It’s almost time! Our family is heading to Disneyland in a few weeks for our annual trip. We are a party at the park from sun up to sun down kind of family. Our girls ages four and six are well on their way to becoming Disney experts. In addition to the shopping, packing and reservation making; we always decide ahead of time what ride we want to ride first each day we’re there. Not only is it fun to hear our girls tell us what their favorite rides are, it is also great for planning our next stops in the park.
Since this is a big topic in our house right now, I thought this would be an excellent time to share our little Mouseketeers favorite rides at Disneyland and why they love them.
Our youngest hasn’t yet reached the magical 40 inches mark much to her dismay. For now, she still falls into the category of rides appropriate for all heights. These are her favorite rides while she not so patiently waits to experience the “Big Kid” rides.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Soar around Disneyland in your very own Flying Elephant! Dumbo is located at the back of Fantasyland directly across from King Arthur’s Carousel. A lever inside the ride lets you raise and lower Dumbo as you fly. The view from the highest point allows you to see all of Fantasyland from a whole new point of view.
“I like that we get to go around and around. I like being up high and seeing if I can get my Dumbo higher than Sissy’s.”
Diva Tip: Rides in Fantasyland may close during fireworks performances. Check with a Cast Member before heading to that area of the park around performance time.
It’s a Small World
It has singing, dancing and a song that will be stuck your head the rest of the day. Join the happiest cruise in Disneyland and tour the world without ever leaving your boat. The ride has almost 300 a animatronic dolls representing parts of the world. Depending on which part of the world you are in on the ride, the dolls sing the It’s a Small World song in their native language. Look for the Disney characters in the ride. Don’t forget to look up, you may see a few flying around.
“I like singing dollies and to sing the song with Daddy. I like to look for all the Disney characters.”
Diva Tip: If you are heading to the park at the end of October, the ride may be closed while it is converted into It’s a Small World Holiday.
Pirates of the Caribbean
If it’s the Pirates life for you, you’ll love this ride filled with singing, pirates, and treasure. Watch for Captain Jack Sparrow as he appears in different scenes looking his next swashbuckling adventure. This is a dark ride and may be too scary for smaller pirates.
“My favorite part is it’s a bumpy ride through the water. It’s fun to sing with the pirates. I like the dog that won’t give the Pirates the key”
King Arthur’s Carousel
Located in the heart of Fantasyland, King Arthur’s Carousel is a sight to see. 68 hand-painted horses go around under a colorful tent while an old-fashioned organ plays classic Disney songs. The center of the ride has 9 hand-painted pictures of scenes from the Disney classic Sleeping Beauty. Disneyland dedicated one of the horses named Jingles to actress Julie Andrews for her portrayal of Mary Poppins. Jingles is the lead carousel horse and was Walt Disney’s favorite horse on the ride.
“I love it because it has Mary Poppins horse. It’s my favorite movie. I like the music it plays.”
The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
Join Sebastian, Flounder and Scuttle on a fun-filled adventure as they help Ariel fulfill her dream of being a part of the human world. Watch out for Flotsam and Jetsam as they try to help Ursula take over the ocean.
“I like to sing songs and dance with Ariel. The frogs making the kissy faces make me laugh”
Maters Junkyard Jamboree
Venture to the friendliest little town in Carburetor County and take a ride with everyone’s favorite Tow Truck. Hop in a tractor-trailer and go on a wild ride that whips and spins around in a figure-eight while Mater sings his favorite tunes.
“It goes fast and keeps changing which way we go. I laugh a lot.”
Diva Tip: During Halloween time the ride becomes Mater’s Junkyard JamBOOree complete with spooky decorations and songs. My favorite is the “One geared, one-horned, drivin’ purple fender bender”. At Christmas time, the ride becomes Mater’s Jingle Jamboree and Mater serenades you with his Christmas favorites.
Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters
Luigi and his family have brought a piece of Italy to Radiator Springs. Hop in one of Luigi’s cousins and dance around the floor to their favorite songs. Don’t forget to throw your hands up in the air as the cards spin around. The Cast Members change the pattern of the cars after every ride and there is potential to experience several different dances.
“The ride is fun because the cars dance around. I like the part where we all put our hand in the air and spin around”.
Diva Tip: Like Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters is also given two Holiday updates. Check out Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-ween and Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl for all new songs and decorations.
Monsters Inc. Mike and Sulley to the Rescue!
Hop into a taxi cab and go on a wild ride through Monstropolis as Mike and Sulley try to rescue Boo and get her home. With the whole city in a panic the CDA is out in full force and Randall wants to find the human child before anyone else. Will Mike Wazowski and Kitty be able to save the day?
“I get to see Mike, Sulley and Boo. I don’t like Randall, I’m glad he doesn’t get Boo”.
Kids 32 inches or taller can take a seat behind the wheel and go for a cruise down winding roads in Tomorrowland. This car is set on a track, so your little racer can’t get too far off course. The gas pedal is conveniently located in the middle of the floorboard so older riders can control the speed of the car while enjoying the scenery.
“It’s fun because Daddy lets me drive really fast. I like to try to catch Mommy and Sissy”.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Go deep in the Hundred Acre Wood to visit with Christopher Robin and his friends. On this ride you follow along with Pooh Bear as he dreams away while sleeping. You’ll see Heffalumps, Woozles and plenty of honey!
“I like when it rains and all my friends are blowing around. It’s funny to see Pooh in the giant honey pot.”
Our oldest hit 40 inches before our trip last year and she happily discovered she’s over the 42 inches mark this year. Goofy’s Sky School and Grizzly River Run here she comes! With last year being her first time on the bigger rides she’s changed her favorites list quite a bit.
Diva Tip: Download the Disneyland app before you go. You’ll have wait times, height requirements notices about temporary closures and rider switch information at your fingertips.
Have a Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Day splashing along in this log flume ride. Splash Mountain is based on the Disney movie Song of the South and follows Br’er Rabbit as he tries to escape from Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox. This journey down the bayou is full of colorful characters and songs. The ride ends with a 50 foot drop down into the Briar Patch. Be prepared to get wet!
“I like it because you can sit in different spots each time. It’s fun to get really wet and it’s a great ride to cool off on.”
Diva Tip: If you have a child who doesn’t meet the height requirement they can still experience part of the ride. Hop on the Disneyland Railroad train! Between the train stops and New Orleans Square and Toontown, the train goes through Splash Mountain. Riders can view the Riverboat scene and hear the passengers on the boat sing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah!
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Travel back to the Old West and take a fast-paced roller coaster ride in a train. With twists, turns and a mine shaft ready to explode this ride is action packed and sure to thrill riders. Parts of the scenery are from a ride that debuted in 1956 and transported riders around Frontierland.
“It goes really fast and I like fast rides. At the top of the ride, I could peek over and see them building Star Wars land.”
Calling all Jedi’s! Join C-3PO on this 3D space adventure as your ship tries to avoid capture by Imperial Forces. Star Wars favorites such as Princess Leia, BB-8, Kylo Ren, Poe Dameron and others make appearances as you go on your galactic adventure.
“It was fun to watch what was happening on the screen. I felt like we were really flying.”
“I like that it goes really high. I can see all the other rides and decide what I want to ride next.”
Diva Tip: This ride temporarily closes during World of Color performances.
Silly Symphony Swings
Based on the Disney Silly Symphony cartoon this ride takes flyers high in the air while gliding around a center column that shows scenes from the classic cartoon. Riders sit in a swing type seat with a safety bar. There are tandem seats for smaller riders who need a parent sitting with them based on height.
“You get to go high and fast in a circle. It made me dizzy.”
Diva Tip: This ride temporarily closes during World of Color performances. Be sure to leave any loose items on the ground, you don’t want to lose them mid-flight.
Radiator Springs Racers
Get your kicks on Route 66 and enter the big race. Buckle up in a race car and take a leisurely tour of Radiator Springs and meet all the locals. Join Mater for some tractor tipping but watch out for Frank! Then meet up with your pit crew to get new tires, a pep talk from Doc and a custom paint job from Ramone before the big race. It’s time for the big race as you speed down the track against another car. Will it be a photo finish?
“My favorite part is racing the other car. It’s a lot of fun it your car wins. I like to sit in the front and pretend I’m driving”.
Diva Tip: This ride is equally spectacular at night time. Opt for a Fast Pass with an evening time for a whole new ride experience.
Gadget’s Go Coaster
Gadget from the Rescue Rangers has built a ride out of human objects she’s found lying around. This kid-friendly ride is a short ride with a few dips and turns. Perfect for a child who wants to try out their first roller coaster.
“I like being in front of the ride because you can see everything. The ride goes really fast. It isn’t very long so I always want to ride it again”
Mad Tea Party
The tea party is starting and you’re the guest of honor. Climb into colorful tea cup and go for a spin around the floor while listening to tea pots toot the famous song. Each tea cup spins on its own in a wild pattern but if you’re looking for more excitement, you can spin the wheel in the center of the cup to make it spin faster.
“It’s really fun because you get to spin around really fast. The ride is wild and crazy. I like to spin the wheel in the middle with my sister to see how fast we can go”.
Diva Tip: This ride may temporarily close during fireworks performances. The wait is typically shorter for this ride than many of the others in Fantasyland.
Alice in Wonderland
Down, down, down the rabbit hole you go on this Topsy Turvy adventure based on the movie of the same name. Join Alice, the White Rabbit and more and they decide which way is the best way. In case you didn’t know, the answer is the best way is ALWAYS the Queen’s way.
“You get to pick a colored caterpillar go on a really funny ride. You see all sorts of crazy animals in the woods. I like how the Cheshire Cat appears and disappears in different spots on the ride”
Toy Story Midway Mania
This 3D experience lets you challenge the rider next to you in a madcap game of target shooting. Use your launcher to shoot imaginary balls, darts, eggs and other objects at 3D images in a variety of carnival games located throughout Andy’s room. Want to be the high scorer in the family? Character Diva has some Toy Story Mania tips in her video.
“You get to see all the characters from Toy Story and go through Andy’s room. It’s fun to see if I can beat Mommy or Daddy. The only thing I don’t like it sometimes the line is really long.”
Diva Tip: In certain games, there will be high-value items such as hard to hit targets and secret targets. The hidden targets can unleash items worth even more points. Look for these to boost your score and beat other players.
Having children in different ride categories can be difficult at times. Thankfully this is something Disneyland anticipated. There are typically several all-ages rides in close proximity to rides with height requirements in addition to Character meet and greets. For example; if older riders in the family are on Splash Mountain, an adult can take younger riders on the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Also, the Character meet and greet at Pooh Corner is across from Splash Mountain.
Even if your child is tall enough, they may not be ready for the ride itself. Allergy Mom Diva gives us her review of rides that could be scary for Preschoolers to help you determine if your child is ready for the bigger rides.
Diva Tip: Many of the thrill rides have Rider Switch. This allows one parent to ride the ride and then the other parent uses the exit or single rider line to enter a shorter queue for the ride. We’ve been using it for years for Indiana Jones since my husband and I are the only ones tall enough to ride it.
I hope these rides recommended for kids by kids will be a hit with your family too! Take a spin on the Tea Cups for me!
Looking for more ride information? Disney Diva gives us her family’s top 5 Disneyland attractions for kids by kids ranked by her two oldest sons. Do your kids have any favorite rides that we missed? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!
If you would like information on planning your first or 50th trip to Disneyland be sure to contact Patricia at All For Dreams Travel for a free vacation quote.