Teenagers and theme parks don’t always mix, especially when you’re visiting Walt Disney World. Sure, your teens will tolerate the Disney parks for a while, especially if they have younger siblings to please. But after a while their “whatever” teen attitude will slip out and they’ll sigh and roll their eyes at the prospect of spending yet another day humming “It’s a Small World.” When that happens, try these six outstanding Orlando vacation ideas to get them excited:
Walt Disney World has several roller coasters, but none of them are on a thrill par with the behemoths at Busch Gardens in Tampa or even the Hulk, Dragon Challenge, and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Orlando Resort. Still, you don’t have to go to a theme park to give your teens an adrenaline rush. Zip Orlando is only about half an hour away from Walt Disney World, and it combines a zip line course with three shaky suspension bridges to give your teens a real thrill. It actually allows younger kids to do the course, too, so your whole family can join in the adventure if they’re gutsy enough.
Bowling at Walt Disney World? Yes, you really can do it if you head over to Splitsville at Downtown Disney. This huge two-story entertainment complex has alleys on both floors, as well as a number of billiards tables. It also serves a variety of food items, from pizza to sandwiches to sushi. You can drop your teens off to bowl, then take younger siblings over to World of Disney or the Lego store for some shopping.
Downtown Disney is also home to a vast AMC movie complex. If there’s something your teens want to see on the big screen, let them head over to the theater while you shop with your younger kids. The Downtown Disney theater has a unique twist: it also offers a dine-in option that allows your family to nosh on a light dinner while watching the show if you decide to make it a family movie day. That option is a little pricey, so you might want to stick with candy and popcorn from the concession stand.
Walt Disney World rents out small but zippy Sea Raycers at many of its hotel docks, as well as at Downtown Disney. Even teens who don’t think Disney is cool will change their minds when they hop aboard one of these little boats, open the throttle, and see how fast it goes. Many teens love to zip out to the middle of Bay Lake or the Seven Seas Lagoon and wave hop in the wake of the larger water crafts that shuttle guests between some of the hotels and the Magic Kingdom.
If you want to go a little farther afield than Walt Disney World, pack up the family and head out to Fantasy of Flight, which is about 20 minutes west on I-4. Once there, your teens can sign up for a ride in a real bi-plane. This aviation-themed attraction also has a ropes course and zip line that kids of all ages can tackle.
If your teens are at least 14 years old, take them on a Segway tour of the town of Celebration, Florida. The town was designed by Disney, and now it’s a nice little slice of yesteryear, with a quaint downtown area and lots of wooded areas and waterways where you might spot a gator. There’s a Segway tour of Fort Wilderness at Walt Disney World, too, but teenagers need to be at least 16 years old to participate in that one.
Airboat Ride over swamps looking for Alligators
Instead of taking a ride in one of Disney’s attractions…teens especially love getting in an airboat and flying across the top of the water at speeds of 25 miles an hour. You feel like you are going a lot faster and it is thrilling. Then all of the sudden the guide puts the boat in slow motion as you pull up to a den of alligators…a bunch of them. Is this cool or what? Takes about three hours and is located on Lake Toho east of Disney World.
Disney Quest is a must do
Teens are big into video games….what with their iPads and phones they are constantly playing one game after another. Disney seeing the popularity of such has seized the opportunity to put video games on streroids. The place is Disney Quest a 6 story huge warehouse that has every video game imaginable inside. You want the teens to have fun…here it is. All day tickets are 1/3 the cost of the theme park and they will play and play until their hearts content. You may want to relax; it is air conditioned and has a nice restaurant. The kids can go from floor to floor and wear it out. Outside of the admission price the rest is free excepting food and souvenirs.