Finally 40″ Tall At Disney World

For as long as I can remember (really, since having kids) we have ALWAYS had to utilize rider swap at Disney parks because at least one of the kids wasn’t tall enough to ride something.  And once we got to the point where the big kids were tall enough for everything, Ellie was born and we had to start all over.

Ellie has always been on the small side so we’ve been waiting… and waiting… and waiting for her to get tall enough to go on the “big” rides with us.  We measured her every month at home to check the progress, told her she needed to eat her veggies if she wanted to be tall enough (which isn’t a big deal because she LOVES veggies), hoped and prayed, and finally, for our trip this summer, she hit the 40inch mark and she was ridiculously excited!!

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – Magic Kingdom – 38″ or taller

While the height requirement on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is actually only 38 inches, she was not quite tall enough the last time we were at the Magic Kingdom so this was her first time riding.  We chose to do Mine Train as her first “big ride” just to make sure that she enjoyed the thrill level and then we moved up from here.  She was a bit nervous when we started out.

But absolutely LOVED it!!  She’s seen so many ride videos– either PhotoPass from previous trips or from the big kids showing her on YouTube– and has dubbed it the “Hi Ho Ride”.  She sang the song on the lift up and smiled so big on the way down.  It was definitely her favorite ride of the trip… at least, so far!

Test Track – EPCOT – 40″ or taller

We chose not to tell Ellie anything about this ride because we weren’t 100% sure that she would want to ride if she knew how fast it went.  Turns out, our fears were all for nothing, and she loved it!  At least we now know that she loves fast rides and high thrills!!

Soarin’ Over the World – EPCOT – 40″ or taller

We didn’t really explain this ride to Ellie until we were at the front of the line, not because we thought she wouldn’t like it, but because we hadn’t really thought about it.  I told her that your feet dangle and made sure to put her flip-flops in the bin under the seats so that they didn’t accidentally fall off during the ride. She loved the elephants in the safari scene– they’re her favorite animal!

Pretending to put her toes in the water– she had on a huge smile through the whole ride!  For kids (under about 5 feet tall) there’s a loop that you put the seatbelt through so that they can’t slide out of the seat.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Magic Kingdom – 40″ or taller

This ride, her mama’s favorite, was one that she was a bit apprehensive about.  We didn’t need to tell her anything about the ride because she’s seen the train zooming around Big Thunder Mountain on plenty of occasions.  She said she wanted to ride and was all smiles as we waited in line, but as soon as we were on and the lap bar was pulled down, she got scared.  I honestly thought that she was going to spend the whole ride with her face burried in me, but she stayed brave and looked forward.

And LOVED it!!  Even though she said Mine Train was her favorite, the squeals of delight from her on Big Thunder Mountain are something that I’ll never forget.

Splash Mountain – Magic Kingdom – 40″ or taller

After riding Big Thunder (and loving it), she was completely against the idea of going on Splash Mountain because the drop was “too big”.  With some bribery (and telling her she didn’t have a choice!) she boarded our log and we were off.  She and I sat in the back row so that we didn’t get quite as wet as the kids in the front row– didn’t work, we all got pretty wet!  Every ten seconds she would ask me “is that the big drop??” and I would assure her that we still had awhile and to look around and enjoy the ride.  By the time we got to the top, she was as close as possible to me as she could be without sitting on my lap and she looked petrified.  By the time we got to the bottom of the drop, she was soaked and laughing hysterically and has told me every day that the “big drop ride” is her absolute favorite and has asked when we can go ride it again.

Kali River Rapids – Animal Kingdom – 38″ or taller

Grandma and Grandpa were kind enough to take all of the grandkids on Kali River Rapids while the parents stayed dry (or would have if it wasn’t Animal Kingdom in June!) and took pictures.  The height requirement on this one is also 38 inches but it was Ellie’s first time being tall enough to ride.  She hid behind Grandma (and Grandma’s poncho!), not because she was afraid but in an effort to stay dry!

In fact, she (and the other kids) loved it so much that Grandma and Grandpa took all the grandkids TWICE in a row!

All smiles!  Kids between 38-42″ are given a special wristband at the entrance to the ride and then have to sit in a special seat with a safety bar that they can hold onto.  Not every raft has the modified seats but those that do have two seats with the safety bar allowing you to ride with two 38-42″ kiddos.

Happy faces from everyone on Kali River Rapids!

Surprisingly, no one got very wet on Kali River Rapids- or as wet as they’ve gotten in the past.  At the very end of the ride, we used the water guns to shoot their raft and get them all a bit wetter.

Big Thunder Mountain AGAIN – Magic Kingdom – 40″ or taller

Since Big Thunder Mountain is one of our family’s favorite rides, we went on it many times during our week at Walt Disney World.  Ellie even branched out and rode it with one of her big brothers– and that same smile!

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train AGAIN – Magic Kingdom – 40″ or taller

Ellie asked to go on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train every time we walked past it, so luckily, we had FastPasses for multiple days and we didn’t have to wait in the 120-minute line.  She really liked sitting in the front row and we often requested it!

Such a happy girl!  I’m so glad that after all of the waiting for her to be tall enough, she loves the rides and we can ride together as a family.  Now we need to wait for the 44″ mark so that she can go on Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, and Flight of Passage!  One of my favorite things about Disney Parks, and one of the reasons that we keep coming back, is that there is always something new to experience.

Things to Remember about Disney World Height Requirements

  • Height requirements are in place for the safety of your child and other guests– not to negatively impact your trip or make your kiddo miss out on something fun.
  • If your child is close to the cut-off they may get measured at the ride entrance and again just before boarding.  We didn’t have any issues with making the cut-off at the ride entrance and being denied at boarding on this trip, but we have had that problem in the past.  If that happens, PLEASE don’t take it out on the Cast Member– they are probably a college student and do not want to be held personally liable if your child gets hurt on a ride because they were not quite tall enough.  If you feel that the call was made in error, ask for a supervisor.
  • Practice how to stand up straight and not move around with your kids.  The goal is for them to bump their head on the measuring guide (or clearly be taller than it).  Some kids crouch down thinking they need to be below the guide and then they end up with an inaccurate measurement and miss out on riding.  Last year Ellie was literally the width of a piece of paper too short for Mine Train– they really do have to bump their head on the guide.
  • If they’re still not tall enough, utilize the Rider Switch option so that the rest of the family still gets to ride.  In this case, the whole family goes up to the Cast Member at the ride entrance, then Parent 1 and the big kids (or just the parent!) can go on the ride while Parent 2 waits with the ones that are not tall enough.  When Parent 1 is done, Parent 2 can proceed to the FastPass entrance (with up to 2 additional guests– and they can be the kids that just rode with Parent 1) and enjoy the ride while Parent 1 waits with the little one(s).  This way, both parents (or adults) get to ride and sometimes the other kids get to go twice!
  • Even if your kiddo isn’t tall enough to ride EVERYTHING in the parks, there is still plenty to do!  And it gives you a great excuse to plan another trip for when they are taller!!

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