Here’s another one of Disney’s best-kept secrets… It’s called Disney’s Youth Educational Series. In short, your student (age 5 – 18), can take an educational class at the Walt Disney World Resort and your entire family could receive deeply discounted tickets!
Individual vs. Group Y.E.S. Programs
There are two ways to participate in Disney’s Youth Educational Series (Y.E.S. for short) – there is the Individual Program where students participate with a parent, and there’s the Group Program where students from a verified youth organization participate usually with a few chaperones from their organization. Individual Programs are typically available 5 months out of the year (Jan, Feb, Jun – Aug.) Group programs can occur year-round.
Within the Individual Program, just the students and their participating parent receive the discounted tickets, whereas other family members must pay a higher rate for their tickets. When participating in a Group Program ALL family members usually receive discounted tickets, as long as the number of students participating is equal to or exceeds the number of parents/adults. Group tickets are discounted much more than Individual tickets. (Want to join our group this Sept. 2016? We’ve got classes scheduled for grades K – 12 and the ticket discounts are the deepest Disney can offer – we’re talking 35% off! For more info click here.)
What does your child love? Animals? Physics? Marine-life? Movement? With over 20 classes offered, you’re bound to find a class that will capture your child’s interest. Plus, it’s a class at Disney!! How many kids san say they ‘went to school’ at Disney?! However, your child will likely have so much fun, they won’t even realize they’re learning while on vacation! Most classes last about 3 hours long and many begin before the Parks open to the public – allowing your student to experience ‘an empty’ park. Pretty cool! Plus, your child may get to experience some ‘behind the scenes’ area of the parks – don’t worry, the magic isn’t ruined, it’s likely enhanced with the knowledge they gain!
We joined up with a group traveling to WDW in September of 2014. We registered with the group in the Spring, selected our class and purchased our tickets. Our family of 4 saved over $710 on 7-Day Premium tickets. What a deal!! We made our own room reservation and dining reservations. Our tickets arrived in June, which allowed us plenty of time to plan out our park days and select our FP+’s in July.
When it came time to travel to WDW, everything went off without a hitch! We experienced the Water Parks and Disney Quest for the first time ever. I don’t think we would have paid for those on top of “regular Disney Admission” prices – but the Y.E.S. tickets made everything so much more affordable! Prior to taking part in the Y.E.S. program, we would typically vacation 5 days at WDW, with the savings of the Y.E.S. tickets we vacationed for 9 days, and only met up with the ‘group’ once for our 2.5 hour class (most classes run 3 hours.)
Our Class – “How Things Move”
The class we took was called “How Things Move” and was facilitated at the Magic Kingdom. This class is meant for children age 5 – 8 years old (Kindergarten – 2nd grade) and is really well done! The children learned about the different types of energy – and how some of those forms of energy are used to operate the rides at the Magic Kingdom. We rode the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, the Barnstormer, Dumbo and the People Mover. Between each ride, we discussed the types of energy used on that particular ride, and the facilitator pulled out a few activities from her bag to serve as an object lesson. By the end of this 2.5 hour class, the kids were well-versed in all forms of energy, and the parents had learned a few new things too! Did you know the People Mover is powered by magnets?
How Can I Join a Group Trip?
Easy! We’re hosting one this September (2016)!! Families with school-aged children are welcome to join! For ticket prices and classes offered, just follow this link: https://www.wdwhints.com/y-e-s-trip/ (or click on the “YES Trip” tab at the top of this page.) If September doesn’t bode well on your schedule, try finding a group (or even organizing one yourself). Remember, you must apply as an established, verifiable youth organization to qualify. Groups such as sports teams, church youth groups, girl/boy scout troops, school marching bands, etc. often take advantage of the Y.E.S. program.
For more information on Disney Youth Programs, visit http://www.disneyyouth.com.