Just mention “Disney” and the entire family goes crazy. Mix in grandparents and toddler grandchildren, and smiles on the face will never cease! There’s nothing more magical than a multigenerational family vacation to Walt Disney World. But what popular rides work for BOTH grandparents and toddlers? Read on for our best Disney World toddler rides for grandparents too!
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Bring the Grand-Family: Best Disney World Toddler Rides and for Grandparents too!
Walt Disney World vacations top the list of multigenerational family travel. Orlando, Florida, is the perfect destination to bring together families for a memorable and magical family vacation.
While I may not be your typical grandparent, as I am certainly an adrenaline junkie. But even this energetic Grammie of eight grandchildren has her limitations. I can’t do too many of those twirly-spinny rides, but I would definitely say yes to a nap after a long day in the parks!
I’ve been lucky in the last few years to experience Walt Disney World with my grandchildren several times during their preschool years. Preschool ages are those cutie pies between 3 and 5 years old (although some extend the range from 2 to 6 years old). That’s the age when they are constantly getting into things, and this Grammie felt like I chased them around just to keep them safe. Preschoolers want to touch, taste, smell, hear and get into things – all by themselves. Sound familiar?
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In addition to my best rides with the grandkids, I’ve asked other grandparents to chime in on their favorite Disney Park rides and live shows when traveling with grandkids 6 years or younger. Without further ado, from the Magic Kingdom to Epcot and all the theme parks in between, we bring you our Walt Disney World ride guide for the little ones (babies, toddlers, preschoolers and littles under 48”) and the grandparents who love them.
Dozens of No Height Restriction Rides at Walt Disney World
Walt Disney believed in his motto, “…a family park where parents and children could have fun – together!” That motto still thrives today in his Disney Parks as many rides and attractions do not have height restrictions. That means all ages – parents, grandparents, littles, toddlers, preschoolers, tweens, and teens – will enjoy the magic of Disney Parks!
Disney Parks offers so many rides that accommodate all ages and heights, welcoming those height-challenged littles. Nothing made this Grammie sadder than my granddaughters’ tears when realizing they weren’t tall enough to ride. That’s why I planned our magical adventure to include many of those rides without height restrictions. This plan also works for those traveling with grandparents with mobility issues.
Traveling Mom Tip: When planning your Disney World toddler rides and attractions, you can avoid long lines by taking advantage of FastPass and Disney’s Rider Switch.
Best Magic Kingdom Disney World Toddler Rides Under 48” (and Their Grandparents)
The iconic Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom and its Main Street are perhaps the most recognizable icons of the Disney Parks at Walt Disney World, especially to preschoolers. At least my preschool granddaughters, who are all about princesses, were captivated by the castle.
Traveling Mom Tip: I’d suggest spending at least two days at the Magic Kingdom, as this is the theme park with perhaps the most preschool-age rides, so you’ll get more bang for your time. Also, since the Magic Kingdom offers the most rides for any height, this is one of the Disney Parks that accommodates all ages. This makes your littles who are not tall enough for most rides and grandparents who prefer more sedate rides all very happy.
If you only have one day at the Magic Kingdom, use these tips for visiting Walt Disney World in one day.
After snapping that mandatory first photo of the family in front of Cinderella’s castle, we hang a left – as most travelers go right! This section of the Magic Kingdom is always a favorite of our toddler grandkids and Grammie and Papa too.
Best Rides and Attractions for Grandparents and Toddler at the Magic Kingdom
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant – Any height.
- Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station – Any height. Perfect spot for a reprieve from the heat, near Storybook Circus and Fantasyland!
- Mad Tea Party – Any height, but the spinning might be too much for the littles and grandparents’ tummies.
- Prince Charming Carousel – Any height
- “it’s a small world” – Any height. Another great option to get out of Florida heat.
- Jungle Cruise – Any height.
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – Any height.
- Magic Carpets of Aladdin – Any height.
- Peter Pan’s Flight – Any height.
- Liberty Square Riverboat – Any height.
- Tom Sawyer Island – Any height, and a great opportunity for littles bored with lines to move around.
- Swiss Family Treehouse – Any height, and another chance to burn off energy.
- Country Bear Jamboree – Any height.
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic – Any height.
- Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor – Any height. Our entire multigenerational family loved this and laughed the entire show!
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid – Any height.
- Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade – Don’t miss this!
- Happily Ever After – Fireworks showcase
- Goofy’s Barnstormer -35” or taller, the perfect junior roller coaster for preschoolers.
- Tomorrowland Speedway –32 inches or taller
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover – Any height, great time to kick back and check out Tomorrowland from above.
- Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin – Any height.
But that’s not all! Read more best rides at the Magic Kingdom for toddlers and don’t miss all the character meets including Ariel at the Grotto in Fantasyland.
Epcot Rides and Attractions for Grandparents and Preschoolers
This is Grammie and Papa’s favorite Disney Parks. While we could spend the day walking around the World Showcase of Epcot enjoying adult beverages in different lands, there still is plenty to do with the toddler grandkids.
- Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival – Any height, so much 3D fun.
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends – Any height.
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment – Any height. It's a slow ride but is dark.
- Spaceship Earth – Any height, but my 2-year-old granddaughter thought the dark was too scary.
- Turtle Talk With Crush – Any height. And so fun!
- Soarin’ Around the World – 40 inches or taller; still this Grandma’s favorite ride.
- Test Track – 40 inches or taller.
- Epcot Forever – Fireworks night show.
Ready to take a vacation with the grandkids? Get all the help you need from our Traveling with Grandkids Facebook Group!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Rides & Attractions for Grandparents and Littles
I’d give the Animal Kingdom high fives as the second-best park for both grandparents and littles because we all love that animal theme. This theme park is perfect for walking around and exploring, then ducking into rides and attractions when lines aren’t so long.
- Kilimanjaro Safaris – Any height. My granddaughters were literally all eyes, soaking up all the wildlife sightings. We try to go to Africa first before it gets too late in the day.
- Wildlife Express Train – Any height. Take a 7-minute ride to Rafiki’s Planet Watch.
- Affection Section – Any height. Disney’s version of a petting zoo.
- Conservation Station – Any height. We all loved learning about how to take care of the animals.
- Maharajah Jungle Trek – Any height. Asian tigers, deer, water buffalo, birds, even a Komodo dragon!
- Tree of Life – Any height. Great photo opp for the family.
- Discovery Island Trails – Any height. In the area near the Tree of Life.
- Na’vi River Journey – Any height. My 2-year-old granddaughter actually took a quick nap on this ride,
- The Boneyard – Any height (ages 10 and under). Great play area to explore the world of fossils and burn off that extra energy.
- It’s Tough to be a Bug! – Any height.
- Finding Nemo – the Musical – Any height.
- Festival of the Lion King – Any height. One of our top shows of all in the Disney Parks.
- Kali River Rapids – 38 inches, for older preschoolers who don’t mind getting wet.
- DINOSAUR: 40 inches
Best Rides & Attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
This is my pre-teen and teen grandkids' favorite Disney theme park. Personally, without Toy Story Land and Frozen Ever After, I’m not sure this really has enough to offer toddlers and preschoolers to be worth the visit for those with only a few days at Walt Disney World.
Like most rides and attractions for preschoolers, toddlers and grandparents, it really depends on the kids, how easily they are scared, or how adventurous the toddlers and grandparents might be.
- Toy Story Mania! – Any height.
- Muppet* Vision 3D – Any height.
- Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy – Any height.
- Frozen Ever After – Any height, and the best show ever! My family still talks about this one. Both my preschooler granddaughters were absolutely amazed and glued to their seats during the entire show. Plus it has fun adult humor too.
- Beauty and the Beast – Any height. Another favorite of our princess granddaughters, and Grammie's too.
- Alien Swirling Saucers – 32 inches.
- Slinky Dog Dash – 38 inches.
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run – 38 inches.
- Star Tours – 40 inches.
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance: 40 inches.
- Tower of Terror – 40 inches. Although my pre-teen and teen grandkids love this, I feel this would be too scary for preschoolers.
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster – 48 inches. My teen grandkids' favorite coaster, best for taller preschoolers who don’t scare easily.
Quick Tips to Enjoy Disney Parks with Both Grandparents and Toddlers
Disney Parks are massive! We’re talking hundreds of acres of theme park fun. That’s a lot of walking for both grandparents and toddlers. In order to get the most Disney World toddler rides in your day, bring a stroller or rent one for your little. For grandparents with mobility issues, a wheelchair is also a good option.
Be sure to take breaks out of the Florida sun. Many rides and attractions offer good options out of the heat! Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water – and save money by bringing your own water bottles to refill.
Finally, let both grandparents and toddlers be kids! Even though I’m always excited to share Disney with my grandkids, I get almost giddy at just the thought of another Disney experience. Same as those littles who are running amok with Disney sensory overload.
Step back and enjoy the moments during your Walt Disney World multigenerational family vacation. It’s okay if we don’t have time to ride all the rides, see all the attractions, or sit back and watch all the shows. The magic of Walt Disney World will bring us back together again on our next family vacation.
If your Disney jam is in California, be sure to check out our Disneyland tips.