No, toddlers aren’t too young to enjoy Disneyland! In fact, there’s so much for toddlers and preschoolers to do at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, that you can’t possibly do it all in one trip. Focus on some key attractions and making special memories, and be sure to leave time for snacks, naps and the hotel pool.
These are our recommendations for the best Disneyland rides for toddlers, plus some character interactions and shows they’ll absolutely love.
Best Disneyland Rides for Toddlers
Walk across the drawbridge at Sleeping Beauty Castle, directly into Fantasyland, where there’s a number of attractions devoted to the toddler set.
Alice in Wonderland
Board a caterpillar vehicle for a windy path down the rabbit hole, past multiple characters from the beloved children’s book and film, including a grinning Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, and Queen of Hearts.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
The quintessential Disneyland attraction, Dumbo the Flying Elephant has taken children and parents soaring above a water feature ever since the theme park’s 1955 opening.
Peter Pan’s Flight
Climb aboard a flying pirate ship and sail high above the rooftops of London, past Big Ben, and on to Neverland in this classic 1955 opening day attraction.
Over in Adventureland, your trusty jungle boat Skipper points out some of his favorite sights along the world’s most famous rivers.
“it’s a small world”
“The Happiest Cruise That Ever Sailed” features a boat ride past whimsical dolls singing the timeless Sherman Brothers tune “it’s a small world (after all).” This 1966 World’s Fair attraction is even better during the yuletide season, when it’s outfitted with twinkling lights and festive decor.
Best Disneyland Character Meet-and-Greets for Toddlers
- Mickey Mouse at Toontown
- Tinker Bell at Pixie Hollow
- Disney Princesses at Royal Hall and Fantasy Faire Courtyard
Best Disneyland Shows for Toddlers
- Magic Happens Parade: Disneyland’s latest daytime parade celebrates the moments of magic that take place in Disney films such as Frozen 2, Coco, the Sword in the Stone, and Cinderella.
- Mickey and the Magical Map: This short, 20-minute show features songs from a number of Disney movies, including The Jungle Book, Mulan, and Tangled. Located in the Fantasyland Theatre, Mickey Mouse takes the audience on a wild journey through a Magical Map.
- Fantasmic!: A longtime favorite, Fantastic! uses water and pyrotechnics on the Rivers of America as Mickey Mouse uses his imagination in a battle against the Disney Villains. Note that this show might be intense for little ones, with a 45-foot-tall fire-breathing dragon. But rest assured, there’s a happy ending (in typical Disney fashion).
Best Disney California Adventure Rides for Toddlers
Disney California Adventure is the second theme park at Disneyland Resort, and, of course, also has a number of rides and attractions suitable for toddlers—especially those who love the Pixar characters and films.
Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind
Located along Pixar Pier, this is a spinner ride where families ride in brightly colored “memory movers.”
Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
Sit in a tractor trailer for this cute, musical, whip-spinning, figure-8 hoedown with Mater’s eclectic music tastes.
The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
This classic Disney dark ride takes little ones under the sea, through scenes from the 1989 film, aboard a clamshell ride vehicle.
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
Let your preschooler burn some energy by climbing, swinging, and sliding along an outdoor-inspired, forest-like trail and playground.
Jessie’s Critter Carousel
Jessie from Toy Story 2 hosts the rootin-est, tootin-est carousel ride in the whole wild West.
Best Disney California Adventure Character Meet-and-Greets for Toddlers
- Anna, Elsa and Olaf at Hollywood Land
- Black Panther, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man at Hollywood Land
- Woody, Jessie, Buzz, and more Pixar Pals at Pixar Pier
- Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Daisy in super-swell 1930’s clothing on Buena Vista Street
Best Disney California Shows for Toddlers:
- Disney Junior Dance Party: If your little one cannot keep still during their favorite Disney Junior shows, this dance party is for them. Vampirina, Doc McStuffins, and The Lion Guard all take part in this bubble-blowing, music laden party.
- Frozen – Live at the Hyperion: Little ones who can’t “Let it Go” will love this one-hour version of Frozen performed live on stage. This is a great theater introduction for kids who want to sing along to the show.
- World of Color: End your day at the Disneyland theme parks with the wonderful world of color. Lights, fountains, and water projections bring music and scenes from favorite Disney movies and Pixar films to life.
Dave Parfitt lives in Rochester, New York, with his wife and two daughters. A runner with a PhD in neuroscience, he lived in numerous Northeastern and Midwestern U.S. cities before taking a college job in the Finger Lakes. He’s traveled worldwide, but a Walt Disney World trip with two budding princesses is the trip that elicited the family travel wanderlust. He shares his vacation tips and tricks on AdventuresbyDaddy.com.