10 Disney Attractions for Small Children

1. Dream along with Mickey

Dream along with Mickey is one of the highlights of the Magic Kingdom
Dream along with Mickey is one of the highlights of the Magic Kingdom

Dream along with Mickey is a musical stage show that takes place on the main stage of Cinderellas Castle at The Magic Kingdom. The show takes place at various times of the day and there is an information board with a timetable to the front of the stage, so there are no excuses on missing this magical show.

Arrive a little early to get the best viewpoint (you can actually sit down at the very front of the stage), especially with young ones. It is a 20 minute show in which Mickey teaches his friends if they wish hard enough that their dreams will come true. The show is filled with all of your favorite Disney characters including:

  • Mickey & Minnie
  • Donald Duck
  • Goofy
  • Peter Pan
  • Captain Hook
  • Snow White
  • Prince Charming
  • Princess Aurora
  • Prince Philip
  • Cinderella
  • Maleficent

With the help of the crowd Mickey helps save the Magic Kingdom by defeating the villains in the show. The show climaxes with Mickey & Minnie being hoisted above the stage on a platform in front of a firework display.

2. Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Getting ready for take off
Getting ready for take off

This kids favorite is located in Fantasy Land at The Magic Kingdom, right behind Cinderellas Castle. This aerial carousel type ride is, of course based on the main character from the classic Disney film 'Dumbo'

The ride consists of sixteen vehicles which are mounted on hydraulic arms attached to a central hub. Each vehicle has its own joystick, in which the passengers can use to control whether Dumbo goes up or down.

It is another ride that can be very popular, therefore the waiting times can get quite lengthy. To avoid the queues it is better to head to this ride when the park opens when it is still relatively quiet.

3 Pirates of the Caribbean

Yo Ho Yo Ho! A pirates life for me. One of the most popular rides at the Magic Kingdom and is found in the aptly named adventure land. It might seem an odd choice for young children but our daughter who was only four when we visited absolutely loved it. However it may prove a little scary for some small children.

You board the log flume and head on your way, after a quick encounter with Davey Jones the voyage begins. The ride is dark and misty at times but thoroughly engrossing. You'll see all types of characters including Hector Barbosa and of course Captain Jack Sparrow.

4. The Seas with Nemo & Friends

Located in the Future World pavilion at Epcot, The Sea with Nemo and Friends is a firm favorite with not only children but many grown ups too. It is a great ride for those younger children based on the Disney-Pixar film 'Finding Nemo'.

As you enter the building you pass some pesky segulls uttering "Mine", "Mine", "Mine". Once inside you join the queue in the seashore themed building. This ride can get busy as it is very popular, so it is best to avoid the peak periods.

We found early or late in the day were the best times, in some cases you can literally walk straight on to the ride. In keeping with the sea theme, your vehicle for the ride is the aptly named a 'Clam-Mobile'. As with the film Nemo goes missing and you go on a great journey to find him.

Along the way you'll see many of the characters associated with the film including Marlin, Dory, Mr Ray, Bruce and Crush. As with all Disney films there's a happy ending with Nemo being re-united with his family and friends.

5. Epcot Character Spot

Grabbing photos with the stars of Disney World
Grabbing photos with the stars of Disney World

All of the Disney parks have designated areas where you can meet and greet your favorite Disney characters. You can say hello, get their autograph and have your photo taken with them. This is of course very popular with all children and quite a few grown ups too.

A tip is to buy yourself an autograph book as soon as you arrive at the Disney parks, as you never know when you will meet your first character. The books are designed in a way that stars sign their autograph, while in the opposite page you insert their photo.

Most of the time you will only get the chance to grab individual autographs, while this is well and good, it can involve spending considerable time waiting in queues. In the Future World section of Epcot there is a special Character Spot pavilion, where you can grab five autographs at once and save a lot of time, that would otherwise be spent in a queue.

This character spot pavilion tends to feature the big five stars of Disney, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy and Donald Duck.

6. Fantasmic

This show may not be suitable for some small children as it features several villains and can be a little scary especially as it take place in the dark. Fantasmic is a nighttime laser and light show that is performed near the 'Twilight Zone Tower of Terror' at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

It is easily accessed from the Sunset Boulevard section of the park. It is better to arrive early as the amphitheatre can fill up quite quickly. Fantasmic is performed on an island surrounded by a large moat and the story line involves Sorcerer Mickey battling and eventually defeating the Disney villains.

At one point in the show Malificent transforms herself into a large fire breathing dragon and sets the water alight. The shows finale features a large steamboat (from Steamboat Willie) with many of the Disney Characters singing and waving to the audience as it passes by.

7. Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Voyage of the Little Mermaid can be found in the Animation Courtyard of Hollywood Studios. The show which features live performers, puppets, lasers and other special effects is suitable for the whole family.

It lasts for approximately 15 minutes and recreates the story of the animated movie The Little Mermaid. The show includes the songs Poor Unfortunate Soul, Part of Your World and the award winning Under the Sea.

It should be noted that is quite dark inside the show and this may frighten some of the younger children. Also the part that features Ursula (who is a 12 foot puppet) can be quite scary too.

8. Kilimanjaro Safaris

This ride can be found in the land of Africa at the Animal Kingdom. As the name suggests it is a safari ride through the Harambe wildlife reserve, East Africa. As this is another attraction that is very popular, it is best to arrive early when the park opens and head straight to the ride, to avoid the queues.

Another benefit of arriving early morning is that you normally get the best view of the animals, as many tend to head for cover from the sun as the day gets progressively hotter. A tip is to bring a small pair of binoculars with you, as the terrain is quite vast and the animals often wander some distance away from the track.

Giraffes
Giraffes
Nile Crocodiles
Nile Crocodiles
African Elephants at the watering hole
African Elephants at the watering hole

The journey takes place in a safari truck and the driver / guide keeps you well informed about the animals. In fact you actually feel like you're on a real safari in Africa. A few of the animals you will encounter on this journey are:

  • Lions
  • African elephants
  • Nile crocodiles
  • Hippos
  • Rhinos
  • Giraffes
  • Warthogs
  • Wildebeest
  • Ostriches
  • Antelopes

The journey lasts for just over 20 minutes and traverses an area of 100 acres. The safari can be quite bumpy at times, so it may not be suitable for everyone, particularly expectant mothers or people with spinal or neck injuries.

9. The Boneyard

Located in Dinoland U.S.A, The Boneyard is a large play area suitable for most children, especially the younger ones. Inside you'll find rope ladders, tunnels, slides rocks to climb and areas to explore for those would-be archaeologists.

You never know what you might find here! A note of caution: It can get quite hot in this play area so make sure your children have plenty of drink to prevent them becoming dehydrated.

Kids Discovery Club

The Kids Discovery Club is both fun and educational
The Kids Discovery Club is both fun and educational

Found only at Disney's Animal Kingdom is the Kids Discovery Club where kids can learn about different topics associated with the park. There are six locations where these discovery clubs can be found.

When you enter the first one the child is given a membership card. Each time they complete a task the card is stamped, when all six tasks have been completed they are given a special Rafiki stamp.

The tasks include learning about insects, identifying objects hidden inside a tree trunk and using clues to track a wild animal. The six locations are marked on the tour guide and map with a letter 'K'.

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