I’m a firm believer that Disney is for kids and adults alike. But what about toddlers? Can they appreciate the most magical place on earth?
That may be the wrong question, though. I think we should be asking whether or not parents can enjoy a trip to Walt Disney World with a toddler. And the answer is yes!
Toddlers are pretty much free at the Walt Disney World resort. They don’t need park tickets, and they’re not charged at many of the table service dining options as well. So load up your strollers, and let’s rank the best Disney parks for toddlers.
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1. Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom is going to be the best Disney World park for toddlers. It has the highest number of attractions that will appeal to very little kids and toddlers.
There are multiple play areas, tons of Disney characters to meet and plenty of rides without height requirements.
Starting on Main Street, U.S.A., toddlers can meet Mickey Mouse in the Town Square Theater or hop aboard the Walt Disney World Railroad on Main Street and ride around the park’s perimeter. You might want to pop into Harmony Barber Shop for an extra-special first haircut!
Heading into Adventureland, toddlers can ride the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean. Also, there’s a misting station across from the Magic Carpets that my kiddos love!
What can toddlers do in Frontierland?
There are fewer rides for little guys in Frontierland. Only very tall toddlers will be able to ride the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
However, I highly recommend a visit to Tom Sawyer Island. My big and little kids absolutely love visiting this often-overlooked area of the park.
There’s a playground, trails, waterfalls, caves, tunnels, a windmill, a fort and wooden bridges to explore. There are usually no lines to speak of, so it’s easy to forget you’re in the middle of a busy theme park.
Over in Liberty Square, you might be surprised to learn that toddlers can ride the Haunted Mansion. In fact, one of my two-year-old twins loves it! I think he’s too little to be scared, plus he kind of likes spooky things. Hilariously, he calls the Doom Buggy a “black seashell”.
I guess it reminds him of some of his other favorite dark rides. He even dispelled his older brother’s fear a bit by saying, “It’s a ghost! Boo!” throughout the ride.
Fantasyland also has tons of rides for little ones. It’s a good idea to plan on spending a big chunk of your day here with toddlers in tow! Rides in Fantasyland include It’s A Small World, Peter Pan’s Flight, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid (featuring *pink* seashells), Mad Tea Party and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
What else is there for toddlers to do in the Magic Kingdom?
In addition to rides, there’s an interactive show called Enchanted Tales with Belle. Another entertainment option is Mickey’s PhilharMagic, which is a 3D theater show starring a variety of beloved Disney characters. Fantasyland is also a great place to meet Disney princesses. You can meet Ariel at her Grotto or visit the Princess Fairytale Hall to meet Princess Tiana or Cinderella.
Storybook Circus is another area where your toddler will want to spend some time. It’s home to Dumbo The Flying Elephant, The Barnstormer and Casey Jr. Splash N’ Soak Station. There’s also a Walt Disney World railroad station here. Storybook Circus is also a great place for one parent to wait out a rider switch while the rest of the party rides TRON Lightcycle or Space Mountain.
Pro tip: Dumbo has an indoor play area meant to break up your time in the queue. If you’re not waiting in line, you can visit this play area through a back door near the Barnstormer exit. It’s cool and dark, and there are bleachers where parents can sit and chill while the kiddos stretch their legs.
Finally, head over to Pete’s Silly Sideshow to meet characters like Donald and Daisy.
In Tomorrowland, toddlers will love Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, Astro Orbiter and Tomorrowland Speedway. However, Tomorrowland Speedway does have a height requirement of 32 inches.
2. Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom is another excellent park for toddlers. My little ones loved riding Kilimanjaro Safaris, TriceraTop Spin and Na’vi River Journey in Pandora. Kali River Rapids has a height requirement of 38 inches, so my two-year-olds were tall enough to ride that as well!
There are also a couple of fabulous shows that my whole family enjoys: Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo: The Big Blue … and Beyond!
However, I’d skip the It’s Tough to Be a Bug show on Discovery Island. It’s intense and too scary for most kids.
Instead, check out the walking trails where guests can view animals from all over the world. These include the Discovery Island Trails near the Tree of Life, the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail in Africa and the Maharajah Jungle Trek in Asia.
Without a doubt, my toddlers’ favorite Animal Kingdom attraction is the Boneyard in DinoLand, USA. This is a huge playground and dig site area where kids can climb, slide and dig to their heart’s content.
In my opinion, Epcot is a sleeper park for toddlers and young children in general. The World Showcase has a couple of newer amazing rides that the whole family can enjoy, including Frozen Ever After in the Norway Pavilion and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in the France Pavilion.
And don’t sleep on the Gran Fiesta Tour in the Mexico Pavilion. This gentle boat ride takes guests on a tour of Mexico and features music from the “Three Caballeros” movie.
It’s easy to think first of high-speed thrill rides when imagining a Disney World vacation. But it’s vitally important to build in moments and opportunities for relaxation during your trip no matter your age.
EPCOT can deliver this with slow-paced rides like Spaceship Earth, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Living with the Land and Journey Into Imagination with Figment. You can also meet characters throughout the park.
Plus, EPCOT has multiple play areas. There’s an outdoor playground and splash pad in World Discovery. You can also enter through the exit of Mission: SPACE to find a very cool indoor playground.
The World Showcase offers additional spaces to explore, including trails that lead to a waterfall in Canada, a hedge maze in the United Kingdom, an alpine-themed model train garden in Germany and drums in the outpost area between China and Germany.
4. Hollywood Studios
My toddler twins love Toy Story Land. The three rides in this area are fairly accessible to young children. Toy Story Mania has no height requirement, so even babies can ride on a parent’s lap.
Alien Swirling Saucers has a 32-inch height requirement, which most kids will meet by the time they’re two years old. Slinky Dog Dash is considered a family coaster. Many kiddos will meet this requirement before they turn three. Younglings of this size will also be able to ride Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run in Galaxy’s Edge.
Additionally, Hollywood Studios has a couple of shows that are great for toddlers. There’s a Frozen Singalong show starring Olaf, Anna and Elsa. My little guys also love Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy over on Sunset Boulevard.
There are several attractions suitable for toddlers at Hollywood Studios. However, the one thing the park is missing for this demographic is a good play area.
Is EPCOT or Animal Kingdom better for toddlers?
My toddlers love EPCOT, but Animal Kingdom is probably more toddler-friendly.
Is it worth taking a 2-year-old to Disney World?
The short answer is yes. Two-year-olds can ride a lot of attractions. Plus, they’re free at Disney World!
Will a 2-year-old remember Disney World?
Older two-year-olds may be able to remember Disney World as they get older. My first memory is of my younger sister’s birth when I was 2.5 years old.
Each kid is different, so some two-year-olds won’t remember. But as their parent, you will remember, and you’re the one footing the bill!
What is the best theme park for a 5-year-old in Florida?
If you have to pick one theme park to visit with your 5-year-old, I’d suggest Magic Kingdom. It’s the world’s most popular theme park for a reason.
At the age of five, kids will be able to ride almost everything, and they will still be delighted by everything from the fireworks to character experiences, to kiddie rides like Dumbo.
Have you taken a toddler to Disney World? If so, let us know how your experience was in the comments!