Walt Disney World For Teens
Can teens really have fun at a place like Walt Disney World? Absolutely!
Actually, be prepared to have the time of your life. It’s a safe place to assert
some independence from your parents, a place you’ll never forget. Here are some
of the best experiences for teens at "The Happiest Place on Earth":
Have a Splashing Good Time at Disney's Water Parks
For a blast of a time, head to one of Disney’s two water parks.
Blizzard Beach has a melting alpine resort theme where chairlifts carry
swimmers instead of skiers. It’s a place for daredevils to challenge wild,
rushing water and death-defying slides including the Summit Plummet, a 120-foot
slide reaching speeds of 60 miles per hour. Those a bit less adventuresome will
love Typhoon Lagoon, a tropical fantasyland offering a wave pool with the
tallest simulated waves in the world as well as a chance to snorkel among
tropical fish, leopard and nurse sharks, and picturesque coral at Shark Reef.
Live it Up at Downtown Disney
After the parks close hop a bus from your Disney resort for a night on the
town at Downtown Disney. Highlights include Disney Quest with five
floors of interactive games, a 24-screen AMC Theater, a Cirque du
Soleil show, and over 60 shops and restaurants. Favorite dining choices for
the younger crowd are Planet Hollywood and Rainforest Café. And
definitely consider House of Blues where teens are allowed to attend some
of the almost daily concerts in their live music venue next-door.
Cool Off at One of Disney’s Resort Pools
When your parents are wondering which resort to book for your Disney
vacation, be sure and put your two cents in and steer them toward one with a
great pool. Disney’s very best uniquely themed pools include the Yacht
and Beach Club’s Stormalong Bay, a 3-acre
mini-water park, the Swan and Dolphin’s lush, grotto-style lagoon pool,
the boulder-strewn wonderland at the Wilderness Lodge with its very own
erupting geyser, and the Volcano Pool at the Polynesian Resort
with its luxuriant waterfall, smoking peak, and perfect views of Cinderella’s
Plan Some Watersport Fun
Disney’s Contemporary Resort is the place for water-ski, parasail, wakeboard,
kneeboard, and jet-ski action under the guidance of a professional instructor.
There’s nothing better than a bird’s-eye-view of the Magic Kingdom as you
parasail high above the Seven Seas Lagoon. And the action down below on Bay Lake
is a blast! For reservations call 407-WDW-PLAY up to 90 days in advance,
and be sure to bring a parent along to sign a waiver to participate if you’re
under age 18.
Pilot Your Own Boat
What could be more fun than renting a Sea Raycer, a 2-seater mini-power
boat perfect for zipping around Disney’s waterways and lakes. It’s a great
pastime for teens since anyone over the age of 12 is allowed to drive without
adult supervision as long as a parent signs a waiver. You’ll get the most bang
for your buck at one of the resorts near the Magic Kingdom (the Contemporary,
Polynesian, Grand Floridian, or Wilderness Lodge) where you’ll find miles of
recreation on the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake.
Scuba and Snorkel at Epcot’s Living Seas
Scuba dive or snorkel in The Living Seas 5.7-million-gallon saltwater
aquarium amid a variety of sharks, rays, fish, and turtles. Epcot's DiveQuest
Program along with the Seas Aqua Tour using a Scuba Assisted Snorkel
unit (snorkelers swim on the surface with a built-in flotation device while
breathing compressed air from a regulator attached to a small tank) are two of
the most exciting behind-the-scenes tours offered in all of Walt Disney World.
Dives include all equipment, but be sure to bring a bathing suit. DiveQuest is
open to certified divers, but those ages 14 and under need to dive along with a
parent or guardian. The Seas Aqua Tour is open to participants under age 18 as
long as they are accompanied by a participating adult. Call 407-WDW-TOUR
Surf’s Up at Typhoon Lagoon
"Hang 10" before park opening hours in the 2.75-million-gallon wave
pool (some waves as high as 6 feet tall!) under the guidance of professional
instructors with surfboards provided. Guests must furnish their own
transportation to the park since Disney buses are not up and running that early
in the morning, and those under age 18 must have a signed waiver from their
parents to participate. Call 407-WDW-PLAY for reservations up to 90 days
White-Knuckle Riding at Richard Petty Driving Experience
Lying next to the Magic Kingdom is this speedway where
white-knuckle rides in a NASCAR Winston Cup–style race car are offered.
If you are at least 16 you can participate in the Ride-Along Program where
you’ll ride shotgun at speeds of up to 145 mph for three laps around the track
with an experienced instructor (riders 16 or 17 years of age must be accompanied
by a parent or legal guardian). Even more exciting, those ages 18 and older can
drive the car themselves after an introductory class. If you just want to
observe you can do so for no charge. Call 800-BE-PETTY for advance
Head for a Theme Parks
Last but certainly not least are the theme parks. If you’re staying on Disney
property it’s a cinch to board a monorail or a Disney bus and head out to the
parks on your own.
At the Magic Kingdom you’ll find all the old nostalgic favorites like
Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean. And don’t forget to
head straight to Splash Mountain, an unforgettable ride that ends in a
plunge over a 5-story waterfall! Epcot’s main attractions for fun-loving
teens are Mission Space, a hair-raising rocket into space, and Test
Track where you’ll speed through hairpin turns and then barrel outside onto
a high-speed banking loop at over 60 mph. At Disney-MGM Studios you’ll be
floored by Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster and The Twilight Zone Tower
of Terror, both a thrill a minute. Then there’s the Animal Kingdom
where a trip around the African savanna at Kilimanjaro Safaris and back
in time 65 million years at Dinosaur are quite the adventure.
Super thrill seekers should plan a day at Universal Orlando’s Islands of
Adventure where attractions like the Incredible Hulk Coaster,
Dueling Dragons, and The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman will leave
your heart pounding.
So do you still think Disney is just for kids? I bet you can’t wait to pack
your bags. And don’t forget to thank your parents on your return home for taking
you to one of the most exciting places on the planet.
Cara Goldsbury is the author of The Luxury Guide to Walt Disney World:
How to Get the Most Out of the Best Disney Has to Offer available at
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