Mufasa and Simba, Goofy and Max, Marlin and Nemo: Disney has produced many dynamic father-son duos. Alas, come vacation time, fathers are too often pegged with travel’s most tedious tasks. Budgeting every penny, keeping the family on schedule, and utilizing all possible shortcuts are satisfying pursuits, but nothing’s worse than a missed opportunity. Take a cue from your favorite Disney papas, and allow time to make a memorable moment with your son worthy of the silver screen.
8. ESPN Wide World of Sports
Tykes and Disney dads alike will revel in this veritable playland. With ongoing athletic events taking place year-round, you can pay to be a spectator in one of the complex’s excellent venues or simply take your time exploring the topnotch facilities. Many visitors come specifically for the Atlanta Braves’ Spring Training, which ESPN Wide World of Sports hosts. You’ll have to eat, of course, and a family-friendly sports bar will provide you with crowd-pleasing chow and brewskis, if you please.
7. Watch the action unfold at Hollywood Studios
Live entertainment is found everywhere on Disney property, but Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers some of the most high-octane, energizing programs of all. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! joins stunt work, explosions, and the film’s (nearly) fearless hero into the park’s longest-running production. The Lights, Motor, Action! Extreme Stunt Show is an adrenaline junkie’s dream, and one any auto enthusiast will enjoy. In the evening, you’ll explore the themes of good and evil while taking in the park’s most popular show: Fantasmic!. Incorporating both water, pyrotechnics, and spectacular lighting effects, this display wraps up your day together with excitement.
6. Be a Railfan like Walt
Most Disney Fanatics know that Walt loved trains, so naturally his parks wouldn’t be complete without the mighty machines. Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom all feature full-sized steam trains. Even with some changes over the years, they remain staple attractions that every gentleman can appreciate. While behind-the-scenes tours are available in the Magic Kingdom with these mechanical wonders, a simple ride aboard proves that the chug-a-lug of your passenger car, the wind in your hair, and a bird’s eye view of the park is hard to beat.
5. Spend a day on the water
You may know that Disney World has water parks, but did you realize that its resorts also provide fun in the sun? With such an abundance of H2O, The Contemporary Resort is home to Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre. Waterskiing, wake boarding, and tubing are just a few of your options. You’ll also find dockside fishing and guided fishing tours at several other resort locations. Disney may just be the perfect place for amateur fishermen and sailors to “get their feet wet”, so to speak.
4. Travel the world together at Epcot
The words “all you can eat” will become your motto at Epcot, as you indulge in a never-ending smorgasbord of German delights at Bier Garten. Just a stroll away are American classics at Fife & Drum, and English comforts inside the Rose & Crown Pub. Speaking of roses, you’ll run into plenty of opportunities to stop and smell them, as you saunter from restaurant to restaurant. Sprinkled along your route is Epcot’s cast of international talent. Featuring axe-hurling lumberjacks, daring tumblers, and laidback musicians, this park is full of man approved performances.
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3. Go Downtown, to Disney Springs
Boys and men of all ages really will find that Downtown Disney (soon to be Disney Springs) promises a full day of fun. After you grab a quick breakfast from one of the many restaurants, you’re free to stroll the premises and evaluate your options. Little guys can Build-a-Dino at T-REX or grab a new set of bricks from The LEGO store. Adult father-son duos will be pleased to find a pint and some live music at Raglan Road Irish Pub or The House of Blues. Round out your day by catching a movie at AMC Theatres or getting competitive on the bowling alley at Splitsville.
2. Join The Pirates League at Magic Kingdom
If your buccaneer’s favorite ride is Pirates of the Caribbean, making a reservation for the Pirates League at Magic Kingdom may be mandatory! Once inside the Magic Kingdom, you’ll make your way to Adventureland, where a crew of Jack Sparrow’s own will transform you and your first mate into verifiable sea rovers, complete with official pirate names. You’ll even walk in Adventureland’s daily pirate parade, where you can show off your new look and sword-slinging skills!
1. Set up camp at The Fort Wilderness Resort & Campgrounds
This may be the most exceptional Disney World father-son experience, since you could spend your entire trip exploring the Fort Wilderness grounds and all that they offer. While Disney World is full of manicured photo ops and perfect landscaping, Walt understood the importance of giving guests an authentic experience. You and the minime can pitch a tent under Florida pine and cypress trees or lounge in a fullsize cabin with all the accoutrements. Nightly campfires (weather permitting), archery lessons (ages 7+), and the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue and dinner are just a few items on your shortlist of fun. If you’re the efficient type, check out Escape to Walt’s Wilderness, which packs a full day of activities into one reservation for you and your favorite Wilderness Explorer.
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