Are you excited about your trip to the Disney Parks?
How about your Nerdlings?
Any rides you have in mind?
If so, be sure you’ve spent time in advance understanding attraction height requirements.
Although height requirements seem like a very small thing, they have the power to make or break a magical Disney experience.
Also read our guide to the best stroller rentals in Disney World.
What are Height Requirements?
Many of Disney’s more exciting rides have a “’minimum height requirement” for riders, and others have certain height requirements to ride unaccompanied by an adult. The fastest and most thrilling rides are usually the ones with the greatest height requirements.
So, what do these height requirements look like? It’s a bit different at each park, but by way of example, the greatest height requirement at Disneyland in Anaheim is 54 inches, which is the requirement to ride in Autopia alone (although you can ride with another person at 32 inches). For Hyperspace Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Star Tours, and Rise of the Resistance, the requirement is 40 inches.
The height requirements for each ride are generally posted in two places. The first place is at the primary entrance to an attraction’s line. (By “primary entrance”, we mean the entrance after any overflow line that may be marked by ropes or chains.) The second place you’ll see the height requirement is at the loading point for an attraction.
The height requirements are usually in the form of a wooden or metal sign that has a marker at the specific height you must be to ride. The sign will usually state some version of “you must be THIS tall” to ride, with an arrow pointing to the height marker. If you just barely touch the marker by standing up straight and tall, that is generally sufficient to ride; but if you’re a half-inch or so below the marker even when standing tall, there’s a good chance you will not be permitted to ride.
If you or your Nerdling do not meet a height requirement, you want to note that before you’ve waited in a long line. So, we strongly recommend checking your height at the line entrance, even if that means you need to go take a look at the primary entrance point before going to the end of an overflow line. Nothing is more disappointing than waiting in a long line only to be turned away at the loading point!
Why Should I Learn About Height Requirements Before Visiting a Park?
All of us Nerds with Nerdlings have experienced wanting to share a new adventure with our kids only to be stymied by height requirements. Being aware of height requirements in advance will ensure your visit to the Disney Parks will be all magic and no disappointment!
By learning about height requirements in advance you can avoid disappointment and plan your visit more efficiently. For example, don’t waste your most precious “waiting times” or speed admissions on rides for which you or a portion of your party don’t meet height requirements. And always be sure to manage Nerdlings expectations by letting them know in advance about height requirements.
By knowing and talking about height requirements in advance, you’ll focus all your energy and time on the attractions you can ride, rather than being disappointed in the attractions you can’t ride.
What are the Height Requirements for Specific Rides?
Many other wonderful Disney blogs have compiled the height requirements for specific rides and they update this information regularly. For example, MagicGuides has compiled this summary of the height requirements for every attraction within every Park in the Disney World resort in Florida. Other sites have covered the height requirements in other Parks.
We recommend a quick Google search for the height requirements within any Park you intend to visit as close to the date of your visit as possible. Remember that height requirements are subject to change (though it’s rare), so you should always confirm any online or previously gathered information before visiting the Park.
Can I Avoid Height Requirements?
Over the years, we Nerds have seen every possible method used by guests to try to circumvent the height requirements. The most common methods we see are shoes with giant heels or tissue paper stuffed inside shoes to add a few extra inches; or sometimes both of these combined.
We understand why Disney guests make these attempts. Height requirements can be frustrating. For the poorly prepared, they can damper the excitement of a visit. Height requirements may also complicate park visits for big groups because it means that some people can’t ride. This Nerd has been in plenty of situations where I must stay behind and watch Nerdlings while the rest of the adults and older Nerdlings go on exciting rides.
But we think the main reason most people try to circumvent height requirements is because they want to share a special experience with their Nerdling. I can imagine a Nerd taking a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Disneyland, eager to share their first rollercoaster experience with their Nerdling, only be turned away because the Nerdling is an inch to short. My heart breaks when I think about something like this!
Still, we Nerds strongly encourage guests NOT to try to avoid height requirements.
Before you get angry, remember these regulations are designed for your own safety. Height requirements are put in place to prevent injuries and deaths as a result of riding these attractions. Disney’s attractions are very safe in part because Disney has always prioritized the health and safety of its guests above all else.
Our Nerdlings may want to ride Hyperspace Mountain, but because of the high speeds and jerky turns, it is simply unsafe for people below a certain height. More importantly, the safety restraint systems are designed for people of certain heights and may not safely and securely carry passengers below that height. Please don’t put your Nerdlings at risk.
As a final word of warning, be aware that Disneyland enforces its height requirements very strictly. If you or your Nerdlings are not tall enough, they will not permit you or your Nerdlings to ride. Period. And if they catch you being dishonest or harassing staff regarding the height requirements, you may find yourself removed from the park.
So, before you think you can sneak your little one past the line, think about the consequences. Don’t put your Nerdlings at risk, and don’t risk an unfortunate end to your magical visit!
Our final thoughts on Height Requirements
The biggest risk when it comes to height requirements is that you’ll be disappointed in the moment. Seeing an amazing ride only to learn you don’t meet the height requirement can be very disappointing.
But by knowing the height requirements in advance, you can avoid some of that disappointment in the moment. A little advance research allows you to identify and start getting excited about the numerous other rides and attractions that can make your trip to a Disney Park fun and exciting, even if you have to hold off on the most daring rollercoasters.
The most important part of any Disney visit is to experience the magic of the broader Disney world, not to ride any specific individual attraction. So, do your homework and don’t let pesky height requirements get in the way of a broader, magical Disney experience. We hope this information helps you make the most of your next Disney Park visit!