Taking your teen to Walt Disney World

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teen at Walt Disney World
Teens Take on the World

Is your teen ready to go it alone at Walt Disney World Resort? Small children see the Parks through pixie dusted lenses. Everything is magical and memorable and perfect. As they age, though, a little of that pixie dust wears off. A Disney trip may still be fun, but tagging along with Mom and Dad and little siblings can be a drag.

The teenagers I know keep their love of The Most Magical Place on Earth alive by stepping out on their own. They taste some independence, and they discover the World’s not so small after all when you’re free to fly solo.

I have a teenager, and yes, I have set him loose to take on the World sans Mom and Dad. He wasn’t completely alone; we were still on property. However, he was responsible for his own whereabouts and welfare. He had a handful of cash for snacks and souvenirs, plus his Key to the World, which was loaded with Disney Dining credits if he needed more substance, and he was ready to go. Not once did I worry, because we had established some boundaries beforehand.

The bare basic minimum our teen needed to know was

  1. Keep your cell phone handy, charged up, turned on and up loud (silenced during shows, of course).
  2. Check in at designated times throughout the day.
  3. Seek out a costumed Cast Member with a name badge if you need help.
  4. Know your Resort and room number.
  5. Stay with your group/friends.
  6. Unless a specific rendezvous is planned, know the time the last bus leaves, and DON’T MISS IT!
  7. Be respectful of other Guests and appreciative of Cast Members.

Those moments in the Parks with friends are now some of my son’s greatest Disney memories.

teen texting on Walt Disney World bus
Teens Take on the World

Keep in mind that Walt Disney World is a big place! Make sure teens are familiar with maps and know which mode of transportation will get them back “home” at the end of the day. They may ignore this reminder, but comfort trumps fashion here, for girls especially. Heels and platforms, stylish as they are, will ruin the fun.

Alright, are you ready? Off they go! And don’t forget the PhotoPass!

Has your teen taken on the World? Share your tips and advice in the comments below.

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12 thoughts on “Taking your teen to Walt Disney World

  1. My 13YO has been to WDW 8 times. He knows his way around the property very well. During our last trip he wasn’t feeling well and wanted to go back to the room instead of going to the Magic Kingdom with us after our breakfast at Chef Mickey’s. I offered to go with him but he wanted to do it alone. After some discussion about rules, we let him go. (He also had a little cash, his key to the world with dining credits on it and a cell phone.)
    After some rest, our son felt better so he swam and played in the arcade at the resort. During this process, he lost his key to the world. After calling us, he spoke with a cast memeber who let him back in his room but left him without a key to access food. A few calls later, after verifying some information, we were able to get him a new key without us having to leave the park.
    My son really enjoyed the time he had alone at the resort. I believe it gave him a bit more confidence.This is just another example of how my kids are growing up with Disney.

  2. while my son is only 6, we are local and go enough that I am sure he will be doing “the world” when he is 13 and NOT with me and his sister (who is currently 1). In certain parks, I could tell you his daily agenda…I can see letting him go on his own, but really it’s because we go so much and he actually GETS it – where things are, what to do, etc. if we were only visiting every now and again, I don’t know that I would be so willing to let him go it on his own one day!

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