Eight Best Disneyland Thrill Rides for Kids with Autism
Have a kid that can’t get enough of thrill attractions? You are not alone.
Many kids with autism crave movement. Whether it is sharp drops, spinning or swinging from side to side thrills California’s Disneyland theme park rides have it all.
So, to help parents plan their next action-packed vacation, we’ve compiled the eight best Disneyland thrill rides for kids with autism.
#1 California Screamin’ – Paradise Pier
At a whopping 1-1/8 miles, California Screamin’ is one of the fastest and longest roller coasters at Disney. To participate in this thrill-seeking ride, you must be in good physical condition and over 48 inches tall. In fact, it is best to ride it early in the day preferably on an empty stomach. As an uber-popular ride, you need to secure a fast pass for it to help navigate the lines. This attraction closes down early in the evening, to accommodate the World of Color show so make sure you plan your day accordingly.
#2 Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! – Hollywood Land
Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!, will thrill all of the adventure-seeking family members. With a height requirement of 40 inches, younger kids can ride, but it is geared towards teens and adults. This indoor ride is a conversion of the now defunct Tower of Terror that was a crowd favorite.Though it is a short ride expect big drops, darkness, and loud sounds. An integral part of the fun is the line leading to the attraction. It is filled with movie memorabilia and humorous mini guest appearances of characters.
#3 Star Tours – The Adventures Continue- Tomorrowland
Discovering a galaxy far far away takes a new meaning at this interactive 3-D attraction. The pre-boarding area is filled with giant projection screens that will keep you entertained. Riders get to board a flight simulator and become fully emersed in their intergalactic adventure while accompanied by favorite Star Wars characters like BB-8 and Kylo Ren. Your kids must be over 40 inches tall to ride Star Tours and should be ok with wearing 3D glasses, darkness, and loud noises.
#4 Indiana Jones™ Adventure – Adventureland
Indiana Jones Adventure isn’t for the faint of hearts. Riders drive through hot lava, swarms of pesky insects and avoid giant boulders while exploring the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. For this ride, kids must be at least 46 inches tall and comfortable with mummy screams in the dark. What is unique about the ride is that there are three variations so you can ride it over and over and experience a different chamber each time.
#5 Space Mountain – Tomorrowland
For those who love fast and furious turns, Space Mountain is the ride to explore. The ride, launched back in 1977, continues to be among the top five favorites of park goers. Imagine blasting off in your spaceship trapped in a dark cosmos with strange galactic sounds. Riders get to pass comets and meteors before getting pulled by gravity back to earth. Great for those who don’t mind strobe lights, loud noises and complete darkness for the duration of the ride.
#6 Matterhorn Bobsleds -Fantasyland and Tomorrowland
Nothing spells adventure better than a high-speed race down one of the tallest mountain in Switzerland. After you board a six-person sled and weather icy cold wind on your face all you have to look forward is surviving the way DOWN. But braving icy chutes, flimsy bridges, and waterfalls ( yes, you get slightly wet) isn’t even the end of it, Turns out there’s a folkloric boogie man that chases after intruders. The ride with a 42-inch minimum height requirement features dark areas, loud noises, and sudden drops. Not many know that Disneyland has two separate bobsled runs; one in Tomorrowland and the other in Fantasyland. For those seeking the ultimate experience, the one in Fantasyland has a longer track with sharper curves.
#7 Grizzly River Run – Grizzly Peak
Grizzly River Run is the perfect rafting adventure for older children and adults. The height requirement for boarding the eight-person raft is 42 inches. While riding on the Grizzly River Run, free-floating drifting along the river accompanied by spinning and several drops. The attraction features gurgling geysers and a massive splashdown as a finale so you will get wet! Parents should bring ponchos, towels and even a set of extra clothes. Also, remember to store vulnerable electronics in the complimentary lockers next to the bear statue, so they don’t get damaged.
#8 Big Thunder Mountain Railroad– Frontierland
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a fast-paced roller coaster is a nod to California’s Gold rush era. The noisy ride zooms in and out of an abandoned mine shaft. Riders encounter ‘unexpected perils’ like waterfalls, landslides and even goats chewing on dynamite sticks on the way. Children over 40 inches can participate as long as they are comfortable with twists, turns, drops and partial darkness.
Autism Travel Tips
- When you first arrive at Disneyland, head over to the Guest Relations and ask for the DAS pass. If the line is long, go into the parks and look for the red or green umbrella kiosks. The staff can get you the pass there too. The pass is designed for individuals with disabilities including autism who can’t wait in long lines. The way it works is you go to a ride you want and depending on the wait time staff there will assign you a return time. In the meantime, you are free to go on another less popular ride or grab a snack. Bear in mind that when you return to the ride at your assigned time slot, you will still stand in a line but a shorter one.
- While visiting the parks, make sure that your kids’ are wearing appropriate footwear, comfortable clothing, and sunscreen. Clothing items to avoid include any loose fitting that could get caught in a ride along with hats or flip-flops that can fall easily off. Guests wearing glasses should either take them off or use a glasses rope to hold them safely in place
Does your child love the Disneyland thrill rides? What is your favorite ride at Disneyland?