Are you planning to take a little one to Disneyland? Walt’s original park is probably one of the most baby- and toddler-friendly of any Disney park in the world. Other than the thrill rides like Space Mountain or Matterhorn, there are very few attractions that your little one cannot ride. There are a few special attractions in Disneyland, however, that are almost universally a hit with the littlest of visitors. These are ones that are truly can’t-miss. Add these top rides to your family’s list for your next Disneyland vacation with babies and toddlers (and don’t miss my recommendations for Disney California Adventure as well!).
1. Peter Pan’s Flight
Soaring with Peter Pan on an enchanted pirate ship over the city of London and Neverland is an exhilarating adventure for little ones. And it’s pretty fun for their parents too. Although some rides in the dark could be uncomfortable for more sensitive children, this definitely is the least frightening of any of the Disneyland dark rides. Peter Pan’s Flight can have the longest lines of any ride in Disneyland because of its limited capacity, so ride it as early as possible. Ideally, ride it right at rope drop or even during Extra Magic Hour if you have early admission access.
2. it’s a small world
Although the song has been known to drive a parent or two a bit loopy, children tend to adore the classic tune! Plus, the ride offers the chance to see children from around the world and can be an educational opportunity. For toddlers who are starting to recognize Disney characters, help them keep an eye out for Disney characters scattered throughout the ride disguised to look like the classic Mary Blair designs. Also, don’t miss this attraction during the holidays when thousands of dazzling lights adorn the attraction and Christmas carols become part of the theme music.
3. Casey Jr. Circus Train
Most babies and toddlers can never get enough of a good train ride, and Casey Jr. is just their size. Climb into a cabin designed to look like a monkey’s cage or opt for an open top alternative if you think your little one would prefer it. The ride cruises through the same classic fairy tale scenes as the Storybook Land Canal Boats, offering a chance to spot Disney scenes in miniature. One word of warning — while the line for Casey Jr. may look short a lot of times, it might be slower than you think, due to the ride’s low capacity. I would not recommend riding it first thing, but certainly plan to ride it within an hour or two of park opening to minimize waits.
4. Alice in Wonderland
Another not-so-scary dark ride not to miss with babies and toddlers is Alice in Wonderland. Climb aboard a caterpillar train and cruise through the land of the White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat, and Queen of Hearts. The bright colors and familiar characters are usually mesmerizing for young kids.
5. Mad Tea Party
Think the spinning teacups may be a little too thrilling for a baby or toddler? Think again. Most find the dizzying ride hilariously fun. You can also choose how much your tea cup spins by choosing whether or not to spin the center wheel while the ride is in motion. My kids always seem to want me to go faster!
Dumbo is one of the most iconic rides in all of Disneyland and is a major hit with most children. There is nothing quite like the thrill of lifting off and feeling the wind in your hair as you soar with the world’s most famous elephant with bird’s eye view of Fantasyland. Make sure to get a photo of your child on this attraction – it’s always a classic!
7. Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh has been a favorite ride of both of my children during their baby and toddler years because the gentle-hearted bear is so recognizable and beloved. I remember well how my daughter made us ride it five times in a row when she discovered it for the first time a few months shy of her second birthday. The bright neon decor dripping in honey is captivating. The attraction is tucked in the back of Critter Country which often translates into fewer crowds and shorter lines, which keeps everyone in the family happy!
8. Donald’s Boat & Goofy’s Playhouse
Toddlers often need a break from rides on a Disneyland vacation. Taking the opportunity for free play is a smart strategy. When your family needs a break, head for Mickey’s Toontown to look for Donald’s Boat & Goofy’s Playhouse. These two play structures allow little ones to explore and interact with the Disneyland environment at their own pace.
9. King Arthur Carrousel
Right in the center of Fantasyland among several other baby and toddler-friendly attractions is Disneyland’s carousel. Taking a spin is a must-do for families with young kids. The line for this attraction is often very reasonable, so it is a smart ride to save for when lines are long for in-demand attractions like Peter Pan and Dumbo.
10. Disneyland Railroad
While it is still closed for the moment as some Star Wars Land construction takes place, the Disneyland Railroad is a favorite of kids of all ages. The train circles the park, making four different stops, so you can use it as transportation too. Just be aware that strollers must be folded up to take them on board. If you plan to use this ride, bring a nimble umbrella stroller and don’t overload the basket underneath so folding will not be a problem.