Things that might scare little ones at Disney World

(Article last updated: August 30, 2017)

There are several attractions at Disney World that may seem harmless and if you go purely off of the height requirement you may think it is suitable for your child. However, even though they look fun you may find that they are a bit more than you bargained for.

Of course, every kid is different so yours may like all of these but many of these are things might scare little ones at Disney World. 

Let's take a look...

We left some attractions off that either had taller height requirements or don't really require much explanation (like Splash Mountain). If there's anything not listed here that you'd like to see, please mention that in the comments.

Magic Kingdom

Pirates of the Caribbean
Height requirement: none | Scare level: 3/10

Why it could be scary: in the beginning, there are lots of skeletons that some kids might find scary. Also, the ride is dark and there's a scene in the middle where canons are being fired which could be scary to some kids.

Tips: have a small child sit in the middle of the row during the ride, preferably not in the front row


 

Haunted Mansion
Height requirement: none | Scare level: 4/10

Why it could be scary: the darkness, haunting audio, and images of skulls and ghosts could scare some

Tips: try to redirect a child's attention by telling them to help count how many ghosts they spot


 

Tomorrowland Transit Authority (PeopleMover)
Height requirement: none | Scare level: 1/10

Why it could be scary: this ride is really mild but there are parts that go through complete darkness

Tips: let kids know that this ride is a tour through Tomorrowland and that you have to go through some buildings in the dark


 

Stitch's Great Escape
Height requirement: 40" | Scare level: 7/10

Why it could be scary: guests are strapped to their seat while there's scary imagery, sounds and smells

Tips: don't ride it. Not only is this an attraction that might scare little ones at Disney World it is also an attraction that might gross out an adult.


Space Mountain
Height requirement: 44" | Scare level: 7/10

Why it could be scary: roller coaster completely in the dark (with a 44" height requirement, many little ones won't be tall enough to ride anyway)

Tips: probably should avoid this ride altogether if you have a child that is scared. Even some adults get a little freaked out about sudden roller coaster movements in the dark.


Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Height requirement: 38" | Scare level: 4/10

Why it could be scary: this roller coaster is the most intense attraction in Fantasyland so it might take a little one by surprise

Tips: have your child test the roller coaster waters with Barnstormer first; if they like that one then they will probably love Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

 

Epcot

Spaceship Earth
Height requirement: none | Scare level: 1/10

Why it could be scary: mild ride but it's very dark in parts

Tips: this ride will not scare many kids but you might want to just explain that the slow ride up is looking at the past and then there's a slow ride down that is about the future


 

Mission: Space
Height requirement: 40" (Green Mission), 44" (Orange Mission) | Scare level: 5/10

Why it could be scary: guests are harnessed and the simulation includes feeling g-forces and a semi-rough ride through space (though the more family-friendly "Green" mission is milder than the Orange side)

Tips: have them focus on pushing the buttons in front of them when they light up


 

Test Track
Height requirement: 40" | Scare level: 3/10

Why it could be scary: sudden stopping and turning plus a high-speed lap around the track

Tips: I've only occasionally seen a child be upset by this ride but just let kids know that it's a car ride that ends with a fast drive on a highway

Animal Kingdom

It's Tough to be a Bug
Height requirement: none | Scare level: 8/10

Why it could be scary: dark theater, bugs dropping from the ceiling, seat movements that feel like bugs crawling

Tips: if your child has any fear about bugs or the dark, you should probably avoid this. Otherwise, you might want to just remind them that all of the bugs they see are pretend.


 

Expedition Everest
Height requirement: 44" | Scare level: 8/10

Why it could be scary: big coaster that goes backward during part of the ride (though many 5-6 year olds will meet the 44" height requirement, it's too intense for many of them)

Tips: be sure to try out other easier coasters first to see about your child's comfort level. If this is their first, they may never get on another one again.


 

Avatar Flight of Passage
Height requirement: 44" | Scare level: 7/10

Why it could be scary: Riders are strapped in onto individual seats making it hard to offer much comfort (if needed), ride simulates falling and the feeling is very realistic and may be too intense for some

Tips: there is a ride vehicle you can test outside of the attraction so try that first


 

Dinosaur
Height requirement: 40" | Scare level: 8/10

Why it could be scary: rough, dark ride where dinosaurs suddenly appear and make very loud dinosaur noises

Tips: don't ride if your child scares easily but have them sit in the middle of a middle row if they ride and want to minimize the scariness

Hollywood Studios

Fantasmic!
Height requirement: none | Scare level: 3/10

Why it could be scary: Disney villains play a part in the show which scares some kids

Tips: focus on the other less scary elements of the show - have them look at the water features, lights, Glow with the Show ears


 

Tower of Terror
Height requirement: 40" | Scare level: 8/10

Why it could be scary: Aside from the 13 story drop, the Twilight Zone imagery that riders see before the drop could be scary. This ride only has a 40" height requirement so many little ones will be able to ride.

Tips: probably best to avoid this ride if kids seem hesitant as it's pretty intense


 

Voyage of the Little Mermaid
Height requirement: none | Scare level: 3/10

Why it could be scary: the Ursula character in this show scares some little ones

Tips: remind little ones know that Ursula is not real but sit near an exit door if you think you will want the option to leave


Kylo Ren at Star Wars Launch Bay 

Height requirement: none | Scare level: 4/10

Why it could be scary: most character meets at Disney World involve friendly characters but Kylo Ren stays true to his movie persona which may be a little intense for both little ones and adults

Tips: if they are Star Wars fans remind little ones that The Force will keep them safe

things that might scare little ones at Disney World

Advice for handling things that might scare little ones at Disney World

If your little one scares easily, you can handle it a couple of different ways.

  • Avoid the attractions.
  • Frame scary attractions in a way that's less scary for them using some of the tips and info mentioned above.
  • Give them a key ring flashlight to use on darker rides. If they're scared of the dark, let them have a tiny flashlight that won't bother other people but will give them the chance to turn on a light and let them feel more in control.
  • Show them videos or tell them how the attraction will go so there are no big surprises or try a guide that's designed for kids, by kids like Birnbaum's Walt Disney World for Kids book which has pictures and ride ratings.
  • Start small when it comes to the roller coasters. Barnstormer is a good test to see how your little one handles the thrill rides.Disney World coaster intensity

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Are there any other attractions that you think you should be on this list? Or do you have advice for handling things that might scare little ones at Disney World?

We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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