Now I know those Disney Imagineers didn’t set out to scare the living daylights out of my 6 and 8 year old kids (or did they?), but there are a few attractions that either shook them up a bit or left them completely terrified. Here are the ten Walt Disney World attractions that rank above average on my kids’ “scary-scale.”
1. DINOSAUR Attraction (Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park)
Ever the little trailblazer, Lily had her heart set on giving DINOSAUR Attraction a try when she was finally tall enough to ride. What a mistake! She was so shaken up that she wouldn’t go on another ride the rest of the day. She’s since gotten through the experience without tears, but it still makes her VERY nervous. (Watch the DINOSAUR Attraction video)
2. Fantasmic! (Disney’s Hollywood Studios®)
Fantasmic! Show is such an awesome show that we thought the kids would be fine. Well, they’re fine now that they’re older, but between the villains projected onto the screen and the loud noises and overall special effects, each of my kids were terrified the first time they saw Fantasmic! Show. (Watch the Fantasmic! Show video)
3. Snow White’s Scary Adventures (Magic Kingdom® Park)
This one never bothered Lily, but when Tad was in preschool he was petrified of the Evil Queen. Lily knows the story and will probably never let her big brother live it down.
4. It’s Tough to be a Bug!® Attraction (Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park)
My kids don’t find this attraction scary overall, but there are certain parts of It’s Tough to be a Bug!® Attraction that are a bit intense for Lily’s taste. I always remind her when a “scary” part is coming up and that she can take off her 3D glasses if she needs to.
5. The Great Movie Ride® Attraction (Disney’s Hollywood Studios®)
Upon hearing that a “gangster” may join us during the ride, Tad was pumped up and ready to go. However, his mood quickly changed when the gunfire commenced. Then to top it off, we passed the Alien part. He loves it now though.
6. Stitch’s Great Escape (Magic Kingdom® Park)
Stitch’s Great Escape is way too intense for Lily…maybe in a few years. She and I go on Tomorrowland® Area Transit Authority while Tad and Leap do this one.
7. Haunted Mansion® Attraction (Magic Kingdom® Park)
By the time the ride was over, Lily was all smiles and giggles, but she was a bit wary at first. Tad helped by reminding her it was all make-believe and that he was a little scared the first few times he rode it. (What a good big brother he is!)
8. Star Tours® – The Adventures Continue Attraction (Disney’s Hollywood Studios®)
The subject matter isn’t altogether frightening, but the intensity of the scenes alarmed Lily. She took the 3D glasses off at the very beginning and made it through OK.
9. Pirates of the Caribbean® Attraction (Magic Kingdom® Park)
The Audio-Animatronic figures and pirate scenes can frighten young children. Don’t tell him I told you, but Tad used to cover his eyes the first minute or two of the ride.
10. Wishes fireworks show (Magic Kingdom® Park)
It feels very strange mentioning Wishes fireworks show and the word “scary” in the same sentence, but as with any fireworks show, some children may be startled by the loud noise. For a less intense experience, watch the fireworks from a spot in front of the train station on Main Street, U.S.A.®
A Note to other Mommies (and Daddies): Whether or not an attraction will be frightening for a child really depends on the child. I’ve seen little ones racing toward The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror without an ounce of hesitation, but then I’ve seen others putting the brakes on as they approach The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. You know your child better than anyone else so you’re the best judge on which attractions to save until they’re older. Before your trip, check out the attraction videos on Undercover Tourist’s YouTube channel. That way you and your child will have a better idea of what to expect.