Ready to take on Disney with toddlers at Magic Kingdom? Here’s the Walt Disney World guide including what attractions are best, where to eat and what to pack with you for the day when visiting with toddlers at Magic Kingdom. These are my tried and tested best tips for Walt Disney World with toddlers!
This post was originally published April 17th, 2017 and has been updated and republished with a new date.
Toddlers at Magic Kingdom
Toddlers can be a fickle bunch. A toddler’s emotions can go up and down quicker than a roller coaster! One moment littles ones are happily clapping along with Mickey during a meet n’ greet. The next second, they’re screaming in Pluto’s face when Mom tries to snap a photo.
Is Walt Disney World Good for Toddlers?
You might be wondering if it’s a good idea at all to take a toddler to Disney parks. Is there anything for one-year old and two-year-olds at Disney World?
Is a trip to Magic Kingdom a good idea with your little one? When you break it down, there are plenty of reasons not to take toddlers to Disney.
I’m for taking kids of all ages to Disney theme parks! I’m giving you the practical advice you’ll need.
I have taken babies, toddlers, tweens and teens to Disney parks over the years, and these are the insider Disney tips, all in one complete guide! These toddler travel tips will make a Magic Kingdom vacation more enjoyable for the whole family.
Which Disney Theme Park is Best for Toddlers?
I’ve been traveling to Disney parks all my life, including my very first visit to Disneyland when I was just one-year old. My family has been taking children to the parks for years. I even traveled with my baby alone to Disney World!
Why is Magic Kingdom the Best Park for Toddlers?
Of all the Walt Disney World parks, Magic Kingdom is tailor-made for toddlers. There is really so much that little ones can enjoy here including shows, attractions and dining.
Even babies can go on many of the rides at Magic Kingdom. So, you know that there are things toddlers will love too!
Many of the rides in Magic Kingdom do not have height restrictions, so toddlers can join their parents in the fun.
I think taking toddlers to Disney parks is a wonderful idea. I’ll break down why Magic Kingdom in particular is the perfect toddler vacation spot. This article will cover toddler-friendly rides, best dining locations for little kids and what not to miss inside of Magic Kingdom!
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Get Toddlers Prepared for the Trip
As noted, toddlers can be unpredictable. That being said, there is quite a bit you can do pre-trip to get them ready for Disney.
Measure your child’s height
Compare that measurement to the Disney rides your toddler will be tall enough for during your vacation. This list of Magic Kingdom rides that do not have a height requirement will be safe for everyone!
Watch YouTube videos
Before your vacation, watch YouTube videos of the rides you think toddlers will want to go on. Young children will be less stressed out or worried if they have an idea what to expect ahead of time.
Get familiar with Disney lore
Read Disney-themed books and watch age-appropriate Disney films or Disney Junior programs. This can get toddlers familiar with some of the characters. I have this post with Disney themed book suggestions for toddlers.
Countdown the days
Create a countdown calendar that will count down the days until your vacation.
Decide upon a vacation wardrobe
Choose some Disney outfits for kids that feature their favorite characters. Comfort in the weather and the ability to change a quick diaper should be considered!
Read more about picking the best Disney vacation clothes for children.
Make a toddler vacation “wish list”
Find out from your toddler what their top three “must-do” things are for the trip. Does your child want to meet a certain princess? Or they really want to try a churro? Put those things at the top of your vacation list and make sure they happen!
Magic Kingdom with Toddlers – Questions and Answers
Does my toddler need a theme park ticket? – Children that have not yet reached their third birthday have complimentary admission to Disney World theme parks.
Is Disney Genie+ worth the purchase if my toddler can’t go on the thrill rides? – At Magic Kingdom in particular, there are lots of non-thrill rides that toddlers can do within the Disney Genie+ system. It’s definitely worth the purchase to avoid skipping the lines.
Should my toddler have a MagicBand? – If your toddler has a theme park ticket (ie: they are 3 years old), they can use a MagicBand, if you wish.
If you choose not to have your child wear a Magic Band, you’ll need to check them in for Disney Genie+ attractions through your mobile device.
Arrive Before Magic Kingdom Park Opening
If your toddler is an early bird, I’d recommend getting to Magic Kingdom at park opening, aka “rope drop”. Arriving early will allow you to experience many of the rides in Fantasyland with less of a wait. If you arrive mid-day, expect to find longer queues and long waits.
Toddler Tip: Start the day with a quick snack in the hotel room. Foods like fresh-cut fruit, a granola bar or even dry cereal are great. Avoiding sugary snacks will get toddlers on the right side of the bed in the morning.
Does Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane Work with Toddlers at Magic Kingdom?
Use Disney Genie+ wisely to skip the long lines on popular attractions. Focus on the most popular rides and book Lightning Lane early in the day for those.
Consider choosing one Lightning Lane immediately, while rope dropping another popular attraction. In between those rides, visit nearby attractions to fill time.
Character meet ‘n greets are a great use of Lightning Lane with toddlers. Mickey Mouse and some of the Disney Princesses can be seen by use of the Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane.
Guests can get another Lightning Lane as soon as they have used one. A new Lightning Lane can also be booked within 2 hours, so multiple Lightning Lane can be stacked. Set a phone timer to remind you to reschedule a new Lightning Lane every 2 hours.
This strategy can work well but it really depends upon your personal touring style and your toddler’s personality. If your child is napping, snacking or not in the mood, this can throw off a streamlined plan, so try and remain flexible.
Rather than outright cancelling the Lightning Lane, amend it instead. This should retain the 2-hour time clock for rebooking another LL.
Best Rides for Toddlers at Magic Kingdom
The Magic Kingdom theme park has the most toddler-friendly attractions and rides. Many visitors to Walt Disney World book two days of their vacation at Magic Kingdom, especially when traveling with little kids.
This is a list of the most popular rides for toddlers at Magic Kingdom. I’ve noted the height restrictions for each ride and which attractions offer Lightning Lane.
- Astro Orbiter (all heights)
- Barnstormer (35″ height requirement) – Lightning Lane
- Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin (all heights) – Lightning Lane
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant (all heights) – Lightning Lane
- “it’s a small world” (all heights) – Lightning Lane
- Jungle Cruise (all heights) – Lightning Lane
- Liberty Square Riverboat (all heights)
- Mad Tea Party (all heights) – Lightning Lane
- Magic Carpets of Aladdin (all heights) – Lightning Lane
- Main Street Vehicles (all heights)
- Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (all heights) – Lightning Lane
- Peter Pan’s Flight (all heights) – Lightning Lane
- Prince Charming Regal Carrousel (all heights)
- Tomorrowland Speedway (32″ height requirement) – Lightning Lane
- PeopleMover (all heights)
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid (all heights) – Lightning Lane
- Walt Disney World Railroad (all heights)
Have a Magic Kingdom Itinerary
Not sure what to do first? Once you’re inside Magic Kingdom, immediately hit Fantasyland!
Rides like Peter Pan’s Flight, “it’s a small world”, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Dumbo the Flying Elephant are toddler favorites.
Stay in one area until completed. It can be easier with toddlers to focus on one land at a time. This minimizes walking and moving/parking the stroller in different locations.
Let Toddlers Think They’re in Control
Allow your little one to get out of the stroller once in a while, and walk independently. I used a toddler backpack with strap while waiting in the queues at Disney World theme parks.
A backpack with a tether like this one is perfect. Toddlers can hold a snack, sipper cup and toy inside. And the strap can loop around your wrist so that your child never gets too far away from you.
Disney parks puts toddlers in control of the fun. Some rides let small children take control. And everyone knows that toddlers like to take the reins!
If your toddler likes to push buttons, turn knobs and take charge of the wheel, check out these Magic Kingdom attractions.
- Astro Orbitor
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Dumbo’s Flying Elephant
- Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade
- Mad Tea Party
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Tomorrowland Speedway (32″ or taller)
Looking to entertain toddlers and kids while waiting in queues? – Check out these tips and tricks for waiting in line at Disney!
Have a Well-Stocked Toddler Bag
Every great Disney day begins with a well-stocked bag. Consider choosing a backpack instead of a diaper bag. You’ll be able to wear the backpack in queue and remain hands free.
READ for more Disney parks diaper bag packing tips!
Toddler Tip: The basket under the stroller is great for storage space. Even better? Rent a locker for the entire day. Magic Kingdom lockers are near the entrance to the park (right hand side). Keep some supplies with you, then store extras in the locker.
These are a few of the essentials you should consider packing in with you. For more packing tips, see this free printable packing list for Disney with kids.
- Sipper cup
- Disposable bibs
- Sunscreen that’s appropriate for toddlers
- Diaper supplies (changing pad, diapers, wipes)
- Change of clothes
- Wet bag (for storing wet or soiled clothing)
Is the Baby Care Center Good for Toddlers Too?
Each of the four Disney World theme parks has a designated Baby Care Center. These locations offer helpful amenities for parents of babies and toddlers.
Expect to find a private nursing room, diaper changing rooms, a feeding room with highchairs, and a kitchen with microwave and sink access.
Forgot or ran out of supplies? The Baby Care Center has a stocked shop offering formula, baby food, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, and over-the-counter medications for purchase.
I personally ran out of baby wipes on my last day during a trip with my toddler. The Baby Care Center shop came through for me!
Magic Kingdom Shows to Make Toddlers Smile
Most toddlers will enjoy a day that’s well-balanced with rides, shows, play and rest. Instead of rushing around the park tackling all of the rides, make sure to schedule in some downtime.
Plan time before and after some of the shows to allow for a nap, free play or a snack.
- Country Bear Jamboree
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic – Lightning Lane
- Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor – Lightning Lane
- Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
- Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade – Lightning Lane
- Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire
Need a Nanny?
Whether you need extra help with toddlers at Magic Kingdom? Need a babysitter for the hotel room so adults can enjoy an evening out?
Nanny-Land offers up for professional nanny services, either inside Walt Disney World theme parks or resort hotels. Each nanny can watch up to four children so that grown-ups can have time alone.
Choose from one of three Nanny-Land professionals. Here’s how it works:
- Gold Crown Nannies have Disney World Magic Key annual passes. This nanny serves as an extra set of helping hands and can go on rides with kids. Use this nanny to watch children while parents take a break inside the theme parks.
- Knight Nannies are specialty nannies who come to your resort hotel room. This nanny uses a fun Disney-based educational theme to entertain kids without toys, electronics or television!
- Silver Crown Nannies watch children at the resort hotel. Ideal for either for a grown-up date night or a morning “Sleepy Session” so that parents can sleep in!
Use code REWRITTEN at Nanny-Land and receive a special discount off of the service. Nanny-Land operates at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
What’s Magic Kingdom Rider Switch?
Your toddler isn’t tall enough to go on the thrill rides, but everyone else in the family wants to go? Every Disney park offers a complimentary Rider Switch program for groups with young kids that don’t meet the height restriction. This service has also been referred to as ride swap or a “stroller pass”.
Using the Rider Switch option will allow all who want to, the chance to ride select attractions. It also eliminates families from all having to wait in line twice. Rider Switch can be used in conjunction with Disney Genie+.
Not all attractions offer the rider swap program, but these are the attractions that do:
Magic Kingdom Rider Switch
- The Barnstormer
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Tomorrowland Speedway
How Magic Kingdom Rider Switch Works
- Entire group approaches the Cast Member at the entrance of the ride and tells them they’d like to use Rider Switch program.
- Cast Member will either scan the ticket in the My Disney Experience app on your phone and assign the group a Rider Switch pass.
- At least one adult will stay behind with the child(ren) that are not riding.
- First group will walk through the regular queue and go on the ride. If they have a Lightning Lane reservation for the attraction, they will use that line instead.
- Group will meet up after the ride. Adults will trade places. Second group (up to three people) will redeem Rider Switch to the Cast Member located at either the exit or Lightning Lane entrance to ride.
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Full Bellies Make for Happier Toddlers at Magic Kingdom
A grumble in a toddler’s tummy will make them turn from beauty to beast! Here are some dining tips to keep toddler bellies full and happy.
Children Under 3 Eat for Free (sort of) – You are welcome to share your meal with your toddler at no additional charge. You can also prepare them a plate at any buffet meal without cost, if the child is 2-years old or under.
However, if you order your toddler their own plate from the regular menu, this will cost. And of course, if you order a meal from the kid’s menu, you will need to pay for it.
Look for the Mickey Check – Kid’s Mickey Check meals meet Disney nutrition guidelines as a healthier meal. These dishes limit calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar.
Snacks – There are snack locations and carts all over Magic Kingdom with savory and sweet treats for toddlers.
Be sure to balance out snacks with fresh fruits, veggies and lean proteins to avoid mid-day crash!
Toddler Tip: Don’t think you have to rely only on the snacks sold in the park. Pack in your toddler’s favorites! Guests are allowed to bring snacks into the parks.
Where to Eat with Your Toddler at Magic Kingdom
This section for dining will break down some of the dining options inside Magic Kingdom with a focus on what works best for young children.
Seating – Quick service dining spots often have both indoor and outdoor seating. For hot afternoons, taking a break inside to soak up air conditioning is a great idea.
Strollers – Strollers are generally not permitted inside indoor restaurants, for space issues. Restaurants will have parking areas outside for strollers.
High Chairs – All restaurants will offer the use of highchairs that slide up to the table. Bring these disposable peel & stick placemats for sanitary purposes.
Full-Service Dining at Magic Kingdom
Plan ahead by making Advanced Dining Reservations for any full-service meals you wish to eat in Magic Kingdom. Read more in this article about how to get the Disney World reservations for the meals you want!
These are the full-service table restaurants inside Magic Kingdom:
- Be Our Guest Restaurant
- Jungle Navigations Co. LTD Skipper’s Canteen
- Liberty Tree Tavern
- Plaza Restaurant
- Tony’s Town Square Restaurant
Tips for Table Service Restaurants with Toddlers at Magic Kingdom
When booking a full-service dining reservation, include your toddler in the group number. This will allow enough space for your child at the table.
Is the menu good for your toddler?
Research menus ahead of your trip before deciding what restaurants will work best for your family. While you might be hungry for the Layered Ratatouille at Be Our Guest restaurant, your toddler may be less than thrilled at the Chicken Brochette.
Make sure that what’s on the menu will be something your toddler will actually eat.
Can your toddler sit through a longer restaurant experience?
Plan on a much longer dining time at full-service locations. If your toddler can’t sit through a usual restaurant experience, table service might not be a good fit. If your toddler usually fusses because he’s done and wants to leave, consider dining quick service instead.
When is the best time of day to eat at a restaurant with a toddler?
Schedule a full-service meal during a time period you know your child will be ready to take a break. My family personally likes to book table service reservations for summer afternoons, offering an indoor respite from Florida’s daily rainstorms!
Quick-Service Dining at Magic Kingdom
Some of these quick service locations only serve adult sized portions. That’s acceptable if your toddler is okay with sharing your meal.
If you want your child to have a more well-rounded meal, try ordering off the kid’s menu. These meals are usually more kid-friendly (like chicken nuggets, cheeseburger or macaroni and cheese). They also come with a side like French fries, squeezable applesauce, a clementine and milk.
Look for the notation next to each location in the section below to know if that restaurant offers a kid’s menu.
These are the quick-service meal locations inside Magic Kingdom (there are additional spots for just snacks & desserts):
- Casey’s Corner
- Columbia Harbour House – kid’s menu available
- Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe – kid’s menu available
- The Friar’s Nook – kid’s menu available
- Golden Oak Outpost
- Lunching Pad
- Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe – kid’s menu available
- Pinocchio Village Haus – kid’s menu available
- Tortuga Tavern
- Westward Ho
Tips for Quick Service Restaurants with Toddlers at Magic Kingdom
Quick service meals are often delivered fast, making them great for when your toddler is hungry RIGHT NOW! Mobile Ordering is the best when taking toddlers to Disney!
Here’s how mobile ordering works: Use the My Disney Experience app to order and pre-pay for quick service dining at many Disney World park locations.
Once you arrive to the restaurant, click the, “I’m here, prepare my order” button. Your food will be ready in a flash! So awesome when you have a hungry toddler.
Divide up the adults when in a quick-service restaurant. One adult can grab a table and highchair for the toddler and the other adult can pick up the food and condiments.
Character Dining with Toddlers at Magic Kingdom
Character dining is a fun way to blend character meet ‘n greets with a hearty meal. These meals really are a complete experience.
These are the character meal locations inside Magic Kingdom
- Cinderella’s Royal Table
- The Crystal Palace
Tips for Magic Kingdom Character Dining Experiences
Character dining reservations fill very quickly! Use MouseDining to score hard-to-get restaurant reservations. Upgrade the free account for additional features including text messages when reservation become available.
Include everyone in your party in the group count when booking a character dining reservation. You won’t be charged for any child 2-years old and under.
Toddlers may especially enjoy the buffet character dining in The Crystal Palace with Winnie the Pooh and friends. This restaurant has characters at all three meals, with breakfast being the lowest price.
Some toddlers are scared around characters which means character dining meals may be too much exposure for them. If your toddler is afraid of characters (or you suspect they might be), avoid booking character dining or risk having them upset during the entire meal.
Things That Might Make Toddlers Scared
Even if your toddler is tall enough to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, it doesn’t mean they should. There are some rides at Magic Kingdom that don’t have a height restriction. But these attractions may still be frightening for little ones. Even a seemingly tame dark ride, like Peter Pan’s Flight might scare your toddler.
Only you know your child and whether to push or step back. Be sure to read more on 5 Helpful Tips for Calming Scared and Anxious Kids at Disney.
These rides might be scary for toddlers at Magic Kingdom:
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (40″ height requirement) – Lightning Lane
- Haunted Mansion (all heights) – Lightning Lane
- Pirates of the Caribbean (all heights) – Lightning Lane
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (38″ height requirement) – Individual Lightning Lane (not part of Disney Genie+)
Magic Kingdom Places for Toddlers to Run and Play
Take your toddler out of the stroller and let them roam in these fun and safe environments. Naturally, you’ll need to follow closely behind!
Swiss Family Treehouse – Climb wooden stairs up 6 stories for an impressive view of Magic Kingdom.
Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station – This is a full-on spray station, ideal for hot days. Bring a swimsuit, towel and waterproof, slip-resistant shoes.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant queue – Families can wait inside the air-conditioned tent, which features a playground for all ages.
Tom Sawyer Island – Take a raft ride to this island with wooden suspension bridges and cave exploration.
Sleepy Kids (aka: Avoiding the Meltdown)
If your toddler is accustomed to napping, you might want to consider returning to the hotel mid-day. Aim to return to the room before nap time to ensure that she gets the rest she needs before the dreaded meltdown ensues!
If your toddler can sleep despite the extra noise and excitement inside Magic Kingdom, start by winding things down a bit inside the park.
Enjoy a few mellow attractions like Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover or Liberty Square Riverboat.
Then seek out a location where your toddler can rest in the shade of their stroller. I found a nook near Gaston’s Tavern to be a great resting place that included a seat in the shade for me!
Toddler Tip: Use a stroller, even if you think your toddler won’t ride in one. Little legs get very tired from all the walking and it’s great to have a shady place for them to rest or just eat a snack.
NEED A STROLLER? – If you don’t want to bring your own stroller, consider renting one during the trip from Kingdom Strollers. Kingdom Strollers will deliver and pick-up at your resort hotel or MCO airport for free!
Where to Meet Characters at Magic Kingdom with Toddlers
Character locations are plentiful throughout Magic Kingdom. And several of these experiences offer Lightning Lane to expedite time in line with young children.
Find appearance times in the My Disney Experience app, then plan your itinerary accordingly:
- Mickey Mouse – Town Square Theatre – Lightning Lane
- Aladdin & Jasmine – Adventureland, near the Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- Disney Princesses (2 meet n’ greet in two separate lines) – Princess Fairytale Hall – Lightning Lane (two separate lines, 2 princesses in each group)
- Donald, Daisy, Minnie Mouse and Goofy in circus attire – Pete’s Silly Side Show
- Merida from Brave – Fairytale Garden
- Winnie the Pooh & Tigger – Thotful Spot, near the Winnie the Pooh ride entrance
In addition to these scheduled character greetings, you might find other characters throughout the theme parks.
Toddler Tip: If you plan on taking lots of photos throughout your Walt Disney World vacation, consider pre-purchasing Memory Maker. Disney PhotoPass photographers are available at all the theme parks, as well as the Disney water parks.
All pictures taken are included for download. The cost is less when pre-purchased at least 3 days ahead of your visit. These are special pictures you’ll cherish forever!
Don’t Forget the Little Things at Magic Kingdom
With a focus on the big shows and attractions inside Magic Kingdom, you might miss out on some of a toddler’s favorite little things to discover. These small amusements make Disney magic happen for the entire family!
These little things might be your toddlers favorite too, so be sure to spend a bit of time checking them out:
Toddlers love to sing and dance. See Casey’s Corner Pianist playing or the Dapper Dans singing? Let your toddler get out of the stroller to dance and clap along.
Pressed coins. What toddler doesn’t love to turn the crank on the pressed coin machine and have a quirky souvenir to show everyone? Aim to collect several from around the park.
Make time for shows. Toddlers often need more time to just watch and absorb the entertainment so make sure you’re taking this into account before pushing the stroller away.
Have a gift ready to go. Save a souvenir to hand your toddler when you leave the Park. Something small like a race car or a bottle of bubbles can help prevent cranky kid meltdown at the end of the night.
This can be a great idea as something to entertain themselves on the bus back to the hotel. READ MORE: These are a few Disney souvenirs you can pre-purchase and have in the diaper bag!
Electrical Water Pageant – A great way to get your toddler out of Magic Kingdom! This nightly water parade takes place on the Seven Seas Lagoon, just outside the theme park exit.