Going to Disney World and wondering if your highly sensitive or sensory sensitive kids will enjoy Frozen Ever After? Or will it cause meltdowns instead?
Well, you’ve found yourself in the right place!
Here you’ll find a thorough overview of Frozen Ever After, looking at factors like sudden noises, noise level, darkness, bright lights, speed, and “scary” visuals. Sometimes, these seemingly little things can induce meltdowns in our highly sensitive or sensory sensitive kids.
If you don’t like spoilers and it’s your first time going to Disney World, don’t read on! The whole purpose of these ride reviews and ratings is to make sure there are NO surprises that will throw off you and your children.
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You can find Frozen Ever After at the Norway Pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot. It first opened on June 21, 2016. Since then, it has been one of the most popular attractions at Epcot. If you ever go to Epcot for rope drop (a park strategy to get there before opening so you can be among the first to get on one of the headliner rides before significant lines form), you’ll see people bolting towards Soarin’, Test Track, or Frozen Ever After.
Clearly, it’s themed after the oh-so-loved movie “Frozen”. It features our favorite characters, Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf. You get to voyage to Arendelle on a Nordic vessel, through the frozen willow forest, and up the North mountain to Queen Elsa’s ice palace, while listening to so many of our favorite Frozen tunes.
This is an indoor boat ride, and the first attraction to install all-electronic audio animatronics. This technology allows the characters to move in a more lifelike and fluid manner. The duration of the ride is about 5 minutes, and there is no height minimum in order to go on this attraction. This means even infants can go on this!
But just because babies can ride this doesn’t mean it’s an attraction your highly sensitive or sensory sensitive kids will enjoy. Let’s break it down and figure out if this ride will be an enjoyable or unpleasant one for your child.
Sudden Noises 2/5
Highly sensitive kids who are going on Frozen Ever After may experience some sudden noises. One of the times this occurs is near the end of the ride where Marshmallow, the huge snow-monster, lets out a big roar. Both of my kids were pretty startled with this noise.
Another part of the ride that could be experienced as “sudden” is when the doors open to the scene of Elsa belting out “Let it go” in her castle. Other than these two instances, there aren’t really many sudden noises that will startle and scare your highly sensitive children.
Noise Level 4/5
People who identify as highly sensitive, even children, are more likely to be overwhelmed by loud noises. The noise level on Frozen Ever After is pretty loud! Most of the sounds are fairly pleasant, as guests get to hear many of the songs from the Frozen movie soundtrack. It’s just that the volume level is cranked up real high, as it is on many Disney World attractions. If your child is easily bothered by loud noises, be aware that Frozen Ever After is loud. Prepare ahead of time with noise canceling headphones or ear plugs.
Frozen Ever After is an indoor boat ride. And like many other indoor rides, such as Peter Pan’s Flight, there are many elements of darkness. The queue is very dark, as it is themed to look like you’re outside at nighttime, with lanterns hanging everywhere.
There are sections throughout the ride that are very dark. An example of this is when we recap Elsa’s story with Grand Pabbie and the trolls, and then enter Elsa’s castle on the North Mountain. It’s also quite dark and misty when approaching Marshmallow, the snow-monster. Some highly sensitive children are extra fearful of the dark, so be mindful that Frozen Ever After is quite dark for most of the ride.
Bright & Flashing Lights 4/5
Highly sensitive, sensory sensitive, and anxious children can be bothered by bright and flashing lights. All their senses are more heightened, and this includes their vision. Frozen Ever After is a ride that might be a little overwhelming for highly sensitive kids who are sensitive to bright lights.
While most of the ride is dark, the part with Elsa singing “let it go” has a lot of flashing lights from her “snow magic” and ice crystals. It’s very similar to the scene in the movie when she is building her ice castle with her magical powers. These lights are not used in a scary context, but could be experienced as scary by some sensitive kiddos.
Okay, this is no Test Track or Rock ’n’ Rollercoaster. Those attractions reach max speeds of 65 mph and 57 mph respectively. Frozen Ever After is mostly a gentle, slow-moving boat ride. However, there are two parts of the attraction where you are moving a little faster.
In the section where Elsa is singing “let it go”, you will be speeding backwards as you see all the snow magic swirling around you. It is also a little fast when you slide past Marshmallow, the snow monster. If your children or family members are extra sensitive to sudden increases in speed, be mindful of these two parts of the ride.
In addition to speed, there are a few small drops. The scene with Elsa singing “let it go” is where there is a small backwards drop. It honestly feels more like a slide than a drop. However, there is a slightly bigger drop closer to the end of the ride. As your boat goes from traveling backwards to going forwards past Marshmallow, there is a final drop in the darkness as you enter the last few scenes of the ride. If you’ve ever seen the on-ride photos taken on Frozen Ever After, this is the spot where it happens.
“Scary” Visuals 2/5
What is scary to one child is not always scary to another, so this is obviously very subjective. Highly sensitive kids in particular can have a hard time with intense conflict, violence, and villains. When it comes to Frozen Ever After, there isn’t too much that you need to be concerned about. Most of the ride is pretty fun and lighthearted without major villains.
Some children could experience the snow magic scene with Elsa as scary or overwhelming, because visually there’s a lot going on. The scene with Marshmallow, the snow-monster, was a little scary for my kids as well. He is very large, and he lets out a roar with a big burst of dark mist coming out of his mouth.
Proximity to Others 1/5
Crowds and being in close proximity with others can be overwhelming for highly sensitive, sensory sensitive, and anxious kids. As of March 2021, social distancing in queues is still being enforced. On the actual boat, there are several rows of seating, and they will seat your party together in these rows. So it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll be really close to others who are not part of your group. I give this a ‘1’ because you’re not in your own separate ride vehicle, but this should’t be a concern for most people.
Strong Smells 1/5
Disney makes their attractions and theme parks more immersive by using ALL senses, including smell! Highly sensitive or sensory sensitive kids are more likely to be bothered by strong smells, even if they are seemingly pleasant ones! My mom, who is also a HSP, never wore perfume and couldn’t handle any strong fragrances because it would give her headaches and make her feel nauseous.
Frozen Ever After isn’t too overwhelming in the smell department for highly sensitive kids. This ride chart that Disney created indicates that this ride has some element of scents/smells, but we really can’t recall any smells from our experiences!
The sensation of getting wet on rides, especially getting wet unexpectedly, can definitely cause meltdowns in highly sensitive kids. While Frozen Ever After is not anything close to Splash Mountain, there is a chance you could get wet on this ride! That final drop after you pass Marshmallow is where you could get wet. This is especially the case if you’re sitting in the front row. You won’t be soaking wet, but my son was super startled and bothered by this part of the ride. He was worried about every other boat ride thereafter, including “it’s a small world” and Living with the Land because he thought it meant he would get wet. 😉
This happens near the end of the ride, so even if the crying and meltdowns begin, you’ll be able to get off the ride soon after. I always make sure I have a change of clothes in my park bag for each kiddo. These reusable bags are perfect for storing extra clothes and keeping wet clothes separate from the rest of your bag.
How do we understand the rating? A lower score means less sensory overload, while a higher score means a greater likelihood of being overwhelmed and overstimulated. This is helpful when deciding which rides might cause sensory overload meltdowns for our highly sensitive kids.
Frozen Ever After is a fairly gentle ride, but there are clearly several factors that could make it not-so-fun for some highly sensitive kids. Be particularly mindful if they are afraid of the dark, or especially scared of Marshmallow the snow-monster. And take note if they tend to be bothered by loud music, small drops, and getting potentially wet.
You can coach your child through these uncomfortable moments by bringing noise canceling headphones or ear plugs, reminding them they can close their eyes if they feel scared, and reassuring them that they can change their clothes if they do get wet.
If you’ve got Frozen fans in your family, this is definitely a can’t-miss ride! The animatronics are done SO well; they really do look lifelike. And it is so fun to relive all the catchy songs from their soundtrack while on this ride.
What has YOUR experience been on Frozen Ever After? Do you love it or hate it? If you haven’t been yet, is it on your list of must-dos for your visit to Epcot?
If you need extra support and community from other parents of highly sensitive kids going to Disney World, I encourage you to join my new private Facebook group—“Planning Disney for Highly Sensitive Kids (and Adults too!)!
You can ask all your questions and get feedback from a wonderful group of Disney-loving parents who are also looking to minimize meltdowns and maximize the magic during their Disney World vacation.
Lastly, don’t forget to download your FREE copy of my must-have Disney ride planner tool! Use it so you can easily keep track of which rides you want to avoid and which you want to try with your highly sensitive kids. It will make planning your park days SO much easier! It is an editable and fillable PDF file, but there is an option to print a blank copy so you can fill it out by hand.
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