I love traveling with my kids, but let’s be honest, they really slow us down and limit our options. At places like Universal Studios and Six Flags Great America, they are too young and short for several attractions. This was even more true a couple of years ago when the youngest was still a toddler. Enter Disney. Disney caters to young children more than any other company of which I am aware. This is the case for all of its properties, but Disneyland in particular has some of the best rides with no height requirement. In this article, I cover my top ten Disneyland attractions for toddlers.
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Toddlers have attention spans equivalent to those of Steve-O and Bam Margera. Lines are not their bag. To cut down on waiting, make a touring plan prior to arrival. I like Touring Plans, a free app that allows you to input the attractions, meals and breaks you want, then provides a plan to navigate the park efficiently.
Unlike Disney World, you cannot book any FastPasses prior to arrival, but consider purchasing MaxPass. MaxPass allows you to book FastPasses from the Disneyland app. If you don’t purchase MaxPass, you’re going to have to physically go to the attractions to obtain a paper FastPass, old school style. This may not be a big deal for young people with no
baggage children, but it sounds like a giant hassle to me. At the time of this writing, MaxPass is $20 per person, which sucks, but it makes for a much better day. It also includes free PhotoPass downloads. If your kid hates one of the rides, the photo will probably make for some great prom material. Regardless of whether you purchase MaxPass, use the Disneyland app to check wait times for the rides.
Best Disneyland Attractions for Toddlers
10. King Arthur Carrousel
King Arthur Carrousel (not a typo) is a basic carousel located in Fantasyland. Children ride on white horses. Insert every reason your toddler loves any carousel, and you will know why he or she will enjoy this ride. There is something magical about riding a carousel at Disneyland near Sleeping Beauty Castle, which makes it more special than your average carnival experience. You can stand next to your child during the ride, and there is never much of a wait.
9. Mad Tea Party
Mad Tea Party is a famous Disneyland attraction in Fantasyland. You sit in teacups and spin. You have some control over the amount of spinning, but you can’t completely prevent it. I like to help my kids spin by holding onto the wheel tightly, giving them the impression it is really hard to turn. It’s good for their biceps, and I don’t vomit. Win win. While Mad Tea Party is not different from a lot of rides at other theme parks, it is one of the best Disneyland attractions for toddlers because of its infamy and location. The line for this ride is usually reasonable.
8. Jungle Cruise
Jungle Cruise is an outdoor, slow moving boat ride in Adventureland. There are no seat belts or harnesses, so they can move around to a degree. There is nothing dark or scary. During the ride, you cruise by several animatronic animals toddlers will be eager to identify. For adults, there is a skipper on board telling jokes. This can be a blessing or a curse depending on the quality of the jokes and your sense of humor. I am a tough audience because I am hilarious (according to me only), but I have had a mixed bag of skippers over the years. Regardless of your enjoyment, your toddler should be happy. The line can get long, so you will want to check wait times on the app before committing.
7. Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean is an indoor, slow moving boat ride in New Orleans Square. There is a little bit of a drop during the ride, but I think the average toddler has had a more thrilling ride down a playground slide. This attraction is a good length, air conditioned, and has a ton to see. The pirates are fun to watch. The line to ride moves quickly. Best of all, the alcohol consumption and crime will fly right over the toddler’s head. No life lesson today, child.
6. “it’s a small world”
“it’s a small world” is an indoor, slow moving boat ride in Fantasyland. It is a classic Disney attraction that is seriously long. The boat takes you through rooms with tons of animatronics intended to represent different cultures. It is fun to take it all in with kids and discuss different parts of the world. These animatronics were not manufactured yesterday. If they were, some would probably be considered slightly politically incorrect. Small children will not notice any of this. The line for this one is usually reasonable, and the length of the ride more than makes up for any wait.
5. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is an indoor, slow moving ride in Critter Country. The attraction takes you through the Hundred-Acre Wood. This air conditioned ride in honey pots navigates through an episode of Winnie the Pooh if the show was around three minutes long and Piglet took LSD. My kids haven’t been to college yet, so this vibe seemed totally normal. It has some darker sections, but nothing that bothered my children. The animatronics are fun. The ride will be particularly exciting for your child if he or she is familiar with the characters. I have never encountered any real wait for this ride.
4. Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Dumbo the Flying Elephant is located in Fantasyland. While not an overly exciting ride, it makes the list of the top Disneyland attractions for toddlers because it is iconic. During the ride, you fly in a circle in a Dumbo car. Like King Arthur Carrousel, the ride is made more special by its location. The ride loads slowly, because toddlers are slow, but the line usually isn’t too long.
3. Storybook Land Canal Boats
Storybook Land Canal Boats is an outdoor, slow moving boat ride in Fantasyland. It caters completely to small children. The ride takes you past mini sets from several famous stories. There is a lot of detail. You begin the ride by sailing into a whale’s mouth. Someone narrates throughout the ride. The line can feel long because it is slow to load. Toddlers are even slower than normal when climbing into a boat.
2. Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland is a slow moving ride in Fantasyland. It goes through several parts of the movie. It has both indoor and outdoor sections. The animatronics are fun to watch. There is a scene with playing cards that is particularly entertaining. It also has a hint of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but again, the kids had no idea. The line for this one also gets long. Watch the app.
1. Peter Pan’s Flight
Peter Pan’s Flight is an indoor, slow flight in Fantasyland. It flies over several scenes from Peter Pan. The London section is especially impressive. The animatronics are super cute, and flying above them makes them seem even better. The music from the movie plays during the movie. This feels like a classic Disney attraction. With that said, the ride is short, and the line is long. It is worth a wait, but pay attention to the app to try to minimize waiting. The ride shuts down before the fireworks, so don’t wait until the last minute to get in line.
Final Thoughts on the Top Ten Disneyland Attractions for Toddlers
Disneyland is perfect for toddlers. The rides are family friendly, and the majority of the rides do not have height restrictions. Disneyland can definitely be crowded, but a good touring plan will go a long way. Some people delay their trips until their children are older to justify the cost. Don’t do this. There are ways to save money. Visit before your toddler is a jaded teenager who will not appreciate the characters. Do not let the fact that you have a toddler prevent you from going to Disneyland. You will still have a great time.