ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

In Short and Tall, Amusement Park Height Restrictions are Necessary - Part 1

Updated on February 11, 2020

Why do all amusement parks have height restrictions? Aren't all rides for everybody? Why do even the kid-oriented ones have rides with signs that state that patrons need to be a certain stature to ride?

The obvious reason is safety, and amusement parks (including indoor, theme, and water parks) post such signs that do so for that purpose. But some parents whose kids are eager to ride rides that they aren't aware they have them are oblivious to the cost. (I'm not just talking about the monetary cost; I'm talking about the emotional cost of some of them.)

So how and why does safety play a role in parks' measures to allow people of a certain height to enjoy some of their rides?

Mission: SPACE, Epcot, 2006

You Have to Be at Most This Wide, Too

Some attractions have test seats at the entrances of attractions. They not only have the rider see if it fits securely by height, but also by size. But that's another story.

It's All in the Restraints

The obvious reason why parks put up signs that tell people, particularly children, to grow a few inches or centimeters to be able to ride a certain ride is because restraints have to be secure enough.

Restraints come in a variety of styles and vary by ride. Somewhat, a few rides have seatbelts as restraints. Some others have lap bars and they have to fit securely so that the patron doesn't slide under it.

For lots of other rides, especially the most extreme ones, they have ones that go over the shoulder to keep you put even in multiple inversions. The latter types of restraints usually require the highest possible height restrictions (anywhere from 48-54 inches, depending on intensity) for that reason.

Even rides without restraints, like tandem log flumes, have height restrictions. They are in place to prevent a child falling off at any drop, big or small.

Physics Matters

But restraints aren't the only gist of one of the the most-complained about of ride restrictions. Sometimes physics play a role in the height restriction impositions, particularly in roller coasters.

"To keep those trains from running into one that might be stuck on the next lift, ride designers have installed what's called a "safety brake" in front of each lift," noted Robert Niles, a former Cast Member of the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort and founder of his site, Theme Park Insider.

In other words, a train being stopped by a safety brake at a high speed is a hard stop. It jerks your body if you are riding it. For shorter folks, it can even send them flying, especially, again, if the restraints aren't secure enough.

Ah, the joy of a young child when he's finally tall enough to ride!

Do They Measure Maturity as Well?

Sometimes, maturity can play a factor in parks implementing stature minimums.

"Some height requirements also serve as a proxy for sufficient maturity to not be emotionally overwhelmed by the 'scary' aspects of a ride," Dave Shute, of, said. He also notes that most 7-year-olds are within a height range that allows them to ride some rides.

When they age to 8 or 9 years old, most of them are willing to take a few risks and are more appreciative of experiences.

The extreme rides are a few multiple times the height of an average kiddie coaster. They have steep drops, inversions, and other elements. Some even have sound and special effects like fire and scary scenery. With almost all of them combined, ride operators usually require riders to be much taller than, say, a kiddie coaster.

Even very few attractions that aren't rides per se can have have those minimums according to stature. Aside from restraint design, they test the limits of the maturity levels of their riders due to the nature of the sound and special effects.

Even the height restrictions mostly refer to the names of the attraction. Ever read the name of it? There are a lot of buzzwords that indicate that it's a thrill ride and you or another member of your party have to be a minimum stature to experience it. They include "coaster," "terror," "plunge," "drop," and "twister," just to name a few.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Universal's Islands Of Adventure, 2010

Waterparks Have them Too

Nothing wrecks a day at a waterpark than wanting to go down a water slide only to discover that you're too short for it.

Most attractions at waterparks are water slides, which are like thrill rides with little to no restraints. For some parks, they set height maximums for children's play areas because obviously older riders are both too old and too big for their slides. In most cases, they can enter only with children shorter than the maximums.

On the other hand, rides with height minimums are a measure of how extreme the slides are and the ability for patrons to swim. Even slides that terminate in a runout chute might have the same height requirement as those ending in plunge pools that are, say, 4 feet deep.

The Gulf Scream, Adventure Island, 2011

Restraints are just one reason parks have to post height restrictions on some rides. They also gauge the maturity levels of the riders and relate to the braking mechanisms. In the case of waterparks, they measure riders' abilities to swim and the thrill factor of a slide.

Knowing how thrill rides work in even a few ways can prepare you and your child for a trip that makes or breaks if the latter's stature is concerned.

How tall were you when you rode your first thrill ride?

See results

Outside Revenge of the Mummy, Universal Studios Florida, 2010


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)