Category Archives: Disneyland Resort

When Your Tween is “Bored” with the Disney Parks

“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.

When Your Tween Doesn't Want to Go to Walt Disney WorldHighlight 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.

When Your Tween is Bored with Walt Disney WorldCompromise 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!

Ears with Interchangeable Bows Unveiled at the D23 Expo (and how to win a set before they’re released at the Disney Parks)

New ears were unveiled at the Dream Store at the D23 Expo last weekend. The Interchangeable Bow Collection features a starter set with a black-and-silver “Minnie” polka dot bow. The bow has a clip making it easily removable from the headband ears and other bows can be purchased. Personally, I liked the softness of the headband and ears. They are covered in a velvety fabric. Continue reading

Top 10 Pools at Walt Disney World and Disneyland for Tweens and Teens

Top 10 Pools at Walt Disney World and Disneyland for Tweens and Teens

My 13-year-old son has been going to the Disney Parks since he was 10 months old. He’s been on at least one Disney Parks trip per year since then, sometimes more. Because of that, he often prefers that we hang out at the resort and resort pool rather than the parks. For today’s post, I asked him what his favorite pools are at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World and these were his picks. Continue reading

Why My Son Thinks Plaza Inn is the Best Character Dining Experience at Disneyland

Why My Son Thinks Breakfast at Plaza Inn is the Best Character Dining Experience at Disneyland

A Kid's Review of Plaza Inn at Disneyland ResortWhen I showed my son a photo from one of our recent visits to Plaza Inn at Disneyland, I asked him what he thought of it. He immediately responded, “I love that place!” When I asked him why, he elaborated with two reasons… Continue reading

When is a Disney Parks VIP Tour Worth It?

When a Disney Parks VIP Tour is Worth the Splurge

For some, simply a trip to the Disney Parks is a splurge, but for those who want to do more, this month’s Blogorail Blue Loop is sharing fun ways to splurge at Disney.

At a price between $400 and $600 per hour, a Private Premium VIP Tour at Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort VIP Tour is probably one of the ultimate splurges at the Disney Parks. Many assume that one must be rich or famous or both to take advantage of these services, but that is not the case. There are ways to make it more affordable as well as times it’s worth the expense and times it’s probably not.

My family has used VIP services twice at Walt Disney World and once at Disneyland Resort, so we have first-hand knowledge about what’s included and what isn’t.

When is a Disney Parks VIP Tour Worth It?

I had to have a selfie with our Disneyland VIP Tour guide who happened to be named Aaron, just like our one in Walt Disney World.

First, think of it as an unlimited FastPass. For any attraction that has a FastPass line, the VIP guide will walk you to the line and remain in the line with you. It does not get you to the front of the line, only into the FastPass line where you will wait with everyone who has FastPasses. If you want to ride the attraction over and over, you will simply get into the FastPass line with your guide over and over. This does cut the wait time considerably, but there is still a short wait.

Second, for attractions that don’t have a FastPass, the guide will take you into an alternate entrance to avoid the line. Usually, this is the through the exit. Again, there is a short wait, but it isn’t long.

Another way a VIP Guide saves time is by knowing the fastest route from one attraction to another and having access to routes typical guests do not have. In addition, while Disney World Resort seems to have a more liberal policy about this than Disneyland Resort, the Guide can take guests backstage to avoid crowds and cut travel time. For example, we wanted to see Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on the same night as Wishes and the Main Street Electrical Parade at Magic Kingdom. This was not impossible for our VIP Guide. After Fantasmic!, our guide escorted us backstage behind the stadium to a waiting van, no long walk to the park exit through the crowd for us. Then, he drove us to Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom, again avoiding the entrance (and Ticket & Transportation Center) and crowds, had our magic bands scanned for entrance into the park, and walked us straight to a reserved area in plenty of time for Wishes. That simply would not have been possible without VIP.

For even more time savings, VIP Tours include reserved seating for parades and shows. No more sitting on a curb for an hour or two before the parade saving a spot. We simply arrived 15-30 minutes early and a spot was open for us. At Disneyland Resort, one can have a reserved VIP spot at the evening shows and parades even if the VIP Tour ended earlier in the day. For us, this extended the six hour minimum since we used the six hours during the day and then added on the parade at night. At Walt Disney World, one can only have reserved seating during the tour so since we wanted to include the evening shows in our tour, we started it later in the day and either used FastPasses early in the day or just hung out in our resort.

What about restaurants? VIP Services will make dining reservations for you if you ask them to, but they are subject to the same limitations as booking them on their own. At Walt Disney World, you have a choice as to whether or not your guide eats with you (Disney pays for their meal). We always chose to do that. Our guide became part of the family very quickly so we wanted him with us. At Disneyland, their meal was not included so we still included our guide with us and paid for it as well. I realize we didn’t have to, but we wanted to. Again, within a short period of time, the guide becomes part of the family so it would have felt odd to not pay for him.

Unlike VIP tours at other theme parks I’ve been to, this is a fully private tour. The day is yours. If you want to spend all six hours riding the same attraction over and over, you can. If you want to try to hit all four parks at Walt Disney World, you can do that. The guide will simply take you where you want to go that fastest way possible walking from attraction to attraction when possible or driving from attraction to attraction or park to park as needed. Like all VIP tours, though, the guides are immensely knowledgeable and will give you tips to make the most of your days when not on the tour and may even share extra tips like where the high scoring targets are on Toy Story Midway Mania! or Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin / Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.

Disney Parks VIP Tour Guides - Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World News, copyright Disney.

Disney Parks VIP Tour Guides – Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World News, copyright Disney.

Oh, but the price. I know. $400-$600 per hour with a six hour minimum is tough to swallow, but it can be split with others. For example, the high end of the price from what I can tell is really only around the major holidays. Every time we’ve booked the tour, even in the summer, we were charged the lowest price. That now means we are at $2,400. That, though, is good for up to 10 people. Know some other families or couples going along? At $240 per person for six hours, that now brings the price more into the realm of VIP tours that aren’t private at other theme parks.

Is it ever worth it? We don’t do a VIP tour every trip, obviously, but there are times that I save up for something extra special like special events or new attractions. For example, for Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary Celebration 24-hour event, I knew the parks were going to be very crowded so I booked VIP for my family, and I am so glad I did. The parks filled to capacity. The ONLY reason we were able to still go into the parks and from park to park was because our VIP guide took us through the security that closed the parks. In addition, we were able to avoid much of the crowd and still able to enjoy all the attractions. For me, it would have been a horrible trip to Disneyland if we were only able to enjoy a few attractions due to the very long lines or even worse, not even able to get into the parks. In addition, we had reserved seating on benches at the train station for the Paint the Night parade and fireworks, something we probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise. For an upcoming trip, I am planning to book VIP services so that I can comfortably view the new areas and shows at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In other words, if the park is going to be super crowded, for us, it’s worth the extra money. Why spend all that money to travel to Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort to simply be stuck in crowds and lines?

For ways to splurge at Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Blue | Disney Splurges Loop: