Preschool age is prime time for a child’s first trip to Walt Disney World. Preschoolers have often developed a strong affinity for certain characters, and are anxious to explore the world around them. The following is a list of attractions and entertainment that your preschooler is guaranteed to enjoy. We’ve included warnings on any rides that have any potential “scare” factor.
20. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – Magic Kingdom
Preschool aged fans of Toy Story will be transformed into Junior Space Rangers as they use a laser canon to help defeat the Evil Emperor Zurg. The passenger vehicle spins as riders aim at “Z” targets throughout the ride.
19. Toy Story Midway Mania – Hollywood Studios
This ride is a favorite with guests of all ages, but the three to five year old crowd will especially enjoy this 4D virtual shooting game. Keep in mind that the youngest preschool aged children may need to sit with more capable riders to enjoy this ride, as they may not be able to aim at the targets properly. We had my daughter “help” an adult on her first few Disney visits. By the time she was five, she was already a pro!
18. Enchanted Tales with Belle – Magic Kingdom
Budding actor and actresses will enjoy the chance to literally get into the act during this interactive attraction. Members of the audience are invited to play a part during a reenactment of the night Belle met the Beast. Don’t worry if your little one isn’t a thespian at heart; the Cast Members do a great job leading even the youngest participants.
17. Astro Orbiter – Magic Kingdom
If your child loved Dumbo as a toddler, they may enjoy this ride as a preschooler. This ride offers the same rider-controlled passenger vehicle concept, but with a space theme. The ride offers amazing views of Tomorrowland for the accompanying adults, as well.
16. Peter Pan’s Flight – Magic Kingdom
Preschoolers will be delighted as they float magically above London and Never Land. Children will see the Lost Boys, Captain Hook, and Peter Pan himself during this magical flight. This ride is a MUST DO for all three to five year olds.
15. Tomorrowland Speedway – Magic Kingdom
If your preschooler loves the idea of racecars, he or she will LOVE this ride. Guests who are at least 32 inches tall are invited to get behind the wheel of a gas-powered racer and drive around the track (with a guest over 54 inches in the passenger seat, of course)!
14. Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover – Magic Kingdom
If you’re looking for the perfect mid-day break, the PeopleMover is just the ride you’re looking for. This attraction offers a 10-minute elevated tour of Tomorrowland and rarely commands a wait. Just ride the conveyor belt and hop into a tram for this relaxing ride.
13. The Barnstormer – Magic Kingdom
This ride, with a height requirement of 35 inches, was designed to be an “entry level” roller coaster for the preschool crowd. The speed of drops is slowed down, making this a perfect first “thrill” ride!
12. Mad Tea Party – Magic Kingdom
Most preschoolers can’t resist this colorful, spinning ode to Alice in Wonderland. Keep in mind that riders control the spinning of their own cup, so this ride can be as dizzying as you choose to make it. Also be aware that the entire ride lasts about 90 seconds, so even if this isn’t a hit, you’ve only got a minute and a half to survive.
11. Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros – Epcot
Located in the Mexico Pavilion of the World Showcase, the Gran Fiesta Tour is a “small world-esque” style journey down the Rio Grande. Colorful movies, dancing Audio Animatronics, and Donald Duck himself will delight the preschool crowd.
10. Journey Into Imagination with Figment – Epcot
As guests ride through their tour of the Imagination Lab, they have an opportunity to explore their five senses. This colorful, musical and sometimes smelly trip will keep your preschooler mesmerized.
WARNING: There is a brief section of this ride when it becomes completely dark. If your child is uncomfortable with darkness you may need to skip this one.
9. Turtle Talk with Crush – Epcot
Fans of the Finding Nemo movie will LOVE this amazing interactive experience. Disney Magic makes it possible for Crush to see and talk to the guests in the audience. He will even take questions from some little “dudes” and “dudettes”!
8. MuppetVision 3D – Hollywood Studios
Although this movie was made over 20 years ago, I still consider it to be the best 3D experience I’ve ever had. Your preschooler will be completely entranced by the amazing effects that seem to bring the on screen characters and props just inches from their faces.
WARNING: At one point during the show, a large costumed character (Sweetums) appears in the front of the theater. If you’re unsure of what character this is, you may want to Google the name. He can be a bit scary for sensitive preschoolers.
7. For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration – Hollywood Studios
This relatively new attraction was introduced during the 2014 Frozen Summer Fun LIVE promotion. It was wildly popular and has managed to find a more permanent home for the fall and winter seasons. Two “historians of Arendelle” host this show as they retell the Frozen tales of tragedy and triumph and invite the audience to sing-along with the movie’s hugely popular soundtrack. Anna, Kristoff and Elsa also make appearances during the show. Preschoolers fans of the movie are guaranteed to be dazzled!
6. Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage – Hollywood Studios
If your preschooler loves the movie, he or she will certainly love this Broadway-style musical performance.
5. Voyage of the Little Mermaid – Hollywood Studios
This stage show combines live actors, puppets, and clips from the movie into one magical Disney attraction. Songs from the well-known Little Mermaid soundtrack will keep your little ones dancing in their seats.
4. Festival of the Lion King – Animal Kingdom
No visit to Animal Kingdom with a preschool aged child would be complete without at least one viewing of this spectacular live performance. Every seat in the house is fantastic, as the entire show takes place in the middle of this theater-in-the-round. It is truly amazing how much entertainment Disney has packed into this 30-minute performance. There is singing, acrobatics, fire juggling, and an aerial ballet.
3. Finding Nemo – The Musical – Animal Kingdom
This is live musical adaptation of the popular movie. Puppeteers bring the brightly colored sea creatures to life as they sing and dance throughout this 40 minute show. While the performance is long, it is thoroughly entertaining and will hold your preschooler’s attention.
2. The Boneyard – Animal Kingdom
What preschooler wouldn’t like a fossil-themed playground? This play area includes a sandpit, a maze of dinosaur bones, and interactive musical exhibits.
1. Character Meet and Greets – All Parks
Characters can be hit or miss with the preschool crowd. Before you invest a lot of money in a character meal on property, you may want to test our your child’s reaction to these “larger than life” cartoon characters at a meet and greet. They are included in the cost of your park ticket and will sign autographs and pose for pictures. These photos serve as wonderful reminders of vacations past.
Are you traveling to Disney with a preschooler AND a toddler? Be sure to check out our article called “14 Toddler-Friendly Attractions in Walt Disney World”!