Top 10 Disneyland Rides and Attractions for Babies and Toddlers

Before I brought my daughter to Disneyland to celebrate her first birthday, some well-meaning friends warned, “It’s better to wait until she’s 5 or 6 to go. What’s the point in taking her now? She won’t even remember it.” But when I held my birthday girl in my arms as we soared through the air on Dumbo’s back and she clapped her hands, grinning and baring her two teeth, I knew that moment mattered. Even if she doesn’t remember it, for that slice in time she and I were soaring through joy. Here are the 10 of the best Disneyland rides and attractions for babies and toddlers.

Dumbo Ride Disneyland

As a Disneyland enthusiast and former Annual Passholder, I have since visited the Happiest Place on Earth a multitude of times with my two young children. Many parents worry there are not enough rides for babies and toddlers, but amusements for all ages abound at Disneyland. The best part is the entire family can enjoy most attractions together.

1. Dumbo the Flying Elephant in Fantasyland

After failing to get my daughter (then age 3) to ride Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and instead taking my infant son, who clawed at my face with fear throughout, I have given up waiting out the ridiculously long lines for the dark rides in Fantasyland. Instead, we head to everyone’s favorite flying elephant.

10 Best Disneyland Rides and Attractions for Babies and Toddlers

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

2. It’s a Small World in Fantasyland

It is worth getting the cutesy Small World song stuck in your head all day for the smiles this ride will induce for your child. Plus, you get a big return (an 8-minute ride) for your small investment (typically a brief wait in line).

It's a Small World Disneyland

It’s a Small World

3. A Bug’s Land at Disney’s California Adventure

This area includes three rides for little ones that you can hit pretty quickly since the lines tend to be minimal. While Tuck and Roll’s Drive’Em Buggies bumper cars are fun for preschoolers, the other two rides are wonderful choices for kids and babies alike. There is Flik’s Flyers, which is a slightly less magical version of Dumbo’s ride, and Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train, for which you board a talking caterpillar who chews his way though a garden of sweet-smelling treats like watermelon and animal crackers. Wait until kids are older to brave the 3-D film It’s Tough to Be a Bug! I took my daughter when she was a little over 2 years old. Too scary!

Tuck and Roll's Drive'Em Buggies Disney's California Adventure

Tuck and Roll’s Drive’Em Buggies

4. Minnie’s House in Mickey’s Toontown

When you tire of waiting in lines, this walk-though attraction keeps toddling kids busy with dials and buttons galore.

Minnie's House Disneyland

Minnie’s House

5. Jungle Cruise in Adventureland

Here’s an old-school ride for the whole family. Adults will chuckle (or groan) at the humorous commentary of the adventure guides. As for the kids, I remember believing I had actually been to Africa and back when I embarked on this ride during my first trip to Disney World at age 4.

Jungle Cruise Disneyland

Jungle Cruise (Photo: armadillo444, Flickr Creative Commons 2.0)

6. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in Critter Country

This brightly colored, sweet ride is one of my daughter’s all-time favorite rides! I keep hoping my (ride-shy) son will warm to it, but perhaps the psychodelic Heffalump scene and loopy feel are not his cup of milk. Most non-ride-phobic kids will love this one.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh Disneyland

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

7. Mickey’s Fun Wheel at Disney’s California Adventure’s Paradise Pier

Formerly the Sun Wheel, this huge Ferris wheel provides a great aerial view of the park. Skip the long lines for the swinging, scarier gondolas and opt for the milder, merely-swaying ones.

Mickey's Fun Wheel Disney's California Adventure

Mickey’s Fun Wheel

8. Disneyland Railroad 

I have yet to meet a child who is not enthralled by choo-choo trains! You can climb aboard or disembark at Main Street U.S.A., Tomorrowland, Mickey’s Toontown, or New Orleans Square. The best part is the “surprise” trip through the Grand Canyon and Primeval World (a scene of Animatronic dinosaurs) between Tomorrowland and Main Street.

Disneyland Railroad

Historic photo of Walt Disney aboard the Disneyland Railroad (Photo Courtesy of Disneyland)

9. The Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland

Birds and flowers serenade the audience in this pleasant indoor show, giving you time out of the sun (or rain, as the case may be) to rest your tootsies while the baby nurses or sips a bottle. Beware of a brief, somewhat scary tropical thunderstorm at the end of the show.

The Enchanted Tiki Room Disneyland

The Enchanted Tiki Room

10. King Triton’s Carousel at Disney’s California Adventure’s Paradise Pier or King Arthur’s Carousel in Fantasyland

Whether you choose Triton’s underwater-themed carousel with seahorses, whales, and other ride-able sea creatures or you choose Arthur’s classic hand-carved horses, most tots love a carousel! It may seem like a boring choice to grown-ups, but not so for the kiddos!

King Triton Carousel Disneyland

King Triton’s Carousel

What is your favorite ride or attraction for babies and toddlers at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure? Let us know in the comments below!
All photos by Colleen Lanin unless otherwise noted.

About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin is a mom of two and the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of THE TRAVEL MAMAS' GUIDE, she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen teaches blogging classes and has given travel tips on television, radio, and as a paid video blogger. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing.

Comments

  1. Gloria Paranada says:

    Thank you for the information regarding toddler & baby rides. This is great information for moms all around the world. A lot of places only have attractions suited for the older kids….this is good to know so that the babies & toddlers can enjoy their day at Disneyland, & so can mom. The description of each ride is a wonderful touch. Good reporting!!!! My daughters loved the Winnie the Pooh ride also, when they were younger. Now that they are older (11 & 13) they like the big coasters. :) Thanks for the info.

  2. I’m taking a niece and nephew to Disneyland for the first time this year– thanks for the info and helpful tips!

  3. Thank you for writing about Disneyland. As a long-time fan of Disneyland myself, I have wanted to take my daughter since she was born! We recently went to Peter Piper Pizza for a birthday party and she loved the rides even better than the cake and ice cream! I’ve decided that she is ready for Disneyland (I’ve always been ready!) and this article confirms that there will be many rides and attractions that my 18 month old will enjoy.

  4. You forgot the tram from the parking lot to the park. Hands down my almost three year olds favorite ride.

  5. Sandra Brook says:

    We are considering taking our daughter to Disneyland for her 4th birthday and having lunch at Ariel’s Grotto. It’s supposed to be an enchanting experience for a little girl. :)

  6. I’m so glad I found this site…Keep up the good work I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog. Thanks,

    A definite great read.. :)

    -Bill-Bartmann

  7. My 2 year old loves the Disney railroad! You can bring a folded up stroller on board too, which is a definite plus. I highly recommend the character dining. We just went to the Minnie and Friends breakfast and it was great. It is definitely pricey, but so great for the little ones to have all the characters visit you at your table while dining. My son could hardly contain his excitement!

  8. Thank you for the information regarding toddler & baby rides.

  9. I think your pictures add a lot to this blog. Excellent info too.

  10. Thank you! I was worried I should wait but your entire post was not only enlightening but really touched my heart. Your daughter will appreciate this when she’s older.

    Happy Holidays!

  11. I always visit http://www.mydisneyjourney.com for ride reviews. I find it very helpful to know about the height requirements and which rides have the fastpass option. Thanks for the info on the top 10 rides for the little ones; it is always helpful.

  12. We are planning to take our grandddaughter of 22 months to the Disneyland this April. We are delighted to have information we are looking for. Well done and keep going.

  13. luckygrandnat says:

    Thanks so much for your picks it will help alot. We are going with a 10 mo old, 5 year old and 7 year old next week.

  14. I'mnoprincess says:

    Ive always heard that Small World has a slow moving line and is often a very long wait. This proved true on my visit as adult 9 years ago and again last week when we visited. The ride had a 30 min wait at opening and quickly climbed to 60 and then 90 mins. We had to skip it this trip with the kids because of that. Our barely 3y.o. loved Dumbo and both carousels though!

  15. Lydia's Mama says:

    Thanks for writing this! You’re intro was beautiful. I have been planning to take me now 6-month-old to Disneyland for her 1st birthday since I was pregnant lol. Just like you, I have had some people tell me to wait since she won’t even remember it. I know she will enjoy herself though & I will never forget it. Thanks again :)

  16. Your intro brought tears to my eyes. An exceptional post!

  17. We’re taking our little 1 year old girl next week to Disney World for a day so I googled “Disney rides with baby” and your post came up. Everyone is telling me not to bother, but we’re already in Florida for a week and Disney is my favorite place on Earth :) I’d always imagined coming with my own baby and while I know it’s not something she’ll remember…I will! Thanks for reaffirming my feelings. I may have teared up a little reading your intro. Now, I can’t wait!!!!

  18. Thank you so much for this post! We’ll be taking our son on his first trip in April, he’ll be 8 months old. We have 9 family members going with us, it should be a lot of fun! I have a question though, my husband promised his father that he could take our son on the Flying Dumbos ride and I think that he’s going to be too young for it, just yet. What are your thoughts? he’s big for a 8 month old and can sit on his own, etc (not that he would on the ride, I’m just mentioning it so you have an idea of where my son is developmentally. :) Thanks!

    • Shannon – There is no height/age restriction for flying on Dumbo. I would go by your child’s reaction to the ride. If he tends to like other rides like carousels and the other Fantasyland rides, he will probably love riding Dumbo as well. I would not force him to go if he cries when you get on or if he has a hard time on a merry-go-round. I have friends who forced children to ride roller coasters and other rides before they were ready and those fears have only gotten worse as the children have gotten older. My son, who just turned 5 yesterday, was afraid of almost ALL rides until this last year when one day, he asked me if he could ride the carousel. He has gotten MUCH more adventuresome about rides since then and even goes on child-sized roller coasters sometimes. My daughter, however, would have LOVED Dumbo at 8 months, so it really depends on the kid. Have a wonderful time at Disneyland! I’d love to hear back from you how it goes! :-)

  19. Great Post. We are going to Disneyland tomorrow. What rides can a two-year old ride? Any specific places to eat at? This is not only my daughters first time at Disneyland but mine as well. I need help!!!! :)

    • Matt – Your 2-year-old can ride any of the rides mentioned in this post plus the rest of the rides in Fantasyland and many more! Beware that the dark rides like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride may be a bit too, well, dark for a toddler but Peter Pan’s Flight is a hit for most youngsters. The Sailing Ship Columbia or Mark Twain Riverboat, while slow-going, can be fun for the whole family. To let little legs run free, head on over to Pirate’s Lair. My family loves the dining shows at The Golden Horseshoe too—check the schedule and plan to eat during the performance. The wonderful thing about Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure is that so many of the rides are appropriate for the whole family—not just the kids or just the parents. Have a wonderful time! I’d love to hear how your Disneyland adventure went after you return!

  20. melissa flores says:

    Im taking my son for his 1st birthday in December and my friends and some family members tell me the same thing but I agree seeing the way a baby/toddler discovers Disneyland is priceless and its different from taking a 5 or 6 year old. My parents and grandparents have taking my sister and I since I was younger than a year , of course I dont remember but looking at the pictures and hearing my grandparents and parents talk about it gives me joy. I have a greater appreciation for the park its not just park its where my family would go to be together and have a family vacation, it where we would have a weekend of happiness
    Thank you for the tips on rides I was trying to think what would be enjoyable and not scary for my son. I think Snow white and Toads Adventure and Pinocchio are definitely out of the picture

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Richelle – So glad you are ignoring the naysayers and taking your little one to Disneyland. I took both of my kids for their first birthday celebrations – more meaningful & fun than a 1st b-day party if you ask me!

  21. Is a 2 or 3 month old baby too young/little to ride any of these rides? I really wanna take my son, since we got tickets

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hi Gabby – Your young baby could ride any of these rides besides Tuck and Roll’s Drive’Em Buggies bumper cars and maybe the carousels. Take your son; you will have a blast, I promise!

  22. Thanks so much for this! Taking our 5-year-old and 8-month-old tomorrow, with grandparents in tow to watch the baby as needed. However, your post is a great resource for things we can all do together! Love it! :)

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Nanette – So glad you found my tips helpful! Your 5-year-old will also probably love the new Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree ride in Cars Land too. Hope you have a wonderful time!

  23. Jessica says:

    We just took my 2 year old nephew to Disneyland this weekend and he not only loved all of the rides you mentioned, but one of his favorites was The Little Mermaid ride at California Adventure. In fact he did not want to get off. Luckily for us the line was short so we just looped around and got in line again. He really had a blast and was amazed that one of his favorite characters, Mickey Mouse, was everywhere. He kept pointing and saying “Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse”. He was in awe the entire time.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Jessica – What a wonderful experience to share with your nephew! My heart melts remembering those cute times with my kids at Disneyland when they were toddlers. There’s really something amazing about watching someone else who truly believes in Disney magic as they experience the park.

  24. We want to take our 2 year old grandson to
    Disneyland next week. Do we want Disneyland proper or California Adventure? How do others accommodate nap time so we can make the most of the day? No way will he sleep in a stroller! Thanks!

  25. Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

    Hi Ellen –

    Are you going to Disneyland just for a day trip? If you are going for two days or more, I suggest visiting both parks. It is difficult to squeeze both parks into one day, with so much to see and ground to cover. Instead of buying park hoppers, you can save money buy purchasing 1-day passes to each park (if you’re going for two days). If you are going for more than one day, you can head back to your hotel for naps. If it is just a one-day visit, it might be worth it to just skip the nap for the day since you said he will not sleep in a stroller. Yes, the next day will be tough but if he won’t nap in a stroller and you have no hotel room, you (or his parents!) may have to just deal with the aftermath of a fun-filled, nap-free day! Otherwise, if he will sleep in a car seat in the car, you could plan your drive time home to coincide with his nap time and just do half a day at the park.

    If you are only able to visit one park, you will be able to squeeze in more activities (especially if only visiting for half a day) at Disney’s California Adventure. The lines for all of the rides for young children in a Bug’s Land and elsewhere at this park typically have minimal lines. For a more classic Disney experience, though, you can’t beat the original Disneyland. If you arrive early, head straight to Fantasyland and hit up the most popular rides first (Dumbo, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland), saving less crowded attractions for later (like It’s a Small World, the Enchanted Tiki Room, Winnie the Pooh and the carousel).

    Hope that helps! Have a wonderful time!

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