Every year, millions of people bring their kids to Walt Disney World for a vacation of a lifetime. So, what are the best things to do at Disney World with a kid? I looked through every attraction at Disney World and compiled this list of attractions that are great for kids, based on approachability, character interaction, and fun. The best part? These are attractions that are great for both adults and kids to enjoy together.
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There’s just something about boat rides at Disney World that provide a gentle kind of fun that’s perfect for kids. Tucked away inside the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot, the Gran Fiesta Tour is part Small World, part cultural tour of Mexico, and 100% relaxing. Kids will love the animated antics of Donald Duck, Panchito, and Jose, the vibrant and colorful sets, and the catchy yet-not-cloying tunes. Adults will love the gentle and romantic ride past the Aztec Temple and diners at the San Angel, the nice cool atmosphere, and, yes, the animated antics, vibrant sets, and catchy tunes as well.
Bonus: This attraction rarely has any sort of wait time, so it’s perfect to go on with a child who is feeling impatient or wants to ride multiple times.
Winnie the Pooh is one of the most popular characters Disney has. If your child loves the adventures of Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and all the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood, then they will be delighted by this dark ride in Fantasyland. Sure, it’s nowhere nearly as impressive as Tokyo Disneyland’s Pooh’s Hunny Hunt, but this ride is full of charm, adventure, and classic Winnie the Pooh songs. There’s even a very mild thrill of “bouncing” during Tigger’s section, which separates this from other dark rides.
One of the best things about Disney World for kids is that it gives them a chance to interact with their favorite characters from Disney & Pixar’s lineup of classic films. These two Pixar-themed attractions take that interaction to the next level, utilizing some of the coolest tech Disney has brought to its theme parks to create unforgettable moments for young ones.
What if the characters from Monsters, Inc opened up a comedy club where they could tell a bunch of Dad jokes? The result is Tomorrowland’s Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor. This comedy show is full of charm and humor, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome. However, what earns this a spot on this list is a bit of Disney Magic. Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor is performed live, so the animated characters up on the screen are interactive and can improvise. There’s a good amount of audience participation in the show, and this makes for a great “blow your kid’s mind” moment. Just try not to be “that guy.” (You’ll get it once you go see the attraction).
What if you and your kids want an close encounter with one of the most popular characters Pixar has ever created? Located in The Seas with Nemo and Friends pavilion, Turtle Talk with Crush is a question and answer show featuring the bodacious turtle Crush. Like Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, this show is performed live and improvised. Next month, Dory will be added to this show. If your kids love Finding Nemo, this is a must-do on your next Disney World vacation.
7) Dumbo The Flying Elephant (Magic Kingdom) and Other Spinners
Spinners are hugely popular among kids, and it’s easy to see why. The sense of “flying,” as gentle and mild as it may be, is just plain fun. Of course, the grand-daddy of them all when it comes to these aerial carousels is Dumbo the Flying Elephant in Storybook Circus. As far as I’m concerned, riding on Dumbo is a rite of childhood passage that every kid should do. The dual-spinner set up allows for short wait-times, and there’s an indoor playground in the queue that gives kids a chance to run around and play.
But Dumbo isn’t the only spinner game in town. Adventureland has The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Tomorrowland has the Astro Orbiter, and Animal Kingdom has TriceraTop Spin. Astro Orbiter will take riders really high up in the air, which will add an extra thrill element for older guests. Still, Dumbo is the original spinner at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom and the most iconic, which earns it a spot on this list.
6) it’s a small world (Magic Kingdom)
Yes, the song will get stuck in your head. However, there is no denying the charm and whimsy of “it’s a small world” that delights and enchants children. From the classic Mary Blair designs to the massive sets, “it’s a small world” has a wondrous scale that is unmatched by other attractions on this list. There’s a reason that this attraction has endured as one of the most iconic Disney Parks rides for the last 50 years. Even great for infants, this gentle boat ride is a must do for little ones in your group.
5) Meet Mickey The Magnificent (Magic Kingdom)
If you’re going to Disney World with children, character meet and greets are an absolute must. Luckily, there is no shortage of meet and greets at the parks. From Cinderella to Chewbacca, Disney World is sure to have a meet and greet with one of your child’s favorite characters. Before you go, buy an autograph book and have your child practice their best picture-taking pose, since you’ll get a lot of use out of both.
In my opinion, there is one meet and greet that stands out from the rest. This is Meet Mickey the Magnificent, located in Town Square at Magic Kingdom. Unlike other Mickey Mouse meet and greets, this Mickey actually talks with an animated face. This makes this particular meet and greet even more interactive. Mickey will even do a magic trick, tell you “Happy Birthday,” or do the “Hot Dog” dance with fans of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show. The results are downright magical.
4) Jedi Training Academy (Hollywood Studios)
Limited to Padawans ages 4-12, Jedi Training Academy is the type of attraction I wish Disney World had when I was a kid. 1) You get to put on a Jedi robe and swing a lightsaber. 2) You get to go head-to-head with some of the baddest villains in the Star Wars galaxy, such as Darth Vader and Star Wars Rebels’ Seventh Sister. 3) Did I mention you get to swing a lightsaber? The show itself is a lot of fun for audience members to enjoy, but Jedi Training Academy is a chance for your kid to be part of the action and get in touch with their inner-Jedi.
If your kid is even somewhat into Star Wars, run, don’t walk. It’s a magical experience only Disney can provide.
3) Peter Pan’s Flight (Magic Kingdom)
Peter Pan’s Flight is one of the original rides that opened with the Magic Kingdom in 1971, and it embodies everything a Fantasyland dark ride should be. The inverted track provides a very mild thrill that is approachable yet still fun. The flying ship ride vehicles are unique and iconic. The scenes are masterfully realized. There’s a reason why this remains one of the most popular rides at Magic Kingdom, even though it’s largely remained unchanged since the park opened. The sense of flight, the wonderful tableaus, and the classic characters make Peter Pan’s Flight a fun ride for kids of all ages.
Be sure to get a FastPass reservation for Peter Pan’s Flight, as it can have some of the longest wait times in the entire park.
2) Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Magic Kingdom)
Speaking of must-get FastPasses, Fantasyland’s newest addition is already an iconic attraction in my opinion. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is just another example of Disney blending a dark ride and a thrill ride with fantastic results. The Mine Train is a smooth roller coaster with two drops and swinging cars. It’s thrilling enough for everyone in the family to have fun together, but isn’t quite as intense as something like Big Thunder Mountain to scare off the younger ones in your group. The mine scene in the middle of the ride is one of the best things Walt Disney Imagineering has ever done, with stunning animatronics and enchanting lighting.
Without a doubt, this is the best “first roller coaster” a kid could ask for.
1) Toy Story Midway Mania (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)
It’s a ride that’s a game. It’s a game that’s a ride! And it’s the best ride for kids at Walt Disney World. Toy Story Mania is a video game at its heart, with 5 different screens featuring unique target shooting and ring toss games. The game is simple to approach for the kids, yet has enough complexity and secret bonuses to remain challenging for teens and adults. Kids of all ages can ride it, it features some of the most beloved characters in the Disney Pixar pantheon, and the game is downright fun. Most likely, everyone in your party will want to ride it again and again. Like the last two entries, be sure to make FastPass reservations in order to make those repeat rides a reality.
That’s it for our Top 10 Best Attractions for Kids at Disney World. Is there anything that we left off? Let us know in the comments below!