Disneyland with Teens: One-on-One Trips with Older Kids

by Sami

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My latest Disneyland with Teens segment explores the fun parents can have with older kids in Disney Parks.

My son and I love going to Disneyland together and we’re sharing some of our favorite tips, tricks and bites, along with highlights from our last trip.

Why a One-On-One Parent Child Trip is Important

As your kids get older, it becomes even more important to spend one-on-one time with teenagers. There’s no more special way to do that than with a Disney vacation!

Disneyland has become a special place for me and my son. When given a choice between birthday presents or a trip to Disneyland to recreate some of the magical moments we experienced together pre-covid, he chose Disneyland.

Is Disneyland Fun for Older Kids?

Some may ask, “How old is too old for Disneyland?” Any of us who love Disney will agree, Disney Parks offer something for everyone, no matter their age.

Admittedly, our Disney trips have evolved as the kids have grown.

In their younger years, Disney trips with toddlers revolved around character greetings. We still get excited about seeing Disney characters throughout the parks, especially at the Avengers Campus. But now we don’t worry about standing in lines and switching costumes during the day. Instead, we embrace the surprise encounters we have and enjoy the character additions Disney PhotoPass photographers offer.

Free Disneyland Character Photos

We LOVE what the Disney PhotoPass photographers create. You find them stationed at some of the most iconic Disneyland photo spots (as well as capturing character meet and greets).

Disney photography can get expensive, but I found a couple of ways to get free Disneyland character photos:

Disney Genie+

When you purchase Disney Genie+ service, you receive unlimited Disney PhotoPass digital downloads from your day. This includes Magic Shots, attraction photos and character greetings. And let’s not forget that Genie+ helps you get on rides faster too.


As a mom, it’s so hard to get in the photos instead of just taking the vacation photos. With these two free Disneyland photo options, now you can make sure to capture the special moments of your parent-child trip together.

Disney Visa Cardholder Character Experience

Disney Visa cardholders get access to FREE character experiences at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. At Disneyland Resort, this meant Britton got to meet Darth Vader. We also got all of the digital downloads of his photos for free from the experience.

Visit the Disney Visa website to check out where and when these exclusive cardmember meet and greets happen. And if you don’t already have a Disney Visa, right now you can apply for free to get a card with no annual fee. Plus you can earn a $150 statement credit and get Disney Dollars to spend on your next Disney Vacation!

DISNEY REWARDS Visa Card from Chase Benefits

One-on-One Trips to Disney with Kids

The bottom line is this: you will never regret taking that one-on-one trip with your kids, especially when it comes to taking your teens to Disney. Embrace the magic. Recapture old memories. Make new ones. Find out what they love about Disney and focus on those moments.

If they love rides, ride all the rides. If they love snacks, spend your time eating all the seasonal offerings and perennial favorites. If they love pin trading, find fellow pin traders and connect with them.

If you watched our Disneyland video above, you’ll hear my son say that he also appreciated not rushing around all the parks like we did when he was younger. We don’t need to be there for rope drop and be the last to leave Main Street. We can still ride Incredicoaster multiple times and eat Mickey Ice Cream bars without running ourselves ragged.

Where to Stay at Disneyland: Howard Johnson Anaheim

While we love staying on Disney property, there are also some incredible hotels within walking distance of the parks. On this last trip, the Howard Johnson Anaheim hosted us. They are situated about a half mile from Disneyland and you can walk there in under 15 minutes!

The new Home of the Retro Future suite is absolutely incredible! Modeled after the original, you’ll soon discover not a detail has been left out.

We especially loved the turntable in the middle of the dining room table, the hidden record player, and the Bluetooth-enabled bathroom mirror (not to mention there are not one, but TWO showers). HoJo Anaheim truly thought of everything with this suite.

Whether you’re looking to stay in a standard room or the Home of the Retro Future suite, my friends at HoJo Anaheim offered me a unique discount code to pass on to you:

Book Your Howard Johnson Anaheim Room NOW

  • 20% off Disneyland Legacy Pass Discount – Corp code: 1000025935
    (Show your Magic Key pass on the app at check-in)
  • 15% Discount for everyone – Corp code: 1000022077

Just enter either of the codes above into the Corporate code section to receive your discount.

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