When planning your vacation, you and your kids get so excited about everything there is to see and do. During this time you might want to stop and think, should your kids be doing every attraction? Although your child may meet the height requirement that says they are allowed to ride an attraction, the question is, should they ride?
Let’s start in the Magic Kingdom. For example, take Splash Mountain. The ride lasts about 12minutes and for the most part is peaceful with a great story line and a few log flume drops in it. At the climax of the ride there is a five story drop which can be very frightening for kids and the occasional adult. If your child has a fear of heights, and you force them to go on, this could have devastating results with reluctance to go on other rides (no matter how tame). This could also create trust issues with you, the parent. Traumatizing your child in this way can have life long effects and could ruin your vacation and future vacations. Let your child decide for themselves if they want to go on the attraction (but also be able to say no if they want to go on, but you don’t feel they are ready-it’s a fine line to balance). I have a child who is afraid of the big drop but wanted to experience the attraction, so she found the courage to go on and loved it. However, there are times when she is afraid of the drop and wants to skip it. The good thing about this attraction is that you sit next to each other. Not all attractions are like that. Take Space Mountain, the seats are single file. For this attraction you have to make sure your child will be able to stay seated and not panic if they do become fearful during the ride. Since you are single file you can’t hold your child like you would on an attraction where you sit side by side. Not to mention that this attraction takes place in the dark and being a roller coaster it has many curves, drops and hills. You may want to wait until they are mature enough to go on.
Over in Epcot, Soarin is another attraction to watch out for. Although my wife and I think it is a very peaceful and relaxing ride, our oldest son is petrified of heights. Since we know this about him he will not go on it for a long time, if ever. One of our daughters on the other hand, will sit on the front edge of her seat and we have to constantly push her back due to the fact that she gets so excited about it. Mission Space Orange is another attraction to be cautious about. Prior to getting on the attraction there are several warning about motion sickness and other concerns. Heed these warnings, the ride is very intense.
At Hollywood Studios there are a few attractions that may not be suitable for timid children even if they are tall enough to ride. Rock’n Roller Coaster is a ride that might be too intense for some, with its cork screws and loops. Tower of Terror is one my family skips as a whole. Between the height and the screams of the people on it, my kids along with my wife and I have the feeling it my not be the attraction for us. Although the story line and detail for the attraction are very well done. There are also some scenes along with movements of Star Tours that don’t sit well with my kids, which from time to time one or two might opt out of going on it.
In Animal Kingdom, Everest and Dinosaur are ones we have not had our kids experience yet. Everest is due to a combination of the heights and the Yeti. Although we feel our kids are not ready for the attraction, it is one of my wife’s favorites. Dinosaur is another attraction my wife and I enjoy but know our kids are not ready for. It’s Dinosaurs in the dark (and one of them wants to eat you) need I say more? My kids would have nightmares for a while. I don’t want to give away any surprises but there is one part in particular that everybody in the ride vehicle jumps, adults included.
Don’t forget, it’s not just the thrill rides that may frighten your children. It could be a slow mover like the Haunted Mansion, the Great Movie Ride with the Alien scene and the witch in Oz, or the bugs and effects in It’s Tough to be a Bug.
The bottom line of this post is to know your kids limitations. Don’t force them to go on attractions that may not be suitable for them. Just because you like it, and they are tall enough, doesn’t mean they should go on it. If this might be your only trip to Disney World, you may think about pushing them a little bit. Although, if you know you will return, don’t make them grow up too quick. Enjoy attractions like the Barnstormer, Dumbo and Winnie the Pooh while you can. Your kids won’t be little forever, so let them be kids.
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