Disney Tips 3: Disneyland Paris - Favourite Rides for under 5's
I often hear the question asked whether Disney is suitable for really young children....? YES YES YES. Not least because when they are under 3 they are freee! Here are my two mini's favourite rides and shows, now aged 3 and 2. My daughter has even been doing all of these since she was only a few months old!
This is just one blog in the Five Little Stars Disney Series. I will pop the links to the other ones at the end for you. Featuring: Top Tips, What to pack, and surviving queues.
The main area for little ones is FANTASY LAND which is all located behind the Castle. With little ones, you could spend all day just in here.
These are our favourite rides:
- It's a Small World - I remember this from my own childhood. It is a sedate boat which travels around all of the countries of the world, with charming dolls and a catchy song.
- Casey Junior Train (Mini Circus Train Roller Coaster). This is my train mad 3.5 year old's favourite ride - by a mile! Hidden away in the very back corner of Fantasy Land, this one is easy to miss. We never do though! I am not exaggerating that last time we went to Disney we went on it 5 times in a row (I had to set a limit of 5. Almost always has a really small queue.
- Dumbo. Classic & popular with the kids. Bit dull for adults, but cute!
- Peter Pan's Flight - it's lovely to fly with Peter Pan but try and do this in Magic Hours if available to you (8am-10am), or get a fast pass as the queue gets long.
- Tea cups and Carousel - classic rides that are bound to bring smiles to little faces, and often have short queues.
- Meet Mickey. Classic Disney. My children had never heard of Mickey Mouse before they met him, so I was pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoyed meeting the Main Mouse himself. Even the old cartoons showing on the big cinema screen in the queue really captured their imagination. Lovely for adults and kids to share the experience.
- Meet a Princess. If you have a princess adoring child this is a magical experience. Be prepared, the queue is always LONG, usually about 90 minutes. But when we did it, it was very worth it. NB expectation management: there are 2 Princesses available each day and you don't get a choice which you see. My (at the time) not quite 2 year old daughter hadn't heard of Snow White before she met her, but she was more enchanted than I have ever seen her before.
NB. Take heed. I think that the Snow White ride is actually quite scary for little ones.
The Dragon! 🐉
Between the big Disney castle and Fantasy Land (sort of under the castle) there is a cave with a dragon in. If you are facing the front of the castle, walk toward it, but instead of walking through the centre, take the path to the LEFT, and you will find it. You just walk through a dark cave and there is a large model dragon which moves, and roars. We visit the dragon at least twice every time we do a Disney day. Maybe a little scary for some, but my kids dote on him.
We LOVE LOVE LOVE the Pirates of the Carribean ride (you can access it quickly from Fantasy Land near Peter Pan as a short cut). At quietish times the queue length can be 20/35 mins usually, but, as the ride is boats constantly going around, the queue is always moving so we find it doesn't feel as long. It is worth it and the kids just love it. The boat has 2 little drops - well pitched for young ones, but one of the drops is still quite substantial. My daughter squeals (between fear and delight) and at the end asks to go again!! It was been refurbished over the summer of 2017 and now features the Jack Sparrow character.
- Buzz Lightyears laser quest ride is very good fun. It is dark and loud but most kids like the interactive laser shooting game! Has a long queue again, but it is one that is worth it for young ones. Special Tip - dress up as Buzz Lightyear, say hi to the ride conductor at the entrance and they will make a fuss of your little one and let you Fast Pass the queue without needing an actual Fast Pass.
- Autopia. This is the only ride in this list that I haven't done with my children, but I am confident enough to include it thanks friends' feedback. Alas, with young ones you need one parent per child, and I almost always don't have the right ratio.
Steam Train. There is a real steam train that travels around the park throughout the day that is awesome. We usually just ride it all the way around back to the start, which gives me a little rest, but you can hop on and off at the stations.
Parade. It's at 5.30, but ideally you want to get in place at least half an hour before (possibly more). If you are not right at the front, we put the kids on our shoulders so they get a good view!
Disney STUDIOS Park
The Studios are not just about rides. There are shows as well, and they are amazing.
I will share with you our favourites here:
- Ratatouille. If you want to do Ratatouille (which is epic) then FAST pass is as early as you can. Normal queue length is 90-100 minutes. Possibly one of the longest in the whole of Disney. My tactic is to go into the Disney Studios as it opens at 10am and go directly (run!) to Ratatouille and get the pass. You could always send one person with the tickets to do this whilst everyone else goes on the Slinky Dog ride (which is nearby). This should get you a slot for around or after lunch. You even have to queue for a Fast Pass BUT it makes it a lot shorter in the long run.
- Slinky Dog. So popular with my pair. This often has a short queue, and the time passes quickly anyway as the queue is always moving and the ride is quite short.
- Cars Race Rally. Spinning cars - what's not to like! Great for the wheel mad ones in your group.
- Flying Carpets. These are very similar to Dumbo in Fantasy Land, but with an Aladdin theme.
- The Tram Tour Ride is good for everyone, I think it's really impressive, and usually has a short queue. There are some explosion special effects which are amazing, but could be a little scary for little ones. If you go in to the tram first, and sit the children to your right side then they will be seated furthest away when that main part happens.
- The Mickey and the Magician Show in the studios is an absolute must see. Get in the queue early to ensure a good spot in the theatre. Then settle back and enjoy every moment. I think this is the best show in the Studios, with something for absolutely everyone.
- The Cars Stunt Show is also very good. It is a huge film set with loads going on. One for everyone to enjoy.
- Stitch Live Show. If your kids like Lilo and Stitch they'll enjoy this. Even if they haven't seen it (like mine hadn't) it's still really cute and fun.
You can also Meet Disney Characters around the Parks. They will be in certain spots at pre-set times (rather than just wondering around). You can check when and where in the programme or on the App, or ask a Disney Cast Member.
And don't forget to really get into the Disney spirit and DRESS UP!
Last, but not least, is the Fireworks and Laser Show. If you can, it is worth trying to make it until the Fireworks and Laser show in the evening (check the time as it varies throughout the year). It is late though. However, even if your small people fall asleep in their pushchair, I can guarantee the grown ups in your party will love the magic of every moment. I rarely have a dry eye. A good way to do this can be to stay in a Disney Hotel so that you can go back for a bit of a rest.
Kate x (and my Disney-Pros toddler testing team)
Also part of the Five Little Stars Disney Series: