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!


Text says "how to prepare your highly sensitive child for you disney vacation", with images of Spaceship earth from Epcot, Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios entrance sign. From moms make it magical dot com.

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

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.

title image of blog post "Will my highly sensitive child enjoy Peter pan's flight?"

Will My Highly Sensitive Child Enjoy Peter Pan’s Flight?

Have you wondered if your highly sensitive child will enjoy their experience on Peter Pan’s Flight? Peter Pan’s Flight is a classic Disney ride, which was an opening day attraction at Walt Disney World on October 1, 1971. It is located in the Fantasyland section of Magic Kingdom, right across from “it’s a small world”. It is a slow-moving ride where you board a “flying pirate ship” over London, and then to Never Land. The pirate ships are suspended from a rail on the ceiling, to simulate the sense of flying. 

Because it is a fairly gentle ride, there is no minimum height requirement. Infants and small toddlers, expectant moms, and older adults (if ambulatory) should be able to ride without a problem. I often see this ride and “it’s a small world” being recommended as some of the best rides at Magic Kingdom for very young children, kids who scare easily, and those who dislike typical thrill rides.

But what about for highly sensitive or sensory sensitive children? Let’s go through some of the attraction details to see whether your highly sensitive child will enjoy Peter Pan’s Flight, or totally hate it and freak out. 

14 Reasons why Disney can be hard for your highly sensitive kids. Photo of Ariel from Little Mermaid section of Art of Animation with two kids running towards it.

Top 14 Reasons Why Disney Can Be Hard for Highly Sensitive Kids

Are your kids easily overwhelmed? Do they get overstimulated quickly? Are they prone to meltdowns when their routines are out of whack? Do sudden noises and big crowds bother them? And… are you planning a trip to Disney World?! 

The most magical place on earth can feel like one of the most overwhelming and overstimulating places to visit, even for those who don’t identify as highly sensitive. It might not seem like the best idea to bring your highly sensitive child to Disney World, but it can be 100% doable once you have a better understanding of why Disney can be hard for them. 

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

Here are the top 14 reasons why a Disney vacation can be hard for highly sensitive or sensory sensitive kids: