Taking a toddler to Walt Disney World? You may be wondering what the best rides are to do with little ones in tow. As a family we’ve gone to Disney with our share of toddlers! Dave’s own daughters went as super young kids and we’ve brought our own kids when they were little!
It’s pure joy bringing little ones to experience the magic of Disney but yes, it is has it’s challenges so we’re here to help!
Disney World attractions, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. One person’s favorite attractions may be on another’s “skip it” list. This is what makes life fun…we are all different with different tastes.
Each family and each person has different opinions of what is fun and what is dumb – some of us laugh at Jungle Cruise jokes and some of us groan! Kids are no exception to this. Some children get scared very easily and can’t watch Monsters Inc. and others are ok watching much scarier movies.
Keeping this in mind, we are giving you our suggestions for taking your toddler to any of the Disney parks. We’ve broken down a number of attractions and other areas of the all 4 Disney Parks that we think your toddler will likely enjoy.
A few disclaimers:
- We are considering toddlers to be approximately age 2-4.
- Our goal is to give you a good base of what to explore in the Magic Kingdom with your toddler. This is not an extensive list but this gives you an excellent starting point.
- You know your child best. Read the pros and cons list carefully and use your best judgment. For example, if your child is extremely scared of the dark, you may want to avoid a particular ride even though our suggestion is to try it.
- Many of these rides do not have a height requirement, making it a perfect ride for families to enjoy together. When in doubt, be sure to check the height requirements for attractions here.
The Best Rides For Toddlers at Disney World
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According to our statistics, almost 25% of families who go to Walt Disney World bring a toddler. We’re going to go through all of the best rides for this age group by park starting with our favorite – Magic Kingdom!
The Best Magic Kingdom Rides For Toddlers
This is an outdoor boat safari ride that the entire family can go on! Jungle Cruise is an extremely popular ride at Walt Disney World and constantly has long wait times. This is definitely one of those ‘love it or hate it’ attractions – but your toddler will likely love it!
Pros: Slow ride through the “jungle” on a “river” sitting in a “boat”. This classic attraction has corny jokes and animatronic animals. Very tame ride!
Cons: We must admit, it’s not one of our favorites for adults, especially because it usually has a pretty long wait. However, as far as toddlers go, there really is not much in the con department!
Pirates Of The Caribbean
This is another iconic Disney attraction. This is an indoor boat ride that takes you through classic scenes from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Jack Sparrow has been added to this ride over the years, giving it a modern boost!
Pros: Slow moving, calm boat ride. This, like Jungle Cruise, is a Disney classic.
Cons: This attraction has a few dark spots and you move between a battle taking place. It can be a bit scary to younger kids, but with a little coaching about what they will see it can take away the anxiety.
Peter Pan’s Flight
Our family really enjoys this attraction. You get on a flying ship that takes you through London with the help of pixie dust! The scenes in this ride are incredibly enjoyable making this a great ride!
Pros: A calm ride that will take you on the well known story of Peter Pan, Wendy, and Captain Hook in Neverland.
Cons: You will have the sensation of flying and it will get dark as you “fly” over the city at night but it shouldn’t be an issue for your toddler. This attraction is very popular which means it can have long lines! You may want to check out our post for 9 tips to avoid long lines.
It’s A Small World
Another indoor boat ride the entire family can enjoy. Hop on this ride and enjoy a visual journey through cultures all around the world! You will enjoy seeing the details that Disney has added to each scene, and little kids will love the bright colors and music.
Pros: Great visuals, song, and cultures coming together! This attraction is another Disney classic!
Cons: We dare you to go through the rest of the day and not have the song in your brain.
Under The Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
Little kids will enjoy hopping on board a clamshell and riding through Ariel’s world. You will not get wet on this ride!
Pros: Great children’s ride that moves slowly and tells the story of the Little Mermaid – hopefully a story your little one is familiar with. Of course, this attraction has great music!
Cons: None. The story gets condensed at the end but hopefully your preschooler will not be analyzing the ride’s production qualities.
The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh
This is an enjoyable attraction as you wander through the pages of A.A. Milne’s stories about Winnie the Pooh! Young kids will love the familiarity of the characters and stories.
Pros: This is a perfect children’s attraction! This attraction is happy and sunny as you ride a Hunny Pot through the pages of Hundred Acre Wood. The queue is half the fun! You don’t mind waiting in line for this one.
Cons: Not even Eeyore can find a problem with this ride!
Race around a miniature speedway! Ride vehicles around curves and bends – and enjoy some great views!
Pros: Driving cars…what little one wouldn’t like that? Please note: Children under 54” tall must be with an adult, however, they can steer while you work the foot pedals. The max speed for the cars is 7 mph.
Cons: Not many cons for the kids! Adults, that’s a different story. Between the gas smell, the noise and the heat, it can only be chalked up to “the things we do for our kids!”
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Hope in your very own spaceship for a fun ride that is also a game! Defeat the evil Emperor Zurg as you shoot your laser in a space battle.
Pros: Shoot laser canons at targets and compete against your partner. Great fun even if you get zero points!
Cons: It goes by much too fast! This is one of our favorite rides and we wish it lasted longer.
Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover
Head on up an escalator and ride an elevated tram for a fresh view of Disney World! This is meant to be an idea of mass transit of the future.
Pros: Simple, calm and a great place to rest your feet as you move on this 10 minute ride through Tomorrowland. This ride is a family favorite – we ride it at least twice each time we visit the Magic Kingdom! You even get a sneak peek at the inside of Space Mountain!
Cons: Nothing whatsoever!
Midway Type Attractions: Spinning Rides
We are putting these together in one category because they are similar. These are the types of rides you might find at a county fair with a Disney “spin”!
If motion sickness is a concern to your child or you, our suggestion is keeping your child’s lunch where it belongs and not ruining your day by going on any of these attractions.
You may even consider avoiding these parts of the Magic Kingdom in order to not entice your child with an attraction you will not be able to take them on. However, if spinning is ok for you and your child, go for it!
- Mad Tea Party
- Dumbo The Flying Elephant
- The Magic Carpets Of Aladdin
- Astro Orbiter
Toddlers Will Also Love….
There are many things you can do with your toddler at Disney World that are not under the heading of “Attractions” but are things you should consider doing with your little ones!
Liberty Square Riverboat
Fun ride on a steamship around the Rivers of America. This half mile, 17 minute ride takes you around Tom Sawyer Island and is located in Liberty Square. The boat has 4 levels and most toddlers will enjoy riding it!
Walt Disney World Railroad
This is a fun ride on a real steam locomotive around the Magic Kingdom! This 20 minute ride has 3 different stations throughout the Magic Kingdom. If you have a toddler who is into trains (Thomas the Train, anyone?) they will really enjoy this!
Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
A wonderful Cinderella inspired carrousel that is a must for any child! 90 gorgeous horses to choose from – the carousel is sure to delight your child and the child in you! This is a ride you should seriously consider going on if this is your first visit to the Disney Parks. This is one of the first rides you see as you enter the Magic Kingdom.
Move It! Shake It! MouskeDance It! Street Party
You and your children will love this rocking and entertaining dance event! This is an outdoor show by Main Street and is weather dependent. Be sure to check the My Disney Experience App for show times.
Sneaky Tip: Speaking of street parties…we have seen several spur of the moment dance parties happen in Tomorrow Land. There is a stage behind the Astro Orbiter (as if you are on your way to Space Mountain).
We have seen Chip and Dale, Mr. Incredible and Mrs. Incredible, Fro-Zone, and Goofy at these fun dance parties! This is a fun event toddlers will love – be sure to stop if you happen to see this going on!
Festival of Fantasy Parade
Your child has never seen a parade until he/she has seen this one! Spectacular floats, brilliant colors, and all the Disney Characters are in this 12 minute parade! This parade is subject to the weather and you can check My Disney Experience app for times.
Tom Sawyer Island
A kid friendly island reachable by raft! Great fun! This is a hideaway inspired by the stories of Mark Twain. Located in Frontierland. Little kids will love exploring this island.
Animal Kingdom Rides for Toddlers
Calling your animal loving little one! You have to check out Animal Kingdom’s African Savanna Kilimanjaro safari.
Located on 110 acres in the Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World, the Kilimanjaro safari attraction makes up 20% of the entire Animal Kingdom park. Guests ride on an open-air truck which weaves it’s way around a realistic African reserve, full of African wildlife roaming free.
Pros: This 20 minute ride through the Animal Kingdom’s African Savanna Kilimanjaro Safari is pretty cool! You and your kids see up close live animals in a controlled yet seemingly wild environment. This is a “must do” at Animal Kingdom with your little ones! Do not miss the safari.
Cons: Because it’s a “real” environment, sometimes the animals are not as active or seen as much as other times. That being said, your child will definitely see animals.
It’s Tough To Be A Bug
A 9 minute 3D show featuring the crew from A Bug’s Life. Flik is the host of the show and we all love Flik!
Pros: An entertaining 3D show with familiar characters. As far as toddlers go, there really is not much more to list in this category.
Cons: Warning! There are some pretty loud, scary and surprising moments! We have witnessed some pretty emotional children after this concludes. We would recommend most toddlers skip this attraction.
Wildlife Express Train
This 7 minute train transports you to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. You get to see animal homes and an inside peek at the Animal Kingdom Park.
Pros: This is enjoyable and scenic and gives a look at some of the inner workings of Animal Kingdom. As an added perk, you get off your feet for a bit!
Cons: No cons on this one!
Rafiki’s Planet Watch
Pros: Animals, a petting zoo, and trails to discover! This is a backstage look at how Disney cares for the animals at Magic Kingdom. At Rafiki’s plant watch is The Animation Experience, Conservation Station and Affection Section.
Cons: Was closed for a time but it is now open and lots to do!
Bob up and down on the triceratops ride that goes round in circles and up and down. It seats 4.
Pros: This is a “midway” style ride similar to Dumbo and Magic Carpet ride at Magic Kingdom.
Cons: Motion sickness can be an issue if you or your child have issues with spinning.
Stage Shows at Animal Kingdom
Festival Of The Lion King
A Broadway style show full of singing and dancing! This show is on our list of the best live shows at Walt Disney World.
Pros: Live show with acrobats, dancing, singing which will keep your toddler entertained! This is a 30 minute Broadway style show.
Cons: Loud noises and crowds may overstimulate.
The Festival of the Lion King does offer Signature Dining Packages at different tier levels. These packages include dinner, VIP seating for the show, and a guided safari tour! You definitely need reservations for this special package.
Reservations can be made 180 days in advance – don’t miss out on our 11 tips for making dining reservations here.
Up! A Great bird Adventure Show
Does your little one love the movie Up? This one is for you!
Pros: Live birds doing tricks in an open-air theater for 25 minutes! Your preschooler will really enjoy this!
Cons: Nothing at all!
Nemo – The Musical
Pros: A Colorful live show with giant puppets retelling the story of Finding Nemo which includes all your child’s favorite sea creatures, including Dory and Crush! This 40 minute show is one of our favorites.
Cons: Loud noises and crowds may overstimulate.
Toddlers and Epcot
Epcot is a great place to visit with your preschooler! Epcot has a more low-key feel than the Magic Kingdom and has some gems hidden in it that your toddler will love. Let’s jump in!
Frozen Ever After
Probably THE most popular attraction at Epcot for not only toddlers, but for everyone. It is imperative that you FastPass+ or Rope Drop this one or you will be standing in line for a LONG TIME. (For tips on how to secure FastPass selections check here)
Pros: This attraction is calm, beautifully designed boat ride with one VERY minor “drop.”
Cons: Perfect in every way!
Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros
Pros: Easy, fun boat ride at the Mexico Pavilion in the World Showcase. Think of a modern version of “It’s a Small World” that stars Donald Duck and The Three Caballeros.
Cons: Absolutely nothing!
The Seas With Nemo and Friends
Sitting in your “clamobile” you are searching for Nemo with Dory and Marlin. Very kid friendly and fun!
Pros: As the ride concludes, it deposits you into the SeaBase aquarium where your toddler will enjoy looking at the fish, mammals and crustaceans in a 200 foot diameter, 27 foot deep tank! It may be hard to get your preschooler to leave this area as it truly is amazing.
Cons: Some scenes are dark and there are some sharks that are a bit frightening but we would say nothing to get worried about, especially if your child is familiar with Finding Nemo.
Turtle Talk With Crush
This interactive animated film with the 153 year old surfer dude is great fun for your toddler!
Pros: Crush will actually have a conversation with guests! It is pretty amazing for both adults and kids.
Cons: If you are older like Dave, you get intimidated that a 153 year old turtle can remain so “cool”. Other than that, no worries whatsoever!
The attraction is a slow moving history lesson that will probably lose your child, but the visual elements should keep them engaged enough to not be completely bored.
Pros: One of the big reasons for going on this attraction is because kids love the fact they are going into this big ball.
Cons: No Mickey, no Minnie, and no typical Disney characters can make this a “skip it” if it’s only your child’s happiness you are after.
Journey Into Imagination With Figment
This fast moving attraction gets some bad reviews by people but we have always enjoyed it! Except for the few cons below, we feel it’s a great must do with your toddler, especially if she is on the older side.
Cons: Loud noises and some very surprising moments are found on this attraction.
Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
Pros: A wonderful 18 minute experience featuring 3 short films and in-theater effects.
Cons: These films can actually be found on-line, but the atmosphere is part of the experience.
Toddlers and Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios – where we find Toy Story Land! We love spending time at Hollywood Studios and there is plenty there that your toddler will enjoy.
Toy Story Midway Mania!
A 3D carnival game ride where each guest uses a pull-string “shooter’ to toss digital objects at the on screen targets.
Pros: Fun for children even if they aren’t interested in pulling the shooter. The queue is fun as well, so standing in line is pretty enjoyable.
Cons: This attraction jerks around a bit so not necessarily a gentle ride.
Beauty and The Beast – Live on Stage
Broadway musical version of the movie in an open-air amphitheater.
Pros: Great songs, costumes and theatrical surprises. Very enjoyable 25 minute performance that the whole family will enjoy.
Cons: Make sure your kids have seen the movie (the play closely resembles the animated version) before you go.
Alien Swirling Saucers
Pros: A “midway” style ride that spins like the Mad Tea Party. Cute, bright and kids love it.
Cons: Keep in mind that this attraction has a 32 inch height requirement. You can find a Disney attractions height chart here. This ride can also cause motion sickness – parents, beware!
Pros: A kiddie roller coaster ride sitting in Slinky Dog from Toy Story.
Cons: A 38 inch height requirement and and thrill ride tolerance needs to be taken into consideration.
Muppet Vision 3D
Pros: This is a 3-D vision 15 minute show which features all the Muppets.
Cons: Some of the 3D effects can get pretty “real” for the kids. Loud sounds and surprises can be a bit overwhelming. If you are interested in this show do your research before going to make the best judgment.
Tip: If you get to this show early, read the sign and do what it says!
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy
Pros: 10 minute show centered on Lightning McQueen with great animatronics in an impressive theater
Cons: Nothing! As Lightning McQueen says “Lets do this thing!”
Voyage Of The Little Mermaid
Mermaid fans, this one is for you! This show is full of beautiful colorful puppets and live actors along with bits of clips from the Little Mermaid.
Pros: Live action characters with a wonderful stage and sound presentation. Kids love it!
Cons: Make sure your little one has seen the movie The Little Mermaid!
Disney Junior Dance Party!
This 25 minute dance party and sing along has characters such as Doc McStuffins, Timon, Vampirina, and Mickey.
Pros: Live people/characters and animation combines for a fun interactive experience!
Cons: This is a pretty tame experience.
Our hope is that you now have a good idea of what to do at all of the Disney Parks with your toddler. Keep these ideas in mind as you make your plan, and you are off to a great start! We have many more tips for visiting Disney with toddlers, such as where to stay and what to pack here!
Remember the Rider Switch
Remember that Disney has Rider Switch which allows you to ride an attraction while another family member waits with a child. The alternate adult is able to skip the line and ride the attraction once the first parent is done! You can find out more and see a list of attractions here.