Once Disney guests are school-aged (between 6 and 10), most are ready and able to partake in some of the parks most beloved attractions. Here is a list of 15 rides your school-aged child should LOVE! We’ve included warnings on any attractions that have any potential “scare” factor, as well as any height restrictions.
13. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (MAGIC KINGDOM)
Disney bills this ride as a roller coater suited for the entire family (the height restriction is 40 inches). There are no dramatic drops on this ride, but there are portions that are entirely dark.
WARNING: This coaster is fast and the “small” drops come frequently!
12. Haunted Mansion (MAGIC KINGDOM)
999 happy haunts call this spooky ride home! It is a slow-moving tour of 15 haunted rooms full of creepy surprises.
WARNING: Although there is nothing gory, this ride could easily unnerve younger school-aged children or those generally afraid of “ghosts”. We waited to take my daughter on this ride until she was 5, thinking she would be old enough. She cried through the entire ride and has completely sworn it off.
11. Mickey’s PhilharMagic (MAGIC KINGDOM)
This is a 12-minute 3D movie experience featuring many well-known Disney songs and favorite Disney characters. School-age is the perfect time to experience this magical Disney concert!
10. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (MAGIC KINGDOM)
This is the newest attraction in all of Walt Disney World and consequently the most popular. This ride has been advertised as a “family” coaster, with a height restriction of only 38 inches. Riders are taken on a thrilling trip through the dwarfs’ gem mine and catch a glimpse of Snow White and her seven little helpers.
WARNING: While there are only small drops on this coaster, the ride does go quite fast. If there’s any question about your school-age child’s readiness for this ride, watch it in motion first.
9. Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom (MAGIC KINGDOM)
SOTMK is an interactive game played throughout the Magic Kingdom. Guests can sign up to play the game at two locations and receive a FREE pack of spell cards as well as a Sorcerer Key card used to unlock “portals” hidden in windows. Spell cards are used to battle infamous Disney villains and their henchman, and following each successful battle the animated clue directs you to the next portal on your adventure. Each guest in your party is entitled to a new pack of cards each day, as long as you play at least one portal. This is really a wonderful activity to do during the times of the day when attractions are the busiest, and the cards make a fantastic and completely free souvenir from your trip.
8. Living with the Land (EPCOT)
Take this tranquil ride through the greenhouses used by Disney horticulturists to develop plant growing techniques of the future. School-age children will be amazed by the sight of a 9-pound lemon and tomato “trees”.
7. Soarin’ (EPCOT)
School-age children 40 inches and over will relish this simulated hang-gliding experience! Guests soar high above forests, ski slopes, oceans, the Grand Canyon, and Disneyland!
WARNING: Although this is a simulated flight, guests are actually lifted 40 feet in the air. Fear of heights makes this ride a no-go.
6. Test Track (EPCOT)
A “simulated” car will allow you to test your own car design, and take you on a 65 mile per hour ride around the outside of the Test Track building. Test Track would be a great “first” thrill ride for a school-aged child. Kids who enjoy this experience may be ready to try out some of the true “coaster” rides around Disney World!
WARNING: The “thrilling” portions of this ride are brief, but come without warning. Children under 40 inches or those who experience motion sickness will need to skip this one.
5. Fantasmic! (HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS)
This show exemplifies Disney Magic at its finest! A combination of pyrotechnics, costumed characters, and animation projected on screens of mist make this an experience that should not be missed by anyone with school-aged children.
WARNING: Some of this experience is focused around Disney Villains. There is an appearance of a VERY large snake, as well as loud explosions from fireworks. If you’ve got a younger school-aged child who is sensitive to any of those things, you may want to try getting a seat in the back of the amphitheater in case you need to leave early.
4. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular (HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS)
Although the school-age crowd may not be familiar with the Indiana Jones movie franchise, they will still enjoy this 30 minute “behind the scenes” look at movie stunt filming. Explosions, fight scenes, and leaps from tall buildings will have kids at the edge of their seats!
WARNING: Although these are controlled stunts, the fire used during explosions is real. You can feel the heat in your seats. For most kids this show will not be a problem, but parents will need to use their best judgments on this one.
3. It’s Tough to Be a Bug (ANIMAL KINGDOM)
Disney offers some great “4D” experiences, and this attraction is no exception. Wearing special “bug eye” glasses will give guests a new perspective into the lives of these creepy crawly animals.
WARNING: This experience becomes extremely intense toward the end. There is a thick haze of smoke released into the theater, total darkness, very loud sound effects and “stinging” from the interactive seats. Even some school-aged children may find it a bit overwhelming.
2. Kali River Rapids (ANIMAL KINGDOM)
Spinning down the Chakranadi River in a 12-person raft will be a fun adventure for families with school age kids 38 inches and over. But be prepared! You’re sure to get soaked on this one!
WARNING: There are a few drops on this ride which feel pretty dramatic in a raft. The raft spins constantly, so if you child is prone to motion sickness this might not be a good choice.
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1. Flights of Wonder (ANIMAL KINGDOM)
This 25 minute stage show offers the opportunity to view dozens of birds, some rare or exotic, in free flight in and around this open-air auditorium. There are several opportunities for children in the audience to volunteer to participate in on-stage demonstrations. School-aged children will be awed by birds flying inches above their heads.
WARNING: If your child suffers from FOB (Fear of Birds) like the comical “star” of this show, you may want to pass on this attraction. When I say the birds fly inches above the heads of the audience, I mean it literally.
Traveling to Disney with children younger than 6? Check out our articles entitled 14 Toddler-Friendly Attractions in Walt Disney World and SAFETY NOTICE: 20 Preschooler-Approved Attractions At Disney World!
For more awesome tips about taking your school age kids to Disney, consult with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. They’ll help you get the best price for your vacation, share their expert advice and their services are totally FREE!