Best Disney Rides to Get Over Your Fear of Heights
Acrophobia is the fear of heights.
Scientists suggest that as many as 1 in 16 people suffer from this affliction, preventing people from looking over the side of tall buildings.
You also may feel frightened at other seemingly innocuous times because you cannot see the ground beneath you.
The feeling is unsettling, and I speak from experience here. As a kid, I was afraid of heights, but I ultimately beat my fear the way that therapists swear you never should.
I went up to a tall place and stared down until it no longer bothered me that all the people below me looked like ants.
You can apply a similar strategy at Disney to overcome your feelings. Here are the best seven Disney rides to get over your fear of heights.
Avatar Flight of Passage
Okay, let’s be honest about the fact that you won’t like many of these suggestions. That’s the thing about beating your worst impulses.
You impulsively resist the notion of facing your fears. But you shouldn’t. Disney provides the perfect setting to act bolder.
Specifically, Avatar Flight of Passage works well in that its setup is misleading.
You may not even realize this, but this ride’s setup echoes the one at Soarin’. You’re in an enclosed movie theater sitting in front of a screen.
You’ll never notice unless you look around anywhere but the screen during the ride.
Instead, you think you’re boarding a kind of motorcycle while “flying” through Pandora. It’s a brilliant misdirect on Disney’s part.
For your part, once you feel comfortable on the ride next time, you should glance around.
At this moment, you’ll experience the epiphany that you’ve been hanging in mid-air for a while anyway! You’ve defeated your fear of heights without even realizing it!
The Disney Skyliner
Hey, I said rides! I didn’t specify that they had to be in the parks!
Perhaps no experience is better for overcoming your dislike of heights than the Disney Skyliner.
I say this because you’re in a controlled environment. First, you enter a fully automated gondola, which works like any you’ve ever seen at a ski lift.
You’re in a safe space where you gradually lift off the ground and then gently soar through the sky.
Since pulleys do literally all the heavy lifting, you don’t need to do anything but watch. You can do so in short bursts or long stares, whichever feels more comfortable.
No matter your approach, you won’t worry about the heights since you’re in a Disney vehicle that safely carries tens of thousands of guests to their destinations each day.
Since this isn’t a Disney attraction per se, its gentle motion may work better than some of the other, admittedly more aggressive suggestions.
Speaking of which, I can hear some of you screaming, “ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!”
That’s totally fair. Expedition Everest involves a train ride up a mountain, and it’s one of those click-click-click roller coasters.
What I mean by this description is that your ascent to the Forbidden Mountain will happen slooooooowly. You’ll feel each bump up the tracks.
That sound tells you that you’re getting closer to the peak, the time when your coaster cart will suddenly thrust into reverse.
At this point, I have good news and bad news for the acrophobic. You ARE about to drop down to a level that won’t seem anywhere near as scary.
The bad news is that your descent will happen at a velocity that will make you forget your fear of heights. Instead, you may develop a new fear of the dark.
Let’s call this one a lateral move.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Some approaches are safer than others, and a few are a bit misleading.
I say this because Dumbo the Flying Elephant may look like a gentle way to attack your fear head-on. Please be alert, though.
You’re also spinning around in a circle in a manner reminiscent of Mad Tea Party. So, this is quietly one of the most challenging rides to overcome your fear.
Don’t worry, though! The ride goes like five miles per hour. You can totally handle that, right?!
Soarin’ Around the World
Okay, this is the more aggressive version of Avatar Flight of Passage. Yes, I realize that everyone describes that ride as “Soarin’ on Steroids.”
However, you don’t know you’re in front of a massive screen on Avatar unless you’re looking for it.
Conversely, you’ll feel the contraption lift you into the air on Soarin’. So, there’s no hiding from your thoughts here. You KNOW you’re hanging in mid-air.
For this reason, you may find Soarin’ the most therapeutic option on this list. Your awareness will help as you fly like a kite above the oceans and landmarks.
You’re neither a bird nor a plane. But, for a time, you’re Superman, viewing the planet from hundreds if not thousands of feet above.
The view is so visually stunning that you’ll forget your fear!
When you’re riding Spaceship Earth, you’re probably not thinking about the size of the thing. That’s Disney magic at work.
When you enter EPCOT, the giant silver golf ball in the sky naturally grabs your attention because it’s so massive in scale.
Then, as you approach, the structure seems even larger. Yet, somehow, you forget all that as you ride Spaceship Earth.
Instead, you’re traveling through time as you experience the entirety of human civilization. So, you’re not thinking about the height.
In reality, you’re more than 100 feet in the air for most of this attraction!
Whether you realize it or not, you’re beating your fear every second you’re inside Spaceship Earth!
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Again, some options are more challenging than others. With Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, you’ll know you’re in trouble when you enter the building.
The whole place has been abandoned for years. For some reason, some bellhops still work here, though.
The setup causes plenty of questions about who pays them and whether they even need healthcare. I mean, they act possessed!
Anyway, these poor unfortunate souls guide you to an elevator shaft you know better than to enter. I mean, why would you do that???
Then, you realize that this elevator shaft works in an unusual manner. It moves in three dimensions, which sounds multifunctional but also nightmare-inducing.
Finally, you reach a resting spot where you think you might be safe. But then, the entire elevator cart starts bouncing up and down in an unpredictable fashion.
You don’t know which way is up or down. Even worse, you have no idea which direction you’re heading either.
While all this may sound bad, it comes with a hidden positive. If you’re willing to experience zero gravity at high velocity, doesn’t a fear of heights seem trivial?
This ride literally breaks the rules of elevator safety to provide a unique ride experience.
If you can risk that, you can stand on top of a building and look down without suffering vertigo. I’m speaking from experience here when I say this!