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By Allergy Mom Diva

Disneyland has numerous family-friendly attractions that are enjoyable for both preschoolers and parents. However, just because your child meets the height restriction for an attraction doesn’t mean your child will enjoy riding it. Some attractions with low (or no) height restrictions may be terrifying or unsettling for a young child, such as those that are dark, have unexpected drops, or have appearances by scary characters.

These are things to consider when choosing attractions to ride with your young kiddo (after making sure they meet the height requirements):

  • Is my child afraid of the dark?
  • Does my child get frightened easily?
  • Is my child afraid of certain characters?
  • What things scare my child (i.e. spiders, loud noises, fast movements, etc.)?

Diva Tip: If you rule out an attraction for your little one, that doesn’t mean you have to skip it too! Disneyland uses Ride Switches on many attractions, which allows adults to take turns going on an attraction while another adult waits with the kids without having to wait in the line twice! Ask a Cast Member in front of an attraction about getting a Ride Switch. 

Yikes! Disneyland Rides that Could be Scary for Preschoolers

Below are some attractions that you may want to consider avoiding with young kids.

Pirates of the Caribbean (Disneyland)

I know, I know….this is one of my most favorite attractions at Disneyland and there is no height requirement. Sounds perfect, right? Well, not if you are a young child who is scared of the dark. Kids might start out feeling okay… but then their boat arrives under the creepy-looking skull looking down at them and suddenly their boat plunges down a dark waterfall. And then it happens again. After that, there is little chance of a preschooler enjoying the attraction. There are also fog, loud cannons, and gun fights. I have seen many parents sell their kids on Pirates of the Caribbean by saying “Oh, it’s just a little boat ride.” Ha, not quite.

Diva Tip: If you really want to ride Pirates of the Caribbean with your child, try to go on it after you have done a few easy attractions, such as “it’s a small world” or the Storybook Land Canal. Let them get used to the idea that attractions are fun and safe before taking them into a dark ride.

Yikes! Disneyland Rides that Could be Scary for Preschoolers

Snow White’s Scary Adventures & Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (Disneyland)

Maybe I should have remembered the word “scary” in the Snow White attraction before I took my toddler on it. Oops! Both of these Fantasyland attractions are dark with either scary characters (such as the Evil Queen) or loud, sudden movements (such as a train’s lights coming towards you). Other dark attractions in Fantasyland (specifically Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan’s Flight) have elements that could frighten kids, but these two seem to be the most scary.

Yikes! Disneyland Rides that Could be Scary for Preschoolers

Diva Tip: Talk with your kids about any potentially frightening attractions ahead of time and let them decide if they want to ride them. YouTube has videos of most Disneyland attractions that you can watch with your child. The videos won’t give you the full effect of the attraction but it will give you and your kiddo an idea of what to expect.  

Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin (Disneyland)

Similar to the Fantasyland dark attractions, this Toontown attraction is somewhat dark, has loud sounds, and flashing lights.

Yikes! Disneyland Rides that Could be Scary for Preschoolers

It’s Tough to be a Bug (Disneyland’s California Adventure)

Put on your 3-D goggles and get prepared to watch a short show with life-size bugs shooting acorns and spraying “stink” at the audience! It is a really cute show, but there are also giant spiders that come down from the ceiling and other scary things that can leave even the toughest kiddo in tears. I suggest waiting on this one.

Yikes! Disneyland Rides that Could be Scary for Preschoolers

World of Color and Fantasmic (both Parks)

I love both of these Disneyland outdoor shows! They are full of Disney magic and special effects. However, both shows have parts that could frighten kiddos. Fantasmic is probably more scary, with live action scenes of Mickey fighting “bad guys,” including a fire breathing dragon. It has some pretty intense moments. World of Color is much more subdued and it doesn’t have any live characters, but there is some fire, as well as emotional scenes from Disney movies projected on the water.

Yikes! Disneyland Rides that Could be Scary for Preschoolers

So, those are my recommendations on attractions that could unexpectedly scare a child. Did I miss any?

To get an idea of what attractions your preschooler might enjoy, check out Character Diva’s article and D’land Diva’s article on visiting Disneyland with toddlers. I will also be doing a follow-up article soon to talk about my favorite preschooler children’s at Disneyland.

If need any help planning your next Disneyland vacation, be sure to contact Leslie Harris of Pixie Vacations. 

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Hi there! In addition to constantly dreaming about our next Disneyland vacation, I love helping my friends and family plan their own (practically) perfect Disneyland trips. I also work in the health and human services field, and I am a mom to a young kiddo with food allergies. Traveling can be stressful for those of us with food allergies. It is my hope that my Disneyland experiences and related tips will help other families enjoy magical, allergy-free vacations.