Our last vacation to Disneyland Resort marked what I thought was going to be a sad beginning… our oldest daughter was making her first trip as a “tween.” My daughter was losing interest in the princesses, was too big to wear their dresses, and she was overall looking more forward to the big rides than the magic of Disney. To my chagrin, I was very wrong. It was the beginning of a new age of fun to have with my kids. These are some fun things to do, other than rides, to enjoy with your tween.
Mickey & The Magical Map: With the Princess Fantasy Faire moving to the area in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle, a large amphitheater at the entrance of Toontown was left vacant for a brand new show. With more technology and creativity than the show it replaced, you and your tween will enjoy this show together.
Musical Chairs with Alice & The Mad Hatter: This particular event is never on the schedule, but typically “spontaneously” happens every day between 2:00-2:30 at the Corner Café (also known as Coke Corner) at the end of Main Street. Alice and The Mad Hatter are two of the most interactive Disney characters, and they have the ability to bring even the surliest guest out of their shell. My daughter may be starting to grow out of the princesses, but she still loves these two.
Innoventions: Wait, wait, wait… hear me out. I know a lot of people don’t particularly care for this particular attraction, but the tween stage is a small window that Innoventions is actually very enjoyable. They are old enough to really enjoy playing with the gadgets and buttons and exploring the rest of the “house.” This place is also nicely air conditioned in the summer. Your tween boy will also like to meet the rotating Marvel characters upstairs, a Disneyland Resort exclusive!
Disney California Adventure:
Redwood Creek Challenge: This is an outdoor climb and play area that is broken up into different ability levels. Tweens will enjoy the rock climbs, wooden lookout towers, and sliding down a tire suspended from a cable on the Sequoia Smokejumpers Training Tower. We often have to pull both of our kids out kicking and screaming when it’s time to go.
Mad T Party: With laser lights, thumping music, dancing, street performers, and an arcade, your tween will love this evening attraction at DCA. This show is at the end of Hollywood land and normally starts around 6:00 p.m. Make sure to bring your Glow With the Show ears!
Ghirardelli’s Earthquake Sunday: You never grow out of loving ice cream. A family tradition of ours is to share an Earthquake Sunday at least once when we visit DCA. No matter how old my oldest daughter gets, she still looks forward to this.
Studio Disney 365: The tween girl version of Bibbity Bobbity Boutique, Studio Disney 365 ventures into popular Disney programming rather than the princesses. The thing I like most about this place is that the outfit you purchase with the package can actually be worn on a regular basis. I think this picture of my daughter seeing her makeover for the first time shows how much she loves coming here. Make sure you call ahead and make a reservation. You will need one during peak travel times.
Ridemakerz: What do you do when your tween has outgrown Build-a-bear? You take them next door to Ridemarkers. At Ridemakerz, you get to build your own car from the car shell up. At first glance, you may think this is only for your tween boy, but girls love cars, too! We happened in here with both of our daughters during our last trip and ended up buying cars for each of them. They get played with far more than their Build-a-Bears ever did.
ESPN Zone Sports Arena: Sports arcade, good food, and every televised sport you can think of makes the ESPN Zone a great family place eat. Make an evening of it and catch a movie right across the walk at AMC Downtown Disney.
Downtown Disney Events: Keep an eye out for special events that take place in the area between ESPN Zone and AMC Theater. We have come across special Nintendo demos, music events, and limited time family activities here.
What are some of your favorite activities to do with your tween? Do you have any tips to add? Our friends over at Destinations in Florida can help you plan your next Disneyland Resort vacation. Make sure you contact them for all of your Disney travel needs!