Orlando with Teens: Top 20 Things to Do at the Theme Parks and Beyond
Think Orlando is a destination just for kids? It’s even better with teens! Amusement parks are great when you can go on all the rides and don’t have to worry about the dreaded "theme park meltdowns." My big kids were also able to pack in lots of other adventures and hipster shopping areas as we explored all the fun there is in Orlando beyond the theme parks.
Visit Orlando also helped us with expert advice on the best things to do with teens in Orlando. Here’s what we found out.
Orlando Theme Parks Highlights for Teens
Your older kids likely have the height (and nerves) to go on more rides than when they were preschoolers. Teenagers also have more stamina than those little walkers, of course, so you can really pack in a full day of rides and experiences. Here are some highlights for teens from Orlando’s main theme parks.
The Na'vi River Ride in the Pandora section of Animal Kingdom is gorgeous.
Pandora – The World of Avatar is a gorgeous addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The Avatar Flight of Passage ride is possibly the best ride I’ve ever been on. It’s absolutely beautiful and, while it will be too scary for most little kids, it’s perfect for teens. The Na'vi River Ride is stunning as well.
Cool off with a beautiful and tasty violet lemonade slush at Epcot.
We had a surprisingly good time exploring Epcot’s World Showcase, a walking tour through country-themed stops with food and more. It's another activity that I don't think little kids would enjoy quite as much. My teens had a list of the most Instagrammable foods to check out and laughed at the corny video showcases.
Star Wars fans will love flying the Millennium Falcon and joining the Resistance to battle the First Order as part of the two ride attractions in this Galaxy far, far away (well, not that far, but you get the picture). Teens can also build their own custom lightsaber or design and assemble a customized droid.
Catch some magic at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Universal Studios’ Diagon Ally is a totally immersive world where you can spend hours exploring the nooks and crannies of the stores and casting spells with an interactive wand. Ride the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade in Universal's Islands of Adventure for a bit more Potter magic (including the newest ride: Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure) and then check out more rides throughout the park. The Hulk is one of my favorite roller coasters if you have thrill seekers in your group.
Find the best of Orlando’s water parks for older kids and adults who love thrilling slides and rides at Universal's Volcano Bay. You’ll find slides that drop you six feet into the pool at the bottom, and the Ko’okiri Body Plunge, a 125-foot drop!
Pose with the Biebs at Madam Tussauds.
More Top Orlando Attractions for Teens
Orlando is so much more than theme parks. You'll want to line up a few amusement park breaks when traveling to Orlando with teens, from shopping to NASA.
6. ICON Park
This destination offers a variety of indoor attractions, plus dining options and shopping. Anchored by the giant ICON observation wheel, there’s Madame Tussauds, an aquarium, an arcade, and more rides. We debated whether to ride a giant StarFlyer swing that takes you 450 feet into the air, but instead, enjoyed snapping photos with wax celebs. Don’t forget to stop for sweets at the Sugar Factory before leaving!
Feed the resident alligators at Wild Florida's Gator Park.
Meet Florida’s favorite carnivore at this gator-themed attraction where you can watch an alligator show or zipline right over them. There are big cats, birds, and several tour experiences to try here, too.
Cool off on an airboat ride to see native baby gators, beautiful birds, and more in their natural habitat. You can also buy food to feed the resident alligators in the park and stop by the petting zoo to cuddle the baby alpacas and pygmy goats.
If you need a break from the sun or rain, these indoor spots offers go-karts, arcades, zip line, bowling, trampolines, and more.
We love fun and challenging treetop adventure courses. Tree Trek offers four courses at increasing difficulties, as well as two kids courses.
Located at Universal’s Citywalk, this course takes mini golf to a new level with humorously themed holes that are even better at night when it all lights up.
'Explore' the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Photo courtesy of the Kennedy Space Center
The space-themed destination is just a short drive from Orlando and a full day of fun for anyone interested in space exploration.
Cool off from the Florida summer heat at a local inflatable water park. Some even have cable systems where teens can wakeboard or waterski.
Challenge your teen with a trip to one of the many Orlando area escape rooms. See if you can beat the clock!
Cheer on the hometown teams at a live sporting event. The Amway Center is home to the NBA’s Orlando Magic as well as the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. Right down the road, soccer fans can cheer on the Orlando City Soccer Club at Exploria Stadium.
16. Nearby Beaches
A trip to Florida is not complete without a beach day! Luckily, there are several great beaches within a few hours’ drive of Orlando.
Orlando Shopping with Teens
Shopping, shopping, shopping! I’m not a huge shopper, but I do enjoy perusing the aisles with my daughter.
17. Disney Springs
Disney Springs is an upscale, outdoor shopping mall open to the public with several restaurants and experiential stores. We had a great meal at Morimoto Asia (the Peking duck is amazing), and then walked around, checking out the stores and live performers.
18. 50 Mills
This hip Main Street district around the intersection of Mills Avenue and Colonial Drive offers eclectic stores and restaurants. You’ll find cool secondhand shops, boutiques, fun selfie-worthy street art, and great local eats.
Visit Florida’s largest outlet mall, featuring over 170 stores. It is conveniently located on I-Drive, close to the main attractions.
20. Mall at Millenia
There are several teen clothing stores at this upscale Orlando mall located right off of I-4. The surrounding area has more shopping centers and plenty of dining options to satisfy any craving.
Photos by Mommy Poppins