Tuesday Disney Tips: A Thrill-Seeking Maniac and A Ride Wimp

Note from Nancy: I am a pretty well-documented Ride Wimp. Brenda offers a different perspective today…along with some great information on some of Disney’s most scary…er, exciting….rides. Enjoy! 🙂

Are you a thrill-seeker or a ride wimp? For me, the answer is yes! My favorite rides at Walt Disney World are the highest, fastest, and craziest — and yet, I break out in a cold sweat if I have to ride Dumbo and I won’t even get near the Astro Orbiter.

I used to think I was afraid of heights because I get very nervous on high bridges and Ferris wheels; but I love Space Mountain, Rock N Rollercoaster, and Expedition Everest, so that can’t be it. Then, I decided I was afraid of falling — but the fact that the Tower of Terror is my all-time favorite nixes that idea as well.

So, I’ve decided that I have a fear of “falling out.” Surprisingly, I think I may have recently found out why. I was talking to my oldest sister recently; she is 8 years older than I and she was talking about a time when our parents had taken us to an amusement park. She was 11 at the time, my middle sister was 6, and I was 3. She said we rode on a ride that we sat down in and it went up in the air and flung us around. She spent the whole ride terrified because my sister and I were nearly flying out and she was holding onto us for dear life. She said it was the worst experience of her life and she has hated rides ever since. I don’t consciously remember that ride, but I am pretty sure something in my subconscious does; and I think it affected me enough to make me afraid of falling out of rides in the air — at least those on which I can see the ground.

My husband always teases me saying, “It’s not the falling out that you fear, but the sudden stop at the end of the fall.” Thanks, honey!

Somehow, being in the dark psyches out my mind, I mean I realize I am up high and the danger is still there but it doesn’t bother me if I can’t see the ground. It is the same with outdoor rides that drop; I cannot ride them at all, but I absolutely love the Tower of Terror.

I decided to write this blog for anyone out there who is preparing to visit Walt Disney World for the first time and who may be a ride wimp from a fear of heights, falling or “falling out.” I wanted to try to give you a heads-up on some rides you might be unsure about. My main goal is to make sure that no one misses out on a great ride at Walt Disney World for fear of not being able to handle it. I decided I would give you a list of each “questionable” ride in each park and whether or not this thrill-seeking ride wimp will ride it.

Magic Kingdom

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad — love it with the hands in the air the whole time. It does go up and down but not high in the air and it is fast and loads of fun. Sometimes it is a wild ride but it has a good safety bar and it is perfectly safe.

Splash Mountain – love it. There are several drops on this ride and, of course, the last one which is up very high. It is really beautiful inside so don’t miss it. Plus, the way I look at it, if the ride doesn’t even require a safety bar then how dangerous can it be?

Space Mountain – love it. I love rollercoasters as long as they are in the dark. Somehow darkness psyches out my mind and even though I know I am up in the air I am ok because I can’t see the ground.

Astro Orbiter – no way. Aside from the fact that the ride itself goes up in the air like Dumbo, it is already on top of a building. You have to take an elevator up to the platform to get onto the ride.

Barnstormer – like it. This ride is what some (ok, most) people call a kiddie rollercoaster. It is a lot of fun; the only problem is that it doesn’t last long enough.

Peter Pan’s Flight – like it. Even though I fear falling out, the seat is so large that I can move a good distance from the side. Looking down isn’t scary because everything is so beautiful to look at and the ride was marvelously designed to tell the story of Peter Pan.

Dumbo – no thank you, unless I am with a newbie. Dumbo goes up in the air and I do not feel comfortable on this ride at all. In fact, I get extremely nervous and break out in a cold sweat. However, if I have a first-timer on the trip with us, I will ride it as this is a Disney icon after all. When we don’t take a first-time visitor with us I avoid the sweet elephants.

Magic Carpets of Aladdin – no thanks. These flying carpets go up in the air like Dumbo. This is not my idea of a good time.

Swiss Family Tree House – no thanks. When my kids were young, I would reluctantly go in the tree house, across the “wooden” bridges that are up 6 stories in the air. I remember being rather panicky when crossing them. Now that my kids are older and they don’t want to go on it anyway, we just walk on past.


Soarin’ – love it. If you are afraid of heights or prone to motion sickness, don’ be scared off by the warnings at Soarin’ as it is such a wonderful ride I would hate for you to miss it. Soarin’ is not a traditional ride. It does “take off” but it only goes up a certain amount and then stops there for the rest of the time. Just don’t look down. If you are terrified of heights, just ask to be in row 3 as it rises up the least. Personally, I love row 1 (which goes to the top). Please give this ride a try; it is beautiful and the sensation of flying is totally awesome!

Test Track – love it. This is an awesome fast ride. You cannot see how far up you are and this ride is so much fun. Don’t miss it.

Animal Kingdom

Expedition Everest — love this ride. It is so fast and fun! There are high drops and riding backwards fast in the dark. It is very exciting. If you have a fear of falling out or a fear of heights, just do what I do and look at your lap or keep your eyes closed when going up the steep trek to the mountain. Oh, and I never sit in the very front seat. I did it once and once was enough. Other than that I love this ride.

Primeval Whirl — like it. This is like a roller coaster combined with a tilt-a-whirl. It spins and dips and even though the drops are steep, they are only about 20 feet. Sometimes you tackle the drops facing forward, sometimes facing backward, and sometimes you spin while falling. Should  you ride it? If you are afraid of heights, then maybe not. If you’re afraid of falling, then maybe not. If you are afraid of falling out, then maybe not. But, I am able to ride it because it is so much fun. I have some anxiety but I really enjoy the spin factor.

Tricera Top Spin – no thanks. These dinosaurs go in the air like Dumbo. I don’t have small children and my children don’t feel the need to ride this one because they consider it a kiddie ride. I don’t feel the need because I could fall out and I would have palpitations that I can do without.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Tower of Terror – LOVE IT. This is my all-time favorite ride and you can get an inside glimpse as to why by reading my previous blog about my favorite ride here.

Rock N Rollercoaster – love it. This is an awesome rollercoaster in the dark with lots of neon accents. It goes very fast, does some loops and twists, and goes upside down; all the while playing great Aerosmith tunes right into your ears. It is fantastic fun!

Downtown Disney

Characters in Flight Balloon Ride? Uh, emphatic NO! Enough said.

Please keep in mind that I am not offering a professional opinion. Fears are very real and you should ride whatever you are comfortable riding. I just thought that, if you are like me, you might find this information helpful.

If you would like to read about the rides from another ride wimp’s point of view, check out Nancy’s article from Chip & Company here.

My family and I haven’t had any trouble making our different ride styles work for us. My husband has a fear of falling so he will not ride Tower of Terror with me at all. He watches all our stuff and enjoys people-watching while we are on the ride. My oldest is not afraid of any rides but likes the dark coasters least. He also will not try Mission Space because my husband and I both experience vertigo issues after we rode it years ago. We have not tried the tamer version because we don’t want to chance it. My middle child is not afraid of any rides at WDW. My youngest is not afraid of anything and the bigger the thrill the better. I have ridden Dumbo with the kids and I will continue to ride it only when we take first-timers as this is a true Disney icon that every first-time visitor must ride and I want them to share the experience with at least one of us. While my family rides the Astro Orbiter I usually people-watch, ride Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin or go into the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor. Dealing with our differences and having a great time at the parks has been no problem at all; we just go with the flow.

Brenda is a native Texan born and raised on the Gulf Coast. She visited Disney World twice as a teenager and always dreamed of growing her family Disney. She took her first-timer husband and their three children to Disney World in 2000 and they now spend every Thanksgiving there. Brenda writes with a comedic twist on various Disney topics. She will be sharing tips she has learned during her travels and also hopes to enlighten people on little-known freebies that Disney has to offer. She wishes she could have met Walt Disney and considers herself to be a student of Walt. In parallel to his dream it is her wish that everyone would take at least one trip to Disney World in order to share in its magic with their families.

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7 Responses to Tuesday Disney Tips: A Thrill-Seeking Maniac and A Ride Wimp

  1. Debbie Bolen says:

    Thanks Brenda – I thought I was the only one who doesn’t like Astro Orbiter, Dumbo or Magic Carpets of Aladdin. I finally got over my fear of Space Mountain, Expedition Everest and Rock ‘n Roller Coaster on my last trip – screaming the whole way (it helped)! Although, I’ll be ok if I don’t ride them again. I used to like Tower of Terror until they took that really big bar out and put the seat belt – no thank-you! I do like Soarin’, but the only time I rode it, I felt like I was sliding forward out of my seat – my husband said the same thing. I’ll give that one another try on the next trip though!
    I guess I love Disney because of Disney and not the thrill rides.

  2. Brenda says:

    Right on, Debbie! It is the Disney that makes it all so special!! Have a great day!

  3. Karen says:

    I am so glad I came across this article, I am afraid of heights and prefer not to see the ground. I am going back in August and really want to try Space Mountain and Expediton. I tried Splash Mountain and loved it so this really helps. I really want to try T of T as well.

    • Nancy says:

      Karen I think you are quite brave….far braver than I am. Space and Splash..I’m ok with. Expedition Everest….I “want” to try it…but ToT…not so much. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by and enjoy your trip!

  4. Karen says:

    I am rereading this article as my trip is 18 days away and really hoping I can brave RNR, TOT and EE. I have never even tried Space Mountain but I plan too. I am deathly afraid of heights and my son is wanting to go on Dumbo I going to brave it but I will be none to happy I am sure

    • Brenda says:

      YOU CAN DO IT!!!! I hope you will brave them all at least ONCE. If you don’t like them, then you never have to ride them again. I have always told my kids to ride at least once because I would hate for them to miss out on anything they might truly love like I love these. RNR and SM are in the dark so that helps a lot. For EE, the only scary part is going up the steep mountain, so just close your eyes on that part if you are afraid – don’t look down. And don’t sit in the very front seat. But PLEASE try all these at least once. Send me an email at bootskenworthy@aol.com and I will send you my cell phone number so you can call me if you are going to chicken out – lol!!! Dumbo you will be able to do because your love for your son will far outweigh your fear. Just don’t look down!
      I hope you will have a FANTASTIC trip!!! Write back when you get back home to let us know what a great time you had…. Brenda

      • Brenda says:

        P.S. Karen,
        TOT is my all time favorite!!!!!!!!! Please give it a try.
        It is one of the most intimidating while you are in line and you will feel the whole time like you want to chicken out, but hang in there – at least once!!! YOU GO GIRL!!!

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