10 Best Disney Rides for Little Kids and Toddlers

While many of the best Disney rides have no minimum height requirements, some are better than others for younger kids and toddlers.
Best Disney Rides for Kids
Photo: Joel Sutherland on Unsplash

Between its four Orlando theme parks, Walt Disney World is home to more than 50 rides and attractions. And while many of these Disney rides have no minimum height requirement, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best Disney rides for young kids and toddlers. Some, like Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, have scary elements that may be too intense for little ones, especially toddlers.

To help you have a toddler-friendly vacation and avoid any unnecessary tears, I’ve put together a list of the best Disney World rides that kids of all ages will love. Each of these is appropriate for all heights and ages and will ensure your family creates only the happiest Disney memories.

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Best Rides at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom for Kids

1. Dumbo the Flying Elephant

This beloved attraction has been flying high over the Magic Kingdom since Disney World’s opening day in 1971. Dumbo gives kids an elephant’s-eye view of surrounding attractions, and, with the help of a lever that lets you choose how high you prefer to soar, little ones can learn to fly just like Dumbo (no feather required). 

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During Fantasyland’s 2012 refurbishment, a gloriously air-conditioned big top play area was added inside the queue of this Disney ride so kids can run around while they wait for their turn. If you loved Dumbo as a kid, the nostalgic vibes will make for some truly special family memories.

2. “it’s a small world”

Another of the best Disney rides for little kids was also an opening day attraction at Magic Kingdom: “it’s a small world” is a relaxing 10-minute boat ride with adorable animatronics singing the world’s catchiest song. Little kids and toddlers won’t be able to resist singing along with the dancing figures that represent cultures from across the globe. 

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Located in Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland, “it’s a small world” will have your kids oohing and ahh-ing as they approach every new scene and get a glimpse at  each country’s traditional attire, wildlife, and customs. Near the end of the ride, your family can practice saying “goodbye” in a variety of languages while passing through a room full of colorfully painted signs.

3. Peter Pan’s Flight

A classic Disney ride, Peter Pan’s Flight takes kids on a high-flying (but not too high) journey to Neverland. In your own personal pirate ship, you’ll soar over London with Wendy, Michael, and John Darling until you reach Neverland, passing through famous scenes from the classic animated film along the way.

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Captain Hook, Smee, and that vile crocodile do make an appearance, but what makes this one of the top Disney rides for little kids at Magic Kingdom is that they’re more playful than scary. Peter Pan’s victory ensures young kids will leave with a triumphant smile on their face. This Magic Kingdom attraction also has a fun interactive queue that’ll help your time in line pass by in a flash.

4. Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid

Also in the Magic Kingdom, this underwater adventure with Ariel and her seafaring friends is an undeniably catchy musical retelling of the 1989 animated film. You’ll relive all of the popular songs from the film, including a show-stopping rendition of “Under the Sea” in a room filled with almost 200 singing, dancing animatronics.

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A larger-than-life Ursula the sea witch does make an appearance (something to keep in mind if Ursula happens to be your child’s least favorite Disney villain) but the water on this ride is strictly Disney magic, so you won’t have to worry about actually getting wet.

5. Mad Tea Party

At first glance, this fast-spinning ride may look too dizzying for young kids, but each rider has the option to choose how wild (or mild) they want their go-round to be. Based on Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, each colorful teacup is outfitted with a wheel that you can turn fast, slow, or not at all. 

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Located in Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland, Alice and the Mad Hatter often make an appearance near the ride’s exit. Before or after you ride, take a moment to stop by and wish them a happy un-birthday. 

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6. The Seas with Nemo & Friends

Over at Epcot, The Seas With Nemo & Friends is a fun and educational trip through the deep blue sea. Little kids will love seeing dolphins, sharks, and colorful fish along with their favorite Finding Nemo friends like Dory, Nemo, Marlin, and Squirt.

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When this great Disney ride for little kids ends, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the 5.7-millon gallon saltwater aquarium by foot, climb inside Bruce the Shark’s mouth for a toothy photo, or watch Turtle Talk With Crush, a 15-minute interactive show where the world’s most tubular turtle will answer your child’s questions about the ocean.

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7. Toy Story Mania!

On Toy Story Mania (located in Hollywood Studios’ Toy Story Land), kids get to shrink down to the size of a toy and take part in a series of carnival-inspired, 4D games that feature their favorite Toy Story characters. 

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Ride vehicles pause in front of each of the five games, giving you time to rack up points with your spring-action shooter, but there is some giggle-inducing quick movement and partial spinning as you move to your next stop. The games are short and fast-paced, so even younger kids who never successfully toss a ring around a little green alien will still consider this one of the best Disney rides.

8. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Located at the end of Hollywood Boulevard in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway drops you right in the middle of a Mickey Mouse cartoon short. It’s actually the first Disney World ride to give Mickey and Minnie the starring roles they deserve.

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A relaxing ride through the park alongside Mickey and Minnie quickly turns into a madcap adventure when Goofy decides to “derail” the fun. Kids will crack up at the hilarious gags as they zig and zag through the ride and, after the ride, they can sit back and watch more cartoons inside the Mickey Shorts Theater.

9. TriceraTop Spin

Much like Dumbo the Flying Elephant, TriceraTop Spin takes riders round and round through the sky above Animal Kingdom’s DinoLand U.S.A. The ride is fashioned after a tin top and, much like the classic toy, you may see a special surprise pop out as you spin.

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Unlike Disney’s Dumbo ride, each adorable dinosaur seats four, two in the front and two in the back. Guests in the front row can use their lever to tilt the dinosaur forward and back, while riders in the back can choose how high their dino gets to fly.

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10. Kilimanjaro Safaris

Animal Kingdom’s Kilimanjaro Safaris is a rugged safari ride that takes families on an almost 20-minute trek through the African savanna. While most of the best Disney rides for kids and toddlers focus on their favorite movie and TV characters, this one is all about real-life animals.

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Kids can view more than 30 species of wildlife, including lions, elephants, cheetahs, and crocodiles. Safari guides are experts at spotting the animals, but try riding in the morning or evening when temperatures are a bit cooler to see the wildlife at its most active.

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Tarah Chieffi
Tarah Chieffi is a theme park and family travel journalist who discovered her words were best used to help travelers plan fun-filled family vacations. When she isn't eating theme park food and riding roller coasters, she can be found cycling wherever her bike will take her, tucked under the covers with a good book, or planning her next adventure with her husband and three sons.