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Walt Disney World rides for toddlers; a Complete Guide

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Visiting Walt Disney World with a toddler can be tough, perhaps even tougher than visiting Walt Disney World with a baby; toddlers can be unpredictable and walk a fine line between wanting to be independent and still needing a lot of help, and as a mom of a toddler who visits the Walt Disney World parks at least once a week, I have first hand experience of this!

Finding Disney World rides for toddlers can be difficult but we’ve ridden most of them and have a pretty good idea of the ones that will be sure fire hits. In this guide I’ve included Disney World rides for toddlers at each of the four parks, including listing all rides 40 inches and under by category (with the assumption that toddlers will be around that height or smaller).

I also go into detail about our favorite rides, as well as rides that we’ve discovered you want to reconsider.

Note: some of these features may be currently unavailable due to the pandemic. Please check the Walt Disney World website for updated travel information and current safety guidelines.

Magic Kingdom rides for toddlers

Attractions at a glance

Any height:
– Astro Orbiter
– Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
– Dumbo
– Haunted Mansion
– It’s a Small World
– Jungle Cruise
– Mad Tea Party
– The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
– The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
– Mickey’s PhilharMagic
– Peter Pan’s Flight
– Pirates of the Caribbean
– Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
– Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover
– Under the Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid

35 inches:
– The Barnstormer

38 inches:
– Seven Dwarves Mine Train

40 inches:
– Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
– Splash Mountain

Disney World rides for Toddlers

Our favorite rides for toddlers at Magic Kingdom:

I think Magic Kingdom definitely wins when it comes to rides for toddlers at Disney World. Not only are there more rides without any kind of height requirement than the other parks, but there are rides that both toddlers, older kids, and even the adults will all love riding together.

Dumbo is my number one ride for toddlers, and was both of my boys first ride at the parks. Not only is it a very tame ride whilst also having the excitement of being high up, but it has (in my opinion) the best queue area of any of the rides.

The queue has a fantastic indoor play space where you can wait until it’s your turn to ride, significantly cutting down the amount of time you’ll actually have to stand in line. The play space has a dedicated toddler area and you’ll be given a buzzer that will vibrate when it’s your turn to go and ride.

Just be warned: I’ve seen many toddlers (including my own) have little interest in actually leaving the play space when it’s time to ride, so be prepared to be in there for a while!

Another favorite is Peter Pan’s Flight, a mild dark ride with the element of excitement thrown in as the ship you’re riding in flies over the city of London, and then off to Neverland.

This ride is a family favorite, and my kids have always loved looking down at the sights below the ship. This ride is notorious for having a very long line pretty much all of the time and although they have recently updated part of the line to make it more interactive, this is a great option for a FastPass or an early morning ride.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is another one where lines can get very long because it’s such a great ride for the whole family, so I’d advise a FastPass there as well.

Although I wouldn’t necessarily call this ride a favorite of mine, it’s certainly a classic; It’s a Small World is a perfect ride for toddlers thanks to bright lights, lots of colors, and a very repetitive song that anyone with a toddler will know they adore.

The ride is mild enough that even the most nervous riders should be OK, and there is so much to look at that there’s no time to get bored. Just try not to get the song stuck in your head!

If your toddler is on the taller side and they’re feeling brave, this is a great place for their first rollercoaster! Goofy’s Barnstormer has a 32 inch height restriction and this was the first rollercoaster both of my boys rode…with varying results.

Harrison didn’t hit this height until he turned 3 and he absolutely loved it. Grayson was only 2 when we tried him on it and he hated every second of the ride, literally running out of the ride the second the lap bar was raised. I had no idea how either would react beforehand and I’m glad we tried them on a rollercoaster that was so short.

If they do enjoy the ride and they’re even taller, Seven Dwarves Mine Train is a great rollercoaster for toddlers too; it’s very smooth with a few more thrills but still very mild.

Other attractions for toddlers at Magic Kingdom:

If your toddler isn’t a fan of rides and you’re looking for other things to do, you’ll find plenty of other toddler friendly attractions. Magic Kingdom has some great meet and greet opportunities including meeting the Disney Princesses and of course meeting Mickey himself. Character greetings change all the time so check the times guide to see who will be available to meet on that day (and read through this post for tips on character meet and greets with toddlers!)

Enchanted Tales with Belle is also a great attraction for toddlers, where guests are chosen to act out the story of Beauty and the Beast as Belle narrates her story.

If the weather is warm (and it probably will be!) then the Casey Jr Soak Station just outside the entrance to Dumbo is the perfect place to cool off. A huge splash pad with fountains and water cannons and just about every other way you can think of for kids to get wet, this is perfect for toddlers. There is a bathroom nearby so it’s not too much trouble to change their clothes, and we will bring a bathing suit for the kids to change into specifically so they can play here in the summer months.

Read through this post on keeping kids cool at Disney in the summer for more tips.

Magic Kingdom also has the last remaining Disney World parade, the Festival of Fantasy parade that runs at 3pm most days (again, check your times guide for exact times on the day you visit) and this is a great parade for toddlers with lots of brightly colored floats and opportunities to see their favorite characters.

I always recommend watching this parade with toddlers from Frontierland instead of on Main Street. Not only will you have less of a wait since the parade begins in Tomorrowland, but you’ll probably be able to get a spot for the parade without having to hold the space for so long, and there is more shade on those hot summer days.

Epcot rides for toddlers

Attractions at a glance

Any height:
– Frozen Ever After
– Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros
– Journey into Imagination with Figment
– Living with the Land
– The Seas with Nemo & Friends
– Spaceship Earth
– Turtle Talk with Crush

40 inches:
– Soarin’ Around the World
– Test Track

Disney World rides for Toddlers

Our favorite rides for toddlers at Epcot:

While Epcot has less rides for toddlers than Magic Kingdom, they do have a few that we really enjoy. The first, and most popular, is Frozen Ever After. Most toddlers coming to Walt Disney World will be familiar (if not obsessed) with Frozen and this ride features all of their favorite characters and songs.

The only things you might want to watch out for here are the gentle drops the boat ride features (including a backwards drop) and the Marshmallow monster who can be a little intimidating (although you’re only in front of him for a few seconds.)

The Gran Fiesta Tour in the Mexico pavilion is another sure fire hit with toddlers, with lots to look at and a few comedy moments starring Donald Duck.

In Future World, another favorite is The Seas with Nemo Friends. There is a super toddler friendly ride in a clam shell with all of the characters from Finding Nemo that finishes up in The Living Seas aquarium where toddlers will love all of the colorful tropical fish, and even turtles and dolphins.

This space is always cool and usually fairly quiet and I use it as a good place to let my little one run around a bit in the air conditioning. If you have a toddler who is still nursing, this is also a great quiet place to nurse.

Speaking of great places to nurse, and great places to nap, Spaceship Earth might not keep toddlers entertained for too long, but it is a great place for them to be still and quiet for a while away from all of the sights and sounds of the parks.

If you have taller toddlers, there are a couple of more exciting rides for them here. Soarin’ is a fairly tame ride, with the big excitement (and the reason for the height requirement) being that the ride vehicle lifts so far off the ground. This is a great family ride as well since I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love it!

Test Track is a great option for a little daredevil, especially one who loves cars. One tip I have here is to put the toddler on one of the outside seats; although the temptation is to put them in the middle of the three seats to have them sandwiched between other riders, the middle seat only has a lap belt whereas the outside seats have a full seat belt and I’ve always felt more comfortable with those kind of restraints on my kids.

Other attractions at Epcot for toddlers:

There are quite a few attractions at Epcot that have great waiting areas that double at the perfect entertainment spots for toddlers.

Journey into the Imagination for Figment is not only a great ride for toddlers but it drops out into an area with lots of interactive activities to keep toddlers busy, including places for them to make music and color their own Figment.

Innoventions is also a good place to keep toddlers entertained, with character meet and greets and open spaces for them to run around. If your toddler loves cars then the exit to Test Track has plenty of real cars that they can climb in and pretend to drive (this keeps my toddler entertained for ages!) Spaceship Earth also exits into an area with interactive games such as driving simulators.

Around the World Showcase there is a little less by the way of toddler friendly attractions, but I would definitely recommend stopping by the Germany pavilion if you have chance; they have an amazing miniature railway and my toddler would stand there and watch the trains all day if he could!

Hollywood Studios rides for toddlers

Attractions at a glance

Any height: 
– Muppet Vision 3D
– Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
– Toy Story Mania

32 inches:
– Alien Swirling Saucers

38 inches:
– Slinky Dog Dash
– Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run

40 inches:
– Star Tours

Disney World rides for Toddlers

Our favorite rides for toddlers at Hollywood Studios:

I will admit that as far as rides go, Hollywood Studios doesn’t have a great many for toddlers because there are so few without height restrictions, but there are a few that we love (as well as quite a few other attractions for toddlers).

Our new favorite as of 2020 is Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, the latest Hollywood Studios attraction. This is a family attraction that everyone will love, and the first ride at Walt Disney World to feature Mickey Mouse! Lines are long right now since the ride recently opened, but it does have FastPasses available.

Another great choice is the Alien Swirling Saucers in Toy Story Land; this is the absolutely perfect ride for toddlers, with just enough of a thrill factor to make them squeal with joy while still being pretty tame. It doesn’t have the most exciting of lines so although this tends to have the shortest waits of any of the Toy Story Land rides, you might still want to try for a FastPass.

Toy Story Mania is also a great ride for toddlers for a number of reasons: it has a brightly colored queue line with lots to look at, toddlers will have a great time firing at the screens even if they have absolutely no idea what they are doing or what their score is, and it’s easy to sandwich a toddler between two other riders if they don’t really care about actually playing the game.

If your toddler is tall enough for Slinky Dog Dash, this is a really fun rollercoaster, but I’d put it a little above Seven Dwarves Mine Train in terms of thrills (the launches on the coaster can feel pretty fast and it does go quite high) so bear that in mind.

Other attractions for toddlers at Hollywood Studios:

Hollywood Studios has some great shows that are perfect for toddlers, and in fact they have a whole area aimed at younger kids.

The new Disney Junior Dance Party is perfect for toddlers and younger kids who love Disney Junior shows like Mickey and the Roadster Races and Doc McStuffins. The show is loud and fun with lots of opportunities for kids to get up and dance along with their favorite Disney Junior characters. Both of my kids love this show and ask to go to Hollywood Studios just to see it, so this is one of my most recommended shows for toddlers at any of the parks.

Also in that area you can meet the Disney Junior characters, who usually have pretty short lines, and you’ll find Voyage of the Little Mermaid, a cute show that tells the story of The Little Mermaid.

The Beauty and the Beast Stage Show and Indiana Jones Stunt Show are also good options to keep toddlers entertained, and both are usually easy to walk up to without a FastPass or much of a wait.

If you toddler is a Star Wars fan then Launch Bay is a good option to get out of the heat to meet some of their favorite characters including Chewbacca and BB-8.

Animal Kingdom rides for toddlers

Attractions at a glance

Any height:
– The Boneyard
– It’s Tough to be a Bug!
– Kilimanjaro Safari
– Na’vi River Journey
– TriceraTop Spin
– Wilderness Explorers

38 inches:
– Kali River Rapids

40 inches:
– Dinosaur

Disney World rides for Toddlers

Our favorite rides for toddlers at Animal Kingdom:

After Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom is my choice of parks with a toddler. Not only do they have the best playground in all of Walt Disney World, but they have some great family rides that the adults should enjoy as much as the toddlers – plus there are animals, and every toddler I know loves animals!

Our favorite ride at Animal Kingdom is the Kilimanjaro Safari, where a jeep takes you on a safari tour to see animals like elephants, giraffes, hippos, and even lions if you’re very lucky! The ride can get pretty bumpy so I usually hold my little one on my lap, which also allows him to see a little better.

Over in Asia you can find the Kali River Rapids, which are a little more intense while still being quite tame for toddlers over 38 inches tall. This ride will definitely get you wet so be sure you have a change of clothes (or don’t mind being wet for a while!) before you ride!

Over in Dinoland USA you can find the TriceraTop Spin, which is pretty much a dinosaur version of Dumbo with much shorter lines, and in Pandora you can find the Na’vi River Journey, which is a beautiful boat ride with some amazing colors for toddlers to look at.

Other attractions for toddlers at Animal Kingdom:

Easily one of my kids favorite attractions at Animal Kingdom is The Boneyard, which is a fantastic multi level playground with numerous slides, water features, and even a huge sand box where they provide buckets and spades to dig for fossils.

I say this all of the time, but playgrounds at the Disney parks are a fantastic thing, and such a good way for kids of all ages to let off steam away from the stimulation of the rides. Close to the entrance there is an area with smaller slides perfectly sized for toddlers where my own toddler can happily play for ages!

There are also some great walking trails to spot animals in this park, all of which are stroller friendly, and places where little ones can learn more about animals as part of the Wilderness Explorers program. You can find tigers, monkeys, gorillas, and even underwater viewing areas for hippos and otters.

Animal Kingdom also features two of my favorite shows at Walt Disney World: Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo: The Musical. These stage shows are incredibly done with live performers singing and dancing throughout. If you only have time to do one show, Festival of the Lion King will probably keep a toddler engaged longer with brightly colored floats and lots to look at throughout the show.

What you need to know about Rider Swap at Walt Disney World

If you’re traveling to the parks with a toddler and you want to try some of the rides with a height requirement that they don’t meet, then you need to know about rider swap.

This is a system Disney has put in place that allows one person to ride while the other waits with the child that’s too small, and then the other person can swap and ride with little to no wait going through the FastPass line.

This is a fantastic system and we use it almost every single time we go to the parks. When you approach the ride that your child is too small for, mention to the Cast Member at the front of the attraction that you want to use rider swap. The Cast Member will ask who is going to ride first (this can be a parent and an older child, or any number of people in your party) and then the person who is going to wait will have their Magic Band scanned which essentially adds a FastPass to their band to use later (it must be used within an hour of the band being scanned).

You can actually request that up to three people ride the second time, so if you have an older child, this is a great way for them to get to ride twice!

You can learn more here about rider swap at Disney World and how to best take advantage of it.

More resources for visiting Walt Disney World with toddlers:

The Ultimate Guide to visiting Walt Disney World with a baby

Which Disney water park is better for toddlers?

What to do if your child gets lost at Walt Disney World

What to do on your first trip to Walt Disney World

Disney World rides for Toddlers

What are your favorite Walt Disney World rides for toddlers?