Best Parks at Walt Disney World for Toddlers

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Is Magic Kingdom the best Disney World park for toddlers? (Claire Celeste, photographer)

Looking to bring your little ones to Walt Disney World? Wondering what the best Disney parks for toddlers are? We cover what you need to know when bringing toddlers to the Most Magical Place on Earth. We’ve gone park by park to cover what you need to know when visiting Disney with 2 and 3 year olds.

If you’re planning a Disney World vacation with little ones, you might wonder, “When is the right age to take your children to Walt Disney World?” And you might want to know if a theme park is even an appropriate vacation destination for a family with a toddler. I mean, what can toddlers do at Disney World anyway? What are the best Disney parks for toddlers?

Best Disney Parks with Toddlers

There’s plenty to experience at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland with toddlers. Disney parks continue to be my family’s number one choice for a vacation. Some naysayers will tell you that toddlers won’t remember their vacations. This may be true. However I’ll sure remember that joy in my toddler’s eyes when she sees Mickey for the first time!

SheBuysTravel Tip: You can now book Disney vacations up to 500 days in advance! That means you can book now for visits in 2023. All it takes is a $200 down payment. The balance isn’t due until 30 days prior to travel. You can get details on this, as well as help booking, from our partners at Get Away Today. Not only does the company have the lowest prices, it offers a best price guarantee. If you ever find park tickets cheaper, Get Away Today won’t just match the price, the company will beat it.

Yes, vacationing with a toddler anywhere can be a challenge for sure. If you have a pre-trip game plan, toddler travel can be a happy and memorable experience. Disney World truly caters to the needs of toddlers and their families in the quality of rides, attractions and shows. Taking on Disney with a baby or toddler can be truly magical. The face of your toddler when they’re experiencing that Disney magic first-hand is simply the best!

Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida has four theme parks and I have traveled to each of them with all four of my kids over the years (from baby-aged to teen!). Fortunately, there’s something for everyone, toddlers included, inside each of the four Disney World Resort parks – Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. Keep reading for my recommendations of the best Disney parks for toddlers with lots of tips along the way!

Pre-Vacation Disney World for Toddler Tips

Some of the suggested rides in this post have low height requirements that are appropriate for some tall babies or toddlers (32″ or taller). Be sure to measure your toddler before the trip (wearing the shoes they’ll wear at the parks). This way you’ll have an idea which attractions they will meet the height requirements for. When you’re trying to find the best Disney park for toddlers knowing what your toddlers will be able to do helps.

Children 2 and under will not need a park ticket. Once your child has their third birthday, you’ll be required to purchase them a park ticket.

Download the Disney World app, called My Disney Experience, to your smart device while you’re still at home. Take time to get familiar with the workings of the app. You’ll be able to find locations for character greetings, show times, ride wait times and more.

Before your visit read Disney-themed books and watch age appropriate Disney films or Disney Junior programs to get little ones familiar with some of the Disney characters.

Rides in Magic Kingdom With Toddlers

Many of the rides in Magic Kingdom do not have height restrictions, so toddlers can join their parents in the fun. In our opinion it’s one of the best Disney parks for toddlers. The attractions and characters available for the little ones inside Magic Kingdom far outweigh the other parks. I’d recommend visiting this park at least twice during your vacation. Fantasyland was designed for the little ones, and there’s so much for them to experience. I highly recommend starting your day here!

Dumbo the Flying Elephant has a play area for families before you get on the ride. Photo: Nasreen Stump

Must-do rides that toddlers will love in Fantasyland:

  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Prince Charming Royal Carrousel
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
  • Brave toddlers (who meet the height requirement) may enjoy The Barnstormer or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

Elsewhere in the park try, Jungle Cruise, Tomorrowland Speedway, and the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Toddlers are big “rail fans” so don’t miss taking the round trip tour on the Walt Disney World Railway. Some rides do not have height restrictions but use discretion before boarding. If your toddler is skittish of the dark, you may want to skip some of the “scarier” rides like Pirates of the Caribbean or Haunted Mansion.

My son was a very tall toddler and met the height requirement for the Mountains (Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad) at just two years old! If your toddler really loves thrill rides and meets the height requirement, then go for it! For full details read these suggestions on the best toddler rides in Magic Kingdom.

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Princess dresses are among the things to buy before a Disney vacation.
Our kindergartner and toddler loved dressing up like the princesses they were meeting. Photo Credit: Nasreen Stump

More Fun at Magic Kingdom With Toddlers

It can’t be rides all the time because toddlers need to get out of the stroller and explore! Toddler-friendly play areas include the air-conditioned queue inside the waiting area for Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Tom Sawyer Island, and a water play area called Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station in Storybook Circus. Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room and Country Bear Jamboree are additional show-like attractions that my toddlers loved.

Character meet and greets are a way for toddlers to get up-close and personal with their favorites. Magic Kingdom meet n’ greets include princesses like Cinderella, Princess Tiana, Rapunzel, and Elena of Avalor inside Princess Fairytale Hall, Ariel in her Grotto and Belle from Beauty and the Beast at Maurice’s Cottage. You’ll find Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in the Town Square Theater, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger outside of their ride in Fantasyland and Merida in the Fairytale Garden (to the right of the castle). Anastasia and Drizella hang out at the gazebo in Liberty Square. Find other character locations and times through the My Disney Experience app on the day of your visit.

Parades and Shows for Toddlers in Magic Kingdom

Who doesn’t love a parade? Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade in the Magic Kingdom Park is the cream of the crop! The floats, music and costumes are a visual feast. This is also great way for your little ones to see all their favorite characters at once. Stake out a spot in the shade and eat a favorite snack while waiting for the parade to start.

The forefront of Cinderella Castle is host to several exciting outdoor shows. Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire offers great music, dancing and a load of characters to see on stage. Several character cavalcades come through this area as well.

Closing the night with fireworks at Magic Kingdom is a must (if your toddler is still awake!) The Disney Enchantment is incredible! If your toddlers are not a fan of fireworks, I suggest sitting further away from Cinderella Castle as the pyrotechnics can be loud – or just be prepared to cover their ears. The projections on Cinderella Castle tell a story you don’t want to miss.

When visiting Disney's Magic Kingdom, take a break from the heat for lunch at the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen.
When visiting Disney’s Magic Kingdom, take a break from the heat for lunch at the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen. Photo: Diana Rowe

Toddler Dining in Magic Kingdom

If your toddler enjoys the character greetings, consider a full character dining experience with toddler-friendly Winnie the Pooh and friends inside The Crystal Palace. Columbia Harbor House macaroni and cheese was my toddler’s favorite! Cheese flatbread and garlic bread sticks from Pinocchio Village Haus were another meal success. For snacks, toddlers love the sweet and tangy taste of a Dole Whip from Aloha Isle. The pink and purple striped Cheshire Cat Tail at Cheshire Cafe is another delight!

SheBuysTravel Tip: If your child is 2 and under, you can serve them their own plate at any buffet dining restaurant without charge. If you purchase your toddler their own food or snack at a full service or quick service restaurant, you will be charged the cost of the meal.

Read More: Ranking the Disney World Fireworks Shows for Little Ones

Disney’s Animal Kingdom with Toddlers

My second Disney World park suggestion for toddlers is Animal Kingdom. Disney’s Animal Kingdom with toddlers is an ideal place to spend the day, mostly based on the presence of animals and The Boneyard in DinoLand, U.S.A. The Boneyard is an open air play space where kiddos can run around in a playground designed to look like a fossil dig site. There are ropes, bridges, tiny slides, and more. It’s a great place for toddlers to burn off some energy!

bioluminescent walkways makes pandora at animal kingdom gorgeous at night - glowing sidewalks
Photos can’t fully capture how pretty it is to walk around Pandora The World of Avatar at night. Photo Credit: Nasreen Stump

Don’t miss exploring Pandora – the World of Avatar. Na’vi River Journey is a family ride aboard a reed boat that gently drifts downstream. The scenery is beautiful and there are no wild bumps or drops. The area around Pandora has some cool features that toddlers will like to explore. Toddler rides at Animal Kingdom are Kilimanjaro Safaris (a safari jeep ride where you can see tons of animals) and Triceratop Spin. 

SheBuysTravel Tip: Prepare for long waits in line with a few toddler tricks up your sleeve! Here are 12 Things to Do Waiting in Line at Disney Parks.

Shows and Other Attractions at Animal Kingdom

Will your toddlers like the shows at Animal Kingdom? It really depends on the attention span of your toddler, as some of the shows are on the long side. Festival of the Lion King was my toddler’s favorite and she sat on my lap, mesmerized for the entire show. Everything from the music, costuming, jumping Tumble Monkeys, fire dancer and huge floats of favorite characters from The Lion King is engaging.

Scored a front row seat for the Lion King show using my Disney Experience app and FastPass+.
Toddlers will love the energy and music in Festival of the Lion King. Photo Credit: Mimi Slawoff

Finding Nemo – The Musical is another fantastic show! However, it’s a longer show and may not hold the attention of very little ones. I say give it a try, and if you notice your child getting antsy, there’s always an exit available. It’s Tough to Be a Bug! is an indoor 4-D show that I would not recommend for toddlers. It’s dark, loud and has surprise “buggy” elements that may frighten your toddler (and you!)

Two other shows, UP! A Great Bird Adventure and Donald’s Dino-Bash! are also shown several times a day at Animal Kingdom. The latter show (featuring the quacktastic Donald Duck) is  a hit with toddlers. And if all else fails there are tons of animal enclosures for toddlers to look at, just like at the zoo back home!

Toddler Dining at Animal Kingdom

Meals at Animal Kingdom err on the adventurous side but there is still plenty for toddlers to dine on here. At Tusker House, kids can meet Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy and receive a table service meal. My toddler happily gnawed a BBQ rib at Flame Tree Barbecue on our last visit! And of course there’s always the kid-friendly pizza option at Pizzafari.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios with Toddlers

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a great theme park, with tons of shows and thrills for older kids and adults. However, there are not a lot of rides here for toddlers. Thank goodness for Disney World Toy Story Land to save the day with three toddler-appropriate attractions!  Toy Story Mania! is the only ride at Hollywood Studios without a height requirement. Toddlers who meet the height requirements may also ride Alien Swirling Saucers and Slinky Dog Dash.

Naturally the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is where everyone wants to explore, including little ones. Only toddlers that meet the height requirements will be able to take on the thrilling rides (38″ for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and 40″ for Rise of the Resistance). Other than the rides, there are some interesting things to do with toddlers and preschoolers at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Photo opportunities are everywhere and cast members wander around interacting with guests as citizens of Batuu.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Consider using the Rider Switch program when touring Disney with a baby or toddler that’s not tall enough to ride. Adults take turns on rides with a height requirement so everyone who wants to ride, gets their chance!

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is a great addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for toddlers! This ride is appropriate for any height and features Mickey and his pals in their first attraction.

Other Things to Do at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Fortunately there are things other than rides for toddlers at Hollywood Studios. There are shows aplenty that toddlers will enjoy here. The Disney Jr. Dance Party! show is tailor-made for toddlers, featuring all their favorite characters from television. This interactive live show includes Mickey from Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Vampirina, Timon from the Lion Guard, and Doc McStuffins. Your toddler is encouraged to sing and dance along. Be aware that all seating is on the floor but little ones can stand up to dance.

Ka-chow! Cars-loving toddlers are going to love Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy. This all-ages show is sure to impress your little race fan. There are also stage shows like Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage and Voyage of the Little Mermaid. There is one scary scene in Beauty and the Beast, but it’s not too bad. If you have Frozen fans, then For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration is a can’t-miss show! Toddlers get to sing along with Frozen’s most popular songs.

SheBuysTravel Tip: If you wonder at all if an attraction or show is appropriate for your toddler, ask the Cast Member stationed at the entrance. They should be able to give you more details on why or why not!

More Character Action at Hollywood Studios

Mickey and Minnie greet guests all day at Red Carpet Dreams. You can meet Disney Junior friends like Doc McStuffins, Fancy Nancy and Vampirina in the Animation Courtyard during the day. Want more characters? Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Jessie also greet in Toy Story Land!

Toddler with Doc McStuffins at Disney World
Disney’s Hollywood Studios guests can meet  “Doc” McStuffins  in the Animation Courtyard (Photo Credit: Chloe Rice, via Disney)

If you have tiny Star Wars fans, head to Star Wars Launch Bay. The large and fluffy Chewbacca is quite the hit with the kids (or not, my toddler was terrified!). Darth Vader? Probably not. Next to the Frozen Sing-Along theater is where kids can meet Olaf, the world’s happiest snowman. Warm hugs all around!

Eating with Toddlers at Hollywood Studios

The breakfast buffet at Hollywood & Vine is a character dining experience featuring Disney Junior favorites. Toddlers may enjoy the boisterous atmosphere at the full service restaurant 50’s Prime Time Cafe (my kiddo enjoyed the chicken noodle soup here). The hearty snacks at Woody’s Lunch Box, including the lunch box tarts, potato barrels and grilled cheese sandwich is toddler dining at its best!

Best Disney Parks with Toddlers: EPCOT

There are many who think that EPCOT isn’t for kids. With a focus on futuristic technology and international cultures (and ahem, Drinking Around the World), some believe that EPCOT is an adults-only park and that toddlers will be bored. However I think that EPCOT offers a lot for little ones in the way of rides, character greetings and a variety of dining options outside of chicken nuggets!

EPCOT’s Future World has begun a multi-year construction transformation that will change some areas of the park. The main entrance and some areas of EPCOT are already being affected so check the entertainment calendar on the dates of your visit. Some of the rides and attractions mentioned here may be closed during the renovation.

Starting in Future World, toddlers will enjoy rides on Spaceship Earth, Living with the Land and The Seas With Nemo & Friends. The toddler fave, Journey into Imagination with Figment explores sound, sight, smell, touch and taste with a play area to explore after the ride. If your toddler is tall enough (and not afraid of heights), you can also take them on Soarin’.  

In the World Showcase, there are several more toddler-friendly rides inside the pavilions. See Anna, Elsa and Olaf in Frozen Ever After in Norway and the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros in the Mexico Pavilion. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure opens in 2020 at the France Pavilion and is expected to be a whimsical dark ride for all-ages, similar to what’s open currently at Disneyland Paris.

More to See and Do with Toddlers at Epcot

There are so many opportunities to meet different Disney characters at Epcot, including several Disney princesses in their countries. Some are not inside, however, so the wait in line can get hot (great time to hydrate and reapply sunscreeen!). During the hottest parts of the day search out the air-conditioned meet n’ greet locations through the Disney World My Disney Experience app.

With the construction happening at EPCOT, you’ll want to verify character locations through the app during your visit. Toddlers will enjoy meeting Mulan (China), Donald Duck (Mexico), Alice (United Kingdom), or Princess Jasmine (Morocco). You’ll also find the ever popular Anna and Elsa from Frozen in their home at the Norway Pavilion.

Older toddlers can participate in Kidcot Fun Stops, located in many of the World Showcase pavilions. At each of the Fun Stops throughout the pavilions, toddlers can color and draw while parents or older kids can chat with a cast member about their native land. Many of the pavilions offer live outdoor entertainment that toddlers will love, like Mariache Cobra and the JAMMitors. Leave time in your schedule to stop and allow for a toddler dance party on the sidewalk if the spirit moves them!

If you happen to be visiting during the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, toddlers will delight in the 100+ topiaries shaped like beloved Disney characters blooming around the Park. Take advantage of these perfect photo opportunities of the gorgeous garden colors with your toddler. There are also special play areas just for young kids during the event!

Need help planning your Disney trip? Get all your questions answered from our Disney Planning & Fun Facebook Group!

Feeding Your Toddler at EPCOT

While there are certainly some sophisticated dining locations at EPCOT, there are also many restaurants that offer dishes to please even the pickiest toddler! Garden Grill offers a family-style character table meal featuring Mickey Mouse, Pluto and Chip & Dale. In World Showcase, at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall toddlers can meet with Disney princesses. The Biergarten Restaurant features a rollicking German polka band to get toddlers wiggling in their seats. There are many quick service locations for grab and go meals that toddlers will appreciate (my kids have loved both the noodles at Katsura Grill and the lamb at Tangierine Café).

SheBuysTravel Tip: EPCOT is very large and requires a lot of walking to cover. Consider bringing a stroller for your toddler, even if they usually walk. Read more in these Tips for Strollers at Disney.

More Tips for Disney World with Toddlers

The Disney Skyliner is the newest way to get to the parks. This kid-friendly transportation option at Disney World carries guests traveling to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT from these four resort hotels (Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’sPop Century Resort and the new Disney’s Riviera Resort).

Most toddlers are early birds, which makes it easier for you to get to the Park before opening. Take advantage of Extended Hours and lighter crowds if you’re staying at a Disney World Resort hotel. Have a quick breakfast at the hotel or do what I do with my toddler – Give her a granola bar and a sipper cup of milk, then let her nibble in the stroller when we walk to the park gates!

gondolas on Disney's Skyliner traveling along wires with clouds in background
Disney’s new Skyliner system reaches 2 parks and 4 resorts across 5 stops. Photo Credit: Nasreen Stump

Be Ready to Find the Best Disney Park for Toddlers

Pack a well-stocked toddler bag for Disney with these SheBuysTravel tested suggestions. Include a smaller sized rain jacket for protection against the Florida downpours. Rain parkas sold in the Disney parks don’t fit toddlers very well!

Don’t be thrown off by the name – the Baby Care Center is a must-visit location with toddlers too. The Baby Care Center has plentiful and clean diaper changing tables. There are high chairs and nursing rooms if your toddler prefers a quiet location to eat. And the best part for potty training little ones – teeny-tiny potties that are perfect for toddlers! There’s a Baby Care Center conveniently located inside each of the four Disney World parks.

Post-trip consider creating this Disney photo book for your toddler as a keepsake!

Where to Buy Discounted Disney World Tickets

We recommend purchasing your Disney tickets through Get Away Today. Not only does the company have the lowest prices, it offers a best price guarantee. If you ever find park tickets cheaper, Get Away Today won’t just match the price, the company will beat it.

If you call to make your purchase be sure to mention SheBuysTravel!

8 responses

  1. Thank you for providing some valuable information about the various parks. We’re planning a trip for our 2 yr old in June.

  2. I totally agree with the Magic Kingdom being the best part for toddlers. We spend over half our trip here. As far as EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, we spend probably less than half a day at each. If your kids like Disney Junior, that’s a reason to go to Hollywood Studios. If they’re into rides, EPCOT would be the best option of the two.

  3. Your post on traveling with toddlers to Disney World is the most entertaining and informative that I have found. Thank you!!

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