The focus of family vacations to Disney World often centers around younger kids. Our experience, however, has been that tweens enjoy Magic Kingdom even more. They know the stories, the characters, and are more independent. Growing older, and taller, also opens up a greater variety of rides, such as the insanely fun roller coasters. Here are my top 10 picks for rides and attractions your tweens will love at Magic Kingdom.
Attractions for Fun and Laughs
Mad Tea Party – Who doesn’t love a fast paced whirl around in the teacups? Well, there are some who aren’t too fond of the dizziness that results. Tweens love to get in there and see just how fast they can crank their teacup around; especially if there’s a parent on board who looks like they’re going to lose their lunch. Stick a pair of tweens in a teacup for maximum laughs. To this day it is still my daughter’s favorite ride in all of Disney World.
The Barnstormer aka Goofy’s Roller Coaster – Tweens are at a great in between stage where they can still enjoy rides aimed at younger kids and have even more fun. Goofy’s Roller Coaster is light on the thrills, but still fast enough to be fun. The ride doesn’t get swarmed by families as much as other low-key attractions, so lines move relatively quickly, which is great for several repeat rides.
Character Meet & Greets – Toddlers may get excited to see a glittery princess, but tweens know the stories by heart, have seen the movies a dozen times, and all have their favorite characters. Magic Kingdom offers quite a few popular meet and greets where kids (and adults) can have a quick chat and get their picture taken. Whether it’s a hug from Rapunzel or a selfie with Gaston, your tweens will know exactly who they want to see. Read how to make the most of meet and greets here.
Discover Whole New Worlds
Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid – Fans of Ariel will absolutely love this ride. Guests enter through the rocky shore below the castle, board a slow moving clam shell vehicle, and literally dive under the sea. The upbeat music and scenes from the movie come to life all around. It is worth an extra ride just to take in all the details. As a bonus, Ariel’s meet and greet location is just next door.
Buzz Lightyear – Tweens can get their game on at Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Walk into the queue and you’re shrunk down to Toy Story appropriate size as an animatronic Buzz gives you orders to board your craft and defeat Emperor Zurg. Each of the two person ride vehicles have laser guns and a spin control for riders to shoot at targets throughout the ride. Of course, it all comes down to who has the highest score at the end.
Pirates of the Caribbean – The ride that inspired a movie, which inspired new characters in the ride. Tweens will be excited to spot Jack Sparrow in scenes along this classic boat ride through pirate life. Occasional updates have kept it relevant while still preserving the old dark ride’s appeal.
Haunted Mansion – Tweens are old enough to appreciate the lighthearted nature of Haunted Mansion that is still just scary enough to give you the chills. The slow crawl through the mansion and cemetery, replete with catchy music, is stunning in its detail and leaves a few things to the imagination. Was the room shrinking or growing, indeed? Kids at this age will be able to nervously laugh off their fears afterwards.
Magic Kingdom Thrill Rides for Tweens
Splash Mountain – A traditional flume ride, Splash Mountain retells the story of Br’er Rabbit’s adventures through the countryside as he outruns, and outsmarts, Bear and Fox derived from stories in Song of the South. The log ride carries riders gently through the waters as the story unfolds, eventually ending in a watery drop into the briar patch. If your kids like to get wet, this is the ride for them.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Thunder Mountain is a great first time roller coaster for tweens. The interactive queue will keep them occupied while still getting a good view of the train whipping around the southwest desert backdrop. Riders board one of two trains and set off on a long ride up, down, and through the mountains. There aren’t any huge drops, but there are many and it keeps the ride fast paced all the way through. The best time to ride is after dark, especially during fireworks, with a great view of the whole park.
Space Mountain – Space Mountain is the next level in thrills as it takes riders on a wild ride through the cosmos. Sitting single file in rocket shaped vehicles, riders are plunged into darkness with the exception of a few shooting starts and occasional flashing lights. There is no sound in space, but here you’ll enjoy plenty of effects as you swoop around; never really knowing which direction you’re headed next. The hills aren’t too big and there are no loops; the thrill lies in the unknown darkness.
Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is the perfect place for tweens to find thrills, good laughs, and also meet some of their favorite characters. This top ten list is just the tip of the iceberg for what they will enjoy at the park. There are also interactive adventures games, sweet treats, and of course the spectacular light and fireworks show at the end of the night. Tweens can even exercise their independent streak by helping to plan the day, or even pairing up with friends/siblings to explore on their own in the safe confines of the park.