Wednesday 29 May 2013

The best attractions at Walt Disney World, Orlando for very young children

Visiting Walt Disney World young children is a fantastic experience. But it can also be hard work. Florida can be hot and humid, and the parks get very crowded. After our visit last year I wrote a post with some tips for visiting DisneyWorld with small children, and after our more recent visit I thought I'd put together a list of our favourite attractions so that you can have some idea of what young children might enjoy there. These are the rides and attractions that appealed most to my two when aged 4 and under.

We spent most of our time in the Magic Kingdom. This is where you will find the most rides themed around the Disney films and characters that are familiar to your children, and if you only have time to visit one park then this should be it. A tip so important it's worth mentioning here too - arrive early, before the park opens. You will be able to fit in so much more while the park is quieter in the morning.

Here are our absolute favourite attractions across the parks for little ones:

Magic Kingdom

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh - This ride through a Winnie the Pooh story is very popular, and so to help entertain little ones in the queue there are some games for children to play while a parent waits in line. It's a happy, fun ride with nothing scary at all about it.

Peter Pan's Flight - Another very popular ride, a trip in a pirate ship through the story of Peter Pan which children love.

It's a Small World - A boat ride through a world populated by happy, singing dolls - once the song is in your head you will never forget it!

Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid - A new ride with music and scenes from the film, bright and colourful and fast loading.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant - Recently re-themed with a circus themed waiting area, allowing for a virtual 'queue' which is great for little ones. A classic Disney ride in a flying elephant.

Pirates of the Caribbean - Our two love this ride, although with lots of skeletons it might be a bit scary for some children.

Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin - A fun shooting game, if your child is too small to work the gun they will certainly be able to reach the joystick which spins you round and round!

Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover - There is hardly ever a queue for this little ride which takes you through some of the Tomorrowland attractions.

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin - Similar to the Dumbo ride, magic carpets which swoop up and down at your child's command.

The best attractions at Walt Disney World for very young children


Spaceship Earth - A ride inside the large silver sphere which is the Epcot icon and journey through the history of human communication. Although the subject matter might appear a little dry for young children, ours loved it!

Living with the Land - A slow boat ride with a focus on agriculture, ending with a tour of Epcot's greenhouses where plants are grown in various futuristic ways. Again, it sounds a little dry, but my pre-schooler son was fascinated!

The Seas with Nemo and Friends - A ride which joins characters from Finding Nemo as they search again for Nemo. At the end of the ride you pass through a massive aquarium where Nemo and his friends are cleverly projected into the tank, then you can explore the aquarium on foot. There is a little shark-themed play area where you can climb inside a shark's mouth, and our children spent a long time in this attraction.

Journey into Imagination with Figment - A journey through the senses accompanied by Figment, a little dragon. Us adults found it a bit silly, but the children loved it.

Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros - A short boat ride with hardly any queue following Donald Duck and friends through a selection of Mexican scenes.

Animal Kingdom

Kilimanjaro Safaris - A simulated open-air safari ride through East Africa with plenty to see, lots of opportunities for taking photos and a few surprises.

Wildlife Express Train - A short train ride through the park, including some of the areas behind the scenes.

The Boneyard - An open-air dinosaur themed play area. As well as play equipment children can also excavate 'fossils'.

Finding Nemo - The Musical - I haven't included any other shows on my list in the post, as to be honest we found most of them a bit of a struggle with our toddler who was reluctant to sit still for very long, but Finding Nemo really captured her attention and was also one of my favourite shows.

Small boy on the People Mover, Walt DisneyWorld

Hollywood Studios

Toy Story Midway Mania - This is a very popular ride and is probably the best one for little ones at Hollywood Studios. A very clever, fast moving shooting gallery ride, which is also in 3D.

Disney Junior - Live on Stage - A show aimed at little ones based on three popular Disney Junior shows. It's very relaxed with seating on the floor so that children can get up and dance along, and they'll enjoy it even if they aren't familiar with all the shows.

Honey I Shrunk the Kids: Movie Set Adventure - Not a ride but a playground, and my children spent a long time here. Even very little children will enjoy running about and dodging jets of water from oversized insects. Just make sure you have an adult manning the exit as it can get very busy.

The Great Movie Ride - A fairly slow ride through some great movie scenes which held the attention of even my wriggly toddler. Obviously most of the references go completely over their heads, but there is plenty going on to keep them interested.

Little girl in Fantasyland, Walt Disney World, Florida

Of course these are only our highlights, and all the parks contain plenty of rides and attractions which small children will love. I really hope that this post has given you some inspiration if you are thinking about a holiday to DisneyWorld with very young children. If I've missed your favourites, please do add them into the comments!

Disclaimer - On our most recent holiday our family received complimentary passes to the Walt Disney World theme parks in exchange for writing about the parks. Although as you can see from posts about my previous holiday, I love writing about them anyway without any incentive!


  1. I love reading about experiences with young children at Disney World. I first went to DisneyWorld at the age of three (way back in 1983 - things have changed a lot since then) and that trip pretty much forms my earliest memories. I absolutely loved it as a child and can't wait to take my own children. Everyone keeps telling me that under 5 is much too young, and that we should wait until Thomas is at least 9 or 10! My only reason for doubting is that it's now been so long since I went that I'm not sure how much has changed to make it less suitable for little ones. I can't wait to plan a trip, hopefully in the next few years - definitely before he starts school!

    1. I'm so glad to hear that you still have such happy memories, perhaps mine will remember something about their holiday then! If you have older children then you are able to spend longer days in the parks, go on more rides and so see more. With younger children you definitely have to work completely around them, only see the things that interest them and leave the parks when their stamina is fading. But if you're prepared to do that then you can all have a great time!

  2. Brilliantly comprehensive write up - I'll link to it in my post if that's ok with you. Lovely to see you again at the weekend x

    1. Thank you very much! It was lovely to catch up with you too, and I'm enjoying your Orlando posts over on your blog.

  3. Thank u so much to share this info! its very helpful for me!

  4. I love this VERY detailed review for the "Under 40 inches" crowd. I am linking up to it on my blog. Thank you ;-)


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