Home » 10 Crazy (And Adorable) Things You Totally Did as a Disney Kid

10 Crazy (And Adorable) Things You Totally Did as a Disney Kid

“Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is…”

Master Yoda hit the nail on the head—life is truly more magical through the eyes of a child. Kids experience things differently, imagine worlds beyond worlds where every day is a new opportunity to explore. This is especially true at Disney parks—kids are what makes the Most Magical Place on Earth magical. Their excitement spreads like wildfire, and they can lift the countenance even of the crankiest adult.

We’ve touched before on this subject before when we explored some of the ridiculous (and totally adorable) things we believed as Disney kids, like the way everything seemed massive and how you might have assumed every ride was a death-defying experience. We wanted to take this idea one step further…

If you grew up as a Disney kid, what were some of the goofy things you (probably) did during a visit to Disney parks? Even if you didn’t, you might hold some similar memories. Here are a few that stand out to us…

1. Handrail shenanigans

For a kid, what are handrails but a miniature jungle gym?

I don’t know about you, but as a kid, I couldn’t help but mess with handrails and line dividers at Disney parks. They were the ultimate time-passer during a long wait, particular in the 80’s and 90’s when mobile phones weren’t particularly smart (Huge? Yes. Smart? Nope.). As a kid, I remember an almost magnetic pull towards handrails—they were just so perfect for swinging on, for climbing, for hanging upside-down. As for the rope dividers, those may not have been so sturdy, but they were so fun to fiddle with.

If you were particularly lucky, you might even manage to sit on the rail—then when the line moves, all you’d have to do is scoot!

I know. I can feel the adults reading this cringing through the screen.

As grown-ups, it’s easy to recognize how nasty a kid butt-scooting down a handrail is (makes you more thankful for all those new hand sanitizer stations), or for us to quickly shut down kids’ gymnastic tendencies that might lead to bonked heads or bother other guests. I was warned by my parents many times to curb my handrail tomfoolery, and I respected it even if I didn’t get it—didn’t they see how much fun it was?

I’m definitely not saying parents should just let their kids swing willy-nilly on dividers or ignore “no climbing” warnings… but as a kid, you know you enjoyed goofing off on those ever-so-tempting rails when you could get away with it.

2. Trying to move glued-down props

If they left it out, it’s meant to be touched, right?

Once I was tall enough to reach, I tried to touch everything at Disney parks. I dipped my hand into the water on water rides (Germs? Doesn’t the water wash off the germs?), I poked at wall carvings in the tunnels of the Indiana Jones Adventure, and I desperately wanted to know what was in the jars in the queue for Splash Mountain.

I quickly realized that Disney employed some clever tricks to deal with kids like me—specifically, that they glued everything down.

I was taught well enough to know not to yank on props or try to damage them but learning that Disney glued everything down didn’t necessarily dissuade me from testing everything I could get my hands on. Things at Disney just felt so different, so cool, like the way the rocks all felt otherworldly. I was particularly delighted when I found items meant to be fiddled with, like the special “Do Not Pull” rope in the Great Movie Ride queue or the bending bamboo support in the Indiana Jones Adventure. I especially loved the advent of Disney’s first interactive attractions like Horizons.

Needless to say, I would have lost my cheese over interactive modern rides full of buttons and levers like Mission: Space or Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. Do you still fiddle with all the buttons as a grown up too?

3. Picked your feet up during 3D movies

Time for a confession… I still do this as an adult.

Disney’s 3D movies were intense enough when all we had was Captain EO. That alien spider woman totally gave me the heebie-jeebies. Muppet Vision 3D was bonkers, but it wasn’t too bad on the scare scale (even when the Swedish Chef decides he has zero krumkake left to give and decides to bork-der-persky-pengwerns-WERT-DER-BOORM-BOORM!”

Everything changed when Disney introduced Honey, I Shrunk the Audience

Don’t get me wrong—I loved Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. I was already a big fan of the film series and the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure. It was a blast of a 3D movie. The problem was that one part

Rats everywhere… touching my legs… for real!

To this day, there are few experiences at Disney parks I hate more than the “leg tickling” effect employed on Honey, I Shrunk the Audience and It’s Tough to Be a Bug (perhaps with the exception of the even more disturbing “bee sting” effect on the latter). Sure, it was funny seeing grown-ups freak out throughout the audience, but I personally wanted no part in Disney’s creepy-crawly shenanigans.

I’ll admit that I became convinced Disney was out to get me with this effect on every other ride I tried. I learned how to watch for the cues leading up to the leg-tickling scenes, and I lifted my legs well before then, maybe even putting a sweater over them as extra protection. I found myself lifting my legs on everything from The Great Movie Ride to The Indiana Jones Adventure—anywhere that a creepy-crawly might skitter across my legs.

I remember when I reached the age that I flatly told my family, “Nope,” when they wanted to ride It’s Tough to Be a Bug. They had fun—I enjoyed the sunshine, creepy-crawly free. I’ve no regrets to this day.

4. Covered your eyes and ears during the scary parts

Disney has plenty of rides that are totally kid friendly. It’s a Small World may test the sanity of adults, but it’s not particularly scary to most kids… unless you had an intense fear of glassy-eyed, moving dolls… Okay, bad example.

Either way, there comes an age when kids start wanting to try out rides with scary parts. I remember when I gained the courage to try out attractions like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, The Matterhorn, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and The Great Movie Ride. It felt like a huge step forward to step onto these “big kid” rides, full of unexpected thrills.

That didn’t stop me from covering my eyes and ears on the parts that were just too scary.

Some moments were just too terrifying to look at directly—things like the rat eyes on Big Thunder, the Yeti on The Matterhorn, the Alien segment on The Great Movie Ride, and the hell scene on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (that ride was well and truly insane, by the way). The truly funny part was the way I would insist on riding these scary attractions over and over again—covering my eyes and ears was a perfectly reasonable compromise as a kid to enjoy the thrills without totally chickening out!

5. Imaginary epic battles… everywhere

I was a unique girl in that I really enjoyed fight scenes and ninja stories at an early age—this was during the time when girls were expected to play with Barbies and dolls, not Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I liked both—as a matter of fact, my Barbies were quite capable adventurers, even if their outfits were fabulous.

With this background in mind, it makes me wonder how many other Disney kids spent much of their trips imagining epic ninja battles everywhere they went in Disney parks.

Walt Disney World, in particular, seemed like the perfect place for a spy movie. Every bush could conceal a waiting foe, and the dark corners of rides seemed like amazing places for an epic chase. I grew particularly fond of the stretch of pathway leading from Epcot to Disney’s Beach Club as a potential location for a night-time ninja fight. Perhaps this was due to the influence of popular kids movies at the time, where malevolent evil adults could show up trying to stop do-gooder children at any point.

With the arrival of ultra-immersive lands like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and The World of Pandora, I’ve no doubt this tradition has continued with kids of this generation, only with Jedi battles. I’ve seen more than one kid on Batuu engaging in make-believer lightsaber fights.

6. Tried to loosen your baby teeth in a candy apple

This one isn’t necessarily exclusive to Disney parks, but how many of us lost baby teeth to caramel or candy apples?

I sometimes wonder if modern kids understand this phenomenon. Every time I see a caramel apple these days, they keep getting more and more elaborate with layer upon layer of chocolate and other confectionaries. I remember as a kid visiting Disney parks, caramel and candy apples being pretty straightforward—an apple on a stick covered by a sticky, sweet layer of gooey goodness.

The perfect device to extract stubborn wiggly baby teeth.

I remember hearing story upon story of other kids losing teeth to caramel apples. Needless to say, when I finally found myself at Walt Disney World with loose teeth and a caramel apple in my hand, I realized my opportunity had finally come.

I chomped mercilessly into that apple—but still that pesky loose tooth wouldn’t dislodge. To this day, I am still not sure whether I actually ever lost a baby tooth to one of these sticky sugar bombs. As a matter of fact, I have a vague memory that I may have finally just twisted one of those teeth loose and stuck it in the caramel apple, showing it to my parents to look cool. I sort of hope this was a childhood pizza dream, but if not, I guess it just falls in the category of kids do crazy things?

7. Talking to characters—the animatronic ones

Talking to characters at Disney parks isn’t particularly unusual—even adults do that. Kids, however, don’t limit conversations to costumed characters, the ones you meet for pictures and autographs. For kids, it’s perfectly acceptable to carry on conversations with animatronic characters on rides.

I have seen kids do this many times, and it’s always adorable. I’m certain I did it myself as well. My favorite story of this happening wasn’t necessarily one from my own childhood however…

My niece was about four the first time she went to Walt Disney World. We were so excited to share this early memory with her, and I remember she injected a unique flavor of magic into the trip. She reveled in her first ride on Dumbo, It’s a Small World, and Peter Pan’s Flight. Pirates of the Caribbean mostly confused her, but she still seemed to enjoy herself.

During this first visit to the Magic Kingdom, I was surprised when she insisted on wanting to try the Haunted Mansion. I thought it might be too scary for a small kid (I’m an adult and it still kind of gives me the jibbly-jeebies), but her mom was fine with it, so we had a talk with my niece about the monsters and ghosts being make-believe. I even assured her that if she got scared, she should remember that the monsters are probably more scared of her than vice versa.

We were barely a minute into the ride when I started hearing a strange sound I’d never heard on the Haunted Mansion before… a low hissing snarl, like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings.


I blinked, trying to identify the source of the noise. What in the world?


The snarl became a repeated raspy growl, and it followed us wherever we went, gurgling and growing in ferocity.


It was at that moment that I realized my niece was leaning towards an animatronic crow, baring her teeth and growling with Smeagol-like delight. She persisted in doing this to every scary animatronic she encountered through the entire ride, even lifting up her hands like little claws in warning.

At the end of the ride, she proudly declared to me that she had scared the bad birdie and all the other ghosts who tried to get too close to us. She scared them good! I don’t think she realizes how much she scared me good. Don’t mess with fierce little girls!

8. You tried oh-so-hard to pull the sword from the stone

If you’re a longtime Disney fan, you may have been lucky enough to see the daily occurrence when Merlin appears in Fantasyland and a child is chosen to pull the sword from the stone… Maybe you ever were that lucky kid.

For the rest of us, you know you tried your darndest to get that sword out of that rock.

Speaking for myself, I know I tried more than once to pull that sword out of the stone. I tried all sorts of shenanigans with leverage, even using my dad’s arms for aid. The thing wouldn’t budge. It never did, but I still tried every time I came to Disney parks… I just knew eventually I’d find that right balance of magic to pull the blade free.

Ironically, one Disney-kid-at-heart really did pull off this amazing feat… a guest at Disneyland who was apparently pretty buff yanked the sword from the stone in early 2020, literally breaking it out of its housing by accident like the Shards of Narsil. A cast member confirmed the incident wasn’t due to any wrongdoing on the guest’s part—it was just the sword’s age. We assume this man has been crowned rightful king and now presides over his kingdom from the high towers of Sleeping Beauty castle, eagerly awaiting the reopening of the realm…

9. Making up your own story for rides

I don’t know about you, but as a kid, I had some pretty fantastic ideas about the real stories behind my favorite rides. As a matter of fact, I probably made up imaginary stories for most of the attractions I visited at Disney parks.

On the Indiana Jones Adventure, I didn’t just picture being some random tourist visiting the Temple of the Forbidden Eye—I imagined being Indy’s apprentice archaeologist. Spaceship Earth wasn’t a simple educational journey—it was a mesmerizing chase through time and space for the fate of the world. I imagined extra characters on rides like Horizons and the World of Motion, filling in gaps in the story to make it an adventure. I also imagined making imaginary friends on many rides who I’d keep with me in my mind after we left.

In truth, this is almost the purest form of what Disney attractions are meant to be—its why rides that aren’t necessarily tied to IP’s are nice, as they leave more room for guests to fill in the blanks with their imaginations. Even so, attractions involving IP’s could still prove fertile ground for kid imaginations. What secret stories did you come up with when you rode rides?

10. Pretended to fly (in every way possible)

Replicating the experience of flight has been part of the Disney experience from the parks earliest years… from Peter Pan to Delta Dreamflight to Soarin’, the joy of learning how to fly is one of the most fundamental experiences of visiting a Disney park.

Kids have a special way of taking this idea even further. What sort of things did you do to make the sensation of flying feel more real on Disney attractions? Did you raise your arms on Space Mountain? Lean forward in your seat on Peter Pan’s Flight? Close your eyes and let the sounds sweep you up or cup your hands around your eyes so all you can see is the horizon? I particularly remember feeling this sensation during the Superspeed Tunnels guests used to travel through on the PeopleMover (which included scenes from TRON during the 80’s and early 90’s).

Kids manage to find the best ways to take the magic just a little further… and that’s why they make Disney parks oh-so more magical.

What did we miss? What are some of the silly (but awesome) things you used to do as a Disney kid? Alternatively, what have you seen your own kids do at Disney parks along these same lines?

Enjoy this article? Keep reading to learn why Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway changed the mind of this skeptical fan… or how to take advantage of some of the benefits of visiting Walt Disney World while capacity remains low