It’s a rite of passage: Little kids can’t do all the things that big kids can do, but eventually they grow up and enjoy all the privileges granted by the world of tall grown-ups.
However, when this means that little kids aren’t able to enjoy all the fun attractions available at Disney World due to height restrictions, it can mean you have a disappointed kid on your hands.
A little preparation and using some common sense, coupled with a bit of psychology, can help ensure you have a fun trip and minimize the chance of a height-related meltdown.
Here are nine tips for dealing with kids and height restrictions on rides:
1 – Know Before You Go
Knowledge is power, and that is especially true with Disney’s height restrictions. It’s good to know about the height restrictions before you leave for home. Here is the latest set of information that we have on the restrictions, by height and then by park:
You must at least be 35 inches tall to ride:
Magic Kingdom: Barnstormer Starring The Great Goofini
You must at least be 38 inches tall to ride:
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Kali River Rapids
You must at least be 40 inches tall to ride:
Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Star Tours, Tower of Terror
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Dinosaur
You must at least be 44 inches tall to ride:
Magic Kingdom: Space Mountain
Epcot: Mission Space
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest
You must at least be 48 inches tall to ride:
Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Primeval Whirl
2 – Plan Before You Go
What attractions do your kids want to ride? If they aren’t really interested in the Tower Of Terror because it gives them the heebie-jeebies, then there is no reason to worry about whether they are tall enough for it.
However, if they do have their heart set on riding a certain attraction where they aren’t yet tall enough, you can now use the information you gathered in step 1 above to have a conversation and make a plan.
First, be up front with your kids. If they aren’t yet tall enough for an attraction they want to ride, it’s best to tell them directly and as soon as possible, preferably before you leave home.
Then, you can avoid temptation by not going too near, or not drawing attention to, those attractions that your kids will definitely not be able to ride.
3 – Remember The Shoes
I’ve heard stories about parents who stuff their kid’s shoes with toilet paper so they are tall enough to ride a certain attraction. Bad decision. I don’t recommend trying to trick the system that is there for your safety.
That said, when you are doing your measuring at home, be sure that your kids wear the same shoes that they will wear in the parks. The shoes can make a difference. Don’t try to trick the system, but do use the same shoes for planning and vacationing so that you don’t get different results.
4 – Tell Them To Stand Up Straight
Some kids are very close to a height cut off. If you aren’t quite sure if they will make the cut when measured at the park, be sure to tell them to stand up straight when they are measured. It can make a difference between visiting deep space or sitting on the bench.
5 – Encourage Them For Their Next Trip
If your kids get the bad news that they aren’t tall enough to ride a certain attraction, it can be traumatic. Do you best to console them remind them that they might be tall enough on the next trip.
6 – Focus On What They Can Do
If your kids aren’t tall enough to ride certain attractions, gently point out all the things that they can do. Perhaps mention one of their favorite attractions that they are tall enough to ride, and then go and do that.
7 – Don’t Focus On What They Can’t Do
If your kids aren’t yet tall enough to ride on Star Tours, don’t focus on that fact, and definitely don’t go on and on about how you think Star Tours is the ultimate in awesomeness.
8 – Don’t Take It Out On The Cast Member
The poor Cast Member who mans the height check station has the awful job of breaking many little hearts each day as he or she informs kids they aren’t quite tall enough. The Cast Members are just doing their job. Don’t take your frustrations out on them.
9 – Remember It’s About Safety
Keep in mind that the purpose of height restrictions is to make sure that kids are safe when going on attractions. Not being able to ride an attraction can be sad, but getting injured is much worse. Keep this in perspective.
They Will Grow
Dealing with the bad news about still being too short is no fun, but remember that your kids will grow and eventually be able to ride on everything that Disney has to offer. Everyone involved will live through this experience. Dealing with the fall-out from being too short will be pretty easy compared to what you will get to deal with when your kids become teenagers.
Have you ever had issues with Disney’s height restrictions?