Cat in the hat ride height guideAs first timers, probably the nearest thing to disappointment that we ever experienced on vacation in Orlando, was having to sit with our youngest daughter on a kerbside while the rest of the family headed off into Universal and Disney for some fun.
Ride heights can be the curse of many a family vacation, unless you know your stuff and show up in the parks with some realistic expectations.
While we are firm believers that ‘kids are never too young to go‘, it pays to do some research and be prepared to occasionally ‘split up’ the family every now and then to keep everyone happy!  With lots of attractions for younger kids strategically placed nearer the ‘grown up stuff’, it actually works out really well once you work out a little routine.
The theme parks really do have something for everyone!

Here are some tips and pointers that will help your younger guests have a fabulous vacation, whatever size your little theme park heroes are!

  1. Any Orlando Theme Park height restrictions are always in inches
  2. Know your child’s exact height before you arrive in Orlando
  3. If planning in advance, you can estimate that an average kid will tend to grow about 3 inches a year.
  4. Know the rides your kids can go on by using our theme park ride height finder
  5. Remember that ride heights are there for safety!
  6. Staff Members will NEVER bend the rules, no matter how close your kids are.
  7. Some Staff Members may let a kid on, but don’t blame the next one for being more accurate with their height stick check!
  8. Remember that unless you are in a water park, heights are checked with ‘shoes on’.  Any reasonable height sole will be better than very thin sandal soles or flip flops.  Don’t march your kid miles around the parks in uncomfortable soles with raised heels just to beat the ride height check!
  9. It is perfectly acceptable to get your kids to practice standing up straight before you head to Orlando, to reach those height markers.  Just make sure that their heels are always flat on the floor and not raised off the ground in any way.  (No standing on tip toes!)
  10. If older family members are hitting a big ride, with long line waits, search out plenty of alternative fun stuff for younger kids to enjoy in that area of the park.  Don’t sit around in that hot sun being bored, it’s their vacation too!
  11. If you do decide to split up for a ride that the whole family can’t enjoy, use your cell phones to keep each other up to date with news of where you are at in the line waits.

Some of the tips about attraction height requirements are really obvious, but the big takeaways from our Top 10, are not to forget that your kids do actually grow quite quickly.  At approximately an inch every four months, you can kind of work out for yourselves how far they can stretch by the time you travel.

Also understanding that ride attendants simply won’t bend the rules is a massive hurdle that even seasoned theme park travellers just don’t seem to grasp!  Arguing is not going to achieve anything at all, just smile, be polite and walk away.

Our parks search tool is, as far as we know, the only one that covers all of the Central Florida theme parks.  Visit it, and just select your height to see what you can ride across all of the theme parks and water parks.  You can even narrow the search by ride types.

One of the most obvious tips is choosing the correct footwear.
Please don’t get us wrong here, we aren’t talking about cheating the system by placing your kids in crazy footwear, but we are suggesting that some footwear, with very thin soles might not help your situation.  Regarding rules, ride heights in the main parks can be checked against a guest wearing any regular footwear, and the right choices can potentially add another half inch to your chances of getting on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad!

So, we hope this really helps, and above all else, you can use ride heights as an ‘eat your greens’ campaign during the run up to your Orlando vacation!

Here’s a lovely video clip from VisitOrlando to get you into the mood for a fabulous vacation with your younger kids!