Disney Kids: How to Enjoy Disney with School Aged Kids

“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 ([email protected]) if you have a specific topic you want me to address.

Disney kids of all ages love this sign! It means we've made it!

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.


Meeting Characters

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.Disney kids love meeting characters.

Wilderness Explorers in Animal Kingdom

Kids of all ages can join Russell from “Up!” and embark on their own quest to join him in the Wilderness Explorer program. We began working through the workbook when the girls were 3, but they really got into many of the activities on our last trip this past summer. There are over 30 badges to earn before you become an “official” Wilderness Explorer, so take your time. We’ve been working on 1 book now for the last 2 years, and we’ve still got a ways to go! Best of all? The Wilderness Explorer program is included in the price of your Animal Kingdom admission!Disney Kids will love the Wilderness Explorers activity.

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!Disney kids love Jedi Training at Hollywood Studios!

A Day in Disney Springs

I cannot say enough good things about Disney Springs. It has been totally revitalized and revamped, and it is incredible. Our favorite spots to visit are the Star Wars and Marvel stores, and we can’t wait to take a visit to the newly opened Coca-Cola store when we go back. Guests can catch a boat to nearby resorts or ride in the Amphicars (for a fee) at the dock near The BOATHOUSE restaurant. If you are looking for a place to enjoy the Disney “experience” without having to pay for a park ticket, this is a great “day off” activity. 
Disney Kids will love shopping and dining 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.”img_2398

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!Headed to Walt Disney World with young children? Plan some fun for everyone with these easy tips. School aged kids won't be bored when you check out these fun activities that will keep them engaged and learning, even on vacation!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?