Listen to Your Child. Don't Force Them on Rides

Listen to Your Child. Don’t Force Them on Rides

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror has a relatively low height requirement, just 40 inches. That means it’s technically safe for shorter children to ride, not that it won’t scare the stuff out of them. It’s definitely one of the most intense Disney World rides.

I’ve seen so many parents take their younger kids on Tower. Many love it. But when they don’t…

I remember a woman asking me about Tower of Terror while standing in line. She knew nothing about the ride and had chosen it simply because her 4-year-old daughter was tall enough. I told her it was intense. I didn’t want to scare her kid any more than she already was. The poor girl repeatedly told her mom that she didn’t want to ride. Her mom kept saying, ”You’ll be alright! It’ll be fun!”

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is one of the most intense Disney World rides

I still have the ride photo. That child was definitely not alright. She was still crying when we saw her in Tower Hotel Gifts.

Disney parks have plenty of attractions that children can physically ride, but that shouldn’t be the only determining factor. If your kid balks, even if you’re already in the loading area, I’d listen to them. The Cast Members will be happy to help you make a last-second exit.

My best advice is to research attractions before going to the parks. There are plenty of point-of-view ride videos on YouTube. If you see something that might upset your child, think hard before taking them on.

Want to know what scares the most kids (at least according to my very unscientific survey)? Animal Kingdom’s It’s Tough to be a Bug! It’s not a ride. It’s more like a horror movie for kids. and there is no height requirement to sit in that theater.

Intense Disney World rides

Here are some other attractions that might be scary for young riders. The max height for each of these is 44 inches.

Magic Kingdom

Astro Orbiter (any height)
This ride soars very high over Tomorrowland. Riders will experience decent G-forces.

The Barnstormer (35 inches)
A great starter coaster: short without too many dips.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (40 inches)
A mild coaster compared to most, but it does have some jarring dips and turns.

Haunted Mansion (any height)
This is THE classic Disney dark ride. Children scared of ghosts and/or the dark probably won’t love it.

Pirates of the Caribbean (any height)
Another dark ride, but with less frightening characters than those on Haunted Mansion. There is a decent drop that occurs entirely in the dark, however.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (38 inches)
This an ultra-smooth, family-friendly coaster, but coasters aren’t for everyone!

Space Mountain (44 inches)
This indoor coaster has minimal lighting. And by minimal, I mean you’re pretty much blind. You also won’t be able to comfort your child as the ride vehicle is single-file.


Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (42 inches)
This indoor coaster includes a backward launch, high speeds, and action on screens that surround the track. Definitely not a starter coaster.

Mission: SPACE (40 inches)
Riders are enclosed in a small space. The orange version of the ride can leave you feeling very queasy.

Test Track (40 inches)
Much of this ride is in the dark. Plenty of speed and tight turns. Also, an 18-wheeler honks at you from about 10 feet away.

Hollywood Studios

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (38 inches)
A flight simulator with action typical of any Star Wars movie. Guests have an active role in the action (using controls to fly, shoot, and repair).

Slinky Dog Dash (38 inches)
Another ultra-smooth, family-friendly coaster, but with bigger dips than those on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (40 inches)
The finale of this ride can be a little intense for younger guests. Again, typical Star Wars action, but not all of it is on screens. You’re in the middle of the action.

Star Tours – The Adventure Continues (40 inches)
Another simulator ride with typical Star Wars action on a screen.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (40 inches)
Multiple drops from 13 stories in the air, many of them in complete darkness. As I mentioned above, be sure your child is really into thrill rides before riding.

Animal Kingdom

Avatar Flight of Passage (44 inches)
You’ll feel like you are flying hundreds of feet in the air. Some animal scenes are very intense.

DINOSAUR (40 inches)
The animatronic dinosaurs on this dark ride can feel very real to younger riders.

Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain (44 inches)
This coaster starts like any other, then gets chaotic as it speeds backward into pitch darkness.

It’s Tough to be a Bug! (any height)
My then 5-year-old son was hiding on the floor by the time this show was over. It is terrifying for many younger guests.

Kali River Rapids (38 inches)
You can get soaked on this ride. And the drop is significant.

Kilimanjaro Safaris (any height)
Typically a favorite among kids, but some could be frightened by real-life animals.

The complete list of Disney World ride height requirements can be found here.