“But I don’t want to go to Walt Disney World!”
I’d love to say that no parent has ever heard that, but not only have I heard that, I know of others who have as well. It seems to hit around the Tween/early Teen years. My own son decided that he didn’t want to go to Walt Disney World a couple of years ago – around age 11. He’s also wishy-washy about Disneyland. What’s a Disney-loving parent to do? I’m sharing our tried and true ways to get our Tween (now Teen) to go.
Let him or her bring a friend – If you can afford it and your child has a friend whose parents are agreeable, the Disney Parks for Tweens and Teens are way more fun with a friend to hang out with. I had to face the fact that my child was getting older and hanging out with mom and dad just isn’t cool. OK. By bringing a friend (or sometimes a cool cousin will work), he was able to save his “cool factor,” and show someone around who hadn’t been to the parks as often as he had.
Highlight new attractions – For our son, the biggest draw for our upcoming trip is Pandora – The World of Avatar in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Since my husband and I have already experienced them, we were able to give a first-hand account of them, but even if we hadn’t, a little research would have told us what we needed to know. Our son is excited to ride Avatar Flight of Passage. He also can’t wait to see the new missions at Mission: SPACE at Epcot. All this finally convinced him that a few days at Walt Disney World Resort®, his parents might not be so bad.
Compromise on time with family – Our son has been staying home alone for a little while now. While I’m not crazy about leaving him alone in a hotel room, we do if we aren’t going to be far or gone a long time. For example, we might let him stay in the room if we’re going to one of the resort’s restaurants for dinner. He’s also been allowed to stay in our room at the Disney’s Beach Club Resort while we were close by at Epcot’s World Showcase. If we’re going further, we got someone from Kids Nite Out to stay with him (we didn’t call it her a babysitter). All of this depends on your child and your comfort level, but we found that our child appreciated time to hang out in the room alone on his phone with friends or playing video games. We are giving him his “me time.”
If all else fails, it might be OK to leave your Tween at home. On a recent trip to Walt Disney World Resort®, we gave our son the option of going or staying with family or friends elsewhere. He chose the family or friends. At first, I wasn’t thrilled about it, but it turned out to be a lovely trip. Yes, I missed my son but having the freedom to focus on my husband (we have no other children) and do what we wanted to do was wonderful, and that’s OK. It’s OK for you to take a trip with another child. Your Tween may be thrilled to have the time with family or friends and your other child or children may love having special time with mom and dad. I found that it also worked well when it came time for the next trip. He didn’t like missing out on what we did; he wanted to go.
For more ideas on what to skip at the Disney Parks,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!