Let’s Chat About the Best Disney World Park for Toddlers

Boys sitting by Roy Disney at Magic Kingdom

Wondering what the best Disney World park for toddlers is? Well, you’re in the right place! This post will cover it all to make sure that you end up at the best park for you.

Disney World has 4 theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom. And each is *completely* different. 

As you’re planning your Walt Disney World vacation, you’ll get all sorts of advice about what other people think are the best Disney parks for toddlers. Heck, my toddlers would probably tell you a different favorite every time you asked them. 

But the real question is: which Disney park is the best for your toddler? Let’s dive in.

Disclosure: You may see affiliate links throughout this post, which means these are the things I handpicked! If you purchase something through these links, I will get a small commission at absolutely no extra charge to you. And that sure means a lot to me, so thank you in advance! See the privacy policy for more information.

What is the Best Disney World Park for Toddlers?

Ok, I already know you’re not going to be happy with this answer. Are you ready for it?

It depends. 

Ugh. I hate having to give that answer, but it’s the truth!

My toddler will like different things than your toddler who will like different things than the next toddler.  

And here’s one more thing to think about: what you like.  Yes, you. It’s your vacation, too, after all!

To choose which park is the best park for your family, let’s talk about what makes each Disney World park unique–that way you come out on the other side of this article with a good idea of which park you definitely want (or don’t want!) to visit during your Disney World trip.

P.S. If this is your first trip to Disney World (or first trip in a while), don’t miss my Disney World planning guide

Magic Kingdom

3 boys sitting on Main Street Vehicle with Cast Member in front of Cinderalla's Castle at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World

Let’s start off with the park you’ve probably already decided you want to visit just to make you feel great about that decision!

When you think of the Disney World theme parks, one of the first things that probably comes to mind is Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom.  Quintessential Disney!

I truly think this is a must-do Disney park for first-timers or if you’re going to Disney with young children. In fact, you might even want to plan more than one day at this park if your itinerary allows. 

Home to the most attractions of any Disney World park, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at Magic Kingdom. It’s the perfect mix of classic rides and newfound favorites.

While there are some rides with height requirements, the majority of the rides in the park are toddler-friendly. And lots of the rides are based on movies your kids already know and love (like Toy Story, Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid, Winnie the Pooh, or Aladdin).

It’s easy to find Mickey here, whether that’s during a character meet-and-greet or watching him glide down Main Street on a parade float. There’s also an epic fireworks show at the end of the night, complete with projections on the castle and Tinker Bell flying across the sky.

Although Magic Kingdom caters to little kids, the big kids (yep, that includes you, Mom and Dad!) can still enjoy themselves too, making it one of the best Disney World parks for families. 

If you’re taking toddlers to Disney World, the Magic Kingdom should be at the top of your list. 

Bottom line: If you’re looking for that Disney feel, Magic Kingdom is the place for you. Plus this park will have the most rides without height requirements, meaning your toddler will have plenty to do throughout the day.

Hollywood Studios

Toddler running in front of Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway at Hollywood Studios

At Hollywood Studios, you get to step right into the movies! I mean, you literally walk into a cartoon when you hop on Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway (which my kids have all dubbed their favorite ride at Disney!).

Think Star Wars, Toy Story, Cars…there’s lots of adventure in this park.  You’ll also get a chance to see your favorite Pixar and Disney Junior characters, which you usually can’t find at any other park.

Here’s the thing about Hollywood Studios, though. There are only two rides in the park that have no height restrictions…TWO! Which means, if you’re visiting Disney World with a small toddler or baby, they won’t be riding much.

With that being said, there’s still plenty to do. Hollywood Studios is home to tons of shows and fun, interactive restaurants. My boys fell in love with Roundup Rodeo BBQ in Toy Story Land, where you get to become one of Andy’s toys.

As far as shows go, you’ll be able to get up close and personal with Indiana Jones’ incredible stunts, sing with Elsa, dance with Disney Junior characters, race with Lightening McQueen, relive Beauty and the Beast’s romance, and laugh with the Muppets. 

Plus there’s Fantasmic (if your toddler can hang later into the night), a nighttime spectacular full of fireworks, characters, projections, and water features.

If you want to experience thrill rides (like Slinky Dog Dash, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run), but you have a toddler that’s not tall enough (or not ready) for those rides, you can use the Rider Switch service. Check out my quick Disney vocab lesson if that all sounds like a foreign language!

Bottom line: If your family is into Star Wars or Toy Story, this is the park for you! This is also your best bet to see Disney Junior and Pixar characters. 

Epcot

Family of 5 (Dad, Mom, and 3 boys) smiling with Spaceship Earth and fireworks in the background at Epcot

At Epcot, culture, nature, and exploration combine to highlight the interconnectedness of humanity. That sounds serious, right?! But I promise, there’s plenty of fun to be had at this park.

This park gets a reputation that it’s not great for toddlers (yes, there’s a possibility you’re going to run into a group or two that’s had a little too much fun “drinking around the world”), but it’s actually become one of my personal favorites since having kids. Why? Because there are so many fun play areas for the kids to enjoy AND there’s great dining and drink options for the adults. That’s a win-win in my book

At Epcot, you’ll find popular rides like Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, Test Track, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (although you will need to use Rider Switch for some of these).

One of my kids’ favorite areas in Epcot is The Seas Pavilion. Here, you can hop on the ride The Seas with Nemo and Friends (which usually has a short wait!), talk with Crush the turtle, take a picture sitting inside Bruce the shark’s mouth, and explore underwater exhibits.

While the World Showcase (where you’ll find 11 different countries’ cultures showcased) might seem like a place for adults, there are plenty of things for kids to do in that part of the park, too. This is where you’ll be able to meet Anna and Elsa, along with lots of other characters (Epcot is a great place to meet princesses!). And your child can even pick up a small memento at each country’s Kidcot Fun Stop.

Plus, there’s almost always bound to be some sort of festival or fun extra (like an Easter egg scavenger hunt) going on in the World Showcase, as well. And it’s where you’ll find a nightly fireworks show. Be sure to check out Disney’s website to see what Epcot is offering during your time at the park.

Bottom line: The main draw for this park for toddlers, in particular, is Frozen Ever After and being able to meet Anna and Elsa. So if that’s a priority, make sure to head to Epcot. As a parent, I love this park because I can enjoy some delicious food and drinks while still having plenty of fun activities and rides for the kids to do.

Animal Kingdom

Grandpa and 3 grandsons playing the drums in Pandora Land of Avatar at Animal Kingdom before park hopping

At Animal Kingdom, you get to explore savannas and jungles, jump back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and let your imagination run wild in Pandora—World of Avatar.

Animal Kingdom is home to thousands (yes, thousands!) of animals, and what’s even cooler? Disney is a recognized leader in animal care and conservation, so you know the animals are in good hands. You can even take a train ride to Rafiki’s Planet Watch to learn all about the conservation of animals and maybe even see the veterinarians in action.

While some may think Animal Kingdom is “just a zoo,” that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, I don’t think I can even compare Animal Kingdom to our local zoo–that’s how different they are.

Of course, at Animal Kingdom, you’ll be able to see plenty of animals by hopping on Kilimanjaro Safaris and enjoying the trails around the park. 

But you’ll also be immersed in different cultures, explore the imaginary (and very cool) Pandora–World of Avatar, and see some of the best shows on Disney property (Festival of the Lion King, I’m looking at you!). 

While there are no nighttime spectaculars at Animal Kingdom, if you’re lucky enough to be at the park after sunset (it often closes before sunset, so check the park hours), you’ll get to witness it in all its glory. The lighting at the Tree of Life and in Pandora is so beautiful and peaceful. 

I’ve heard a lot of people say that Animal Kingdom is a “half-day” park, meaning you can see most (if not all) of what you want to see in half of a day. And overall, I’d have to say I agree.

Although there are enough things to do at Animal Kingdom with toddlers to last a whole day, you’ll probably be able to get to all the most popular spots within a half day or so. 

If you get to the park right when it opens, you’ll be able to beat the crowds and have lower wait times on the more popular rides (like Kilimanjaro Safaris, Na’Vi River Journey, and Avatar Flight of Passage). Then you can spend the rest of your time enjoying the park and the shows. It makes for a more laid-back Disney day, which isn’t a bad thing with how busy and overwhelming Disney can be at times.

Bottom line: If your kiddo loves animals, they will LOVE this park! If you’re looking for a more laid-back Disney experience, keep Animal Kingdom on your radar. 

Tips for Choosing the Best Disney World Park for Toddlers

Now that you have an idea of what each park consists of, how do you choose? Here are some things to consider when making your final choice.

Cinderella's castle at Magic Kingdom at Disney World

Go with your interests.

I know I’ve harped on this quite a bit already, but it’s an important point.  Your family’s interests take priority. 

So, if you had a friend that raved about Hollywood Studios because of all the Star Wars stuff and says you HAVE to go…buuut your family isn’t into Star Wars at all and there’s not much in that park that sparks your interest, choose a different park to visit. 

There’s something for everyone at Disney World, and your vacation will be much more enjoyable if you plan it around the things you enjoy. 

Decide how many days you’ll spend at the parks.

If you have 4 park days planned for your Disney World trip, your choice may have just gotten a little easier, as you can do one day at each park. 

If you have 3 or fewer park days planned, then decisions will have to be made. 

Consider purchasing a park hopper. 

If you have less than 4 park days and really can’t choose, you might want to add the park hopper option to your Disney World tickets.

To see if this is the right choice for you, check out this post where I dive into the pros and cons of the park hopper

Take your child’s age and personality into consideration.

The best Disney World park for a 4-year-old might look a little different than if you’re going to Disney with a 2-year-old. It’s crazy how much changes in just a year or two around that age. 

Your toddler might be all about Animal Kingdom, but once they turn into a preschooler, maybe Hollywood Studios will be more their style. 

As your child gets a little older and taller, they may (or may not if they’re like my oldest son!) be ready for some of the thrill rides. 

Take a look at what character meet and greets are offered at each park.

If meeting characters is a priority for you when visiting Disney World and your little one has a favorite, make sure to check your My Disney Experience app to see which characters are offered in which park. 

To do so, open your My Disney Experience account > click on the location tab at the bottom > click the down arrow at the top of the screen > select Characters. From there, you can filter by park.

Boy running up to give Mickey Mouse a hug during character meet and greet at Disney World

Know that you can’t go wrong.

I mean it! Going to Disney World with a toddler is like nothing else.  Seeing that Disney magic through their eyes is THE best. 

No matter which park you end up at, there will be plenty of things for your kiddo to do. So, which Disney park is good for toddlers? All of them…seriously. 

Disney Tips with Toddlers

Alright, let’s end with some tried and true Disney tips for those Disney World toddlers of yours! 

1. Don’t plan a jam-packed day.

There are SO many things for toddlers to do at Disney World, and it’s easy to want to try to fit it all in.  

But, spoiler alert: it’s literally impossible to fit it all in. And one of the easiest ways to feel overwhelmed at Disney is by trying to plan things down to the minute. 

My advice? Pick 5 must-do attractions, then have a nice-to-see list to start knocking out once you have your priorities covered. 

Planning a day at the Disney World parks can be overwhelming! But it doesn’t need to be.

Check out my FREE daily Disney World park planner to help prioritize and organize your day, so you can have the vacation you’re dreaming of.

2. Stick to your toddler’s schedule/routine as much as possible.

My toddlers have always been the happiest when they’re on their schedule, so we make sure to keep snacks, meals, and naps as close as possible to the normal time. 

In addition to that, it’s easy to get on a roll going from one experience to the next, which ends up with your kiddo being cooped up in the stroller. Taking some time to let them get out of the stroller and run around is super important – I mean, if your toddler is anything like mine, they’re a busybody!

We love finding a fun play area around the theme park to let them run to their heart’s desire. Here’s my full guide to Disney World playgrounds

3. Take a midday break if able.

I know this sounds counterintuitive, but I swear we get more accomplished at the parks when we take a midday break than we don’t. 

And that’s because we have waaay less meltdowns to deal with when everyone can rest and get away from the overstimulation of the parks for a bit. (Yep! Even I enjoy a good midday break at Disney.)

If you can’t make it back to your resort for a midday break, find a quiet place in the park or at a nearby resort to have some downtime. 

4. Choose a resort with good transportation options to the parks.

If there’s one specific thing I’d splurge on during a Disney vacation, it would be a resort with a good location. I truly believe the best Disney World resort for toddlers is one where you can get to and from the parks quickly.

This makes it easy to take a midday break then get right back at it once everyone’s rested.  And it’s a huge perk to be close to your resort at the end of a long park day when everyone’s ready for bed. 

The resorts with the best transportation options are easily the ones in the Magic Kingdom resort area (Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian, and Wilderness Lodge), the Epcot resort area (Boardwalk, Yacht Club, Beach Club, and Swan & Dolphin), and along the Skyliner route (Riviera, Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation, and Pop Century).

It’s good to note that the Swan & Dolphin are not Disney resorts, so they don’t get exactly the same perks as on-property guests. 

Boat transportation at Disney World

5. Get a good grasp on how to use Genie+.

Genie+ is a game changer when going to Disney World with little ones. It keeps your day moving and helps you avoid any long waits with your toddler. But for it to work how you want it to, you need to know how to use it in the best possible way. 

Here’s my full review on Genie+ (from a mom’s point of view!). And here’s my full guide on how to get the most out of Genie+

6. Have a plan for character meet and greets.

Meeting their favorite Disney characters can be a highlight for toddlers, but it’s nice to have a game plan in place for meet and greets just in case things go a little haywire. I mean, seeing characters on TV and in books is one thing, but seeing them in person is a totally different thing.

Here are my top tips for character meet and greets

7. Bring or rent a stroller that your toddler is comfortable in.

Even if your toddler doesn’t use a stroller anymore back at home, you’ll still want a stroller at Disney World. On average, you’ll walk 7-10 miles per day, which would be quite the trek for those little legs.

Not to mention, there’s no tired like Disney tired. Make sure you have a stroller that reclines and has a large shade, so your little one can rest if needed. 

3 boys in strollers that are allowed at Disney World

8. Dress your toddler in comfortable clothes. 

Those cute Disney costumes for toddlers? Yes, your little one looks adorable in it and can totally dress in costume at the Disney Parks. But if they’re miserable in it (maybe it’s too hot, too scratchy…who knows), I promise you’ll wish you had them in a comfy t-shirt instead. 

I’d personally save the princess dresses and cute costumes for a special dining experience and go with something comfortable for the parks (or at the very least, bring a change of clothes for your little one just in case). 

Here’s exactly what we pack for our Disney trips

Want to know EXACTLY what to pack for your upcoming Disney World trip?

Snag a free printable Disney World packing checklist by clicking the button below. (And how do I know it’s EXACTLY what you need? Well, it’s the list I personally use, so it’s been through plenty of trial and error.)

9. Know how to use Rider Switch. 

Just because you’re heading to Disney World with a toddler doesn’t mean you have to skip out on all the rollercoasters.

If your party has someone who’s too small or just doesn’t want to ride a particular ride, talk to the Cast Member at the entrance of the attraction about using Rider Switch. 

The first group of riders will wait in the standby line while the second group waits with the non-rider(s). Once the first group is done, the second group will get to go through the Lightning Lane to enjoy the ride. 

That way, you don’t have to wait in the long standby line twice. 

10. Take advantage of the Baby Care Center at each park.

Disney’s Baby Care Centers are fully equipped with changing tables, feeding areas, and any baby items you may need. They provide quiet nursing rooms, a small area where your toddler can play, and bathrooms with kids-sized toilets. 

If your toddler is getting overstimulated or overwhelmed, the Baby Care Center is the place to go. To find where they’re located, go into your My Disney Experience app, and use the search icon to search Baby Care Center.  

let’s connect!

Looking for allll of my Disney tips? (Because there’s plenty more where this came from.)

Instagram is where it’s at! Check out @ThoseMagicalDays — an extension of Those Johnson Boys, where I let loose on everything Disney to help make your trip stress-free.

Wrap-Up: Best Disney World Park for Toddlers

Figuring out the best Disney theme park for toddlers really is a personal decision, but hopefully this article gave you some guidance to help make the best choice for your family. 

No matter which park(s) you choose, you’re bound to have a great time, so try not to stress out about it too much (I know, I know…easier said than done!). Make sure to check out my other Disney posts to help decrease that stress a bit!

And subscribe to my newsletter for exclusive Disney tips sent straight to your inbox.

Coloring sheet, Disney balloons for Disney vacation countdown ideas

Counting down the days until Disney?

Well, let’s build that excitement even more!

Click the button to download a free Disney countdown printable. It’s FULL of fun Disney countdown ideas to choose from.

let’s talk photo editing!

Wondering how I give my photos a bit of an oomph?

Well, let’s just say I’m a little obsessed with the Light & Airy Photographer photo editing presets.

In just one click, your photo goes from, “Aw, that’s cute,” to, “WOW!”

Light & Airy Preset before and after photos of mom and 3 boys

Similar Posts