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First off- this is not a thread about cheating the system... I have seen a few here, and agree with others that adding padding/thick shoes is not exactly kosher.
However, we're trying to prepare our nearly-four-year-old for this year's WDW trip. Last year, we all had a blast, and coming in at about 38" inches, he wasn't able to go on any of the "bigger kid" rides. He did go to Lego Land, and was able to ride one of the roller coasters there, and LOVED it.
So this year, he clocks in at about 40.5" with no shoes or socks on (that was a couple months ago, he is probably closer to 41" now). With normal shoes, it is ~41.5-42". However, I have been reading stories of kids who fit on the first measurement, but were suddenly turned around at the second measurement. Do I need to be concerned about this? Is the 40" requirement (For say, Big Thunder, and Splash Mountain) really 41"+ when you get to the final measurement? Or is that 40" pretty well set? Do I need to get ready for "Well you are the right height, but the ride people say you're not quite big enough?" or should we be in the clear?
I only have one experience with this. Our friend's child had made the measurement requirement for Space Mountain the week before and was able to ride it the previous week. However, when we went he made it past the first measurement, but didn't make it past the final one and he was crushed. Maybe preparing him wouldn't be a bad idea, just in case.
My experience is that you can be measured and ALLOWED to ride a ride several times and then get another cast member and they turn him away!! Mission Space 2010. Try explaining THAT one to your kid who loves rocket ships! So from then on I adopted a they can say no at any time and we have to do what they say no argument attitude it's the only way to reduce risk of meltdown.
This trip I noticed DS might meet requirement on primeval whirl - but I told him above statement, he agreed so we tried it and sure enough we rode it several times that day. Couple days later I warned him again but he got to ride. Realized height req same on RNR and started preparing him for that if he wanted to and told him they could say no on measurement. They let him on and he loved it.
I'm here to say, just because your child meets the height requirements doesn't mean they should ride. My daughter met the height for space moutain, but she is tiny and slide all over the place in the seat. Scared me to death. I'm pretty sure she could have easily fallen out. At the end of the ride she was sideways in the car, almost in the foot portion. If it was a double seat ride DH or myself could have held on to her. Just be careful.
I'm just here to say Good Luck! I know how hard it is when a child is excited to ride something and gets turned away. The nice thing about Disney is that they will be tall enough at a much younger age than other theme parks. My 8 1/2 year old still has a rough time at Six Flags and Universal.
I think preparing him for the possibility of being turned away is the way to go. It might be fun to allow him to prepare "Plan B" if that happens. That way, he feels he's in the driver's seat no matter what.
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space mountain is the worst ride for a small kid very unsafe restraint system
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Last spring, my nephew measured 41" at the doctor a week before our trip, so we thought he would be fine on the 40" rides. He easily got on BTMRR and Soarin', but when it came time for the one he (and my sister) wanted most, Dinosaur, three different CMs said he was too short and wouldn't let him ride. He was 3 1/2 at the time, and kept crying "But I'm a big boy! I love dinosaurs!" We think the problem was the way they were measuring him. At the others, they had him stand in front of the stick, but at that one, they were trying to get him to stand up under it, which made him duck his head to allow the CMs to pass their hands in between. So I'd say be prepared for it to go either way. Good luck!
Thanks for the great tips everyone! We are going to prepare him that at some rides he may be turned away. We are also practicing him standing tall, because I'd hate for him to be turned away because he is slouching. And as mentioned, if he is turned away, there will always be next year! (my parents are DVC members, and have us down to WDW every winter).
Re: Space Mountain- no worries on that, as he wont be near tall enough to ride it (3" short), and there is no way I'd try to game the system to get him on.
He is tall enough to go on TOT, but gah.. why? I love it, but he is way too young/little, and the last thing I'd want to do at Disney is scare the heck out of him (there is a big chance that he'd love it, as he is a little thrill junkie, but DEFINITELY not worth the risk). He also really wants to go on DINOSAUR, and while tall enough, I have my reservations, as it is a bit... intense. I remember several years ago, when we took my 5-year-old nephew on it, and it scared the daylights out of him (we had not been on it, and were thinking more the dinosaur energy ride in Epcot, and had to cover his eyes for most of the ride). I don't think I want that experience again!
Hard to explain to them when they were able to ride one of the big rides only to be turned away next time. Even more upsetting when you are given the go ahead stand in the long line then turned down at the top. So it is something to be prepaired if they are just making the mark.
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