Top Tips for Disneyland with Kids: ‘Must Do’ Rides By Age
Alright guys, this is it. The last week in the series, Top Tips for Disneyland with Kids. This week I am taking you through the must do rides and attractions by age group. There is so much to do and see at Disneyland and California Adventure and I’m here to give you the run down on what kids in each age group love to do when visiting the parks!
Keep in mind while viewing this list that every child is different. Some younger children may be able to handle the bigger rides, while some of the older children might not be ready for the intensity of rides listed in their age group. It’s best to allow your child to watch the ride, and or talk to them about it, before deciding to hop on. You want your Disney trip full of fun and excitement, not stress and tears. It is the happiest place on earth, after all!
‘Must Do’ For Kids 3 Years Old and Under:
If you think it’s a waste to take a child 3 or under to Disneyland, think again! Check out my post, Why You Should Take Your Young Kids To Disneyland. And remember kids 3 and under are FREE!
It’s a Small World. This is one of the most well-known rides at Disneyland and a favorite of most young kids. It’s no surprise with the hundreds of brightly colored, animated dancing and singing, dolls and animals. Although the song will get stuck in your head, it’s a great ride to go on during the warmer months to cool down. (Tip: Once you get to the point in line where you choose which side to walk down to get on a boat, head to the right side, the line always moves faster.)
Fantasyland. This is the ultimate area for young kids. Rides include Dumbo, Peter Pan, King Arthur Carrousel, Casey Jr. Circus Train and more. Keep in mind that these lines get long, and there are no fast passes. It’s best to hit Fantasyland right when the park opens. During the fireworks, a lot of the rides in Fantasyland are closed down and remained closed for 30 minutes after the show. (Warning: Snow White, Pinocchio and Mr. Toads Wild Ride all have parts that may be scary for some children.)
The Many Adventures of Whinnie the Pooh. This is a fun ride that features scenes from the Whinnie the Pooh movie. The line is usually pretty short as the ride is tucked away in critter country next to splash mountain. (Tip: Ask to sit in the middle or last row. The front of the car comes up pretty high and makes it hard for the smaller kids to see.)
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage: This ride is an underwater adventure where you explore the open sea while helping Marlin and Dory search for Nemo. There are a lot of incredible effects through out the ride which make it a big hit for both kids and adults. (Note: There is not a lot of space in the submarine and you sit very close to your neighbor. If you are claustrophobic, this is not the ride for you.)
The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure: This has always been my girls favorite ride! A giant clamshell takes you under the sea where you meet Ariel and follow her journey to find her love Prince Eric. Watch out for Ursla the sea witch. All of your favorite songs from the movie are created into amazing scenes. Be prepared to dace and sing your way through the entire ride.
King Triton’s Carousel: This carousel is named after Arie’s father, from the movie, The Little Mermaid. On this carousel you will find different sea creatures instead of your typical horse.
A Bug’s Land: This super cute area is themed after Pixars hit movie, A Bug’s Life. There are several rides fit for the younger kids and 2 different splash pads. When we visit Disneyland during the hotter months, the splash pad is big hit for our entire family! (Warning: There is a 3D show, It’s Tough To Be A Bug, that is super scary for the little kids.)
Disney Jr. Show: This interactive show is so much fun and features all the Mickey Mouse Club House characters, along with Disney Jr. favorites, Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Be sure to get there early as a line forms about 30 minutes prior to the start time. Be sure to sit back away from the stage. There are no chairs in this theater and it can be hard to see the characters on stage if you sit too close.Top Tips for Disneyland with Kids: 'Must Do' Rides By Age! Click To Tweet
‘Must Do’ For Kids 4 – 6 Years Old :
Everything listed in the previous age group.
Tea Cups: Another Disneyland favorite! You sit in a giant tea-cup and spin around and around. Don’t worry, a wheel in the center lets you control how fast or slow you want your tea-cup to go.
Astro Orbiter: This ride is found in Tomorrowland and is similar to Dumbo, but much faster. You can control how high or low you want your rocket to fly by pushing or pulling on the lever.
Autopia: This ride is also found in Tomorrowland, and the kids love it. With a real gas pedal and steering wheel, your child gets to see first hand what it’s like to drive a car. Don’t worry the cars all sit on top of a guard rail to keep everyone safe.
Toon Town. This is where your kids can visit the houses of the Mickey Mouse Club House Characters. You can meet Minnie and Mickey at the end of their house tour. The lines are usually pretty long to meet the characters, however they do keep the line moving pretty quickly because they don’t allow much interaction. If you are looking for a more interactive experience I suggest using the app to find out where they are going to be around the park and meet up with them there. There are 2 rides in Toon Town, Goofy’s Roller Coaster and Roger Rabbit Cartoon Spin. (Roger Rabbit might be a bit scary for younger kids.)
Fantasy fare: This is the BEST place to interact with the princesses. There are always 3 princesses in the hall and your kids get one on one time with each of them. We have always had an amazing experience here!
Mickey and the Magical Map: This is a fun interactive show that both kids and adults will enjoy. This show features popular charters and songs from different Disney movies. Be sure to get there early as people start lining up about 40 minutes prior to show time. (Tip: Sit in the first row of the second section. This is the best view of the stage and you will get the most out of the surprises during the show.)
Monsters Inc.: If your kids love Monsters Inc., they will love this ride. Once you hop aboard the taxi you instantly feel as if you are in Monstropolis. This super cute ride takes you through the entire movie from start to finish. (Tip: As soon as you go through the last set of doors on the ride you will see a video camera. Wave, point, shout, do whatever to get their attention. There is a person working behind the wall, and as you pass the camera and pull up to Number 1 just before exiting the ride, she will pick a person to talk to. More than likely if you get their attention it will be you, or someone in your row!)
Toy Story Mania: This fast paced, 3D carnival themed ride is a blast! If you like video games, carnival rides, or the Toy Story movies, you have to go on this. You compete against the other competitors in your car in a series of virtual carnival games. Even if you don’t win, you will leave the ride laughing.
Golden Zephyr: This fun ride takes you for a spin over the water. It’s great for the younger, more adventurous kids and just as fun for older kids!
Cars Land: As soon as you step foot in Cars Land you feel like you are in the middle of Radiator Springs. Seriously, Disney created a spitting image of the movie and it’s pretty awesome! There are 3 rides, Radiator Springs Racers (My 4 year olds favorite ride), Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, and the new Luigis Rollickin’ Roadsters. There is also a lot of good eats! Even if your kids are too young to go on the rides, it’s fun to just walk through!
Turtle Talk with Crush: This show is one of my favorites! It’s located in Hollywood Land, in the Disney Animation Building. If you love Finding Nemo, you will love this cute interactive show featuring Crush the turtle and now Dory as well. (Tip: The kids who sit in on the floor in the front row are usually the ones who get picked to interact with Crush.)
‘Must Do’ For Kids 7 – 10 Year Old:
Everything listed in the previous age group.
Pirates of the Caribbean: This ride is a Disney classic. Jump aboard a boat and sail your way through a pirate story. Visit a Pirates grotto, a ship battle, a town square, a burning city and a dungeon; all while singing the popular song, “Yo Ho, Yo Ho (A Pirates life for me).”
The Matterhorn: Watch out for the Abominable Snowman as you race through the icy slopes of Switzerland’s most famous peak. (Tip: There are 2 tracks to choose from, one in Fantasyland and one near Tomorrowland. Although the track are almost identical, the Fantasyland track is slightly longer and has sharper turns.)
Space Mountain: Another all time favorite! This roller coaster is a high-speed outer space adventure! The ride is entirely in the dark and features many unexpected drops, twists and turns. If you love roller coasters you have to check this out!
Star Tours: If you are a fan of Start Wars you, will love this 3D, motion stimulated space flight. There are many different story lines so if you decided to ride twice, chances are you will have a different experience!
Indiana Jones Adventure: This ride is fun from the moment you enter the temple. Waiting in line is part of the adventure as there are many things to look at. (Tip: When you go through the hall with the spikes in the ceiling, shake the poll near the center on the left side. This will cause the ceiling to drop a bit and give a bit of a scare to those waiting in line.) The ride it’s self is a fast paced, exciting adventure.
Splash Mountain: This fun water ride takes you through critter country as you follow Br’er Rabbit on a search for his laughing place. There are a couple drops before you get to the main 5 story drop. Be prepared to get wet! (Tip: If it’s hot out, this ride will have a long line ALL day! Get a fastpass!)
Haunted Mansion: Not quite as scary as it sounds, but if your younger kids are afraid of the dark you might not want to take them on this one. This slow-moving ride takes you through an old “haunted” mansion, where you are introduced to many ghosts and ghouls. One of my favorite parts of the ride is the elevator that takes you down to board your doom buggy.
Radiator Springs: This fun ride takes you through the back story of how Radiator Springs came to be before bursting into action and racing the car next to you. (Tip: This ride always has a long line and fast passes are usually done for the day by noon, or earlier if it’s a busy day. Get a fast pass as soon as the park opens!)
Tower of Terror: This is my favorite ride in the park! This ride features the hit series,The Twilight Zone. You board an old service elevator in the old Hollywood Tower Hotel, and are guided through a back story of how 5 people long ago mysteriously vanished in an elevator. Then you go through a fun series of rise and quick falls. If you love free-fall, this is the ride for you! (Tip: Disney recently announced that they will be closing the ride early 2017 and replacing it with a Guardians of the Galaxy Experience. BOO!)
California Screamin’ Roller Coaster: This fun ride take you from 0 to 55 mph in 4 seconds at the launch! There is one loop and a bunch of fun drops and turns. This is the only ride in both parks that takes you upside down. A must do for roller coaster lovers.
Soarin’ Around the World: This is such a fun simulator ride! You sit in front of an 80 foot projection dome as you soar around the world. This ride features a bird’s eye view of the Great Wall of China, Pyramids of Egypt, Sydney Harbour, and more.
Parades and Fireworks:
Paint the Night Parade. If you are going to watch a parade at Disneyland, make it the Paint the Night Parade! This dazzling, high energy parade features over one million lights on floats, characters and performers. It is truly amazing and so much fun! A MUST SEE! (Tip: People start lining up for the parade hours in advance. So be sure to stake out your spot early!)
Fireworks: Disneyland’s firework show is flat-out spectacular! If you stand in front of It’s a Small World or Sleeping Beauty’s Castle you will also get a visual effects show. My favorite place to watch is the circle right in front of the castle. Not only do you have a great view of the visual effects, but you are also surrounded by pyrotechnics. Incredible!
Pixar Play Parade: This fun interactive parade features characters from hit Pixar films like, Monsters University, Finding Nemo, Toy Story, and more! During the warmer months they add water and spray the crowds. It’s a great way to cool down! (Tip: Sit near the winery, it tends to be less crowded.)
World of Color: This amazing show project scenes from some of your favorite Pixar movies onto a 19,000 square foot water screen. Along with the images, there’s music and several other effects. This show is a must see!
And that’s a wrap on my series, Top Tips for Disneyland with Kids! I hope you had as much fun with this series as I did and learned some good tips! If you miss any part of the series, no worries, I have included all the links below. If you have any questions regarding an upcoming visit to the parks or have some tips that you’d like to add please do so below!
Have a magical day!
Want to get the best Disney gear before you head to the park? Check out my Disney Trip Must Have Guide!