Question about an article I read

I don’t have kiddos myself, but am hoping to eventually tag along with my nieces to WDW at some point in the next few years.
I just found this article an I’m honestly not sure how to feel about it.
Essentially, he suggests that a child who is close to the height needed to ride could wear slightly taller shoes. He does say that he doesn’t want people to be unsafe, but I’m just not sure how I feel about this idea. I’m fairly confident that WDW builds in leeway in height from a safety point(i.e., even a 39" child would be ok if the ride calls for 40", but they want that buffer to ensure a better safety record), but I’m just torn on whether this is a bad idea or an actual hack.

Lots of people do it. I don’t personally think there’s any harm for a tiny boost.

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Honestly if the kid(s) are missing an inch or less I don’t see any possible safety issues in WDW rides. We stuffed our sons shoes after he was turned down from Splash Mountain even though he had already ridden it twice without another CM saying anything. When you’re in that gray area, it seriously sucks and not all CMs are equal…

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I’m a former Ops / ride attendant. The restrictions are there for your safety. I know it’s a disappointing day when your child isn’t big enough to ride. The day will be a whole lot worse if they get injured or die.

This is a sore subject for me because I’ve been, literally, screamed and cursed at for “ruining” someone’s day.

People forget that these rides are actually heavy industrial machines that can hurt you.

If your child measures up, even if it’s pretty close, I’m fine to let you ride.

However, if I see a child whose hair is puffed up and wearing two inch heels on their shoes I’m not going to let them on. I’ve had no issue asking kids to take off their shoes before boarding to check their height.

I don’t like being the bad guy, but I’m actually looking out for you. Plus, if you do get even the slightest injury and were under the height requirement I’m out of a job.


I’m not sure if I would call it a hack necessarily, but I don’t think giving someone that last half inch is the end of the world. The important measurement is actually torso length but they use height as a proxy so there needs to be quite a large margin for error on kids with long legs. I also agree that it is SUPER frustrating that Disney can’t figure out a way to be consistent with measuring.

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I suspect I’m in a very definite minority here. I would never even consider trying to “boost” DD5’s height at any point so she could go on a ride a bit sooner. Our last trip (in May) I could almost certainly have made her appear tall enough for RnRC and Primeval Whirl, which she’s been dreaming of going on since she was 3. Guess what - the rides will still be there next trip, and by then she’s pretty much guaranteed to be tall enough.

For me it’s not just about safety, but also about honestly and integrity. I refuse to teach her that it’s ok to not follow rules we don’t like.


Ask Chris Hemsworth how he feels about cheating the system… Seems he learned that the restrictions are there for a reason - thankfully it worked out.


What a weird thing to stuff in her shoes. I would think they would melt. Glad he admits it was a bad idea.


Oof. Luckily this wasn’t an issue with my kids at Disney. The few times we have encountered it elsewhere my husband has been the voice of reason to remind us all that the height requirements are there for our safety.

DS1 is a dare devil, thrill seeker. He was also a micro preemie and is still undersized (he and his 2 year younger brother are the same height but DS2 weighs 10 pounds more - we celebrated DS1 getting onto the WHO growth chart.) Even though he meets the height requirements now, I still get nervous with him being properly secured into rides. He’s just so skinny. It was hard on him when every other kid in his class could go on the big kid rides at the local festival and he didn’t meet those height requirements. He survived. And the thrill on his face the next year when he got to do the zipper? The best!

Do theme parks pad the safety threshold? Probably a bit but since I’m not the risk officer or lawyer for any of these places, I’m going to follow their rules.


I agree. Snickers - or any candy bar - seem like a stupid thing to stuff in shoes.


If they have regular shoes that put them to the limit, vs. a pair that does not, I say go for it, but I would def not go out of my way to “hack” this. While I do imagine that Disney and other parks have built in leeway, I don’t want to encourage them to ignore rules that are in place for their safety.


I’m 5’ 2". I was in the 7th grade before I could ride most “thrill” rides. I totally get the frustration from the guest point of view. However, now that I’ve worked the Ops side I get why those regulations are there.

You also made a good point about size. Just because a tall & skinny seven year old can, technically, get on the ride doesn’t mean they should. For example, wooden coasters and motion simulator are very violent and will toss small kids around even if they’re tall enough to ride. I’ve witnesses numerous small kids crying because “their head hurts” after going on something they are tall enough to be on, but not “big” enough to comfortably ride.


I must really be in the minority because I think the height requirements are already a little short for my comfort level. That said, I also don’t see how 1/4” is going to make a drastic difference. My opinion, I would still not want to cheat this one because of the potential disappointment of getting turned away. Not worth it.

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What they should do is measure you at GS and give you a color coded band for the rest of your trip with the appropriate height. That’s what our local park does.


Yes! I think this would eliminate a LOT of grief.

And I don’t think the spine shrinkage argument holds water. If millimeters of cartilage are the difference between safe and unsafe then perhaps you should reevaluate the requirements.


We’ve had that experience with our tall, skinny DS7. Not intentionally – he was at least 2 inches above the height limit, but clearly not big enough to ride comfortably. Now I read ride descriptions more carefully and don’t just let the height limit and his ride appetite decide. Happily, he’s less of a daredevil than his older brother so most of the rides I think he’s not big enough for are ones he doesn’t want to ride anyway.

If he were tall enough in shoes but not bare feet I’d rather he wasn’t on that ride anyway.

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I haven’t seen it in a long time, but WDW used to have spotters in front of each attraction with a height stick.

In my experience, when the queue got really long, I was told to walk the queue to look for small children that might have gotten past the spotter and for single riders to fill seats. Also, I’d entertain guests too.

I can’t imagine how long the queue at GS would be for people getting height wristbands. (It’s a good idea, but unsure if practical for such large crowds.)


I remember my brother being tall enough for a wooden roller coaster (similar to BTMRR) at a different park, but because he was so skinny, he nearly slid through between the lap bar and the side of the ride seat. My dad had to hold him tight against his side for the rest of the ride


I’m definitely in favor of following the rules with regards to height requirements. Your child’s safety is too important to cheat the system with. However, where the line of “cheating” vs. making choices that improve your chances of getting on the ride is not hard and fast.

The rule is that the child must measure up to the height requirement when measured at the front of the line or before boarding. All such measurements I have seen have been done with shoes on. So on our last trip, I had no qualms about having my 39.75" (without shoes) DD5 wear her regular tennis shoes rather than her flip flops, just to make sure she was over that line. She cleared each test easily, never any dispute. She probably would have passed with flip flops too, but why risk disappointment if she could meet the requirements by wearing her other shoes?

For me, wearing platform or high heel shoes, stuffing shoes, or puffing up hair to artificially increase height (basically anything outside the ordinary variation) would be crossing the line and circumventing safety standards. But each person has to make their own judgments, including the cast members on the front lines.


I would have no qualms about that either. If she were 47.75" though, I’d be looking more carefully at what the ride mechanics are, as some of the 48" limit rides seem to be a lot rougher. (I’m speaking of amusement park rides with that limit generally, not necessarily any particular Disney ride.)

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