Mistakes We Made on Our First Trip to Disney With Teens.

So here is a little about the mistakes we made on first trip to Disney with our teen monsters. Let me give you a little background before I start. I know that there are more DisDads out there that have done the same thing that I want to warn you about. Maybe this will prevent you that are about to take your teens for the first time from making our mistakes.

Here is the line up

Me 41

My wife Azure 33

My eldest Christine 16

My middle boy shadoe 14

My younges electra 13

Some of The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make Planning Your First Trip To Disney With Teens.


Don’t build your trip up too much.

       I can certainly attest one of the biggest mistakes we made when planning our first trip with our teens was telling them how much there is to do, see, how big and fabulous Disney World is. I know this may sound evil but my wife and I went to Disneyworld by ourselves twice before we decided to take our teens so we just couldn’t hold our excitement to be able to show them the World. They expected this magical wonderland with unicorns and rainbows. What they received was Disney World. What we had accomplished was raising their expectations to a point that no place could ever live up to it. When we arrived at our resort (the Polynesian) everything seemed to fall apart from there.

    Planning too much for each day.

From our experience, teens do not like being told where they are going and what they will eat. The first trip we purchased the Deluxe Dining plan and set up two Table Service meals for every single day that we were on vacation. As you can imagine after the first day we had to force them with great protest to sit at yet another meal.  By the end of our trip we were all saying “no not another ADR… Epcot.. Coral Reef… “Every meal was like fighting an angry beaver.

 Not planning time for the family to go their separate ways.

We never even thought about walking, eating, traveling and sleeping in the same place the whole vacation.  Try living in your living room with your entire family for an entire week.  By the time you are done you will know everything you could ever not want to know about your teens.

Not planning a date night out.

Making your vacation all about your Teens, can turn into a grueling chore.  We felt that we had to entertain them every minute of every day. After our first trip we realized that this vacation is not showing our kids how much fun they can have, rather this is a vacation! I learned that our teens won’t melt if we leave them to walk around Epcot while we have a leisurely meal at Le Cellier! Letting them stay at the resort while we head to California Grill.

Letting anger and frustration build.

Because our teens were still looking for the unicorns, they were bored with the “normal” Magic Kingdom. We just couldn’t stand it! We never said what we heard from others. “We spent all this money and your bored” line but we definitely said it to each other. By the end of our trip my wife was crying, I was angry, and the kids were still bored! LoL.

Not planning a day of rest at the resort.

We wanted all we could get for our money! We wanted to make every rope drop and do every EMH that was available. Don’t do it! I really worked harder on our first vacation with teens than I do at work! I remember distinctly. “Can we stay and swim at the resort”. My response “nooo we have park tickets” mumbling under my breath  “we paid all this money and all they want to do is swim?” we realize now “what the heck, lets hang at the resort we are on vacation”.

Not giving them their own space.

No matter how cool of a dad you think you are. You’re not! My son and eldest daughter met these nice kids in Epcot. I was thinking how cool it would be to just “hang with my Hommies”.  As the day went on I heard the “nice kids” ask my daughter, “why are your parents following us”. Our teens carry cell phones so really there was no reason to be the creepy parents.


dis dad to three teens!

8 thoughts to “Mistakes We Made on Our First Trip to Disney With Teens.”

  1. Great post Carl! I’ll probably be able to get in at least two more trips before my kids are teenagers, but it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in our own preconceptions and forget how independent our children have become. My mother-in-law is fond of reminding my wife and me that, “parenting is the art of planned obsolescence.”

  2. Ah yes, the battle of teens on vacation… I remember those days with my parents. Some of the most epic fights we ever had over the years occurred on vacation… yet we all still have fond memories of those trips and time spent together.

  3. Great post, Carl. We haven’t made it to the teen years yet, but I’ll be sure to keep these things in mind when the inevitable happens. I like Aaron’s MIL’s line about the art of planned obsolescence.

    My dad likes to tell me that God gives us childres in order to teach us how not to be selfish. I think that’s true, too.

  4. Thank you guys! We do have fond memories of our first visit with our teens! I just wish knew then what I know now.

  5. Excellent points, Carl. My kids are only 6 and 4, so we have a few years before we have to worry about them being teenagers.
    On the other hand, they’ve both been to Disney World multiple times (my wife’s parents live 45 minutes from WDW, so we visit quite often). By the time they’re teenagers, they’ll know the parks inside and out. Heck, in 4 or 5 years, they’ll be planning the park days and ADRs. (I just hope they remember to take their dear old dad to O’hana!)

  6. My son will be 13 by our next family trip so Im hoping he will take on planning part of it to keep him excited about going. All my kids love WDW and hopefully we can keep it that way. Great report sir thank you!

  7. Great post and good advice, Carl! Ours are 11, 10 and 8, so not quite teens yet, but I see those days fast approaching. I dread the day my boys discover Disney Quest! Aaron, that planned planned obsolescence is a keeper!

  8. Great Post!
    I have been down this road before lol.As my kids ages range from 19 down to 7.I will say you have to be able to let your Teens be Teens.I know peole say family trip are meant to be with family,but they do need time to go off by themselves.My 14 and 12 yr olds will benifit from the lesson I learned from my 19 yr old!!!

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