Disneyland One-Day Touring Plan for Parents with Small Children

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IMG_5186Every year we review and revise our premium touring plans that we offer to our subscribers. With all the attractions that are closed due to Disneyland’s Star Wars expansion, we felt the need to pay especially close attention to our plans that focus on parents with small children (ages 2 through 8). In this post I will walk you through our appropriately titled new plan “Disneyland One-Day Touring Plan for Parents with Small Children.”

Step 1: Arrive at the Main Entrance

Keep in mind that some rides on this plan, such as Peter Pan’s Flight, can’t handle large crowds and have high wait times. Because of this the following touring plan is one of the least efficient of our plans. But it does represent the best way to experience most of the child-oriented attractions in one day. We recommend arriving at Disneyland’s main entrance at least 30 minutes before park opening. That way you will be in line and ready to go as soon as the park opens its gates. After the park opens, head up Main Street, U.S.A. and go through Sleeping Beauty Castle to enter Fantasyland.

Step 2: Ride Peter Pan’s Flight

Peter Pan’s Flight is one of the most popular Disneyland dark rides, so unless you ride it first thing in the morning you’ll be looking at waits of 40 to 60 minutes through the rest of the day. Hundreds of other families will rush to Pan as soon as they are let through the turnstiles so that’s why you need to knock it out as soon as possible.

Step 3: Ride Dumbo

Dumbo is another ride that is considered a “must do” by many families. The ride draws large crowds and has an insanely low hourly capacity so that means wait times can get long, especially on crowded days. We recommend heading to Dumbo as soon as you are done riding Peter Pan’s Flight. Luckily they are right near each other in Fantasyland.

Step 4: Ride Alice in Wonderland

A couple of years ago after Alice in Wonderland’s huge refurbishment was completed we saw the wait times for this already popular ride get even higher. Luckily the wait should still be reasonable by the time you are done riding Peter Pan’s Flight and Dumbo.

Step 5: Ride King Arthur Carrousel 

By this time most of the late arriving families will be entering the park, but they will be headed for rides that you have already been on. Take this time to catch a breather on King Arthur Carrousel.

Step 6: Ride Pinocchio’s Daring Journey 

Pinocchio hardly ever has a significant wait, but since you’re in the area go ahead and ride it. If no one is a Pinocchio fan, jump on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride or Snow White’s Scary Adventures instead.

Step 7: Ride Casey Jr. Circus Train

Casey Jr. is another attraction that will develop relatively high wait times as the day goes. This very ride should not be missed as it offers some great views of Storybook Land and the rest of Fantasyland.

Step 8: Ride Mad Tea Party

If you’re feeling up to it, take a spin on the Mad Tea Party. There should be hardly any wait at this point of the day.

Step 9: Ride Storybook Land Canal Boats

The very low capacity of this ride creates waits that range anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes on most days. Also later in the day this ride will close during parades and fireworks. For those reasons we recommend you ride it now. After riding Storybook Land, head to Mickey’s Toon Town.


Step 10: Ride Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin

Mickey’s Toon Town opens later than the rest of the park but at this point in the day it should be open. If it’s not, ride ‘it’s a small world’ and then head in to Toon Town. If Toon Town is open, ride Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin before its wait times become too high.

Step 11: Ride Gadget’s Go Coaster

Gadget’s Go Coaster is extremely short, clocking in at under 1 minute long. But it’s also a popular ride with small children which means the wait usually hovers around 30 minutes. That’s not a great use of time, but if your kid really wants to ride it, now would be the time to do so.

Step 12: Meet Mickey Mouse at Mickey’s House

Your first meet and greet of the day! The queue for this meet and greet is large and highly themed so your kids will probably want to take time to explore. Once you do get to Mickey, Disney PhotoPass photographers will be on hand to snap some pictures with your family and the mouse.

Step 13: Meet Minnie Mouse at Minnie’s House

Minnie’s House is right next door to Mickey’s House, so head there now if you and your family still want to meet characters. If not, exit Toon Town.

Step 14: Eat lunch – or – ride ‘it’s a small world’ – or – watch Mickey and the Magical Map.

At this point you have a few different options. If your party is hungry, grab lunch now (Pinocchio Village Haus and Troubadour Tavern are nearby). If you’re not hungry yet, there should be a performance of Mickey and the Magical Map stage show starting soon. If you’re not hungry, and if Mickey and the Magical Map is not starting soon, then go and ride ‘it’s a small world.’

IMG_9600Step 15: Meet Disney Princesses at Royal Hall

This ones for all the Disney princess fans in your group. After lunch, Mickey and the Magical Map, and ‘it’s a small world’ are out of the way, head to Fantasy Faire. In Royal Hall there will usually be two or three random Disney princesses. The lineup typically includes Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, or Rapunzel. But sometimes other “rare” princesses are thrown in to the mix like Mulan, or Pocahontas.

Step 16: Ride Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters never has that much of a wait which is why we included is so late in the plan. Ride it now and then head to Adventureland. Speaking of rides in Tomorrowland, it’s worth pointing out that we would usually also include Autopia in any touring plan for small children, but it is currently closed for a long refurbishment.

Step 17: Watch Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

Enchanted Tiki Room is an all time classic that must be seen, but even if no one in your party cares about it this is still a good chance to sit down and escape the heat for 20 minutes. After the show is over exit Adventureland and go to New Orleans Square.

Step 18: Ride Pirates of the Caribbean

At this point in the plan we are in the mid to late afternoon, that means Pirates of the Caribbean may have a wait longer than you are willing to do. If that’s the case, skip it for now and come back later at night.

Step 19: Ride Haunted Mansion

After riding Pirates of the Caribbean, go on Haunted Mansion. We’re almost near the end of the plan!

Step 20: Ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh hardly ever has any kind of wait so while you’re in the area you may as well ride it. If you’re in the mood for a snack, Pooh’s Corner is near the ride and is packed with delicious treats.

Step 21: Watch Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

There should be a performance of Soundsational starting soon. If so, head to Main Street, U.S.A. to grab a spot. On busy days you may need to show up at least 30 minutes early to secure a viewing spot, so keep that in mind.

Step 22: Ride anything you missed, or revisit attractions. 

You’ve complete the touring plan and have seen the best attractions Disneyland has to offer for small children! Take this time to revisit any rides you want to see again, or ride something that wasn’t included on the plan.

We hope you find this touring plan useful. For more Disneyland or Disney California Adventure touring plans, see our Premium Touring Plans page. Or use our free Personalized Touring Plans tool to create your own.

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Guy Selga Jr.

Disneyland writer for TouringPlans.com and co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland. Also a Disneyland local and appreciator of Disney theme park history. Twitter and Instagram: @guyselga

2 thoughts on “Disneyland One-Day Touring Plan for Parents with Small Children

  • January 20, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    Have you guys been monitoring canal boats and circus train lines recently? It always says in the app 10-15 minutes when I get in line, but I end up waiting 30-45. Bad luck?

  • January 24, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    This should be called “Adults with small children” – it’s not always parents! Aunts, uncles, grandparents, guardians, big sisters, you get the idea… 🙂


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