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Know Before You Go: Motion Discomfort

Jul 07, 2017
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Do you like feeling dizzy when you’re on vacation? Some of the biggest complaints that folks have after visiting a theme park actually revolve around the misnomer that “it’s a Disney ride so it can’t be that bad.”

This is a false claim that planners like us try to train into our clients from the get-go. Just because the attraction is in a Disney Park doesn’t mean that it’s not going to knock your socks off…if you’re not prepared, of course!

Let’s start off with the basics of what “Motion Discomfort” is

Each guest may face a different “trigger” that will cause an uncomfortable situation. These range from visual disorientation, spinning, unsettling motions or anything else that could fall within a theme park attraction.

If you are unsure about what may “trigger” your reaction, the best thing to do is to send someone you actually trust on the attraction first before you go on. Don’t take advice from guide books or folks on the internet, because we don’t know the details of your current situation.

Let’s look at the ratings that we’ll be using for this subject

First Section – This will include attractions that may be visually disorientating, usually with a sense of movement mimicked through technology.

Second Section – Attractions that include some motion or movement, with a medium/mild intensity level.

Third Section – Looking at attractions which provide a sense of weightlessness or motions that will make your stomach be like “hmmm, that was uncomfortable”.

Fourth Section – These are attractions and offerings that are not meant for folks who experience any sort of discomfort. Extreme physical sensations with a nice mix of visual distortions and lots of spinning (usually).

Section One: Slight Visual Disorientation

Magic Kingdom

  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – Ride vehicle spins, with spinning visuals
  • Autopia – Depending on the driver, the ride could be bumpy and disconcerting to all involved. Seriously


  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends – Bubble section with under the sea visual elements in addition to a fairly violent interaction with the Angler Fish, which is a Kuka Arm audio-animatronic behind a screen

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • MuppetVision 3D – “Cheap 3-D Tricks”
  • The Great Movie Ride – Fantasmic section with spinning visuals on the wall.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • It’s Tough to be a Bug! – 3-D experience

Section Two: Medium/Mild Motions (Not Intense)

Magic Kingdom

  • Splash Mountain – Water ride with short drops and a giant final drop. Nothing spinning, but the last drop may add discomfort.
  • Dumbo – Slow spinning attraction in a flying elephant.
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin – Slow spinning attraction in a flying carpet
  • Prince Charming Carousel – Slow spinning attraction
  • Astro Orbiter – Moderate/mild spinning ride on the roof of a building, so the height could offer some issues.


  • Mission:Space Green Team – Simulator with slight bumps and movements with sounds and visuals.
  • Test Track – The initial section of the attraction is pretty basic, with speed elements in the dark. The high-speed section at the end could add a mild thrill during the banked-turn.
  • Frozen Ever After – Water ride with a moderate drop
  • Soarin’ Around the World – Visual tricks with a sense of weightlessness and movement with an Imax-style film.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Toy Story Mania – Spinning ride vehicle from game to game.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • TriceraTop Spin –  Slow spinning attraction in a flying dinosaur
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris – Depending on the driver, this could be level 2 or 3. You’re in a safari vehicle (giant jeep) with bumpy sections and speed elements

Section Three: Intense Motion with Weightlessness or Disorientation

Magic Kingdom

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Although this is the wildest ride in the wilderness, the level of discomfort is focused on quick drops and extremely tight turns and visual elements that may be too much to handle. Know beforehand that you’re on a runaway train without a driver…
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – The main train cars sway with the motions of the track, along with sharp turns and a couple light drops.


  • Drinking Around the World – There’s nothing that will make you feel more disorientated than mixing your beers with wines and shots of tequila.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Rock n Roller Coaster – This is a level three because it doesn’t spin. Outside of that factor, it is an extremely fast coaster (0-60mph in 2.8 seconds) with tight turns, drops and a full inversion. Don’t eat before going on this one…
  • Tower of Terror – Another addition in the level three ONLY because it doesn’t spin. The concept and the layers of intensity within the elevator shaft is something that should prevent folks from testing their luck, but remember that there is a “chicken exit” in the boiler room which would allow you to experience the amazing work that the Imagineers put into the design of this attraction.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • Expedition Everest – a High-speed roller coaster with a drop. The train does go backward in the dark, so be knowledgeable going into this one.

Section Four: Spinning and Purposeful Disorientation (Most Intense)

Magic Kingdom

  • Mad Tea Party – Light OR intense spinning in two directions (depending on who’s in the teacup with you)
  • Space Mountain – Rollercoaster in the dark with intense turns and out-of-the-blue drops that will create a sense of disorientation with even those of us who know the track layout.


  • Mission:Space (Orange) – Extreme spinning with purposeful visual disorientation. You’re in a rocket ship on a mission to space…so expect to be given the “full space experience”.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Star Tours – You’re going to bounce, sway, and everything else that a Starspeeder can do. Expect the unexpected from this attraction, as they are currently running a randomizer that will showcase the motion simulator to the max.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • Avatar Flight of Passage – Simulator attraction with sharp turns and “flying” elements on a personal ride vehicle with 4D elements.
  • Dinosaur -Strobe Lights, Complete Darkness, Loud Noises and Dinosaurs…This attraction has everything that will drive folks in the opposite direction if they have any sort of motion discomfort issues.
  • Primeval Whirl – Sudden turns, intense drops and spinning without individual control. It’s completely outdoors, so if you don’t like the way that it looks…don’t go on it.


What to do if you Get Motion Sick at Disney

If you are prone to motion sickness I recommend bring along three things to the parks with you each day!

Pressure Bands – If you like to go the no medicine route this is your best bet. Wear these bands on your wrists and stop your nausea. They utilize acupressure so you have to be sure to place them in the right spot. BUY NOW

Ginger Pills – Ginger pills offer a natural way to prevent and treat motion sickness without drowsiness. BUY NOW

Dramamine – Dramamine the most trusted over-the-counter treatment for motion sickness. Also, it is the #1 Pharmacist Recommended Brand to both prevent and treat the condition. BUY NOW


Just to sum up this topic, the goal is to provide you with as much advance notice as possible about various triggers in attractions before you’re actually in the ride vehicle. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask a cast member!

If there’s anything that you would like to add to the conversation, the comment section below is a great spot!

If you get motion sick you are going to want to read this before going to Disney World!!

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