This Hack Saved Our Lives On Our Recent Disney Trip!

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Disney Height Hack

When it comes to visiting Disney whether in the United States or internationally there is a lot of planning that can go into it. There is of course the normal stuff you need to plan like hotels and airfare, however there are a ton of little things to think of and I guarantee you’ll miss one or a few of them.

One area that you absolutely should focus on before leaving for Disney is the height of your children. While a lot of Disney rides including most of the classics do not have a height requirement, many of the more thrilling attractions do. Enter the Disney Height Hack.

Disney Height Hack
Splash Mountain at Tokyo Disneyland.

Disney Height Requirements

I won’t go over every single attraction and height requirement, but you should be aware that many of the most popular attractions at Disney parks around the world have height requirements. Here are some of the most popular rides at Disneyland and Walt Disney World and their corresponding height requirements:

  • 35″ – Barnstormer, Gadget’s Go Coaster
  • 38″ – Kali River Rapids, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, Slinky Dog Dash
  • 44″ – Mission: SPACE (orange), Avatar Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest, Space Mountain (WDW)
  • 40″ – Splash Mountain, Space Mountain (Disneyland), Big Thunder Mountain, Tower of Terror, Radiator Springs Racers, Test Track, Soarin’ & more
  • 42″ – Matterhorn Bobsleds, Goofy’s Sky School
  • 46″ – Indiana Jones Adventure
  • 48″ – Rock-n-Roller Coaster, Incredicoaster

For more info, see the official Walt Disney World & Disneyland Resort height requirements.

Our Family Dilemma

Earlier this year we completed our Disney around the world trip where we visited all 6 Disney resorts in 6 weeks. It was great, but we almost ran into one huge issue. Our daughter Ellie was 39 3/4″ in normal shoes and considering how many parks we were visiting, that would have meant a lot of missed fun for her.

Disney Height Hack not tall enough
Tron Lightcycle Run at Shanghai Disneyland test seat. She’s not quite tall enough for this yet!

Enter the Disney Height Hack

Before I go on, let me be clear. Height requirements and other safety rules are important and should be followed at all times. I personally follow all height and safety rules when at Disney or any other place. With that said, thankfully Disney has pretty straightforward rules when it comes to height that can work in your favor.

It works something like this:

When a child is measured by a cast member, if the child’s head hits the bottom of the height marker then they are “good to go”.

Cast Member’s Call

In close cases the cast member may use some sort of tool to determine if they are tall enough or they may ask another cast member for a second opinion. Even if you feel your child is tall enough cast members have the final say as they are trained to make sure everyone is safe to ride. Which brings me into the next part.

From what I gather and based on my MANY experiences, Disney has a policy that allows for different size shoes hence the Disney height hack!

Basically, Disney knows that children will have different sized shoes and has accounted for this. Putting on a platform shoe instead of a flat might add as much as 1/2″ to your child’s height and is fully within Disney’s rules based on my observations and experiences. YMMV of course.

Disney Height Hack
Sometimes being short presents fun opportunities. Shanghai Disneyland.

Let Me Be Clear – Follow the Rules

Again, I am not saying to use tippy toes or to stuff your child’s shoe with toilet paper. What I am saying is that slightly taller shoes can help them get across the line. Don’t go extreme and you’ll probably be fine. Ellie was never denied entry in her platform shoes and she snuggly fit all of the restraints of the various rides so we always felt safe.

By utilizing the Disney height hack Ellie was able to ride all of the following 40″ attractions:

  • All 4 versions of Tower of Terror
  • Space Mountain in Anaheim, Tokyo & Hong Kong
  • All 4 versions of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • All 4 versions of Star Tours
  • All 3 versions of Splash Mountain
  • Test Track
  • Soarin’ on Both Coasts
  • Mission: SPACE (green)
  • DINOSAUR
  • Radiator Springs Racers

Wow, she would have missed out on so much stuff, plus we would have lost a ton of time with rider swaps and that is completely avoidable! I often see kids just missing out on rides, because parents often don’t know if their kid can ride until they walk up to the entrance and get denied. That is a shame, because with a little planning things could go much differently.

Ellie on her favorite ride no matter the resort. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad! She wouldn’t be able to ride without the Disney height hack!

Planning a Trip Based on Height

Which brings me to my final point. It’s okay to plan your Disney trips for when your children are taller. I certainly wouldn’t blame anyone with children under 40″ for not wanting to pay all of that money, especially if you are a “rides” person like me. Rider Switch works well, but it does eat up time, plus there is nothing like experiencing your favorite ride with your child for the first time. It never gets old!

Conclusion

While getting taller shoes is perhaps not the most sophisticated hack in the world, it is one that worked for us this year and has also worked for us in the past when our son was younger. The Disney Height Hack is just another example of maximizing fun while staying within the safety guidelines and rules. I’m sure glad we got to go on all of those extra rides with her. It was amazing.

Shawn Coomerhttp://www.disneyhacks.com
I grew up an hour from Disneyland and spent most of my childhood at Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom. As I grew up my love of theme parks and Disney grew as did my love of travel. For the past 13 years I have circled the globe with my family for pennies on the dollar. I am an expert at travel hacking, saving money, family travel and of course Disney.

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