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Top 12 Disneyland Rides and Attractions for Babies and Toddlers

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Many parents worry there are not enough Disneyland rides and attractions for babies and toddlers, but amusements for all ages abound at this California theme park. The best part? The entire family can enjoy most of these activities together. As a Disneyland enthusiast and former multi-year Annual Passholder, I have visited the Happiest Place on Earth a multitude of times with my two children. Here is a list of my picks for the 12 best Disneyland attractions and rides for toddlers and babies.

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Dumbo the Flying Elephant ~ Best Disneyland Rides and Attractions for Babies and Toddlers

Dumbo the Flying Elephant is a favorite with babies, toddlers and preschoolers (Photo credit: Travel Mamas)

1. Dumbo the Flying Elephant in Fantasyland

Everyone loves Dumbo the Flying Elephant — especially babies, toddlers and preschoolers! Riders soar through the air on the backs of magical pachyderms on this circular ride. There’s something very sweet and uplifting about experiencing Dumbo with little ones, so I suggest kicking off your day here.

it's a small world ~ Best Disneyland Rides and Attractions for Babies and Toddlers

It’s a Small World at Disneyland (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

2. It’s a Small World in Fantasyland

It’s 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). As a travel lover, It’s a Small World’s make-believe journey around the globe holds a special place in my heart.

Peter Pan's Flight at Disneyland

Peter Pan’s Flight (Photo credit: Paul Hiffmeyer, Disneyland Resort)

3. Peter Pan’s Flight in Fantasyland

One of the original rides at Disneyland, Peter Pan’s Flight remains one of the park’s most popular rides, and for good reason. Riders feel like they’re flying over the rooftops of London aboard a pirate’s ship with The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up along with his fairy sidekick, Tinkerbell. Many of the dark rides in Fantasyland can be scary to toddlers and babies, so I suggest trying out the less intimidating and more whimsical Peter Pan’s Flight before attempting others. Queue up early in the day for this attraction to minimize long wait times.

Minnie's House ~ Best Disneyland Rides and Attractions for Babies and Toddlers

My toddler exploring Minnie’s House (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

4. Minnie’s House in Mickey’s Toontown

When your family tires of waiting in lines, this walk-though attraction provides an interactive experience for kids. Minnie’s House especially appeals to toddlers and preschoolers with its bright colors and plentiful buttons and dials to explore.

Jungle Cruise ~ Best Disneyland Rides and Attractions for Babies and Toddlers

Jungle Cruise in Adventureland (Photo credit: Disneyland)

5. Jungle Cruise in Adventureland

Adults will chuckle (or groan) at the humorous commentary of the adventure guides aboard a Jungle Cruise. 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 Walt Disney World at age 4. This classic Disneyland ride is a great choice for the whole family to enjoy together.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ~ Best Disneyland Rides and Attractions for Babies and Toddlers

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

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

This brightly colored ride is one of my kids’ all-time favorites! The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is tucked away in Critter Country and you can typically walk right on without waiting in line for long. Bonus: you can often meet Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and other friends from the Hundred Acre Wood at a character meet-and-greet spot near the ride’s exit.

Mickey's Fun Wheel ~ Best Disneyland Rides and Attractions for Babies and Toddlers

Pixar Pal-A-Round (Photo credit:Paul Hiffmeyer, Disneyland)

7. Pixar Pal-A-Round at Disney California Adventure’s Pixar Pier

Formerly the Sun Wheel and then Mickey’s Fun Wheel, this huge Ferris wheel provides a great aerial view of the park. Every Pixar Pal-A-Round gondola is decorated with an image of a beloved Disney•Pixar movie character. Be on the lookout for Woody, Buzz, Dory, Nemo, Mr. Incredible, Joy, Sadness, Lightning McQueen and others. Those who suffer from motion sickness should skip the long lines for the swinging, scarier gondolas and opt for the fixed ones. This is the only ride to make it onto both this list of best attractions and rides for babies and toddlers AND our list of the scariest rides at Disneyland. Ironic, we know!

Disneyland Railroad ~ Best Disneyland Rides and Attractions for Babies and Toddlers

Disneyland Railroad (Photo credit:Scott Brinegar, Disneyland)

8. Disneyland Railroad

I have yet to meet a young child who is not enthralled by choo-choo trains! You can climb aboard or disembark the Disneyland Railroad 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.

Enchanted Tiki Room ~ Best Disneyland Rides and Attractions for Babies and Toddlers

The Enchanted Tiki Room (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

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). Rest your tootsies in the Enchanted Tiki Room while the baby nurses or sips a bottle. Beware of a brief, somewhat scary tropical “thunderstorm” at the end of the show.

Alice in Wonderland ride at Disneyland

Alice in Wonderland ride (Photo credit: Disney)

10. Alice in Wonderland in Fantasyland

If your youngster fared well on Peter Pan’s Flight, give the second most cheerful Fantasyland dark ride a go. Board an over-sized caterpillar for a journey through White Rabbit’s House, Tulgey Wood, and the Queen’s Garden. Portions of the ride travel through the outdoors, giving a reprieve from the “scary” dark factor. Some children may find the Queen yelling “Off with their heads!” a bit intimidating but a merry unbirthday party, silly characters, and bright colors lighten the mood.

Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind at Disney California Adventure Park

Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

11. Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind at Disney California Adventure’s Pixar Pier

A Bug’s Land in Disney California Adventure Park used to be one of the best places for babies and toddlers at Disneyland, with four sweet rides that catered to young guests. This area shut down to make room for a “Super Hero” land due to open in 2020, with new attractions that will appeal to older park goers. Families, however, can enjoy a reimagining of one of the Bug’s Land rides. Similar to Flik’s Flyers, Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind is a ring-shaped flying ride. Opened in 2019, this ride spins riders in gentle circles in baskets hanging from “Core Memory” balls from Inside Out. It’s definitely a joy-filled ride for toddlers and babies.

King Arthur's Carrousel ~ Best Disneyland Rides and Attractions for Babies and Toddlers

King Arthur’s Carrousel (Photo credit: Paul Hiffmeyer, Disneyland Resort)

12. King Arthur’s Carrousel in Fantasyland or Jessie’s Critter Carousel at Disney California Adventure’s Pixar Pier

Most tots love a carousel. Youngsters climb aboard King Arthur’s classic hand-carved horses in Fantasyland. It may seem like a boring choice to grown-ups, but not so for kiddos!

Jessie's Critter Carousel at Disney California Adventure

Jessie’s Critter Carousel (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Meanwhile in Disney California Adventure Park, King Triton’s under-the-sea themed carousel has been closed and replaced with Jessie’s Critter Carousel. Opened in 2019, this yodeling ride features wilderness friends from the “Woody’s Roundup” television show featured in Toy Story 2.

Disneyland with babies and toddlers is magical

Soaring through joy with my baby on Dumbo the Flying Elephant (Photo credit: Travel Mamas)

Why Visit Disneyland with 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 of time she and I were soaring through joy.

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Best Disneyland Rides and Attractions for Toddlers, Babies and Preschoolers

Keep these Disneyland Tips for Future Reference

Headed to Disneyland with a baby or toddler? Be sure to keep these 10 best Disneyland tips for toddlers and babies! Just pin the image above to Pinterest for safe keeping. You might as well follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you’re at it, too!

Disneyland attractions and rides for toddlers and babies are super fun for the whole family. But the fun doesn’t have to stop there. Consider booking a character meal to add even more magic to your visit. Read our Disneyland character meal reviews to choose the best one for your family. I bet you’ll also like these our advice for keeping your smart phone charged at Disneyland!

What are your favorite Disneyland rides for toddlers and babies? Let us know in the comments below!
About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "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 gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

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. Bill Bartmann says

    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. สถานที่ท่องเที่ยว says

    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 🙂

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Oh, thank you, Lydia’s Mama! That is so kind of you to say. I hope you and Lydia have a wonderful time experiencing Disneyland together!

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

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Rachael – Oh, thank you! Tears are the highest compliment. Enjoy Disneyland with your little one! 🙂

  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!!!!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Ashley – Tears are the very best compliment – thank you! Enjoy your time at Disney with your little girl. Babyhood only last for so long and it really is magical to watch your baby’s amazement at the world of Disney.

  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!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      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!!!! 🙂

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      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. 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. Hotel in Anaheim says

    Thank you Colleen! It’s a fantastic article 🙂 We would like to know if we could with your permission promote your article on our Social Media channel, I think that some of our guests would like to read it!

    Thank you for your time.

  25. Wow. these rides are really cool. I like Jungle Cruise in Adventureland, it’s completely breathtaking as it includes a nature touch

  26. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says

    I love all of these. My favorite times at Disney were always the ones when the kids were little. I had so much fun with them on the kiddie rides!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Me too! It’s fun to explore Disneyland now as my kids get older because we can go on more thrilling rides. But I do miss the days when they believed all of the Disney magic was real!

  27. robin rue says

    We’ve gone every year (well to Disney World) since my boys were babies. Small World was always a big favorite with them.

  28. Annemarie LeBlanc says

    We’re passing off a trip to Disney this year. We’ll have to wait for next year so we can take my twin granddaughters with me. I want to take them there when they are old enough to appreciate the sights and rides at Disney!

  29. I had no idea that there was so much for babies and toddlers to do at Disney! I always thought they would be bored there but you proved me wrong.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Babies and toddlers certainly aren’t bored at Disneyland ~ the biggest challenge is squeezing naps!

  30. Some of these look really fun. Disneyland is on our family bucket list for sure.

  31. This is great information for anyone looking to travel to Disney Land with Babies or Toddlers. I love that you took the time to write this resource for parents of younger children.

  32. travel blogger says

    I honestly had no idea there were so many attractions for little ones. My son would love the Winnie the Pooh and the Railroad! We will definitely have to consider this for our next family vacation.

  33. Veronica Solomon says

    I took my kids when they were toddlers to Disney many years ago, and it was a big challenge. Looks like things have changed for the better

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Veronica – Naps and potty breaks can be a challenge for little ones at Disneyland (and anywhere, really!) but it’s so worth it to see their eyes light up when they see Mickey Mouse or take off on a ride in Fantasyland!

  34. Ooh, toddlers can definitely have a good time at Disneyland. I think the Winnie the Pooh ride would be first on my list!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Winnie the Pooh is a great one. Go during the afternoon when the lines are longer for other rides and hit up something busier in the mornings, like Dumbo!

  35. Disney is our happy place. It’s perfect for families with kids of all ages. My kids all loved the parks as babies and toddlers.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Disneyland is my happy place too! In fact, when I was in labor for 48 hours with my first child, I pictured taking my baby to Disneyland during every contraction. For her first birthday, we skipped throwing her a party and took her to Disneyland instead!

  36. Rach Ferrucci says

    You say for babies and toddlers but some of those are my favorite. When we took our grandkids to Disney we did all those rides and loved every one.

  37. Seattle Travel Blogger says

    This is a very well-designed article. I really like the way you block out the summary list at the beginning of the post!

  38. I always thought little kids could not appreciate Disney and it was a waste, but you have shown how much to do for them. I will keep it in mind for my young nieces nd nephews.

  39. Toni | Boulder Locavore says

    I love these rides and attractions too! I can’t wait to go back and enjoy these!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Now that my kids are getting older (ages 9 and 12), I am missing some of these kiddie rides!

  40. Wow! So much, where would one even begin? I have never been to Disneyland, any of them. Neither have any of my kids I think it would be such a blast!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Jeanine – I hope you are able to visit Disneyland with your kids sometime in the future!

  41. My kids are older. I’d love to take them to Disneyland though!

  42. Louise Bishop says

    I have a friend who took her 1-year old and he loves it every year. They had no issues at all.

  43. Sheena Tatum says

    Disneyland was made for kids. Of course they’re going to cater to kids who are super young as well! That’s the magic of Disney!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      It’s funny, though, how many people think it’s silly to bring babies and toddlers to Disneyland. It really is a magical place, no matter your age!

  44. Kita Bryant says

    I wish I would have taken my children when they were younger. The memories I’ve heard from other families are always so amazing.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Kita – Disneyland is fun at any age. You can make new memories with your kids now!

  45. AMazing photos. Now I see all the options if I were to ever bring my 2 year old niece to Disneyland

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Two is such a fun age! I hope you can bring your niece to Disneyland sometime soon!

  46. Ann Bacciaglia says

    Thanks for the terrific breakdown. We are planning a trip to Disneyland this Fall. We have people from all age groups going with us.

  47. Thank you for the discount codes you shared in this post. We may have a trip to Disney again sometime soon but nothing’s definite yet. I took my children to Disney when they were still toddlers and they enjoyed it! I guess it is all up to the parents to decide for the best time to take their kids to Disney.

  48. Mary Edwards says

    This is a great list. I haven’t been to disney land, only disney world – this is a great post for our Cali trip!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Enjoy California, Mary! So many wonderful things to explore in my former home state!

  49. Lastminuteinfo says

    Perfect! Disneyland is for all ages. And yes even a 1 year old love a ride on the carrousel or a tour in It’s a Small World 🙂 as long as it makes music and moves our little ones are happy. We have kind of the same attractions in Disneyland Paris. Thanks for sharing this list!
    Hannah

  50. Kimiora elliott says

    Hi,

    We are travelling from NEW ZEALAND July next year (2018) to disneyland with our will be 2 and a half year old….I do realise its a busy period n super hot so what are some handy tips to make this a memorable time….

    Thank you,

    Kimiora

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Kimiora – How exciting! I suggest booking a character meal one day. This is a great breakfast activity to do at one of the Disney hotels on the day you’re checking out so you can get one last dose of Disney without having to pay for a whole day at the parks. Be sure to plan around naps for your little one. Our kids always slept better in their strollers but some do better back in the hotel. If you’ll need to do naps back at the hotel, you may want to get a room with a patio or balcony so you can relax while your toddler sleeps. Bring along a misting fan – they’re available at the parks but very expensive. You’ll want to dress in layers because even on hot California days, it’s often chilly at night and you’ll want light sweaters. Make sure to book your dinner reservations in advance unless you want to eat fast food for every meal or you want to wait a loooooong time for a table in the parks or at Downtown Disney! Enjoy Disneyland!

  51. Sabrina Gregg says

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m trying to convince my husband to go this summer or next summer, and i told him that this is a place you go to like every other year. Due to how great it is. I have an 3year old and a 1 year old, and by june they will be 4 and 2. so i think it would be great!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Sabrina – Ages 2 and 4 are SO MUCH FUN at Disneyland! They really believe in the magic but are old enough to really getting into the rides, attractions and characters. Have a great time!

  52. Hello, great article! I’m looking to take my 2 year old this month and I’m wondering what day of the week is usually the least busiest. Also, do we need “fast passes” to skip lines for toddler rides? Not sure what’s the best for these low patience kiddies. Thanks

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Weekends and days near weekends tend to be busiest, so your best bet for avoiding crowds would be Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Fast passes are typically not available for toddler rides. There typically are short lines for most of the rides on this list, with the exception being Dumbo The Flying Elephant and maybe Mickey’s Fun Wheel. On very crowded summer days, though, you can expect lines for most rides. My suggestion is to get to the parks early and do NOT get park hoppers. Instead, get one-day park passes so you can focus on the fun of that specific park without walking long distances in between the two. The Disney Parks app will help you monitor ride wait time. I also really love the Magic Guide app. On your Disneyland day, go to Fantasyland first thing in the morning and queue up for Dumbo and then hit any of the other rides in that land before the lines get too long. I suggest Peter Pan’s Flight and Alice in Wonderland because they are brighter and less scary for little ones. Other rides in Fantasyland may be too dark/scary for toddlers (especially Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride!). Have fun at Disneyland with your toddler!

  53. We will be in CA in November with a 2 year old and 6 month old. We will only have 1 day but I really want to take them (mostly the 2 year old) to Disneyland. Can we do both parks in 1 day, considering we’d only be doing toddler stuff? Can we still fit in a character meal and see fireworks? Would I only choose 1 park, and if so, what would you suggest? Thank you!!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Karli – Honestly, I think it’s exhausting to try to do two parks in one day…especially with a baby and toddler! If it all possible, I would suggest doing two days – one day at Disneyland and one day at California Adventure. If you can really only do one day, Disneyland will provide more of the classic Disney experience but it tends to be more crowded and you’ll spend more of your time waiting in line. There are a lot more attractions geared toward the baby/toddler set at Disneyland, though. I would skip fireworks with kids that young. Disneyland is overwhelming enough for little ones without keeping them up way past their bedtimes for a fireworks show that they may not even notice or appreciate. If you will be spending one night in Anaheim, I’d book the character meal for a day you will not be at the parks – so either dinner the night prior at Goofy’s Kitchen or breakfast at Storyteller’s Cafe (at the Grand Californian) or Breakfast with Mickey and Friends at Paradise Pier Resort the morning after your day in the park. If you will not be spending the night, then I’d book Ariel’s Grotto for lunch – babies and toddlers are less intimidated by the pretty princesses than by the big costumed characters. Keep in mind that a large portion of your day may be dedicated to trying to squeeze in naps. I remember well the days of spending half our time at Disneyland pushing young ones around in strollers, praying that they would nap to avoid meltdowns! I hope that helps. Enjoy Disney with your kids!

      • Thank you so much for the insight. We will truly only have 1 day (we have a wedding in Newport Beach that weekend so Monday is our day off before leaving Tuesday) so I’m thinking a couple rides at Disneyland and a fun meal will suffice and we can still get a good bed time in.

  54. Nicole Tomkies says

    Hello,

    I will be taking my 19 month old to Disneyland on May 2nd. Any tips on how to navigate the day? Where do we start? What are the places inside or outside the park to eat? How long should we stay to ensure my toddler has a good time?
    Thank you

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Nicole – My suggestion is to start your day early if possible – right when the park opens. If you are staying at a Disney hotel, take advantage of the Magic Hour when you can enter the parks before other guests. If you are not staying at a Disney hotel, do the opposite and go the theme park (Disneyland or Disney California Adventure) that is NOT having the Magic Hour that day (which tends to be less crowded) – and then plan to do the other park the next day. (You can check this on the Disneyland website.)

      At Disneyland, start at Fantasyland and hit up Dumbo first and then do any of the dark rides if you think your little one won’t be scared of the dark. The most popular/least scary option is Peter Pan’s Flight and if your toddler does well with that, you can do the Alice in Wonderland ride. The carousel is fun and typically doesn’t have much of a line. Storybook Land Canal Boats and the Casey Jr. Circus Train are Fantasyland rides that are outdoors and therefore not “scary” or dark for little ones. Then you could do It’s a Small World before heading over to Toon Town to explore Minnie’s House. There is no height limit on Pirates of the Caribbean, so you may be able to do that one, especially if your child could handle the dark rides in Fantasyland. On your way, walk through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle to read the story and look at little vignettes. The Mark Twain River Boat ride isn’t very thrilling, but all ages can ride it together and it does give everyone a chance to sit (and cool down in summer). Pirate’s Lair gives kids a chance to run around and get their wiggles out. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh almost never has a line so you can do that whenever. Nearby is Jungle Cruise in Adventureland and the Enchanted Tiki Room. Use the Disneyland app to check for wait times as you go. Finish up your day with a ride on the Disneyland Railroad. You may want to check your daily theme park map to see when parades and shows take place, too.

      Disney California Adventure tends to be less crowded than Disneyland. You could start at A Bug’s Land to hit up all of their kiddie rides or do Mickey’s Fun Wheel and King Triton’s Carousel first. On warm days, pack a swimsuit and a change of clothes to let your child cool off at Princess Dot Puddle Park in A Bug’s Land. If your child is familiar with Finding Nemo, head over to Turtle Talk with Crush in Hollywood Land. If your child isn’t afraid of dark rides, you could hit up the Monsters Inc also in Hollywood Land. The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail is where to go to let kids run around at Disney CA Adventure. If you have extra time, you may want to head back to your hotel for a nap or afternoon swim.

      My biggest suggestion is to plan to do EITHER an early morning OR a late night. Little kids can only handle so much stimulation, sensory overload and sleep deprivation (not to mention mom and dad!). Try to squeeze in those naps, too. My kids were better at sleeping in their strollers than back in the hotel room crib but you know what works best for your family.

      I hope that helps. Enjoy Disneyland with your toddler!

  55. Hi
    We are going to Disneyland in November (2018) and have 2 Grand babies we are taking, aged 2 years & 7 months. Can you please advise us on where and what to do there and which rides they are allowed on?
    I did look at the VIP TOUR but am wondering if its worth it? There are 7 Adults going and the 2 babies?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Michelle – What fun! Disneyland is a great place for a multigenerational trip. With such little kids, I would probably skip the VIP Tour and let the interested adults go without you and the kids. In addition to the attractions I recommend in this blog post, I suggest taking a peek at my itinerary suggestions that I gave to the commenter above you. Also, Disneyland does provide height restrictions for all of their rides on their website. Hope that helps!

  56. Natalie Cleary says

    I am looking at booking a trip for my son (will be 4yro) at the time and I to Disneyland & new York next year.
    I was looking at going around October or November 2019 but don’t want him to get overly cold- is this season good to go or is it overly busy?
    First flight overseas – from Australia
    Thank you

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      If you will be doing New York, you may way want to consider Disney World in Florida instead of Disneyland in California. The flight between New York and California is about 6 hours whereas the flight to Florida from NYC is about 3 hours. Early November will not be too crowded in any of these places. Crowds are very heavy around America’s Thanksgiving holiday (the 4th Thursday in November) in NYC and either of the Disney locations. Halloweentime throughout the month of October can be busy for Disney parks, but not nearly as bad as Thanksgiving. I’d say early October is probably your best bet for milder weather and fewer crowds. Have a wonderful time with your son!

  57. Hi! I’ll be taking my then 2 year old for her birthday in November. Aside from maybe doing a character meal, are there other must-dos you suggest to create the special birthday memory or gift ideas I can give my family related to our trip? We’ll be going for 3 days.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Nicole – What a wonderful way to celebrate your daughter’s 2nd birthday! You can stop by the City Hall off Main Street to get a free “It’s my birthday” button. Staff members will then wish your little one a happy birthday all day. You might also want to get a balloon to tie to her stroller. Not only will the balloon be festive, but also it will help you find your stroller among the many, many other parked strollers. If you are staying at one of the three Disney hotels, you can order specialty items like a birthday cake to be delivered to your room. Of course at any of the restaurants, staff will be happy to sing to your little one to help celebrate her day. (I can’t remember if they offer a free dessert to celebrants.) Have a wonderful time at Disneyland with your little girl!

  58. Leenor Brodni says

    Hello, do you think 1 year is too young? My son will turn one April of 2019 and i would love to celebrate in Disneyland. it is one of my favorite places. I just want to make sure that there will be enough for us all to do and that he wont be too crazy tired or wont enjoy some of it because he is so young. just nervous i guess!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Hi Leenor – Absolutely not! I celebrated both of my kids’ first birthdays at Disneyland in lieu of birthday parties. They enjoyed Disney so much more than they would have enjoyed a party. As you can see, there really is so much for babies and toddlers at Disneyland. Go for it!

  59. Mark Beattie says

    We are heading in May with our 5 young kids – age 9, 6, 4, 3 and 1. Our 3 year old has developmental disabilities and cannot walk. We have extremely low expectations and are just trying to show the kids a fun time. Any advice for us?

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Mark – How wonderful! I bet your family will have a fantastic time at Disneyland. My advice is to avoid overdoing it. If you want to get to the parks early in the day, you won’t be able to stay for fireworks, too, unless you take A LOT of time off in the afternoon for naps back at the hotel or vacation rental. Decide which rides are absolute musts for your family and plan your days around those, allowing for lots of time to just relax and enjoy diversions along the way. You may want to split your kids up if your traveling with another adult, too. So, one parent can take the bigger kids to enjoy rides and attractions while the other parent takes the little ones to attractions geared toward their ages. I think your “low expectations” are a good idea. So many families put pressure on themselves to squeeze every bit of joy out of their Disney vacations and wind up with melt downs and disappointment. Disney really is about living in the moment. ENJOY!

  60. Amanda Ruggiero says

    This post helped me SO MUCH with our planning. My husband and I are taking our 3 and 1 year old girls the last week in June. My oldest is so in love with anything Disney, she has been watching videos and cried happy tears when we told her about this trip. We are staying at the Howard Johnson Water Park hotel across the street. From when I have read here and been advised from others:
    -best to get there early (preferably on days where there are no ‘Magic Hours’) and our kids are up at 5 am anyways.. lol
    -Fantasyland is a good place to start for less intimidating toddler rides.
    -book dinners ahead of time (any advice on good places for kids?)
    -book a character meal (my 3 year old will LOVE anything Ariel)
    -naps in strollers or work around naps.. little bodies will be tired (works for us all the time!)

    Any other quick tips would be appreciated! You’re quite knowledgeable! I live in Boston so most of my friends and family go to Disney World so we were lost! 🙂
    Amanda

    • Colleen Lanin says

      So glad you found these tips helpful for visiting Disneyland with little ones! The Magic Hour will be great for your family since you’re early risers. As for Fantasyland rides, beware that some of the Dark Rides can be scary to little ones (especially Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride!). Best bets are Dumbo, Storybook Land Canal Boats, Peter Pan’s Flight and Alice in Wonderland. If your daughter loves Ariel, then The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure in Disney California Adventure is an absolute must! Booking dinners in advance is absolutely the way to go! We love Tortilla Joe’s or Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney and Wine Country Trattoria in California Adventure (you can get reservations for World of Color there!). Blue Bayou in Disneyland overlooking the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is always fun. To help you decide which Disney character meal is best for your family, take a look at this round-up here: https://travelmamas.com/which-disneyland-character-meal-is-best-for-your-family/ Have a wonderful time at Disneyland with your girls!

  61. Enrique Solar says

    Hi Colleen!
    Thank you so much for helping us all make the most out of our Disney trips!
    We are going to Disneyland but have not decided when to go. We’ll be 4 adults, one 6 yr old girl, and one 2 yr old girl. We are going for them, not for the adults, so we all know what rides to go to and how to plan the day. The big question is this, what would you recommend? Early December (before Christmas week), or November (before Thanksgiving).
    Is there an easy way to check out historical crowd attendance?

    Thank you!

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Hi Enrique – So glad to help in planning your Disneyland trip! Early December would be a great time to visit! The crowds aren’t very big yet but the holiday decorations will be up. The last two weeks of December and Thanksgiving week are both very busy times to visit. Take a look at this Uncercover Tourist article for more on the best times to visit: https://www.undercovertourist.com/blog/best-time-visit-disneyland/ Have a wonderful Disney vacation with your girls!

  62. My son now age 4 has been to Disneyland when he was only 3 months then again at 6 months and every year after that, we have enjoyed every single trip and he has too. I can relate to the feeling you get when seeing them just smile and have the happy jitters, I just love it!

  63. Tanaya Sarkar says

    Hi Colleen . We r going Disneyland (California) with our 2 years daughter on 28th August . This is our first trip to Disneyland. We will be staying in Anaheim on that day. Can you please guide us? Please suggest Where to go , which ride is good for my 2 years baby.
    Thanks
    Tanaya

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Hi Tanaya – What a wonderful way to celebrate your daughter’s 2nd birthday! All of the rides mentioned in this list are great for a toddler her age. I suggest starting early in the morning in Fantasyland because the lines for those rides tend to get longer and longer as the day progresses. Have a wonderful time!

  64. 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!

  65. 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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