Slinky Dog Dash for Highly Sensitive Kids: a Ride Review and Rating
Are you planning a trip to Disney World and wondering if your highly sensitive, sensory sensitive or anxious kids will enjoy Slinky Dog Dash? Or will they be scared and overwhelmed, resulting in meltdowns instead?
Well, you’re in the right place.
Here you’ll find a thorough overview of one of Disney World’s most popular rides—Slinky Dog Dash.
There are lots of things on Disney World rides that could trigger a meltdown in sensitive kids. It could be sudden noises, how loud something is, being in the dark, bright or flashing lights, how fast something is, or “scary” visuals.
Sometimes these seemingly minor things (especially piled up throughout the day) can result in sensory overload meltdowns.
If you don’t like spoilers and it’s your first time going to Disney World, STOP READING NOW! The reason for creating these ride reviews and ratings in the first place is to make sure there are NO surprises. We want you to feel fully prepared and aware of what you’re getting yourself into. But continue on if you’d like all the details about Slinky Dog Dash, and want to find out whether or not it would be a scary ride for your sensitive or anxious kids.
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SLINKY DOG DASH RIDE INFO
Slinky Dog Dash is found in Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, one of Walt Disney World’s four theme parks. It is an outdoor family coaster, themed to feel like you’ve shrunk down to the size of a toy and you are actually riding Slinky Dog! You’ll see so many details that show how Andy has built this ride using his “Dash & Dodge Mega Coaster Kit”. The ride itself is about 2 minutes long.
It is the most thrilling ride among the three rides in Toy Story Land (the other two being Toy Story Mania and Alien Swirling Saucers). And it’s the only Disney World ride to features two launches. It is also the most popular ride in Toy Story Land, as indicated by its high wait times.
There is a height requirement to ride Slinky Dog Dash. Your child must be at least 38 inches tall to ride.
Slinky Dog Dash first opened on June 30, 2018. While it is not one of the newest rides at Hollywood Studios, it still has not lost any popularity. This is a good ride to prioritize if you’re utilizing the Genie+ service. It is highly recommended to book this one first, if possible!
Even though it may be a popular ride at Hollywood Studios, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Slinky Dog Dash will be enjoyable for highly sensitive or sensory sensitive kids. Let’s get into the details and figure out if this ride will be too overwhelming or scary for your kids.
SUDDEN NOISES 2/5
Many highly sensitive, sensory sensitive, or anxious kids are easily startled by sudden noises. And there are really so many instances of sudden noises at Disney World. The fireworks. Announcements over the loudspeakers. Special sound effects throughout the rides. It can be a struggle for those who are startled by loud and unexpected sounds.
For Slinky Dog Dash, we gave this a 2 out of 5 rating in this area. It’s not TOO overwhelming when it comes to sudden noises.
There are random moments when Slinky, Jessie or Rex shout out different phrases like “Yee haw!” or “It’s time to spring into action”. But it’s not especially frightening.
There is another part of the ride when it comes to a stop under these arched tunnels that have “go” written on them. This is when the second launch happens, and you’ll hear sound effects with a voice saying “here we go, here go”. Otherwise, there aren’t too many other instances of sudden noises to be concerned about.
NOISE LEVEL 2/5
Disney World is loud. Plain and simple. The constant auditory stimulation can be overwhelming for highly sensitive or sensory sensitive kids, especially if the volume level is cranked up real high.
When it comes to Slinky Dog Dash, the noise level is not too bad. I think part of what helps is that this ride is completely outdoors so its not like the sound is all contained in one small indoor space. There is also background music, themed to Toy Story, playing throughout while you’re in the queue.
The few sound effects throughout the ride ARE pretty loud when they occur. However, it’s not continuous throughout the whole experience. This is why its given a 2 out of 5 rating.
Fear of darkness is pretty common among kids in general, but I feel like it can be amplified in highly sensitive, sensory sensitive, or anxious ones. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about that on Slinky Dog Dash.
Slinky Dog Dash is ENTIRELY outdoors, so this is a great one if your child is scared of dark rides. Even the queue is all open air, so there really is no time spent indoors.
The only caveat is that it’s a totally different experience if you’re riding it at night. If you hop in line right before park close to have a shorter wait time, this means you will be riding in the dark. This may be a little scarier since you can’t see the track clearly at night.
BRIGHT & FLASHING LIGHTS 1/5
Some highly sensitive children may have difficulty with too much visual stimulation, especially when it comes to lighting. “It’s too bright” has been a common complaint for my sensory sensitive daughter.
Luckily, you don’t need to worry too much about bright and flashing lights on Slinky Dog Dash. The only instance is during the second launch of the rollercoaster. There are these spinning objects near the arches before you launch, which have small flashing lights. But it’s honestly barely noticeable, and you’ll be more focused on the second launch occurring than anything else!
If you’ve got kids who are sensitive to the bright lights of the sun, be mindful that most of Slinky Dog Dash’s queue is outdoors. Toy Story Land as a whole doesn’t have a whole lot of shade. If this is a concern for your family, try to get in line for Slinky Dog Dash early in the morning or in the evening. Avoid it in the middle of the day the lines are long and the Florida sun is extra hot.
The fast speed of some Disney attractions can be overwhelming, especially to those who are sensory avoiders. Slinky Dog Dash is a rollercoaster, so you will obviously experience some speed.
It is NOT one of the fastest coasters at Disney World, as this is considered more of a “family coaster”. However, it does travel up to 40mph at its fastest parts. If context helps you understand speed a little better, it is faster than Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at 34mph, and Space Mountain at 28mph. But it is slower than Test Track, which travels up to 65mph. If the speed of a ride is a big challenge for your sensitive child, Slinky Dog Dash may be something you should skip.
Most rollercoasters have a few drops, and Slinky Dog Dash is no exception. Slinky Dog Dash features two mild drops following those two launches. This ride is really made to be a family coaster, so the drops look steeper than they actually feel. The ride vehicle slows down into the drops, making the drop sensation less overwhelming. It can help to sit towards the front, to minimize the whiplash feeling from the drops.
Overall, Slinky Dog Dash has more little bumps and curves, rather than huge drops. But it could still be a little overwhelming for those who are sensitive to too much vestibular input.
“SCARY” VISUALS 1/5
What is considered “scary” is so subjective and dependent on each individual child. However, things like violence, conflict, or villains are usually scary to many highly sensitive kids. When it comes to Slinky Dog Dash, there really isn’t anything “scary” to be concerned about. The surroundings have a very fun, playful touch with all the Toy Story theming. It may be a bit visually overstimulating for some, but nothing overtly scary to worry about here.
PROXIMITY TO OTHERS 1/5
Being in crowded places and in close proximity to others can be overwhelming for highly sensitive and anxious kids. Slinky Dog Dash’s ride vehicle allows for two passengers per row with individual lap bars. So you definitely don’t need to worry about being really close to others who are not part of your group.
However, parts of the queue could feel a little bit crowded, especially as this is a very popular ride at Hollywood Studios.
If waiting in a traditional line is really difficult for your kids or anyone in your group due to sensory issues, PLEASE look into the Disability Access Service (DAS) pass. You can get this at guest services in the parks or apply for virtually before your trip. It doesn’t mean you get to skip the line; instead, you’ll be given a return time based on the current standby time. This means you can wait elsewhere, grab a snack, or have the kids get some of their wiggles out.
STRONG SMELLS 0/5
Disney is known for making their attractions, shows, and rides more immersive by appealing to all senses. That even includes 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 has highly sensitive traits, and she will get headaches or feel nauseous when there is strong perfume. This is not at all uncommon! Thankfully, you don’t need to worry about any strong smells when riding Slinky Dog Dash. It definitely helps that the whole attraction is outdoors.
The sensation of getting wet on Disney rides isn’t always enjoyed by many kids, especially getting wet unexpectedly. Getting wet can totally contribute to sensory overload in highly sensitive or anxious kids. However, there is no chance of getting wet on Slinky Dog Dash! This is the perfect ride for those who hate getting wet.
How do we understand this rating? A LOWER score means LESS sensory overload. A HIGHER score means a greater likelihood of being overwhelmed and overstimulated. This is helpful when deciding which rides might cause sensory overload meltdowns in our sensitive or anxious kids.
Cons for Slinky Dog Dash
Slinky Dog Dash is designed as a family-friendly coaster, so the thrill level is not off the charts. But if your highly sensitive child is not a fan of rollercoaster style rides at all, this is probably not the best choice. You will still experience some speed and drops, and it could be overwhelming for those afraid of heights. All these sensations are still fairly tame, so it really depends on your kid’s sensitivity level. Slinky Dog Dash also may not be a great choice if your child does not like a lot of visual stimulation.
Keep in mind that this ride is known for its long waits, with a lot of the queue being outdoors without much shade. If you are using Genie+ (a paid service to bypass the standby line), book this one first on the My Disney Experience app. If you don’t plan to use Genie+, definitely rope drop this one or hop in line near park closing. That way you aren’t waiting in line during the hottest part of the day.
Pros for Slinky Dog Dash
On the other hand, this is a GREAT ride for Toy Story lovers. The fun and whimsical theming will appeal to many kids and kids at heart alike. There are so many details throughout the queue and the ride that a highly sensitive child will likely pick up on.
It’s also a good introduction to coasters, similar to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Many people recommend Barnstormer as a good first coaster, especially since the height requirement is only 35”. But Slinky Dog Dash and Mine Train are both much smoother rides. This is also a great coaster if your child is afraid of the dark, as this is entirely outdoors.
What has YOUR experience been on Slinky Dog Dash? Do you or your kids love it or hate it? If you haven’t been yet, will this ride be on your list of must-dos at Hollywood Studios?
If you need extra support and want to find community with other parents of highly sensitive or anxious kids going to Disney, I encourage you to join my Facebook group!
You can ask all your questions and get feedback from a wonderful group of Disney-loving parents who are also looking to better manage the 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!
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