A popular TikTok family is coming under some major scrutiny after documenting the lengths they went to in order to allegedly ensure their young son would meet height requirements for the rides at Disney.
The Kelly Family — aka @the.kelly.fam on TikTok — posted a now-viral TikTok showing exactly how they customized their toddler’s shoes so that their son would be tall enough for theme park rides.
“Meet my son, Kannon, our thrill-seeking boy who can’t get enough of Disney theme park rides,” the dad narrates in the video. “The only problem, you ask? He’s just not tall enough for the big ones.”
Aw, poor kid! Well, I guess they’ll just wait until he’s older and tall enough to safely ride the rides that have height requirements for very legitimate and life-saving reasons. Sorry, kiddo! Maybe next year!
Huh? What’s that? This dad isn’t stopping the story there?
“We didn’t want that to stop him from feeling the rush,” he continued on.
“We took matters into our own hands and crafted a shoe that just might do the trick,” he says in the video, while time-lapse footage of himself and his wife crafting these shoes “with the help of towering heels, extra flip-flop bottoms, and Gorilla Glue” plays in the background.
Their video — which has now garnered over 350k views — showcases their son wearing the shoes at Disney. And the father calls it the “ultimate theme park hack.”
Their “innovative” idea definitely didn’t go the way they thought it would, garnering criticism and worries from thousands of TikTok users.
Followers began to call out the parents on how dangerous this “parenting hack” was, and then how much more dangerous it is to share with their large following.
“As a former [Disney cast member], CMs will deny you entry for modified shoes. I denied so many kids, sorry not on my watch,” one user wrote.
“You do know that if he did get hurt… you can’t sue right? Disney could actually ban and sue you,” another said.
Others were more irked at the example these parents were setting for their kid. “Great parenting. Teaching kids rules don’t have to apply to them and aren’t implemented for safety,” another user commented.
One TikTok user stitched the controversial clip, reminding parents that “those regulations aren’t there for funsies.”
“They also aren’t there to ruin your child’s day. They’re there to keep them safe,” she says in the clip. “The rides are built with certain requirements. If you don’t meet those requirements there is a heightened risk that something really terrible could happen.”
After the wave of backlash, @the.kelly.fam issued an “apology” video.
“I would never ever put my kids in actual danger,” the dad said, ignoring the video proof he uploaded to their social channel seemingly showing that he did exactly that.
“I would never condone any other parent trying to put their kid on a ride that they aren’t tall enough for. You don’t know what happened. In the video, you didn’t see him actually go on any rides,” he says in the video.
He continues to say that his son is already tall enough to reach the height requirement without the modified shoes and blasts viewers, telling them to “get the facts straight.”
I think I need someone to explain to me like I’m five years old why parents would go the trouble of creating giant platform shoes for their kid who was “already tall enough” to ride the rides. Or why they would imply that he rode rides with the shoes when he actually didn’t.
Despite this dad’s “clarification,” the Kelly family also posted a 6-minute video on their Youtube channel, seemingly showing their shoe hack worked.
In the video entitled “I made my TODDLER tall enough for THRILL RIDES at DISNEY”, they show the young boy walking around the theme park in the ridiculous obviously doctored shoes, sneaking onto two attractions that he should not have been riding.
In a second apology, the TikTok famous family took responsibility for putting the risky behavior out there for all to see.
“I tried to give my children a magical experience, and we had an amazing time,” the dad wrote in their latest TikTok.
“Have I handled this situation flawlessly with all the hate we have been receiving? No, I haven’t, but I don’t have any ill will towards any of you. At the end of the day, we are responsible for our own actions, and I can hold my head up high knowing I didn’t put my kids in danger. Ya’ll have a blessed day,” he concluded.
Regardless of if this family truly made the shoes for “entertainment” purposes and didn’t actually use them on their kid at Disney, there are parents out there who will mimic this behavior.
Height requirements for rides are not even a fool-proof way to ensure that your kid will make it out unscathed. Height is used to screen riders because it’s one of the easiest and quickest ways for workers to get a “rough approximation for age, body size, or maturity.”
RidesDatabase says it’s truly up to a parent or caregiver to decide if the ride is appropriate for their child.
“If you have a child who just barely over the minimum height limit for a ride or is large for her age, take a sober look at the ride experience before deciding whether it’s really a safe choice. Make sure the restraints fit securely on smaller bodies before putting the small body of your beloved child on the ride,” the website advises.
TL;DR: Please do not alter your child’s height in any sort of way in order to sneak them onto the Slinky Dog ride at Disney World. That’s not a hack. That’s breaking a rule that there to keep your kid safe.