As a mom to three boys, I know a thing or two about the adolescent male species, and it isn’t all pretty. But, taking the time for a mother-son day at Walt Disney World is a wonderful experience and something I’ve been blessed to do with all three of my boys a few times. Whether you are making an entire trip with just mom and son, or choosing a day out of your family’s vacation to get away together, I recommend giving some time to connect and enjoy Walt Disney World together. Having mom’s undivided attention is a great way to spend the day (and having your son as your only focus), but you may want to add some extra pixie dust to your time together. While the ideal activities vary greatly by age, here are 8 of my suggestions to get you started.
8. Visit Fort Wilderness
Paying a visit to Fort Wilderness is one of my favorite “escape” Disney activities. It feels like a completely different world when you enter the campground. Time slows down and maybe turns back a bit. There are several activities at the campground you could plan on doing, but my top 2 recommendations are to schedule an archery lesson or a horseback riding session. These may be things that you don’t have the opportunity to do where you live, and Disney does a wonderful job “teaching” them. No experience necessary for either one. My sons have really enjoyed both of these activities. You will need to call ahead to the Magical Extras team to reserve your spots before your vacation.
7. Star Wars
If your son is in to Star Wars like two of mine, then you have a lot of options at Hollywood Studios to spend the day delving into the Star Wars Universe (even before the new land is completed). You could choose to do this on your own and design a touring plan centered on the Star Wars attractions, or you could book a spot into Disney’s VIP version, the Star Wars Guided Tour at the Studios. This tour gives you access to all of the Star Wars attractions, meet & greets and reserved seating for the stage shows—a definite thrill for mega Star Wars fans. Or, if you are doing it on your own you might consider adding the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party to your itinerary to enjoy all of the Star Wars themed treats along with reserved viewing for the nighttime show. Be sure to plan ahead and call for reservations for the Guided Tour or the Dessert Party to avoid disappointment.
6. Plan a Fun Meal
This can mean different things for different kids. My oldest son is a total foodie, so eating at restaurants with foods and flavors we don’t find at home is a big hit for him. He loves going to Sanaa, or eating around World Showcase, or a nice dinner at California Grill. For younger boys it might mean finding a really fun restaurant with a great theme. Try Sci Fi Drive In or 50’s Prime Time at Hollywood Studios where the entertainment is as good as the food. Or if you want counter service you could try Restaurantosaurus at Animal Kingdom (great theming for Dinosaur fans & lots of “punny” jokes), Cosmic Rays at Magic Kingdom with Sonny Eclipse for entertainment, or Pinocchio Village Haus also at Magic Kingdom to overlook the it’s a small world boats going by. And of course we can’t overlook the entertainment of a character meal. While Disney’s character meals tend to specialize in more typically girl characters like the princesses, a meal with the “Fab 5” would be great for a mother/son day . . . I really like the ‘Ohana Breakfast at the Polynesian with Lilo, Stitch, Mickey & Pluto for boys. And don’t forget to make those Advance Dining Reservations at 180 days before you arrive!
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5. Fishing Excursion
This lesser known Disney activity has been a favorite of all of the boys in my house and we have tried it on a few occasions while at Walt Disney World. You can reserve various times (I recommend early morning so it isn’t too hot & you still have plenty of park time), and pick up locations including the Epcot and Magic Kingdom Resort areas. Disney provides a Captain who knows all of the best fishing spots (you are almost guaranteed to get a good catch), along with all of the fishing equipment and bait you will need. This is a very nice way to spend a few quiet hours with your son doing a fun activity outside the parks. Again, you need to register in advance for the fishing excursions.
4. The Pirates League!
On one of my mother/son days with my middle son we celebrated his birthday with a character meal followed by a trip to the Pirates League. He was a little unsure at first, but the Cast Members there do an amazing job transforming your little prince into a scurvy pirate. There are various packages and price points that you can choose from for the makeover, and it is a great immersive experience concluding with being sworn into the Pirates League. We took the opportunity after the transformation to participate in Captain Jack’s Pirate Tutorial just outside the Pirates League in Adventureland. It was a very pirate-y and fun morning. Call 407-WDW-CREW to reserve your pirate’s time at Pirates League.
3. Miniature Golf
My youngest son loves mini golf. He would rather play mini golf than go to the parks. On a recent trip my older two sons went with my husband to ride some thrill rides while I took my youngest over to Winter Summerland for a round of mini golf. We had THE BEST time . . . and he legit beat me. Disney has two mini golf areas and both are super fun. Winter Summerland is themed as though Santa is on vacation in Florida, Christmas music year round—it is my favorite. There is a Winter Course and a Summer Course, and it is located near Blizzard Beach (to get there taking Disney Transportation you’ll take the Blizzard Beach bus and walk through the parking lot). Fantasia Gardens & Fairways is located near the Boardwalk and Swan/Dolphin Resorts. There are two courses here—the Gardens is a traditional mini golf course and a bit easier while the Fairways is a challenging course that resembles an actual golf course in miniature. Disney transportation here is a bit more challenging, so a taxi or car service might be your best bet.
2. Pirate & Pals Fireworks Dessert Voyage
If you are looking for a unique way to view the Magic Kingdom Fireworks away from the crowds with an added element of fun for your Mother/Son day, then the Pirate & Pals Fireworks Voyage is for you. You begin your voyage at the Contemporary Resort with snacks and desserts before boarding your pirate ship to sail out into Seven Seas Lagoon for a view of the Happily Ever After Fireworks. Once the show is over you have more fun as you listen to Patch tell stories, with maybe a surprise or two. This experience can be reserved on line at Disneyworld.com
1. Four Parks One Day
Depending on the age of your son, this is a fantastic way to challenge yourselves and have a fun day at Walt Disney World. It does require that you have a park hopper option on your tickets, and will also require some planning ahead of time. That is part of the reason it is #1 on my list—it gives you and your son the chance to work together before your trip to plan out how you want to go about your day, what challenges you are going to give yourself, and the order you are going to put it all together. To me that is a bonus win for mom. You could do a thrill ride in every park, meet Mickey in every park, have a signature snack in each park . . . you name it! Just work together & have fun!
Have you done a mother-son day at Walt Disney World? What did you incorporate to make your day even more special?