Welcome to Disney World for teens. I'm 16, and I thought this little on-line guide might be helpful for first-time Disney World go-ers that will be travelling with teens. If this will be your first trip to Disney, congratulations for chosing one of the #1 vacation spots in the US. We all know that being in a new place for the first time can be a little uncomfortable, and at times, a little confusing. So I have devised this little virtual guide just for those of you that applies to. And yes, there are a few things you should know before you step off that plane or out of those cars and onto Disney property
First of all, be sure to make reservations in advance, especially this year, keep in mind that WDW has begun its millennium celebration, and hotels on disney property (and surrounding hotels) will most likely be booked early.
It's always a convenience to book your park passes in advance too, so that you don't have to stand in line forever when you wish to enter a park.
MARVELOUS MOUSE TIP: Guests staying in Disney hotels with park passes are guaranteed to get into the park, those not staying in disney hotels aren't! also, guests staying on the grounds may have entrance to the park 1 hour before official opening time! }
When you check into your hotel on the Disney property, they will give you a card that will look something like this... Disregard the fact that this one is almost 4 years old, you get the idea. You will need this card to get into your hotel room and to get into the parks, so don't lose it!
Rides Teens Don't Want to Miss
If you're travelling with teens, you will find out quick that there are a lot of rides (mostly at the Magic Kingdom) that they'll want to leave to the little kids. Things like It's a Small World, oh, and how about Pooh's Blustery Day. (YIKES!)
So you've put aside Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Snow White's Adventure...Let's check out which rides teens will really enjoy...
Thundermountain Railroad. Teens will want to visit the mountain, a roller-coaster-like canyon ride. It's a lot of fun, just remember to hold on tight to your personal items like hats and bags, because it can get a little choppy. There is a height requirement of 40 inches, and children must be at least 3 years of age to ride.
MAGNIFICENT MOUSE TIP: Try to ride Thundermountain Railroad in the evening, it's cooler so you'll get a nice breeze, and you'll also find it more thrilling (because it's harder to see where you're going.)
1,2,3,blastoff... Hop over to Tomorrowland for a flight to far-away galaxies on Space Mountain, Disney's first, and only indoor roller-coaster like ride before Rockin' Roller Coaster, which we'll get to a little later. This is a great attraction that kids of all ages will enjoy, but remember, there is a height requirement of 44 inches, and kids must be over 3 years of age. Don't forget to look for hidden mickey's, they're all over the Disney property!
Splash mountain, one of the three Magic Kingdom mountains. Yes, you may get a little wet on your journey with Brer Rabbit to find his laughing place. This attraction has animatronics, scenes from Disney's song of the south, a 5 story plunge into a thorny briar patch...But hey, don't forget to smile...they take your picture on the way down! The height requirement is 40 inches.
MAGNIFICENT MOUSE TIP: Try to visit the mountain during parade times, or during Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks...it'll be less crowded.
Hmmm...what's this, Alien Encounter. This isn't really a ride, but more of a theatrical presentation that teens will get a kick out of. One of the most technical attractions on the Disney property is also one of the coolest, so go meet Chairman Clench, SIR, and Skippy. The height requirement for Alien Encounter is 44 inches.
I was emailed by someone that told me Buzz Lightyear's Space Spin was very popular on Grad Night last year with all the seniors, so let's just say that this one's for all ages, and it's only at the Magic Kingdom, so check it out in Tomorrowland.
Let's Hop Over To Epcot Center...and MGM Studios!
Ahhh, what a great park, you can sieze the future here too! with Innoventions, or sit down awhile and enjoy authentic cuisine from around the world. Although most people think of Epcot as being for older people or adults mainly, but it can be a lot of fun for teenagers too.
Epcot's newest attraction, Test Track will be a hit with your teen, especially the mechanically inclined teenage boy. With brake and high speed tests, did I forget to mention top speed is 65 mph? I would recommend that you visit it as soon as you get to the park in the morning, or near park closing time, because throughout the day, wait time can be up to 2-2 1/2 hours. Height requirement is 40 inches.
Decided to get in touch with your cultural side? Then you must be in World Showcase! Many countries are featured here, like Germany, Canada, Mexico, France, England, just to name a few. So there is obviously something for everyone's tastes. If you've actually been to the country, it's fun to compare and contrast scenery, cuisine, even shopping! To make each showcase as realistic as possible, even the workers are direct from their home countries, for example, a worker in France would have been hired from France.
MAGNIFICENT MOUSE TIP: Kind of hidden away in Norway is the Maelstrom. It's a nice, cool, relaxing water ride, you may even get a peek outside...just look out for those trolls.
France has a beautiful 360 degree movie about...well, France. or you can take a lazy boat ride through Mexico at the Mexican showcase.
Canada has a 360 degree film too, but it's a stand up one, keep that in mind when you think you're going to get to sit down in the air conditioning.
The American Showcase has a presentation called the American Adventure. Ben Franklin and Mark Twain guide you through a brief (air conditioned!) history of America here.
Hop on a bus, or if you're staying at the Boardwalk, climb aboard the ferryboat, and head over to MGM Studios. This is a fabulous park with a star-studded atmosphere. Hollywood, yes Hollywood. You never know who, or what you might see! Stars frequently drop by MGM Studios to say hello to their fans. For example, teenage girls might enjoy a live N'SYNC concert, or maybe even be able to catch a glimpse of that Disney World fan and Hollywood hunk, Leonardo DiCaprio.
Outside the Great Movie Ride, stop and look down to see some handprints and autographs of some of the stars that have visited, from the who's who of Hollywood, right down to the fab 5 themselves!
At the Great Movie Ride, take a nice relaxing ride through movie history with your very own tour guide. As you slip past the neon lights at the entrance, you are whisked back in time to the very beginning of the film industry with films like Singin' in the Rain and Casablanca. You'll be in the center of the action when an old western or gangster (depending on which scenerio you get) turns you and your fellow passengers into movie extras! When a scene from Indiana Jones reunites you with your tour guide, you will continue on through movie history to experience some of the top films of today with their grand finale.
Maybe you saw that big brownish building as you were coming into the park, it towers over the trees and even over the Chinese Theatre...
It's the Tower of Terror. Your teen won't want to miss it. It's got an awesome queue area and a thirteen story drop into the twilight zone, don't expect any sympathy from the lift operators...going down??? Remember! height requirement is 40 inches, and your child must be at least 3 years old.
Disney's newest attraction, Rockin' Roller coaster, presented by Aerosmith, is the wildest ride in all four parks. Let me give you an idea...how about, 0-65 mph in 2.8 seconds. Fast enough for ya? Those of you who have recently been to MGM know that before it was oficially open, lines were small, but now that Aerosmith has made it official, expect a long wait time. Your teen won't want to miss this. You'll find it to the left of the Tower of Terror.
After that trip, you may need some help from the force. Fly to the moon of Endor on Star Tours. Teens will enjoy this one too, so will smaller kids, especially if they're Star Wars fans. Don't worry, they left Jar Jar out of this one! Height requirement:40 inches, must be at least 3 years of age.
There are lots of great places to dine at Disney World, but while we're at MGM, let's be sure to visit the Sci-Fi Dine in. This will take you back to the 60's, watch clips from the cheesiest sci-fi flicks of the time, dine in 60's style cars, and yes, they even refer to your bill as a parking ticket.
If you're wanting to spend some cash on a relaxing dining experience, try the Hollywood Brown Durby. It has been modeled after the famous one in California.
Don't forget to catch MGM's newest night time show, Fantasmic. Watch Mickey battle evil with dazzling special effects and classic characters from your favorite Disney movies.
MAGNIFICENT MOUSE TIP: Get a seat EARLY, it fills up fast, and if you're planning to go to the first show, sit in the lower righthand part of the theatre, if you want to get wet!
A Day at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's newest park is of course, the Animal Kingdom. Here you will be able to explore nature at your own pace. You can watch the wildlife at the park entrance, or go on a safari to see really exotic animals. In the summer, this park gets quite hot. Especially in the afternoons, so to beat the heat, you can always return to your hotel to swim, have lunch, watch some tv, or do whatever to get in out of the sun for a while.
First, let's go over to Asia, the newest part of the Animal Kingdom, to Kali Rapids. Your teen will definitely want to go on this, however it's a little disappointing. You may see warning signs like "steep drops" and "you will get wet" Well, one part of that is true...YOU WILL GET WET, soaked in fact! and it can be quite uncomfortable. If you're planning on riding this, then I would suggest bringing a change of clothes just in case. Also...keep any bags that you have, like purses or park bags with merchandise in them, tightly closed.
MAGNIFICENT MOUSE TIP: Planning to go on Kali Rapids? If you are, and would like to bring a change of clothes just in case, remember that at the park entrance there are lockers to store them, and other merchandise. And don't hesitate to ask a cast member for help.
Have you been wanting to travel back in time to the age of the dinosaurs? Then do it! Visit DINOSAUR! (Newly named for disney's feature summer film DINOSAUR.) Race to save one of the last dinosaurs (Iguanadon) before an asteroid impact. Designed specially for your travel, is the Time Rover. Just remember to fasten your safety belts, it can get a bit choppy!
You may know Bill Nye the Science Guy from tv. Well while you're waiting to go into the queue area, listen to him give an explanation on why dinosaurs became extinct. Also view some dinosaur bones or some fossils while you're waiting in line.
Lines at Countdown to Extinction are great! Visit this attraction at basically any time, you may be outside for a few minutes in the line, but it moves fast, and as soon as you get inside, it's air conditioned, and there's stuff to look at too.
So you've got your list of things to visit, Don't forget, park closing times change as the seasons do, so be sure to check out www.disney.com for official park openings and closings before you leave home. If you have any questions about attractions, closing times, or questions about closed attractions, please email me at