When most people think of theme parks, they usually picture adrenaline-fuelled roller coasters and terrifying thrill rides – which are generally not suitable for the tiny tots! Florida is a wonderful place for families, so which rides should you head for when you’ve got an under-5 in tow?
These are just a few which I (and my 4 year-old!) consider to be some of the best rides for toddlers in Orlando:
Walt Disney World
it’s a small world (New Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom)
It drives parents mad and you will not stop singing the song for the rest of your holiday, but young children absolutely love this attraction! It does have a really nice message and is a good rest for weary legs. Be prepared to go on it again, and again, and again …
Prince Charming Regal Carousel (New Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom)
What little prince or princess wouldnt want to climb up onto a beautifully decorated horse (some with real gold!) and ride up and down to old-fashioned organ music? Have your camera ready.
The Barnstormer (Story Book Circus, New Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom)
So long as your little one is 89cm or above, they can ride on their very own mini roller coaster. The Great Goofini will take them on their first thrill ride – my then 3-year-old sat with her hands in the air saying “weeeeeeeee!” all the way around.
Disney Junior Live on Stage – (Animation Courtyard, Hollywood Studios)
Although not a ride, this amazing show HAS to get a mention. Anyone who has the Disney Junior Channel will know the characters (currently Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sofia the First, Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Doc McStuffins) and I defy anyone not to have a tear in their eye when they see their child singing and dancing along to their favourite songs. Sniff!
The Seas – with Nemo and Friends (Future World, EPCOT)
Kids love boarding the clamobile and floating through the ocean to try to find the little clown fish. This is a lovely, cool and sedate ride, which leads out into a massive aquarium in the pavilion.
Tikes Peak at Disneys Blizzard Beach or Ketchakiddee Creek at Typhoon Lagoon too – areas especially for those standing at 48 inches and under, with some mini versions of the adult slides.
Universal Studios / Islands of Adventure
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem (Universal Studios)
My then 3-year-old thought this was absolutely hilarious and laughed all the way through. Everyone loves those pesky minions and this is fun for all the family with great technology.
Shrek 4D (Universal Studios)
Plenty of in-jokes and adult humour for the parents, whilst the animation and moving seats provides fun galore for the kiddies.
The Cat in the Hat (Seuss Landing, Islands of Adventure)
You’ll probably spend most of your day in this land if your little one has any say. It is a really fun area and this ride is its showcase. Do not ride if you have just eaten – although great fun, it’s really spinny!
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (Seuss Landing, Islands of Adventure)
Otherwise known as “how wet can I get mummy?” in our house. You fly up and down as water squirts you in time to music. I wonder why children love it??!
Under-5s also really love the Caro-Seuss-el and will want to ride as many times as they can.
Shamu’s Happy Harbor at Seaworld Orlando is a whole area dedicated to youngsters, and all of the SeaWorld shows are child friendly.
My then 3 year-old especially liked Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island – a show starring two lovable, mischievous sea lions.
More Toddler Tips from the Disney Mum:
How to keep your child entertained on the flight to Florida
How to enjoy the Orlando parks with a toddler
The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique: A mum’s review
Where to meet the Disney World Princesses!
Easy ways to keep cool (and still have fun) at Florida’s theme parks