Taming the Beast: Taking the Scare Factor Out of Walt Disney World - PassPorter.com
PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks

   guidebooks   |   news   |   podcasts   |   boards   |   blog   |   worksheets   |   photos   |   articles   |   updates   |   register   |  


Taming the Beast: Taking the Scare Factor Out of Walt Disney World

by Tavel Cowan-Bell, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 06-07-2011
  



PassPorter.com > Articles > Walt Disney World > Planning  

Combine huge characters, loud noises and indoor attractions with a preschooler's overactive imagination, and suddenly Walt Disney World can be the scariest place on earth.


Unless you want to restrict your vacation to riding Dumbo the Flying Elephant and the Mad Tea Party teacups, some tips are necessary to help your children enjoy "the World." While your 5-year-old won't necessarily be ready for Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, preparation can open up a "World" of opportunities for your family to enjoy.

During a recent trip, my oldest son, age 4, started to get the worries about any indoor ride or show, prompting my youngest son, age 2, to get scared as well. But with a little Pixie Dust and a lot of work, we were able to enjoy almost every no-height-requirement attraction and had a wonderful time with minimal drama.

Do Your Homework

Before you leave for Disney, give your child a head start about what to expect. The free Vacation Planning DVD gives glimpses of several popular rides, shows and parades. We watched the video together, talking to my sons about rides I knew they would enjoy and reminding them that wilder rides like Space Mountain would wait until they were older.

The Disney Sing Along Songs video series often feature favorite attractions as well. I was lucky to find an older video, Disneyland Fun, at a yard sale; we were able to explore Tom Sawyer Island, the Jungle Cruise and the Haunted Mansion from the safety of our playroom. The more recent video, Flik's Musical Adventure at Disney's Animal Kingdom, shows a tour of the entire park, prompting my preschooler to veto Dinosaur, but helping him to bravely try the It's Tough to be a Bug! 3-D movie.

Once the boys were familiar with several attractions, we pulled out our maps of the four theme parks from our last trip. As they pointed out each site, I read the description of each from my PassPorter, focusing on Allie's Kid Tips at the end. We made a list of things to try, separated ones to think about, and put others in a "when I'm bigger" category.

Start With the Familiar

My children have been surrounded by Winnie the Pooh since their birth, so it was easy to transition from nursery décor to Magic Kingdom fun. The Teacups recall other spinning rides, so we were able to remind them of their previous successes before they got worried. The Playhouse Disney and Voyage of the Little Mermaid attractions at Disney-MGM Studios offered live performances of shows they knew. Once the boys made it through the first 3-D movie, getting them into others wasn't much of a struggle. After Dumbo, the Magic Carpets of Aladdin and TriceraTop Spin were welcomed as well.

When visiting characters, we started with the cuddly and familiar. Character meals, like our breakfast with Pooh and friends at Crystal Palace, are excellent opportunities to meet characters in a relaxed setting. Sometimes it's the sheer size of the character that is frightening. Our youngest son was happy to meet heroes and villains alike as long as he was being held by a parent and was eye-to-eye with the characters.

Add Some Fairy Dust

Prior to our visit, my 4-year-old son was so excited about riding Pirates of the Caribbean. He learned the song from a Disney Sing-a-Long video and would turn a ruler and a cowboy hat into a pirate costume. But walking down the dim and somewhat eerie entryway made him change his mind -- he was terrified!

I pulled him aside and brought out a special light-up necklace (bought at home). The soft light of the "bravery medal" did the trick, as he was able to hold it during dark portions of the ride. And he loved Pirates and immediately wanted to go again!

I also purchased Pooh and Lion King squeezable flashlights for the trip and a small clip-on light for our backpack. Having access to a light is invaluable if you get caught in an unexpectedly dark area (as we did for 10 minutes on Spaceship Earth at Epcot). Discount stores offer a variety of inexpensive light-up jewelry, especially during holidays like July 4th and Halloween. Small tubes of bubbles or a small toy can help distract children during the potential worrying time before a ride or show. Parents may also want to consider buying a magic wand or a stuffed "hero" to provide "extra bravery."

Save It For Another Trip

The Great Movie Ride at Disney-MGM Studios is a pretty tame attraction to most, but my 4-year-old just couldn't deal with it after a few doses of the Alien preview in the queuing area. The Barnstormer at Goofy's Farm had a frightened crying child ahead of us in line. Rather than push our luck, we opted to leave those attractions before riding.

Although these were rides we knew he would eventually enjoy, sometimes you have to follow your child's lead. Some rides we opted to skip altogether; I just don't think our children would be interested in anything titled "scary" or "haunted."

By using a combination of Fast Pass and the baby swap, my husband and I were able to enjoy more mature rides like Mission:SPACE and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. The other parent would occupy the boys by visiting characters or getting a snack.

Eventually these same scared preschoolers will become teens who can't get enough of Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. So if your child gets too worked up about a particular attraction, save it for another trip -- you'll have a perfect excuse to return to Walt Disney World!






TING!
You've discovered a PassPorter's Club Concierge Tip!
Ting the bell to read your tip and save it in your Concierge Desk!
About the Author:


Recent Walt Disney World Articles:
The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney's Hollywood Studios - A Walt Disney World Dining Review last updated 07-30-2015
Visiting Walt Disney World During Refurbishments - A Walt Disney World Planning Article last updated 07-23-2015
The Character Breakfast at Ravello at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando - A Walt Disney World Dining Review last updated 07-16-2015
The Grandparents Guide to Surviving (and Actually Loving) Disney - A Walt Disney World Planning Article last updated 07-09-2015
Surviving 'The Drive' to Walt Disney World - A Walt Disney World Planning Article last updated 07-02-2015

More Related Links:
Disney + Disabilities = Magic! - Enjoying Disney World with Disabilities last updated 11/07/2008
Saving Money for Disney - Tips and Tricks last updated 2/25/2011
Baby Steps - Six Sanity Savers For Baby's First Trip to Walt Disney World last updated 3/7/2011
Disney Dreaming - Book Excerpt from PassPorter's Walt Disney World last updated 1/16/2009
Walt Disney World for Veteran Visitors - Finding New Things To Do last updated 1/16/2009




Reader Comments:


     PassPorter News on June 24, 2005 @ 7:20 am
Thanks for these tips. We are taking my 2 and a half daughter and my five month old duaghter in April and have been worried about this very topic. I will be trying your ideas.

     rowan on January 18, 2006 @ 6:19 pm
View all 2 comments in forum thread

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)




Updated 06-07-2011 - Article #684 



Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  

-HTML

 
 

We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2015
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

       SEARCH
       LEARN MORE
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


 


RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - 13,14,15,16,17,18
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Discussion forums about Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel provided by PassPorter Travel Press, the ultimate Disney travel guide and book series.


Does anyone know offhand how big the packs of hard boiled eggs are at Disney?
by CinderAbby
29 Jul 2015 at 4:08pm
I know I've seen them (and have bought them) at the Starbucks in the MK but I don't know if they have them anywhere else. I want to say it was a two...
(click title above to view replies)

Direct to room - is Disney still doing this?
by CinderAbby
28 Jul 2015 at 7:09pm
Lenny and I were just talking and I mentioned the direct to room thing I had read about a few months ago. Is Disney still doing this? I haven't...
(click title above to view replies)

Transferring Hotels from Disney to Universal
by Stevezilla
27 Jul 2015 at 7:45am
Hopefully someone here might be familiar with this situation and can give us a hand. My fiancee and I have booked a five day stay at Port Orleans,...
(click title above to view replies)




Total Visits: 23111


PassPorter ~ 1998-2015 ~ 17 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Press
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
Guidebooks
About
Previews
Buy
Reviews
Updates
Features
News & Updates
Articles
Podcasts
Photos
Message Boards
Newsletter
Concierge Desk
Desktop
Trips
Books & E-Books
Tips
Settings
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Contests
Checklists
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.