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Disneyland and California Adventure offer a wide variety of attractions, shows and parades for preschoolers and school age kids. While the resort is not as large as Walt Disney World, it can be just as overwhelming for little ones. So keep in mind that a one-day do-it-all sort of visit will be too much for this age.

Ears Tip The busiest time of day for riding rides is actually after lunch, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Consider taking a break at the park at this time and heading back to your room for the kiddos to nap or take a dip in the pool. Or consider watching a sit-down show or attraction.

Disneyland has eight lands/areas: Main Street U.S.A., Fantasyland, Frontierland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, New Orleans Square, Critter Country, and Mickey’s Toontown. California Adventure has six areas with Buena Vista Street at the entrance. The areas are Hollywood Land, A Bug’s Land, Paradise Pier, Grizzly Peak, Condor Flats and Cars Land (recently opened June 2012). All attractions have been rated and reviewed by our panel of parents based on their children’s like or dislike of the attraction. Ratings for each ride are below by land/area of the park. (Attractions without rating have not been reviewed yet)

Quick Link: Disney's California Adventure

Disneyland: Fantasyland

Disneyland Carousel

Alice in Wonderland
Casey Jr. Circus Train
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Fantasy Faire (Princess Meet & Greet)
It's a Small World
King Arthur Carousel
Mad Tea Party
Matterhorn Bobsleds
Merida Meet & Greet
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
Peter Pan's Flight
Pixie Hollow (Fairy Meet & Greet)
Pinocchio's Daring Journey
Rapunzel & Flynn Meet & Greet
Sleeping Beauty's Castle Walkthrough
Snow White's Scary Adventures
Storybook Land Canal Boats
Ears Tip Fantasyland Tips & Advice: Peter Pan & Dumbo are two of the most popular Fantasyland rides for young kids, so consider doing these rides first thing in the morning. Storybook Land Canal Boats close at sunset due to lighting. Matterhorn height requirement is 35" or taller. Scary Factor: Pinocchio and Snow White due to dark atmosphere in ride. Meet and Greets get long lines later in the day so think about doing them first thing in the morning.

Disneyland: Tomorrowland

Disneyland Astro Orbitor

Astro Orbitor
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (FP)
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
Captain EO
Space Mountain (FP)
Star Tours (FP)
Jedi Training Academy

Disneyland Astro Orbitor

Ears Tip Tomorrowland Tips & Advice: Autopia is a popular one but kiddos must be 54" to ride alone, and 32" to ride with an adult. Queue can be hot on a really sunny day.Scary Factor: Space Mountain might be too dark and fast for young children. Jedi Training Academy is a show that has specific times throughout the day and participants are chosen from the crowd, children ages 4-12. The new Star Tours is a big hit so grab a Fast Pass early.

Disneyland: Adventureland

Disneyland Adventureland

Enchanted Tiki Room
Indiana Jones Adventure (FP)
Jungle Cruise
Tarzan's Treehouse
Ears Tip Adventureland Tips & Advice: Adventureland is one of the most crowded parts of Disneyland. Tarzan's Treehouse and Jungle Cruise close after sunset due to lighting. Indiana Jones has the highest height requirement of 46" or taller to ride. It is a very bumpy ride. The Tiki Room is a great place to rest and cool off from the heat of the day.

Disneyland: Frontierland

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (FP)
Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer's Island
Shootin' Exposition
Mark Twain Riverboat
Sailing Ship Columbia
Ears Tip Frontierland Tips & Advice: Enjoy the show at The Golden Horseshoe while having some ice cream treats. Big Thunder Railroad is a fast roller coaster that some young kids love. At night, it can be a little more intimidating. Height requirement for riding is 40" or taller.

Disneyland: Mickey's Toontown

Disneyland Toontown

Chip 'n Dale Treehouse
Donald's Boat
Gadget's Go Coaster
Goofy's Playhouse
Mickey's House & Meet Mickey
Minnie's House
Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin (FP)

Disneyland Toontown

Ears Tip Toontown Tips & Advice: Toontown is a great place for kids to just run around and have fun. Some of the attractions they will zip right through, like Donald's Boat, but Mickey & Minnie's House offer a little more interest. Don't miss walking through the streets and having the kids ring doorbells and pull knobs. Lots of fun special effects everywhere. If you don't like spinning, skip Car Toon Spin completely.

Disneyland: New Orleans Square

Disneyland Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion
Pirates of the Caribbean
Ears Tip New Orleans Square Tips & Advice: Don't think these two "scarier" rides won't appeal to young kiddos, because they are favorites! Don't skip them! The queue for Haunted Mansion has lots to look at. Also, take a stroll through the streets and see the wonderful shops. There are also handmade caricatures of kids in the back square if you would like a special souvenir.

Disneyland: Critter Country

Disneyland Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain (FP)
Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Ears Tip Critter Country Tips & Advice: Splash Mountain is a favorite with the kiddos! Consider grabbing a fastpass and then taking pictures with Pooh Bear, or riding Winnie the Pooh while you wait for your time window. Explorer Canoes are a bit tiring for small kids.

Disneyland: Main Street U.S.A.

Main Street Vehicles

Disneyland Railroad
Main Street Vehicles (Horse-Drawn Streetcar, Horseless Carriage, Omnibus)
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
Ears Tip Main Street Tips & Advice: The Disneyland Railroad has stops in New Orleans, Toontown and Tomorrowland. It is a good way to rest your feet and travel around the park.

Disneyland: Entertainment

Disneyland Soundsational Parade

Mickey's Soundsational Parade
Mickey's Magical Map
Disneyland Fireworks
Billy Hill & the The Hillbillies at the Golden Horseshoe
Ears Tip Entertainment Tips & Advice: Line up for parades can begin anywhere from 30-60 minutes before the start time. Best viewing spots are Main Street and by Small World. Fireworks can be best scene anywhere around the Hub and most people stand to watch. It is best to find a spot for Fantasmic up to an hour before, but you can still watch the show standing if you don't get a seat early. For more tips, visit our Tips and Tricks page.


California Adventure: HollywoodLand

California Adventure Monsters Inc

Disney Jr. - Live on Stage
Animation Academy
Sorcerer's Workshop
Turtle Talk with Crush
Monster's Inc
Muppet Vision 3D
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (FP)
Character Closeup (Toy Story Zeotrope)
Ears Tip Hollywood Land Tips & Advice: Height requirement for Tower of Terror is 40" or taller. Don't miss the Toy Story Zeotrope - just a fun invention to watch, no lines. Kids sit on the floor for Turtle Talk but feel free to sit with little ones. And have them be ready to raise their hand and have a question for Crush. Disney Jr. is great to rest and cool off in the middle of the day, and young kids love it! New revised show includes Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins.

California Adventure: A Bug's Land

Flik's Fun Fair

It's Tough to be a Bug
Flik's Flyers
Francis' Ladybug Boogie
Heimlich's Chew Chew Train
Princess Dot's Puddle Park
Tuck and Roll's Drive Em' Buggies
Ears Tip A Bug's Land Tips & Advice: It's Tough to be a Bug is a fun film, but the special effects are a little creepy and scary for kiddos. The rides are great for toddlers and preschoolers - school age kids may be a little bored. The puddle park is for getting wet. Drive Em' Buggies have a height requirement of 36" or taller but age 7 and up can ride alone. You can sometimes get pictures with Flik.

California Adventure: Paradise Pier

California Adventure Toy Story

Toy Story Midway Mania
California Screamin' (FP)
Mickey's Fun Wheel
Goofy's Sky School (FP)
Silly Symphony Swings
Golden Zephyr
King Triton's Carousel
Jumpin' Jellyfish
The Little Mermaid-Ariel's Underwater Adventure
Duffy the Disney Bear (Meet & Greet)

California Adventure Little Mermaid

Ears Tip Paradise Pier Tips & Advice: Toy Story Mania is very popular and can get long lines, so hit this one early in the day. Mickey's Fun Wheel has two different gondolas - ones that stay in place and ones that slides back and forth. Make your choice based on your child's fears. California Screamin' height requirement is 48" or taller, and may be too fast and scary for little ones. King Triton's Carousel is a shorter ride than the Disneyland version, and not quite as classic.

California Adventure: Grizzly Peak & Condor Flats


Soarin' Over California (FP)
Grizzly River Run (FP)
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
Ears Tip Grizzly Peak & Condor Flats Tips & Advice: Soarin' is one of the most popular rides in the park and your little ones will love it. There is a height requirement of 40" or taller. Grizzly River Run is a wet, thrill ride that has a height requirement of 42" or taller. One of the hidden gems of the park for little ones is the Redwood Creek Trail. It is a great, quiet, shady place for kids to climb, slide and play. Some activities have height requirements, and sometimes there are fun characters for pictures like Dug and Russell from the movie "Up".

California Adventure: Cars Land

California Adventure Cars Land

Luigi's Flying Tires
Mater's Junkyard Jamboree
Radiator Springs Racers (FP)
Ears Tip Cars Land Tips & Advice: Right now, this new land is very popular and crowded. Radiator Springs Racers is very popular and has a height requirement of 40" or taller. Mater's Junkyard is a fun classic ride that kids will love. Height requirement of 32" or taller. Luigi's Flying Tires is a bit slow and short. Height requirement is 32" or taller. If there is a long line, consider skipping this one.

California Adventure Cars Land

California Adventure: Buena Vista Street

California Adventure Red Car Trolley

Red Car Trolley

California Adventure: Entertainment

California Adventure Pixar Play Parade

Aladdin - A Musical Spectacular
Mad T Party
Minnie's Fly Girls
Pixar Play Parade
Phineus and Ferb Rockin Rollin Dance Party
Red Car News Boys
World of Color (FP)

California Adventure Minnie's Flight School

Ears Tip CA Adventure Entertainment Tips & Advice: Anywhere along parade routes are great for viewing daytime shows and parades. World of Color has dining reservations that provide preferred seating areas. FastPass is available for preferred seating areas as well. All seating areas are first come first serve as far as your location within each section. Lineup for the Aladdin show can begin 30 minutes or more before show time. Best seats are along back of first section and beginning of second section as they can see the parade best.

Special Events & Experiences

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Fantasmic Dessert Package
Holidays at Disneyland Resort
Mickey's Halloween Party
Pirates League (seasonal)
Studio Disney 365
World of Color Dining Package

Disneyland Halloween

Ears Tip Special Events/Experiences Tips: Mickey's Halloween Party is a separate event at Disneyland and requires additional tickets for purchase. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique provides a fun experience for little princesses from age 3-10. They also have packages for little princes. Studio 365 has hairdo/style packages for little girls as well. If possible, for both, request they don't pull the girl's hair too tight as your little one will want to pull it out really quick if it hurts. Pirates League is only for limited times, like Halloween. WOC Dining Package requires advanced reservations. Fantasmic Dessert Package appeals more to adults than children.

For more tips and tricks for the Disneyland Resort, please visit our Disneyland Tips & Resources page.


Last Updated November 2012