Not "Short", Just "Vertically Challenged"

Those of us, young and young-at-heart, who are vertically challenged have found a lot to love at Disney destinations.

Have you ever been to a "traditional" theme park with younger and/or smaller children? Do you have some children in your family who are tall enough to ride the thrill rides and others who can only do the kiddie rides?

Going to a theme park can be very frustrating when the majority of the rides require riders to be 48 or even 52 inches tall or taller! I have a 2 girls who love roller coasters, one is tall enough and the other isn't; and it's such a shame to see the sadness when one gets to ride all of the rides and the other has to stay in the kiddie section, which is a postage stamp compared to the rest of the park.

Not so at Disney destinations!

Did you know that...

There are only 16 rides in the four major Walt Disney World theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom) that have any height requirement at all?

3 of those height requirements are relatively low?
  • Tomorrowland Speedway (Magic Kingdom) - 32 inches to ride, 54 inches to drive
  • Goofy's Barnstormer (Magic Kingdom) - 35 inches
  • Kali River Rapids (Animal Kingdom) - 38 inches
Goofy's Barnstormer

13 of those rides require a height of at least 40 inches?
  • Magic Kingdom: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Stitch's Great Escape
  • Epcot: Test Track and Soarin'
  • Hollywood Studios: Star Tours and Tower of Terror
  • Animal Kingdom: Dinosaur
Test Track
 Only 5 of those 14 rides require a height of at least 44 inches?
  • Space Mountain (Magic Kingdom)
  • Mission: Space (Epcot)
  • Expedition Everest (Animal Kingdom)
Expedition Everest
And only 2 of those 5 require a height of at least 48 inches?
  • Rock 'n' Roller Coaster (Hollywood Studios)
  • Primeval Whirl (Animal Kingdom)
Rock 'n' Roller Coaster

At the age of 4, our daughters were able to ride all of the attractions with height requirements of 40 inches. At the age of 5, one daughter was able to ride Space Mountain (barely), which has a height requirement of 44 inches! They LOVED it!

Splash Mountain

There are many reasons why I love Disney destinations so much, and this is a major one. Very rarely do I have to tell my children that they are "not tall enough" to ride. Disney considers their audience, which is families, many with young children. There are very few things those children "cannot" do in the parks!

Disney's Rider Switch Policy

This is one of the best perks at Disney for those who know about it!

If you do have one member of your party who does not meet the height requirement, Disney has a "Rider Switch" policy. A family can ask a castmember at the entrance to the attraction for a "Rider Switch Pass." This allows one adult to stay with the child(ren) who do not meet the height requirement, and the rest of the group to experience the attraction.

When the group is finished, the adults "switch", with the stay-behind adult getting to experience the attraction without waiting in line (usually through the Fast Pass line). The Rider Switch Pass allows up to 3 people to participate, so some of the group can ride again!

My older girls love this, since they get to ride twice: once with Daddy and once with me! I think they'll be disappointed when their little sister meets the height requirement.

Please note: The Rider Switch option is only intended for groups with members who are unable to ride an attraction, not for those who don't happen to want to experience it.

What do you think about Disney's height restrictions? Have you used the Rider Switch? Comment below!