Disney World Height Requirements

While most rides at Walt Disney World are available to everyone, there are a few at each park with a minimum height requirement in order to ensure the safety of all guests. These restrictions are not in place to negatively affect your trip but rather to make sure that everyone stays safe. Even if your child isn’t tall enough to ride EVERYTHING in the parks, there is still plenty to do– and it just means you’ll have to come back again! ???? Over the years, our kids have gone from “too short” to “tall enough” and each time they’re able to ride something new, it’s magical! Ellie just made it over the 40″ mark for our big trip last summer and was SO. EXCITED. to finally go on the bigger rides! Unless it’s listed below, you can safely assume that the ride has no height restrictions in place– and if you sign up for our email list, you’ll get a free printable version of the Disney World height requirements!!

WDW Height Requirements Pin

Magic Kingdom Height Requirements

Barnstormer 35″: This stunt plane (kids) roller coaster flies over Fantasyland and is the perfect first rollercoaster experience for preschoolers. NOTE: This ride has a single lap bar that will only pull down as far as the biggest person.

Magic Kingdom Height Restrictions Big Thunder Mountain

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad 40″: The Wildest Ride in the Wilderness is a runaway mine train with high speeds and narrowly escapes falling boulders and exploding dynamite. Some parts of this ride are in the dark, and it can be scary for some younger kids- ours have all LOVED it! NOTE: This ride has a single lap bar that will only pull down as far as the biggest person, and there are some instances of airtime, so hang on to your kiddo if the bar isn’t down far enough!

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train 38″: Like Big Thunder, this ride is also a mine train, but much smoother and not as intense. There’s also a great view of Fantasyland and Cinderella Castle as you’re headed down the mountain. NOTE: This ride has individual lap bars, so your kiddo will be nice and snug!

Space Mountain 44″: Take a ride through outer space on this thrilling ride in the dark. Some kids may be frightened by the dark and seemingly high-speed, but this one is actually slower than the Monorail- it just doesn’t feel like it! NOTE: This ride has individual lap bars, and riders sit by themselves.

Splash Mountain 40″: This is not your typical log ride! Join Br’er Rabbit as he looks for his “laughing place” and float past 100+ audio-animatronics before plunging nearly 50 feet into a briar patch. NOTE: You WILL get wet!! Typically, the left side of the last row stays the driest, though.

Tomorrowland Speedway Height Requirements Magic Kingdom

Tomorrowland Speedway 32″ (54″ to drive alone): At Disney World, the kids are able to get behind the wheel and drive a race car along a miniature motorway. With a working steering wheel and gas pedal, they’re in control (provided they’re 54″ and can drive alone) as they navigate the course.

TRON Lightcycle / Run 48″: With the highest height requirement in the park, TRON Lightcycle / Run takes you on a exhilarating journey across a world with no horizons.

EPCOT Height Requirements

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind 42″: The newest ride at EPCOT, Guardians of the Galaxy packs in the thrills as you take off on an intergalactic chase through space and time.

Mission Space Height Restriction EPCOT

Mission: SPACE 40″ GREEN and 44″ ORANGE: With two missions to choose from, there’s something for everyone on this space exploration simulator! The Orange Mission is a journey to Mars and uses a centrifuge to simulate the speed and G-forces of space travel. The Green Mission orbits the Earth and is family-friendly- since it does not spin, it is much less likely to cause motion sickness.

Soarin’ Around the World 40″: Here you can see the wonders of the world while flying high in this aerial adventure. Everything from the IMAX screen to the smells to the score is phenomenal on this one! NOTE: There is a second loop for the seatbelt to go through if your child’s head is not above the red arrows on the seat.

Test Track 40″: You get to design your own virtual concept car while you’re waiting to board in both the regular and Genie+ lines, and then take it for a drive on the test track. This high-speed adventure (it’s the fastest ride at WDW, after all!) is a can’t miss attraction, and our kids LOVED it as soon as they were tall enough to ride! NOTE: The ride vehicle seats six, so if your party is larger than that, you’ll get split up.

Animal Kingdom Height Requirements

Flight of Passage Height Requirement Animal Kingdom

Avatar Flight of Passage 44″: This incredibly immersive simulator allows you to board a banshee and fly over Pandora, and it’s kind of like a combination of Soarin’ and Star Tours times 1000. Flight of Passage is still one of the most popular rides at WDW and often has a standby wait time of several hours, so definitely try to get Genie+ for this one! NOTE: There’s a test seat before you enter the line, so if you’re unsure of the seat (it’s like riding a motorcycle), you can try it out ahead of time!

DINOSAUR 40″: If you’ve been to Disneyland before, this ride is like Indiana Jones with dinosaurs- in fact, it even uses the same ride vehicles! Along with 11 of your closest friends, you board a Time Rover and embark on a thrilling journey through the late Cretaceous period. There are dinosaurs, meteors, and lots of loud sounds in the dark, so it can definitely be a scary one for kids. NOTE: The Time Rovers feature individual seatbelts, so little ones are buckled in tightly.

WDW Height Requirement Expedition Everest Animal Kingdom

Expedition Everest 44″: This train goes to the top of Mount Everest before encountering a broken track and plummeting BACKWARDS into darkness. While in the dark, you encounter the Yeti several times before escaping the mountain and arriving safely back in the Tibetan village. NOTE: This high-speed coaster has fast drops, goes backward, is partially in the dark, and features the Yeti (who is known to scare small children). It does have individual lap bars, so you’re held in nice and tight.

Kali River Rapids Height Restriction Animal Kingdom

Kali River Rapids 38″: Embark on a whitewater adventure through the Asian jungle where you will almost certainly get wet– and maybe soaked- as you travel through rapids and down a waterfall! The rafts on this water ride seat 12, so if your party is smaller than that, you’ll be grouped with other families. NOTE: Kids between 38-42″ are given a wristband at the entrance to the line because they need to sit in a modified seat with a safety bar. Not every raft has the modified seats but those that do, have two seats with a safety bar so that you can ride with two kids that are between 38-42″.

Hollywood Studios Height Requirements

Alien Swirling Saucers 32″: This spinning adventure features the aliens from Toy Story along with some pretty groovy music.

Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run 38″: Guests have the opportunity to fly the Millenium Falcon on a thrilling smuggling mission.

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Height Restriction Hollywood Studios

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith 48″: Board a limo with Aerosmith and race through the dark streets of Los Angeles on this high-speed coaster. This is the only ride at WDW with inversions (and boasts the highest height requirement in the parks) and also features state-of-the-art sound with Aerosmith songs playing loudly. NOTE: This one has shoulder restraints due to the inversions (2 loops and a corkscrew).

Slinky Dog Dash 38″: This family-friendly coaster is another great option for your kiddo’s first roller coaster experience. Hop aboard Slinky Dog and enjoy the twists and turns (as well as a few great hills!) in Andy’s backyard. NOTE: Slinky Dog Dash has individual lap bars, so kids should feel secure with how far it comes down.

Star Tours- The Adventure Continues 40″: Embark on a mission aboard a Starspeeder 1000 on this 3D simulator ride. This intergalactic adventure features your favorite Star Wars characters, as well as a unique story every time you ride (up to the 54 possible combinations)! NOTE: Like most simulators, this one has individual seatbelts. If motion sickness is an issue for your family, ask to sit in the front row.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance 40″: Join the Resistance in an epic battle against the First Order on the newest ride at Hollywood Studios.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 40″: Venture back in time to Halloween 1939 and take a trip up (and down!) the Hollywood Tower Hotel elevator. Unlike a typical drop zone ride, this one drops you, then sends you back up, and you continue dropping and rising before plummeting to the ground. NOTE: This ride has individual seat belts, but due to the dropping nature, you still float out of your seat a bit.

Tips for Dealing with WDW Height Requirements

  • Most rides in the parks are designed for the whole family to enjoy, but there are a select few in each park with a height requirement to ensure guest safety.
  • If your little one is close to a cut-off (35, 38, 40, 44, 48 inches), practice how to stand up straight before your trip. They have to actually bump their head on the measuring guide or obviously be taller than it, but we’ve found that some kids duck to fit under the guide and end up looking shorter than they actually are- and missing out on the ride.
  • Rider Switch is an option at every ride with a height restriction, so make sure to utilize it if you have little ones. To take advantage of Rider Switch, the whole family goes up to the Cast Member at the ride entrance and asks for a Rider Switch (or Child Swap) pass. Parent 1 and the big kids (or just Parent 1!) then proceed through the line (Genie+ line if you have a Lightning Lane) while Parent 2 waits with the little kids. After Parent 1 rides, Parent 2 can enter using the Genie+ line (or sometimes the ride exit) with up to two additional guests and ride while Parent 1 hangs out with the little ones. This allows both adults to enjoy the attraction, and the big kids may even get to ride twice!
  • If your kiddos aren’t quite tall enough to ride everything on this visit, it just means it’s time to start planning the next trip for when they’re a bit taller. Our kids love getting measured to see if they are tall enough for the next height milestone, and it gives them something to look forward to between trips. Plus, it’s a good way to convince them to eat their veggies– since we all know that’s what makes you tall enough for the rides at Disney World!!!

Have you used Rider Switch before?? Do you have any tips for dealing with the height requirements at Disney World??

More About Visiting WDW:

Celebrate the Holidays at Animal Kingdom

Walt Disney World is the Most Magical Place on Earth and that’s especially true during the holiday season. November 8 kicked off the holiday fun at Animal Kingdom, and this year, they went ALLLL out making it a can’t miss park during the holiday season.

Animal Kingdom Holiday Pin Image

This post is sponsored by Walt Disney World, but as always, all of the magical opinions are my own. #DisneyHolidays

Animal Kingdom Holiday Entrance with garland over the sign

We always go to WDW over Veterans Day weekend to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and this year was no exception. The kids and I were excited to check out all of the new holiday offerings at Animal Kingdom while we were in town. Just like the other parks, the holiday decor begins before you’re even IN the park- the garlands over the sign were BEAUTIFUL.

Discovery Island

Crossing the bridge to Discovery Island, guests find themselves in the midst of a celebration of winter, hand-crafted by the eclectic community of artists who make the island their home. Life-size, artisan-sculpted animal puppets (including reindeer, foxes and polar bears) roam around by day while colorful rooftop luminaries light up the night.

Discover Island Merry Menagerie Puppets at Animal Kingdom

Once you cross over the bridge to Discovery Island and walk towards the Tree of Life, you’re greeted by the Merry Menagerie puppets. We had so much fun interacting and playing with them and the performers did a FANTASTIC giving each their own personality. We probably spent half an hour just hanging out with the puppets and their performers and could have easily stayed much longer.

Holiday mural at animal kingdom

The new mural wall at Animal Kingdom is absolutely breathtaking and I foresee it being the backdrop for a lot of Christmas card photos this year. You can find this one on the walk from Discovery Island to Pandora, right across from Tiffins.

Tree of Life Awakenings

At the center of everything, the Tree of Life awakens each evening as a series of wintry tales emerge from within, complemented by a familiar and heartwarming holiday-inspired musical score. Between awakening moments, the Tree of Life continues to shimmer and sparkle throughout the night, alive with the magic of nature and the spirit of the holidays.

New tree of life awakening disney holidays

The Tree of Life Awakening is a can’t miss when you’re at Animal Kingdom in the evening. Beginning after the sun sets and running throughout the night, this projection show features holiday stories full of wildlife- and a great soundtrack. The kids (and I!) were completely mesmerized as we watched!

DinoLand U.S.A.

Throughout DinoLand U.S.A., all of Donald Duck’s friends gather for Donald’s Dino-Bash! get into the spirit with colorful holiday decorations they have each chosen according to their own styles.

DinoLand Christmas lights at Animal Kingdom

The decorations in DinoLand are fun and colorful and fit in perfectly with the theming!

giant dinosaur covered in Christmas lights at Animal Kingdom

Even the 50-foot brachiosaur on the OldenGate Bridge is in on the holiday fun this year! Check out that Santa hat and white beard!!

Scrooge McDuck meeting with five kids at Animal Kingdom while it's all decked out for Christmas

All of the character meet and greets are extra-festive this time of year. We didn’t wait in line for too many of them, but you can’t celebrate Christmas at Animal Kingdom without taking a quick picture with Scrooge McDuck!

Asia

The residents of Anandapur have decorated the theater district in celebration of Diwali, India’s holiday festival of lights. Glowing flowers, lanterns and more illuminate the square between Anandapur Theater and the waterfront stage, home to authentic and colorful cultural performances. 

Holiday lights and lanterns in Asia at Animal Kingdom

The hanging lanterns and lights were beautiful during the day and even more spectacular all lit up at night. The décor in this part of the park is so understated that you may miss it if you’re walking quickly, but I think that just adds to the charm and it blends in perfectly.

Peppermint soft serve ice cream cone at Animal Kingdom

Walt Disney World goes all out on festive treats and our favorite at Animal Kingdom was definitely the peppermint soft-serve cone. The Anandapur Ice Cream Truck is dishing up this festive treat, along with vanilla and chocolate cones for $4.99 (or one DDP Snack Credit).

Five kids enjoying ice cream cones by Expedition Everest

We each got a cone- clearly, the boys all share my love of peppermint, while the girls opted for vanilla and chocolate (such silliness!)- to enjoy on our walk to Expedition Everest.

Pandora- The World of Avatar

The ex-pats living and working on the moon of Pandora bring a little holiday fun to their interstellar home, with a display at Pongu Pongu of holiday décor, combining vintage pieces from Earth with items handcrafted from materials indigenous to Pandora. 

Pongu Pongu decorated for the holidays

Pandora joined the holiday fun this year, though Pongu Pongu is really the only place that you’ll see anything festive. We had fun searching for the nods to both Christmas and Hanukkah!

Pongu Pongu covered in Christmas lights

And at night, it looks even more Christmas-y when the lights are turned on!

Pandora at night

Even though the holiday décor doesn’t extend throughout Pandora, if you’re there after dark make sure to check out the bioluminescent lights on the walkways.

Holiday Décor by Night

As day becomes night, the rooftop luminaries all around Discovery Island bring a warm and festive glow to the entire village.

Discovery Island garlands and animal luminaries at night at Animal Kingdom

Discovery Island looked festive during the day, especially with the puppets roaming, but at night, OH. MY. GOSH! It was BEAUTIFUL! The garlands and rooftop luminaries were the perfect touch and provided holiday beauty without being over the top.

Animal Kingdom Christmas tree

Even though it’s technically outside of the park, it’s still part of the holiday décor at Animal Kingdom. The giant Christmas tree all lit up at night is one of my favorite places to get a picture of all the kids. And on the plus side, since it’s not IN the park, you can stop by for a picture with the tree even if you don’t want to visit Animal Kingdom.

Is It Worth It?

So, the question that I get asked all the time: Is it worth it to go to Animal Kingdom just to check out the holiday stuff? Yes, a million times, yes!

Happy family in front of the Animal Kingdom Christmas tree

Not only can you get a great family photo with the beautiful Animal Kingdom Christmas tree, but you get to experience a Disney park with decorations that you won’t find anywhere else. Each part of the park has it’s own distinct decorations and they range from simple and almost hard to spot, to completely over the top. In years past, I never would have made the trek to Animal Kingdom JUST for the holiday décor, but they really upped their game this year! And make sure to get a peppermint cone while you’re there!!

Disney Bucket List

DISNEY PARKS

  1. Walt Disney World
  2. Disneyland
  3. Disneyland Paris
  4. Shanghai Disneyland
  5. Tokyo Disney
  6. Hong Kong Disneyland
  7. Go on a Disney Cruise

MAGIC KINGDOM

  1. Attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (and here are some Tips and Tricks!)
  2. Attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (and here are some Tips and Tricks!)
  3. Do the “Keys to the Kingdom” Tour
  4. Watch the Festival of Fantasy Parade from the VIP area
  5. Do a fireworks dessert party
  6. Stay for the Kiss Goodnight at the Magic Kingdom
  7. See the hidden Mickey on Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid (can only be seen at noon on 11/18, Mickey’s birthday)
  8. Be “That Guy” at the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
  9. Be the Beast in Enchanted Tales with Belle
  10. Watch sunrise in the Magic Kingdom
  11. Attend Villains After Hours
  12. Go on a ride with a character

EPCOT

  1. Attend the Flower and Garden Festival
  2. Attend the Food and Wine Festival
  3. Attend the Festival of the Arts
  4. Attend the Festival of the Holidays
  5. Drink around the world– all in one day!
  6. Pick a pearl in Japan
  7. Do the “Behind the Seeds Tour”
  8. See the Candlelight Processional

Candlelight Processional at EPCOT with Neil Patrick Harris NPH

ANIMAL KINGDOM

  1. Find DiVine in Animal Kingdom and watch her perform
  2. Become a Wilderness Explorer
  3. Do the “Caring for Giants” Tour

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

  1. See Toy Story Land
  2. Get a family picture on Tower of Terror
  3. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
  4. Pilot the Millenium Falcon

DISNEY WATER PARKS

  1. Take surfing lessons at Typhoon Lagoon
  2. Spend the day at Blizzard Beach

DISNEY RESORTS

  1. Stay at Disney’s Aulani
  2. Stay at all of the WDW Deluxe Resorts
  3. Stay in the Disneyland Dream Suite or Cinderella Castle Suite
  4. Make s’mores with Chip and Dale at the Campfire Sing-A-Long at Fort Wilderness
  5. Go to the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness
  6. See the Christmas Lights at Fort Wilderness
  7. Ride the Surrey bikes on the Boardwalk
  8. Take a boat cruise during the fireworks
  9. Watch the Electrical Water Pageant

DISNEY DINING

  1. Eat at every table-service restaurant at Disney World
  2. Eat at EVERY restaurant at Disney World– the Golden Spoon!
  3. Eat in Cinderella Castle (Cinderella’s Royal Table)
  4. Do the Rio Grande Nacho Challenge at Pecos Bills (no longer offered)

MISCELLANEOUS DISNEY FUN

  1. Become DVC Members
  2. Attend a DVC Moonlight Magic event
  3. Do a VIP Tour
  4. Do an adults-only trip
  5. Go on a trip with a friend
  6. Do Disney ALONE!
  7. Stay from rope drop to extra magic hours close
  8. 4 parks in one day
  9. Visit the Walt Disney Family Museum

What’s on your Disney Bucket List??

Can't Miss things to do at Disney Parks

Tusker House Brunch Review | Animal Kingdom

Tusker House is one of my favorite character breakfast options at Walt Disney World. It’s located in the Harambe area of Animal Kingdom near Kilimanjaro Safari and you can dine with Mickey, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy decked out in their finest safari gear.

Tusker House Animal Kingdom

As a fun Father’s Day treat, I booked a 1030am reservation for our family and my parents at Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Even though I knew that we would be at Animal Kingdom as soon as the park opened, I opted for the later breakfast time so that it would serve as a brunch instead of just breakfast.  We were able to get the lower breakfast pricing and the benefit of both the breakfast and lunch buffet choices since they start switching the buffet over to lunch at around 1045am. Lunch and dinner have the same spread and the same pricing so there’s no real advantage to booking a late lunch like there is with a late breakfast.

Buffet line at Tusker House

As soon as you walk into Tusker House, you’re transported to an open-air market in Africa.  To the left are breads and salads, the back has entrees and a carving station, and the center section is full of pastries and desserts (that should not be missed!). Like all of Harambe Village in Animal Kingdom, the theming of the restaurant, especially the buffet area, is fantastic– they clearly went above and beyond in the Disney magic department!

Goofy Animal Kingdom

As soon as we were seated, our server explained the character rotation to us and let us know that Goofy would be up first.  Since it’s a buffet and there is always an issue with people being at the buffet when a character comes around (at least in our family!), she let us know which table to keep an eye on for an indication that we should stay put (or round up the kids) so that we didn’t miss any characters.

Donald Animal Kingdom

Donald was so cute in his safari gear!!

Mickey Waffles Animal Kingdom

Mickey waffles!!  The food at Tusker House is amazing, probably the best food of any Disney buffet that we’ve had the chance to try!!  The spicy shrimp (sadly, not pictured) was the standout star of the lunch spread.  Big, flavorful shrimp in a deliciously spicy sauce served over a bed of rice– I honestly could have eaten a plate of the shrimp and been completely satisfied!

Tusker House characters

Safari Daisy was so much fun!  She was definitely the most interactive character that we met and had a ball playing with the kids.

Daisy at Animal Kingdom

Hugs from Daisy 🙂 Ellie absolutely LOVED Daisy! In the past, she’s been slow to warm up to characters but Daisy spent lots of time with her and by the end, I think Ellie wanted her to join our family for the day!

Bacon in Animal Kingdom

Our kids love buffets because they can get whatever they want to eat, and that often means way more bacon than I would normally let them have!  They’re at an age where they can go up to the buffet on their own and get what they want making buffets a bit easier for our family than they were a few years ago.  When you have to take little kids up and get their food along with your own, it can be more time-consuming and stressful so when our kids were littler we leaned toward doing family style character meals (like at ‘Ohana) instead of buffets.

Mickey Mouse Tusker House

Safari Mickey was great and posed with our family in a variety of configurations!  We love meeting Mickey in all of his different outfits and his safari outfit definitely did not disappoint.

Mickey Mouse Safari outfit

Happy 40th Anniversary, Mom and Dad!!  A milestone anniversary wouldn’t be complete without a picture with the main Mouse!

Tusker House ceiling

Tusker House will definitely be on our must-do list from now on.  The theming is amazing, the characters were great and the food was delicious– a win-win-win!!  The 1030am reservation time worked really well for our family since everyone could fill up on breakfast and lunch foods and we didn’t need to eat again until dinnertime.  It was easier to justify the high price of a character meal since it really counted as two meals that day.

Have you been to Tusker House??  What was your experience??

Check out More Places to Eat at WDW:

Disney’s Caring for Giants Tour Review | Animal Kingdom

Since we go to Disney World fairly often (not as often as I’d like!), we try and incorporate new experiences every time we go.  We’ve been wanting to do a tour forever but most tours have a minimum age of 12-16 which doesn’t work with our kids since they’re 4-14, and they can be really pricey which adds up quickly for our family of 7.  I was so excited to learn about the Caring for Giants Tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom because the minimum age is only FOUR and the hour-long tour itself is only $30 (and an Annual Passholder discount is offered!), so it quickly became one of our Disney Bucket List items.

Caring for Giants Tour Review

Caring for Giants is a 60-minute experience where you meet with animal specialists and observe elephants from approximately 80 feet away. We booked the tour over the phone (407-WDW-PLAY) about a month before our trip and had no problem securing the first tour of the day for our group of 9, though space is limited to about 15 people per tour, so they can fill up.

We checked in for our tour about 15 minutes early at the Curiosity Animal Tours kiosk near Kilimanjaro Safari, plenty of time to sign all of the waiver forms that were required for our group. The kids found a great fan to stand under and tried to stay cool while we waited for the tour to begin.

Caring for Giants Tour discount

Our tour started right on time at 930am and it was just our group plus one other family. The first part of the tour went through the backstage area behind Tusker House which meant no photography but we did see Tusker House CMs walking around as well as the Lion King cast! After a short backstage walk, we boarded a passenger van and continued through backstage areas of Animal Kingdom, past some of the animal care buildings and night barns for the Kilimanjaro Safari animals.

Caring for Giants elephants

Once we parked at our destination, it was a short walk up a ramp to the viewing area and we were SO CLOSE to the elephants!! While we all enjoyed the view, our animal care specialist, Marc, told us all about the elephants, introducing them each by name and elaborating on their personalities.

Caring for Giants Tour

Like most kids, ours were entertained with all the “poop” talk and thought it was both disgusting and hilarious when the elephant dung was passed around.  The elephants at Animal Kingdom produce roughly a ton of dung each and every day!

elephants at Animal Kingdom

There are ten elephants that call the Safari home, three males and seven females.  Herds are matriarchal and made up of only females and young males; the adolescent males are forced out of the herd and live the bachelor life. The one adult male at Animal Kingdom lives separate from the herd and he’s often the first elephant that you see while riding Kilimanjaro Safari.

Caring for Giants tour

The kids got to try on this elephant collar, a tool that researchers use to record elephant vocalizations, though it clearly didn’t fit quite right! Research has shown that the elephants in Animal Kingdom make the same vocalizations as herds of elephants in Kenya, meaning that they speak one, universal “language”.

Caring for giants tour review

“Baby” Stella, the newest member of the herd, was born at Animal Kingdom in January 2017.  At birth, she weighed 315 pounds and now, seventeen months later, she weighs over 1000 pounds.

Disney Caring for Giants

Sweet baby Stella.  She spent most of our observation time with mom, but every once in a while she would venture off by herself though she never strayed too far away and was never gone for long.

Disney Caring for Giants Tour

From our vantage point on the perimeter of the Safari area, we could watch the safari trucks drive past the herd.  While their view was partially obstructed by walls and boulders, we had a much clearer view of the herd as it traveled around.

Caring for Giants tour review

We’ve always called Ellie, “Ellie the Elephant,” and they’re one of her favorite animals so she really enjoyed seeing them up close and personal.  While some have said that this experience isn’t really geared towards the 4-8 crowd, our four-year-old thought it was awesome. She listened quietly as we learned about the elephants and LOVED watching them play and interact with each other.

Caring for Giants Animal Kingdom

Elephants spend a lot of their day eating hay and grass, but because their digestive systems are not very efficient, their poop is filled with undigested hay.  This fibrous poop can then be used to make paper– like the Caring for Giants nametags that are made from 85% elephant poop fibers that have been cleaned and recycled!

Caring for Giants Tour Review

After chatting with Marc for a while, we met with a Cultural Representative from Africa and learned about the elephant populations there. While they used to be common, poaching and habitat destruction have made it harder for the elephants to survive and their numbers are dwindling.

Because their habitats are becoming smaller, elephants have had to move into more populated areas in an effort to survive.  However, as they encroached on farmlands, they upset the farmers who then either trapped or shot the elephants in order to protect their crops.  Obviously, this was not helping the elephant population in Africa at all, until scientists from Animal Kingdom partnered with the Disney Conservation Fund and the nonprofit, Save the Elephants, to confirm that elephants are afraid of bees and they put this knowledge to work.  By installing beehives along the perimeter of their properties, farmers were able to keep the elephants out of their crops as well as make additional money from selling the honey.  It proved to be a win-win solution for both the farmers and the elephants!!

Caring for Giants Tour Review

Baby Stella and her mom, Donna– these two were so sweet together!!  Donna is also mother to Nadirah and Luna, both of whom live at Animal Kingdom as well.

Caring for Giants Tour

Our kids (ages 4-14) absolutely loved this experience as did all of the adults.  It was the perfect amount of time to learn about these gentle giants, see them interact within the herd, and get back to the park for more fun.  Unlike longer tours, this one is perfect to do during a one-day visit to Animal Kingdom because it only takes up about an hour and fifteen minutes of your time, allowing plenty of time to explore the rest of the park.

We had a fantastic time on this experience and would not hesitate to recommend it, and I’m sure we will do it again on a future trip.  Since the main point of the tour is elephant observation, it is a different experience each and every time, something that is not always true on the other Disney tour offerings.

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Have you done the Caring for Giants tour??  What’s your favorite Disney tour??

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Top Snacks at Walt Disney World

There are SO MANY amazing snacks at Walt Disney World and you could literally spend all day, every day of your trip snacking through the parks.  With tons of snack options to choose from, and some even developing cult followings, it was difficult to narrow down our top Disney snacks to just one or two per park.  We’ll have another post coming out soon with more of our favorites in each park, but for the purpose of this comprehensive look at Walt Disney World, we went with a max of two in each location giving us 11 of our favorite snacks throughout Walt Disney World.

In order to keep costs down and not fill up on sugary drinks (so we can eat more snacks, obviously!) we bring these filtering water bottles. Florida water can taste a little “different” and these water bottles do a great job minimizing the weird taste, ensuring that we stay hydrated in the Florida heat.

Best Disney Snacks Pin

Magic Kingdom Snacks

Top disney snacks buffalo chicken tots

While not technically a “snack” and not eligible as a snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan, the Loaded Buffalo Chicken Tots from The Friar’s Nook are definitely worth a stop. We included them as a snack because even though they’re quite filling, they’re easily splittable for an afternoon snack and at $9.49, splitting an order puts it firmly in “snack” pricing territory. The crispy tots are topped with buffalo chicken, blue cheese dressing and celery, making a spicy and delicious snack.

Top disney snacks cheshire cat tail

The Cheshire Cat Tail from the Cheshire Café is a more traditional snack, and eligible as a snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan. Located near the Mad Tea Party, Cheshire Café is a small location with a walk-up window and a very limited menu. Really, the only reason I can see stopping there is to get a Cheshire Cat Tail, and you ABSOLUTELY should stop! It’s a braided pastry with chocolate filling, pink and purple frosting drizzle, and chocolate chips.  While it sounds totally basic, it’s really good. Like, realllllllly good!  And at only $5.85, it’s another one of our favorite Disney snacks whether you’re on the dining plan or not.

EPCOT Snacks

Top disney snacks schoolbread

The Schoolbread at Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe is one of our top picks in the World Showcase.  We LOVE EPCOT dining options and snacking around the “World” is one of our favorite activities, but even if we don’t have time for a full World Showcase loop, we always make sure to stop in Norway for Schoolbread.  At first glance, it’s just a toasted coconut covered roll, but this sweetbread pastry is filled with custard making it a sweet treat that’s not-too-sweet and Disney Dining Plan snack credit eligible.

Best disney snacks kaki gori

Head to Kabuki Cafe in the Japan Pavillion for a great treat to beat the heat- Kakigori! This Japanese shaved ice can be topped with strawberry, melon, cherry, tangerine, blue raspberry or a rainbow of any three fruit syrups.  This giant cup of shave ice is only $4 (and DDP snack credit eligible) but you should totally spring for the sweet milk topping for an extra buck.

Animal Kingdom Snacks

Best Disney snacks night blossom

The Night Blossom from Pongu Pongu in Pandora is another great treat to beat the heat! We’ve always found Animal Kingdom to be the hottest park (least shade, lots of concrete, etc) so we’re always looking for something cold and refreshing.  Enter the Night Blossom- it’s a frozen limeade with apple and desert pear flavors topped with passion fruit boba balls (you can order with or without the boba balls).  This frozen, fruity concoction is $5.99 and counts as a snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan.

Top Disney snacks animal kingdom fries

For a more savory snack, we love Mr. Kamal’s Seasoned Fries from Mr. Kamal’s in Asia.  The crispy fries are topped with tzatziki salad and drizzled with sriracha ketchup (you can get extra ketchup, too!) and are totally addictive.  They’re $5.99 and count as one snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan, too.  There are several shady tables near Mr. Kamal’s but watch out for the birds– they love the fries, too!

Hollywood Studios Snacks

Top disney snacks mickey ice cream bars

So I have to be honest here, we haven’t spent much time in Hollywood Studios lately due to all of the construction so I’m not really up-to-date on the latest snacks there (though I’ve heard great things about Woody’s Lunchbox!). DHS has been a half-day park for our family, or we skip it altogether, but I’m assuming that will change once Star Wars Land is open.  So for now, our go-to DHS snack is a Mickey Ice Cream Bar– they’re $5.75 or one snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan.

Disney Resorts Snacks

Best Disney snacks dole whip

Even though you can get a Dole Whip Float in the Magic Kingdom, we ALWAYS get it from the Pineapple Lanai at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (mainly so that we can enjoy other snacks in the park!). The dole whip float- pineapple and vanilla soft serve topped with pineapple juice- is a great treat to enjoy while relaxing at the Polynesian. We often stop by on an off-day from the parks just to get a dole whip and ride the monorail for some resort hopping fun.

Top Disney snacks monorail cupcake

Another favorite of ours, the Oreo Monorail Cupcake, can be found at the Contempo Café in Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  Gourmet cupcakes are a huge thing at Disney Parks right now, and this is one of our favorites because of the white chocolate monorail.  It’s a basic vanilla cupcake filled with cookies and cream frosting and topped with more of the same, but the white chocolate monorail really puts it over the top.  This sweet treat is one snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan or $5.99.

Disney Springs Snacks

Best Disney snacks earthquake at Ghirardelli

Ok, so this one isn’t technically a snack, but when you’re splitting it as a family of 7, it feels like a one and it’s a favorite for our crew. The Earthquake at Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop in The Marketplace has 8 scoops of ice cream (you can choose the flavors), eight toppings, bananas, whipped cream, cherries, and sprinkles.  It’s $42.95 but it easily feeds 6-8 people making the price per person much closer to that of a snack.  And, they offer discounts for Annual Passholders, DVC Members and military so for our family, it’s actually cheaper than everyone getting their own snack elsewhere. . . and way more fun!

Top disney snacks joffreys coffee

Last, but certainly not least, are the drinks with Latte Art from Tea Traders Café at The Landing.  You pick any of their delicious lattes, mochas, or tea lattes, and for 50¢ extra, you can get it topped with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy or Pluto. It’s a fun little add-on to your afternoon pick-me-up and it makes for a great photo op!

Thanks so much for following along on our favorite snacks throughout Walt Disney World!  There are so many to choose from and new ones coming out every week it seems, so there’s always something new to try.

What’s your fave WDW snack??


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