ACK! First trip to WDW didn't go well :(


Hi Everyone -

First, I want to thank all of you who responded to my post a few weeks ago regarding our first trip to WDW with our 5 year old son! All of your advice and suggestions were a great help! We even invested in the Unofficial Guide 2006 and tried to follow the MK 2 day tour.

Unfortunately, our son, Nicholas, was terrified of just about everything in the park - including all animatronics and indoor rides (if any part of the ride was in darkness). He was even afraid of Small World, Winnie the Pooh, and the monorail in Tomorrow Land. The poor thing almost died when the “god” or whatever that was that raised up during the Tiki Bird Show! If we happened to get closer than 100 feet of any of the characters wandering around MK, he would hide behind me until it was “safe” to come out. If any of you were at MK on May 1 or May 2, you must have seen us - the frazzled parents - begging, pleading, fibbing, cajoling and, yes, even yelling at our crying child. Writing this makes me laugh, but, when we were there it wasn’t much fun - especially after standing in line for 30+ minutes to go on some ride only to have to leave the line just before it was our turn - or run the risk of having Child Protective Services meet us at the ride’s exit if we would have forced him to go on!

To be fair, I have to say that he did enjoy the raceway, the carousel, Tom Sawyer’s Island and the train the circles the park. We also tried to find Hidden Mickeys - which we all enjoyed. My husband and I were amazed at all there was to do at Disney and would like to give it another try. However, we’re going to wait a few years before making the trip again. So, I guess my countdown ticker is 730 days! :slight_smile:

Hope you all enjoy your visits to WDW! Thanks again for your help!


Don’t worry! I’m sure he’ll be ready in a couple more years! Then you can go back and have a much better experience! :happy:


Aww, I’m so sorry it didn’t go well. It’s such a disappointment when things don’t go as planned. I’m sure, however, that he’ll like it much better in a couple of years!!


I found 5yo DS to be more timid on this trip than when he was 4 & 3. Not sure why, but it must be an age thing (Of course, for my son, “timid” means only riding EE once.).

I hope your trip in a couple of years will go much better.

Character desensitising–visit Chuck E. Cheese a lot and let him interact with the dressed up rat they bring out. This will help him get use to the idea of meeting characters.


So sorry to hear it did not go as planned. My DD(6) had a similar WDW experience when she was 3. All of the sudden rides that she had been on before, Pooh, Peter Pan IASM etc were all too dark and scary! But now she is OK! So it will get better!


Oh dear - I’m sorry things didn’t go well. Waiting a few years may make a world of difference.


That’s a shame. Seems most kids go through that fear phase. Just your bad luck it was your first time. Sorry.


aw, poor kid. I’m guessing he is afraid of the dark places? I was too when i was little kid. The old version of “The Land” scared the bageezus outta me. Ya know, the old restaurant that actually spun around on an elevated platform. It got me everytime. I was around the same age. Give your youngin’ some time to grow up a little and try to avoid those rides for a bit. (if you can) hehe.


This is actually a more common story than we’d like to believe. Which brings to mind Chevy Chase in Vacation. “This is no longer a vacation, this is a quest for fun. I’m gonna have fun and you’re gonna have fun.” Child Protective Services, wow that reminds me of that bad vacation too. Bloody PC Police is what they are.


I’m sorry your trip didn’t go as you planned but I like your attitude about it.

My DS was scared of several of the rides when he was 5. I thought he would love Buzz Lightyear but he cried the whole ride. I spent the whole next year talking about how brave 6 year olds were and our next trip was totally different, he loved Buzz and HM. I also brought along a couple of pairs of really soft ear plugs and that made all the difference.


aww…that just stinks. I am glad that he did find some things to enjoy. Wait a few years and then take him back. It will make a world of difference.


Sorry it went so awry.

…especially after standing in line for 30+ minutes to go on some ride only to have to leave the line just before it was our turn…

Just curious, why you didn’t try to do the Baby Swap thing?


I’m not answering for her, and I will say we’ve never had such an experience with our DS, but with it being only three of us the baby swap would never appeal to us…if we can’t ride it together there aren’t too many rides DH or I would like to ride alone (ToT and RnR excluded…as I HAVE to ride them alone…they are both too chicken). I can’t see standing in line for Small World and doing the baby swap…just my opinion, and maybe she was feeling the same way.

If we had one small baby and then an older child that wanted to ride I can see doing the “swap” so that both parents could experience it with the older one…you know what I mean? or maybe it’s just me…

~~I do hope your next trip to WDW is much better…and I’m sure it will be when he’s a bit older!! ~~


Aw, I’m sorry you had what sounds like an emotionally exhausting trip! I bet in a few years your DS will be excited to go back, remembering some of the things he loved…and maybe brave enough to try a few things he didn’t like the first time! :mickey:

Good luck with planning your next trip, and here’s hoping the next one is more fun for all of you! :biggrin:


I forgot to mention that we did do the swap thing for Space Mountain. The WDW staff was very accomodating and both my husband and I thought the ride was fantastic. For some of the other rides, like I said before, fibbing was an integral part of the trip. We got him on the Splash Mountain (?) by insisting that the line we were in wasn’t for that ride - not too hard since the line is kind of off to the side of the ride. By the time he realized that it was actually the water floom ride - my husband had already moved him into the seat. He just kept his eyes closed while we went through it and only wimpered a little (just kidding) - but - that only works one time - no “let’s go on again” for us!

I’m not happy to hear that some of you have had a similar experience, but, I’m comforted to know that while it looked the other bazillion small children were having fun, maybe there were a few other scaredy-cats in the crowd.


I have a couple of scaredy-cats, too, but I can’t say it’s ever really hurt our trip. I do a lot of preparing them ahead of time for the inside rides. I show them Disney books and old photo albums to familiarize them with rides like PoC, HM, etc. We watch lots of movies to get them familiar with and excited about the characters. We skip the roller coasters and only really had a problem on Splash Mountain, a lot of screaming after we came down that hill! :crying:


My kids were never scared, my son just turned into demon child while at disney. I blamed the airplane air. It’s hard to know what to expect from kids in a totally different setting.

But aside from the earplugs that DisneyTeacher mentioned, I’ve read about giving kids a small glow in the dark toy. Not bright enough to ruin the ride for others, but just enough for the child to see some brightness.


Don’t worry- I’ve been there dozens of times and I’m STILL afraid of the characters!!! :tongue: Them things SCARE me (Sorry Rowdy!). Not sure why…AND I don’t go on every single ride. And I’m considerably older than your five year old.:happy:

Too bad it didn’t go as planned, but you should just try to enjoy the memory of the trip and of being there. It’s a unique place. But it’s not for everyone.


Those darn kids. :wink: I know what you mean.
I am glad you find some bright spots and will try again. There is a good chance time and age will fix it next time.

Thanks for sharing your experience. :mickey:


Keep trying every couple of years… one day, he will LOVE everythig abotu WDW, and you will all have a good family laugh at his early feelings! Sorry you had a tough time! Each kid goes at his own pace… sounds like you handled it as smoothly as possible, so pat yourselves on the back for being great parents!