Disney World coasters with children

Disney World coasters with children

by elizabeth
(CA)

Visiting Walt Disney World next month with 11 year old that doesn't like coasters. Is it possible for both of us to get in line but for him to wait while I ride coaster?

The exit to Space Mountain

Photo by Samantha Decker

Dad’s riding solo Answer

Elizabeth,

This is a wonderful question – especially for all those parents out there traveling alone to Walt Disney World with their children. Most of the commonly accepted ways to manage kids and thrill rides (such as the popular Rider Swap service) involve having two or more adults in your party, but Dad loves thinking outside the box, so let’s explore your options!

Disney’s official policy is that any child under the age of 7 must be accompanied by an adult 21 year of age or older at all times. If your child was under 7, you would definitely not be able ride the coasters alone, leaving him or her on the platform to wait for your return.

Because your child is 11, you might be able to get away with it. There is no official policy on this, so I would ask the Cast Member at the entrance to the ride if you would be able to wait together, and have your son or daughter wait on the loading platform while you ride. The Cast Member should be able to advise whether that’s an acceptable solution or not – he or she may even have another solution to suggest (in which case, I hope you’ll come back and share that with us!).

If the Cast Members cannot accommodate your request, bear in mind that they’re only doing their job and have to follow rules for the safety of all guests. In that case, simply accept the fact that you won’t be able to ride the coasters and take comfort in the fact that Walt Disney World only has four big roller coasters and dozens of other attractions, so you are only missing a very small part of the experience.

If you’re dead set on riding alone, ask yourself how mature your 11 year old is. Many families with teens and preteens choose to allow their children to have some limited time in exploring the parks alone – Touringplans.com has a great article about this, which you can read here. If you feel ready to leave your child alone for 20 minutes or so (and if they feel they can handle it), get yourself a FASTPASS and at the designated time, station him or her at a designated meeting spot near the exit of the ride and ride away.

Some great post-ride meet up spots are located at the exit of each roller coaster. At Space Mountain, you’ll exit into a gift shop attached to the Tomorrowland Arcade (this might be the ideal place to start, since it will keep your child occupied while you’re gone). Big Thunder Mountain Railroad exits near a shady path along the Rivers of America where you can snag a seat on a bench and people watch. Expedition Everest exits into the yeti-themed Serka Zong gift shop, and Rock ‘n Rollercoaster starring Aerosmith exits into a courtyard with seating and the KRNR Station snack kiosk.

Dad's Bottom Line


Elizabeth, sometimes being a parent means taking one for the team. I hope you can find a way to ride the coasters, but if it’s not possible, just say Hakuna Matata. Walt Disney World is about so much more than the thrills – it’s about spending time together as a family – after all, that’s the most important ingredient to a Perfect vacation. Have a great trip!

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