This beloved area is undergoing exciting renovations and expansion. Storybook Circus opened in spring 2012 offering fresh twists on some classic attractions. At Dumbo the Flying Elephant, a new wait system lets you pick up a pager (like at a restaurant), then take the kids to a big-top play area (air conditioned!) until it’s time to ride. Other Fantasyland highlights include a redesigned Barnstormer kiddie-coaster (featuring Goofy’s stunt-plane adventures), and the new Fantasyland Station on the Walt Disney World Railroad.
This Fantasyland staple sends you on a gentle boat ride while 300 brightly costumed dolls and animals sing the ride’s unforgettable theme song in five languages.
Perfect for little ones, this slow-moving ride features the famously silly old bear and his friends Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet. Don’t miss the nearby character greeting area, where kids can meet their favorite Hundred-Acre-Wood residents in person.
Gallop along with Cinderella and Prince Charming on this antique carrousel featuring 90 unique horses circling to classic Disney music.
Savor a view of Adventureland you can only get by soaring above the buildings. While in the sky, keep your eyes peeled for Aladdin and Princess Jasmine, who like to hang out nearby.
Travel down the Amazon, Mekong, Congo and Nile rivers — all in one cruise. This humor-filled adventure is full of amazing animatronic animals. If you’re lucky (and there aren’t many other kids aboard), the skipper might let your child take the wheel.
From Mickey and Minnie to Belle and the Beast, all your Disney favorites make their way down Main Street U.S.A. The short, daytime parade is full of upbeat music and colorful floats.
As grand marshal of this evening extravaganza, Tinker Bell waves her wand and spreads fairy dust over a procession of shimmering, brilliantly lit floats.
This 25-minute version of the classic film is a live, Broadway-style musical for all ages. Show up at least half an hour early; seats fill up fast.
At 17 minutes, this 3D movie is the perfect length for kids age 6 and younger. Kermit and Miss Piggy are among the cuddly creatures you can practically reach out and touch. Note: The show has an “explosive” ending, which might startle some young children.
Watch your preschooler sing and dance as characters from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, Little Einsteins, and Jake and the Never Land Pirates come to life on stage through enchanting puppetry, vivid sets and catchy songs.
Ariel and friends reprise songs and recreate memorable movie moments in this 15-minute live show.
This mesmerizing nighttime spectacle combines fireworks, laser lights, water effects and 50 costumed performers to tell a story about the power of imagination. There’s limited seating, so show up early to get a good seat. Note: The show includes loud noises — and Maleficent the dragon. It's not extremely scary, but it might frighten some little ones.
Don 3-D glasses, climb aboard a carnival-themed tram, and zip through a gallery of midway-style games inspired by the Disney Pixar Toy Story films. Your kids won’t be the only ones excited to try their luck!
This colossal (11,000 square feet) play area is the perfect place for kids to blow off steam while parents sit back and relax. Monumental play structures include a spraying water hose, gigantic bumblebees, and mazes that twist and turn through plant roots.
During 30-minute training sessions, 15 kids, ages 4–12, learn to use the Force (and a lightsaber!) to help defeat Darth Vader. You must sign your child up for the experience — typically at Echo Lake near Sounds Dangerous or near the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.
Book a vacation package that includes accommodations within the resort, theme park admission, and dining. By combining those elements, you get the most value for your money — and unparalleled convenience.
When to Go
Go during off-peak times, when crowds are lighter and weather is most pleasant. The months we like best are:
- January and February (but avoid national holidays)
- May (prior to Memorial Day)
- September through December (except during national holidays and school-break times)
Finding Your Way
When you arrive at a park, grab a free guide map at the entrance or at a kiosk or shop. That way, you’ll be sure to have the latest information on parades, fireworks and entertainment. If you plan ahead, you can also create a customized map based on your family’s plans and preferences. The process is simple: Go online, highlight rides and shows you want to see, then print your maps at home or request free, full-color, keepsake-quality versions through the mail.
Kids and Characters
Watching your child’s face light up at the sight of a favorite Disney character might be the most highly anticipated moment of your trip. But keep in mind: For some youngsters, the life-size costumes are surprising and overwhelming. So before you approach a character, talk to your child about what to expect. That can ease fears and encourage happy interactions. To locate Character Greetings sites in all parks, check the guide maps.
Parades & Fireworks
Disney’s daily parades are outstanding. Pay close attention to the routes and starting times listed in your guide maps, then set out early to find a prime viewing spot. (Curbs and sidewalks fill up fast.) Claim a place close to air-conditioned shops, in case your little ones need to escape the warm temperatures. For the Magic Kingdom® Park’s Wishes Nighttime Spectacular fireworks display, head to the roundabout in front of Cinderella’s Castle. You get a great view — and places to sit down while you watch.
Need a Break?
All the theme parks include play areas, so your kids can expend some energy while you take a breather. If you’re traveling with an infant, Baby Care Centers in each park offer kitchens, changing stations and private nursing rooms.
Need a Stroller?
You can rent strollers at the theme parks, but we suggest you bring your own. That way, you’ll have it for trips to and from your hotel, and you’ll know you have room for your diaper bags and other personal items. Plus, neither you nor your child will have to adjust to an unfamiliar ride.
Walt Disney World® Resort is a magical place, but even it can’t control the weather. Bring ponchos or light jackets in case it rains. During summer visits, we recommend you take drinking-water containers and misting bottles. You can buy these items in the park, but bringing your own saves you the time and money.
The kids won’t care if Mom and Dad take some time to themselves, as long as you take advantage of the Children’s Activity Centers in several Disney Resort hotels. The Peter Pan-themed Never Land Club at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, for example, entertains visitors, ages 4–12, with cartoons, toys and video games. Cost is $11.50 per hour, per child, and includes a buffet meal between 6 and 8 p.m. Or opt for in-room child care. Through a partnership with independent child care provider, Kids Night Out, care is available for kids ages 6 months–12 years.