I’ve seen babies and toddlers of all ages at Disneyland which is fantastic, but I highly recommend bringing a child for the first time once they’ve been walking for a month or two. It’s just more enjoyable for them (and you!) when they can experience things on their own. The beauty of Disneyland is that toddlers can pretty much enjoy all of the attractions with the few exceptions of the roller coasters and height requirement rides at California Adventure (i.e. Tower of Terror, Soarin’ Over California). Our daughter is now two years old but we’ve been taking DD to Disneyland since she was 14 months old and we’ve identified the Top 5 Must-Sees for toddlers aged 1-2 years old.
1. King Arthur Carousel (Fantasyland, Disneyland)
DD loves riding the horses and the music of this beautiful carousel. The carousel plays iconic Disney movie music and super fans should have no trouble identifying which movie they’re from. I’ve even heard “You’ve Got a Friend In Me” from Toy Story playing. This is how much DD loves this ride: she gets fussy when the ride is over because she wants to go for another round.
2. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (Tomorrowland, Disneyland)
Now, you might want to evaluate this ride based on how your child is. I’ve heard of some 5 year olds being scared because there is a dark scene with explosions but our 2 year old has never been frightened by this. She enjoys the fact that we’re going “under water” and loves the scenes with Nemo. She’s a big water-lover to begin with so that might have something to do with it. I personally love this ride because it brings back memories of the original Submarine Voyage I experience as a kid but also it’s fun pretending that you’re submersed into the deep sea.
3. It’s a Small World (Fantasyland, Disneyland)
This is a popular attraction for babies, toddlers and kids. I never enjoyed this ride until I went with DD and saw how much she enjoyed the music and dancing/singing dolls. What makes this attraction more appealing is that they’ve installed Disney characters to match the countries. For example, you’ll find Lilo and Stitch in the Polynesian scene, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell are in the United Kingdom and the Three Caballeros are in the Mexico/Latin America scene. The boat ride is very mellow and rides on a flat moat, nothing like Pirates of the Caribbean which has a couple mini drops.
4. Playhouse Disney-Live on Stage! (Hollywood Pictures Backlot, California Adventure)
If your child is familiar with Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Little Einsteins and Handy Manny you definitely don’t want to miss this show! It’s an interactive show designed for toddlers featuring the Playhouse Disney characters from their favorite shows. The theatre has three floor sections where parents and kids can sit on the floor. Kids are encouraged to participate in the show by jumping, clapping, dancing, answering questions, etc. The very first time DD saw this at 16 months old, she was so into it! She was clapping away, dancing, and laughing. I was amazed that she paid attention to the entire show!
5. Casey Jr. Circus Train (Fantasyland, Disneyland)
I have to admit that I had never been on this ride until I took my daughter for her second visit. Every time I’d visited Disneyland in the past, this ride was closed for refurbishment so I never knew what the experience was or what the train actually looked like. The train is modeled after the Casey Jr. train from Dumbo so it’s very circus-ed themed. We’ve sat in the different train cars and the caboose several times but nothing beats the Monkey Cage! There’s something fun about pretending to be a wild circus animal in a cage. In a sense, you could consider this your child’s first “roller coaster” since it runs on a track and has a mini incline (of course it’s not as fast). The train shares the same attraction space as the Storybook Land Canal Boats ride. DD certainly enjoys waving hello to all the boat guests.
What did you think of this Top 5? Have you taken your baby or toddler to these rides? What was their experience like?