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  1. A Tween’s Guide to Disney World

    A Tween’s Guide to Disney World


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    Image Source: Christine Coppa

    Character breakfasts, meet-and-greets with princesses, and the tea cups may not be so alluring to your tween on your trip to Walt Disney World. No worries, there is so much more for your big kid to do and experience while vacationing at the happiest place on Earth. My son and I just got back from a stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge where we toured all the parks and enjoyed tons of big bang attractions. Jack turns 9 this summer, so he’s officially edging into the tween scene … and he had a blast on vacation, even high-fiving Mickey here and there.

    Here are 10 things not to miss at Disney World with your tween.

    1. Animal Kingdom Safari Tour


    We boarded a jeep and headed into the savanna for a bumpy, fun ride. Our guide was cool and there were stops to take photos of animals, like a lion snoozing in the sun atop a giant rock. Zebras, giraffes, flamingos, and more — it was an up-close look at animals we never come in contact with.

    2. Amphicar Ride


    Jack enjoyed this car-boat attraction with his uncle Carlo. Located at the BOATHOUSE in Disney Springs, it’s the only place in the world where you can take a Captain’s Guided Tour on Lake Buena Vista. All the vintage Amphicars are convertibles, and they’re moved in the water by their twin nylon propellers. A special two-part land-and-water transmission built by Hermes (makers of the Porsche transmission) allows the wheels and propellers to be operated either independently or simultaneously. The “land transmission” is a 4-speed-plus-reverse unit similar to those found in the old Volkswagen Beetles.


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    Image Source: Christine Coppa
    3. Star Wars Attractions


    A galaxy far, far away is now at Hollywood Studios in Disney World. That’s right, you can step into Star Wars. Embark on Star Wars adventures, visit Star Wars locations, meet Star Wars characters, view Star Wars movie props, and shop for Star Wars merchandise. Jedi training teaches kiddos how to use a lightsaber, and then they can test their abilities throughout the galaxy. Even better? Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular is an epic fireworks display to the tunes of Star Wars music and magic.

    4. Downtime at the Pool


    Tweens get tired, too! There are two pools at Animal Kingdom. The Uzima Pool features a water slide, nearby pink flamingo pond, and playground. Bonus: there are daily pool games led by cast members. The Samawati Springs Pool also has a water slide, plus a water park play-space, bubbling geyser, and water cannons where kids can douse each other. The bar serves yummy smoothies and snacks, plus you can order lunch to the pool.


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    Image Source: Christine Coppa
    5. Pumbaa’s Fun and Games Arcade at Animal Kingdom


    Think classic arcade games, air hockey, and popular video games. Definitely a fun place for “in-between time.”


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    Image Source: Christine Coppa
    6. Best Rides for Tweens


    Space Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Tomorrowland Speedway (Jack drove a gas-powered car on a racetrack!), and Dinosaur (a thrill ride that took Jack back in time to rescue an Iguanadon before the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs strikes) were his favorite rides.

    7. Test Track at Epcot


    Steer your way inside the Chevrolet Design Center and — working at an illuminated station — design your own virtual custom concept vehicle based on the following test criteria: capability (handling), responsiveness (maneuverability), efficiency (fuel-saving and environmentally friendly), and power (speed). This fun ride is a mile long, with peak speeds of 65 mph. What tween isn’t eager to get behind the wheel?

    8. The Shops at Disney Springs


    One of Jack’s all-time favorite stores is on Disney property. I’m talking about The Lego Store. Other shops include APEX Sunglass Hut, Build-a-Dino by Build-a-Bear Workshop, Havaianas, and more.

    9. Illuminations Light Show


    This awesome and epic fireworks display is a three-part story of Earth, so you’re sneaking some education into your tween’s vacation. In Part One: The Earth Is Born, our planet’s birth begins with flames and fireworks erupting from the lagoon. In Part Two: The Triumph of Life, the illuminated surface of the globe reveals the history of humanity and the achievements of our time. Then in the final Part Three: Hope for the Future, comets of light race into the sky, before the globe blossoms like a lotus flower, revealing a torch ablaze with our dreams. Powerful music plays throughout this bright story in the sky.

    10. Marshmallow Roast at Animal Kingdom Lodge


    Unlimited marshmallows ’round the campfire at dusk = perfect dessert … and prerequisite for bedtime.

    The post A Tween’s Guide to Disney World appeared first on Babble.


    Author: Christine Coppa
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