in a brand-new roller coaster in EPCOT. Each ride features a different song so you never know what you are going to get, but I promise it is a fun roller coaster experience like no other!
- New Nighttime Spectaculars: Night spectacles are taking on a new form in Disney, and you wouldn't want to miss any of the magical fireworks, catchy Disney songs, or impressive projections! Your teens will feel all the magic Magic Kingdom has to offer.
- Delicious Treats: Nothing says 100 years better than new additions of delicious food and restaurants. You can grab breakfast, lunch, or dinner at Steakhouse 71, California Grill, Space 220, or La Crêperie de Paris. Also recently opened is Rodeo Round Up BBQ in Disney's Hollywood Studios! You can become a toy like Woody in this fun thematic restaurant! *Note: The Disney Dining Plan has not yet returned. But they are coming back sometime soon, according to the Walt Disney World website.
- MagicBand+: To replace Magic bands, Disney has introduced MagicBand+, which comes with more cool features. In addition to the features of the Magic Bands, with MagicBand +, your older and younger kids will be able to interact with the 50 golden statues I mentioned earlier and uncover virtual bounties in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. On top of that, the MagicBand+ syncs well with the colors of the fireworks, which is pretty exciting.
These are some of the new attractions and entertainment you can look forward to as you celebrate 100 magical years of Disney.
Final Thought On The Best Things To Do When Visiting Walt Disney World With Teens and Tweens
There are so many fun, educational, unique, and, yes, COOL things to do at the Disney World Resort. There is truly something for every age. Even tweens and teens can enjoy the magic of a Disney World vacation!
Whether it's visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, the Magic Kingdom, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, or one of the water parks, your older kids will love the magic, rides, shows, shopping, and dining Disney World offers.
Going to Disney World with teens and tweens is quite an adventure and an amazing way to make memories that last a lifetime. And the Disney Parks have something for every age, not just little ones.
And if you're looking to save money on your Disney World vacation, read this post about our Disney World cost calculator.