About five, I think, is the right age for kids to get the full Walt Disney World vacation experience. It’s young enough to believe in the magic but old enough to be a bit of a trooper. Plus, they’re old enough to remember some of the experiences.
What scientific research did I base this on? Just my own experience. My grandparents took me to Disney for the first time when I was five. It was the Fantasyland stuff that got me hooked.
Our oldest, Sofia, got to go twice when she was five. Her first trip was for her fifth birthday and then we went back the next summer before she turned six.
But when JP came along, it didn’t make sense for us to wait until he was “old enough”. Therefore, he had two trips to Disney by the time he was three and his little sister Ainsley was just turning one.
In the process we discovered something. If you have some patience and plan for rest and breaks, Disney World – especially the Magic Kingdom – is a lot of fun with a little one to experience the magic and wonder through their eyes.
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Are there rides in the Magic Kingdom that are not toddler friendly?
Sure. Most of the roller coasters like Space Mountain, TRON, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train are not for little ones.
Tiana’s Bayou ride – formerly Splash Mountain – would also fall into this category.
Is Magic Kingdom the most toddler-friendly park?
It absolutely is by a wide margin. Even the entrance, walking down Main Street to the big castle, is toddler friendly in that they can have a great view even from a stroller.
EPCOT and Animal Kingdom each have a few things for toddlers to do with rides like Finding Nemo and Na’vi River Journey in Pandora.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a lot of toddler-friendly characters, like in Toy Story Land.
But all three of the other parks combined don’t have as much for toddlers as the Magic Kingdom which has a lot of attractions for young riders.
What rides can a toddler do at Magic Kingdom?
There are plenty of great attractions in Magic Kingdom that are toddler friendly.
However, sometimes when we’re talking about toddlers, the definitions can be vague. Do we mean 1, 2 or 3-year-olds? With the caveat that all kids are different and develop at their own rate, for these purposes, we’re really focusing on 1 and 2-year-olds.
What are the best rides you can do with toddlers at the Magic Kingdom?
Let’s break them down. Here are some of the best Disney World rides for toddlers in the Magic Kingdom:
22. Monsters Inc. Laugh Factory
Is this ranking so low because I once was picked on by Mike Wazowski for wearing a shirt with a unique pattern?
No. I’m just not sure your toddler’s going to get the jokes. However, I suppose if they’re big enough Monsters, Inc. fans, that won’t matter too much.
21. The Barnstormer
Riders must be 35 inches tall to ride this surprisingly intense kiddie roller coaster. And that rules out most toddlers.
I will say that my kids – who have been slow to embrace thrill rides – all loved this one at a young age even though it’s a zippy little coaster.
20. Haunted Mansion
This ride has an entranceway with a stretching room and creepy voices and all that. So, if they’re not old enough to understand the concept of ghosts and stuff, this one might be a skip.
In fact, I let the older kids peer pressure my younger one onto this ride and regretted it for the rest of the trip.
19. Pirates of the Caribbean
I’d consider this one toddler adjacent. There is a small drop and some cannon fire. Two of my little ones loved it. Another? Not so much.
There is no height requirement, but of course, those aged 7 and under require riding with an adult.
18. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Like the Toy Story Mania! ride in Hollywood Studios, your toddler will probably not compete much on the game side of this ride.
But they can mash the trigger and check out all the hyper-florescent, black-light awesomeness. There is no height requirement for the ride.
17. The Mad Tea Party
Positives? There’s no minimum height requirement. You can control the rate of spin with the steering wheel thing. Also, this ride has low wait times.
The negatives? Someone can go rogue and spin the teacups at a non-toddler-friendly rate. Also, the ride could really use an upgrade with Alice in Wonderland theming.
16. The Jungle Cruise
Toddlers will like the boat ride and the vignettes. However, they will not get the dad jokes from the captain.
15. Country Bear Jamboree
I have a complicated relationship with this relic of a bygone time. On that trip back in 1979 when I was five, my mom and my aunt Amy drove me from Indiana to Orlando to meet up with my grandparents.
Apparently, I was super into the Ballad of Davy Crockett and sang it over and over and over and over again on the way down. I was pumped.
One of the first things we did was go to the Country Bear Jamboree where they broke into a rendition of the Ballad of Davy Crockett and I was pumped again.
However, when I returned as an adult, the show’s Southern stereotypes rubbed me the wrong way and on subsequent vacations, we skipped it.
On our latest trip, however, I decided to give it another try and while there were some cringe-worthy moments, I found it more charming than I’d remembered.
So, is it the best Magic Kingdom animatronic show? Nope. Is it worth going to? Maybe. Will your toddler enjoy it? Almost certainly.
14. Astro Orbiter
This is a fun little ride located high over Tomorrowland. There is no height requirement for the ride.
13. Liberty Square Riverboat
Kids like big machines. This paddle-wheel riverboat is a fascinating ride for your youngsters.
12. Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
The PeopleMover is a pleasant ride with good views. It’s a nice chance to do something while resting. Also, you get a nice breeze up there as you tool around.
11. Tomorrowland Speedway
Obviously, toddlers can’t drive. But guests who are at least 32 inches tall may drive their own cars if they are accompanied by someone who is at least 54 inches tall.
However, little ones can ride up front and they LOVE that.
10. Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Basically, this is an Adventureland version of the Dumbo ride.
The Carpets are fun. It could use some more theming. There is no height requirement.
9. Peter Pan’s Flight
Flying over London to Neverland, this black light spectacle is short for the comparatively long wait times. It’s a good option for a Lightning Lane through Disney Genie+ if your heart is set on riding.
I do wonder right now how much kids are into Peter Pan. Disney Junior tried to get the younger generation hooked with “Jake and the Neverland Pirates”, but that didn’t really take off and several live-action versions – Disney or otherwise – have floundered.
However, there’s something new coming on Disney+ maybe that will potentially raise Peter’s Q-rating.
8. Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
Not all the toddler-friendly attractions in the Magic Kingdom are rides.
This is a Disney classic that serves as a reminder of what Disney World was like at its birth, and it’s still entertaining today.
7. Prince Charming Regal Carousel
It’s the ultimate flat ride. It’s perfect for a toddler to have something to do. And, it’s perfect for pictures of a baby’s first Disney ride. It’s simply just perfect.
6. Character meet and greets
I know I ranked this sixth, but our favorite thing to do with little ones is to take them to meet their favorites, like Anna, Elsa, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy.
When he was tiny, my son JP was so excited to meet Minnie Mouse, he squirmed out of my arms and ran up and joined the family ahead of us so he could meet her faster. We were mortified, but they laughed it off.
Anyway, they have a picture of their family of five and my little curly-headed son meeting Minnie.
5. Walt Disney World Railroad
This ride has been a family curse. There was nothing my son loved more when he was little than trains. Loved them.
But out of all the times he’s been to Disney, the Railroad has been functional only once. My recommendation? If it’s running, get on that thing before it’s too late.
4. Dumbo the Flying Elephant
One of the best moves Disney made was relocating this classic and doubling up on ride capacity.
The little play area in the queue was another great idea. However, watch your toddlers closely because the slightly bigger kids can turn feral in there.
3. Under The Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid
This is another major hit for brand recognition. The queue moves quickly, keeping wait times down. Plus, you’re out of the sun. It’s a toddler trifecta.
Add in the fact that it’s bright and colorful with a lot of music and you’ve got yourself a memorable toddler ride experience.
2. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
This ride has big ups for brand recognition. Some of the Fantasyland characters have lost a little cachet over the years – pour one out for Mr. Toad – but Winnie the Pooh, his honey pot and the Hundred Acre Wood crew are still going strong.
1. It’s a Small World
This is a classic – the absolute GOAT of Magic Kingdom rides for little ones.
The earworm song. The air conditioning. And the dozens of little animatronic animals and kids and bright colors. It’s toddler heaven.
Does your toddler have a favorite Magic Kingdom ride? Let us know in the comments!