Prepping for the rides

DesertScorpion

Earning My Ears
Joined
Mar 5, 2020
Taking our kiddos (5 & 3) to DL in May and I’m wondering what are some of the ways others have prepped their kids for the rides. Our 5 year old is 42” so she’ll be able to ride almost anything. Our 3 year old most likely won’t care about rides and will probably be the parade and character meet & greet type.

I think the thing I’m most concerned about is the lead up to the actual rides and our 5 year old psyching herself out. Over Xmas she wanted to ride this big down hill inner tube ride at the zoo so I bought the tickets and as we got to the stairs she started getting scared and I had to talk her through it the whole time we waited and convince her to finally try it. When we went down and got to the bottom she had a big grin on her face and immediately wanted to go again so I know if I can just get her to focus on the fun of it all she’ll have a blast.

I’ve read that some have shown their kids YouTube videos of the whole ride so that they can kind of get the feel of it before hand but I’m wondering if that truly helps or if it also kind of spoils the fun of them.

What have some of you done to make sure the loud sounds or the dimmer environments don’t psych the little ones out?
 

dieumeye

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 17, 2019
I’ve got a 6 and 4 yo and watching ride videos definitely makes them MORE excited and ready for the rides.

Them knowing what to expect reduces the last minute “I don’t want to go” just as you’re getting in line or, even worse, just as you’re boarding.

Knowing what to expect also gives them something to look forward to. I find it doesn’t “ruin the surprise” for them the way it might for an adult.
 

DesertScorpion

Earning My Ears
Joined
Mar 5, 2020
I’ve got a 6 and 4 yo and watching ride videos definitely makes them MORE excited and ready for the rides.

Them knowing what to expect reduces the last minute “I don’t want to go” just as you’re getting in line or, even worse, just as you’re boarding.

Knowing what to expect also gives them something to look forward to. I find it doesn’t “ruin the surprise” for them the way it might for an adult.
Thanks! I’ll definitely give it a try. We haven’t even told the girls we are taking them yet since it’s just under two months until we go but I’ll probably start showing some videos a week or two ahead of time.
 
  • alwayssmile

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 19, 2016
    My 7yo was very nervous about most rides. I had her watch YouTube videos of them. I talked about how Disney likes to trick our brains on some rides. For things that I knew still made her very nervous after the videos I talked to her as we approached the ride about how Disney made that magic happen. It helped a lot.
     

    Daisy7425

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 20, 2018
    We knew we would be in MK for four different days over our trip and would ride each attraction multiple times, so we told my 8 year old that he would have to try each ride one time. If he hated it, a parent would sit out with him next time, but he had to try it once. This worked for my 8 year old but maybe not for younger kids.

    With my son, things become self-fulfilling prophecies, so instead of saying "some of these could be scary and you might be nervous and afraid" I have to say "you are going to be brave and we will have fun!" I like what alwayssmile says above too, about Disney likes to trick our brains.
     

    westie55

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 24, 2015
    Last summer my older DS was nearly 4 and he really wanted to try 7DMT, Splash, and SDD, his first big kid rides. We watched videos online together and everything went great in the parks. I played up how exciting it was to go fast and go down the "big slide" on Splash... "weeeeee!" I would keep emphasizing how fun it is, not how scary you think it might be. I remember my sister was ready to try Space Mountain at age 7 and my mom kept asking her, "are you sure? It's really dark" in the line. She chickened out, naturally.
     

    2019TripIdeas

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 6, 2018
    I think my two older kids (boy age 3 & girl age 5) are pretty middle of the road in "real life" and my 5 year old is incredibly gutsy at Disney. We did WDW just recently and Disneyland last year (ages 2 & 4). I was almost shocked at how little fear she showed- rode Space Mountain and Tower of Terror multiple times, all the roller coasters really. She would've rode Big Thunder all day if we let her (both the DL and WDW versions). My 3 year old (he just squeezed in at 40") rode pretty much everything he qualified for once, liked most things but didn't necessarily want to ride everything again (he did do Barnstormer again, which is called the Go Coaster I think at DL?).

    A few exceptions: Splash Mountain at Disneyland was not a hit with my daughter- she loved the drop but didn't like that she got wet. She barely hit the requirement when we went and I'd been told on here that she might be able to squeeze into the back row with an adult (otherwise I guess it's one seater rows). We'd accidentally prepped her by telling her that a parent would ride next to her in that back row- when we got to the top, my husband asked for that but they told us that because she was the smallest in the log? she needed to go in the front. I don't know if this was a confused cast member or if that's actually protocol, but she got SOAKED.

    Soarin' was hard for my son. I can't remember if DL Soarin' is 40" too? He was fine once it got going but getting seated he started to panic. A cast member came over and checked on him and reassured him. He also actually thought he was flying (I get it, it seems so real!) and no tears or anything but he definitely wouldn't do it again. After that he asked before we got in any line if the ride involved flying and if so, how high we went, i.e. "higher than our house? Higher than our car?" etc... he needed to know in terms he could understand, ha! It didn't stop him from doing anything else though.

    In general, we never talked about things being scary or dark, only fun. I think it helps to use MaxPass/FastPass so you don't have the massive waiting period which I can remember as a kid giving me more time to get nervous. Our littlest (age 2.5) is our most likely to get nervous and while he didn't love Haunted Mansion, there were never tears or whining and he just held on to us really tight during certain parts of the ride.

    Edited to add: Unless your 3 year old is truly terrified of life, I wouldn't count her out on rides. My children are not daring humans at all (literally, can't watch many Disney movies because they beg me to turn it off when a villain comes on). Even the 2.5 year old loved rides, even if the ones he loved the most were more teacups/carousel/Dumbo, etc. We always have started our trips with something at least mildly scary (Pirates, Haunted Mansion, etc) and gone from there.
     
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  • DisneyDillyDally

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 31, 2018
    All of the above is good advice, but a counterpoint: embrace the kiddie rides if your child enjoys them. It won’t be every trip that your child begs for another ride on Dumbo, the teacups, and the Speedway. Just back from a trip with a 4 year old; he loved those three rides plus the train at Disney Springs.
     

    DesertScorpion

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2020
    All of the above is good advice, but a counterpoint: embrace the kiddie rides if your child enjoys them. It won’t be every trip that your child begs for another ride on Dumbo, the teacups, and the Speedway. Just back from a trip with a 4 year old; he loved those three rides plus the train at Disney Springs.
    Absolutely plan to do so if that is all they desire to do or feel like they can handle. I think we’ll have our hands full just with the various sights, sounds, shows, and character encounters.
     

    cmmelzer

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 14, 2019
    Our last trip my boys were 1.5 and 4.
    First off my 1.5 year old LOVED rides. He loved Pooh, Peter Pan, and Little Mermaid rides.
    My 4 year old was a little timid with the larger rides at first. But during our second day at MK he was front row of Splash Mountain WITH HIS HANDS UP on the main drop. And hands up during 7DMT. Kids at that age look to their parents to see how to feel during a situation like that. Avoid using words like "scary" and "BIG drops". Use words to describe rides that you know your kids will react positive to. For eample my 4 year old LOVES anything thats "SUPER COOL"
     
  • DisneyDillyDally

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 31, 2018
    Absolutely plan to do so if that is all they desire to do or feel like they can handle. I think we’ll have our hands full just with the various sights, sounds, shows, and character encounters.
    I think I misunderstood your post - I read it as how do I amp up my child to do big rides (like Big Thunder, Splash). I didn’t do any prep with my pre-schooler (who is not a risk taker). We got there, pre-schooler looked at the rides and identified ones to ride and ones Not to ride. If my pre-schooler didn’t want to ride it, I didn’t push it.
     

    Jobelle

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 11, 2020
    We talked about the rides and watched ride videos with my 5 yr old. She has a big imagination and easily psyched herself out. She is TERRIFIED of Ursula so she couldn't even watch the whole little mermaid ride through video and vetoed that one as a possible ride - which we absolutely respected. But she had no issues at all with Pirates. I did assure her that there would be no real people dressed up as Pirates and explained the concept of animatronics to her. She didn't have any issues with heights, speed, or drops. Her fears had more to do with her imagination and feeling overwhelmed by the ride's 'story'.
     

    DesertScorpion

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2020
    I think I misunderstood your post - I read it as how do I amp up my child to do big rides (like Big Thunder, Splash). I didn’t do any prep with my pre-schooler (who is not a risk taker). We got there, pre-schooler looked at the rides and identified ones to ride and ones Not to ride. If my pre-schooler didn’t want to ride it, I didn’t push it.
    I did post in that vain as I do want to get her amped up to take on the bigger rides but also understand that if she just isn’t feeling in the least bit and only finds things like Dumbo, etc. as intriguing then that is what we’ll stick with. There will be tons to do but we’ll be in the parks for four full days so I want to make sure she is excited and willing to attempt some of the greats. :)
     

    Lilsia

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 17, 2018
    Start with the easy rides with not drops. IASW, Pooh, people mover, etc. I have seen many kids go on pirates first thing in the morning and scream going onto any other ride because they are scared. Work up to the bigger rides. It is important not to lie to them and say that there is no drop/anything scary because then they won't trust you when you say that about the next ride.
     

    Heavens2Betsy

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 5, 2020
    We watch videos and have a rule that if you get in line you have to ride. We've only broken that rule once at a water park near home. When we got to the top I realized the slide was much more intense than I could tell - you literally had to dive head first into a hole - so I let him back out. But usually he doesn't even try to back out because we watch the videos and I remind him of the rule. My kid is also a rule follower so that is helpful...
     



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