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-by Darlin’ DivaDisney Character Autographs - Mickey

When our children were little and we vacationed at Walt Disney World, I worried that we wouldn’t have as much fun when they got older.  Would they still like the shows, rides and attrations the same way?  Would they be bored or feel like we were forcing childish things on them?  Would dealing with teens on a Disney vacation be as challenging as dealing with them at home was sure to be?  Let’s face it, teens, in all their eye-rolling glory, can be both the joy and bane of every parent’s existance.  Having survived (and enjoyed) many a Walt Disney World vacation with this ever-so-special type of human, I’m here to offer my best advice for making the most of…

Walt Disney World With TeensIMG_2993

  1.  Set the Rules in Advance – It always worked best for us if everyone knew what was expected for our vacation prior to ever leaving home.  Setting plans, rules, limits, and expectations early means less of a chance for arguements later.  We were clear on when we planned to eat together, when we’d spend time apart doing our own thing, and even what we considered appropriate attire for various signature restaurants.  The single most important thing we hammered out in advance was which days we were hitting the parks early and how important it was for everyone to be up and ready on time.DSCN2522
  2. Share Planning & Decision Making – If everyone gets to be part of the planning and has a say in what ADRs (Advance Dining Reservations) and FastPass+ selections are made, things tend to go smoother.  Sometimes our kids had strong opinions on what they wanted (and didn’t want) to do and see.  Other times they were content to go with whatever I decided.  Either way, they knew they had a chance to be involved in the planning process.DSCN3936
  3. You Know Your Teen(s) Best – Ours were Disney World veterans by the time they reached an age where we felt comfortable letting them navagate the parks and resorts on their own.  They had each other, an emergency plan, and cell phones.  We also emphasized the importance of meeting at the agreed upon locations ON TIME.  This one important rule kept nerves (mine) from fraying and kept our schedule going smoothly.IMG_5118
  4. Everyone Needs Space – Simple things like letting the kids sleep in while we got ready, then letting them get ready while we enjoyed morning coffee outside our resort room, splitting up for a little bit during the day, and occassionally not eating a meal together kept us from getting on each other’s nerves.  Our kids were very active at home and during the normal course of the week, we’d spend, at most, a couple of waking hours together each day – on vacation we found there to be such a thing as TOO much togetherness.  This had a lot to do with the desire for independence that comes along with being teens – we tried hard to be understanding and respectful of that need (within reasonable limits).IMG_3030
  5. Adequate Sleep is Critical – It’s way tempting to try to fit everything possible into every minute at Walt Disney World – there’s so much to see and do!  The Florida heat, the miles of walking, the early mornings and late evenings can take a toll much quicker than you’d think.  Saving those late nights at the parks for the very last day or two of the trip can really make a difference!

Do you have tips for traveling with teens?  I’d love to hear them!  Share your best teen-travel advice in the comments.

Until next time…Darlin’ Diva