Every age is a great age to experience Disneyland, but for preschoolers at Disneyland, there are some extra special attractions perfect for that age. And hey, most of them are great for the parents along for the ride, too. So grab your preschooler and get ready to start creating magical memories in the happiest place on earth!
Our family has visited Disneyland regularly for many years now, and it’s what we consider our home theme park. We started going when my oldest was just four, and my youngest was not quite two. I love the Disney memories we started creating with them at an early age, and I especially love looking back at the photos we captured of them when they were little.
7 Awesome Things To Do for Preschoolers at Disneyland
1. Disney Junior Live on Stage
If your family is anything like mine, when you have a preschooler in your house Disney Junior is a staple tv show. Disney Junior is a fun, small, live-stage experience that stars some of your favorite Disney Junior characters. Watch as Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates help the Mickey Mouse clubhouse crew plan a party.
Traveling Mom Tip: plan to arrive about 15-20 minutes early for the show. The early bird does get the worm with front stage seating, but the stage is elevated, so that’s not always good. Watching from the back gives a unique angle for the show and allows busy movers room to roam.
Character Meal for Preschoolers at Disneyland
Dining with characters is the perfect time to knock two things off your daily plans, meeting characters and eating. You can find these special dining opportunities at two park restaurants as well as each of the three on-site hotels. If you’re looking for princesses, you’ll want to pick Ariel’s Grotto in Disney’s California Adventure.
We recently had breakfast at Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel and loved meeting Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Chip, and Dale. Each character visits your table for autographs and photos.
Traveling Mom Tip: the hotel character dining experiences are perfect for those non-park days, perhaps either on the day of arrival or departure.
This was one of my girls’ favorite “lands” when they were preschoolers. It’s ideal for their exploring minds. Toontown features homes for each of the classic characters, all of which have a hand-on aspect to the home. Plus, head to Mickey and Minnie’s houses to catch a great family photo with a great backdrop.
Traveling Mom Tip: Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin is in Toontown and typically has a wait. I personally recommend skipping it. It’s not really relevant for today’s kids, plus in my honest opinion not the best ride for preschoolers. Gadget’s Go Coaster is a great “first” roller coaster for little ones, but again, often comes with a long wait for a very short ride.
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
This is another favorite spot of my girls when they were preschool age. My 10 year old was very disappointed recently on our trip to discover it was closed for refurbishment. I love that it’s a very physical space, so it lets preschoolers get active and explore in a fairly safe environment. This is also a fun activity for UP movie fans.
Traveling Mom Tip: be sure to grab a wilderness explore map if your kids enjoy scavenger hunt type activities. They’ll earn a completion sticker at the end.
Character Meet Ups
We’ve been to Disneyland about eight times, and the preschool age was the age when my girls were the most excited about meeting characters. There are a few featured areas where you can always meet characters. Some of our favorite spots have been Winnie the Pooh & Friends in Critter Country, Tinker Bell & Her Fairy Friends at Pixie Hollow, and Anna & Elsa in Hollywood Land at California Adventure.
There are also often “pop-up” character meets and they’re in regular spots. If you have a specific character you really want to meet, I recommend checking in at guest services to ask if there’s a special place or time where you might be able to see your meet your favorite character. Definitely check in at the Fantasy Faire to the left of the castle if you’re looking for princesses, and head down to the end of Hollywood Land if you’re looking for Marvel characters.
Traveling Mom Tip: be sure to have an autograph book purchased before entering the parks. Often I see characters on Main Street upon entry, and you don’t want to miss out when your little one wants to meet them. You can get a traditional autograph book that also has a spot for adding photos. Or try one of our favorite souvenirs, created when we used this Animated Disney Character Encyclopedia book for autographs.
Cars Land / A Bug’s Land / Fantasyland
There are so many great attractions and lands around the resort, but there are a few lands that stand out to me as perfect spots for preschoolers at Disneyland. These areas feature either great rides for that age, and/or characters that will really connect your kids with their favorite Disney movies.
Cars Land is a great spot to head if you have Cars movie fans in the family. Route 66 is decorated to remind you of the movie. A Bugs Land was a favorite of my little ones. It features a few rides all perfect for preschoolers and all located in one area. And of course no Disneyland visit would be complete without a visit to Fantasyland.
Traveling Mom Tip: be sure to download the Disneyland app in advance so you can keep an eye on wait times for attractions. Fantasyland rides are notorious for having long waits.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
As the mom of two girls, I realize this one is certainly a bit more girl-centeric, but not entirely. Boys can visit the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and get a Knight Package service. The concept for the BBB is that kids are whisked away by their Fairy Godmothers-in-Training and pampered and primped like princesses and princes.
There are multiple package purchase options, and advance reservations are recommended. Base packages include a hairstyle and some makeup.
Traveling Mom Tip: to save some money, consider packing your own princess dress to the appointment. Of course, if you’re looking for a new gown or accessories, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is the perfect store to purchase your royal necessities.
Of course these are just a few of the main attractions I recommend for preschoolers at Disneyland. There are many others around the two parks. And don’t forget Downtown Disney, the LEGO store is a great stop for preschool families!
I look back on our first trips to Disneyland with our preschooler and baby and love seeing the magical joy we captured on those trips. Now our girls are older, and their interests are changing, but we still enjoy the magic of Disney and hold those memories close to our hearts.