Every Disney movie you watch features one similarity… they all have Cinderella’s Castle in all her glory before the video!
Needless to say, my kids knew to expect Cinderella’s Castle at the beginning of every Disney movie we watched, and would get mad if I skipped past it.
And for most preschoolers, they’ve already picked out a favorite character, know who Mickey Mouse is, and have probably watched Disney World fireworks and parades on Youtube!
So planning a trip, and an itinerary for your preschooler, seems like the natural thing to do! And if this is your first trip, know you can’t go wrong with a no pressure, no agenda vacation to all four parks. In that case, just grab this list of rides for preschoolers and call it planned!
This itinerary is more for those parents and caregivers that want to hit up a number of rides and shows in a more strategic way.
That way you get the most out of an expensive vacation, or for lots of memories since it might be a once in a lifetime vacation! Especially since the Disney site leaves a lot of things out when it comes to their preschool section. And yes, I really do think all kids will enjoy disney world, but if you’re wondering if a 4 year old will enjoy disney, understand all the things that work to your advantage!
Either way, you’ll find the preschool itinerary below for a 5 day trip to Disney World. We recommend 5 days, since you’ll have arrival and departure days (days 6 and 7) and we also recommend at least one “off” or “vacation” day where you don’t have plans. Rounding out that trip, you’ve got a magical 8 day vacation to Orlando, Florida and lots of pictures and memories to boot!
If you can only come for one day, two days or three days, you will still have a blast!
➡️➡️ Need to let the kids run wild? Here’s the play places you can find in each Disney World Park.
Table of Contents
Quick pitfalls you’ll need to consider for this itinerary to work.
I could just throw an itinerary at you, but this is less about spoon feeding you and more about helping you make the right choices for your family.
First up, Should You bring a Stroller? I say yes, with three kids of my own, even when I take them by themselves its a lot of walking. See more pros and cons to Strollers for Preschoolers at Disney in this post.
The big elephant in the room is the weather. In the ‘winter’ months of January- March, you’ll find bitter winds and bitter rain that make it uncomfortable on your sunburned face.
In June- September, Central Florida gets 60% of it’s yearly rainfall (yes it rains all year, but these days it rains almost every.single.day!) and you might even get to experience a hurricane.
Weather is a MAJOR player in itineraries, since a regular day is going to look way different than a rainy day. If you come to Disney World, A. bring ponchos and B. make backup plans in case it rains like this rainy day Magic Kingdom itinerary.
The other big factor for your success, is knowing what type of people you are, especially on vacation. What does that means? Are you sleeping in? Going to bed early? Does your preschooler get a nap or quiet time?
These are all really important things to factor in so you don’t loose money by being so exhausted at the end of your trip that you just skip a day or two at the park (and Disney knows this and does take advantage of it with multi day discounted tickets!)
You’ll want to choose the right itinerary based on your habits (not based on what someone else told you- this is a vacation after all!)
The preschool itineraries for Disney trip with your preschooler!
Here’s how to use this guide:
- Pick three items that are important to you, your preschooler, and other family members. These are the ‘can’t miss’ items. Make sure to do this can’t miss items before lunch OR make sure you have time planned in the afternoon/evening to accomplish these goals.
- Look through the itinerary and pick out the sequence that you think works best for your family. Consider how much time is required to walk between the park (5-10 minutes with medium crowds and no stops).
- Transportation is a huge time expense. Plan for at least 30 minutes, if not an hour to get inside the parks if you are using Disney Transportation.
- End of the night gets busy when it comes to transportation. I recommend staying after park close to do the shopping, last minute eating and avoid the rush of crowds (or leave 45 minutes before park close)
Included below is time slots for character meals and greets- see tips here for toddlers and preschoolers meeting characters and how to make the most of your time!
Magic Kingdom Preschooler Itinerary- two days (early start, late start)
Early Start Magic Kingdom Preschool Itinerary
Get Inside the Park early to get pictures in front of the Castle
park opening Rope Drop Peter’s Pan’s Flight or Jungle Cruise Depending on which you’d like more. Both of these get long lines during the day.
Then head to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Splash Mountain
After check on Pirates of the Caribbean. If it’s shorter than 20 minutes head there, or go to Tomorrowland Speedway instead.
Right now is a great time to meet Characters like Merida, Pooh or Buzz lightyear. (I’d recommend meeting Mickey at Town Square and The Princesses at Fairytale Hall after lunch or after dinner when wait times are lower and the A/C is welcoming!)
If you are in Tomorrowland (for the speedway) Consider some of the rides there based on the lowest wait time- popular kid rides include Astro Orbiter, Buzz lightyear (great if the wait is below 30 minutes) and the People Mover (which should be below 20 minutes- if not- wait till later).
Lunch at Jungle Navigation Co or The Plaza Restaurant with a Reservation. If you are planning quick serve, grab some snacks and mobile order/wait till lines are shorter. It’s best to mobile order from 10-11 am or 1-3 pm, but not at noon as there is quite a crowd.
In the early afternoon, spend time in the New Fantasyland area. This includes the TeaCups, Winnie the Pooh, The Barnstormer and Dumbo the Flying Elephant.
Plan to spend 30-45 minutes at the Casey Jr. Splash Pad (has bathrooms for changing!) to get cool and let off some steam.
Kids not into the Parade? Skip to the alternative option…
The afternoon parade is at 3, and you can walk over to a spot right by the Castle to get an incredible view.
After the Parade, Walk over to Under the Sea- Journey of the Little Mermaid, or skip this ride to go do some of the shows if it’s rainy or the heat is too much. Great shows include Mickey’s PhilharMagic, The Carosuel of Progress, and the Hall of Presidents.
Not interested in the Parade? Do this instead.
Leave the Splash Pad around 245, walk behind the castle to FrontierLand and Adventure Land (because the parade crowds will have you blocked in). You can catch a small boat to Tom Sawyer Island and play on the playground, or play on the playground at the end of Splash Mountain. You can ride the Flying Carpets (similar to Dumbo) and catch the Tiki Room Show in AdventureLand.
5pm is a great time to catch a break or let the kids run around. Go shopping, meet characters, or let the kids nap.
Dinner and enjoy evening catching rides or characters before the evening shows (be sure to check the App or the Map for exact times on your day!) .
Favorite rides for the evening include the Regal Carrousel, meeting the Disney Princesses, Riding Tomorrowland Speedway, Riding the People Mover, The Barnstormer and any rides on your Can’t Miss List.
Late Start Touring Plan for Magic Kingdom with Preschoolers (best for weekdays)
If you are starting later, or coming over from another park, I’d recommend heading straight to Fantasyland!
Catch rides like The Barnstormer, Dumbo the Flying Elephant (has indoor play area!), The Little Mermaid and then play at Casey Jr. Splash Pad (has bathrooms for changing!)
After you are done there, head over to Tomorrowland in the afternoon for more rides Astro Orbitor, People Mover, Buzz Lightyear. If it’s really hot, or the weather is rainy, now is a great time to stand in line at Princess FairyTale Hall to meet Princesses. Another Character Meet I’d recommend is a Character Meal at Crystal Palace to meet Pooh and Friends.
After Dinner Decide which rides you’ll still like to do based on wait times. Jungle Cruise, Seven Dwarf Mine Train and Peter Pan all typically have long lines (so if you see them under 40 minutes, that’s a good wait!).
Fun rides to do at night that have lower wait times include:
Big Thunder Mountain, The Barnstormer, the Regal Carrousel,Dumbo,Pirates of the Caribbean
The enjoy the evening catching rides or characters before the Evening/Nighttime shows (be sure to check the App or the Map for exact times on your day!) .
There are several places to stand to watch the Fireworks.
I prefer to stand on the bridge by TomorrowLand, or the Bridge by AdventureLand, so I can make a quick escape to rides in that area after the fireworks.
My 5 year old daughter, who loves the show, prefers to stand in the crowds in front of the castle. You’ll need to get here about 30-45 minutes before hand on weekdays, and over an hour before hand on weekends/holidays/high crowd days, and pack your patience!
Another good location is by the Tomorrowland Bathrooms (literally right next to The Plaza Inn Restaurant, like smooshed up against the restaurant windows) Those don’t fill up as fast, you can get there about 25 minutes before the show and theres a decent view.
Hollywood Studios One Day Touring Plan with Preschoolers
Since Hollywood Studios has some new additions and players in the game, there’s a seperate post detailing the HOW to do a day at Hollywood Studios with young kids (and if you want to make it the full day- you’ll need this post!)
Arrive at least 30 minutes before Park Opening.
Slinky Dog first thing (or save it for the very end of the night… I vote first thing!) If you go to do the Genie+ Lightning Lane Service, this will fill up the fastest! This is a roller coaster and it’s more intense than Barnstormer and Seven Dwarf Mine Train. My 4 year old loved it and my 6 year old hates it.
While your here, check out the times for the other Toy Story Rides. If you can find Toy Story Mania under 30 minutes, ride it! Same with Alien Swirling Saucers. If Toy Story Land is totally packed, you can try the rides at the end of the night when there’s typically much lower lines (And less heat and sun)!
Next head over to Galaxy’s Edge. Here you can enjoy Millennium Falcon:Smuggler’s Run. The line for this can get longer, but typically doesn’t until mid morning.
OR you can head through Galaxy’s Edge and go over to meet Olaf and Mickey and Minnie. These two meet and greet locations have some wild high wait times, if this is on your list, go earlier in the morning or save it for the afternoon. (Look at the closing times here too! They close well before the park closes!!!)
Catch the Motorcade coming down the road by Olafs meet and great, and the Muppet*Vision 3D or skip those and head to one of the several quick service lunch spots on the left side of the park. Then you can head to the first showing of the Indiana Jones.
Otherwise let’s head over to Sunset Blvd. Here you can get your family pictures in front of Mickey and Minnies Runaway Railway, or further down Tower of Terror in the Background.
Down Sunset Blvd you can go to Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy (which is a great option for A/C. If your 4 or 5 year old is over 40′ inches, enjoy Tower of Terror (but it can be scary! We skip it till they’re older).
Or watch the Beauty and the Beast Show! This show is outside and is affected by the weather. I highly recommend the live Beauty and the Beast Show, followed by the Frozen Ever After Sing Along (The Beauty Show rarely goes over time as it’s scripted, but the Frozen show is full of comedic timing and may go over the schedule!)
At this point you’ll need to plan your meal for dinner and figure out the rest of the day! There’s lots of quick serve places, but I’d recommend a reservation to Hollywood and Vine for Characters, or 50’s primetime for just good food!
Rise of the Resistance is an option for most 4 and 5 year olds. It’s the one instance I’d recommend purchasing a ride skip the line (known as Lightning Lane!). This ride is notorious for breaking line and having sporadic lines, something that’s hard for a younger kid to understand.
I’d recommend going back to the middle of the park, and meeting Characters at the Disney Jr. Dance Spot. Then Watching the Frozen Ever After Show at the Hyperion before riding Mickey and Minnies Runaway Railway. Grab Dinner, catch a ride or two that you missed, and work your way back down Sunset Blvd to wait for Fantasmic.
Animal Kingdom Preschool One Day Itinerary
Rope Dropping at this park is wild. People line up over an hour before hand, and they are mostly all headed to Pandora (Avatar Land) to get in line for Flight of Passage or Navi River Journey.
(Pro Tip: Avoid the long Rope Drop lines with an early reservation to Tusker House Restaurant. Get in, have a meal and meet Characters, and then start your day without the crowding. I’d recommend starting at the Safari!).
So you can Rope Drop Flight of Passage (must be 44 inches or taller), or Navi River Journey (their will be HUGE lines here, they are headed towards Flight of Passage. Let Cast Members know you *just* want to ride Navi River Journey so you don’t get swept up in the lines).
Navi is a VERY short ride, and while fun, it’s not worth more than 30 minutes or so online. You can always watch it on youtube if you are conflicted, but my kids are not amused. Flight of Passage is great if your child is tall enough and trust worthy! This is a simulation ride where the child will be next to you, but in their own vehicle. My daughter was ready at 5, but my son needed till he was 6.
Personally, I like to go the opposite direction and go to DinoLand. There we can ride Dinosaur and Triceratops spin with no waits.
Then walk back towards the Tree of Life and head to Africa. There get in line for the Safari to see the Animals.
Then Consider the Wildlife Express Train. This takes you to a stop where there is a long walk to the Affection Section ( a petting zoo). While this is very educational, it’s also exhausting, so we typically get off, walk for a few minutes, and then walk back to catch the next train. (At the end of the walk is where you’ll find the Animation Station for learning to draw Disney Characters).
Take the Train Back and grab lunch at the quick serves nearby while enjoying the entertainment. You want to be done by 11:30 to get in line for The Lion King Show.
Lion King Show then consider what’s next.
You could do the Kali River Rapids (height requirement 38 inches) which is a water type ride, or walk all the way around to Finding Nemo: The Big Blue and Beyond Show.
After the Show, head to DinoLand USA again, and let the kids ride rides or play in the Boneyard Play Area. I recommend letting the kids run and play in the playground and Bone Yard for 30 minutes or so, then freshen up to go wait in line to see Mickey and Minnie! This is the only location you’ll find them always together for a meet and greet and photo. Check the app for times to make sure you don’t miss it!
If you skipped Pandora earlier, now is a great time to walk back through Pandora and then exit while viewing the tree of life show. Animal Kingdom is not open super late, so consider this an early evening and get some sleep, or park hop/resort hop/ or head to Disney Springs! If you want to continue the Dino adventures, T-Rex restaurant in Disney Springs is a good option.
Epcot Preschool Itinerary is the wild card- could easily do two days but one day is listed for your vacation
When it comes to an Epcot vacation, you have no choice but to start ‘late’ as the World Showcase doesn’t open up till 11. Most days, the beginning of the park (World Nature, World Celebration and World Discovery) opens up at 9, but you’ll need to check your vacation dates to confirm the hours for this one!
Early Start (arrive 45 minutes before park opening)
Head straight to Test Track OR Frozen depending on your child and your Can’t Miss List. When in doubt, I’d recommend Frozen, and then double back to do Test Track.
After Frozen, you can meet Anna and Elsa there at the Royal Summerhaus in Norway, explore Norway, and then head to Grand Fiesta Tour inside Mexico.
Come back down to World Nature for ride Soarin and Living with the Land inside the Land Pavilion (and you can grab food here too!).
The Adventure Planet Show inside the Land Pavilion is nice and my kids enjoy it, but it’s really just something to keep them entertained. Not a necessity.
Next door is the Seas with Nemo and Friends. Ride Nemo and then you’ll exit to a small play area, an aquarium, Turtle Talk with Crush (so funny and great for the littles!)
After that, head out to The Imagination Pavilion to ride Figment, then meet Vanellope from Wreck it Ralph, Joy from Inside out, and Mickey Mouse Himself! (this is my fav Mickey Mouse greet as his in his tux, and the lines are less than 30 minutes long). You’ll also find the meet and greet here if you have a Disney Visa (credit or debit card). This is an exclusive meet.
If you need a playground, you are close! Over by the Connections Shop, out to the side is a large playground. Instead of turning right to go to World Showcase, head straight past the shop and you’ll see it on the left.
Then walk up towards the World Showcase and head to the right towards Canada. Our goal here is to head towards France where you can watch the Beauty and the Beast Sing Along and then get in ride for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. This is a pretty short ride though, so if the line is longer and it’s not on your list, you can skip it.
Around World Showcase, see the countries, participate in the Kidcot Adventures, and meet Princesses.
Ride Frozen or Grand Fiesta Tour again or head to the Seas Pavillion to do Finding Nemo again. This is also a good time to do SpaceShip Earth as wait times will be lower.
Find a spot for the nighttime entertainment!