Travel Tips & Tricks

How to Ease Your (Scaredy Cat) Kids Onto Theme Park Attractions You Know They'll Love!

Encourage your kids to try something new, have fun as a family and don’t get discouraged when they won’t ride an attraction you know they’ll love.

I love Disney, have always loved theme parks, and when I was younger I loved huge coasters. So, it’s no surprise that my oldest is into roller coasters now. The bigger, faster, loopier the better! But it hasn’t always been this way.

My oldest daughter Mayya is 10 years old now, we started going to Disneyland when she was 4 and her sister, Safiya, was 2. My youngest has always been a daredevil, never afraid to try anything. If her sister was afraid, well she was definitely not! During that first trip to Disneyland we spent the majority of our time in Fantasyland where they could enjoy all the attractions.

There was one benign attraction that Mayya didn’t want to go on, it was Peter Pan’s Flight. Peter Pan’s Flight is a dark ride and you can’t really see into it from outside. All she knew was these driverless boats were disappearing somewhere and that was scary! I tried to explain to her that it would be fun, it’s not scary at all, it’s just like the movie that she’s seen a hundred times. “NO!” she said, she had put her foot down. I was determined to get her on it, I knew she’d love it. I carried her through the line, telling her how fun it would be as she cried. I’m sure everyone thought I was a horrible mother!

We all rode Peter Pan together, and guess what? She loved it!

While I don’t always recommend this approach, it worked for us. Over the years she was reluctant to try other new attractions as she grew tall enough to ride them. Next it was the Haunted Mansion, too scary for her. We tricked her onto that one, telling her it was just a tour of a cool mansion.

This time we were at Walt Disney World and the Mansion looks different from Disneyland’s on the outside. Once in she realized what we were doing, but got on anyway and loved it too. I didn’t know then, but you can ask a Cast Member to skip the scary entrance to the Haunted Mansion and get right on the attraction. Then there was Splash Mountain, it took 2 years of bribing to get her on this attraction. We even got her onto the log boat once, but she quickly jumped off to the exit on the other side.

Though once she rode it, it became her favorite ride.

She would ride Splash Mountain all day if we let her. It’s going to be under refurbishment while we are there this Fall and she was very serious when she said to me “If Splash Mountain is closed I do not want to go to Disney World!” She then wrote a letter to the Walt Disney World Executives asking them to please consider reopening it in time for our trip because she loves it so much!

There are still a couple of attractions my kids won’t ride and I’ve since found a more effective way to help them get over their fear and at least try the attraction.

  1. Before your trip let your children