Every couple of weeks, I see an article pop up about someone who has used some crazy method to fake their child’s height, allowing them onto a theme park ride, and it’s a trend that is starting to worry me. We all know what it is like to measure your child before a vacation, hoping they will be able to ride a particular attraction.
You might all have your hearts set on enjoying that experience together, but if your best pair of sneakers don’t get you over the line at the end of the day, it needs to land firmly in the ‘next time’ basket. Disney tries their best to accommodate families in this very situation by allowing a rider swap option that lets certain family members take turns riding while one stays out with someone who can’t or doesn’t want to take part.
The latest article I was reading centered around a blogging family who had posted a method of adding height to their child by gluing flip-flop platforms to the bottom of his shoes. I won’t say who or link the original article to not draw further attention to them personally. This horrendous idea didn’t sit well with their audience, with countless negative responses pointing out the safety hazard caused by doing this, which was somewhat comforting.
This attempt is only one of many that I have come across from people who are determined to ride an attraction regardless of the safety implications. Height restrictions are in place to keep each rider safe while inside the ride vehicle. It might be to meet the minimum seated height for a pull-down restraint or be substantial enough to be restrained by a lap bar; it could be anything.
The problem is that telling what you think is a white lie to allow the child past the height tester doesn’t enlarge any actual measurements that would enable them to meet the safety requirement while on board. You might think nothing is worse than leaving the park having missed your favorite ride with your child, but there is; someone getting hurt.
Another approach I have seen is to wait patiently in line with children who are well below the height limit and then try to sneak them through unseen or argue with the Cast Member when they are turned away. It’s an awful scenario to see as the children get so upset, and the parents usually become very frustrated, all in a foreseeable and avoidable outcome.
I’ve never been a cast member myself, but I can only imagine the pressure this puts on them when they have to break the heart of a child hoping to ride, all because a parent tried to do the wrong thing knowingly. Of course, there will always be some that don’t notice and pass through with the best of intentions; those are not the people I have in mind here.
I can appreciate that, at times, it can be tricky if you aren’t familiar with the specifications for each attraction, so if you are headed to the parks for the first time, be sure to check out what rides will suit everyone in your family ahead of time. Measure everyone in advance and know what you can and can’t do as a group. It will make your time at Disney so much more enjoyable. Use our Height requirement Calculator to help make this process easier. And please, whatever you do, don’t use drastic measures to fake your child’s height and beat the system; nothing is worth your family’s safety.
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.