The Magic Kingdom is the most popular park at Disney World for families with young children. Within that park, Fantasyland is the must-visit area. While the other lands feature a variety of adventurous and thrilling rides mixed in with the milder offerings, Fantasyland is the home of slow-moving fairytale inspired rides that are perfect for the smallest visitors. Or are they?
No Official Age Limits
Officially, there are no age or height limitations on any of the rides in Fantasyland. However, families with children ages three and under should be aware that some of the rides feature surprising or spooky elements that may not be ideal for small tots. A bit of research ahead of time should help parents to avoid the rides that might frighten little kids.
Cinderella’s Golden Carousel
As you pass through Cinderella Castle, Prince Charming’s Golden Carousel is directly ahead. Kids toddler age and up can enjoy this ride, although parents should accompany smaller children to ensure that they do not slip off the tall and slick carousel horses. Horses that do not move up and down may also be the best choice for toddlers.
Mickey’s PhilharMagic and Peter Pan’s Flight
To the left as you exit the castle are Mickey’s PhilharMagic and Peter Pan’s Flight. Both of these rides may be problematic for children under two or three, for different reasons. Mickey’s PhilharMagic uses 3-D glasses, and two-year-olds struggle to keep them on their faces and to see through them properly. Small kids may also be confused or frightened by the “4-D” mist, air, smell, and other effects.
Peter Pan’s Flight is a slow dark ride aboard vehicles shaped like pirate ships. Like the ship in the Disney film “Peter Pan”, these ships fly into the air and soar above scenes from the film. Small children may be frightened when the ship rises off the ground, and may also be a little scared by the sword-brandishing pirates.
It’s A Small World may have earned a somewhat negative reputation thanks to its painfully catchy song, but it’s an excellent ride for the little ones. Slow moving boats take riders past colorful and detailed animatronic scenes from around the world – there is lots to see and hear but not enough to overwhelm small visitors.
Mad Tea Party
The Mad Tea Party has become popular with guests large and small. Different groups of teacups rotate on large platforms, while each individual teacup rotates in place when you spin the wheel. The cups move fairly fast, but can still be fun for the smallest riders if you do not spin the wheel. Spinning the cup creates strong centrifugal force, and the slick seats can cause small kids to slide around uncomfortably. It can also lead to motion sickness for small children or older riders who are prone to nausea.
Located in the Storybook Circus section of Fantasyland is the extremely popular Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride. This open air ride is visible while you wait in line, so children will be prepared when their elephant flies into the air. Each elephant also features a joystick that allows the passengers to control the height, allowing small children to stay low to the ground if the height scares them. However, all the elephants ride to the top of their flight range at the conclusion of the ride, so parents may want to ride with children the first time to make sure they are prepared.