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Touring Disneyland with Kids
Vacationing with the "under 8" crowd? Here's how to "just say no" to lines!If you've read the other pages in this section, you've already got a pretty good idea of which rides and attractions at Disneyland Park get huge lines...and which ones have lines that are more manageable. Up until this page, however, we haven't been talking about specific rides for little kids...say, under the age of 8 years old. (Naturally, the age at which any particular child likes or doesn't like a particular attraction varies with the individual youngster.)
If you'll be attending Disneyland Park with young children, you'll need to know that Fantasyland and Mickey's Toontown...the 2 "lands" of the park which specialize in kiddie rides...have their own traffic patterns.
Because Fantasyland, in particular, has lots of traffic logjams, you'll have to visit certain attractions in the early part of the day before the lines get too long in order to avoid frustration. Needless to say, just as with the Touring Plan for older kids & adults, you'll have to arrive at Disneyland right at opening time (or even ahead of time), and have your tickets pre-purchased if you really want to make the best use of your time.
One problem for families with young chidren is that the crowds in Fantasyland and Mickey's Toontown will be higher on days when a special early-entry program in Mickey's Toontown takes place. If you won't be attending this special before-park-hours event, try to go to Disneyland on a different day. (The special early program isn't in operation every day of the week.) Call the Disneyland Park to find out what days of the week that the early-entry program is running. Attend, if you have tickets...and avoid the program days if you don't.
The information on this page assumes that you already know which rides are available at the Disneyland...and that you're just wondering "in which order" you should ride them. If you would like to see photos and get descriptions of the rides available at California's Disneyland, click here to get info about Fantasyland rides and attractions, or click on this link to learn more about Mickey's Toon Town.
Touring Disneyland with Kids -- Rides to see first in FantasylandTo your left, you see a closeup photo of the Golden Dumbo ride car, which was a special goldenized ride car created for the Disneyland 50th Anniversary celebration in 2005 and 2006.
The Dumbo ride is very cute and colorful...which makes it appeal to children. Nearly every preschooler clamors to ride Dumbo...and yet, this is a slow-loading ride which takes only a small amount of passengers for each ride session. That means, any line you see here...which might be a great size for a line on some other ride...will actually move along more slowly than you anticipated.
In addition, it's hard to tell just when your turn may be. The ride attendants DO allow each child the chance to ride alone in a Dumbo car if they'd like...so one family might actually take up several cars. Fortunately, most families choose to ride together, or the line at the Dumbo ride would take even longer to get through than it already does!
Needless to say, then, make sure to ride the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride early in the day. Once the line builds up, it will remain steady all day, and won't start to thin out until late in the evening.
In fact, if you can get to the Mad Teaparty Ride early enough, you can practically "walk right on." You can even ride several times before the line starts to build, if you wish. (With some kids, this ride is an absolute "favorite," so if they'll want to enjoy riding it several times, you might as well do that all in one teacup-riding spree while you can accomplish that feat in just a short time.)
To the side of the Mad Teaparty ride, you'll notice the Alice in Wonderland indoor "dark" ride. Naturally, you'll want to board your cute & colorful caterpillar car and enjoy that attraction before the lines build there, too.
A third Alice in Wonderland-themed attraction...the Mad Hatter's Hat Shop...is colorful, inviting, and located right beside Alice in Wonderland & teacup rides. WAIT until later to look at the cute & clever hats inside. You'll have plenty of time later in the day to look at them. You would just be wasting precious time while the ride lines are short if you stopped to look at the hats in the early morning hours.
The ride itself is cute and enchanting. If you read the "Fantasyland attractions" pages of this website, then you already know that this boat ride floats you past the "homes" and carefully-tended gardens of various Disney story characters....as you listen to a live narration of what you're seeing. This ride isn't action-packed; it's leisurely and relaxing. It's definitely worth your time to visit; just make sure you don't get stuck waiting in a big crowd to do it! Catch this one early!
Often, simply by waiting until later when all of the boats are in operation, you can cut your waiting time to almost nothing here!
One exception: if you're visiting Disneyland Park close to Christmas time...when the special Christmas decorations are featured at this ride...just get in line whenever the line seems even semi-reasonable. Christmas crowds can get pretty thick here! Another good idea is to visit the Christmas version of Small World during the first 2 weeks of December...while the kids who'll be packing the park for their holiday vacations are still in school!
Touring Disneyland with Kids -- Rides to see first in Mickey's ToontownThe biggest bottleneck in Mickey's Toon Town is the Gadget's Go Coaster junior rollercoaster (photo on your right.) As you can see, it's not very big...which means that if there's much of a line, you'll be waiting through many ride cycles before you get to board. In addition, summertime visitors will swelter in line, as the queue waits in an uncovered outdoor area. All the more incentive for catching Gadget's Go Coaster before the line builds.
The 2nd biggest bottleneck in Mickey's Toontown is the line for meeting Mickey Mouse. Thankfully, the line for meeting Mickey is inside of his house...where it's pleasantly air conditioned for summer visitors. Plus, vintage Micky movies play continuously for your enjoyment and distraction during the wait. Unfortunately, you won't be able to find out how long the line is before you enter Mickey's house...because you can't see the waiting area from outside.
Attractions which build mid-sized lines are the Goofy's Bounce House, Minnie Mouse greeting at Minnie's House, and the random character greetings which regularly occur in Toontown. (Note: if you'd just like to run through the Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse homes...without stopping to greet the characters...there's no wait at all. The homes themselves are adorable and worth visiting, even for visitors without children in tow.)
Touring Disneyland with Kids -- Other rides at Disneyland that children loveFavorites with young children in TOMORROWLAND---After you've finished riding the most popular rides in Fantasyland and Mickey's Toon Town, you may either finish up in those areas of the park, or head to new "lands" and finish up in Fantasyland later. What rides will young children love in the Tomorrowland section of the park?
***Honey, I Shrunk The Audience Movie: This whimsical feature pleases all ages from toddlers through senior citizens.
***Innoventions: This high-quality science museum has exhibits appealing to preschoolers...and adults, as well
***Buzz Light Year Astro Blasters: This ride-and-video-game combo attraction is interesting to preschoolers as well as older kids. Their aim might not be so good...and they might not zap many bad guys...but little kids will like it, nevertheless
***Astro Orbiters: This wannabe Dumbo ride is fun for the young ones in your group, but watch out for the slow-moving line.
Use the following link to see the Tomorrowland page of this website, where you can get details about the rides mentioned on this list...and, perhaps, find other attractions which would be of interest to your particular child.
In the photo to your right, you can see my grandchildren (Natali and Gabriel) eating INSIDE OF THE ENCHANTED TIKI ROOM! Yes, that's allowed! Though you usually can't eat on Disneyland rides nor in shows, the Dole Pinapple company sponsors the Enchanted Tiki Room...AND sells delicious pineapple ice cream and pineapple juice from the cart outside the attraction. Since people wouldn't buy as much of their food if they had to throw it away before finishing, this attraction allows you to take the food inside & finish during the show. The prices are reasonable, and the pineapple snacks are fresh & tasty.
At any rate, all ages from babies to adults will love the Tiki Room show, a family touring "don't miss" attraction.
Tarzan's Tree House: Little kids will love taking a trip into the heights of Tarzan's Tree House. They won't be very good at climbing all of the stairs, so expect to help.
Aladdin and Jasmine: Small fry will want to meet Aladdin and Jasmine costumed Disney characters at their Oasis in Adventureland.
Jungle Cruise: This boat ride is another family-touring Disneyland classic. Adults will love the jokes the captains tell; kids will feel like they're really on safari.
Use the following link to view the "Adventureland Attractions" page of this website for further information about these rides and shows.
***Mark Twain and/or Columbia boat rides: The gentle action of the boats as they circle Tom Sawyer's Island is perfect for all ages, including babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
***Shooting Exposition: Taking aim with these laser guns is perfectly safe; they can't harm even the smallest of small fry. Kids won't be very good marksmen...but they'll love giving it a try, anyway!
***Golden Nugget Show: Whether it's Billy Hill and the Hillbillies playing, or some other show going on at the Golden Nugget, it's always fun aimed at the entire family, regardless of age.
***Raft Ride to Tom Sawyer's Island: Playing on Tom Sawyer's Island is great fun for kids of any age, from babies on up.
***The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: This indoor dark ride in the Critter Country area of Disneyland Park was aimed at young children from the moment it was first being created. Your kids will certainly enjoy this attraction, regardless of how little.
***Character Greeting: Your toddlers and preschoolers will love meeting Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger...and this activity will leave Mom and Dad with some great snapshots, too!
The two attractions in the New Orleans Square "land" of the park are suitable for young children PHYSICALLY. This means, that you won't encounter any steep drops nor fast speeds on these 2 rides. These are the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion rides.
However, both of these rides can give toddlers and preschoolers a good scare! In the Pirates ride, your boat will pass through intense darkness, then through the middle of two ships engaged in a canon battle, and finally through flames and pistol shots. You'll have to know your child to know if he or she would be frightened by this.
Needless to say, in the Haunted Mansion ride, you'll encounter skeletons, ghouls, spider webs, ghosts, and the like. The ride doesn't aim to be scarey...merely entertaining. But, youngsters are likely to get scared, nevertheless. Once again, you should know how your little children will likely react to this environment before you attempt to take them inside.