Disney California Adventure for Toddlers

 Disney California Adventure for Toddlers

Disney California Adventure for Toddlers

Taking young children to any Disney park is no easy feat. It’s crowded, often hot, and the lines are long. Throw in a toddler who still needs a nap and it’s understandable that even the most experienced Disney-goer might go insane. All the commotion of Disneyland is overwhelming for a young child who isn’t used to so much stimulation at once for a long period of time. But armed with a few tips and suggestions- which you will find below- you can have a great time with your toddlers.

 What to do with Toddlers


Children- no matter how small- are permitted to ride any attraction without a height requirement. However, only you know your toddler’s limits and can decide whether a ride is suitable. That being said, here are a few rides that are tried and tested by our official toddler expert- Buddy- who is, in fact, a toddler.

Mickey’s Fun Wheel

The iconic attraction in the former Paradise Pier is a must-do ride for every true Disney fan. Though Mickey’s Fun Wheel has no height requirement, keep in mind that some of the cars on this 160-foot Ferris wheel are stationary and some swing. There is a separate line for each. Our family rode in both types of cars. The swinging car did not go over well with either of our children. Ladybug was brave but she said she never wanted to do that again. Poor Buddy was in tears by the time the ride was over. We tried a stationary car our next time riding with much better results.

Note: Mickey’s Fun Wheel is currently closed for refurbishment as Paradise Pier is being redone and will reopen as Pixar Pier in June. Look for a fun twist to this classic ride.

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Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train

This outdoor miniature train based on “it’s a bug’s life,” is a fun, short ride around a track surrounded by enlarged pieces of food as Heimlich searches for a snack. As the caterpillar train makes its way around the track, riders feel like they are the size of a bug. The length of the ride is perfect for small children and a nice way for adults to rest their aching feet for a bit.

Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

Ariel’s Undersea Adventure tells the story of The Little Mermaid through the use of animatronics and music. Guests make their way through the story riding in giant seashells. This ride is completely inside and fairly dark so if your toddler is afraid of dark places, you might want to skip it. However, it is a smooth ride and the storyline and music are familiar to most toddlers. And I dare you not to sing along to the music when Sebastian sings “Kiss the Girl.” Or bust some dance moves in your seat. I won’t judge- and neither will Buddy, who was doing exactly that.

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Princess Dot Puddle Park

Located in “a bug’s land” near Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train, Princess Dot Puddle Park gives toddlers a chance to cool off from the hot California sun while also having some free play time to unwind from all the stimulation of Disney. This splash pad is surrounded by a rope fence and some trees so parents can watch their kids play without worrying that they’ll run off. 

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Character Experiences

Hang with the Frozen Gang in the Animation Building

On the wish list of every little princess is to meet Anna and Elsa. At Disneyland, you will find them in the Animation Building at California Adventure. The Animation Building is located in Hollywood Land and also houses Turtle Talk with Crush and the Animation Academy. Anna and Elsa are available for meet and greets during most opening hours. Due to popularity, the line can get quite long- sometimes reaching as long as an hour or more. However, the line is located inside the main waiting area of the building which has large screens on all walls playing clips of beloved Disney movies- including sketches of the scenes before they were made into the film- set to the music. This will keep little ones entertained for the most part. I recommend going early in the day before the line gets too long.

During certain parts of the day, you can also meet Kristoff and Olaf. This was actually my favorite meet-and-greet of our entire trip to California Adventure (and we met a lot of characters). It was so fun to interact with Kristoff. He was great with the kids and his improv skills were incredible. I’m happy to report that I have a job waiting for me in Arendelle if I want it. Kristoff offered it to me when he saw the autograph book I made for the kids.

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Take Pictures with their Favorite Disney Jr. Pals

If you have a Disney Jr. fan, California Adventure is the place to meet them. Ladybug was thrilled to give a hug to Doc McStuffins and have her picture taken with her. But her biggest thrill was getting a hug from Sofia the First. Buddy, who is not yet into Disney Jr. was just fascinated by her dress- as he is with all the princesses he meets.


World of Color

World of Color is probably one of my favorite nighttime shows at the Disney parks. Light and music mix with water technics to create a beloved 25-minute show on the lake. The timing of the show may be too late for some toddlers to handle. My kids both have early bedtimes when at home but we make an exception for Disney. They are always thrilled to stay out later. You know your child so only you can decide if it would be alright to keep them up for the show. If you do choose to keep them up, you can be assured that the combination of water, music, and light will keep them fascinated for the whole show.

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Pixar Fest

Starting April 13th, Pixar Fest will be taking over Disneyland and California Adventure. This family celebration is a precursor to the opening of Pixar Pier, which happens on June 23rd. With new shows, parades and the chance to meet your favorite Pixar characters, this summer is the perfect time to take your toddlers to California Adventure.

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Disney California Adventure for Toddlers

What is your favorite thing to do with toddlers at California Adventure?

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