Common Fears and Walt Disney World Attractions

Walt Disney World offers attractions for children and adults of varying preferences in terms of thrills. For those who do not enjoy roller coaster type rides, there are still many different rides to choose from. However, the thrill of the roller coaster isn’t the only fear that may be faced at Disney. Sometimes, attractions that you may not think could trigger a fear, may surprise you. If you or your child has particular fears, it is best to plan ahead to prepare for attractions that may stretch your comfort zone and avoid those that may just be a little to extreme for your or your child’s taste.

Here is a list of more common fears and attractions that may trigger those fears….

Keep in mind these attractions include varying degrees of thrills. Not all attractions on each list will trigger fears for all who have that particular fear, however, their design warrants mention because of the possibility to do so. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me through the comment section or by email at childcentereddisney@gmail.com.

Heights

The following attractions include portions that the ride vehicle is higher/above scenery or ground level.

Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest, Primeval Whirl, Triceratops Spin Magic Kingdom: Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Barnstormer, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Big Thunder Mountain, Astro Orbiter, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Peter Pan’s Flight, Swiss Family Treehouse, Tomorrowland Transit Authority, Haunted Mansion, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel EPCOT: Soarin’, Test Track, Sum of all Thrills, Mission: SPACE (though it is simulated) Hollywood Studios: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show (depending on how far up in the bleachers you sit- the bleachers here are on a relatively steep incline), Star Tours: The Adventure Continues (also simulated)

Speed

The following attractions include portions at higher speeds and many also include quick turns.

Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest, Primeval Whirl Magic Kingdom: Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Barnstormer, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain EPCOT: Test Track Hollywood Studios: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

Dark

The following rides either include very low ambient lighting or portions that are completely dark (at times unexpected).

Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest, It’s Tough to Be a Bug, Dinosaur,   Magic Kingdom: Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, Tomorrowland Transit Authority, Haunted Mansion, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Carousel of Progress, Stitch’s Great Escape, Country Bear Jamboree, Mickey’s Philharmagic, Jungle Cruise, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Pirates of the Caribbean, Enchanted Tiki Room EPCOT: Soarin’, Test Track, Sum of all Thrills, Mission: SPACE, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Spaceship Earth, Hollywood Studios: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith,  Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, The Great Movie Ride, Muppet Vision 3D, Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Drops

The following rides include quick and sometimes unexpected hills or drops.

Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest, Primeval Whirl, Kali River Rapids Magic Kingdom: Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Barnstormer, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Big Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean EPCOT:  Sum of all Thrills  Hollywood Studios: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

Surprises (Things that Jump Out)

These attractions include elements of surprise that either pop out from unexpected places or appear to quickly come toward you (particularly 3D shows).

Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest, It’s Tough to Be a Bug, Dinosaur,   Magic Kingdom: Haunted Mansion, Stitch’s Great Escape, Mickey’s Philharmagic EPCOT: Soarin’, Test Track,  Journey into Imagination with Figment, Mission: SPACE Hollywood Studios: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror,  Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, The Great Movie Ride, Muppet Vision 3D, Toy Story Midway Mania

Spinning/Weightlessness

The following attractions include moments of weightlessness or involve a great deal of spinning (more intense than a Carousel or Dumbo type ride).

Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest, Primeval Whirl Magic Kingdom: Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Mad Tea Party EPCOT:  Sum of all Thrills,  Mission: SPACE Hollywood Studios: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Toy Story Midway Mania

Claustrophobia

The following attractions either include small, tight, or crowded spaces either in the loading process or actual ride design that may be particularly troublesome for those with claustrophobia.

Animal Kingdom: Dinosaur Magic Kingdom: Haunted Mansion EPCOT:  Sum of all Thrills,  Mission: SPACE Hollywood Studios: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

Motion Simulation

The following attractions include motion simulators that may be troublesome for those with motion sickness.

Magic Kingdom: Mickey’s Philharmagic EPCOT:  Sum of all Thrills,  Mission: SPACE, Soarin’ Hollywood Studios: Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, Toy Story Midway Mania

Loud Noises

The following attractions include particularly loud noises that may be particularly disturbing to those with sensory sensitivities.

Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest, It’s Tough to Be a Bug, Dinosaur  Magic Kingdom: Wishes EPCOT: Test Track,  Journey into Imagination with Figment, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth Hollywood Studios: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith,  Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, Fantastic!, Lights, Motors, Action!: Extreme Stunt Show, Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, The Great Movie Ride

Water

The following attractions take place on a boat, travel over a body of water, or involve  water elements that may get the guest wet (from slight sprinkles to being soaked).

Animal Kingdom: Kali River Rapids, Kilimanjaro Safaris  Magic Kingdom: Splash Mountain, Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Casey Junior’s Splash ‘n’ Soak Section, It’s a Small World, Liberty Square Riverboat, Mickey’s Philharmagic (slight sprinkles), Tom Sawyer’s Island, EPCOT: Soarin’, Test Track (slight sprinkles),  Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros, Living with the Land Hollywood Studios:  Muppet Vision 3D (slight sprinkles), Fantasmic! (slight sprinkles)

Have any categories to add or attractions that should be placed in the categories above? Please comment below and I will add them to the list!

Next up: Comfort Zones and Walt Disney World. In this post I will discuss stretching your or your child’s comfort zones in Walt Disney World without placing them in their panic zone. Stay Tuned!

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How “It’s Tough to Be a Bug” May Just Ruin the Other 3D Shows for your Kids

The 3D shows at Walt Disney World are amazing. Mickey’s Philarmagic is actually one of my favorite attractions because I just feel a rush of magic as I’m taken through the various movies of my childhood via the songs I felt such connections to. Top it off with being able to watch young children reaching for Ariel’s hands during “Part of Your World” and I just melt. Muppet Vision 3D is also a classic for me. Sure, the show never changes and sure, the technology is a bit outdated but it’s still good in my book. The problem is, working at Disney, I talked to many parents whose children would not even set foot in those two attractions because they were so traumatized by It’s Tough to Be a Bug. It’s really too bad they had seen that one before the other two.

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So…. Here’s my public service announcement.

It’s Tough to Be a Bug shouldn’t be taken lightly with young children. Obviously, you know your children better than anyone else and know what may bother them and what won’t. Only you or your child can decide whether they will enjoy the ride or not, but for those who may not be familiar with the ride here are some things you may want to consider:

1. It’s Dark: I know what you’re thinking…. obviously it’s dark it’s a 3d show! But I emphasize this because this theater feels MUCH darker than Philharmagic and the Muppets.

2. Spiders Come Down from the Ceiling: Let me rephrase that, VERY LARGE spiders come down from the ceiling. They don’t touch you, but for a child still in that fantasy versus reality phase who is not yet able to think logically and concretely they may not really be able to comprehend that the spiders can’t touch them at that moment. Also, when they do come down from the ceiling the smoke and light effects make it even more daunting.

3. Stingers in your Back: If you sit all the way back in the bench there is a point where they simulate stingers and you get poked in the back. Of course it’s not sharp or painful but it can be startling even for adults!

4. Hopper: He’s a bad guy, we all know. But in my opinion, he’s down right creepy in this show. The way the light hits his face, what he says to the crowd, the smoke effects, it’s definitely enough to give the right (or wrong, really) kid nightmares.

5. Bugs Exiting: Just before you leave the theater, the benches ripple a bit under you as if bugs are crawling under your bottom. For kids who have been fine up to this point, it shouldn’t be a problem.It will probably be funny for them. However, for kids who have been having a hard time with the show, this could be that icing on the cake that sets them over.

Again, only you and your child can decide if this ride is right for you. This is definitely one of those rides that if you aren’t sure how your child will react, you should prepare them for what to expect. If they don’t want to go, just skip it and don’t think twice. This isn’t a must-do by any means.

The way kids brains work at the preschool and toddler age, they can make associations between bad experiences and similar situations. In the same way that they may freak out when they come into the hospital after a bad IV experience. After being traumatized by “It’s Tough to Be a Bug” they may have similar adverse reactions when you bring them to the other 3D shows or even a movie theater. The settings are just so close that they may not be able to rationalize it as a completely different experience.

Again, just something to think about. And remember, it’s always okay for a child to be afraid. Validating those feelings for them by letting them know you think it’s okay will help them develop the self efficacy to overcome those fears in the future at their own pace. If this one is questionable, try Mickey’s Philarmagic or Muppet Vision 3D first to test the waters. Though not every child will be okay with those either, they are definitely less threatening than “It’s Tough to Be a Bug!”