Updated: Feb 15, 2022
Let's face it, by the time you get the thumbs up from your doctor to go with your baby to a theme park post pregnancy and delivery, you've spent roughly a year without being able to do the "good" rides, and if you're like me, you're ready to go! I'll be dedicating a whole post on the baby swap program offered in the parks to talk more about how you can enjoy non-baby-approved rides throughout the day, but today, I want to focus on what rides are big hits in each park for the littlest of little ones.
I'll be honest, I was hesitant to bring Tallulah on a ride at all on her first few trips to Disney, because what if she fusses the whole time, or needs to get up and walk around, or without getting too gross... needs an outfit change stat. Then I remembered, we're in a safe place when people are standardly very accepting of babies since they more than likely came with one in their party too. That made me feel slightly better, but it still took a few months before I warmed up to the idea of taking Tallulah on a ride. Once I bit the bullet, I had a first hand experience of how engaging and entertaining Disney rides are to little ones and adults alike.
One of the first rides we took Tallulah on was "it's a small world" at Magic Kingdom, and her taking-it-all-in stare showed us just how blown away she was with the music, colors and dolls that were dancing all around her. It was absolutely adorable, and it still is her favorite ride today!
One tip I recommend before your trip is playing the ride soundtracks at home with your little one. I could tell that Tallulah was pleasantly surprised when she recognized the music and could enjoy the experience all the more. Here's a link to a Spotify playlist I compiled with a bunch of the songs Tallulah and I listened to when I was in theme park withdrawal during my post-partum recovery.
Once again, Magic Kingdom takes the cake for rides with little kids in my book. There are quite a few choices and I don't feel like I'm missing out on the ride front when we're here. Although, each park definitely has options, so I'm listing our recommendations below including tips that we learned along the way.
"it's a small world" - Tallulah’s current favorite. Definitely a must-do with little ones! So your little one doesn't have any heads in the way of their viewing experience, you can ask a Cast Member at the loading area if you can wait to be in the front. We highly recommend waiting the extra few minutes for your kiddo to enjoy the best non-obstructed view.
Peter Pan's Flight - This ride is great but always seems to have a long line and fastpasses can be hard to get. We like it when we get a fastpass, but since the ride is so short and the line is so long, I recommend spending your time elsewhere if you have a limited amount of time at the park.
TTA Peoplemover - We love this ride. I’m a bit partial since I worked there on my Disney College Program. We love riding it over and over. Did you know you can ask the Cast Member at the unloading area if you can stay in the car to ride through again if it isn't busy. You can only ask while you're still in your car. If you get out you have to walk back through the line. Please note, when the ride was moving Tallulah was on my lap the whole time. The ride stopped while we were on it, so I was able to snag this pic then.
Carousel of Progress – I have to admit, I was a bit concerned when I got on this one, because it’s a 20 minute show where the theater moves in a circle from room to room without a way of getting out until the end of the show. Tallulah was just about due for her bottle when we went, so I brought it along in case she lost it during that time, but she was so engaged by the characters and her GrandDad singing his way through the ride, she loved every minute. This ride is wonderful from an air conditioning standpoint and makes for a great mid-day nap.
Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin – We did this with Tallulah for the first time recently. She wasn’t a huge fan, but I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that she was tired. She liked looking around, but honestly, she just wanted to be held during that one.
The Voyage of the Little Mermaid – This is a big fav for our crew. Tallulah loves to dance to the music, and I wasn’t sure if the animatronics would be too close to the ride vehicle for comfort. Surprisingly, she was totally okay with Ursula and was dancing along with Ariel and Sebastian.
Dumbo - What a beautiful view on this ride! I love it especially for that. I also haven't experienced this first hand since we had a fastpass when we rode it, but I hear their standby waiting area is amazing because it's a kids play area. I am so excited to check it out with Tallulah! Don't forget your sunshades for this ride. It can be very bright up there and you'll want to enjoy every scenic moment.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends – Tallulah has loved fish and Nemo from the beginning, so she really enjoyed this ride. I loved that the characters are incorporated over the aquarium glass with the real fish. Although Tallulah seems to enjoy the sharks, you may want to cover your little one's eyes in the shark and anglerfish room because they can be a little intense.
Living with the Land – This peaceful ride is so perfect for a baby who loves nature and being on a ride for a 15-20 minute time span. I definitely recommend bringing a bottle/snacks/a paci because once you're on, you can't get off. It's always good to be prepared just in case someone gets a bit fussy.
Toy Story Midway Mania – Warning - this ride totally jolts you around a lot. I’m honestly somewhat surprised there isn’t a height limit. I held onto Tallulah very tightly the whole time, and even tighter on the turns. I think next time, I’d side carry her in my ring sling to make it easier on us both. Tallulah loved it but was also slightly terrified. She wouldn’t let go of the gun from one position, so lets just say it was my worst score ever, but she had a good time, so it was worth it. It also is very hard to get the 3D glasses on a little one, so this may not be the best ride for the tiniest kids. I recommend hitting the shows at Hollywood Studios :)
Kilimanjaro Safari – This is Michael’s favorite ride, so of course we had to check it out as a family. Tallulah loved seeing the animals and being on the move. This ride does bump around a lot because of the vehicle and the terrain, so I actually was wearing her in the ring sling from the start. It was amazing and her head and neck weren’t in any danger at all. She was so snug in there, she actually fell asleep, which is a near impossible task on that ride. I definitely recommend baby wearing when you can on rides. It helps keep your little ones comfortable and you less concerned about any potential safety issues.
What are your favorite rides with your little ones?