Anyone have advice on rides if you have cleithrophobia

DisneyCrazy10

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 22, 2010
Backstory...we got stuck on Dinosaur several years ago. I had a panic attack and haven't been able to ride ANYTHING since. My husband and I are going to Disneyland next month and I want to ride rides again, but I am terrified of getting stuck on something.

Wondering if anyone has suggestions on how they cope with cleithrophobia?
 

AllyReggie

Turkey Leg Hunter
Joined
Apr 21, 2013
Unfortunately I don't have any really good advice other than to provide you with some basic knowledge about how most Disney rides operate.

I have a friend who really can't handle being "trapped" anywhere, and while I don't know if she is truly cleithrophobic, she and I were stuck in a very difficult corn maze once and she completely shut down. Here is what I learned/did that helped:

At any moment, we could have just walked straight through the corn stalks and gotten out. It would have hurt, probably would have gotten in trouble, but the consequence would always be weighed against her health and well being. Knowing that there was an out, if she truly needed it, really lowered her anxiety to manageable levels. We didn't end up needing to dart through the corn stalks, but just knowing she wasn't actually trapped completely made it easier to manage the distress for her.

For Disney Land, I am imagining the situation of being "stranded" on IncrediCoaster or Pirates or Matterhorn with her. The first thing I'd do is frame it this way:

You are getting to experience a "version" of the ride that few people get to experience, it lasts for an undetermined amount of time and it is only as boring as you make it - inspecting all the different elements of the area of the ride you are in - closing your eyes and making out all the small audio details. Peering around different angles to see if you can see any "backstage magic".

There is a lot to do when the ride stalls out and stays that way for more than a minute - you just have to think of it like a bonus attraction within the attraction. There is ZERO chance you will be left there for long (though, if you don't make an event of it a stall can feel like an eternity). I haven't heard of anything much longer than 8 minutes before they come around and get everyone out.... and that is when you get one of the most interesting experiences - walking THROUGH an attraction with the lights on - the way Disney Imagineers and staff see the ride! Just getting to experience that juxtaposition actually sometimes makes me wish a ride would "break down" while I am in it, if only so I can selfishly view some of the more intricate details up close and personal.

For rides where it is harder to get out (Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Matterhorn, etc...) I like that cast members come to escort you out. So if they have to "evacuate" it is a very personalized affair, which sounds so fun and interesting.

Ride breakdowns should be seen as an inevitability. The thousands of redundancies and emergency systems that are in place can round an error frequently, and those errors will typically cause a brief stall while the Cast Member who monitors the ride system evaluates that error for any concerns and returns the ride to functionality. Rides with access for wheel chairs or times when riders will need assistance may cause a continuously running ride to stop or slow briefly, and that can be unnerving but knowing why (or at least the most frequent reasons why) can make it seem more normal and less emergent.

None of this really helps with irrational fears. But if you are someone who can be calmed and helped to a manageable anxiety level by logic... this might help.

Edited because you said Disneyland, and I was in "Disney World" mode.
 
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  • Euby

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2014
    Is it more of a restraint thing? Does it bother you to ride in a car with your seat belt? That would be a good starting point for the rides. If you are ok with that then you should be okay with most of them. You may want to avoid rides that have over the shoulder restraints (like RnRC in HS). You may be able to find out information about the rides and what kinds of retraints they use on the internet somewhere.

    If it's more a concern of getting stuck on a ride, then the info that @AllyReggie supplied above is very good.
     

    Barbydoll8

    Offical Disney Dork
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2011
    Rides do break down but a lot of rides "stop" due to the fact that someone needing special assistance getting on the ride needs more time. DH is disabled and my mother was in a wheel chair the last several years of her life. When they have to get someone on the ride in a wheel chair or the like, they have to stop some of the rides to do so. HM in WDW falls prey to this ALL THE TIME. Just know your pause on the ride could be to allow someone who normally wouldn't be able to participate is being given a chance to participate. As someone who is with people who need help and special assistance, I appreciate you and your family dealing with the interruption.
    I don't know if that's what happened to you on Dinosaur because I know technical problems arise too. But a lot of the time, it's someone needing help to get on the ride itself.
    Deep breaths and counting or tapping your hand actually help with this type of anxiety.
     

    imbatman

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 29, 2017
    You are getting to experience a "version" of the ride that few people get to experience, it lasts for an undetermined amount of time and it is only as boring as you make it - inspecting all the different elements of the area of the ride you are in - closing your eyes and making out all the small audio details. Peering around different angles to see if you can see any "backstage magic".
    THIS! I've been stopped on a couple of rides (Haunted Mansion for 10 mins in the Bride Room and PotC for 15 in the battle room). But the BEST ONE was Space Mountain. It was a bit dizzying with the starlight whizzing by...but when the lights came on? WOW! I was enchanted with the layout.

    Dinosaur would've been hard to be stuck on. Indiana is a similarly jolting ride, FYI. But there is always a way out and cast members to help. Not sure how you help with your panic attacks normally, but maybe you can look at ride layouts and behind the scene videos now to prepare.

    Best of luck to you @DisneyCrazy10 and I hope you can prep enough ahead of time to have a magical vacation!!!
     

    DLgal

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2013
    You will not ever be stuck or trapped on a ride at a Disney park. There is ALWAYS a way out. You might stop unexpectedly, but you will never be actually trapped. Keep your phone nearby, bring some earbuds, and if you get stopped for a prolonged period of time, play yourself a favorite song, close your eyes, and just relax.

    I got stopped in PotC yesterday in the jail scene for like 10 minutes. I got bored after awhile and started perusing this site. I was sure we were going to get evacuated out, but we didn't. BUT, if needed, we could have easily exited the boats and walked out the nearby exit doorway. All the water rides are surrounded by platforms where you can easily get out. It's OSHA law to have easy egress from every ride. All the coasters can only stop in certain sections, which all have platforms and stairs to get down. So, truly, you aren't ever going to be in a situation that you simply cannot walk out of.
     
  • Disxuni

    "Where's the fun without a bit of risk?"
    Joined
    Mar 12, 2016
    Unfortunately, like all phobias and anxiety it is not something that can be easily coped with, or prevented. All you can essentially do is try to breathe, repeat to yourself that you're going to be okay, and/or find a distraction (such as listening to soothing music, find one thing to focus on, or count something).

    As others have stated there will never be a time in which you will truly be stuck on an attraction. There is always a way out and will be evacuated off the attraction if it comes to a long delay. Most delays that happen, are short, and caused by needing to stop due to EVCs, or wheelchair bound individuals, especially on rides that use the omnimover ride vehicles. Other rides such as It's A Small World, or Pirates can be backed up due to the amount of boats in front, but eventually move forward, or if not, your boat will be pushed forward via CM and/or evacuated as well.

    While I do not have this particular issue I would imagine that an additional thing that might help is being on rides that are generally less aggressive / feel less constricted might lessen your anxiety as well. I suggest looking into finding pictures, or videos of ride vehicles, restraints, and research rides that you're interested in to see what to expect.
     

    DisneyCrazy10

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 22, 2010
    Thank you so much! Yes, it is definitely a feeling trapped thing for me, when I do not have control of being free. I want to be the person that looks around and takes it in when a ride breaks down, but I can only thing about being stuck and not being in control. I appreciate your insight!
     

    DisneyCrazy10

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 22, 2010
    Thanks! I am so excited to see Disneyland/CA for the first time. Hoping I can apply all the advice I am getting and enjoy some rides too!
     


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