FAQ: What is There to Be Afraid of at Walt Disney World?

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Everyone is afraid of something. Many folks are afraid of heights, or snakes, or spiders, or falling. Some people have niche phobias like tropical fish. (I shyly raise my hand.) As an adult, a trip to Walt Disney World can provide a gentle means for you to push the boundaries of your discomfort in a safe, friendly environment. For example, an adult with a fear of heights might try Soarin’, an attraction which gives riders the illusion of being much higher in the air than they actually are. For me, each time I dine at Epcot’s Coral Reef, I chip away at my fish phobia.

Here are some of the most common fears and a list of which Walt Disney World attractions might exacerbate your phobia. For each topic, I’ve noted whether the attraction is a LIKELY problem (very common for people with a particular phobia to be afraid) or whether the attraction is a POSSIBLE problem (less common for people with a particular phobia to be afraid, though this still might happen).

I have a fear of heights (acrophobia) or flying (pteromerhanophobia). Which Disney World attractions should I avoid?

The Skyliner may be an issue if you have a fear of heights

Epcot likely problem: Soarin’ (simulated hang glider)

Epcot possible problem: Test Track (outdoor portion of the ride is elevated like a bridge, but it goes quickly), Reflections of China film (you are on solid ground at all times, but the film may give you the illusion of flying), Canada Far and Wide film (you are on solid ground at all times, but the film may give you the illusion of flying), Mission: SPACE (though there is no actual flying, the simulated idea of flying may unsettle some)

Magic Kingdom likely problem: Astro-Orbiter (simulated rocket ship on a raised platform above Tomorrowland), The Barnstormer (initial climb is a steep upward), Space Mountain (initial climb is a steep upward), Big Thunder Mountain (initial climb is a steep upward), Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (initial climb is a steep upward)

Magic Kingdom possible problem: Dumbo the Flying Elephant (vehicle is raised above the ground), Magic Carpets of Aladdin (vehicle is raised above the ground), Peter Pan’s Flight (a brief period of gentle flight above London), Swiss Family Treehouse (use stairs to climb to the top of tree), Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover (vehicle is on a raised platform)

Animal Kingdom likely problem: Avatar Flight of Passage (simulated flying). Expedition Everest (initial climb is steep upwards)

Animal Kingdom possible problem: TriceraTop Spin (vehicle is raised above the ground)

Hollywood Studios likely problem: Tower of Terror (elevator drop with view high above the park), Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Slinky Dog Dash (initial climb is steep upwards)

Hollywood Studios possible problem: Millennium Falcon: Smuggler Run and Star Tours (simulated flying on a space ship)

Other likely problem: Skyliner transportation system (gondola system transports guests between resorts and theme parks), Aerophile (tethered hot air balloon ride over Disney Springs)

Other possible problem: Monorail transportation system (transports guests between resorts and theme parks)

I have a fear of falling (basophobia). Which Disney World attractions should I avoid?

Avoid Tower of Terror if you have a fear of falling

Epcot likely problem: Soarin’ (simulated hang glider – folks who don’t have a fear of flying might still have issues with the raising and lower of ride vehicle)

Epcot possible problem: Frozen Ever After (minor drop)

Magic Kingdom likely problem: All the roller coasters have drops – Big Thunder Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Barnstormer.

Magic Kingdom possible problem: Pirates of the Caribbean (minor drop)

Animal Kingdom likely problem: Avatar Flight of Passage (ride vehicle tilts, giving the illusion you might fall off). Expedition Everest (large drops)

Animal Kingdom possible problem: Kali River Rapids (minor drop)

Hollywood Studios likely problem: Tower of Terror (the whole ride is giant drops), Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (complete inversion), Slinky Dog Dash (drops)

Hollywood Studios possible problem: Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (minor drop)

I have a fear of snakes (ophidiophobia). Which Disney World attractions should I avoid?

The Magic Kingdom snakes are mostly fake. The Animal Kingdom snakes are mostly real.

Epcot likely problem: none

Epcot possible problem: Living with the Land (there are often live eels in the aquaculture section which may remind some guests of snakes), Living Seas pavilion (some fish may have a tubular appearance that reads as snake-like)

Magic Kingdom likely problem: Jungle Cruise (room full of animatronic snakes)

Magic Kingdom possible problem: Tom Sawyer Island (live snakes are somewhat more likely to be seen here than in other park locations), Rubber snakes may be sold outside the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction

Animal Kingdom likely problem: There are live animal exhibits, including some snakes, at Conservation Station and on the Exploration Trails

Animal Kingdom possible problem: Snakes might be seen in any area with water and live animals

Hollywood Studios likely problem: Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular (animatronic snakes in show)

Hollywood Studios possible problem: Rubber snakes sold near the Indiana Jones attraction

Other likely problem: Snakes are general wildlife in Florida. It’s fairly common to see them on walking paths around the resorts. To reduce your chance of encountering one, stay away from the water as you traverse the resorts.

I have a fear of insects (entomophobia). Which Disney World attractions should I avoid?

It’s Tough to Be a Bug at Animal Kingdom must be skipped if you have a fear of insects

Epcot likely problem: Living with the Land (there are images of insects in the ride)

Magic Kingdom possible problem: Jungle Cruise (fake spiders in the queue area)

Animal Kingdom likely problem: It’s Tough to Be a Bug (entirely about insects)

Animal Kingdom possible problem: There are live animal exhibits, including some insects, at Conservation Station and on the Exploration Trails

Hollywood Studios likely problem: none

Hollywood Studios possible problem: none

I have a fear of public speaking (glossophobia). Which Disney World attractions should I avoid?

At Monster’s Inc., animated Roz might upset a few people, but if you have a fear of public speaking, sit in the center of row to avoid be interviewed as part of the show.

Epcot likely problem: Turtle Talk with Crush (Crush interacts with guests; sit near the back if you don’t want to talk)

Epcot possible problem: Biergarten restaurant (during non-pandemic times, performers may ask for volunteers from the audience)

Magic Kingdom likely problem: Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor (some guests may be interviewed and appear on screen)

Magic Kingdom possible problem: Enchanted Tales with Belle (some guests may appear in a small performance)

Animal Kingdom likely problem: The Up! Bird Adventure show takes audience volunteers in some sections.

Hollywood Studios possible problem: Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular (some guests may volunteer to be on stage), 50s Prime Time Cafe (some guests may be involved in playacting with servers)

I have a fear of darkness (nyctophobia). Which Disney World attractions should I avoid?

Many attractions take place in a dim, or even fully dark, environment

Epcot likely problem: Journey into Imagination with Figment (a few moments of total darknesss). Mission: Space (the entire ride takes place in near darkness)

Epcot possible problem: Frozen Ever After (takes place in a dimmed environment). Film-based experiences such as Canada Far and Wide, the Pixar Short Film Festival, Reflections of China, Impressions de France, Awesome Planet, and Soarin’ all take place in a dimmed environment.

Magic Kingdom likely problem: Haunted Mansion (it’s dark throughout, there are ghosts). Enchanted Tiki Room (it’s dark throughout, there are animatronic birds and a simulated thunderstorm). Space Mountain (roller coaster completely in the dark)

Magic Kingdom possible problem: Jungle Cruise (one small section of the attraction takes place in complete darkness). Film-based attraction Mickey’s PhilharMagic takes place in a dimmed environment. Peter Pan’s Flight (takes place in a dimmed environment). Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (one dim area).

Animal Kingdom likely problem: DINOSAUR (dimmed environment with big dinosaurs screeching at you). It’s Tough to be a Bug (dimmed environment with creepy crawlies everywhere)

Animal Kingdom possible problem: Na’vi River Journey (gentle ride in dimmed environment)

Hollywood Studios likely problem: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (dark areas), Tower of Terror (dark areas)

Hollywood Studios possible problem: Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (dimmed environment, one dark scene), Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run (dimmed environment). Muppet*Vision 3D (dimmed environment)

Other possible problem: The parks can be disorienting at night if you are not familiar with the layout

I have a fear of guns (hoplophobia). Which Disney World attractions should I avoid?

The Stormtrooper blasters may be quite uncomfortable if you have a fear of guns

Epcot likely problem: none
Epcot possible problem: none

Magic Kingdom likely problem: Pirates of the Caribbean (active shooting in several scenes). Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade (toy guns, real-sounding noises), Jungle Cruise (shooting related jokes may occur)

Magic Kingdom possible problem: Big Thunder Mountain (gun noises), Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin (toy cannons – not lifelike at all)

Animal Kingdom likely problem: none

Animal Kingdom possible problem: There may be mentions of hunting or poaching in conservation materials

Hollywood Studios likely problem: Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Stormtroopers with gun-like blasters), Stormtrooper characters walking through Galaxy’s Edge with gun-like blasters, Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular (firing of prop guns)

Hollywood Studios possible problem: Toy Story Midway Mania (toy cannons, not lifelike at all), Star Tours (some randomized sequences may include Stormtrooper fire)

Are there any other triggers I should be aware of?

There are are as many possible fear inducers as there are individual people, so we can’t be 100% comprehensive there, but some things to consider that are not listed above are …

Epcot likely problem: Journey into Imagination with Figment (in addition to periods of total darkness there is a blast of wind, loud noise, and noxious smell that unsettle many young children). Frozen Ever After (snow monster, a brief ride backwards). Mission: SPACE may feel claustrophobic

Epcot possible problem: Living Seas pavilion (there are live sharks in the central tank and shark imagery throughout the pavilion)

Magic Kingdom likely problem: Enchanted Tiki Room (storm noises frighten many children)

Magic Kingdom possible problem: It’s a Small World (though the are tame and cherubic, the many small dolls upset some people)

Animal Kingdom likely problem: There are live animals throughout the park, many of which are intimidating to some guests: tigers, lions, gorillas, bird exhibits, etc.

Hollywood Studios possible problem: Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run may feel claustrophobic

Other likely problem: Many small children are afraid of characters.

What are you afraid of in the Disney World parks? What about your kids? Let us know in the comments.

Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel at DisneyWorldMoms.com, a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater. Erin can be reached on Twitter @MsErinFoster.

7 thoughts on “FAQ: What is There to Be Afraid of at Walt Disney World?

  • September 27, 2020 at 12:18 pm
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    It’s snakes for me. We stay at Fort Wilderness and I won’t camp in a site close to the water.

    Reply
  • September 27, 2020 at 12:20 pm
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    Great article as always! I would add Peoplemover to the list for fear of darkness. It is quite dark in portions!

    Reply
  • September 27, 2020 at 5:56 pm
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    For me it’s time constraints. I panic when there is a time limit so I allow twice as much time as is probably needed. (Yes. In school, time tests were are REAL problem).

    Reply
  • September 27, 2020 at 11:37 pm
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    Great article! I see how it could offer help to a lot of people. I already know what attractions freak me out. But I’m sure this will be helpful to others who suffer from phobias.

    Reply
  • September 29, 2020 at 10:01 pm
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    Drops kinda freak me out. Wondering how “minor” that drop at the end of Rise of the Resistance is. How does it compare with, say, Frozen? (Anything even remotely approaching Tower of Terror or any coaster is out for me.)

    Reply
  • September 30, 2020 at 9:32 am
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    @Mike From a sheer distance perspective, it’s MUCH closer to Frozen or Pirates of the Caribbean than to Tower of Terror. However, you can’t see it in advance like you can with the water rides. The physical sensation is closer to elevator drop than log flume, but it’s not even in the same ballpark of intense as Tower.

    Reply
  • September 30, 2020 at 6:09 pm
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    Thanks Erin! If HS reservations open up when we’re there next week, and if we can grab a spot in the boarding thing, and if it’s actually working…ok maybe 2021 ha

    Reply

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