Preschoolers (ages 3 to 5)
Best attractions: In Disneyland proper, Mickey’s Toontown, the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, the Enchanted Tiki Room, and the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh; Fantasyland in general is great, but you should probably skip Snow White’s Scary Adventures. The high-energy Disney Junior Dance Party is essentially a preschool-appropriate nightclub, and for a splurge, head to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where “fairy godmothers” transform excited little kids into sparkly princesses. In Disney California Adventure Park, Jessie's Critter Carousel and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters are good, as is Turtle Talk with Crush (an interactive attraction that will have you chuckling too).
- If someone needs to blow off a little steam, California Adventure’s refreshing Redwood Creek Challenge Trail offers suspension bridges, a climbing wall, and a ropes course. In Disneyland, Tarzan’s Treehouse and Goofy’s Playhouse serve a similar purpose: to let youngsters run the wiggles out.
- Think your kid has outgrown a stroller? Bring (or rent) one anyway; a Disneyland day requires too much walking for little legs. It’ll also come in handy for much-needed naps, and for lugging merchandise, drinks, and leftovers.
- If your kids haven't hit the hallowed 40 inches yet, or if they have but aren’t mentally prepared for Space Mountain’s dark intensity, use the parks’ Rider Switch service; one adult waits in line and rides while the other stays with the kids. The kid-attending partner can then do the ride without waiting in line. Tell an attraction cast member in advance so they can scan your ticket. (The Single Rider service lets solo thrill-seekers use faster-moving lines.)
- Do not miss the parades, which change with the seasons. These immersive spectacles are dazzling, and the performers know exactly how to make younger audience members feel special and involved.
- Younglings too small for the rides in the new Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge can still enjoy interacting with the characters throughout the land—who are careful to not scare little ones—and slurping down a glass of frozen (non-dairy) blue or green milk, which can be ordered ahead with the Disney app.
Smart Tip: Maximize your time and sign up for Genie and Genie+ ($20/day per ticket) for custom itineraries.