For me, riding “It’s a Small World” is delightful. To my 9- and 12-year-olds? Not so much. My tweens’ favorite rides at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom don’t always match mine, which is not surprising. But their opinions are potentially valuable information if you’re planning a trip to Disney Parks with tweens.
Tweens and Parents at Disney Parks
Photo by Jamie Bartosch/Suburban TravelingMom Tweens have their own opinions about the rides at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.
We’ve been to Disney World twice, and still haven’t done all there is to do at Magic Kingdom. We didn’t even go on Space Mountain. Whaaaat??!
So this list contains only a fraction of the rides and shows. Still, the goal here is to help you narrow down your choices and maximize your time.
A few things to note:
* Every show and ride at Disney World is really creative and well done. That’s the truth. Nothing is bad. Just some things were more fun (for us) than others.
* My husband and son get motion sick very easily. That’s reflected in the comments.
* I know people have strong, passionate feelings about the rides and shows, and I apologize in advance if anyone is offended. Obviously, just because we liked/didn’t like something doesn’t mean you and your kids will feel the same way.
That being said, here’s what I’d say – and what my kids would say – if our friends asked us what we thought of the rides and shows. Honest opinions.
Our favorites rides — that everyone in my family loved – are starred:
A great camera like the Panasonic Lumix ZS40 has features that make it easy to take dramatic photos like this one of the It’s a Small World ride at Disney World. Photo credit: Cindy Richards/TravelingMom with Teens
It’s a Small World
Me: Old school, nostalgic and smile-inducing. A must-do on every visit.
Kids: I was so bored. My least favorite ride. It’s so slow.
Me: My family’s favorite ride at Disney! An impressive 10 minutes long. Awesome cool-down in the mid-day Florida heat. No motion sickness issues. More than one drop, plus lots of music and scenes to float past. Love the view of the Magic Kingdom as you go over the top of the big drop.
Me: Good, gentle roller coaster, but older and more “whippy” than Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It comes to a sharp stop at the end, and my son once banged his head on the back of the seat and needed to get an ice pack. Only mild and temporary motion sickness afterward.
Kids: Very fun and similar to Mine Train. Not as smooth as Mine Train..
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin*
Me: Creative and fun, but I stunk at it. I liked Toy Story Mania (in Hollywood Studios) better. Great for any kid who likes video games or Toy Story.
Kids: I like it but it’s really hard. You don’t know where you’re aiming sometimes.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train*
Me: I like it a lot, especially the music and the Snow White scene at the end. It’s a mid-level roller coaster – one drop, and nothing dark, upside-down or backward. My easily motion sick 9-year-old was fine afterward.
Kids: Awesome. Pretty fast.See for yourself in this video:
Peter Pan’s Flight
Me: I like this ride a lot. It feels retro, and it’s fun to ride up to each scene. It’s good for any age, but best for tweens or younger. My kids loved this ride when they went on it last year.
Me: Really good improv comedy show. Laughed out loud a lot. They put the spotlight on my husband and made him “Sully,” which made it more fun for us.
Kids: Funny. They didn’t just tell parent jokes.
My husband: Kids loved it because they could pretend like they’re driving. It’s not too fast, and they can kind-of drive. But it’s controlled enough that they can’t wipe out. No motion sickness issues.
Kids: It smelled really bad at the beginning (like gasoline), but once you get out onto the track it’s fine. I like it but it is a little hard to control the car.
Me: Cool special effects, and not scary. They do this thing where a ghost plays with a photo of your face that’s super-creative.
Kids: It’s really cool.
What do your tweens like to do at Disney Parks? Share with us in the comment section below.
Jamie Bartosch is an award-winning newspaper reporter in suburban Chicago. She loves to travel, and blogs for TravelingMom.com from the viewpoint of a "typical suburban mom." Her goal is to provide honest, useful information to help families save time and money, and to make the most of their family vacation. A married mother of two, Jamie grew up in suburban Chicago, lived in the city for 16 years, and then moved back out to the suburbs to raise her kids. She writes as Suburban TravelingMom. Learn more about her at www.JamieBartosch.com