Planning to take your little one to Disneyworld? Whether it’s for safety reasons or because they might be overstimulating for young children, it’s good to know which are the best rides for preschoolers at Walt Disney World in Florida. That way you manage expectations and simply can skip certain rides while rushing to get fast passes to others so everybody in your party can have the time of their lives, especially if they are 5 years old and younger.
Big or small, all can have fun
Let’s take a look at the rides that have no height restrictions. Some of the must-do’s for kids under 5 at Disneyworld are Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Toy Story Mania, It’s a Small World, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan’s Flight, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Spaceship Earth, Dumbo, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin and in many cases, Pirates of the Caribbean (unless your child is afraid of the dark and loud noises). If you do decide to take a young child to Pirates of the Caribbean, just keep in mind that there is a drop in the dark at the beginning of the ride and the cannons can splash water and be quite loud right after that.
The live shows at Animal Kingdom, Disney Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom are also favorites for all sizes and ages, especially Disney Junior. Check the park guide for specific times or use an app.
At the end of the day at Magic Kingdom, enjoy the view from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. It does have brief moments in the dark but it is very relaxing. If you’re visiting Epcot and need a break from the heat and the crowds, the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros inside the Mexico pavilion usually has no lines and is similar to It’s a Small World, but in a very scaled-down way.
Beware of the dark and loud noises
Other rides have no height restrictions, but can be a bit overwhelming for young children, depending on their personality or needs.
If your child is not afraid of the dark and can tolerate a movie, Mickey’s PhilHarmagic and Muppet*Vision 3-D are great experiences. It’s Tough to Be a Bug is fun but if your little one gets overstimulated easily, this might not be the best choice, since at some point you actually feel as if insects were crawling on your seat.
If your child gets scared easily, especially in the dark, avoid the Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, the Enchanted Tiki Room and The Scary Adventures of Snow White. Peter Pan’s Flight actually is also a ride in the dark, so you might want to proceed with caution. You can always take a small flashlight or use your phone to show your child light in the midst of the darkness.
Exciting rides for kids 3 and over
Disney has a category of rides called “Mild but wild” for young children. These rides have height restrictions and tend to be more exciting in case your little one enjoys more action:
Tomorrowland Speedway: children must be 32 inches (80cm) or taller to ride with an adult.
The Barnstormer: Previously The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre farm, the ride has a brand new look inside Magic Kingdom. Kids need to be 35 inches (89cm) or taller to ride.
Star Tours: for Star Wars fans this is a 3-D ride they’ll love, but your child needs to be 40 inches (102cm) or taller. Each adventure is different and has flight simulation, so the movements can be intense for some.
Fun for all ages
If lines get too long or you’re waiting for your fast pass time, look for playgrounds, splash pads and kid friendly areas. Check out Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set playground at Disney Hollywood Studios, the Boneyard at Animal Kingdom, and Tom Sawyer’s Island in Magic Kingdom. If you’re in Epcot, Innoventions is an indoors interactive playspace that has different small attractions under air conditioning. Some are educational, others just allow the kids to have fun without having to wait in long lines under the scorching Florida sun (or rain).
And remember that sometimes young children will enjoy the monorail ride into Magic Kingdom as if it was an attraction in itself. The parades and character meet and greets can also provide tons of entertainment, without having to ride anything.
What are your family’s favorite rides? Let me know in the comments below!