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Surviving Disney with Motion Sickness

Part 1: Magic Kingdom

Disney World may be the most magical place on Earth, but it is also probably the #1 tourist destination that people love to hate. Why? Because, so the list of complaints goes, it’s hot, lines are long, and the Spinning Teacups make you want to vomit. We will leave it to others to comment on the best time of year to visit weather-wise and how to minimize your wait times, but we can help with the nausea. It’s nearly impossible to see all of Disney World in one visit anyway, so with a little planning, you can focus your time on the rides and attractions you’re truly going to enjoy, and skip over those that leave you feeling sick.

If you only had one day in Disney World, you would probably spend it at the Magic Kingdom. Don’t let your fear of motion sickness cause you to lose sight of just how many amazing things there are to do there. In fact, most of the Magic Kingdom’s rides are pretty gentle, designated safe even for pregnant mamas and small children. We’ve listed our favorite attractions here, along with those few rides you might need to avoid if you have a history of motion sickness. Even so, don’t assume every thrill ride is off limits. It may be you have no tolerance for spinning rides, but big drops don’t bother you. We’ve included a brief description of each so you know what to expect.

No Motion Sickness Risk

Magic Kingdom isn't only about the rides. With plenty of shows and experiences that don't involve buckling into a moving car, even the most nausea-prone guests will have plenty to do. The following attractions have no height restrictions.

Enchanted Tales with Belle

  • In what is hands-down the best "Meet and Greet" in the park, guests travel magically through an enchanted mirror into the Beast's castle, where they get to take part in a reenactment of Beauty and the Beast with Belle, Lumiere, and all the rest. 

Enchnated Tales with Belle is nausea-safe

The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History

  • The Muppets descend on Liberty Square to share the story of the founding of the United States, as only Muppets can. Fun and funny for all ages.

Tom Sawyer Island

  • Board a river raft to explore the world of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, complete with pirate cave and hidden tunnels. 
  • Closed for renovations until December 22, 2018.
  • Visitors must be ambulatory.

Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse

  • Climb a steep ascent to explore the living quarters of the Swiss Family Robinson in the trees. 
  • Guests with vertigo may want to avoid this one.

Hall of Presidents

  • Step inside Philadelphia's Independence Hall for a film and audio-animatronic presentation featuring all former and current presidents of the United States.

The Country Bear Jamboree has no nausea risk

Country Bear Jamboree

  • Singing bears present a comedic country-western show in their frontier cabin.

Mickey’s Philharmagic

  • Revel in Disney animation and your favorite Disney songs with this 3D musical film on a 150-foot wrap-around screen.

Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

  • South Seas birds, flowers, and tikis come to life in a whimsical musical presentation.

Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor

  • An interactive comedy show with the characters of Monster's Inc. that's never the same twice.

Festival of Fantasy Parade

  • Pick your spot on the streets of Fantasy Land to watch Disney characters parade by on spectacular floats.

Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire

  • Disney favorites from Mickey and Minnie to Anna and Elsa converge in front of Cinderella's Castle in a song and dance show.

Once Upon a Time

  • As the evening winds down, check out this show in which Disney scenes are projected onto Cinderella's castle with accompanying music.

Happily Ever After

  • Disney's newest fireworks show lights up Cinderella's castle to cap off a full day of nausea-free entertainment at the Magic Kingdom.

Low Motion Sickness Risk

Peter Pan's Flight at Magic Kingdom has low nausea risk

Besides watching shows and imbibing the magical atmosphere, guests will be able to enjoy most of the following rides without nausea as well. They have no height restrictions except where noted.

Pirates of the Caribbean
  • The classic slow moving boat ride in the dark, with a cameo by a Johnny Depp animatron, includes a couple small drops.

Haunted Mansion

  • This slow ride through a spooky mansion in the dark ends with a (still slow) backward descent.

Peter Pan’s Flight

  • Gently "fly"over London and Neverland in the dark with small, slow ascents and descents.

“It’s a Small World”

  • Slowly float along a track watching animatronic dolls dressed in traditional apparel from across the globe sing "It's a Small World" in their own language.

Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover

  • Slowly ride along the border of Tomorrowland in an elevated train, entering partial darkness at one point. 

Jungle Cruise

  • Float along a track through the jungle while your "skipper" makes corny jokes about the passing scenes.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

  • Slowly ride on a track through scenes from the Hundred Acre Wood. A few spins and psychedelic-colored scenes could be disorienting for the extra-sensitive.

Tomorrowland Speedway

  • Tamely ride in a “hotrod” along a track.
  • Height restriction: 32 inches and up

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

  • Gently ride in an up-and-down, circular movement (no surprises here; it's like any other carrousel).

Moderate to High Motion Sickness Risk

Disney teacups can lead to motion sickness

In the moderate to high motion sickness risk category are the Magic Kingdom's thrill rides and spinning rides. We've included a brief description of each so you can tell whether the type of movement featured is likely to make you feel nauseated. If so, just grab a show while the rest of your party whirls and twirls.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

  • Fast, bumpy, runaway mine-car themed roller coaster
  • Height restriction: 40 inches and up

Space Mountain

  • Thrilling roller coaster in the dark with big drops
  • Height restriction: 44 inches and up

Seven Dwarfs Mine Trains

  • Smooth, fast ride featuring small turns and drops
  • Height restriction: 38 inches and up

Splash Mountain

  • Slow-paced water ride that ends in one large drop, with a couple smaller drops along the way
  • Height restriction: 40 inches and up

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

  • Children’s ride featuring up-and-down movement while you “fly” in a circle
  • No height restrictions

Astro Orbiter

  • Tame spinning ride similar to Dumbo
  • No height restrictions

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin

  • Tame spinning ride similar to Dumbo
  • No height restrictions

Barnstormer

  • Children’s roller coaster with small drops
  • Height restriction: 35 inches and up

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin

  • Rider-controlled side-to-side movement along a track in the dark that includes moving projected video on walls of a tunnel.
  • No height restrictions

Mad Tea Party

  • Spinning movement, circles within circles
  • No height restrictions

As you can see, there is plenty for everyone at the Magic Kingdomeven those with weak stomachs. Stay tuned as we review the attractions at other Disney and Orlando theme parks in future posts, so you can stay nausea-free during your vacation without missing any of the fun.