Thrills For Your Whole Fam­ily


WDW Magazine - - Contents - BY KIMBERLY MASIMORE

You know the big “Moun­tains” of the World: Space Moun­tain, Big Thun­der Moun­tain Rail­road, and Ex­pe­di­tion Ever­est. But, what about the thrills for the lit­tle princes and princess? Ad­ven­tures come in all sizes and it doesn’t have to be big to be ex­cit­ing. But, did you know that one of the Dis­ney theme parks doesn’t have any mini thrills at all? Don’t worry, I’m go­ing to fore­cast the fu­ture for that one.

There are plenty of thrills suitable for the mini-ad­ven­tur­ers out there, and I prom­ise to be your tour guide on that jour­ney. Fas­ten your seat­belts for a milder ride through the wilder­ness!


Mini thrills are tamer thrill rides. They are at­trac­tions that all (or most) of the fam­ily can en­joy to­gether. Ob­vi­ously with the word “thrill” in the ti­tle, ba­bies or small chil­dren may not be able to en­joy the ride, or may be a lit­tle scared, but they are a good op­tion for the mini thrill seeker in your fam­ily.


Magic King­dom has the big­gest se­lec­tion of mini thrill rides in all of Walt Dis­ney World. In fact, Magic King­dom has the best se­lec­tion of all types of rides, which makes it one of the best fam­ily parks in the en­tire World.

One of the great­est mini thrill rides for all ages at the Magic King­dom is the Astro Or­biter. It is a slow, spin­ning ride like Dumbo that kids of any height can ride. What makes it a thrill

ride is the lo­ca­tion. Astro Or­biter sits above the Tom­morow­land Tran­sit Author­ity Peo­ple­mover. From this el­e­vated lo­ca­tion, you can see all of To­mor­row­land. If you don’t like heights, this mini thrill ride is not for you. If you are look­ing for a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence a lit­tle closer to the ground, check out The Magic Car­pets of Aladdin in Ad­ven­ture­land or Dumbo the Fly­ing Ele­phant in New Fan­ta­sy­land.

The Barn­stormer is a great first roller coaster for your mini thrill seeker. You must be at least 35” be­fore you can ex­pe­ri­ence the ride’s small hills and drops that may even seem like Space Moun­tain to the lit­tle ones. The ride is over in about a minute, but the mem­o­ries of a first roller coaster will last a life­time.

There are 999 happy haunts to visit at the Haunted Man­sion. Ghouls of all heights are in­vited to board a Doom­buggy tour through Mas­ter Gracey’s manor on the hill. The thrilling part of this at­trac­tion in­cludes mys­te­ri­ous noises, per­fectly pro­jected ghosts that min­gle and in­ter­act with each other, and mo­ments of dark­ness.

You can be any height to board the Mad Tea Party but beware the spins! If you don’t mind spin­ning while you are spin­ning then this mini thrill will de­light you. This mini thrill ride is a lit­tle too in­tense for me. I can’t even watch it.

Young and young at heart can board the Pi­rates of the Caribbean and sail the seas, but beware of swash­buck­ling scal­ly­wags. Although this is a slow-mov­ing ride, there are a few small drops and mo­ments of to­tal dark­ness. The thrilling parts in­clude a lit­tle bit of gun­fire ex­change be­tween a few pi­rates and a town on fire. Most swash­buck­ling mates love this mini thrill.

Once your young thrill seeker grad­u­ates from The Barn­stormer, the next stop is Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The new­est coaster at the Magic King­dom is fit for guests 38” and taller, and is quite the thrill! Not only can you ex­pe­ri­ence a se­ries of small drops, you’re on a run­away mine cart that sways back and forth. Ul­ti­mately, it’s a very smooth ride that mini thrill seek­ers will want to ex­pe­ri­ence over and over again.


Although there are many things to ex­pe­ri­ence in Ep­cot as a fam­ily, it isn’t re­ally a park for thrill rides. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t pack a pow­er­ful punch with what is there.

New to Ep­cot is a nice mini thrill for the whole fam­ily, Frozen Ever Af­ter. Lo­cated in the Norway Pav­il­ion of World Show­case, the Au­dio-an­i­ma­tron­ics em­ploy pro­jec­tion tech­nol­ogy to trans­port you to Aren­delle. There are a few small drops and mo­ments of dark­ness, but the en­tire fam­ily can ex­pe­ri­ence the beau­ti­ful world of Frozen.

One of the best mini thrills in all of Walt Dis­ney World re­sides at Ep­cot. For guests 40” and taller, Soarin’ is a thrill that can­not be beat. It is a slow ride that soars to great heights as you are trans­ported high above the Great Wall of China and var­i­ous other breath­tak­ing lo­ca­tions around the world, all while sit­ting in front of a pro­jec­tion screen. You are lifted around 40 feet off the ground to ex­pe­ri­ence sim­u­lated hang-glid­ing. There are even smells to en­hance the ex­pe­ri­ence. This is my fa­vorite at­trac­tion in all of Walt Dis­ney World.


I am sad to re­port that there are cur­rently no mini thrills at Dis­ney’s Hol­ly­wood Stu­dios. The range ei­ther goes from big thrills to no thrills. Come on Hol­ly­wood Stu­dios, what’s go­ing on here? We can hold on to hope that with the ex­pan­sion, comes mini thrills. What do you say we take a glimpse into the fu­ture?

There’s not a lot of pre­dict­ing that comes with Toy Story Land since Dis­ney has al­ready an­nounced that a fam­ily coaster is in the works. Slinky Dog Dash will twist and snake its way around Andy’s back­yard. It should be a nice mini thrill ad­di­tion to Dis­ney’s Hol­ly­wood Stu­dios, although it’s sev­eral years away.

Star Wars Land has been given an open­ing year of 2019. In the pre­lim­i­nary in­for­ma­tion sur­round­ing this new land, noth­ing in­di­cates a mini thrill be­ing added. How­ever, Dis­ney would be silly not to add a thrill that the new gen­er­a­tion of Star Wars fans can ex­pe­ri­ence with their older coun­ter­parts.

Per­son­ally, I’d love to see the Imag­i­neers add a mini Speeder Bike coaster through En­dor and the Ewok Vil­lage. It would be a nice way to re­ally sub­merse guests into the world of Star Wars and let the lit­tle fans en­joy it too.


Although there are many at­trac­tions for the young and young at heart at Dis­ney’s An­i­mal King­dom, there are only two mini thrills. Per­haps with the open­ing of Pan­dora: The World of AVATAR, there will be a new mini thrill to en­joy. By the de­scrip­tion, the Flight of Pas­sage may fit in to the mini thrill cat­e­gory. Luck­ily, we’ll find out this May!

Primeval Whirl is a great mini thrill for dar­ing guests 48” and taller. Step back in time with this roller coaster that fea­tures small drops and many spins. The thrilling part of this at­trac­tion is the spin­ning while you are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a roller coaster! This is one of those mini thrill rides that borders on big thrill. It’s a great tran­si­tion ride for older kids who are on the cusp of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing big­ger thrills like Ex­pe­di­tion Ever­est. If you love mini thrills but hate spin­ning, stay away from this one! If you love spin­ning, give this mini thrill a whirl!

The best kind of mini thrill for the younger thrill seek­ers is the kind where they have con­trol of the ex­tent of the thrill. Tricer­atop Spin lets you soar high above Di­noland U.S.A. on a di­nosaur. Your young pilot will have con­trol over the height and move­ment of the di­nosaur.

Since it hasn’t of­fi­cially opened, it’s hard to say for sure if Flight of Pas­sage is truly a mini

thrill, but I’ll stick it here for now. The Imag­i­neers have said they are us­ing motion-based tech­nol­ogy, along with film tech­nol­ogy, in the cre­ation of this at­trac­tion. Although only a few artist ren­di­tions have been re­leased, the de­scrip­tions make it seem like Soarin’ (see Mini Thrills of Ep­cot in case you ac­ci­den­tally skipped that sec­tion).


I’m go­ing to let you in on a lit­tle se­cret. I don’t like the ma­jor thrill rides like Ex­pe­di­tion Ever­est or Rock n’ Roller Coaster. Sure, I’ve braved them, but ul­ti­mately, I pre­fer the mini thrill rides. The su­per-se­cret al­ter­na­tive plan only works if you have smaller chil­dren. Book your older child and sig­nif­i­cant other on a ma­jor thrill ride like Ex­pe­di­tion Ever­est and let them know you have “taken one for the team” and will take your younger thrill seeker on Tricer­atops Spin. No one must know that you are chick­en­ing out. It looks like you are sim­ply be­ing kind. The best thing is, this works in all the theme parks.


At the end of the day, it’s all about hav­ing fun to­gether. Mini thrills are in the eyes of the be­holder. To a young kid, The Barn­stormer can be the big­gest thrill of a life­time. To a young big kid (like me), rid­ing Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is as wild and crazy as some will get. Even if the mini thrills are the only type of at­trac­tion you like, or even if you have agreed to only ex­pe­ri­ence at­trac­tions that ev­ery­one in the fam­ily can ex­pe­ri­ence, it’s all about hav­ing fun as a fam­ily. And hav­ing fun is what Dis­ney is all about, isn’t it?

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