Walt Disney World (FL)

What Preschoolers Love at Walt Disney World

Share This!

Walt Disney World is a place where magic happens for visitors of all ages. But for families with preschoolers, the parks can be a gauntlet full of distractions and confusing choices. With so many options available, how do you decide which experiences will truly delight your young children? Based on our data and feedback from thousands of families, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten Walt Disney World attractions that preschoolers love the most. If you’ve never visited the Orlando theme parks before, these options are a great starting point for planning a vacation that your preschooler is sure to love.

Explain the Math

Before diving into the attractions themselves, let’s take a moment to explain how we arrived at these rankings. At Touring Plans, we collect extensive data from post-visit surveys, focusing on satisfaction scores for hotels, dining locations, and … all of the attractions that families experienced during their trip. These scores are given on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest level of satisfaction. And they’re given separately by each age group – so we can separate out preschool scores from those of older children, adults, or older adults. By analyzing the average satisfaction scores, we can determine which attractions consistently receive high marks from preschoolers. The top ten attractions we’ve identified have the highest average satisfaction ratings for the past 12 months.

Top 10 WDW Attractions for Preschoolers

1. EPCOT – Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana (4.79)

Journey of Water is a new and popular attraction at EPCOT that has quickly become a favorite among preschoolers (and all other age groups too). This interactive water play area brings the magic of Moana’s world to life, allowing children to explore and engage with water in a way that is both educational and entertaining. The beautifully themed environment and gentle water features provide endless fun, making it a must-visit for families with preschoolers. Bonus – during most of the day you won’t find long lines for anything other than the photographer near the end of the walkthrough. There is plenty of space to explore and play without waiting.

Te Fiti with glow of sunset behind her in Journey of Water.
(photo by @bioreconstruct)

2. Animal Kingdom – The Boneyard (4.79)

The Boneyard at Animal Kingdom is a prehistoric playground where little ones can dig for fossils, speed down slides, and climb through various interactive play areas. This attraction’s combination of physical activity and imaginative play makes it a hit with preschoolers, who can spend hours uncovering hidden treasures and pretending to be paleontologists. The Boneyard’s engaging environment encourages both exploration and creativity. And once again, there is no waiting in line to experience any of the fun.

My little kid spent some of her very first Disney trip in the Boneyard

3. Magic Kingdom – Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade (4.78)

The Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade at Magic Kingdom brings a parade of somewhat-random, but beloved characters to Main Street, U.S.A. Preschoolers are thrilled by the chance to see their favorite Disney friends up close, including Miguel, Moana, Mary Poppins, and more. The lively music and the opportunity to wave at their heroes make this cavalcade an unforgettable experience for young children. And unlike the lower-rated Festival of Fantasy parade (4.65), there is little-to-no lining up in advance to catch a good view.

Adventure Friends Cavalcade

4. Hollywood Studios – Meet Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight (4.74)

Meeting Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight in Hollywood Studios is a memorable experience for preschoolers who adore the lovable snowman from “Frozen.” This character meet-and-greet allows children to interact with Olaf, giving them the chance to share warm hugs, take photos, and get a pre-signed autograph card. And parents won’t soon forget the joy on those young faces as they get that first warm hug.

You too can meet Olaf in summer!

5. Magic Kingdom – Dumbo the Flying Elephant (4.74)

Dumbo the Flying Elephant is a classic Magic Kingdom attraction for a reason – it has been delighting families for generations. Preschoolers especially love flying high above Fantasyland on their very own Dumbo, controlling whether they fly higher or lower. The attraction also features an interactive play area inside the Big Top, where children can play and explore while waiting for their turn to ride, making any wait even more enjoyable. I’ve known families who specifically ask to wait and play even if they could have otherwise walked right up to an elephant.

Bonus cool-parent points for riding Dumbo at night

6. Magic Kingdom – Meet Dashing Disney Pals at Pete’s Silly Side Show (4.73)

At Pete’s Silly Side Show in Magic Kingdom, preschoolers can meet beloved Disney characters dressed as circus performers. This unique character meet-and-greet features Minnie Magnifique and Daisy Fortuna, all decked out in their circus finest. This “side” rates slightly higher than the Daring Disney Pals – The Great Goofini and The Astounding Donaldo (4.61). The whimsical setting and fun physical interactions make this an easy meet-and-greet for young children, who might not understand how to make conversation with characters that can’t talk back.

Take those preschoolers to visit characters like Minnie Magnifique!

7. EPCOT – Meet Anna and Elsa at Royal Sommerhus (4.72)

Meeting Anna and Elsa at Royal Sommerhus in EPCOT’s Norway Pavilion is a dream come true for preschoolers who are fans of “Frozen.” This charming meet-and-greet location transports guests to the sisters’ summer cabin, where they can interact with the characters and take photos. The warm, inviting atmosphere and the chance to meet the famous sisters make this a must-do for the youngest fans of the movies. If it matters to your little ones, Anna and Elsa will both be in their outfits from Frozen 2 – not the original.

Plenty of fun Frozen adventures during our 2020 trip!

8. Magic Kingdom – Meet Mickey at Town Square Theater (4.72)

Meeting Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater in Magic Kingdom is a quintessential Disney experience. Preschoolers are thrilled to meet the main mouse himself, and the beautifully themed theater provides a perfect backdrop for memorable photos. Mickey’s warm and friendly interactions make this meet-and-greet a highlight for young visitors, who cherish the opportunity to spend time with the most important Disney character.

Time spent waiting for Mickey is always well-spent

9. Animal Kingdom – Festival of the Lion King (4.70)

The Festival of the Lion King at Animal Kingdom is a spectacular live show that brings the story of Simba to life through music, dance, and acrobatics. Preschoolers are captivated by the vibrant costumes, lively performances, and familiar songs from “The Lion King.” This high-energy show keeps young children entertained from start to finish – and many will be invited to join in on the fun near the end of the show, making it a must-see attraction for families with preschoolers.

Festival of the Lion King
Festival of the Lion King is one of Walt Disney World’s most popular stage shows.

10. Animal Kingdom – Kilimanjaro Safaris (4.70)

Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom offers an adventurous drive through the African savanna, where preschoolers can see real animals in their natural habitats. The excitement of spotting elephants, giraffes, hippos, rhinos, zebras, lions and more makes this attraction a favorite among young children. The immersive experience and educational value of the safari provide both entertainment and learning opportunities for the whole family.

There are plenty of animals to see on a Safari at Animal Kingdom

What Does This Mean For You?

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World with preschoolers can be a daunting task, but knowing which attractions are most enjoyed by young children can help ensure a magical vacation for your family. The top ten attractions we’ve highlighted offer a mix of interactive play, character meet-and-greets, and captivating shows that cater specifically to the interests and excitement levels of preschoolers.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Interactive Play Areas: Attractions like Journey of Water  and The Boneyard provide safe, engaging environments where preschoolers can explore and play to their hearts’ content. Similar spots also include Tom Sawyer Island at Magic Kingdom and the Affection Section at Animal Kingdom.
  2. Character Interactions: Never underestimate the power of characters in the parks. Four out the top ten attractions for preschoolers are character meets (and another is a character cavalcade). If we expand to the top 20, we get another two meet-and-greets plus another parade.
  3. Engaging Shows: Live performances like Festival of the Lion King captivate preschoolers with their vibrant visuals and familiar music. Also in the top 20 is the Finding Nemo musical at Animal Kingdom, thanks to its colorful puppets, catchy songs and lots of bubbles!

By starting your vacation planning with a focus on these top-rated attractions, you can ensure that your preschooler will have an enchanting and memorable visit to Walt Disney World. Happy planning, and may your Disney vacation be as delightful as the smiles on your preschooler’s face!

You May Also Like...

Becky Gandillon

Becky Gandillon was trained in biomedical engineering, but is now a full-time data and analytics nerd. She loves problem solving and travelling. She and her husband, Jeff, live in St. Louis with their two daughters and they have Disney family movie night every Saturday. You can follow her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/becky-gandillon/ or instagram @raisingminniemes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *