As travel agents, we often get asked, “is my child too young for Disney?” I am here to say that there is no such thing! I used to think that, but I am pretty sure that had more to do with me being selfish and wanting to ride the rides I like without slowing down for my children. As we know, not all rides are created for tiny Mouseketeers, and I wanted the thrills. I simply didn’t want to stop for “kiddie” rides.
After I took a leap of faith and took my wee ones, I found that going to Disney with younger children completely changes the experience- in a good way! Yes, we did slow down, but that only made me take notice of details and attractions I missed before and really come to appreciate them. Slower rides and attractions can be super magical when you sit back, relax, and see them through the eyes of your child.
With that being said, here are my personal picks for Disney’s best rides and attractions for little ones (and the grown up “kids” that are with them).
Agent Heather’s Top 10 Rides and Attractions for the Under 5 Crowd
*Note: rides without height requirements allow for parents to hold babies on their laps.
9. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh - Bouncing Tigger, need I say more? Oh, bother! I have to!! I simply must mention the line queue for Pooh: it is interactive and so much fun. Kids stay entertained to the point that you have to remind them that you are in a line and must move along. Don’t forget to paint your name in the honey.
8. Turtle Talk with Crush - Turtle Talk is awesome not only because it is interactive, but because Crush’s improv with the children is brilliant. The kids are entertained by their conversation with Crush, while the parents are entertained by his quick wit and jokes. My family and I still giggle when we reflect on things that Crush has said to us in the past.
7. Disney Junior - Live on Stage! - Disney Junior is a wonderful children’s production including some of the current animated favorites on the Disney Channel: Sofia, Doc McStuffins, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Jake and The Neverland Pirates. Not only will your child get to see some of his/her favorites, they will also get to dance and sing along with them.
6. The Boneyard - The Boneyard is a playground inside of the Animal Kingdom, complete with giant bones and rocks. There is also a dig site on the premises. Kids can swing, climb, dig, slide, and run about. The Boneyard is a great place to give your kids some freedom after herding them around like cats all day. They will appreciate it, and you will as well. ;)
5. "it’s a small world" - My kids love, love, love looking at the different children of the world. Additionally, the song is sure to win over babies, toddlers, and preschoolers alike. This ride is also perfect for a short nap in air conditioning. This is a ride I started skipping as a teenager, but resumed riding on my oldest child’s first visit to Disney. It has now become one of my favorites again!
4. Finding Nemo - The Musical - Finding Nemo is an amazing fluorescent puppet show on steroids. What you find on stage is live actors dancing, singing, and putting on a visual display you will not believe. The colors are vibrant and the “puppets” are extraordinary. My daughter loved it at the beginning, and used it for naptime during the last half. Win-win.
2. Prince Charming Regal Carrousel - You can’t beat a classic. My three year old will “ride the horseys” all day if you let her. The Carrousel, centered behind Cinderella’s Castle, is in the heart of the Magic Kingdom. It is a great place to be lulled into enchantment with the sounds of laughter and joy. Added bonus, right outside of the carrousel area, you can try and pull the sword out of the stone.
1. The Festival of the Lion King - This is not a place for a nap. From the moment the Festival begins, there are all kinds of visual and auditory stimuli surrounding you. The costuming is enchanting, the singing is on point, and the acrobatics are simply amazing. The Festival is a stage show worthy of its grandiose reputation. Do. Not. Miss. It.
Honorable Mentions: Spaceship Earth (Epcot); Kilimanjaro Safaris (Animal Kingdom); The Seas with Nemo and Friends (Epcot); Journey into Imagination with Figment (Epcot)*
*My kids love the gas to the point of uncontrollable giggles.
There is something for everyone at Walt Disney World, even the smallest of us all! And no, maybe their trip to Disney won’t live in their memories, but they will live in yours, and those memories are priceless!
Have a Magical Day!