Taking a toddler to the Disneyland Resort can be fun and exciting…and tiring and frustrating all at once. Then again, let’s be honest, it can be down-right frustrating taking a squirmy, wiggly, opinionated toddler anywhere. With that in mind, here is the Babes In Disneyland list of the best attractions for toddlers at the Disneyland Resort. This list was compiled using reader input on our Facebook page and our own personal experiences. Best of all, all five of these attractions are known for having relatively short waits when compared with other attractions at the Disneyland Resort–even on crowded days.
1. “it’s a small world”(Disneyland)
There’s something funny about “it’s a small world.” There comes a time when we are teenagers that we end up saying thatlo we can’t stand the attraction–maybe it’s the dolls, maybe it’s the song on a op…stuck in our heads for days afterward. The bottom line is that at some point it becomes “uncool.” There’s something funny about “it’s a small world.” There comes a time when we are teenagers that we end up saying that we can’t stand the attraction–maybe it’s the dolls, maybe it’s the song on a loop…stuck in our heads for days afterward. The bottom line is that at some point it becomes “uncool.”
Then, one day, something magical happens. A mother takes her child on “it’s a small world” for the first time and sees the wonder in her baby’s eyes and she falls in love with the attraction all over again.
As a Disneyland fan, I adore “it’s a small world” for a number of reasons. I love that it is an important piece of Disney history. The attraction originally debuted at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York and was for many, their first experience with a Disney attraction. I love the costumes and the beauty that could have only been created by Mary Blaire. I love Alice Davis’ costumes and even the new additions of the Disney characters throughout the attraction.
As a parent, I love “it’s a small world” because of the look in my boys’ eyes every time we ride it. I love seeing them discover (and rediscover) different elements each time we ride. Whenever we board “the happiest cruise that has ever sailed,” I’m taken back to my own childhood and my amazement at the attraction. I always asked my parents if we could ride it three times on our yearly visits–once so I could look at every detail on the right of the boat, once so I could look at all of the details to the left and once so I could look at every detail up above. My parents never indulged me in my request. Perhaps that would just be liking the attraction a little too much…
Throughout the years, many have criticized “it’s a small world” because of how easy it is to see the attractions “workings,” doors, etc. While I agree that it isn’t perhaps the best attraction when it comes to camouflage, when looking at it through a child’s eyes we are all reminded of the importance of seeing things for their total beauty and message and to not sweat the small stuff.
Toddler Tip: Always pick the line to the right. It looks longer, but actually loads guests quicker, as the line on the left accommodates not only guests in the general line, but those with wheelchairs and special needs who are accessing the attraction through a third line. Also don’t forget to shield the eyes of children who may be sensitive to light changes as your boat leaves the attraction.
2. Ariel’s Under Sea Adventure (Disney California Adventure Park)
The newest attraction to make our toddler-friendly list, Ariel’s Under Sea Adventure, takes families under the sea in a clam shell similar to the “doom buggies” at the Haunted Mansion. This attraction showcases the latest advances in audioanimatronics and is quickly becoming a classic. I wrote a review of the attraction when it came out last summer–complete with video and quotes from my interviews with the attraction’s creators. Check it out by clicking here.
3. Monsters Inc.: Mike and Sully to the Rescue (Disney California Adventure)
This is a slow-moving “dark ride,”similar to what is found in Disneyland’s Fantasyland. If your children like the movie Monsters, Inc. they’ll love the attraction. My kids love that the ride vehicle looks like a taxi and that there’s lots for kids to look at while in line.
4. King Arthur’s Carrousel (Disneyland) and King Triton’s Carousel (Disney California Adventure)
Is there anything more magical than riding aboard a carousel and watching the park go by? We board at least one (if not both carousels) on every visit. They both typically have the shortest lines of any attraction in either park which means when your toddler is sick of being in his or her stroller and needs to have some fun STAT, you can have them aboard a horse or sea creature in mere minutes.
5. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Disneyland)
Located in Critter County, this attraction replaced the infamous Country Bear Jamboree–a former guest favorite. To be perfectly honest, while this attraction did show up in our very unscientific Facebook poll, it is not one of my personal favorites and I much prefer the Walt Disney World version.
This “dark ride” takes guests into Winnie the Pooh’s world and while many children love it, my kids have always been a little frightened by the psychedelic hefalump and woozle scene. Admittedly, in spite of my kids not loving it, it is a go-to attraction on crowded days because of its relatively short line.
Toddler tip: Are you dying to go on Splash Mountain but can’t with your toddler? Get FASTPASSES and use a rider switch pass! Here’s what we do: We get the FASTPASSES for everyone in our family who can ride Splash Mountain. We then head over and have lunch at the Hungry Bear Restaurant and then wait to meet Tigger and Pooh at their photo location. By the time we have finished with both of those, it is typically time to ride Splash Mountain. While the rest of our party goes on the attraction, one of us goes with the toddler on Winnie the Pooh. By the time everyone gets off Splash Mountain, the person who stayed with the toddler and one other person from the party go on Splash Mountain using the Rider Switch pass.