Disneyland California: What to do with toddlers at Disneyland

Disneyland California: What to do with toddlers at Disneyland

I grew up with Disneyland just a short drive away and spent most of my summers there. So, after we moved back to Los Angeles last year, I was very excited to bring Jimmy. It is, after all, The Happiest Place on Earth, so it’s a great place for all ages, right? Not necessarily. But once Jimmy turned two years old, he really started to enjoy the park and all it has to offer. Toddlers at Disneyland, it turns out is a great combo. We love it so much that we are now annual pass holders!

Now, I love Jimmy, and of course I want him to have fun, but I’m not crazy about dragging him all the way to Disneyland without going on some rides I love too. (Sometimes I’ll even go without him so I can hit all the big rides.) These are my favorite things to do at Disneyland that are fun for both adults and toddlers:

Rides for the adventurous toddlers at Disneyland:

Depending on how tall your toddler is and how amenable they are to “scary” rides, these might be a little much for the more tentative kids. These are some of my favorites rides for any age though. I’ve been taking Jimmy on them since he was nine months old.

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Fun for everyone! Both Jimmy and I love this ride. It has some small dips, but nothing scary.
  • The Haunted Mansion: This one is the most fun during the holidays since they decorate it like The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s a great ride any time of the year though!
  • Mad Tea Party: The nice thing about this ride is that you can speed up or slow down your teacup depending on how much your little can tolerate.
  • Autopia: Must be over 32″, but fun for all ages and great for kids to feel like they are driving!

Introductory rides for the more timid toddlers:

  • It’s a Small World: This ride is so classically Disney. You shouldn’t miss it no matter what age you or your kids are.
  • Jungle Cruise: Often overlooked, The Jungle Cruise tends to have short lines and is a lengthy ride. It’s especially great for hot days when you need a break from the sun.
  • King Arthur Carousel: What kid doesn’t love a carousel? (Apparently, my lunatic kid because he is terrified of all carousels for some unknown reason!) Great for literally every other kid though 🙂
  • Tom Sawyer Island: This giant jungle gym is a great place for kids to run around. Ideally they will wear themselves out!
  • Disneyland Railroad: The railroad is another of the more relaxing rides at Disneyland. The wait times are short and you can stay on as long as you’d like. You’ll get a nice overview of the park too!

Where to eat with toddlers at Disneyland

Like all theme parks, the food at Disneyland isn’t the cheapest. My preference is usually to leave the park for a meal and head over to Downtown Disney for a traditional restaurant. It’s about a five minute walk from the park entrance. Downtown Disney has a few restaurants, all big, loud, and ready to cater to families. For me, it’s nice to be able to sit down for a meal and rest up before heading back into the park and waiting in lines.

If you’re staying inside the park to eat, there are tons of options from Cajun food to burgers and fries, so you’ve got plenty to choose from. Be sure to check out the Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street for an extra fun and delicious treat!

What are your favorite things to do with toddlers at Disneyland? Or, if you love it all, maybe you’re ready for a Disney Cruise!

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