Category Archives:USA

Top Disney Attractions too Scary for Young Ones

Is Walt Disney World ever too scary for younger children?  I’m a mother of five and we’ve been hauling them to WDW for years.  While the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ truly is magical, most of the time, there are a few attractions to be weary of for your youngest family members.

I remember our first family visit with our oldest daughter (just the one kid at the time) and the grandparents.  She was four.  We started our day in the Fantasyland section of the Magic Kingdom.  She saw the Snow White sign and just had to go.  We somehow missed the small sign stating it might be scary for young children and boy was that a mistake.  The ride was loud with dark frightening scenes, so we exited with her in tears and ready to leave the park entirely. Fortunately, that attraction is gone now, replaced with Mickey’s Philharmagic which is delightful and not the least bit scary.

Let me share some tips for avoiding, or at least minimising, the dramatic bawling scenes that can ruin a pleasant and exciting day.

Volume Level

Before boarding any attraction explain that it will be loud.   Believe me; you can count on any attraction being very loud.  If your child is sensitive to this sort of thing, prepare him with the truth but don’t make a big fuss about it.  Just say its “loud at first.”  That way he relaxes and knows it won’t stay loud the whole time.  He adapts to the volume and it stops being a bother.  By the time you’ve been on two or three, volume won’t be an issue.

Dark & Scary Scenes

Besides volume, some attractions are simply too scary for young children.  After all, every Disney animation movie that comes to mind has at least one evil witch or bad guy and a few scary scenes.  Think Malificent in Sleeping Beauty or the evil Emperor Zurg in Toy Story.  Disney does scary as an art form.  Again, truthfully state the ride may be dark for a minute but won’t STAY dark.  Again, little eyes adjust and if parents are having a blast, so will the child.  Following our Snow White’s Scary Adventure debacle, we told our daughter she would love Small World and it would only be loud for a minute or two and not dark at all.  We had to ride it five times but that’s another story.

List of frightening rides for little ones by park:

Magic Kingdom

  • The Haunted Mansion – Dark and loud with ghoulish scenes
  • Flight of Peter Pan– Dark for most of the ride with an incredibly long queue.
  • Stitch’s Great Escape – Dark, loud, smokey with the added bonus of feeling trapped inside a very tight shoulder harness.  I’ve seen 10 year olds flip out on this one.

Animal Kingdom

  • Dinosaur – It does have a height requirement, so likely a moot warning for parents of the very young.  It is extremely loud even by Disney standard and bone jarring to boot.  We rode it once, years ago, and once was enough.  Nothing redeeming about it really.  It is dark, loud, scary dinosaurs that often jump out and the ride is very jerky.
  • Tough to be a Bug Show- Harmless enough in the beginning, this one builds to a crescendo of fright with giant spiders coming out of the ceiling, a scene of chaos and confusion for many little ones.  Skip it unless your child has become sensitised to volume, dark AND fright all at once.

Hollywood Studios

  • Fantasmic- This is a favorite of many teens.  However, a few scenes can be frightening for very young ones.  If you can get through the scary dream sequences which include yelling, fire and smoke, the end is jolly and light with paddle boats full of favorite characters happily waving.  Not to mention that the music, throughout the show, is incredible.
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid- Again, dark & loud with scary scenes but not all the way through.  If your young one has seen the movie, it’s more likely she’ll love this stage production even if a little scared at first.

EPCOT

  • The Spirit of the Viking in Norway’s pavillion- Dark, loud, backward tipping and not enjoyable.  Let your little one play on the Viking boat run around by the pavilion instead.  Or Try the Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico’s pavilion when traveling with the very young.

To be honest, any attraction has the potential to be scary for young ones.  Some with good reason, and others simply because the child has a preconceived anticipation to be scared.  Your child may be just fine with the ghoulish scenes of the Haunted Mansion but be scared senseless on Dumbo.  Most kids follow the example of the others around them so relax and enjoy yourself and so will the little ones.

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Related posts: Travel Packing List for Small Children

 

 

Family friendly holidays in America

North America is such a wonderfully huge and diverse part of the world that you’re almost too spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a holiday destination for you and your family. No matter what time of year you visit you’ll find world-class beaches, ski slopes, theme parks and more – making North America the perfect choice for your next family holiday. We take a look at our top five child-friendly destinations in North America.

Orlando, Florida

Orlando Florida is every kid’s dream holiday destination. Home to some of the world’s biggest and most exciting theme parks – a trip to Orlando is a sure fire way of winning over some brownie points from your kids.

Disney World, Florida - every kids dream!
Disney World, Florida – every kids dream!

There are dozens of hotels and resorts to choose from – specifically catering for families – including resorts within the theme parks themselves for the ultimate child-friendly getaway.

Hershey, Pennsylvania

What child (or adult) wouldn’t love to visit a town that is entirely based around chocolate? You may think it sounds like something out of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – but it is indeed a reality in the small town of Hershey in Pennsylvania, where even the lampposts are in the shape of Hershey’s popular ‘Kisses’.

Hershey Chocolate World is a chocolate lovers dream come true – a theme park based around the famous American chocolate brand. Take a ride on the log flume ride and grab a free Hershey chocolate bar for you and your kids at the end.

British Columbia, Canada

If you want to take your children on their first trip to the slopes, then the beautiful region of British Columbia in Canada has a wonderful range of child-friendly options.

One of the best for young children is Big White ski resort, which includes a highly recommended ‘Tot Town Day Care’ for children who are too young to ski as well as a Kids’ Centre for kids over the age of four years. So you can rest assured that even if you’re hitting the slopes – the kids will still be kept entertained.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

No matter what age you are – the Grand Canyon is a spectacular site to see. There aren’t many historical sites that will leave your children speechless, but the Grand Canyon is one of them.

The Grand Canyon is amazing no matter how old you are
The Grand Canyon is amazing no matter how old you are

One of the best places to stay while exploring the Grand Canyon region is Flagstaff – a small historic town that will make you feel like you’ve just stepped onto the set of a Hollywood western movie. From there it is just a short two-hour drive to the Canyon where you can either enjoy the view from the top or take a walk or donkey ride down to the bottom.

San Diego, California

If the bright lights and crazy lifestyle of Los Angeles is all too much for you and your kids, then San Diego is a perfect alternative. A much more child-friendly Californian destination, San Diego has some of the USA’s top family tourist attractions.

San Diego Zoo is one of the most famous zoos in the world. Home to thousands of different animals the zoo is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens. Take your kids to the popular Children’s Zoo where they can get hands-on with a range of exciting animals such as spider monkeys and watch animal feedings.

Other popular attractions in San Diego include Legoland, Sea World, San Diego Wild Animal Park and more.

Yosemite National Park, Utah

For families who are looking for some natural excitement from their holiday – Yosemite National Park will provide you with an unforgettable experience. The park is the third most visited in the USA with over 4 million visitors every year – a large number of which are families.

You’ll find a good selection of outdoor activities to take part in such as horseback riding or rock climbing – or simply put on your walking shoes and take in the dramatic scenery. Although many of the walks and trails may not be very suitable for young children – it is a good choice for adventurous older children.