Some Walt Disney World rides have height restrictions, requiring kids be a certain number of inches tall (usually 38 to 44″) in order to experience. Measuring sticks are outside attractions with a requirement, and kids who do not meet the minimum height are not allowed to enter the line. There are no age requirements. (Updated March 4, 2023.)
Attractions that have height requirements also offer Rider Switch (also known as child swap, baby switch, rider swap, or parent swap). This is Walt Disney World’s system that allows parents with small children to take turns experiencing thrill rides and other attractions with height requirements via Lightning Lanes. See our Guide to Rider Switch at Walt Disney World for everything you need to know about this service. If eligible, it can save you a ton of time.
Height requirements are an objective measurement to ensure that a person is physically large enough to experience a ride safely, but they do not ensure that children (or adults!) will not be scared by the attraction experience. Obviously, this is a subjective determination that each parent must make for their own child.
For example, Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom has no height requirement, but it causes many children to cry. (Likewise, when I was a kid, the dinosaurs in Universe of Energy scared me to the point of hiding on the floor of the ride vehicle.) We’ll have some tips about avoiding this common pitfall at the bottom of the post.
Currently, here is a list of Walt Disney World attractions with height requirements at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom…
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – 40″
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – 38″
- Space Mountain – 44″
- Splash Mountain – 40″
- The Barnstormer – 35″
- Tomorrowland Speedway – 32″
- TRON Lightcycle Run – 48″
Walt Disney World’s newest ride is TRON Lightcycle Run at Magic Kingdom, which has a 48″ height requirement due to a combination of its intensity and unique seating. The attraction uses bike style normal ride vehicles–hence the attraction name. However, it’s not just small people that might have issues with TRON Lightcycle Run.
The “opposite” also can be a problem: if you’re tall, have muscular legs, or are plus-sized, you might have issues with the normal lightcycles. We cover everything you need to know in TRON Lightcycle Run Problems for Larger Guests. If you think you could have problems fitting into the lightcycle, we’d strongly recommend reading that. Not only does it cover common issues, but also suggestions for improving your chances of ‘successfully’ riding the attraction in a standard seat.
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – 42″
- Mission: Space (Green) – 40″
- Mission: Space (Orange) – 44″
- Soarin’ Around the World – 40″
- Test Track – 40″
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is Walt Disney World’s other new blockbuster attraction, and it also has a minimum height. Although it’s a thrill ride, it’s fairly tame and smooth, and only really causes issues for certain people with motion sickness due to its screen-based nature. It is not an issue for most kids.
This family-friendly roller coaster features Walt Disney World’s first-ever reverse launch and is one of the longest enclosed coasters in the world. This innovative new “story coaster” from Walt Disney Imagineering will also rotates 360 degrees to focus riders’ attention on on the action.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Alien Swirling Saucers — 32″
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run — 38″
- Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith – 48″
- Slinky Dog Dash – 38″
- Star Tours: The Adventures Continue – 40″
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – 40″
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – 40″
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- DINOSAUR – 40″
- Expedition Everest – 44″
- Flight of Passage – 44″
- Kali River Rapids – 38″
Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
- Bay Slides — 60″ or shorter
- Crush ‘n’ Gusher — 48″ or taller
- Humunga Kowabunga — 48″ or taller
- Ketchakiddee Creek — 48″ or shorter
Blizzard Beach Water Park
- Chairlift — 32″ or taller
- Downhill Double Dipper — 48″ or taller
- Slush Gusher — 48″ or taller
- Summit Plummet — 48″ or taller
- Tike’s Peak — 48″ or shorter
Note: In addition to height requirements, other Walt Disney World rides issue health warnings. These warnings will be prominently posted in the attraction queue/line prior to boarding the ride experience. You may also consult a nearby Walt Disney World Cast Member to inquire about health warnings.
Okay, back to kids being scared on attractions that don’t have height restrictions at Walt Disney World. If you’re a first-timer, this is actually a lot more common than you might think. And, unfortunately, avoiding this is not as simple as us listing off additional attractions with a ‘scare-factor.’
This is because each child is unique, and some attractions that scare some children are a complete non-issue to others. The saying “only you know your child” is cliche, but it’s also true.
There are also some interesting quirks to this. For example, Haunted Mansion features some macabre matters, making it scary to some children. However, it’s also incredibly quiet, so even younger ones who don’t understand what they’re seeing might have no issue whatsoever.
By contrast, Pirates of the Caribbean is not particularly scary for most kids, but it is loud due to cannon fire and just a generally raucous atmosphere. As such, it might not be appropriate for infants who are more likely to be disturbed by loud noises.
The point here is that the same child’s perception of an attraction can change over time, because what makes it scary can shift from the sound to the subject matter. It can be really tricky to figure out what is going to “set off” a particular kid.
There are thus two solutions to this problem. The first step for each is to consult our Walt Disney World Ride Guides and identify potential problem attractions. Then, ride the attraction in question yourself before experiencing it with your kid, and make the determination after riding. (You can take advantage of the “Rider Switch” program to facilitate this.)
Alternatively, find ride-through videos on YouTube (they are abundant) and watch them with your child. While watching, you should be able to gauge their reaction. The downside of this is that it’s a “spoiler” for the actual ride, but it familiarizes them with the experience and leads to a more predictable response.
Neither option is fool-proof, as kids can be unpredictable. Much of their reaction depends upon mood (are they under-slept on vacation?) and perhaps a bit of pure luck. In any case, hopefully this list of attraction height requirements at Walt Disney World proved helpful to your planning!
Other questions about planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Do you agree or disagree with our advice about height requirements at Walt Disney World? Any tips of your own regarding kids getting scared on Walt Disney World attractions? Recommendations for preventing this? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!