Though opinions differ on when the best age is to take a child to Walt Disney World, the most important thing is that families chose a time that feels right for them. The beautiful thing about Disney is that whether your child is 16 months old or 16 years old, there’s bound to be something to please. So what do you do if your little one is a bit too tiny for the Mountains or too afraid of the dark for classic attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean? Here’s our list of rides and attractions perfect for a toddler-focused touring plan.
Magic Kingdom – Most families spend more than one day visiting Magic Kingdom so, we’ve included double the options.
- Peter Pan’s Flight- Though it is slightly on the dark side, little ones do love the idea of being swept away on a nighttime boat ride through Neverland. Featuring lots of bright colors, fun music and familiar characters, it’s definitely a crowd-pleaser for the under 5’s. However, this is one of Disney World’s busiest attractions so definitely use a Fastpass.
- Disney World Railroad – With all the big glitzy attractions its easy to miss the simple pleasures like a ride on the Walt Disney World Railroad. Though adults tend to overlook this delightful little journey around Magic Kingdom, its magic is not lost on little ones. On every Disney railroad trip I’ve taken, there’s always a toddler having the time of their life. And if you’ve rented a stroller at Disney and are worried you won’t be able to get it on the train- Disney has you covered. You can leave your old stroller at one train stop and pick up a brand new one when your reach your destination.
- Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – Probably the most mellow and mild-mannered ride at Magic Kingdom. What’s not to love about Pooh and his cuddly cohorts. You also can’t go wrong with a ride that sits you in a giant honey pot. It’s also a good use of a Fastpass as lines can get a bit long midday.
- Journey of the Little Mermaid – Board your giant sea shell and head under the sea on a ride takes you through the re-telling of the Little Mermaid. There is a fantastic ocean-themed room that features lots of singing and dancing fish. My daughter loved this when she was in her 2’s and 3’s. The ride also loads really quickly so lines are typically at a minimum.
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant – No toddler list would be complete without this iconic Disney ride. Perfect for little ones, the lines are usually under 20 minutes long. And when ride times are slightly longer, don’t worry there’s a really fun indoor playground that I often times think little ones enjoy more than the ride itself!
- Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station – Surprised by the addition of this water play area on our must-do toddler list? Well then welcome to the mind of a 2-year-old. Parents trust me when your little ones start to get grumpy and short-tempered in the Florida heat, let them go splash around, jump in puddles and be sprayed by circus animals. Conveniently located next to Dumbo it’s a perfect way to have some downtime. Bring a change of clothes though as your little ones will get drenched.
- Pete’s Silly Sideshow – If you’re looking to meet characters this circus big-top is the perfectly one-stop-shop. Located adjacent to Dumbo the Flying Elephant and the Splash ‘n’ Soak Station, here you’ll find all of your favorite Disney friends (Minnie, Daisy, Donald, and Goofy) dressed up for the circus. The colorful tent and costumes are perfect for little ones and its remote Fantasyland location means fewer crowds than some of the other meet and greets in the park. You’ll have to wait in two separate lines to meet the whole gang but it’s definitely worth it!
- Festival of Fantasy Parade – If you’re travelling with a toddler, it’s wishful thinking that they’ll make it to the evening fireworks. A good way to end your day might be the Festival of Fantasy Parade. The floats are delightfully elaborate and colorful and your little ones will see a plethora of their favorite Disney friends from Mickey and Minnie to Aladdin and Jasmine. Nearly the entire gang is there. The 3:00 parade time is perfect for little ones who may need to be leaving the parks early for a nap or early bedtime.
Epcot – Out of the four theme parks, Epcot is probably the most limited when it comes to toddler offerings but there is still some fun to be had.
- Frozen Ever After -Princess Anna and Queen Elsa have finally taken up residence at the Norway Pavilion in the World Showcase. This boat ride is sure to please as it features the characters, music and key settings from the film. Though there are a couple of dark drops, hopefully your little one will be so caught up in the moment that it won’t matter much. Being a relatively new attraction lines will be long. Get a Fastpass if touring Epcot with your toddler.
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends – If you’re heading to Epcot with your tiny tot, devote a fair whack of time to The Seas Pavillion. A great starting point is the Seas with Nemo and Friends. This delightful ride takes you through many of the key scenes from the original film as well as the aquariums found in the Sea Pavilion. The ride empties into a larger aquarium exhibition with lots for little ones to see, do and explore.
- Turtle Talk With Crush – Everyone’s favorite sea turtle entertains the crowds with this lovely little show. Crush will interact with the children in the audience and the attraction has recently been updated with characters from Finding Dory. The show is short (perfect for little attention spans) and gives the whole family a chance to sit and relax. This attraction is also located in The Seas Pavilion and is a good use of Fastpasses as the wait to get in without one can sometimes be long, hot and stuffy.
- Journey Into the Imagination with Figment – There’s a lot to love about this attraction. There is usually no line (you can typically walk right on), it features a lovely little dragon named Figment that the children love, there’s a catchy song you’ll be humming to yourself for the rest of the day, it’s very colorful and lighthearted and there are some hands-on exhibitions when you get off of the rides that will entertain your little ones.
- Disney Junior Live on Stage – If your toddler is hooked on Disney Junior then you won’t want to miss this 20-minute puppet show. The whole gang is there from Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, Jake and characters from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Kids are encouraged to come and sit near the stage which also so gives mom and dad a chance to take a breather will the kids enjoy the fun. Definitely, Fastpass if visiting the parks with your little one as the pre-selected time is helpful for organizing your day.
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid – Though for many adults this stage show highlighting key songs from the Little Mermaid seems short, it’s absolutely perfect for little ones. Kids love seeing Ariel live on stage and there are lots of visual effects and fun musical numbers that will keep them dazzled. There isn’t usually much of a line for this attraction but the Fastpasses are available an option.
- Toy Story Midway Mania – Your tiny tot will get to see most of their Toy Story friends as you’re taken through a series of interactive midway games. Though small children may not be able to shot their way to a high score, the interactive element is a real crowd-pleaser. Lines for this can get long so definitely use a Fastpass.
- For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Singalong Celebration – If your child can barely speak but is already belting out every song from Frozen, then definitely plan on attending this Singalong. Though the Arendelle historians that are narrating can be a bit boring for small kids, the musical numbers will have them singing at the top of their lungs. There are also appearances by Anna, Elsa and Kristoff and during the grand finale Elsa makes it snow in the theater- a definite “wow” moment for pre-schoolers. Again Fastpasses are available for those who want to pre-plan.
- Triceritop Spin – Think Dumbo the Flying Elephant except with Dinosaurs and that is exactly what you are getting with this attraction. However you’ll be surprised by how fun your little one thinks it is the second time around. It’s also located in DinoLand USA, which with its festive Coney Island aesthetic is a really fun, kitschy feast for the senses.
- The Boneyard – Also located in DinoLand USA, this is another attraction you may not give a second thought to if travelling with older children. However with little ones in tow, you will spend a lot more time here than you ever intended. Trust me. Under 5’s absolutely love this hands-on outdoor play area where you can dig for dinosaur bones, climb on rocks, cross a rope bridge, enjoy slides, mazes and even jump behind the wheel of a Jeep. Hands-on parents though might feel a bit panicky as the sheer size and different levels of the play area can make keeping your little ones constantly in your sight-lines a bit of a challenge.
- Finding Nemo- The Musical -Hands down one of the best stage shows at Disney, this is one of the attractions I remember my little absolutely squealing with delight over. This colorful musical version of the much-loved Pixar film is filled with colorful underwater scenes and awe-inspiring puppetry. Fastpasses are available and definitely worth it to avoid the lines you might get later in the day.
- Pagani Forest Exploration Trail and Maharajah Jungle Trek – Let’s be honest, Kilimanjaro Safaris may not be all that impressive to little Animal Kingdom visitors, particularly because the animals are often difficult to see. When my daughter was tiny, I had much better luck on the trails and treks at Animal Kingdom. My little one loved that she could view the gorillas from the comfort of her own stroller and for the same reason, I loved being able to take these attractions at my own pace. They are very parent-friendly and you’ll find that your stroller can go most places with you. So definitely take some time and see the animals.
So if you’re planning on taking your Under 5’s on their first trip to the Mouse be sure to include many of the attractions listed above to create your own toddler-friendly touring plan.
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