We all know that planning a Walt Disney World Vacation can be a lot of work–but what about throwing in some little kids into the mix?
Truly the best time to take your kids to Disney World is now! I can promise you that toddlers sometimes have more fun than the bigger kids do. There’s something so sweet about little ones enjoying the park before they start to grow up. Plus you can still pick them up if you need to, and going back to the resorts for a nap is totally a-ok!
So what’s the best park at Walt Disney World for toddlers? Well if your in a rush, You can simply pick Magic Kingdom and call it a day! Magic kingdom has a ton of stuff to do for toddlers and you will not be disappointed.
What about the best rides for toddlers? Or the best places for character meets? Or the best places to relax with toddlers? You’ll find the answers to all of those vacation planning questions and more below!
Since your headed to Disney World with your two or three year old in tow, hop over to this toddler planning guide to get all the details you need for planning a magical vacation. If you’ve got a travel planner and are a traveling pro, then double check this toddler packing guide to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything for your trip!
Need to know if your 2 yr old will enjoy Disney World? Here’s a thorough breakdown to help you decide (and plan!) your Disney vacation with a two year old.
The Walt Disney World park that has the best rides for toddlers
Winner: Magic Kingdom
Runner Up: Epcot
This award easily goes to our favorite and most popular park, Magic Kingdom. At Magic Kingdom, you’ll find so many parks for the younger ones to enjoy. (Though Haunted Mansion could be scary- depends on your kid, My 2 yr old is NOT a fan!
The other great thing about Magic Kingdom rides with a toddler is that there are just SO MANY to ride on! If the line for one of the rides is longer than your toddler can stand (about 20-30 minutes in the best of times) then you can find another ride that has a better line.
Heading over to Universal Studios with your toddler? There’s a park over there that has great rides for toddlers… and one that doesn’t have hardly any!
Some of our favorites include the Dumbo ride, (especially because it has a hidden playground inside!), and the Jungle Cruise.We also love to go on the Pirates of the Caribbean and you absolutely HAVE to do the people mover.
The people mover is literally Walt Disney’s gift to those people that want a solid 10 minutes to do nothing and just relax! This is a great ride to do a few times with your toddler.
Which leads me to the runner up, Epcot! There’s quite a few rides for toddlers at Epcot, more than both Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.
Epcot’s rides are also generally closer together, which makes it very convient to go from one ride to the other. For example, in the World Showcase, both the Three Calebros ride in Mexico and The Frozen Ride in Norway are very close together! You can park your stroller by the bathrooms in Norway and easily hit up both spots!
Or you can park the strollers in the shared location in between The Land and The Sea pavilion as you enjoy The Finding Nemo ride and Living with the Land!
Either way, both Magic Kingdom and Epcot are fantastic parks when it comes to rides for toddlers! Headed to all four parks? You can see the top 10 rides for toddlers at Disney World for your itinerary planning!
#1 Disney World Park with the most play places for toddlers
Runner Up: Magic Kingdom
We all know that kids love to play. And while Magic Kingdom has quite a few smaller hidden areas for the littles to run around, they are often small and tucked back.
But if you want an actual playground that you don’t have to catch a boat or jump through a ride to get to, head to Epcot!
Yes! Epcot, which is world renowned for festivals catering to adults, actually has a lot of great stuff for the little ones. You’ll find most of the larger play spaces in Future World. Inside The Seas Pavillion, there’s a play space featuring some friends from Nemo.
There’s also two splash pads in this area AND if you go in the back entrance to Mission Space, there is a playground indoors with A/C, called “Space Base”.
Then during the Spring and Fall festivals, Disney adds some popup play areas. These are generally between the walkway by Imagination with Figment and the entrance to Canada.
If you want a smaller option for letting off some play time steam, Magic Kingdom has a few areas for your toddlers to play!
In the Big Top area, you’ll find two play spaces. The first is Casey jr. Splash and Soak, which is a legit Splash Pad. Good news, there’s bathrooms close by for a change! Then hop on Dumbo, and you can enjoy a two story playground with air conditioning! There’s also a smaller section for the less adventous toddlers to play.
You can see all over the play areas in the Disney World Parks in this guide, but just know that you can’t go wrong with Epcot or Magic Kingdom!
And if you find yourself needing a break in the parks, you can always head over to the Baby Care Center, which has accomadations for toddlers and preschoolers.
Top Walt Disney World Parks for meeting characters
Winner: Animal Kingdom
Runner Up: Hollywood Studios
Note: Hard Ticket Magic Kingdom Events have exclusive characters
Meeting characters is so incredibly fun for the little kids! While I’m a big fan of doing character meals with my food allergy babies, It’s also so much fun to meet characters at the parks!
Since meeting characters at the parks is part of your ticket, it’s great to take advantage of it in the best way possible. So taking your toddler to Animal Kingdom is the perfect way to meet a bunch of characters really quickly! Before you head there, check over this list to prepare your toddler (and yourself!) for extra magical character meets– because there are a few tricks to making it super fun!
Mickey and Minnie are here, and they are together, the only place on property you’ll get this tag teaming photo op!
After meeting Mickey, head over to DinoLand USA where you’ll find the fab 5 plus Daisy and Chip and Dale! Yes friends, they are all within one football field from each other and the lines are always manageable. This is where we meet the classics and then you can head over to the other park to meet more fun friends! Over by the tree of life you can meet Pocahontas, and there are several pop up character events, especially over by the Starbucks!
The second best place for toddlers to meet characters is also the home to all things Star Wars,the infamous Hollywood Studios. Here you’ll find lots of crowd favorites like Mickey and Gang, plus the only place you’ll find our lovable snowman Olaf.
AND this is the ONLY place you’ll find some of the beloved Disney Junior Characters to get their signature and a big hug! There’s a special Disney Junior Area that has 4 great characters all in a row, perfect for morning time at the park.
We also want to note that if rare characters are on the list, you can find them at Hard Ticket Magic Kingdom Events like Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas.
Taking your toddler to a low stress Disney World Park
Runner Up: Animal Kingdom
I don’t know about you, but after lugging around this stroller and this diaper bag and chasing after too many kids, mama needs a break. Trust me when I say, we all need a low stress option at Disney for our vacation!
That’s when we get lost at the Aquarium at Epcot and in the rain forest and cultures at Animal Kingdom.
Over at Epcot we spend a lot of time in the Land and the Sea Pavilion. We’ll ride the rides (a few times!) and then stroll over to the world showcase. During the weekdays at evening time it is simply magical to walk around the world and let the kids color away at the Kidcot Stations.
Animal Kingdom park is so laid back and easy to explore, with lots of animals and walking paths. There are some super fun and cute shows, and an entire area dedicated to kiddos at DinoLand USA. Plus, Dinoland has the Dino yard, which also has a giant play area!
Park Showdown for toddlers, which one is best?
Animal Kingdom or Magic Kingdom for toddlers ?
When it comes to the two kingdoms, it can be hard to know which park is going to be the best for toddlers. Animal kingdom is the newest park, so it has the advantage of being exciting for those who’ve never been, but in the case of toddlers there is one clear winner.
Magic Kingdom would be the best park for toddlers when compared to Animal Kingdom.
Hollywood Studios or Epcot for toddlers?
This is another head scratcher, since there’s so many fun new additions at Hollywood Studios! If your toddler is a frozen fan, you can meet Olaf at Hollywood Studios, and Anna and Elsa at Epcot.
As far as other fun options, Epcot beats Hollywood Studios in rides and play places, but Hollywood Studios is the only place you can meet Disney Jr. Characters.
The winner between Hollywood Studios and Epcot for toddlers is Epcot!
Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios?
Maybe the hardest comparision, is Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios! There’s so many fun additions at Hollywood Studios, but the same can be said for Magic Kingdom.
There’s exclusive characters at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios! There’s fun new rides at both! And there’s cute character meals with the perfect photo ops.
But Magic Kingdom is the winner here, as you will find double the characters, double the rides, and triple the play areas over what you’ll find at Hollywood Studios.
Typhoon Lagoon versus Blizzard Beach?
If you haven’t heard of Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, they are the 5th and 6th park at Disney World. These two water parks provide lots of entertainment to families, and at least one of them is open every day of the year!
Both of the water parks have kid areas, and both of these can be enjoyed by toddlers! But as far as fun, safety and ease of access, Typhoon Lagoon has a smaller splash pad that it’s perfect for the 2 and 3 year old crowd. (but if you have an 4-8 year old, they’ll love the slides over at Blizzard Beach!)
What are the downsides to the parks with toddlers?
We talked about all the pros, but what about the cons? Taking a toddler to Disney World is not some picture perfect Instagram vacation. There is an incredible amount of fun, memories and magical moments to be had… but you’ll also have some less than fun moments.
For instance, Magic Kingdom can get really really busy for toddlers, and it can make it hard on them to enjoy their vacation when there’s so much running around just to wait in line! Line here, line there, and then you want them to sit and wait? Make sure you bring some entertainment, like a sticker book or a tablet.
Likewise, Animal Kingdom is very large, so even being pushed in a stroller, there will be periods of boredom. If you stick close by Dinoland USA, you’ll have a play area to let off steam.
Over at Hollywood Studios, the park itself is crazy hot temperature wise with not enough options for air conditioning. This can make for a really long and uncomfortable day if you aren’t planning ahead. Bring a fan with you, and make lots of stops for cool drinks!
And Epcot can get very crowded with the drink around the world crowd on weekends. Plus, some toddlers are just bored with world showcase, since it’s more educational. We tend to walk the world showcase pretty quickly, and then spend a lot of time in the future world section of the park!
That’s a wrap!
So, as you can see, each of the parks has something very special for the little ones. However, not all of them have everything. (Though Magic Kingdom really can hit all your points if you want to just spend a few days there!)
Animal Kingdom is great for meeting characters, Epcot is perfect for a lazy or a rainy day, there are ton’s of rides at Magic Kingdom and then Hollywood Studios is great for some Disney Jr. Fun!
Rest assured that no matter what park you’ll take them to, your toddler will find some cute and fun things to enjoy.