Chickening Out of Thrill Rides

Stephanie ShusterBlog

Thrill rides…who doesn’t love them? Actually a lot of people, especially the littler adventurers — we will address that shortly…. But chickening out is nothing be be embarrassed about, we’ve all done it!

Who doesn’t love a great WDW thrill ride?

I’m an adrenaline junkie. The higher, the faster, the better. Along with that, I have a mild case of claustrophobia. Elevators are not my first mode of transportation to a higher floor. So on one trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios I was faced with an amazing dilemma: do I ride the super fun, thrilling Tower of Terror which happens to be an elevator that “fails” and drops 13 floors, or do I opt out? Enter the “Brave Mom.”

It’s a-okay to take the chicken exit!

The Chicken Exit

My kiddos really wanted to ride this attraction. I did not. They begged, I tried to distract, but alas, I conceded and we went on. The front terrace and the lobby are amazing, fun, so detailed—then they crammed us in the library. After the introduction to what we are about to witness, we were off to the winding line. As we were taking in the atmosphere and hearing the screams, I started to get more and more excited. The girls’ excitement waned. Now I was the one trying to convince them to go on! We got to the top and here is where the most important thing came into play…the “opt out line”

I have tried to convince my girls to ride something. None of us have a fear of heights, so that was never an issue, but there are times they can only see a ride and decide “NOPE! Not gonna do it!” Or they get to the top and we are ready to board the coaster, and them I hear a faint, “Reverse!” That code word is my queue that my daughter needs to opt out.

One should NEVER be embarrassed about asking to opt out. Many of us have done it, myself included. Disney has implemented these options for those kids, big and small, that have decided that this ride is not for them. I’ve used it when noticing a ride was possibly going to be too much for my motion sensitivity (Mission Space).

I’ve seen mothers try to calm their little ones down in the line, look to the cast member desperately and the cast member helped them out of the line to a quieter place. It works wonders for their demeanor the rest of the day.

Some kids are mini adrenaline junkies!

Kids Are Full of Surprises – And Kindness

On the other hand, many kiddos have surprised me with how super brave they are. I’ve seen kiddos barely tall enough to clear the “You have to be this tall line” brave some of my “must do” list, running up the line to get to the loading platform as soon as they can, looking back to see if mom and dad were close at hand. The excitement on their faces is quite contagious.

Back to the Tower of Terror. There was a little princess right next to me with her dad. She tapped me on the arm and asked if I was scared. I confessed, “A little.” She grabbed my hand and told me it would be ok, it would drop—that first one was the scariest—and then it’s just FUN!!! “Don’t worry,” she says, “I’ve ridden it a bunch of times!!” She reassured me that she would poke me when the first drop was coming and then enjoy it with me.

This little princess looked at her dad and said, “I have to help her not be scared.” He smiled and nodded. He mouthed to me that her mom refused to go on. AH, now I understood…so we boarded the car and she made sure to sit by me, and off we went. Yes, I was hesitant at first, and then the excitement of the ride hit me!! It was amazing fun. And my kids? They survived and now ride it over and over as time and the line allow.  After that day, it made it onto all of our MUST DO list.

WDW is full of must-do thrills!

Must-Do Thrills

Speaking of our MUST do list, here is a brief summary of mine. I choose mine for speed, twists and turns (and the Most thrilling have left me breathless!). At Hollywood Studios: Tower of Terror (of course) and Rockin’ Roller coaster. At Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest, Dinosaur. At EPCOT: Test Track. At Magic Kingdom: Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain. For those that want to get wet, my family’s best rides are: Splash Mountain—even ridden in the rain!!—at Magic Kingdom and Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom.

Thanks for going on this “ride” with me. I do hope you experience MANY thrills and chills and breathless moments on the amazing roller coasters and other thrilling attractions Walt Disney World has to offer!

To learn more about WDW thrills – including info on height requirements for kids –  check out the Coasters and Thrills issue of WDW Magazine by clicking here!


My love for Disney started very young and I’ve been going to Disney since before I can remember. The love I’ve always felt  for Disney has now been intertwined with planning magical Disney vacations.  By understanding the unique magic that these trips have provided for my husband, daughters, sister’s families and many of our friends I have become “Disney 911” for any and all of my friends and family.

About the Author

Stephanie Shuster

Stephanie Shuster is the Director of Operations and Editor-In-Chief for WDW Magazine. She is a life-long Disney devotee, living in Hamilton, Canada and dreaming of WDW every day.