disney with highly sensitive kids

Image of potato barrels and sandwich from Woody's Lunchbox at Hollywood Studios. Text overlay reads woody's lunchbox: sensory review and rating. From moms make it magical dot com.

Is Woody’s Lunchbox Good for Sensory Kids?

Woody’s Lunchbox: A Restaurant Rating and Review

Should you go to Woody’s Lunchbox at Hollywood Studios with your Toy Story-loving sensory sensitive or anxious kids?

Figuring out dining at Disney is another huge piece of the planning puzzle, so if you’re anything like me, you’ve spent a ton of time reading reviews and watching videos of different restaurants. 

We know that dining out of the home can be a challenge with kids in general, but there is an added layer if you have highly sensitive, sensory sensitive, or anxious kids. It’s important to consider things like the environment, visual stimulation, proximity to others, and the menu, as you make decisions about where to dine with your family. 

If you’re wondering about the level of sensory overload and whether it would be a good place to dine with your highly sensitive kids, let me break it down for you in this review and rating of Woody’s Lunchbox.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

Before we get into the nitty gritty details, let’s talk about some basics!

Woody’s Lunchbox is located in Hollywood Studios, in Toy Story Land. It is right around the corner from Toy Story Mania, and you have a great view of both Alien Swirling Saucers and Slinky Dog Dash from here. Basically, you’re smack dab in the middle of all things Toy Story.

It is a quick service restaurant, which means it’s more of a fast-food style of dining experience in Disney language. It doesn’t always mean typical fast food. But it DOES mean that you go order your food, find your own table, pick up your food, and clean up after yourselves. No reservations are required here. This is different than table service, which is your traditional sit-down dining experience. 

As the name suggests, Woody’s Lunchbox is themed after Toy Story! The theming fits in perfectly with the rest of Toy Story Land. You feel as though you have shrunk down to the size of a toy. The area where you go order and pick up your food is designed to look like a lunch box! Even the seating area has lots of fun details. My kids loved discovering that their “chair” looked like Babel cheese—one of their favorite snacks.

It first opened on June 30, 2018. And it has been delighting Toy Story fans ever since—especially because this was the only food option in all of Toy Story Land until very recently when Roundup Rodeo BBQ opened as a table service option.

Woody’s Lunchbox is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can find the menus here.

Now that we have some background info, let’s get into the sensory ratings for Woody’s Lunchbox!

Noise Level at Woody’s Lunchbox 4/5

One of the most common triggers for meltdowns among highly sensitive and sensory sensitive kids is loud noises! A lot of highly sensitive kids startle very easily and are quickly overstimulated by noise level.

Woody’s Lunchbox is not a quiet dining experience. As mentioned already, you are smack dab in the middle of Toy Story Land. You can hear the sounds from Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers nearby. This can be a very busy spot, so you’ll hear noises from all the other diners around you. 

None of the noises are particularly scary, but the constant stimulation may quickly fill up your child’s sensory bucket. 

The ONE benefit of Woody’s Lunchbox in this category is that because it is an outdoor dining spot, the sound is not contained inside a small room. So while the same kinds of noises could be more amplified in an indoor restaurant, the open air at Woody’s Lunchbox helps with dissipating the overall noise level. 

If the noise level still feels too much for your kids, don’t forget to bring noise canceling headphones or ear plugs. I am a huge proponent of providing the accommodations your child needs so they can actually ENJOY their time at Disney, instead of feel like they are drowning in sensory overload.

Related: Character Dining at Garden Grill for Highly Sensitive Kids

Darkness at Woody’s Lunchbox 0/5

Some highly sensitive children have a fear of the dark, which is why it’s another important factor to consider when choosing where you want to eat. 

Luckily, you don’t have to worry about any darkness at Woody’s Lunchbox. It is a fully outdoor dining experience, so there are no dark spooky corners to be concerned about.

The ONE caveat here: it can get SO hot. If you’ve spent any time reading about Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios, the overall consensus is that there is very very little shade in this section of the park. The Florida sun and humidity are no joke. And if your kiddos get overwhelmed from feeling too hot, you will want to avoid Woody’s Lunchbox in the middle of the day. While there are umbrellas at the tables, it can still be uncomfortable for some of your more sensitive children.

I would suggest coming here for either breakfast or dinner instead.

Proximity to Others at Woody’s Lunchbox 5/5

Highly sensitive or sensory sensitive kids may dislike being in crowded spaces, and that includes restaurants. 

Unfortunately, Woody’s Lunchbox can get pretty crowded, especially during prime mealtime hours and busier times of the year. Because it is the ONLY quick service dining spot in Toy Story Land, it will bring more people here.

Some ways to work around this is to eat your meal at off-peak times. Have your breakfast at 10AM. Eat a late lunch at 2PM. It will definitely be less crowded during these times of day.

Another way to minimize your time in the crowded eating area at Woody’s Lunch Box is to MOBILE ORDER. Did you know that Disney World allows you to order food from the My Disney Experience app on your phone at select quick service locations? Woody’s Lunchbox is one of them! It is such a convenient way to order your food without waiting in line. 

“Scare” Factor at Woody’s Lunchbox 1/5

My highly sensitive kids seem to scare more easily than your average child, so scoping out what might be potentially scary to my kids is important to me. Typically, the things that scare kids at Disney restaurants are: characters, “scary” theming, sudden noises, and being in dark and enclosed spaces.

Luckily, there isn’t much that you need to concerned about in terms of the “scare” factor at Woody’s Lunchbox. There are no characters walking around, no scary theming, very minimal sudden noises, and the entire restaurant is outdoors. 

It is very visually stimulating, as is all of Toy Story Land. The colorful tables, chairs, hanging lights, and decor is a lot for the eyes to take in. But none of it is particularly scary. There ARE large toy green army men in various poses throughout, which could be a little unnerving for super imaginative sensitive kids. But again, there isn’t too much to be fearful of at this restaurant. The overall vibe is very playful and highly sensitive kids will probably enjoy noticing all the fun details around them.  

Unfamiliar Foods 1/5

For many highly sensitive kids, unfamiliar foods can trigger meltdowns. This can be challenging during your family vacation, where you are away from home and all their usual foods and snacks. I’m really lucky that my kids are generally not very picky when it comes to their food, but it always helps to know if they have kid-friendly staples at restaurants.

Woody’s Lunchbox is described to offer “classic American fare”.

This includes sandwiches, tater tot bowls, soup, and Disney’s version of pop tarts (so yummy AND with seasonal flavors!). There is even a small selection of “grown up drinks” for all the parents out there. 

While the menu isn’t huge, I would say most of these items are fairly “safe” options when it comes to familiarity for kids. Tater tots and grilled cheese sandwiches are favorites of my own kids. I will say that a smaller menu does make decision-making a lot easier when it comes to ordering food as well.

If you don’t see anything on the menu that suits your kids’ tastes, don’t hesitate to ask your server! Disney restaurants are so great at accommodating different families’ needs, whether it is because of picky eaters or food allergies. Don’t be shy and ask them what your options are!

TOTAL 11/25

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. Based on my experience, I would recommend Woody’s Lunchbox for families with highly sensitive or sensory sensitive kids. AS LONG AS YOU DON’T GO IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY. And especially not in the middle of the day between the months of April and October. 

This is a great quick service dining option in Toy Story Land of Hollywood Studios, with a menu that is very familiar and approachable for most families. The theming is fun and playful, and there are just so many interesting details to look at. Your eyes will have SO much to take in. 

However, if your child is very heat sensitive, Woody’s Lunchbox will be a challenge. It’s all outdoors (albeit, with umbrellas…), and this land just doesn’t have much shade at all. It can also get very crowded during peak periods, which could be overwhelming for a sensitive child. 

Have you been to Woody’s Lunchbox at Disney World? What was your experience like? 

Do you think you’ll try dining here during your trip to Disney World?

Join my private Facebook Group to ask questions, share your opinions and get more tips on planning your Disney trip with your highly sensitive kids! 

And follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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!


Image of Festival of the Lion King show from Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Text overlay reads festival of the lion king review and rating. From moms make it magical dot com.

Is Festival of the Lion King Scary for Sensitive Kids?

Festival of the Lion King for Highly Sensitive Kids: a Show Review and Rating

Are you planning a trip to Disney World and wondering if your highly sensitive, sensory sensitive or anxious kids will enjoy Festival of the Lion King? Or will they be scared and overwhelmed, resulting in meltdowns instead?

Hopefully you can find your answer here!

Get ready to read a thorough overview of one of Disney World’s shows—Festival of the Lion King.

There are lots of things that you experience at Disney World that could trigger a meltdown in sensitive kids. It could be sudden noises. It could be how loud something is. Maybe it’s being in the dark. It could be being exposed to bright or flashing lights. Or it could be how fast something is, or seeing “scary” visuals.

Sometimes, these seemingly “minor” things can result in sensory overload meltdowns. This is especially true when there is a barrage of overwhelming things to process throughout the entire day.

If you don’t like to read spoilers and it’s your first time going to Disney World, STOP reading now! The reason for creating these reviews and ratings in the first place is to make sure there are NO surprises. If your kids are anything like mine, they are probably not the biggest fan of surprises. 

We want you to feel fully prepared and aware of what you and your family are getting yourselves into.

But continue on if you’d like all the details about Festival of the Lion King, and want to know whether or not it would be considered scary for your sensitive or anxious kids. 

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

Festival of the Lion King Show Info

Festival of the Lion King is found in the Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, one of Walt Disney World’s four theme parks. It is a 30 minute Broadway style show featuring music from, you guessed it, the Lion King! The show takes place in Harambe Theater. It is right around the corner from Tusker House restaurant—a popular character dining restaurant at Animal Kingdom.

From the Disney website

This amazing show first debuted at Animal Kingdom on April 22, 1998, on the opening day of Disney World’s fourth theme park! The show does not retell the plot of the movie. Instead, it is presented as a tribal celebration of The Lion King. The music, costumes, floats, puppetry, lighting effects, singing, dancing, stilt-walking and acrobatic stunts are all extremely engaging. I can understand how this opening day attraction continues to be popular to this day.

If you’re familiar at all with different theatre stage types, the one used for Festival of the Lion King could be called theater-in-the-round or an arena stage. Essentially, this means the stage is in the center, and the audience surrounds the stage on all sides. This means there is really no “bad view” in the house! 

Because this is a show, there is obviously no height requirement. No matter your age, you can include all of your travel party on this attraction for your Animal Kingdom itinerary.

Festival of the Lion King Genie+

Festival of the Lion King is not one of the attractions open during Early Entry. But you do have the option to purchase Genie+ to utilize the Lightning Lane. This means you’ll have guaranteed seating for that show time. The show typically starts running at 10:00AM. It then continues throughout the day at 11:00AM, 12:00PM, 2:00PM, 3:00PM, 4:00PM, and 5:00PM. *show times subject to change.  

Seating is NOT guaranteed if you don’t have a Lightning Lane. So, make it a priority to get in line at least 30 minutes beforehand (or even earlier if you are there during a busier time of year).

Even though Festival of the Lion King is a fan-favorite show among Disney goers, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be enjoyable for highly sensitive, sensory sensitive or anxious kids. Let’s get into the details and find out if this show will be too overwhelming or scary for your highly sensitive kids.


Highly sensitive, sensory sensitive, or anxious kids can really struggle with sudden noises. It is extremely common for noise sensitivity to be a trigger, especially when they come on suddenly or unexpectedly. And there are so many instances of sudden noises throughout Disney World. Whether it’s the fireworks, various safety announcements over the loudspeakers, or special sound effects throughout the rides… it can be a lot.

Festival of the Lion King is no exception. There are definitely instances of sudden noises throughout the show. This includes things like: the audience cheering, animal noises (Simba roaring, elephants trumpeting), and the unexpected thunder sound right before the ‘Be Prepared’ song.

However, as this is a musical show, there is continuous sound throughout. So, these “sudden” noises aren’t quite as unexpected as it might be if it were coming from a silent moment. 

If your kids are also able to follow along with what’s going on with the performers, a lot of the noise will make sense in its context and isn’t SO startling. 


Disney World is loud. Plain and simple. The constant auditory stimulation can be overwhelming, especially if the volume level is cranked up real high. 

Festival of the Lion gets a 5 out of 5 for noise level because it IS loud throughout the entire show. As mentioned earlier, there is music, there is singing, there are animal noises, there are sound effects, there is cheering from the audience. None of this is particularly frightening, but it can still feel overstimulating to a sensory sensitive child. 

The show doesn’t retell the plot of the movie, but it does feature many of the songs we have grown to love. It starts with their version of Circle of Life, then I Just Can’t Wait to be King, and Hakuna Matata. Then, they feature the popular Tumble Monkeys doing fun acrobatic tricks with a trampoline. Be Prepared is the next number, which is the “scariest” of them all. Then it’s followed by Can You Feel the Love Tonight, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, and the Celebration Finale. 

The singing and instrumentals can feel a bit loud, but it’s generally pleasant on the ears. If noise level is a big trigger, be prepared with some kind of noise protection.


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. 

Festival of the Lion King is an indoor show, which does make the overall atmosphere fairly dark. But, there are lightning effects used throughout the show that prevent it from being pitch black dark. The lights are dimmed further during the Be Prepared section of the show. With the addition of the smoke effects during this section, it could feel extra spooky to some sensitive kids. 

If your kids are extra sensitive about being in the dark, this might be one that you should skip. Or be ready to provide extra support during the darkest parts of the show.


Some highly sensitive children may have difficulty with too much visual stimulation, especially when it comes to lighting. Bright and flashing lights can literally be painful for those who are sensitive to light.

Festival of the Lion King does use lighting effects to add to the overall vibe of the show. It is not ever excessively bright during the show. Throughout the show, the stage lighting is used to shine light in different parts of the stage, to change colors, and add visual interest to the show.

However, be mindful of the Be Prepared part of the show. A big thunder sound and flashing lights are used to mimic the look of lightning during a storm. There is also a fire twirling act that can be seen as bright. As this is really the only time that there is a lot of flashing lights, we give this a 2 out of 5.


The fast speed of some Disney attractions can be overwhelming, especially to those who are sensory avoiders. Luckily, Festival of the Lion is a show that doesn’t involve a moving stage or seats. Hakuna Matata (no worries!) here for the speed department!


Just like the speed, the dropping feeling on many Disney attractions could be too much for a child with a very sensitive vestibular system. 

The vestibular system is related to your sense of balance and your sense of movement in space. So if your child is prone to motion sickness, dislikes swings and slides, and is afraid of riding elevators/escalators, they may be more sensitive to vestibular input. 

Since Festival of the Lion King is a show where you simply sit in your seat, there are obviously no dropping sensations that you need to be concerned about!


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 or anxious kids. 

The scariest part of the Festival of the Lion King is the Be Prepared part of the show. This is when the actor who represents the character Scar from the movie sings this song. Anyone familiar with the plot of Lion King knows that Scar is a villain. And this can definitely add to the “scare” factor.

The style of singing combined with the darker environment, the thunder and lightning effects, and the fire and smoke, can feel scary. Anxious children may also worry about the fire twirler getting burned, and seeing the fire spread across the stage.

If your kids are also startled by people dressed in unfamiliar costumes and face paint, Festival of the Lion King could be a little scary for them. 

My oldest used to have a fear of people on stilts. She would’ve had a hard time seeing the stilt-walkers during the show at a younger age. 

The larger-than-life puppetry of Simba, Pumba, a giraffe, and an elephant on the floats could be a scary for some little ones as well.

But overall, there isn’t any overt violence or conflict during the show. There is no reference to the scene in the actual movie when Mufasa dies. 

I feel that it helps that it is NOT a retelling of the story. But instead it is a celebration of all the wonderful things that make up Lion King. So, we give “scary visuals” a 3 out of 5 mostly due to the part of the show with Be Prepared and the fire twirler. 


Being in crowded places and in close proximity to others can be overwhelming for highly sensitive and anxious kids. Maybe it’s the feeling that they can’t escape. Or maybe it’s all the sensory input that comes from being around a ton of people. Either way, it can feel like a lot. 

Because Festival of the Lion King is a show (and a popular one, at that), you are pretty much packed in there. The seating is bleacher-style, so the cast members encourage you to slide all the way down to accommodate as many people as they can. Because these are bleacher seats without a back that separates you from the row above and below you, it does make you feel like you are a little bit closer to others. 

If maintaining your own personal space is really important to you or your child, Festival of the Lion King will be a tough in this department.


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. It can cause headaches or even nausea. 

Luckily, there are no “smell effects” in the Festival of the Lion King that you need to worry about!


Some kids don’t enjoy the sensation of getting wet on Disney rides and attractions, 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 while watching the Festival of the Lion King! (And yes, there are actually shows where you could get sprayed with a bit of water…)

TOTAL 22/50

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 or attractions might cause sensory overload meltdowns in our sensitive kids. 


Because Festival of the Lion King is a show, you won’t find those movement-related thrill factors that could cause overwhelm in our kids. If your child does not like speed or drops, this show (and most other shows!) would be a great one to do. What I LOVE about Disney is that there really is something for everyone. So even if you’re not a “ride person”, there are lots of shows and immersive experiences that add to the magic during your vacation.

Some highly sensitive children have an affinity for music, dance, and costumes. Since they have great depth of processing, they are often the ones that appreciate the beauty in these details. And if they’re familiar at all with the Lion King songs, they could really enjoy this artistic representation of these songs from the movie. I still remember my daughter at 4 years old, having tears in her eyes watching the ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ segment with the bird characters dancing.


However, if being in a crowded dark theater is a challenge, the Festival of the Lion King may not be the best choice for your family. It is also very loud throughout the show. It’s very possible that your noise sensitive child will need to wear some kind of noise canceling headphones or ear plugs to help reduce the auditory input. Be especially mindful of the section when ‘Be Prepared’ is sung, which comes right after the Tumble Monkeys. This is arguably the “scariest” part of the show. A sensitive child may be scared of the thunder and lightning effects, smoke, the lights dimmed down to be even darker, the fire twirling, and the vibe of the actual song. 

Even though there is a lot of potential for sensory overload while watching Festival of the Lion King, it is definitely a personal favorite of mine. And it explains why it’s so popular! I think for most families, this is a good one to do, as long as you can provide the right supports and accommodations for your sensitive kids during the scarier parts of the show.

PRO TIP: Get in line for either the first show of the day (10:00AM) or the last one (5:00PM), so you don’t have to wait as long.

What has YOUR experience been at the Festival of the Lion King? 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 Animal Kingdom?


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.

And follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to get updates on my latest content.

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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14 Ways to Avoid Lines at Disney World

Are you wondering how to avoid lines at Disney World?

Disney World is notorious for its crowds, long wait times for rides, and lines for EVERYTHING. The immersive theming, the nostalgia factor, and amazing cast members put Disney on top when it comes to theme parks. And this level of popularity means that crowds continue to flock there. If you’re hoping for a super relaxing and peaceful vacation, Disney World is probably not the first place that comes to mind. 

If you have highly sensitive, sensory sensitive or anxious kids, they are more likely to become overstimulated easily. Rubbing shoulders with strangers, standing in one spot for a long time, hearing conversations all around you, and having to wait during hot weather is a LOT for anyone. 

Imagine how much more difficult it is for someone who experiences all their sensory inputs in a more heightened way.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.



Usually the first thing you think of when we talk about waiting in line is… waiting in lines for rides. And yes, I would say the bulk of your time in line at Disney World is probably for rides. But there are loads of other times when you may have to stand in line.

Waiting in Line for Transportation / Security / Tickets

So if you’re staying at a Disney World hotel, it’s possible that you will wait in line for transportation to get to the park. I will say I have very rarely waited in an actual line for Disney’s bus transportation when going from the resort to the park. But for Disney’s Skyliner, the monorail, and the boats, it’s pretty common to wait in line. 

Before you enter a theme park, you will have to wait in line for security. You will walk through a metal detector, and if you have a bag, they may check that as well. Then, you wait in another line to scan your Magic Band or ticket to officially be “in the park”. 

Phew, that’s a lot of waiting already and you haven’t even gotten in line for a ride yet!

Waiting in Lines for Shows / Fireworks / Parades

In addition to the rides, you may have to wait in line for shows. For example, this includes things like Enchanted Tiki Room at Magic Kingdom or Lightning McQueen Racing Academy at Hollywood Studios.

Fireworks and parades also involve waiting as well. No, you’re not really waiting in a line per se, but you may find yourself standing or sitting in one spot for awhile.

Waiting in Lines for Food

If you’re hitting up Woody’s Lunch Box at Hollywood Studios right at noon, be prepared to wait in line! And any of the places that sell Starbucks will have a line out the door, especially in the mornings. Yes, keeping your family nourished and hydrated (or caffeinated, for the adults) may require some waiting in line.

Waiting in Lines for Characters

Meeting your favorite Disney characters can also involve waiting in line. The lines can be even longer when they are pretty rare characters aka only found in one spot or during certain times of the year. 

Waiting in Lines to Buy Merchandise

Another time that you might have to wait in line is when purchasing your favorite merchandise at the various shops throughout Disney World and Disney Springs. 

I hope I haven’t made you anxious with the amount of waiting in line that could happen at Disney World! In my mind, it’s good to know what to expect.


Because if you know what to expect, you can do some good planning and preparation. And that means finding practical ways to avoid lines at Disney World. 

And hopefully by spending less time waiting in line, that can reduce sensory overload for your sensitive kids, and help mitigate those quintessential Disney meltdowns. 


If you’re looking for specific tips on how to avoid lines at Disney World, you are in the right place!

Here you will find 14 ways to avoid lines at Disney World.

Text reads 10 Things not to say to your highly sensitive child at Disney World. Image of a girl wearing noise canceling headphones watching a Disney parade at magic kingdom. From moms make it magical dot com.

10 Things NOT to Say to Your Highly Sensitive Child at Disney World – Say This, Not That!

Have you ever thought to yourself, what should I say (or NOT say) to my highly sensitive child at Disney World?

You’ve planned all the details of your Disney World trip with your highly sensitive child. You’ve decided which rides to avoid or try, packed familiar snacks and drinks, brought loveys and noise canceling headphones… you completed all the prep work and research. As a parent of a sensitive or anxious child, you already know that winging it is not an option. But then the inevitable happens. Your child loses it, starts screaming and crying, and you’re in the middle of a sensory overload meltdown. 

I have totally been there. It is overwhelming and tough as a parent to ride out these meltdowns. There’s a sense of helplessness and feeling out of control when your child can’t seem to calm down and self-regulate no matter what you do. There’s an added layer of pressure when you feel like there are judgmental eyes of others at Disney World, and you have high expectations of your child to enjoy their time while on vacation.

What can you say to your sensitive or anxious child at Disney World?

So, what are some things you could say to your sensitive, anxious, sensory child during a meltdown at Disney World? And what are some things we can say to them so it doesn’t add to their sensory overload? The things we say won’t stop the meltdown in its tracks, but there are definitely some helpful and not-so-helpful ways to respond. We can think of this as trying to not add more fuel to the fire, even though we might need to still wait to let the fire fully burn out 😉 

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

Meltdowns vs. Tantrums

First, let’s make sure we understand the difference between meltdowns and tantrums. Tantrums usually occur in young children who don’t have the language ability to express themselves to get what they want. It’s very much driven by a want or a goal, and the child often has some control over their behavior. Tantrums usually stop once the child gets what they want. 

Meltdowns, on the other hand, is a reaction to feeling overwhelmed. For highly sensitive, anxious, or sensory kids, a meltdown can happen when their brain is overstimulated by trying to process too much information. It seems to trigger a fight-or-flight response, and the child’s behavior is out of their control. The meltdown only stops once there’s a reduction in sensory input or if they’ve completely worn themselves out. 

What we, as parents, say or don’t say won’t necessarily stop the meltdown. But there are things that we can say that will help prevent it from escalating further. And it all starts with empathy and practicing self-regulation for ourselves.

Here is a list of 10 things NOT to say to your highly sensitive or anxious child at Disney World, and what you could try saying instead. Say this, not that!

1. Don’t say: “It’s NOT scary!”

Oof, I have totally been guilty of saying this. Sometimes my children react with fear to things that seem like no big deal to me. But my experience is not their own. Something that is fun to one child may be super scary to another.

For example, “it’s a small world” at Disney World might be really fun for one child who loves slow boat rides, dancing dolls, and music. But if a child has a fear of dolls (which is not entirely uncommon!) and reacts poorly to constant auditory stimulation, they could be scared of this ride. It’s really important to not deny their own experiences, but instead, validate them. They need to know that it’s okay to feel scared, and that you are their safe space. 

Say this instead: “I can see this is scary for you. You are safe with me.”

2. Don’t say: “You’re OKAY.”

I find that so many parents, including myself, say this as a way to reassure their children. If you see a toddler running and take a tumble, you’ll often see the parent go pick up their child and say “you’re okay!”. And while most parents say this with good intentions, this might make kids feel like their feelings and experiences are being brushed off. So, if your sensitive child starts to freak out during a Disney fireworks show, DON’T say “you’re okay!” Their body and brain is telling them otherwise. Instead, name the feeling or experience, and reassure them that you’re there to help them.

Say this instead: “That was [loud/fast/uncomfortable, etc – name the feeling], I’m here for you”.

3. Don’t say: “Calm down.”

When has your child ever calmed down by being TOLD to calm down?! Never. Yet we find ourselves saying this all the time when our kids start to show intense and heightened emotions or behaviors. If your highly sensitive child has a meltdown due to being around the crowds, Florida humidity, noise, and smells of being at Disney World without a break, the last thing we want to say is “calm down”.

At this point, their sensory system is on overload and they cannot control their behavior or feelings. At the height of their meltdown, it’s impossible for them to just simply will themselves to stop and calm down. Instead, we as the parents need to exhibit the calm and let them know it’s normal to feel upset or overwhelmed, especially in an overstimulating environment.

Say this instead: “It’s okay to be upset or overwhelmed. It’s good to let it out. Let’s find a quiet space.”

4. Don’t say: “It’s not a big deal.”

Another thing we shouldn’t say to our sensitive or anxious children at Disney World is “it’s not a big deal”. Again, this is another way we end up minimizing our child’s feelings and experiences. If they end up dripping their Mickey ice cream bar all over their clothes and the sticky mess is the tipping point for their sensory overload, it DOES feel like a big deal for them. 

Say this instead: “I understand you’re overwhelmed. This feels hard for you.”

5. Don’t say: “Stop whining!”

The whining and screaming that accompanies meltdowns can be really difficult for parents to handle. It can feel really triggering for us. All we want is for it to stop… for me, I’ve realized that I feel responsibility for my children’s happiness (or subsequent, unhappiness). There’s a part of me that feels like if I can’t make my child happy, then I’m not doing my job right. As if their unhappiness is a reflection of who I am as a parent. It is totally an unhealthy mindset, but it’s helpful for me to be aware of why the whining and meltdowns feel like a trigger to me. Whatever YOUR reason is, telling them to simply stop whining won’t do anything at all, and might just escalate the meltdown.

Instead, try acknowledging that they’re having a hard time. If they’re older and more verbal, you can also try asking how you can help them in that moment. They might not have an answer for you, especially if they’re already in an emotional state, but at least they know you are on their team and want to help them.

Say this instead: “It sounds like you’re having a really hard time with ____. How can I help you?”

6. Don’t say: “Don’t worry.”

If it’s your family’s first visit to Disney World, all these experiences will be so new and unfamiliar to your sensitive or anxious children. With highly sensitive or anxious kids, anything new and unpredictable can feel overwhelming. It’s very likely they’ll feel nervous or worried about some of the rides, sleeping in a new hotel, riding new kinds of transportation, or being around crowds. Even if you do all the prep work beforehand, it’s still not the same as actually experiencing it in real life. As parents, we often resort to saying “don’t worry” as a way to try to reassure our child when they are anxious or scared. But it’s really not helpful. It’s important to demonstrate empathy and validate their feelings. Let them know you want to support them.

Say this instead: “I can see this makes you feel nervous. I’m here for you.”

7. Don’t say: “Why are you crying?!”

Crying, screaming, flailing, and hitting can be pretty typical behaviors during a meltdown. They can’t help the behaviors and they’re no longer in a place where they can be rational or capable of logical thinking. By saying “why are you crying?”, it could feel like we’re implying that there’s something wrong with the behavior in itself. For your highly sensitive child, it could feel like an aggressive line of questioning and raise their defenses. And therefore, make them feel more alone in their feelings. It can feel frustrating when you don’t know what caused the meltdown or how to stop it, but try not to take their behavior personally. It could be challenging for them to verbally express what is going on in their minds and bodies, especially for younger or less verbal children. But let them know you want to help and understand.

Say this instead: “I can hear you crying but don’t know what you need. Can you help me understand?” OR “Can I give you a hug?” “Can I help you take a break?”

8. Don’t say: “You need a time out!

You’re at the Disney World and your highly sensitive child’s behavior is leaving you feeling drained and upset. You feel like they’re ungrateful and unappreciative of you bringing them to the “most magical place on earth”. When those feelings of resentment and frustration bubble up, it is so easy to want to punish your child! Maybe time outs work for your family. But time outs can make your sensitive child feel shamed and alone, and further escalate the meltdown.

Instead, suggest taking a break together. Kids have different preferences, so some might do better taking a cuddle break to reconnect. Other kids might benefit from some space for themselves if they are overstimulated. But make sure to frame it in a way where they are not being punished and isolated because of their behaviors. Find a quiet space in the park. Grab a drink or snack. Let them wear noise-canceling headphones. Give them a familiar comfort item, a favorite book, or listen to calming music. The goal is to remove them from intolerable sensory input and instead provide calming sensory input.

Say this instead: Let’s take a break.

9. Don’t say: “Aren’t you excited to _____?”

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with asking your children if they are excited to do something, especially at a place like Disney World. But for highly sensitive or anxious kids, this could feel like a loaded question that is associated with pressure and expectations from the parent. Sometimes we do ask this question with the hopes that our child will respond positively, without realizing it. They might feel like it’s NOT okay for them to be nervous or scared about something their parent thinks they should be excited about.

For example, you might say “aren’t you excited to go on the Frozen ride?” because you know they love the Frozen movie soundtrack. But maybe the dark queue makes them nervous. And if it’s their first time, maybe they are scared because they don’t know what to expect. Asking “aren’t you excited…?” makes the child feel like they are supposed to be excited. These feelings could add to the overwhelm of your highly sensitive or anxious child, when their brains are already so busy processing everything else going on. Try keeping it more neutral by saying “let’s try this!”

Say this instead: “Let’s try this!”

Related: Frozen Ever After for Highly Sensitive Kids–A Ride Review & Rating

10. Don’t say: “Hurry up!”

I have to be honest: a family vacation to Disney World isn’t always the most relaxing. It’s likely you’ll find yourselves rushing to get ready in the mornings, rushing to catch the next Disney bus, rushing to your next dining reservation, and rushing to the next ride or show. We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that the MORE we do, the better our trip is. So. Not. True. Shuttling our sensitive kids around all day long at Disney World actually makes it a more stressful vacation.

One of the traits of being highly sensitive is depth of processing, which means these kiddos take their sweet time processing and trying to understand what’s going on around them. There is a lot to take in as it is, without being constantly told to hurry up. Instead, acknowledge that there is a lot going on and provide a little help for them, if you’re really in a time crunch. But remind yourself that it’s okay to be late to something or skip something that was originally on your itinerary. 

Say this instead: “There’s a lot going on. Can I help you do ______?”

So there you have it, 10 things you can say to your sensitive child at Disney World and what NOT to say! Again, none of these things will stop or prevent meltdowns. But the main goal is to provide empathy and connection with your kids. Which can really be a challenge in such an overstimulating environment.

When they are in mid-meltdown, remind yourself that this is NOT emergency and to try to stay calm yourself. Their meltdowns are not a reflection of YOU as parent. Sometimes this is the only way for all those pent-up emotions and sensory overload to come out. And you just have to ride it out. Let’s try not to be punitive, resentful, or frustrated during these tough parenting moments.

What are some helpful things you say to your sensitive or anxious child? What are some things you’ve said that seem to escalate the situation?


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.

And follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to get updates on my latest content.

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. 

Text reads "Disney World with sensitive kids. A podcast episode recap with "Put on your travel ears". Background photo is of two children running in the hub grass at Magic Kingdom with Cinderella Castle in the background. From moms make it magical dot com.

Disney World with Sensitive Kids

Podcast Episode Recap with Put On Your Travel Ears

Are you planning a trip to Disney World with sensitive kids?

I had an amazing opportunity to be a guest on a podcast Put On Your Travel Ears, hosted by Gina and Sarah. They are two wonderful Disney mamas and co-owners of The Charming Travel Co travel agency. 

We got the chance to discuss some tips when it comes to going to Disney World with highly sensitive kids. The episode starts with some general news and updates about Disney World, and we start talking about this topic around the 6:55 minute mark.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

Why I started the Moms Make It Magical blog

Both of my children have some characteristics of being sensitive. While I was planning our trips to Disney World, I wished that there was one website or blog to get all the information I needed. 

I was totally that Type A mom who was watching all the Youtube videos of the rides and restaurants, reading Disney fan forums discussing ride experiences for non-thrill seekers, and watching room and resort tour videos. I wanted to be fully prepared to avoid the things that would trigger sensory overload meltdowns. And I wanted to choose activities that would be enjoyable for them. 

And I realized that this information could be really helpful to other families out there who have similar challenges. A Disney World trip with highly sensitive kids might not look the same as everyone else’s, and that’s okay. Disney World is for everyone, and can accommodate all sorts of different needs. 

What is a sensitive kid?

When I talk about a sensitive kid, or a highly sensitive child, I am not referring to someone who just cries a lot. It’s a personality trait, defined by the psychologist Dr. Elaine N. Aron, and she talks about this in great detail in the book The Highly Sensitive Child. 

It is a trait that you find in about 15-20% of the general population, and it is NOT a diagnosis. Some of the outward behaviors of being highly sensitive—such as being cautious, not enjoying surprises, having heightened emotions, being afraid of loud noises—can overlap with some diagnoses. Common ones you’ll see some overlap with are sensory processing disorder, autism, ADHD, anxiety and OCD. 

But it is totally possible to be highly sensitive without any kind of diagnosis as well.

Related: 7 Signs Your Child is Highly Sensitive

Best Tips for going to Disney World with Sensitive Kids?

Prepare Beforehand

The most important tip for going to Disney with highly sensitive kids is to prepare as much as you can beforehand. Do as much research you can about the rides, restaurants, and your hotel, BEFORE ever getting on that flight or in your car. Be aware of what kinds of things trigger overwhelm and overstimulation in your children. It can be completely different for each individual kid. 

Not only should you prepare as much as you can ahead of time, involve your kids in the planning process. Get their input on what attractions or activities they’d like to participate in. 

While there are many families who like to do that last minute “surprise” vacation for their kids as they drive up to Disney World, I strongly discourage doing that if you have extra sensitive children. The more familiar they become with all things Disney, the better it will be for your kids. 

Related: How to Prepare Your Highly Sensitive Child for Your Disney World Vacation

Become Familiar with Characters

We like to get our kids familiar with the characters by reading lots of book. We especially love this Disney Junior Encyclopedia, which provides a profile and explanation for more than 150 Disney & Pixar characters. Disney movies can be really hard for highly sensitive kids for a variety of reasons—conflict, death or loss, constant visual stimulation, scary villains, or loud and sudden noises. There are also a lot of fun Disney-themed board games like Color Brain or Eye Found it, which can help build familiarity at home before ever setting foot in the parks.

Don’t Rush!

Another tip for going to Disney with sensitive kids is to slow down! It’s so important to be okay with not rushing through the day. Highly sensitive kids do so much better when they can take it slow, because it takes a lot for them to process everything going on around them. It’s essential to schedule in days where you’re NOT going to the parks, especially if your trip is at least 4 or 5 days long. And even on the days that you go to the parks, build in time to take breaks.

Read Ride/Restaurant/Resort Reviews

I would also recommend checking out the inventory of ratings for Disney World rides, restaurants, and resorts that I am working on building out on this blog. Everything is broken down and scored according to the level of overwhelm and overstimulation it might be for a highly sensitive child. 

Gina shared about an experience with a client where character dining ended up being something their kid absolutely hated. It can be so helpful to work with a travel agent in situations like these, because they were able to have all their dining reservations changed to account for their child’s preferences to not do character meals!

Set Clear Expectations with Your Kids

Sarah also discussed how important it is to set expectations with sensitive kids. This is so they know exactly what their day is going to look like. She had a client whose daughter had SPD (sensory processing disorder), and they learned that she did really well as long as she knew what to expect that day. Knowing when and where they’ll be having their meals, when they’ll take a break, and when they get pool time, set her daughter up for a smoother and more magical experience at Disney World.

Use the DAS Pass!

Another tip is to utilize the Disability Access Service Pass (DAS Pass) if your child has difficulty waiting in a traditional queue. Maybe it’s due to anxiety, autism, or ADHD. Whatever the reason, this is a great resource for families with neurodivergent kids. No, this doesn’t mean you get to skip the line! When you go to the attraction you’d like to ride, the Cast Members there will scan your magic band and give you a return time. This allows you and your family to wait somewhere else than the typical line.

Related: 18 Essential Items for Highly Sensitive Kids at Disney World

Disney World Fireworks with Sensitive Kids?

Fireworks can be so tough for highly sensitive kids! It is not only loud, but you can sometimes even feel the “boom!” of the explosions in your body. Plus you’re often in the midst of the large crowds, all eager to see the fireworks display. So much of this can be overwhelming for highly sensitive kids.

Step 1: Watch videos at home

I would suggest to watch videos of Disney’s fireworks shows ahead of time, way before your trip. I honestly don’t know how I would prepare for Disney World without the endless visual resources on Youtube! But anyway, this helps your child get used to the visuals, the light projections, and the music. Obviously it won’t be nearly as loud as it is in person, but it’s a great starting point.

Step 2: Watch fireworks from OUTSIDE the parks

If that goes well, I would choose to watch fireworks from a spot that isn’t in the parks. For the Magic Kingdom fireworks show, some great options are the Contemporary Resort, the Ticket and Transportation Center, or the beaches at Wilderness Lodge, Polynesian or the Grand Floridian. You’re able to get more exposure to the fireworks, but with enough distance to feel safe. For Epcot fireworks, you can see them from the Boardwalk Resort, Yacht & Beach Club, or even the new Riviera Resort. 

Step 3: Watch fireworks from a spot with an easy out

If your child is willing to watch from INSIDE the parks, choose a part of the park where you can have an easy out. So if you’re in the middle of the show and your child is starting to lose it and melt down, you can easily get out of there. At Magic Kingdom, that might mean watching from the train station near the entrance of the park. Choosing a spot like this also helps avoid being stuck in the post-fireworks crowds of people trying to get out of the park at the same time.

Use a Stroller

I also highly recommend bringing a stroller, even if your child may be a little older. It builds out a little safe space for them, where they can go in and hide if things feel too overwhelming.

In our case, my daughter was almost 6 years old at the time. On our 3rd trip to Disney World, she finally gave us the go ahead to try watching fireworks from inside the parks! She sat in our stroller, with her noise canceling headphones on, clutching a little lovey for the majority of the show…until she crawled out to see the final 5-10 minutes when she felt ready. This felt like a huge win for us. Previously, we were THAT family that was always rushing out of the park to get AWAY before the fireworks started, while everyone else was rushing IN to to try to get a spot for the show.

They Might Hate Fireworks No Matter What

But it is also possible that your children, no matter how much prep you do, will just not like fireworks. Ever. And that’s okay. It can feel disappointing as the parent, especially if it’s something that you wanted to experience for yourself. But our kids have their own preferences and tolerance levels, and we also have to respect how they feel. If watching fireworks is really intolerable for them, is it really worth it to push it?

Learning Moments

One thing I’ve realized about myself as I’ve planned Disney trips for my family, and any type of family outing is that I would subconsciously place pressure on my kids to have fun. It sounds kind of silly, but it’s totally true. 

Adjusting My Own Expectations

Sometimes we, as parents, plan these vacations or outings and EXPECT our children to enjoy it and react in a certain way. If they don’t react in the way we imagined, it’s easy to feel frustrated or even resentful. It’s like, why would they rather spend time at the pool? Why don’t like any of the treats? Why don’t they appreciate this epic trip I planned? I’ve learned that I need to adjust my own expectations of how my children react to their experiences at Disney World or any family outing. 

For my highly sensitive daughter in particular, she is often very expressionless in new and stimulating situations. She’ll have that deer-in-headlights kind of look, and it’s hard to know if she’s really enjoying whatever we’re doing.

Even from infancy, she was a serious baby who rarely laughed and was always intensely observing everything. It’s actually quite normal for highly sensitive kids to take time to process things.

So while it’s really hard to tell in the moment, she’ll usually talk my ear off later about what she felt, what she liked, and what she didn’t like. I often have to remind myself that just because I think they will like something, doesn’t mean THEY will actually like it.

Birthday Gift Phenomenon

Gina mentioned the birthday gift phenomenon. Sometimes you, as the parent, put so much time and thought into THE perfect gift for your child’s birthday. And then they end up having more fun with the box than the actual gift itself. But it’s another reminder to be able to see through my children’s eyes, even if it’s different from my perspective or expectations.

Don’t Feel Pressure to “Do It All”

Sarah discussed how they, as travel agents, always send thorough itineraries for each of their families. They include lists of things they think that family would enjoy. But Sarah emphasized that the major caveat here is that you should NOT have to feel like you have to do it all. There is so much you’ll miss if you feel like you’re trying to fit it all in and rushing from one activity to another. There are so many magical moments, that are often totally unplanned for and happen in the spur of the moment. 

Did any of this resonate with you?

If you’ve realized you have highly sensitive kids AND you’re planning a trip to Disney World, come check out my Facebook group! It’s a great way to connect with other families with similar challenges, to share experiences, ask questions, and get advice. The information you find there could also be helpful for adults who have anxiety, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), or other challenges that require a little extra planning.

Connect with The Charming Travel Co.

Gina and Sarah are travel agents and co-owners at The Charming Travel Co. They want to change the world one family vacation at a time! Tune into their podcast PUT ON YOUR TRAVEL EARS, as they put out new weekly episodes about Disney, Universal, all-inclusives, and cruises. And follow them on Facebook here.

Frozen Ever After for highly Sensitive Kids, a ride review and rating. Photo of Frozen Ever Ride entrance. From moms make it magical dot com

Frozen Ever After for Highly Sensitive Kids: a Ride Review & Rating

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.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

Ride Info

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.

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How To Prepare Your Highly Sensitive Child for Disney World

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

If you are planning to take your highly sensitive or sensory sensitive child to Disney World for your family vacation, there are many ways you can prepare them. 

You might be wondering why you need to prepare them anyway.

Highly sensitive or sensory sensitive kids don’t do well with surprises and are easily overstimulated. Vacations in general can be tough because it’s such a big change from their regular routines and familiar surroundings.

Disney World vacations can be even more challenging due to the overwhelming amount of sensory and emotional experiences. 

This is why it’s all the more important to prepare and plan ahead of time, before you ever get on that airplane or in your car.  You can truly minimize (though not completely eliminate) the sensory overload meltdowns, and maximize the magic and fun for your highly sensitive kids.

So now that we understand WHY we need to prepare them, let’s think about HOW we can prepare them. Read on to find 11 strategies to prepare your highly sensitive child for their Disney World vacation.

Become Familiar with Disney Characters
Become Familiar with Rides
Become Familiar with the Hotel
Prepare for Loud Noises
Prepare for Crowds
Bring Other Items to Reduce Stimulation
Discuss General Expectations of Them
Find Things They Love
Get Walking
Make a Countdown
Adjust Your Expectations

Photo of Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom, with text- 7 reasons why you should take your highly sensitive child to Disney World. From moms make it magical dot com

Why You SHOULD Take Your Highly Sensitive Child to Disney World

7 Reasons Why You Should Take Your Highly Sensitive Child to Disney World

Have you considered the reasons why you should take your highly sensitive child to Disney World? It’s true that highly sensitive people, especially children, are easily overwhelmed and get overstimulated quickly. 

It might seem like it makes no sense to go to Disney with highly sensitive kids (or even adults!). It’s hot. It’s crowded. There’s endless visual and auditory stimulation. I’ve even shared an article discussing 14 reasons why a Disney vacation can be hard for highly sensitive or sensory sensitive kids.

But I want to pivot a little, and think about 7 reasons why you should still take your highly sensitive child to Disney World anyway!

Image of Soarin' Around the World entrance at Epcot, with text Disney's Soarin' for Highly Sensitive Kids

Soarin’ for your Highly Sensitive Child

Will your highly sensitive child enjoy Soarin’ Around the World?

Are you planning a trip to Disney World and asking yourself, “will my highly sensitive or sensory sensitive child enjoy Soarin’ Around the World”?

Then you’ve come to the right place!

Soarin’ Around the World, or otherwise referred to as just Soarin’, is found at Epcot inside the Land Pavillion. The Land Pavillion is also known for the popular character meal at Garden Grill and the Living with the Land ride. 

Soarin’ is a simulated hang glider tour of the world, inside a 180 degree, 80-foot diameter IMAX digital projection dome. The places you get to “visit” while riding Soarin’ are experienced in this order:

1) Matterhorn in Italy and Switzerland
2) Isfjord, Greenland
3) Sydney Harbor in Australia
4) Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany
5) Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania
6) The Great Wall of China
7) The Great Pyramids of Egypt
8) The Taj Mahal in India
9) Monument Valley in Arizona, USA
10) Lau Islands in Fiji
11) Igauzu Falls in Argentina
12) Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
13) Spaceship Earth at Epcot in Orlando, FL

The origins of the ride came from the Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, CA, where it was an opening day attraction! This version opened in Epcot in 2005 and has become one of the most popular rides at this theme park. There is a 40” height minimum, and this attraction is not recommended for pregnant mamas.

Image of the front of the Land pavilion at Epcot, featuring Soarin', for article about riding Soarin' with a highly sensitive child.
Photo credit: magicguides.com

Previewing Disney World rides on YouTube POV videos is generally helpful. But it is REALLY challenging to get the full picture for Soarin’, as there are a ton of non-visual aspects to this attraction. Let’s break it down with a “Moms Make it Magical” rating, and figure out if Soarin’ will be a good experience for your highly sensitive child.

Will your highly sensitive child enjoy Tomorrowland speedway? With pink background and image of entrance of Tomorrowland speedway. From moms make it magical dot com.

Tomorrowland Speedway for Your Highly Sensitive Child

Will your highly sensitive child enjoy Disney’s Tomorrowland Speedway?

It’s hard to miss Tomorrowland Speedway once you enter the Tomorrowland section of Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Your highly sensitive child will quickly hear the roar of the engines and the smell of gasoline fumes, once in the near vicinity. 

Basically, you get to drive a small gas-powered car around a 2000-foot race track, with a guide rail that keeps you in your lane. Some kids are really excited for this since it feels like you’re driving a mini race car, while enjoying the sights of Magic Kingdom around you. There is a height minimum of 32” to ride with an adult, and you must be at least 54” tall to ride alone. 

Image of cars driving on Disney's Tomorrowland speedway. Photo from magic guides dot com.
Photo Credit: magicguides.com

There seem to be mixed opinions when it comes to this ride—some feel that it’s a classic, timeless Disney ride. Others think it is dated, smelly, and loud. 

Let’s break it down with a “Moms Make it Magical” rating to see whether or not your highly sensitive child will enjoy Tomorrowland Speedway, so that we can minimize those potential meltdowns.