Hey Fly Listeners! This summer, we took a trip back to Walt Disney World. It had been 10 years since we last went to Disney. We LOVED our last trip. Our son was nine and our daughter was four. Everything was exciting to them and to us! It was the PERFECT time to take a week long Disney trip.
Well, the opportunity to visit again fell into our laps and while we were excited to visit WDW again, we truly wondered if it would be fun for our teens. To be more specific, two 14 year old girls! Our daughter and our niece, just months apart, would be our traveling companions for this trip. Now, if any of you Fly Listeners have teenage girls, you know that the one thing you can count on with them is that you can’t count on anything. Once girls reach 13, all bets are off. Parents can’t keep up with what they like, don’t like, their moods, or anything else that changes on a day-by-day or minute-by-minute basis. So, we had NO idea if they would actually like anything WDW had to offer.
Knowing this, we took some extra steps with planning that enabled us, and our girls, to have an AMAZING Disney trip. Today, we are going to share all of our tips to help you LOVE your next teen trip to Disney or anywhere else for that matter. So, let’s fly.
In this post, we are going to share our tips on how to have a successful trip to WDW with teens. Many of the tips will carry over to other amusement parks while some tips will carry over to any trip you are taking with teens. We are going to give you some strategies and ideas that will help you truly enjoy your vacation, even with moody teens.
1. Plan, plan, plan – Schedule out everything you want to do on your trip day by day BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME. Chris will explain how he planned using the Disney app. Involve the kids in the planning process at home so that they have a voice and feel invested, but don’t feel put on the spot in the moment. This will avoid a lot of IDK conversations. Every time we asked the girls, what do you want to eat or “would you rather” questions we were quickly met with the teenage slump, shoulder shrug, and blank stare that all of you parents of teens know all too well.
2. Bring comfort items – Just like traveling with toddlers, teens respond well to comfort items. Our girls love to have a blanket with them.
3. Wear comfortable shoes. These shoes honestly saved my back! I have terrible back issues and struggle with walking and standing for any length of time. Well, these shoes made our trip amazing! They are made for trail runners and therefore have a ton of extra cushion. They made our 14,000 step days possible.
4. Let them pick a souvenir – Give them a budget or tell them they can have one item. Let them peruse the shops and find something they love. It’s a nice break from the heat, can be lots of fun, and makes them feel grown up.
5. Keep them hydrated and well fed – At WDW you can get free ice water at any quick service location with a soda machine. Be sure to encourage your teens to drink often! The heat can have them feeling badly quickly and teens who don’t feel well are the worst! To go along with that, teens have different food needs. While some are hungry all the time, others have very sporadic eating patterns. For instance, our two girls never wanted breakfast, but needed a good mid-morning snack. We were sure to ask them REGULARLY if they were hungry and needed anything. If we felt it had been too long, we would encourage them to eat a little something even if they didn’t feel hungry. Under normal circumstances, that wouldn’t be a great idea, however when you are very hot sometimes it takes away your appetite and you don’t realize that you need food until it is too late.
6. Keep them cool – While hot toddlers cry and throw tantrums, hot teenagers get moody. While visiting WDW in the summer heat is unavoidable, there are ways to stay cool. We highly recommend them all.
a. Take shopping breaks
b. Eat meals inside whenever possible
c. Take a shade break
d. Bring a Cooling Towel
e. Carry a Fan
f. Wear a hat- Because our girls are teens, they went for a more subdued hat. They still wanted to be in the Disney spirit, but didn't want to be over the top.
7. Let them use their cell phones – While we often ask our kids to stay off of their phones during family time, there are also times when it can be beneficial for them to have their phones. Just set parameters. Do’s: use the app for map, fast pass times, and research; can take photos with characters and you don’t have to pay; can go off on their own. Don’t: get on social media (safety and to stay present); text with friends at home.
8. Let them sleep – don’t push them too hard, don’t get up too early every day, do some fun things at night when they are at their best, later dinner (fewer young kids and more reservations available).
9. Give them down time – pool, water park, explore the grounds
10. Give them some freedom – let them ride some rides by themselves, let them make choices – best to give them 2 options to avoid IDK, if you get free “any ride” fast passes let them choose.
We hope you enjoyed today’s episode. We will like to all of the items that we suggested on our show notes page. Just go to www.flywithchrisanddi.com/25
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