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    Parenting in the Parks: Kids Measuring Up!

    Kids Measuring Up! by Adrienne Krock

    The Parenting Panel shares how they prepare their children and families for dealing with height restrictions at Disney theme parks.

    Read it here!


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    M measured the magic 40 inches at his 3 year check up on Monday. I danced a little inside even though we aren't going to DL for over a year. I have my fingers crossed that K will hit it right at 3 (we are going within the weeks before her 3rd birthday). But he is in the 92% and she stays in the 70-75%, so it's a pretty big long shot. I'll make sure to manage her expectations beforehand and have back up activities in the area. This may be our toughest trip in this respect, since it should be the only one with a good number of attractions one can ride and one can't.

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    Parenting in the Parks: Kids Measuring Up!

    I'm kind of surprised Eabaldwin's Miss K is excited about Splash, since she can SEE the big drop! BUT does she even realize that that is the attraction her friend is talking about?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drince88 View Post
    I'm kind of surprised Eabaldwin's Miss K is excited about Splash, since she can SEE the big drop! BUT does she even realize that that is the attraction her friend is talking about?
    Cub #1 (almost 4) has been on Splash a few times. We ask for the back row so I can sit next to him and I talk to him throughout the ride so he knows what's coming, e.g. this is a little splash, now it will be dark for 5 seconds, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, now we are going up for the big splash. He says it is "a little scary" but asks to go on it. He also thinks it's hilarious if Mommy gets all wet. We don't push it on the days he doesn't really want to go.

    For riding with one kid and not the other if only one is tall enough, we split up and one of us takes the smaller one to something they enjoy. It's not been a big deal though we'll see how it goes when Cub #2 (almost 2) is a little older.

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    I've got two that are tall enough to ride everything at Disney, and then I've a 2 year old. And even though she's in the 95% for height, our upcoming Disneyland trip will have lot's of times where the "big kids" get to ride Tower and Cars and everything else, while she'll have to be distracted. That's one of the reasons we're hitting SoCal this year. We prefer WDW, but if we wait a year, the little one will be big enough to ride on Soarin' and some of the other doable 40 inch rides for a 3 year old. That said, both of the other kids were hitting Tower at 3, so I don't see much stopping her either.

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    The reason you get into the height problem mess is the kid's expectations are out of line with their ability to go on the rides. Surely, the height problem is one major limitation, but even if you think they may go on the ride, can they actually handle it?

    I noticed that I miss certain rides since my kid's maturity level prevents the whole family from going on a particular ride rather than my kid's height. At 42 inches tall at 4 years old, my kid can go on most rides that have a height requirement; however, we haven't had to tell my kid to miss a ride. I refuse to take my kid to rides like Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion. Problem solved. There are plenty of rides where the whole family can attend. It is a problem when parents pick rides that are inappropriate for kids and then they deal with kids that have breakdowns when they couldn't go or they must deal with the aftermath.


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    It's all about knowing your kid and what they would enjoy. My oldest (almost 4) loves RSR, Soarin, Silly Symphony Swings, Star Tours and sometimes Splash. He does not even know Tower of Terror exists, yet I know people whose 3 year olds love it. We have yet to make either kid ride something they don't want to ride, height stick or no. Mr Toad is scarier to my kid than Splash. YMMV.


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    It is about knowing the child. My granddaughter was 40" at 2.5years. She is now about 41". She will be three in January. For now, while she can ride all the 40" rides, we aren't taking her on more than Racer's and Soarin'. Next time, if MDM wants to ride Splash, she might ride in the backseat with her, but she needs to be a lot more mature before we try most of the coasters. We may take her back to Gadgets and see how she does, but even the third hill on Racers got the "falling cat" look from her, so we may even wait on that. (But she does like WHEE! rides elsewhere. There is no reason to put her on Space or Star Tours or other 40" rides. She isn't emotionally ready yet. (She does like Haunted Mansion for now, will see next year if this changes... And Fantasmic! is her night show of choice. Takes after her grandma!)

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    Their tastes and scared factor changes as they grow as well. At 4 1/2, A rode Splash and loved it. At 5 1/2, she rode it during the first part of the week and changed her mind at the end. Was.not.going.on.the.big.down! Looking back after we were home, we realized she had been in the front of the log several times, but the year before grammie was with us so we were 7, and she was in the back every time with me. Once we figured that out she was willing to try again, and still rode next to me until she was 10. Only this last trip did she move to her own seat, the front no less, it was a huge milestone for her.


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    Not to be a broken record, but it is all about knowing your child and what they want to do. If they meet the height requirements and want to give it a try, it might be ok. The key is to help prepare them for what they are about to experience. There is enough information out there about the rides to start a conversation with them and see if they are really ready for it physically or emotionally.

    (ie: if they get car sick, going on Mission:Space or RnRC may not be the best choice regardless of height.)

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    This was one issue we never faced -- our boys (triplets, all the same size) decided for themselves that if they weren't tall enough, it meant the ride was too scary. They'd ask if they were tall enough, and if we said no, they all said it was too scary. No need for discussion or explanation.


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    Registered User amyuilani's Avatar
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    As a former attractions CM, I tried over and over again to explain to parents why the height restrictions were the way they were, usually to no avail. It is not an arbitrary figure, and it is not because the powers that be wanted to be uniform across the park. The height restrictions are determined by the way the attraction's seating and safety restraints are designed. Indiana Jones is so high because a rider needs to be able to put his/her feet safely on the floor of the vehicle to minimize the sway of the ride and the impact on the neck/back. This was a dead giveaway to us when we had a child sneak past height check and try to ride. For other rides, it's because of the way the restraints are designed - a rider who does not meet the requirement can be hurt. Many an engineer and scientist work together to determine safe riding restrictions. Parents usually did not understand (or rather, didn't care) that the restrictions were firm because of the possibility that the kids could get hurt.

    I agree that parents need to set reasonable expectations for their children when they know height restrictions will come into play. CM's will not bargain with parents for their children, so don't try. As tough as it is, parents need to understand that every height check is its own unique event, and even if "she was tall enough last time" or "the doctor says he's this height," the only thing that counts is that CM's call at that moment. And if she was tall enough yesterday and will be tall enough tomorrow, then ride some other time. That CM knows his job is on the line if something happens to a child he thinks is too small but passes through anyway. CM's always err on the side of caution. It's not personal until a parent makes it so.

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    At home in the hills candles71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amyuilani View Post
    That CM knows his job is on the line if something happens to a child he thinks is too small but passes through anyway. CM's always err on the side of caution.
    I think that more than a CM's job is the guilt and self recriminations that CM would feel if anything happened to that child are more important then the job itself. We have never argued with a CM, we have taught our children to respect the CMs and their jobs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by amyuilani View Post
    CM's always err on the side of caution. It's not personal until a parent makes it so.
    This isn't about CMs - this is about the parents. It never ceases to amaze me the things that parents will let their children do and get their noses bent out of joint if anyone else cares more about their children than they do.

    I volunteer at my children's school and it's unbelievable to me how many children ride their bikes and scooters too and from school with no helmets on. Their parents often say they can't afford it. Gee, if you can't afford the HELMET, maybe you couldn't afford the bike/scooter because you sure as heck won't be able to afford the hospital or funeral expenses.

    I don't envy CMs who have to deal with the level of entitlement that comes from a parent who paid to get his/her child into a Disney theme park and expects that the rules just don't apply to them.
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    Funny thing about the rides. My nieces have loved the roller coasters, since they were 2 or 3. They enjoy Gadgets go coaster and Splash Mtn and Soarin. But they hate the dark rides! Too loud and dark for them. Both girls were tall early, but even so, height restrictions have never been a big deal. We have yet to try Space mtn because we dont think they could handle it. And really, they dont know or care about most of the rides because we havent talked about them. No need to get them all hyped up about a ride if they may not be able to go on it. There's plenty of other stuff to do, see and enjoy!


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    OT// ADK, I have an answer for the ones who try to tell me that. (Check first so not bad intell ) I tell them to go to the firestation in town or the Sherrif's substation because BELL regularly sends them cases off helmets they give out to any kid in town who needs one, so they really don't have an excuse other than laziness at that point. Also, to the kids I mention the fact that the Sherrif Deputies quite regularly give out cards to kids doing the right thing, like wearing their helmet, that gets them a free ice cream at our local grocery store.//back to topic.


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    Quote Originally Posted by candles71 View Post
    OT// ADK, I have an answer for the ones who try to tell me that. (Check first so not bad intell ) I tell them to go to the firestation in town or the Sherrif's substation because BELL regularly sends them cases off helmets they give out to any kid in town who needs one, so they really don't have an excuse other than laziness at that point. Also, to the kids I mention the fact that the Sherrif Deputies quite regularly give out cards to kids doing the right thing, like wearing their helmet, that gets them a free ice cream at our local grocery store.//back to topic.
    We have an organization in town that passes out helmets. We've had times when the principal gave out helmets they gave her to keep at school, and they still didn't wear them. See, their SON was KILLED when he wasn't wearing his helmet and he was hit by a car while riding his bike. (My sister went to medical school with their older son. They're real people with a real story.) Yeah, doesn't matter. It won't happen to them.

    And that's the same attitude people have in the parks.
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