Once upon a time, teenagers would gather at diners and drive-ins to have a good time. There was music and food — hanging out meant that groups of kids would literally congregate together in one spot.. and they’d actually talk to each other; like face to face. Shopping malls and neighborhood parks were weekend and summertime highlights. It used to be that teenagers would do anything to get out of the house and connect with the world. Back then, a family vacation meant everything. It was the one time of the year your parents were actually considered hip, or cool and in the know. We are in a technological world now, and with the introduction of androids, iPhone’s & tablets communication as we know it has changed dramatically. The idea of a family vacation doesn’t rank high with a lot of teens today; they’d prefer to sit and home and text, Skype, Facebook or use any one of the vast social media outlets that presently exist. There is but one exception: A trip to Walt Disney World (or any Disney park). I’ve always wondered what makes a trip to Disney stand out to the adolescent mind; so I did some serious research and was amazed at what I learned. No, your teenager will not put the phone down completely during your trip; but these Top 10 Attractions at Walt Disney World are worthy of the Share (and subsequent Likes).
10. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – Hollywood Studios
If your teenager loves a thriller, then this ride should be at the top of the list. Mystery abounds in this attraction themed after the famous television series. As the story line goes – The Hollywood Tower hotel was a legendary host to Tinseltown’s elite until an unexplained incident forced its closure in 1939. Years later, its doors are re-opened and now you are invited to explore its eerie corridors. Emerging from a darkened library you enter the dilapidated boiler room where the service “elevator” awaits to transport you into the 5th dimension. No need to select a floor, your destination is already pre-planned as you hurl upward in darkness. Ghostly hotel inhabitants invite you to join them — a collection of odd sights and sounds come into view.. you travel into a star-filled realm before it all disappears and now blackness. A split second later you scream in fear hurling down the abandoned shaft before unexpectedly changing direction and launching upwards again. The sounds of snapping cables and clanging medal grip you as you repeatedly plummet down and speed upwards over and over again. This isn’t your everyday drop tower, this one is a journey — straight into the Twilight Zone.
9. Summit Plummet – Disney’s Blizzard Beach
It is often said that teenagers think they are immortal — they lack the ability to fear almost anything. In this case that’s a good thing, because Summit Plummet at Disney’s Blizzard Beach is not for the faint of heart. Just imagine, you climb up 12 stories and once you reach the top you can look out and see all of the Walt Disney World property. In the distance you eye Cinderella’s Castle and Space Ship earth. Without so much as a squint you can clearly see the features of several themed resorts. Then it hits you, suddenly you realize: this one is really, REALLY high… and you are standing at the top. You want to get back down, and the only way down is to slide. It’s a long way down. You are vulnerable wearing only a bathing suit. Fear grips you as you assume the position — there’s no green light to signal when to go.. no raft with life grips to hold onto. Its just you, the water and gravity. You gaze down and realize it’s so steep you can’t even see where you’re going. Still, you have to get down and pushing off is up to you. Teenagers never lack the nerve, will you?
8. Test Track – EPCOT
What is the one thing every teenager wants besides the iPhone, iPad or latest Notebook? You guessed it, their driver’s license. Presented by Chevrolet, Test Track lets guest create a virtual concept vehicle and then put it to the test. After you’ve finalized your creation, jump in for a ride and see how your “sim car” performs through rough terrain and obstacles on the Test Track circuit. Your adrenaline will be on high-octane overload as you fly through straight-aways, scale hills and take on 50-degree curved banks. With peak speeds of 65 mph, Test Track is the fastest ride on property. Its sure to give your new and would be drivers a thrill — just make sure they don’t try these stunts at home.
7. Splash Mountain – Magic Kingdom
Now here’s a family memory that your teenagers won’t mind sharing. Themed after the 1946 Disney film Song of the South, Splash Mountain tells story of Br’er Rabbit and his quests to find his “laughing place”. You wouldn’t expect teenagers to be wide-eyed with excitement on such a child like experience but with happily played tunes like “How Do You Do?” and “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” they can’t help but to sing along. Your log flume floats over 950,000 gallons of water taking on 3 small dips before plunging over the side of a 5 story waterfall! Chances are, you will get wet — this is one time you should allow your teenager to take the lead. Let your teens sit in the front if you want to avoid 0being soaked.
6. DINOSAUR – Animal Kingdom
You don’t have to be a paleontologist to work at the Dino Institute, but you will require nerves of steel. Hop aboard your CTX Time Rover for a trip back 65 million years to when dinosaurs roamed freely. Your mission is to rescue the Iguanodon from extinction.. Don’t worry, he’s a gentle herbivore. You’ll have to be fast, your travel date destination just happens to be the same day a meteor hit the Earth causing the extinction of dinosaurs. Hang on tight as you careen through unpredictable turns and dodge Velociraptor’s hunting for prey. Meteors start to fall as the countdown clock ticks away — the call is “abort mission” but your off track and now you are face to face with a hungry Carnotaurus!!! You’ll have to experience this attraction yourself to see if you’ll escape or join the dinosaurs in extinction.
5. Haunted Mansion – Magic Kingdom
Yup, this one surprised me too. There’s something really fun about a spooky ride in a ghost filled mansion; for teenagers it offers a chance to revisit Halloween night and the attempt to “boo scare” their parents and younger siblings. Climb into your “Doom Buggy” for a supernatural journey through the haunted mansion chambers. Your “ghost host” narrates as you tour the home of 999 happy haunts. Make your way through the grand ballroom where transparent entities waltz to the music of a organ playing on its own. Glide thru a cemetery overflowing with spooks as join in as they sing their haunting anthem, “Grim Grinning Ghosts”. This may be a haunted ride, but not of the gory type. There’s only fun and good spirits residing here. Just don’t forget to check your bags for hitchhiking ghost. Check out “10 Freaky Facts about Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion.”
4. Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain – Animal Kingdom
Following a series of mysterious accidents, the Royal Anandapur Tea Company ceased operations of its railroad thru the forbidden mountains of the Himalayas. Legend has it that a fierce guardian monster, The Yeti, protects the Forbidden Mountain and will do everything in its power to keep visitors out. Race backwards into the mountain where you come to a stop in a dark passage – on the cavern walls you see the figure of a growling creature, the legend is real. Your in for the ride of your life as you race to escape before he catches up with you.
3. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith – Hollywood Studios
What teenager doesn’t love roller-coasters and loud music? This attraction goes from 0 to 60 in .5 seconds and blast you thru the Los Angeles night scene. Hold tight as your super-stretch limo rockets upwards into a roll-over loop. The 32,000 watt audio system pumps up the sound as Aerosmith’s grooves echo all around you. Speed past illuminated landmarks and burst through city traffic to fly past the famous Hollywood sign before arriving at your special back-stage access door. They might have originated in the 1970’s but teenagers still respect the music royalty. Sure, they might not know the name of all the band members, but Steven Tyler is a legend and even 13 to 19 year olds respect that.
2. Mission: SPACE – EPCOT
The spaceflight program may no longer exist, but the dreams of future astronauts can still be realized. Board a NASA engineered space launch shuttle simulator and assume your role as navigator, pilot, commander or engineer. Be sure to listen out for instructions as each crew member will be instructed to initiate a mission-critical sequence. Grip your controls as you feel the incredible force of lift-off. Once in space, carefully steer your craft as you dodge meteors and are thrown back in your seat during a slingshot around the moon. Your mission isn’t successful until you land on the surface of Mars so be prepared. A note worth mentioning: this ride has two levels of intensity. If your teenager is an adrenaline junkie, then opt for the orange team that spins and tilts to simulate speed and G-forces. The Green team is a much milder version which still offers an exhilarating experience – but is a better option for those prone to motion sickness. Check out “5 Amazing Things About Mission: Space.”
1. Space Mountain – Magic Kingdom
The number one and most sought after attraction by teenagers is none other than Space Mountain. All systems are “Go!” when you enter a tunnel pulsating with blinking lights to ascend the peaks of the mountain. Entering the darkness of space you’ll whiz past shooting stars, celestial satellites, flashing orbs of light and streaking comets. The mysterious sounds of space pull you into a swirling wormhole to make this trip into space unforgettable and out of this world!
While they didn’t make our Top 10 List, honorable mentions are Soaring at EPCOT and Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom. Don’t forget to include these on your “must do” list for big teenager kicks!
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like MickeyTravels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!