SPOILER ALERT! A Little Peak Behind the Curtain Might Take the Scary Away
When we had our first trip with our, at that time, one and only child, I was worried about her being scared of some of the things at the park. She was almost four, which, as it turned out, was a great age to take her. She was still dressing like a princess daily and really thought the magic kingdom was absolutely, 100% real.
I was still worried that she might find some of the attractions scary. Our trip to Sesame Place was all fun and games until a character meet and greet when our child saw The Count as a 6 foot purple vampire. You would be surprised but things you would not think of being frightening are overwhelming and sometimes terrifying for kids.
I expected the Haunted Mansion, the Tower of Terror and even Snow White’s Scary Adventure might be a bit frightening for her. After all, if those rides in particular aren’t a little scary, they should really be called something else. But seeing through the eyes of a child who is in full “true believer” mode, that Dinosaur is really trying to eat you, those Bug’s Life Bugs are really crawling over you, and that Great Movie Ride Alien is going to fall out of the ceiling and eat your mother.
As a very tall three year old, my daughter could ride many rides that were probably beyond her years. I’m not saying we are the type of parents that would put their 3 year old on the Tower of Terror, but I’m not denying it either.
To get her ready for what could be a dark, loud, and crowded experience we did a little ride spoilage. We watched the Disney vacation planning DVDs a lot. We wanted her to be excited wen she saw the ride from the DVD in real life. You never see a kids terrified and crying uncontrollably screaming in a promotional DVD. On those disks everyone is smiling and having a great time.
We also took to the internet and watched ride-through videos people had posted of their trips. We even watched some documentaries on imagineering so she knew that these were just rides and robots, and nothing was going to hurt her.
Did it take away from the magic? With our daughter, not at all. When she saw the castle she was all in. In fact, the ride she wanted to go on again, and again was none other than the Haunted Mansion.
To my surprise, the thing that did scare her was the disembodied voice of the many ride narrators. This also bothered my son years later, as well as the overall darkness of even some of the more mild attractions.
For the most part the prep work paid off. There were plenty of parents who just stood in line for a good chunk of time only to need a Cast Member to escort them and their terrified child to the escape lane for that walk of shame. We would say thinks like, “remember this one from TV? Stitch is going to jump around the building in this show.” This way she knew what was coming and she was safe.
Spoil a bit, put their mind a ease, and save yourself from paying a handsome sum of money just to freak your kids out.
Have a Great Trip