Thrill rides and other attractions at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure have height restrictions, requiring kids be a certain number of inches tall (32 to 48″) in order to experience. In this post, we’ll cover height requirements, how to use Rider Switch if your kids don’t measure up, and other things to know.
For starters, measuring sticks are posted outside of Disneyland attractions with a height requirement, and those who do not meet the minimum height will not be allowed to enter the line. Attractions have a secondary measuring area beyond the entrance, so don’t count on being able to “sneak” your kids on.
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. There are no age requirements for any attraction at Disneyland Resort.
For example, while Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square at Disneyland does not have a height requirement, it’s infamous as being a terrifying attraction for kids. Even though the tone is very humorous, this understandably goes over the head of a lot of kids, who only catch the part about ghosts, macabre scenery, and dark spaces. We’ll have some tips about avoiding this common pitfall at the bottom of the post.
Currently, here is a list of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure attractions with height requirements, along with what those are in inches…
- Autopia – 32″
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – 40″
- Indiana Jones Adventure – 46″
- Gadget’s Go Coaster – 35″
- Matterhorn – 42″
- Space Mountain – 40″
- Splash Mountain – 40″
- Star Tours: The Adventures Continue – 40″
Disney California Adventure
- Incredicoaster – 48″
- Goofy’s Sky School – 42″
- Grizzly River Run – 42″
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout – 44″
- Jumpin’ Jellyfish – 40″
- Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters – 32″
- Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree – 32″
- Radiator Springs Racers – 40″
- Silly Symphony Swings – 40″
- Soarin’ Around the World – 40″
- Tuck and Roll’s Drive ‘Em Buggies – 36″
While this might seem like a really long list for the two parks, it’s a small percentage of the total attractions in each park. Even still, Disneyland offers Rider Switch so families with kids too small to experience the attractions can take turns riding so the taller (read: adults) members of the party don’t have to skip all of these attractions.
How this works is simple: one guest 14 years or older waits with non-riders while the rest of the party rides, and then after that, the waiting adult takes their turn (with up to two companions–meaning two of your kids could double-dip and ride twice!).
Under the MaxPass program, the new process for Disneyland Rider Switch begins with your party approaching a Cast Member at the attraction entrance and informing them you’d like to do Rider Switch. The Cast Member divides the party into two groups: the “first riders” and the “supervising crew.”
The supervising crew will have their park tickets scanned (note that members of the supervising crew can also be first-rides–hence the double dipping) and wait in the designated area outside the attraction. The riding group waits in line, does the attraction, and returns. Then the supervising crew goes to the attraction entrance, has their tickets scanned again, and enters a return line to experience the attraction with minimal wait.
While this all might sound confusing to read about in the abstract, it’s pretty simple in practice. All you really need to know is that you go to an attraction entrance and inquire about the Disneyland Rider Switch option–a Cast Member will explain everything else to you there. This program can be a huge-time saver over waiting in line separately, so it’s definitely worth figuring out.
Note: In addition to height requirements, some Disneyland Resort attractions issue health warnings. No, these are not the little disclaimer required by California under Proposition 65 that “this product contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer.” (Note: everything in California causes cancer, apparently.)
Rather, these are warnings that will be prominently posted in the attraction queue/line prior to boarding the ride experience that pertain to things like guest health issues. Here’s a sample warning from Indiana Jones Adventure: “For safety, you should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure. Expectant mothers should not ride.”
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that kids can scared on attractions that don’t have height restrictions at Disneyland. As we’ve noted, there are no age restrictions on Disneyland attractions. If you’re a first-timer, you may not have any frame of reference as to which attractions might scare your kids.
Don’t worry, as 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.’ 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 two solutions to this problem. The first step for each is to consult our Disneyland Resort 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 also take advantage of the “Rider Switch” program to facilitate this–it works even on attractions without height requirements.)
Second, consider finding ride-through videos on YouTube and watching them with your child. You should be able to gauge their reaction. Obviously, no video is like being there, but it’s a decent alternative. 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. The reaction of your children depends upon mood (are they under-slept on vacation?) and perhaps a bit of pure luck as much as any inherent characteristics of the attractions. Regardless, hopefully this list of Disneyland & Disney California Adventure attraction height requirements proved helpful to your planning!
If you’re preparing for a Disneyland trip, check out our other planning posts, including how to save money on Disneyland tickets, our Disney packing tips, tips for booking a hotel (off-site or on-site), where to dine, and a number of other things, check out our comprehensive Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide!
Do you agree or disagree with our advice about Disneyland height requirements? Any tips of your own regarding kids getting scared on attractions? Recommendations for preventing this? Any questions about Disneyland height restrictions? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!