Magic Kingdom Rides & Attractions for Families with Small Children

February 1, 2009 at 8:03 pm Leave a comment

Families with babies or preschoolers often wonder if there is anything at Walt Disney World Resort for the little ones to ride or if there will be rides or attractions that the whole family can enjoy together.   This very issue was at the heart of Walt Disney’s vision for his theme parks – he wanted to build a place that multi-generations could enjoy together.   You will certainly find thrill rides and some rides with height requirements at each of the Disney parks but you’ll also find enough attractions appropriate for all age groups to fill a very full day at each of the WDW parks.   Most of the rides in this series will be appropriate for everyone but we’ll warn you if there is anything at all that might scare a timid child.

Magic Kingdom Rides for the Whole Family

Main Stree U.S.A. Area

  • Main Street Vehicles ~ Horse drawn trolleys, and replicas of antique cars, jitneys, and an old-style Fire Engine carry passengers along Main Street.
  • Walt Disney World Railroad ~ Steam train ride around the perimeter of the park with stops at Main Street USA, Mickey’s Toontown Fair, and Frontierland.

Fantasyland Area

  • The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ~ Sweet ride with scenes from the classic Disney Winnie the Pooh stories. I encouraged the Pooh videos when my children were young because of the emphasis on kindness – now my college aged kids always ride this ride because it reminds them of their childhood.
  • Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel ~ Beautiful antique carousel, built in 1917.
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant ~ This is the quintessential Disney Fantasyland ride and a favorite photo opportunity. Heights might bother some children. TIP: Ride this as soon as the park opens to avoid long lines. Be sure you’re not facing into the sun when taking photos.
  • Its A Small World ~ Gentle boat ride with a song that is sure to get stuck in your head. This is a classic ride that “everyone loves to hate”. You can’t rightly claim to have been at Walt Disney World if you haven’t been on this ride.
  • Mad Tea Party ~ Another instantly recognizable quintessential Disney ride. Sit in a teacup and spin like mad. May cause motion sickness.
  • Mickey’s Philharmagic 3-D:  3-D movie where problems arise when Donald Duck gets ahold of Sorcerer Mickey’s hat.  Not terribly scary but some children find the experience uncomfortably intense and do better watching without the 3-D glasses.
  • Peter Pan’s Flight ~ You ride in pirate boats that float above scenes of London and Neverland at night. It is a gentle ride and most kids are fine. Timid children might be bothered by the dark or the height.
  • Pooh’s Thoughtful Spot (play area) ~ Soft sculpture area perfect for photographs and releasing wiggles.
  • Snow White’s Scary Adventure ~ Children sensitive to the Disney villains might be bothered by this ride that passes through some of the scarier scenes from Snow White.
  • Storytime with Belle ~ Belle, from Beauty & the Beast, leads a story time in the Fairytale Garden that includes a few members from the audience.

Fantasyland Area

  • Enchanted Tiki Room (show) ~ Most Disney shows are 20 – 30 minutes long. This one has singing birds. Sound of thunder might frighten some little ones.
  • Jungle Cruise ~ Gentle boat ride past animatronic animals and people. Boat captains tell corny jokes. Strangely, this scared my daughter after dark – though she was fine on it during daylight hours.
  • Magic Carpets of Aladdin ~ This ride works just like the Dumbo ride. You sit in a Magic Carpet and can use the controls to go up and down, while the ride goes around in a circle.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean ~ This is a gentle boat ride but pirate scenes may frighten some small children.

Adventureland Area

  • Country Bear Jamboree ~ Corny, hokey show featuring animatronic bears. Great spot to escape the heat.
  • Swiss Family Treehouse ~ Walk through a treehouse inspired by the 1960s Disney film. You will climb stairs.
  • Tom Sawyer’s Island ~ No rides, just a great spot to run around and explore. It is the kind of “Secret Hideout” every child would love to have.

Fantasyland Area

  • All of “Mickey’s Toontown Fair” can be enjoyed my children and their families with the possible exception of Goofy’s Barnstormer Rollercoaster (must be 35 inches tall / 89 cm).  Older children may find these attractions too juvenille.
  • Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farms  ~ A quick child’s rollercoaster – older kids & adults may ride too.(must be 35 inches tall / 89 cm). If this is your child’s first rollercoaster ride, you can ask for a small souvenir card (free) to commemorate the event.
  • Donald’s Boat – Climbing & play area attraction.
  • Mickey’s Country House ~ Walk-through attraction leading to a Mickey Mouse meet & greet area.
  • Minnie’s Country House ~ Walk-through attraction.   TIP: Be sure to try buttons and levers in the kitchen.
  • Toontown Hall of Fame / Judges Tent ~ Princess & Mickey Mouse Meet & Greet opportunity.   TIP: The lines get long here so head over as soon as this area opens – typically about 1 hour after regular park opening.

Tommorowland Area

  • Astro-orbiter – Another ride where you rotate around the center column and use the ride controls to go either up or down. This draws long lines that move slowly.
  • Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin ~ Fun ride, perfect for everyone. It is like being in a bright arcade game where you try to hit targets with a laser shooter.
  • Carousel of Progress: (Open only during peak seasons) Look into homes from four different eras since the turn of the last century; highlights significant inventions. Initially developed for the 1964-65 World’s Fair and moved to Walt Disney World in 1973. May not hold the attention of many little kids..
  • Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club ~ Silly interactive show featuring Mike Wazowski. Children will recognize the characters from Monster’s Inc. The show tells corny jokes in an effort to make humans laugh. Very cute, especially if your preschooler has reached the corny joke stage of development. Tomorrowland Transit Authority ~ Gentle ride around the Tomorrowland area. This is a great ride if older siblings are riding Space Mountain because this actually passes through the Space Mountain attraction at one point. Tell your little one that it’ll be a little dark but they’ll be able to see what big sister/big brother is riding.

Liberty Square Area

  • Hall of Presidents ~ 20 minute show featuring animatronic presidents of the United States. It is a rare toddler that will be interested in this attraction but the relative quiet and the air conditioned setting is a good spot to encourage a crabby little one to fall asleep for awhile.
  • Haunted Mansion ~ No height requirements and most of the spooks are all in fun but the darkness and occasional screams (mostly teen-aged tourists) could easily frighten most pre-schoolers. My own daughter wasn’t bothered by the “ghosts” but somehow became convinced that the family cat was a vampire after riding this ride. Be aware of how well your young child understands the difference between reality and fantasy.
  • Liberty Square Riverboat ~ Steam-powered sternwheeler boat ride along the Magic Kingdom’s “Rivers of America”.

Additional Options

  • Parades, fireworks and other live entertainment.
  • Outside the park – Monorail & boat launches to the Magic Kingdom area resort hotels. TIP: Ask to ride in the front of the monorail (limit: 4 people). You may have to wait for one or two monorails to pass before there is an open space. Some monorail drivers give the kids a little “Monorail Co-Pilot” card to commemorate the experience.

Honesty requires me to tell you that children can ride the “Tomorrowland Indy Speedway” but I have to warn you that this line is long, hot, and slow and the ride is not nearly as fun as it looks – a riding lawn mower is more fun. The driver must be at least 52″ tall. Try to direct your child’s attention elsewhere.

Rides with Height Requirements (from smallest to tallest):

  • Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacres Farm – Must be 35 inches tall / 89 cm. Rollercoaster.
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Must be 40 inches tall / 102 cm. Must be 35 inches tall / 89 cm. Great first step into the world of big people roller coasters. I prefer to ride this after dark.
  • Splash Mountain ~ Must be 40 inches tall / 102 cm.  Log flume ride that first goes through delightful scenes from Briar Rabbit stories. TIP: Little ones too small to ride can play in a small soft-sculpture play area near the stroller parking and restrooms. TIP: The Walt Disney World Railroad passes through this ride so little ones can still feel like they’ve had a bit of the experience.
  • Stitch’s Great Escape ~ Must be 40 inches tall / 102 cm. Special harnesses come down over your shoulder to provide sensory experiences that correspond with the things Stitch does. You may experience air jets, drops of water, chili cheese dog smells. The experience is dark at times and some kids are very upset by “naughty” Stitch – as opposed to the more enlightened Stitch we know from the end of the Lilo & Stitch movie.
  • Space Mountain ~ Must be 44 inches tall / 112 cm.  Dark, space themed roller coaster.
  • Tommorowland Indy Speedway ~ Must be 52 inches tall / 132 cm to drive the cars.

Remember that Build A Better Mouse Trip will provide – at no extra charge –  custom touring plans to keep you ahead of the crowds and out of the long lines when you book your Disney vacation through us.

Entry filed under: Magic Kingdom, Preschoolers, Rides and Attractions, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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