“How on earth do you enjoy vacationing with your kids?” I get that question more often than not, and trust me, I get it. There are many, many occasions where Neil and I want to go away on our own (and we do), but, if I’m honest, I actually like traveling with my kids. Maybe it’s the Air Force brat in me, maybe I’m just a weirdo, but I love the get-up-and-go feeling of a vacation. In any case, I promised to write at least once a week about topics related to traveling with kids, specifically on a Disney vacation. This week’s topic is what to do with your elementary aged kids at the Disney Parks. As usual, don’t hesitate to comment here, Facebook message, Tweet, or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have a specific topic you want me to address.
Must-Do Disney with Elementary Aged Kids
My girls are at a magical age (or maybe we’ve been dousing them with pixie dust long enough that they will always be happy at Disney!) where everything at Disney is fun, and they can ride or experience just about everything they want to. They definitely have some tried and true favorite experiences that always make them smile. Everyone’s children are different, so don’t take this list to be golden. Think of this post as a guide and tweak it to your family’s needs and preferences where necessary.
When you think of Walt Disney World, what comes to mind first? Maybe it’s the castle or maybe it’s Walt Disney himself, but for many guests it’s the characters. Disney has set the standard for amazing character costumes and interactions, and meeting characters is a perfect activity for elementary aged kids. I personally believe you’re never too old for a good ol’ fashioned character meet, and you may disagree, but trust me when I say your 5-12 year olds are just right to meet characters. What about those of you that have “been there, done that?” Time to meet some out-of-the-box characters if you ask me! I love to Google “what to say when meeting Mike and Sully” or “interaction tips for Lady Tremaine” because that’s how you turn an ordinary meet into an extraordinary one.
Wilderness Explorers in Animal Kingdom
Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple in Hollywood Studios
My girls loved every bit of this experience. You do not need to be a Star Wars fan to experience this one. We are big fans of the franchise, but this would still be a fun experience for your school-aged child regardless of their fandom devotion. Who wouldn’t want to battle Darth Vader or the Sixth Sister Inquisitor in front of a crowd of cheering fans? Jedi Training is included in the price of your Hollywood Studios admission, but you’ll want to get there early to claim your spot!
A Day in Disney Springs
Playing Games in Epcot
We have not tackled Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom yet, but we have played Agent P.’s World Showcase Adventure and Remy’s Ratatouille Hide and Squeak in Epcot. Available all year, Agent P.’s World Showcase adventure is a fun way to help your kids get into the “boring” World Showcase (by the way, not my words, but I have heard it a few times….if you have too, this is one way to make it awesome!). Remy’s game, available to play during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, is just as fun and, for a small fee, you can earn a prize once you have completed the game. If you don’t want to spend the extra money for the prize, both games can be played for free, and they are great ways to encourage learning and independent discovery without making it seem like “work.”
Ride Iconic Rides
“It’s a Small World” will forever be stuck in your brain, but it’s worth it when you see that big cheesy grin on your child’s face isn’t it? We love to ride the classics and talk about which part is our favorite and why. Riding the classic rides gives us an opportunity to share memories of that ride with our girls and interact with them in ways that are incredibly meaningful. I can’t wait to make more memories with them when the new rides and lands start opening up next year! Planning a Walt Disney World vacation with young children doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little thoughtful research, finding activities for everyone to enjoy will get your vacation started off on the right foot. What do you kids love to do when you visit Walt Disney World?