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10 Rides For The Three And Under Crowd

I am often asked how young is “too young” to bring a child to Walt Disney World.  I think that is a very subjective question and it is different for every family.  For my family, I brought 2 of my children before they turned 1—at 10 months and at 7 months.  The next question is usually, “well, what can they do with us, what can they ride?”  This is also subjective, but basically an infant can ride anything without a height requirement as far as Disney is concerned. It really depends on your child and what you are comfortable with doing with them. For this article an infant is ages 0-2 years old (still free by Disney’s standards), and we will look at some of the best attractions for them.

10.  Na’vi River Journey, Animal Kingdom

The kiddos will love the lights on this one! Na’vi River Journey is one of the incredible attractions now open in the new Pandora – The World of Avatar. Climb aboard a small boat and feel the slow river push you along. The space around you glows as if bioluminescent lighting has struck the rainforest with beauty! The sights and sounds appeal to the senses as you drift down river. Pass caves, exotic plants, and interesting animals to reach a very important member of the Na’vi tribe.

9.  Spaceship Earth, Epcot

This is a “slow moving” long indoor ride.  There is nothing very startling about the attraction except the darkness in some spots, and it is another good one for a rest. Keep in mind that once you are on you cannot get off so if your little one gets antsy easily then bring some snacks and/or a bottle.

8.  Under the Sea, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Magic Kingdom

Fantasyland’s newest dark ride has lots of bright colors and fun music, and it moves slowly.  There are plenty of things to catch a child’s attention here.  The only caution is the scene with Ursula, she can be a bit overwhelming to anyone.  You can see it coming, so begin distracting your infant early (and hope that the ride doesn’t slow or stop while you are in that scene).

7.  The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Epcot

The entire Seas pavilion is great for infants, the aquariums give little ones plenty to occupy their attention.  The ride is another slow moving dark ride with bright colors and a nice soundtrack.  Like the Journey of the Little Mermaid, there is the dark scene with the Angler fish which can be scary when the animatronic is working properly.  You can try to distract them again here.  There are also some show scenes that feature sharks, but they don’t appear as particularly menacing.

6.  Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, Magic Kingdom

This open air ride takes you up and over Tomorrowland.  There are lots of things for young ones to watch as they go by, but it is also a great place for a nap or a bottle.  The breezes are cooling, and it is a very relaxing ride (for parents and infants alike).  If your child is awake it will get very dark as you go through Space Mountain, it continues along at its slow pace, but the total darkness might upset some infants.

5.  Living with the Land, Epcot

My little ones have always enjoyed the Living with the Land boat ride in the Land Pavilion.  There are animatronics to watch at the beginning of the ride (monkeys, prairie dogs, a rooster and a dog are favorites), and then in the greenhouse they can see the colorful fruits and vegetables, along with the fish.

 

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4.  TIE‼  Jungle Cruise, Magic Kingdom and The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh, Magic Kingdom

Jungle Cruise is another outdoor ride that little ones will love; lots of fun animals, bright colors, water and a slow pace to keep baby happy.  There is a time when it gets darker when you go through temple ruins, but the funny monkeys make that easy for little ones to endure.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh features our lovable friends from the hundred acre woods, and most of the show scenes will be pleasing to infants.  For some reason this is the attraction that used to upset my 2 year old the most – he didn’t like to bounce with Tigger and he doesn’t like the heffalump scene.  During the heffalumps I distract him with the mirrors.

3.  Kilimanjaro Safari, Animal Kingdom

This is the real life version of Jungle Cruise with lots of live animals to see.  It is a bumpy ride, so you will want to hold on tight to your infant, and probably sit toward the middle.

2.  A TIE‼  Peter Pan, Magic Kingdom and Disney Junior Live on Stage, Hollywood Studios

The quintessential dark ride, Peter Pan is a big hit with little ones.  It is dark inside the ride, particularly the night scene over London, but most of the ride features brightly colored friendly looking characters, even that old croc doesn’t look very scary.

Over at Hollywood Studios the Disney Junior show is a fun one for older infants (1-2 years old).  The stage is off the ground and you have to sit on the ground, so it would be difficult for children under age 1 to see what is going on.  But even toddlers just beginning to be introduced to the Disney Junior shows enjoy this one.

1.  TIE: it’s a small world and Dumbo, Magic Kingdom

I will never forget my then 7 month old’s first ride on it’s a small world.  He was mesmerized by the music, the colors and the dolls that were so close to his size.  There are things to see all around, close to the boat and up in the air – this one holds there attention it seems better than any other.  Although the song is the world’s most common “ear bug” for adults, this one has definite re-rideability for infants.

Dumbo is usually the first ride to introduce infants to Disney.  With the new system and “double” Dumbo now you don’t have to worry about the crazy waits either.  Infants love the spinning, the music and the bright colors

The most important thing to remember if you are traveling with an infant is that there is no rule about them going on an attraction – unless that attraction has a height restriction.  If you want to ride something like Pirates and you feel that your child will be comfortable with the small hill at the beginning, the darkness and the noise there is no reason why they can’t ride.  Just make sure you know your infant and how he or she may react to any situation.  Probably one of the most intimidating things at Walt Disney World for young toddlers is meeting the characters.

What attractions have you enjoyed on trips with infants?

About Sarah Chapman

I am a long time Disney fan since I was hooked on Walt Disney World with my first trip in 1987. Since that time I’ve tried experiencing everything I can in the parks, with a total of 30 visits and counting (I’m always planning my next trip) to Walt Disney World—not to mention Disney Cruise Line and even (shhh!) Universal Orlando and Sea World. I’ve turned my Disney obsession into a profession helping others plan their magical vacations as a Dream Vacation Maker at LBAC Travel. I am a work at home mom to three wonderful boys, and each one has been properly indoctrinated with all things Disney. Walt Disney World is definitely our “Laughing Place.” Look for me on Facebook at Facebook.com/SarahLBAC for updates, discount announcements, tips, tricks and planning advice for your next vacation. You can also find me on Instagram (sarahdreamvacationmaker) and Pinterest (sarahlbactravel).