Yes, Younger Kids can have fun at Walt Disney World
I know most parents say they'd rather wait until their kids get older before they take them to Walt Disney World or Disneyland for the first time, that way they remember it. But why wait? Especially since children age 2 and under are FREE at all of the parks and yes, there is plenty for them to do at each park and the photos alone are so precious.
Just look at the joy on my kids' faces in these photos, that is exactly how my soul felt seeing them so happy and spending this carefree time with them.
Toddler Play Areas at Walt Disney World in Orlando
Let your little ones burn off their excess energy at fun playgrounds designed with them in mind. Each Walt Disney World theme park has play zones that are perfect for toddlers to run around in, in fact, my twin boys liked these areas as much as the rides themselves, see below for a full list. Best of all, no height restrictions!
- Waiting area of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride: In the line for this ride, there is a fun play area that kids can enjoy. We'll do this before and after riding, which they enjoy as much as the ride itself. You can also enter the tree house portion without entering the queue at all. There are instruments to play with, wheels to spin and balls to make pop.
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant's Play Before You Ride Area - Like the Winnie the Pooh area, this ride can be found in the very back of the park and has a pre-ride play area that's fun for kids to explore. This circus-themed play area keeps the little ones having fun before taking flight. Upon arrival, you’ll receive a pager that “virtually” holds your place in line. Step inside the big-top tent and enjoy an air-conditioned playground complete with slides, climbing net, and even a toddler section. Bonus, parents can relax here with ample seating. However, if you’re using Disney FastPass+ service, you’ll bypass this area and go straight to the FastPass+ entrance. So, you might want to save your FastPass option for a different ride like Peter Pan, which always has a line. You can also head into this back area without going on the ride altogether or go back and play after you ride, we did!
- Casey Jr. Splash 'N' Soak Station is a water-based, open play area located inside Fantasyland near the train station in Storybook Circus in Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. It's actually based on the friendly circus locomotive from Walt Disney’s Dumbo and is next to the ride. It's perfect for hot summer days to cool off overheated kids and parents. There are also bathrooms right next to it.
- Recommended Toddler Rides: It's a Small World (my boys loved being on the boat and of course all the colorful moving animitronics and the fun, upbeat song), The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan's Flight, Dumbo, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin and Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid. Plus, the Tomorowland PeopleMover and/or the Train that travels around the park, which is also a great way to relax while keeping toddlers occupied. Oh, and doing a Meet with Mickey Mouse is a must, which you can thankfully reserve ahead of time via Fast Pass+ on the free My Disney Experience app or website. If you don't have a Fast Pass to meet Mickey, a good time to go is during parades when the lines are less.
Epcot Play Areas
- SeaBase Aquarium: After going on The Seas with Nemo & Friends ride, my toddler twins enjoy simply running around the 5.7-million-gallon saltwater aquarium with coral reefs, sharks, dolphins, turtles, manatees and more to point and look at. Catch the fish feedings at 10:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Best of all, it's inside so protected from the heat or rain.
- Advanced Training Lab: Little astronauts can participate in space-themed activities and even create space-age postcard in this interactive play area
- Innoventions: While not exactly for toddlers, little kids can still hang in the air-conditioned building as they play with computers and press buttons. Colortoipa is a fun new exhibit there too.
- Cars Cactus Road Rally is a fun desert-themed mini park that is easy to miss as it's set back a bit, but one you'll want to look out for near the popular Test Track ride. Just look for the giant Lightning McQueen and Mater topiaries. A sun canopy covers the play area and there is seating for parents too. Unfortunately, it's only open in the Spring to early Summer during the annual Flower and Garden Festival.
- Music Garden Melodies play area: During the annual Flower and Garden Festival each Spring, there is also a temporary play structure for children ages 2 to 5 with slides, bridges, tunnels and games along with an older kids structure next to it for children ages 5 to 10. It's located along the Imagination Walkway between the Butterfly Garden and World Showcase near Canada. This playground is a chance for kids to play and explore and parents to relax. In 2015, the theme was Monsters University, but for 2016 it's more general with topiaries of Disney's "Fab Five"and a play area that incorporates musical sounds and instrumental equipment to play with. I only wish this shaded play space was available all year! :(
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure: UPDATE: This area is currently CLOSED due to the building of Star Wars and Toy Story lands, but hopefully these new areas will incorporate play areas. I've been told that Toy Story land will have a large arcade at least.
For right now, Hollywood Studios is the only park without a child play area :(
|Honey I Shrunk the Kids play area at Hollywood Studios|
Who knew this would be our boy's favorite park? They get to see animals up-close on the Kilimanjaro Safari Ride and run wild in The Boneyard play zone and dig area.
- The Boneyard: dig site for kids in the Dinoland area of the park is a great play space for toddlers and preschoolers. There are slides, climbing structures, a big sand box (cross the bridge to get to it), water zones and much more. On hot days the overhead canopies and fans were very much appreciated. Cast members are also watching the entrance and exit. My boys could honestly spend the whole day there and be happy.
Animal Kingdom play area The Boneyard
Disney World Resort Hotel Playgrounds:
It has been said that playgrounds can be found at all Disney World hotels, however, that is unfortunately NOT true, so choose wisely. For instance, Disney's Yacht & Beach Club resort does not have a playground, but it does have an impressive water slide and pool area.
Walt Disney World Resort playgrounds can be found at the following locations for kids ages 2-12:
|Disney's Port Orleans Frech Quarter|
- All-Star Movies Resort
- All-Star Music Resort
- All-Star Sports Resort
- Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Art of Animation Resort
- BoardWalk Inn
- Caribbean Beach Resort
- Coronado Springs Resort
- Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
- Old Key West Resort
- Pop Century Resort
- Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
- Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
- Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel