Top 5 Dark Rides at Disney World
Sometimes we all need a break. For kids – and adults! – with sensory integration disorder, theme parks can be overwhelming. On Monday, I discussed my top 5 spinning rides for sensory seekers. Today I’m going in the other direction and giving you my top 5 dark rides for sensory breaks at Disney World. These are perfect when your child is overwhelmed and needs a sensory break from all the colors, movement, and visual stimulus of the parks.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Guests float slowly through several scenes of pirate life. This is the attraction that inspired the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise, which in turn has influenced the ride. Look carefully and you’ll find Captain Jack Sparrow! There are a few small drops, but overall this is a tame ride. The gentle swaying of the boats on the water is soothing for the child in sensory overload.
Haunted Mansion: The haunted mansion brings guests on a guided tour of the park’s most famous residence and its 999 happy haunts. The colors in the queue and lobby are muted, and the illusions on the ride itself rely on dimly lit scenes. It’s the perfect choice for taking a break from visual stimulus, but may be too scary for younger kids.
The Seas with Nemo & Friends: Epcot in general is a good choice for sensory avoiders. It’s atmosphere is calmer than Magic Kingdom, and the pace is slower. The Seas with Nemo & Friends is a giant aquarium tour that incorporates characters from Finding Nemo into the aquatic ecosystem. The slow pace combined with favorite characters and storytelling makes it a good choice for kids nearing meltdown who don’t want to leave the excitement.
Tomorrowland® Transit Authority PeopleMover: Not exactly a dark ride, but still a good choice for a sensory break! The People mover is a slow journey through Tomorrowland, and gives guests a sneak peak inside several attractions including Space Mountain. It’s a good break from the frenetic activity of Magic Kingdom, and gives kids who might be a little nervous about Space Mountain a chance to get familiar with the attraction before they decide to ride it.
The Hall of Presidents: History buffs unite! The Hall of Presidents might not be a ride exactly, but it is a great way to take a sensory break. The Hall of Presidents is usually not as crowded as some of the newer 3-D shows, and gives kids a chance to sit down in a cool, dark theater and meet all 44 U.S. Presidents. Unlike the 3-D shows, The Hall of Presidents does not include overt sensory stimuli such as bursts of air, flashing lights, or intense smells.
There are many more dark rides and shows that are great opportunities for sensory breaks at Walt Disney World. What’s your go-to sensory break?