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Top 7 Orlando Thrill Rides for Little Ones & Height Requirements

by Lily on September 15, 2015

Mommy Frog's Note: Many of you are parents to brave tadpoles like mine, who love nothing more than riding the "kiddie" versions of some very grownup thrill rides. Today's post comes from Lily, who wants to be just like her big brother, Tad, and take on all of the big coasters. Every other day she asks me to measure her to see how much she has grown — she is certain she'll be tall enough for Space Mountain by our next trip ;) Some of you who may have older tadpoles who aren't quite so brave. Many of these coasters and other thrill rides are good introductions to the bigger rides. We recommend letting your little ones watch our ride videos at home to get them ready to ride. Once children feel like they've "mastered" the kiddie rides, they are more likely to try new ones. All of the rides with height requirements are listed at the bottom of this post. 

I may be small, but I still enjoy attractions that are a little more “daring” than Dumbo the Flying Elephant®. Though they’re not as intense as Rock ’n Roller Coaster® Starring Aerosmith at Disney’s Hollywood Studios® or Manta at SeaWorld, here are my seven favorite Orlando kiddie rides with height requirements under 40 inches.

Top Orlando Kiddie Thrill Rides

1. Flight of the Hippogriff (Universal's Islands of Adventure)

Flight of the Hippogriff - Orlando Kiddie Rides

With all its spiraling and swooping, Flight of the Hippogriff is a great practice coaster until I’m tall enough to ride the other big ones at Universal's Islands of Adventure. (Minimum Height Requirement: 36”/91cm)

2. Astro Orbiter (Magic Kingdom® Park)

OK, so it’s not a coaster and it doesn’t even have a minimum height requirement, but Astro Orbiter goes pretty fast and very high up. It’s even more thrilling at night. Watch the video and see for yourself! (Minimum Height Requirement: None)

3. Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster (Universal Studios)

This is a great coaster for little ones like me. There aren’t any major drops, just gentle swoops and turns. And who doesn’t love Woody in all his nuttiness? (Minimum Height Requirement: 36”/91cm)

4. Shamu Express (SeaWorld)

Shamu Express - Orlando Kiddie Rides

I’m not tall enough for Manta (and not quite brave enough either), so Shamu Express is a perfect coaster for me. It’s located in Shamu’s Happy Harbor, which (in my opinion) is one the best kids’ areas in all the theme parks. Here’s a walk-through video of Shamu’s Happy Harbor. (Minimum Height Requirement: 38”/97cm)

5. Kali River Rapids® Attraction (Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park)

Kali River Rides - Orlando Kiddie Rides

This action-packed river raft ride is great for several reasons: 1) It’s a guaranteed way to cool off on a hot day. 2) I get to share the adventure with 11 of my closest friends. 3) I’m tall enough to ride it! Check out the video. (Minimum Height Requirement: 38”/97cm)

6. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Magic Kingdom® Park)

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - Orlando Kiddie Rides

I love this coaster! It's the perfect amount of thrills — somewhere between The Barnstormer and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad — and the mine cars swing back and forth. There aren't any major drops or turns, and it doesn't go too fast. I always get the song "Heigh-Ho" stuck in my head after riding it :) See what it looks like at night for more thrills(Minimum Height Requirement: 38”/97cm)

7. The Barnstormer Featuring The Great Goofini (Magic Kingdom® Park)

Like Shamu Express, this roller coaster is perfect for tadpoles like me! It's a lot of fun and not scary at all. It's also pretty short, so if you have little ones who aren't ready for the big coasters, The Barnstormer is a great start! (Minimum Height Requirement: 35 inches)

Have fun and stay safe!

Love, Lily

Orlando Rides with Height Requirements

Magic Kingdom® Park

Tomorrowland® Area Speedway (32”/81cm)

The Barnstormer (35"/89cm)

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (38"/97 cm)

Splash Mountain® Attraction (40”/102cm)

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad® Attraction (40”/102cm)

Stitch’s Great Escape (40”/102cm)

Space Mountain® Attraction (44”/112cm)


Soarin’™ Attraction (40”/102cm)

Test Track® Presented by Chevrolet (40”/102cm)

Mission: SPACE® Attraction (44”/112cm)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios®

Star Tours® - The Adventures Continue Attraction (40"/102cm)

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (40"/102cm)

Rock ’n Roller Coaster® Starring Aerosmith (48”/102cm)

Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park

Kali River Rapids® Attraction (38”/97cm)

DINOSAUR Attraction (40”/102cm)

Expedition Everest® Attraction (44”/112cm)

Primeval Whirl® Attraction (48”/122cm)

Universal Studios

E.T. Adventure (34”/86cm)

Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster (36”/91cm)

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem (40"/102cm)

The Simpsons Ride (40”/102cm)

TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D (40"/102cm)

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™ (42"/107cm)

MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack (42”/107cm)

Revenge of the Mummy (48”/122cm)

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit (51”/130cm)

Islands of Adventure

The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride (34”/86cm)

Cat in the Hat (36"/91cm)

Flight of the Hippogriff (36”/91cm)

Pteranodon Flyers (36”/91cm)

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (40”/102cm)

Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges (42”/107cm)

Jurassic Park River Adventure (42”/107cm)

Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls (44”/122cm)

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (48”/122cm)

Doctor Doom’s Fearfall (52”/132cm)

Dragon Challenge (54”/138cm)

The Incredible Hulk Coaster (54”/138cm)


Shamu Express (38”/97cm)

Journey to Atlantis (42”/107cm)

Wild Arctic (42”/107cm)

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin® (wild version- 42”/107cm)

Manta (54”/138cm)

Kraken (54”/138cm)

Keep hopping, Lily!
Sort newest to oldest Sort oldest to newest
Ricardo Feb 29, 2012 at 7:54 a.m.

The first thing I can say for smeoone who is 14 is do not worry about acting like a fool and do not worry about your parents acting like a fool. That is half the fun of disney is being able to be a kid and NO ONE CARES. Wear ears, eat silly ice cream, ride kiddy rides, take photos with characters. One of the best rides we went on was designed for kids (toy story in hollywood studios), so do not be afraid to try different things.Disney is one of those places where you do not have to worry about who is looking or who is being silly because everyone does it. I am in my 30s and I would stand in line with kids (and adults) just to get my photo taken with Baloo from Jungle Book.I know at 14 it can be tough but please keep it in mind.In november it will still be semi-warm but it does get chilly at night so be sure to bring a jacket or sweatshirt. If you are one of those people who get cold easy you might even be ok in jeans and a tee shirt or tank top (for the day).With meeting characters they are all over all of the parks but they also have meet stations that run in various times during the day. When you get a map it will give you the times and locations of those spots.As far as rides do them all! Have a wonderful time!

kamama Mar 1, 2012 at 6:05 p.m.

My daughter is short for her age, and has been her whole life. We're doing our first WDW visit with her, and she is sitting at 35', and I know she would like the Kali River Ride, but wondering how strict they are about that or if it would even be safe being a could inches shorter. Average kids her age would meet it.

FrogBlog Mar 6, 2012 at 5:34 p.m.

Cast Members are pretty strict with adhering to the height requirements for safety reasons. I would try to focus on the ones you know she will able to do to avoid disappointment. Sorry! -Mommy Frog

Lynette May 18, 2013 at 12:15 a.m.

I see height requirements; however, do they need to ride with an adult until a certain height and/or age? We adults are outnumbered!

FrogBlog May 20, 2013 at 3:26 p.m.

Hi Lynette,

This is a good question. For the Disney World rides, the answer is no. Some height ranges at SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Orlando require a supervising companion. In those cases, I would recommend you all queue together and then let the ride attendant know.


-- Mommy Frog

sheila Nov 5, 2013 at 5:11 a.m.

Does the child need to be 48 inches with or without shoes?

FrogBlog Nov 5, 2013 at 5:46 p.m.

Hi Sheila,

At least from what we've seen it's with shoes!

--Mommy Frog

Adam Watkinson Aug 18, 2014 at 2:08 p.m.

Is it true the suess trolly in the sky now has height restriction of 40" gutted if do my daughter went on it at 38" in 2010 but this yr my son is only 38" so he cant ride if this is the case :-(

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