In this Disneyland itinerary for toddlers we tell you exactly how to plan one day in Disneyland with preschoolers. This itinerary tells you which land to start in, i.e. where to rope drop with toddlers, includes only toddler friendly Disneyland rides and also includes meet and greets. We also give you practical tips about using a stroller at Disneyland, helping your toddler nap at Disneyland and where to eat with toddlers at Disneyland.
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Disneyland Itinerary for toddlers
Note: This Disneyland itinerary for toddlers has been tried and tested by families with toddlers over several visits to the park with toddlers. And while this Disneyland with toddlers itinerary does include some tips, you may also want our dedicated post, Disneyland with toddler tips, which will help you organise, plan and enjoy your day!
Also as this Disneyland itinerary with preschoolers covers you spending a long amount of time in the park, it is really important that you pack your Disneyland day pack well. For more information on what to pack for Disneyland with toddlers and the best snacks to take to Disneyland check out these dedicated posts.
Should I rope drop at Disneyland with toddlers?
The first thing you might be wondering about when doing a Disneyland with toddlers itinerary is, is it necessary to rope drop.
Rope dropping, for this who do not know, is where you get to the park before opening, and being there for when they drop the rope to get into the various lands at opening. To do this you will need to be at the park between 30 minutes to an hour before the advertised opening time, (depending on how busy the park is expected to be).
Obviously toddlers are not able to go on the Disneyland thrill rides so you might be wondering if it is worthwhile to rope drop but I think it definitely is. That is because when we travel disneyland and rope drop we get at least 5 rides done in this time. Therefore we do recommend rope dropping if you can
Where to start on this Disneyland Itinerary with toddlers?
Now whether you decide to rope drop or not I recommend starting at the same land whatever. And that land is …
The reason for this is because Fantasyland contains a high percentage of Disneyland toddler friendly rides.
The rides that toddlers can go on in this area i.e. Disneyland rides without height restrictions are:
- It’s a Small Ride
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- King Arthur Carousel
- Mad Tea Party
- Casey Junior’s Circus Train
- Storybook Canals
- Mr Toad’s Wild Ride
- Snow White’s Enchanted Wish
- Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
- Alice in Wonderland and of course
- Peter Pan’s Flight
Now out of all of these rides the only one whose queue gets very long is Peter Pan’s Flight. In fact this ride will rarely drop below a 40 minute queue.
If you are the very first in the queue at rope drop then you could try and rope drop this, but this queue gets big very quickly. Therefore if you are there for rope drop but not literally in the first row I would not recommend rushing to this ride as I think it wastes the first hour when the queues are by far the shortest.
To ride Peter Pan’s Flight during this itinerary we recommend either waiting until the afternoon when the sunny queue puts people off or jumping on this when you spot the queue to be around 40 minutes later in the day as this is likely the best time you will see.
Alternatively, if you are traveling to Disneyland with toddlers with genie+ we recommend making this ride your first selection. This is one of the most popular genie+ rides at Disneyland and therefore gets booked up very quickly. If you want to use genie+ on this you definitely need to select this early in the day.
Our strategy is therefore to start on other rides and get as many done in the first hour as we possible can. We usually head to the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride first as after Peter Pan I find that this one gets busy next.
Once we have ridden Dumbo we check our app and head to short queues to get as many done as possible.
Also it is worth noting that although there are lots of rides in Fantasyland that toddlers and preschoolers can ride because of the lack of height restriction, I would not recommend all of them.
Note: If you have toddlers of a nervous disposition then I would consider whether or not you want to ride the following dark rides:
- Mr Toad’s Wild Ride
- Snow White’s Enchanted Wish
- Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
These dark rides at Disneyland may scare some toddlers. My little ones were fine but some toddlers will not enjoy these rides. You know your toddler best as to what they like. We have full descriptions of these scary Disneyland toddler rides to help you decide whether you want to ride here.
Also if you have a princess fan in your party you may want to head into the Royal Hall in the Fantasy Faire area of Fantasyland. In the Royal Hall you will get a chance a meet a princess, they usually rotate 3 princesses each day but they are random and you own’t know who you will meet until you get into the hall itself.
Tip: to get a great character interaction be sure to check out best questions to ask Disney princesses posts.
This is a hugely popular attraction at Disneyland so if you want to do this I recommend doing it very early. Usually in the first hour. However, if you do decide to do this it will mean you have to join longer queues for rides later in the day.
Rest of morning on this Disneyland toddler itinerary
Once you have finished in Fantasyland, you may have time to do another land before you head to lunch. We normally manage this as we try and travel outside of peak travel times and choose a good day for Disneyland.
We also bring plenty of snacks with us which helps us have a slightly later lunch.
I would choose which land you choose based on queue times, but I would select either Critter Country or Adventure land as these have limited rides for toddlers so are perfect to squeeze in before lunch. We usually choose to do Critter Country.
Critter country has a great ride for toddlers in the form of the many adventures of Winnie Pooh. However some toddler may find this scary.
This land also has the Davy Crockett canoes. Toddlers can ride these so long as they are wearing a life jacket but trust me this can be a stressful experience for parents of toddlers if they won’t sit still on this attraction.
The other choice is Adventureland for Jungle Cruise which toddlers will enjoy due to the animatronic animals. However this also gets a very long queue so this is worth using genie+ on if you have this.
Where to have lunch of this Disneyland for toddlers itinerary
We usually use lunchtime as a chance to stop and have a rest and get indoors out from the sun. When we are traveling with toddlers we do not usually book a table service restaurant but instead opt for one of the quick service restaurants that has lots of indoor seating.
Our absolute favourite place is the Golden Horseshoe. This restaurant is indoor and lovely and cool and has some good value toddler meals such as:
- Chicken Tenders, fruit, applesauce and milk
- Power Pack which includes yoghurt, crackers, carrots and fruit
But the best thing about this restaurant with toddlers is the entertainment. The Golden Horseshoe has a fantastic pianist which makes this meal feel more like an event.
However if you don’t fancy the menu or think the music will be too distracting then other good choices for lunch with toddlers at Disneyland are:
- Casey Juniors Hotdogs on main street
- Alien Pizza Planet
Afternoon at Disneyland with toddlers itinerary
The afternoon at Disneyland with toddlers is for achieving things that you didn’t manage to do in the morning.
If you have not done Genie+ for Peter Pan or Jungle Cruise, it is worth checking their waiting times as you leave the restaurant to check what the wait times are. If they are less than 40 minutes then you could jump straight onto these. If your toddler needs a nap you could also consider doing a rider swap on them.
Also be sure to check the time of the parade at Disneyland that day as you will want to queue up around 30 minutes before the parade starts to ensure you get a good spot for your toddler to see the characters.
The lands you will have left to do in the afternoon are:
- either Critter Country or Adventure land depending on which, if either you did over lunch.
- Tomorrowland – where you can do Buzz Lightyear’s Astroblast and Astro Orbitors. Astroblast is on the Genie+ selection if you have this.
- Toon Town – currently closed until 2023 but is great for toddler rides and classic character meet and greets. To be sure you get a great interaction check out our best questions to ask Disney characters.
As the ride queues are so dependent on the day you are traveling we recommend selecting your itinerary order by choosing the land where the rides are shortest at the time you are traveling.
Evening at Disneyland with toddlers
Days at Disneyland can be long so depending on how many days you have at Disneyland will depend on whether you want to stay into the evening with your toddler.
The reason to stay at Disneyland into the evening with toddlers is to complete more rides but also to see the evening fireworks.
We usually eat dinner in Downtown Disney with toddlers as we find this a bit calmer than eating in the park. Our favorite place is Torilla Joes but there are many great places to eat in Downtown Disney with toddlers.
FAQs about this Disneyland with toddlers itinerary
How to add Character Meet and Greets to this toddler itinerary?
The only meet and greet we mentioned in the above itinerary was when to think about meeting the princesses.
If you want to add other meet and greets into your itinerary then we recommend checking the timings on the day pf travel.
For outdoor meet and greets we recommend getting there 10 minutes before the start time. This will make the process quicker.
For other meet and greets such as Mickey and Minnie, it is worth keeping an eye on the wait time. While these meet and greets are on all day the queue is likely to alter throughout the day. If you want to see them I would recommend anything 45 minutes or below to be a good wait time.
Does this Disneyland itinerary for toddlers cover California Adventure?
We love doing California Adventure with toddlers because it is full of great toddler friendly rides. However this itinerary does not cover California Adventure.
This itinerary is a one day in Disneyland with toddlers itinerary. If you would like to do both parks you will need to buy park hopper tickets and concentrate probably only on Fantasyland before switching parks.
We do have a 1 day 2 parks Disneyland itinerary here for full details. Or alternatively we recommend dedicating one day at California Adventure which we also have an itinerary for here.
Does this Disneyland toddler itinerary work on party days?
Yes it absolutely does! I actually like going to the parks on a party day. While the park shuts early and you can’t see the fireworks, we like party days as the party tends to put people off coming in and therefore you find that meet and greets and rides may have shorter wait times than on the day after a forty.
Are there any toddler rides at Disneyland not included in this itinerary?
Yes there are a couple of toddler rides not included in this itinerary such as Pirates of the Caribbean. This is because while I love this ride some toddlers may find it too scary even if they are tall enough to ride.
However you can slot this in any time after fantasyland if you would like to do this.
Should we take a Stroller to do this Disneyland itinerary?
To maximise your time and prevent your toddler getting tired at Disneyland we recommend taking a stroller to Disneyland. You will have to use the Disneyland stroller parking at the rides but other than that it is very helpful.
We recommend also making your stroller stand out to be sure you can find it easily. For more stroller hacks for Disneyland check out this post.
And if you are traveling with two toddlers or a toddler and a baby be sure to check out our best double strollers for Disneyland post.
Can we use rider swap on this itinerary
This itinerary focuses on only things toddlers can do. However if you want to do some of the thrill rides such as Space Mountain, Splash Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain to name just a few we recommend using the rider swap function.
We like to do rider swap during the time when our toddler naps as we find this the best use of time.
Why isn’t Galaxy’s Edge in this itinerary
While I love Galaxy’s Edge, there are no toddler rides in this area. For this reason we haven’t included in this itinerary.
If you want to include Galaxy’s Edge we recommend using Genie+ and Lightening Lane to limit the time your toddler waiting.
However I will say my toddler absolutely loved hanging out in this area as it is so immersive.
And there you have our Disneyland for toddlers itinerary. Have you done Disneyland with toddlers? We would love to hear what itinerary you did and what worked for you and your little one.