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Disney World is a fun vacation destination for people of all ages. But, some parents worry that there will be nothing for their toddlers to do. They are scared that their little ones won’t be big enough to ride any of the rides. And they stress about how they will keep their munchkins entertained while older family members enjoy themselves. Sound familiar? Well, don’t worry! There are tons of things for toddlers to do in the most magical place on Earth. Here is a complete list of the must-do’s in all the parks and resorts for Disney World with toddlers!
Inside the Parks
Since most of your time at Disney World is spent in the parks, it makes sense to start our list of the must-do’s at Disney World with toddlers inside the parks.
The most common concern among parents who take toddlers to Disney is that there won’t be any rides for the little ones to enjoy. But, this is the furthest thing from the truth. Believe it or not, there are lots of rides you can take your toddler on. Basically, kids can ride any ride that they are tall enough to ride and that you, as their parents, feel they are ready to experience. There are only 21 rides across the entire resort that have height restrictions. Everything else is open to kids of all ages, even toddlers! (Get a FREE printable list of all the rides with height restrictions, broken down by park from our Travel Resource Library. See the box at the bottom for details!)
At the Magic Kingdom, even the shortest toddlers can ride all but six rides! There are more than enough rides in the park to keep the youngest guests entertained for days! The following rides are favorites of preschoolers:
- Dumbo (a classic right-of-passage ride)
- Mad Tea Party (the teacups-another must ride for everyone)
- Peter Pan’s Flight (very popular)
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover (a great place for your little one to nap)
- Astro Orbiter
- Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
- Goofy’s Barnstormer (height requirement of 35″)
- Tomorrowland Speedway (height requirement of 32″)
- Walt Disney World Railroad
- It’s a Small World
- Jungle Cruise
- Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Prince Charming Regal Carousel
Epcot has fewer rides than the Magic Kingdom. So, there aren’t as many for your toddler to do. However, there are a few. Little kids love Journey Into Imagination, Gran Fiesta Tour Staring the Three Cabelleros, Frozen Ever After, and The Seas with Nemo and Friends.
Hollywood Studios, unfortunately, does not have a lot to offer toddlers. It has recently added two new lands: Star Wars-Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land. While Galaxy’s Edge isn’t really geared towards little ones, Toy Story Land is perfect for them. Kids of all ages have fun riding Toy Story Mania. Preschoolers who are at least 32″ tall will enjoy Alien Swirling Saucers. For brave toddlers who are at least 38″ tall, Slinky Dog Dash will be a thrilling adventure. While there aren’t a lot of rides in Hollywood Studios for the little ones, this is the place to meet some of their favorite Disney Jr. characters, such as Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, and Fancy Nancy.
Behind Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom is the most toddler-friendly park. If you are going to Disney World with toddlers, be sure to spend at least one day at Animal Kingdom, especially if they are animal lovers. The must-do rides for toddlers at Animal Kingdom are:
- Triceratop Spin (very fun for little ones)
- Kilimanjaro Safari (any child who loves animals will love this ride)
- Wildlife Express Train (this is the train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch)
- Na’vi River Journey
In addition to rides, toddlers can enjoy all of the shows throughout the parks. Some of the shows are more entertaining for toddlers than others, however. The best shows for your little ones are:
- Turtle Talk with Crush (this Epcot show is actually geared towards kids and is the best)
- Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy (Hollywood Studios)
- Festival of the Lion King (Animal Kingdom)
- Country Bear Jamboree (Magic Kingdom)
- Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor (Magic Kingdom)
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid (Hollywood Studios)
- Mickey’s Philharmagic (a 3D show in Magic Kingdom)
- MuppetVision 3D (a 3D show in Hollywood Studios)
- Finding Nemo, the Musical (Animal Kingdom)
Fireworks and Parades
Of course, there is much more to the Disney parks than just rides and shows. You can go to Disney World with toddlers without experiencing the parade, fireworks, and nighttime shows, but these will enhance your trip if you can see them. When my son was a toddler, he loved watching the various fireworks shows.
Currently, the only parade is Festival of Fantasy at the Magic Kingdom. It runs at 3:00 pm each day.
Each of the parks has at least one nighttime show. Most of these include fireworks. It may be difficult for your toddlers to stay up late enough to watch the nighttime shows, but if they can, you should definitely take advantage of it at least one night. I recommend Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios over the others simply because there is seating for this show. And if your child falls asleep during the show, it will be more comfortable for you to hold them.
Another must-do for a trip to Disney World with toddlers is the aquarium in the Living Seas Pavilion at Epcot. If your little one loves fish, you will definitely want to spend some time in the aquarium. In addition to the large tank which contains a huge variety of marine animals, there are several smaller tanks with everything from manatees to clownfish. There are also some fun photo ops in the area. You can visit the aquarium while waiting for the next showing of Turtle Talk with Crush, which is located in the same building.
Every parent knows that sometimes toddlers need space to burn off some energy. When this happens in Animal Kingdom, head to the Boneyard in Dinoland USA. This is a dinosaur themed play area for kids with plenty of space to run around and play in the sand. Your toddlers (and older kids) will love it. We have to drag my son out of here when we let him play in the Boneyard.
Character Meet and Greets
If your toddlers aren’t scared of characters, then character meet and greets definitely need to be on your list of must-do’s. I can tell you from personal experience that the characters are amazing with toddlers. Most of them will get down on your child’s level and play with them. I found when my son was little that the characters generally spent more time with him than they did with older kids. Plus, these meet and greets can give you some of the most precious memories of your child’s trip. Read our list of where to find the characters for a complete list of who’s out for meet and greets.
As I said above, Animal Kingdom has a lot for toddlers to do. Another great thing to do while at Disney World with toddlers is check out all of the animal exhibits at Animal Kingdom. There are exhibits scattered all over the park. Many of them are tucked away on little pathways, so you need to explore to find them. However, you can see quite a few animals on the two animal trails in the park. This is another great way to let your little one burn off some energy.
At the Resorts
While you will probably spend most of your time in the parks, you will be at your hotel some of the time. If you are staying on property, the Disney resorts offer a lot of things for your toddler to do. For starters, most of the resorts have well-themed pools that kids of all ages love. Some of them also have splash pads specifically for younger guests. Additionally, almost all of the resorts have playgrounds for kids to enjoy. At a lot of the resorts, you will find fountains that toddlers just can’t resist.
Disney World was designed to be enjoyed by everyone in the family, including toddlers. But many parents worry that there won’t be anything for their little ones to do. As you can tell from this list of must-do’s, there are tons of things to do at Disney World with toddlers. If you aren’t sure if your child is ready for a Disney World trip, see our post on the perfect age for your first Disney World trip. For more ideas on things to do, see our magical must-do’s for kids. Also read how to keep your kids safe, how to go without a stroller, and how to prepare your kids for Disney. Happy travels!
P.S. Don’t forget to get your FREE Disney World Height Restriction Chart (and lots of other Disney trip planning tools) in our Travel Resource Library. See the box below for details on how to get the password to the library.