It’s almost Halloween, which has my thoughts turning toward things that scared the snot out of me as a young kid. It took me years to work up the courage to go on one particular Disney attraction and there is at least one attraction where I still get chills on the back of my neck.
I decided to conquer my fears by listing all the rides that might scare little kids and why. For criteria, I’m including attractions that are dark, feature loud noises, contain spooky content, disturbing imagery, and / or have a perceived intensity that is just too much to overcome one’s fear. Some attractions were excluded because warnings or height limits means smaller kids are unlikely to experience them anyway.
Dinosaur – This attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom meets almost all of the criteria. From dark rooms, to loud noises, and up close encounters with giant dinosaurs, this attraction has been known to make even large kids cry.
It’s Tough To Be A Bug – this attraction deals with the creepy crawly world of insects in an up close and personal manner. As such it might be too much for some young children. For those who have arachnophobia, it’s definitely too much.
Haunted Mansion – Walt Disney wanted his haunted mansion to be full of quirky, spooky fun, but you have to ride your omnimover through some of the most effective haunted effects ever created for a themepark to get to the fun. Back in the day, they sometimes even had a cast member dressed as a knight to jump out and scare unsuspecting guests. This one definitely qualifies for the list.
Space Mountain – You ride in near complete darkness through what was once believed to be the fastest ride at a Disney themepark, darn right it’s scary. For a young kid with no experience on roller coasters beyond Disney’s tamer kiddie coasters, the prospect of diving into the dark for the first time is anxiety inducing to say the least. That was the case with me until I was 9 years old and that’s why Space Mountain is on the list.
Stitch’s Great Escape – The chili dog breath is enough to frighten nearly anyone, but this ride suckers kids into a potentially terrifying experience another way – unexpected complete darkness when you’re locked into your seat. Disney doesn’t want little kids to get up and run around in the dark, so they lock them in place with shoulder restraints. What makes this one bad is that it takes one of Disney’s best original characters in years and associates bad memories with it.
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – There’s nothing more terrifying than the feeling of being out of control; add 13 stories of freefall in an elevator to the equation and you have one scary ride. At least this one has terror right in its name, that’s a clear sign to any trepidatious kid that they may want to avoid it until the next vacation.
The following attractions didn’t make the list, but they get honorable mentions: Fireworks, Mission Space, Test Track, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. How about you? Which rides scared you as a kid, or even still scare you now?