Walt Disney World is one of the most popular and most visited theme parks in the world, with thrilling rides, delightful attractions, exciting colorful parades, brilliant fireworks, live entertainment, and extraordinary dining and shopping venues. It is truly a world like no other, where dreams really do come true. Families of all sizes and cultures visit this “most magical place on earth”, because the name “Disney” is all about families being able to enjoy the parks together. A very special group of family members are Grandparents and their grandkids, and at Disney, there are so many wonderful ways for them to enjoy their visit. The rides of Disney World are exceptional (check guide books for height restrictions & description of dark rides), and when you add in some special experiences, the fantasy and magic of Disney World become a dream come true for Grandparents and Grandkids.
10. Walt Disney World Railroad (Main Street, USA–Magic Kingdom)
A ride on the WDW Railroad for a full circle tour of the Magic Kingdom is an excellent way to entertain and educate the grandkids on what fun is in store for them. A ride on this open-air vintage railroad is a great way to begin the day at the Magic Kingdom. It’s also an easy way to get around the Park, with stops at Frontierland and Dumbo’s Storybook Circus.
9. Festival of Fantasy Parade (Magic Kingdom-Frontierland to Main Street)
The child in all of us loves a great parade, and the Festival of Fantasy Parade at the Magic Kingdom is one of the best parades Disney has ever designed. There are fanciful state-of-the-art floats featuring characters from popular Disney stories, costumed cast members on stilts, lively music, and even a fire-breathing dragon. Grandparents will find themselves grinning from ear to ear, not only from watching the parade, but watching the grandkids having such a good time. **A quick tip—this parade begins in Frontierland near the Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe, and usually occurs around 3pm, (check your Park Guide for exact times). It is much easier to find a good spot to watch the Parade from here**.
8. Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover(Magic Kingdom—Tomorrowland)
This iconic ride is perfect for Grandparents and Grandkids. The lines on this attraction usually move swiftly, because you ride a conveyor belt to the loading platform where you and the tram cars are constantly moving at the same speed, with easy access to boarding. The PeopleMover is an open air tram car ride on an elevated track which takes guests on a 10-minute tour of the rides, attractions, and shops of Tomorrowland. Grandparents can relax and enjoy the tour, while the grandkids are mesmerized by all the sights and sounds of Tomorrowland.
7. Happily Ever After Fireworks Extravaganza (Magic Kingdom)
This new and exciting fireworks exhibition takes place every night at the Magic Kingdom, and this is one you don’t want to miss. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss. For Grandparents with Grandkids I would suggest finding a place to watch the fireworks near the train station on Main Street, because when the show is over, you will be the closest to the exit in order to get ahead of the crowds who are leaving. That is, of course, if you plan on leaving the Park after the fireworks. If the Grandkids are still energized, I would suggest an area behind Cinderella’s Castle, near the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel. The crowds are not as large, and the view and sound of the fireworks are astounding. After the show, take the grandkids on a couple of rides in Fantasyland, then maybe they’ll be ready to call it a day.
6. Disney Resort Hotel
For a truly unique experience, I would strongly advise anyone, especially Grandparents with their Grandkids to stay on property at a Disney Resort Hotel. The perks and amenities are fantastic, and there are so many unique recreational activities, like swimming, bike rentals, surry rentals, boat rides to Disney Springs, outdoor movies, and much more. For Grandparents, a day away from the Parks gives them and their grandkids a chance to enjoy each other without the crowds.
5. Dining With the Grandkids
At Walt Disney World, dining with the grandkids can be a very fun and memorable experience. Make your reservations early for at least one character dining meal–breakfast, lunch, or dinner. One of the most popular character meals is The Crystal Palace buffet in the Magic Kingdom, which offers the finest cuisine in all the “World”. There are so many delicious choices for adults and children. The highlight of the meal is, of course, the opportunity to meet such classic Disney characters as Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, and Tigger. The looks on the faces of the grandkids, and the photo keepsakes are priceless. This is a dining adventure that will be remembered for years to come. You can reserve a character breakfast, lunch, or dinner at several places around Disney World. Check a WDW Dining Guide for all the locations, but you better check with the grandkids’ for their favorite Disney characters.
4. Epcot & World Showcase
Grandparents, take your grandkids inside the huge silver sphere called Spaceship Earth, for a wonderful entertaining and educational trip through time, highlighting the advancements of our civilization from drawings on cave walls to man’s technological advances that will escort this earth into the world of tomorrow. The animatronic scenes in this attraction are extraordinary and will captivate even the youngest of passengers. This is another continuously loading ride which makes for a short wait time, and usually Fast Passes are not necessary. Another great adventure for Grandparents & Grandkids is a leisurely stroll around the World Showcase Lagoon, where guests can learn about the history and cultures of 11 countries. Also, at each international pavilion, the grandkids can enjoy the Kidcot fun stops, where they can interact with cast members representing their homelands, receive a complimentary cardboard Duffy the Disney Bear to decorate and personalize, a stamp of Duffy in each country. This is truly a unique experience to have with grandchildren and also gives the Grandparents a few moments to tour each pavilion while the grandkids are being entertained.
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3. Animal Kingdom — “Welcome to Pandora-The World of Avatar”
This is a new and exciting adventure for all Disney guests. For Grandparents and their Grandkids, I would recommend the Na’vi River Journey, a serene boat ride down a gentle, mysterious river where guests will be in awe of the exotic glowing plants and amazing creatures and come face to face with the Na’vi Shaman of Songs. Another wonderful experience to enjoy is the Safaris of Kilimanjaro: Take a ride on a safari truck adventure through the wilds of Africa and get a close-up look at wild animals, such as elephants, giraffes, gazelles, lions, alligators, etc. It is a marvelous way to introduce your grandchildren to the scenery and wildlife of Africa. For another attraction experience, I would highly recommend “It’s Tough to be a Bug”, located under the “Tree of Life” in a beautiful theater, which features a 3-D performance (3’D glasses provided), with surprising special effects that will thrill kids and adults alike.
2. Hollywood Studios — “Fantasmic”
A nighttime outdoor extraordinary musical, featuring Mickey Mouse and all his Disney pals, in a magical performance, which has thrilled audiences for years. There are multi-talented cast members performing scenes from classic Disney films, dancing waters, enchanting music, laser lights, and one thrilling finale’ with the most innovative pyrotechnic display in all the Parks. This performance is only on select nights, so check the Times Guide before you make any plans. Be prepared to be immersed in the best entertainment Disney has to offer! Grandparents, if you can take your eyes off the stupendous show for a moment, sneak a peek at the faces of your grandkids. They will probably be grinning from ear to ear. This is definitely an experience you don’t want to miss.
1. The Rest of the World
Another way to spend some time with the grandkids is to take them to one of two miniature golf courses, Fantasia Gardens (located near the Swan & Dolphin Resort, or Winter Summerland (located next door to the “Blizzard Beach” water park). Both locations offer Disney-themed courses which are very entertaining, and gives Grandparents and their grandkids some much appreciated one-on-one fun time. If you’re staying at a Disney Hotel Resort, you can take a bus to either of the water parks, “Blizzard Beach”, or “Typhoon Lagoon” for an afternoon of fun-filled swimming adventures. Take a bus or boat ride to Disney Springs and spend a morning or afternoon at this spectacular entertainment and shopping complex, with plenty of fun activities for the kids, shopping, and fantastic dining choices.
In Conclusion, there are so many unique adventures that Grandparents and their grandkids can enjoy together at Walt Disney World. My Mom loved being with her grandkids, and would often enjoy some of these same special Disney experiences, while the older grandkids would hang with the rest of the family. Walt Disney World is the ultimate family friendly theme park which caters to the “kid” in all of us. For Grandparents, a Disney vacation is one of the best ways to make some really special magical memories with the grandkids.