It’s hard to be the youngest, and shortest, kid in the family! It also can be a struggle to keep all the children happy and entertained. There were many years when we split up our time between attractions where the lower height restrictions rule and rides where our thrill-seeking older children could find thrills on repeat.
Now that size isn’t the challenge (our youngest, Liam, is clearing new height requirements with each visit!), we’re focusing on building courage. As a family, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite beginner thrill rides.
Location: Wilderness Pass
Height Requirement: 39 inches
FireChaser Express is considered a family coaster because it has a low height requirement (39 inches). This coaster feels fast because it launches you out of the station, and it goes backwards! But, there are no loops. It was the perfect place to start. The crew at FireChaser encouraged Liam and even gave him a sticker badge to celebrate his success. It’s the small things that make you smile at Dollywood!
Location: Timber Canyon
Height Requirement: 48 inches
My kids love this attraction because of the intense action and inversion—but it’s not quite as fast as some of the larger roller coasters. The cars are quite large, and our entire family is able to ride together. This gave our new thrill seeker a good dose of courage and he loved every minute.
Location: Craftsman’s Valley
Height Requirement: 42 inches
Daredevil Falls is the perfect way to recover from Mystery Mine. This water flume is a nice lazy ride with one big drop at the end that leaves you refreshed after walking around in the sun.
If you have a young one just meeting the height requirements, be sure to start with beginner thrill rides first, and let the ride hosts know about the special day. That recognition and encouragement made all the difference for our little guy. By the end of the day, Liam had conquered just about every ride that was new to him—including Drop Line and Lightning Rod! As for Tennessee Tornado, he is still saving that for when he feels just a little bigger.