Taking your tot to a Disney Park for the first time? We’ve rounded up the three best Disney World rides for toddlers in each of the four theme parks.
The beauty of Walt Disney World is that there’s so much to do—no matter how young or old (or big or small!) you might be. But, of course, that doesn’t mean everyone can do everything.
Fortunately, there’s plenty to do and see for even the youngest mouseketeers. You just have to know where to look. Here are my top three recommended Disney world attractions for kids under 3 at each theme park.
3 Best Disney World Rides for Toddlers at Magic Kingdom
Most would agree that Magic Kingdom offers the most attractions for Disney’s youngest guests (and those young at heart). And that’s true.
But there are a few that stand out for me as the mother of a toddler.
1. “it’s a small world”
That’s because “it’s a small world” truly is a classic attraction and a favorite (although, for some, a begrudging one) for many who board it.
It’s the perfect ride for growing minds and little ears. Aboard this merry cruise, you’ll find a catchy tune, bright and bold colors (thanks to Mary Blair flair), and a truly heart-warming message about unity and acceptance.
2. Peter Pan’s Flight
For one reason or another, most toddlers I know are obsessed with pirates and mermaids—and Peter Pan’s Flight offers both.
Thanks to this classic Fantasyland attraction, my daughter has been flying through Neverland long before she could walk. From taking flight in a real-life pirate ship to watching favorite characters come to life with vibrant colors and familiar swashbuckling scenes, this attraction ranks among both my own and my daughter’s must-do rides. (Plus, even the queue is magically entertaining!)
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3. Dumbo The Flying Elephant
On this timeless attraction, you don’t just fly; you soar.
My daughter has been giggling aboard this one for ages. As soon as she could maneuver the altitude-controlling lever, she has loved helping Dumbo fly (and making mommy queasy).
And, with the addition of the big-top tent indoor play area, she gets to run around in air-conditioned respite while waiting for her turn to take flight. Sometimes, we even head over to Dumbo just to enjoy the playground.
3 Best Disney World Rides for Toddlers at EPCOT
EPCOT is all about exploration—exploration of science, nature, imagination, and culture—which makes it the perfect place for toddlers to play and learn. And with the new Play Pavilion slated for next year, it’s soon to be the destination for kids at Disney World.
1. The Seas with Nemo & Friends
In addition to Nemo’s underwater attraction being an exciting ride in its own right, what really makes this ride special is the underwater world it’s a part of.
The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion features an incredible 5.7-million-gallon saltwater aquarium where children and parents can explore the ocean together. My daughter loves spotting turles and rays on the observation deck and hanging with Bruce in Bruce’s Shark World. Getting her to leave the pavilion, though, now that’s a challenge …
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2. Journey Into Imagination With Figment
While this particular attraction has caused its fair share of controversy over the years, Journey Into Imagination With Figment remains one of my toddler’s favorite attractions. In fact, Figment (or “fitment” as she calls him) is among her favorite characters, and she’s absolutely obsessed with the sleeping Figment plush her auntie bought her.
She loves the catchy tune (another Sherman Brothers masterpiece) and is intrigued by learning about her senses—especially her imagination.
3. Grand Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
While there are other more recent hits I considered for this piece (like Frozen Ever After and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure), those can be a little too wild for the under three crowd. A musical cruise down the Rio Grande with Donald Duck and his amigos, however, is a great choice for tots who are sure to be mesmerized by Donald’s familiarly silly antics.
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3 Best Disney World Rides for Toddlers At Animal Kingdom
Another park that’s all about edutainment, Animal Kingdom features several height-restricted thrill attractions, but there’s also plenty to do for those who aren’t quite ready to brave the Yeti.
1. Kilimanjaro Safaris
While I was apprehensive of taking my then-infant on the Kilimanjaro Safari at first (I’m the kind of mom who imagines a lot of horrifying what-if scenarios), I’m so glad I did.
As long as your tiny tot is tucked safely in the middle of a safari bench seat, this African safari introduces explorers to extraordinary animals through up close and personal encounters you just don’t find anywhere else.
Watching my daughter’s eyes grow wide as she spies giraffes grazing from the treetops just feet away is nothing short of incredible.
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2. Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
The Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is definitely an underappreciated gem. This easy-to-navigate African trek features more opportunities for children to see and learn about animals.
Among my daughter’s favorites on the trail are the hippos, gorillas, and the absolutely adorable meerkats who just might rival her own endless energy.
3. Na’vi River Journey
A departure from the real natural world, the world of Pandora is jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring for adults and children alike. When I introduced my then early two-year-old to the bioluminescent river, she couldn’t take her eyes off it and was completely mesmerized by the sights and sounds of the soothing and exotic forest.
3 Best Disney World Rides for Toddlers at Hollywood Studios
A Hollywood actress in the making, my little diva fits right in at Hollywood Studios—which welcomes its young guests to become the star of the show. It’s the perfect place for kids to become immersed in some of their favorite films and find themselves right in the middle of the action.
1. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
While I don’t think I’ll ever accept the demise of The Great Movie Ride, my daughter is fascinated with its replacement, fondly referring to it as the “Goofy crazy driver ride.” This whimsical, whirlwind attraction features the Sensational Six in a captivating and thrilling adventure.
Keep in mind, though, while this is a tot-friendly attraction, it can get a little bumpy. Hold on tight to your little one—especially when Daisy’s dance studio comes into view.
2. For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
This is a much more tot-friendly way for little ones to experience Arendelle than Frozen Ever After in EPCOT.
If your child is a fan of Elsa and Anna (and what child isn’t?) you cannot miss this Frozen sing-along experience. Led by Arendelle’s royal historians, this enchanting show invites your little ones to sing along to their favorite Frozen tunes while providing a splash of adult humor for their grown-up entourage.
And if you’re not a fan of the world-famous musical hits, well … you best just let it go.
3. Toy Story Mania!
While younger fans can’t fully experience the arcade-style attraction and might need assistance with the 4D glasses the ride requires, they can still enjoy this Toy Story-themed experience.
Having watched all four Toy Story films approximately 1 billion times each in her three years, my daughter especially enjoys seeing her favorite characters come to life and likes to spot some of her favorite games in Andy’s room.
And whether she’s actually capable of playing the games or not, she’ll tell you she won.
One Final Ride
Finally, if you play your cards right, there’s one final ride your tot can experience—the ride home. Whether you’re hopping on the monorail, soaring on the Skyliner (my daughter’s new favorite ride), or boarding a ferry boat, your last ride to your resort or car can absolutely be one last magical attraction.
What did you think about our choices for the best Disney World rides for toddlers? Does your little one like something different? Share with us on Facebook!