Top 20 Hands On Happenings for Kids at Walt Disney World

By Cassie

Everything on this list is included with your park admission. It won’t cost you anything extra to incorporate these attractions into your vacation plans. Sometimes kids just need to blow off steam in their own way on vacation. Hopefully the ones suggested will give you a good start to your planning.

20. Queues- Some of the attraction queues have games children can play while they are waiting to ride, they include: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion, and Soarin’.

19. Spaceship earth-Future World East, Epcot-Spaceship Earth is fun to enter and ride and really captures a child’s attention by its size and shape. There are interactive parts to the ride, including a ride photo, that come together on a virtual post card that after unloading from the ride guests can send their post cards to an email address. There are several other interactive games in this area as well for children and adults.

18. Image Works-Journey into imagination, Future World West, Epcot- You will find this area after you disembark from Journey into Imagination with Figment. Create and play in this imaginative games area.

17. Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station, Fantasyland-this is a popular water play spot in New Fantasyland near the Train Station. This is operational as long as the park is open. It is a fun way to cool down on those hot summer days.

16. Kidcot in World Showcase, Epcot-There are Kidcot stations in every country in World Showcase so you can start anywhere you like. The Kidcot station offers either Agent P or an alternative mask mounted on a fan stick that kids can color, put stickers on, and decorate however they choose. They make great fans to use through the day. They can also get their name written on it in the language of the host country by a Cast Member there. Children are free to ask the Cast Member about their home country as well!         If you are not a kid, you can still participate in Kidcot.

15. Disney Junior-Live on Stage!-Animation Courtyard, Hollywood Studios-a family friendly live show that gets everyone up on their feet to dance, sing and play along with Disney Junior pals.

14. Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse – Adventureland, Magic Kingdom-this is a replica of the Treehouse that the Robinson family built after they were stranded on a deserted island. It involves climbing and descending a number of stairs. It is fun to see the construction and ingenuity that went into building such a structure with very little that they were able to salvage from their ship and gather together on the island. It could lead to a discussion of building your own backyard Treehouse and what that may look like!

13. Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure, -Streets of America, Hollywood Studios-is a playground replicating scenes from this movie where blades of grass are a couple stories high, giant ants that you can climb on, a giant film canister, and just so many items that in giant size are fun to play on, slide down, get photos with, and yes, there is even some water in play. This attraction closes at dusk so make sure you get there in time to enjoy it. There are some places to sit down and rest for the adults. No strollers allowed inside the movie set.

12. Advanced Training Lab-Future World East, Epcot-There are several interactive games at the end of mission space that are space-themed. There is no need to ride Mission Space you can enter the Advanced Training Lab through the gift shop to the left of the ride entrance. There is one game that is very easy to join in as a family. Your family could “fly” a rocket ship and others participating will send you the things you need, electronically, to keep you going. This develops team spirit in trying to see which of the two teams worked together the best and caused their ship to win the race. These are not hard to do so don’t be afraid to join in as a family.

11. Interactive Games: Wilderness Explorer’s in Animal Kingdom-explore nature and earn badges as you go; Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is an interactive play game that is park-wide. Pick up the game map and cards at the Fire Station at the front of Magic Kingdom and do your best to defeat Disney Villains; A Pirate’s Adventure-Treasure of the Seven Seas Game in Magic Kingdom-is an interactive game throughout Adventureland using maps and clues while joining up with Captain Jack Sparrow; Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure in Epcot is an interactive game played with a programmed smartphone that you check-out. You team up with Agent P to defeat Dr. Doofenshmirtz while exploring the countries of World Showcase. You can drop off the phone at several locations throughout the park if you get tired of playing it. It can be played from 11am when World Showcase opens until dusk.

10. Jedi Training Academy-Star Tours, Hollywood Studios-Stop by the ABC Soundstage early in the day if you would like to sign up to participate in this training experience. You must be between the ages of 4-12 and the child must be present to reserve a space in the Academy. These new recruits get some lessons in light saber skills and how to resist the dark side.

9. The Boneyard –DinoLand USA, Animal Kingdom-take some time out to explore this playground and Dino-dig site uncovering dinosaur bones that leads to an even bigger discovery!

8. Rafikis Planet Watch-both Conservation Station and Affection Section can be enjoyed by taking the train back here to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Want to know what it sounds like in a rainforest at night? Just stop in one of the booths here and check it out. You will have the opportunity to watch and learn about many animals and insects here, maybe get to pet a lizard if you wish. In Affection Section, which is right outside, you have a chance to meet and pet some animals such as rare New Zealand goats, sheep, pigs, a rare cow breed, and sometimes different animals are behind the fences like where the cow is. The rest of the animals roam around you. Large brushes are available if you don’t want to touch the animals with your hands. There is a nice hand washing area you go through when you are leaving the Affection Section. These animals are very gently. This is not like a regular petting zoo; the goats here do not try to eat anything you are wearing. I like that.

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7. Innoventions East and West-Epcot-these two structures house a large number of interactive games and exhibits including Sum of All Thrills for guests at least 48“ tall where you try your hand at being a ride engineer and design your own roller coaster, then ride it in a virtual experience. You can watch others experience their dream ride to get an idea of how it will be. There are wonderful learning exhibits in Innoventions and it doesn’t take long to experience them.

6. Mad Tea Party-Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom-; Flying Carpets of Aladdin, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Astro Orbiter also from Magic Kingdom, and Triceratops Spin, from Animal Kingdom are all rides that are controlled in some way by the hands of the rider. Mad Tea Party has a disc in the middle that when spun will speed the tea cup faster and faster. The other rides the control stick is used to determine how high or low that ride vehicle will spin in the sky.

5. Tomorrowland Speedway-Tomorrowland, Magic Kingdom-this is a rite of passage ride for many families. Children who are very small often ride with their parent, steering the car, while the parent presses down on the gas pedal. It is a big deal when they are finally able to steer and reach the gas pedal themselves.

4. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin-Tomorrowland, Magic Kingdom-In the queue for this ride you find out you are recruits of Buzz Lightyear to help him defeat the evil Emporor Zurg. The space-ship ride vehicles are equipped with cannons and you will need these to gain points as you hit the targets. There is a small red laser dot that shows up on a target to help you aim and shoot at them. Moving targets get you more points. Your points show up on your ride vehicle and at the end it will tell you how you, as a recruit, measured up in this training run. There is a ride photo taken and there is also a Zurg behind bars in the shop that you can take a photo with.

3. The Magic of Disney Animation-Animation Courtyard, Hollywood Studios- There is a drawing class-Animation Academy-where a guest learns how to draw a Disney character and they take their drawings with them. There are several character meet and greets in this pavilion as well as some other imaginative games to be played here and a coloring station. All of this fun is inside the air-conditioned attraction. There is also a film experience describing the animation process.

2. Toy Story Midway Mania-Pixar Place, Hollywood Studios-This is one of the hardest rides to get a FastPass+ reservation for. If you are able to secure a FP+ for it, do it. If not, you need to arrive and enter the park at opening and make your way here as quickly as you can, no running though. The whole experience of this attraction is so kid-friendly. There are large toys throughout the queue, on the floor, ceiling, walls, etc. and in the ride boarding and unboarding area too. There is a talking, interactive, Mr. Potato Head at the end of the queue as well as a large Pixar lamp. You will get your 3-D glasses then be loaded onto a ride vehicle that seats two side-by-side. There are “cannons” that you will shoot a variety of things such as darts, rubber rings, balls, etc., at targets on a variety of screens. At the end you see your score, accuracy rate, as well as the highest score for the hour, day, and month. It is basically a video game ride with the great characters from Toy Story throughout.

1. Tom Sawyer Island-Fronteirland, Magic Kingdom-this is perhaps the greatest area for kid-fun in the Magic Kingdom. There are toy guns, caves, a playground, a bouncing bridge, a fort, picnic tables, rocking chairs on a porch looking over the river, views of the steam boat “Liberty Belle” and the steam train used by the Walt Disney World Railroad, and you have to ride a raft to get to and from the island. This is a great play area for the children and a rest area for parents. There is shade and places to sit nearby to keep an eye on the kids playing at the playground.

That is the top 20 list of great hands-on experiences for children at Walt Disney World. If you don’t mind spending a little extra money there is a Fronteirland Shooting Gallery in Magic Kingdom that has air gun rifles for guests to shoot at targets that do crazy things in response. When you are planning your Walt Disney World vacation, make sure you incorporate some of these for your children to enjoy.


About Cassie

Cassie L. I am a lifelong Disney fan. I attended Walt Disney World in 1971, and was there during the opening week of EPCOT, and have visited the Disney Parks for than 30 times. I have had the privilege of visiting Disneyland as a child, and then again with my children. My family recently moved from the northeastern United States to the Walt Disney World area. I now have cast members in my family and enjoy hearing the magical stories at the end of a shift. I love visiting all of the parks and getting to try more Disney food and being able to share it with you to help you plan your own magical day at Disney.