How Kids See It: The Scary Side to Otherwise Tame Disney Rides
I love it when my students come back from a trip to Disney World. Their memories are so fresh, so vibrant, so real! I feel like a (teeny) bit of me has made the trek to the most magical place on Earth!
Five and Six year-old kids tend to speak about Disney trips in three major themed chunks; 1. the hotel (aka pool), 2. the most daring ride they braved, and 3. the characters they met. Everything is magnified, as hand gestures bring life to memories. I’m never surprised to hear that even the “bravest of the brave ones” were scared of rides that I would consider to be pretty tame. I’m talking about a 5 year old, who barely squeaked by the height requirement, yet hunkered down under that safety restraint, and stared the thrills and hills of rides like Expedition Everest, Space Mountain, and Tower of Terror, but was completely terrorized by the antics of 626 on Stitch’s Great Escape. Bizarre as it may seem, I get it.
Today I am sharing 5 rides that are surprisingly terrifying for little ones. Of course, this is by no means a “one size fits all” list. Some kids know no terror. Some kids would laugh in the face of these rides. But, today I am sharing rides I’ve heard mentioned again and again by little ones! Let’s look at it their way, how kids see it: the scary side to otherwise tame rides!
Do you remember ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter? I do! That think freak me right out! I remember shivering as the “alien” crept around the seats. The feel of the breathing on my neck sent me into overload. It’s funny that Stitches Great Escape is housed in the same place and is now sending waves of fear over little ones worldwide! Knowing how scary it use to be has made me see the lighthearted side to the ever lovable 626. But for kids, this ride is as terrifying as it gets. As Stitch makes his escape into the audience, pouncing on seats, burping out chili dog breath, and spitting on innocent spectators! When you say it like that, it makes sense…right?
What makes it scary: This ride contains a period of little to no lighting. Stitch gets up close and personal, creating a tense feeling for little ones who probably won’t understand that the seats are automated, but instead believe that 626 is running around the theater. Also, there is a sequence of laser blasts with loud noises that might be considered frightening.
I love the movies! Don’t you. The romance, the dancing, the action, the aliens. Okay, so it might seem like I’m writing a themed post on aliens here, but I’m not. I have always loved the Great Movie Ride in Hollywood Studios. I love seeing the mock sets and hearing the spiels and I love the gangster/cowboy story line! But if you think about it, that ride may seems like glitz and glam of Hollywood, but their are a few hidden terrors! As you journey through the sets of the horror films , shoot outs, aliens, and snakes after snakes after snakes in the Indiana Jones scene, and finally capping it off with a visit from the Wicked Witch herself, it is no wonder that kids get scared! What the heck, I’m an adult and I still avoid sitting in the middle of the vehicles for fear of that awful alien. I hate that thing!
What makes it scary: This ride contains several scary scenes including chills and thrills as well as the unsuspected interaction with the gangster/cowboy. There are some loud noises, special effects, and scary sights.
I know the funniest story about this ride. Back when Animal Kingdom first opened, some friends of mine went on a high school chorus trip to Disney World. Apparently one of the guys screamed like mad when the Carnotaurus makes his big reveal. Of course, this is when the photo is snapped. Poor guy, his moment of shear terror forever ink jetted onto a keepsake photo. That said, this ride is full of thrills and chills. As you travel back in time on your Time Rover, you come face to face with a slew of prehistoric creatures. The entire process is a bumpy ride in a race to grab a dinosaur for the rule breaking Dr. Seeker. The only problem is that guests are traveling dangerously close to the meteor that wiped out dinosaurs. The bumpy ride, dinosaurs, and lack of lights sends you on a heartstopping adventure through the Cretaceous period. It is a trip you won’t soon forget!
What makes it scary: This ride is mostly dark with flashes of bright lights here and there. There are loud noises, shocking twists and turns in your Time Rover, and of course, we can’t forget the Dinosaurs.
What’s the best ride in all of World Showcase? The Norway ride (as it is affectionately known). The Maelstrom is pretty much the only attraction you’ll find a long wait for in EPCOT’s World Showcase (in fact the only ride with Fastpasses in the entire World Showcase). This ride combines facts about Norway with Norish legends like that of the trolls. Your factual float takes a turn for the worst (or the “funnest”) as you come head to head with a troll who swears to send you over the falls. Your ride ends with a short fall/drop (like a baby, baby, baby, baby Splash Mountain fall). Little ones might like the spill better that the trolls who cause it. I know my nephew was a little thrown off by the 3 headed troll.
What makes it scary: This ride contains some darkness and frightful sights (the trolls are the biggest). Also, the drop might be frightening to some small children.
I’ve been writing for Chip and Company for just about a year. If you’ve read any of my posts, you probably already know that I LOVE to people watch! I love it! And as an expert people watcher, I can say with certainty that I have seen my fair share of early “exit-ers” while sitting just outside of the Tree of Life’s It’s Tough to be a Bug. This 3D attraction takes you beyond the picture and surrounds your senses with the smells, sights, and essence of being a bug! The show is full of fun and laughs until the grasshopper army seeks out revenge on bug hating humans. Spiders drop from the ceiling, wasps “sting” you, and you are bug sprayed. This is unnerving even for adults (at least for those of us who don’t “do” bugs)!
What makes it scary: This show contains periods of darkness, loud sounds, bugs, and scary interactive elements (like sensors in your seat that make you feel like a wasp is stinging you, spiders that drop from the ceiling, as well as water and fog/smoke effects).
I know it is hard to see the scary sides to these rides, but considering how a kid might see it might save you from tears and nightmares! Check out the rider swap option if you have a child who might find these rides frightening.
Do you have any “tame” rides that frightened your little ones? Share them in the comment section below!
- Top 10 Disney World Rides You Must Do Each Visit! (chipandco.com)
- Tables in Wonderland:The Great Movie Ride Dinner at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (chipandco.com)