Kids rides at Disneyland include Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Peter Pan’s Flight, It’s a Small World, Jungle Cruise, and Mad Tea Party. These attractions offer a mix of fantasy, adventure, and fun, catering specifically to younger visitors.
Many of our grown-up Nerds have little Disney Nerds in tow, and their kids may not be as interested in “speed” as they are in good old-fashioned fantasy and fun.
Luckily, that’s what Disneyland has always been all about.
Introduction to kids rides at Disneyland
Disneyland offers some exhilarating thrill-rides, and we Nerds do love the unparalleled feel of sledding down the snowy slopes of Matterhorn on an old-school bobsled, speeding through the galaxy on Hyperspace Mountain with an explosion of stars streaming past, or riding a rickety mining cart through the American west.
There are a wide variety of new attractions such as Finding Nemo, Autopia, and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster ride – among others that are fun for all ages, and below are the top five kids rides at Disneyland for Little Nerds.
1. Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Merry-go-rounds are classic playground rides, and Disneyland does offer a beautiful and traditional merry-go-round in the heart of Fantasyland.
But what about a merry-go-round that goes up into the sky, is accompanied by a classic Disney theme song, offers wonderful views over Fantasyland, and puts kids in the driver’s seat?
These are all reasons why Dumbo the Flying Elephant is our first featured ride for Little Nerds at Disneyland!
This ride was first introduced in 1955 and is the only ride to be found in all 6 Disney parks worldwide, so clearly it must be doing something right.
In this ride, your Little Nerd controls the height of a flying elephant as it circles a fountain in the center.
This is a chill ride. But while parents will experience a slow and comfortable sky cruise, their kids will feel like they’re piloting an adorable elephant across the skies of Fantasyland.
There is something truly magical about feeling the wind in your face as you glide through the sky in Timothy Q. Mouse’s direction!
As with much of Fantasyland, however, this can be a slow-moving line. In fact, Dumbo has one of the lowest daily ride capacities of any ride in the park.
So, if you and your Little Nerds want to experience this classic ride, try to get there early in the day.
And even if you can’t get on the ride, you can still swing by and get a great photo op with the Dumbo replica just outside the ride.
2. Peter Pan’s Flight
Number two on our list won’t be a surprise to anyone who has been to Disneyland before.
There are few things more thrilling for Little Nerds than sweeping down over the twinkling lights of London on a pirate’s galleon.
This classic puts our kids in the shoes of familiar characters like Peter Pan, Wendy, Michael, and John as it mirrors the old tale of Peter Pan as told in the Disney film.
This ride is very simple but also exciting.
Despite having no sharp turns or big drops, it feels more like a roller coaster than many other kid rides in Disneyland, making it ideal for kids looking for a sense of adventure without the jerkiness or speed of the scarier rides.
In this sense, it is the perfect “gateway” ride for kids who are on the cusp of tackling Disneyland’s more adventurous fare.
Peter Pan’s Flight is open all day, but it has an even lower average rider turnover than Dumbo. No matter when you arrive, you can expect a wait time of at least 45 minutes.
But it should tell you something that this ride remains enormously popular despite the exceptionally long wait times.
I guess the magical feeling of flying across the Victorian London skyline will just never get old.
3. It’s a Small World
Number three on our list is almost synonymous with Disney and all it represents.
This ride will allow you to float pleasantly through beautiful sets of dozens of nations and cultures while listening to the timeless tune “It’s a Small World!” — the song we Disney Nerds love no matter how many haters there may be!
Our Little Nerds will love the vibrant colors, creative costumes, and the opportunity to learn about different languages and cultures.
Meanwhile, we bigger Nerds will have a deep appreciation for the air conditioning and fifteen minutes of rest and relaxation as we take a leisurely cruise.
Even better, while lines can be extremely long, the line also moves extremely fast!
This makes this ride an especially appealing “go to” ride for those of use with very small little Nerds.
Yes, it is true – some people hate the repetitiveness of the song.
And maybe not every part of the ride is as culturally sensitive as it might be.
But we Nerds are willing to forgive all this for the beautiful scenery and small variations throughout the course of the ride.
There is something innocent and happy about It’s a Small World that resonates with kids and makes us older Nerds feel like kids once again.
4. Jungle Cruise
Although our fourth pick has been the subject of recent controversy, most of that will go right over the head of our Little Nerds.
At the end of the day, there are few rides that are more thrilling to a young kid than Jungle Cruise!
This ride takes you on a cruise through a jungle river, guided by your trusty skipper, and from the moment you step onto the boat and feel it sway in the water it feels remarkably real.
And that is the heart of what makes this such a great ride for kids – you really feel like you are cruising down the Amazon or some other exotic river.
Jungle Cruise is a genuinely immersive experience, and it’s unlike most of the other rides at Disneyland.
Kids will be thrilled by lifelike animatronic animals, the crack of the guide’s pistol as he fends off dangerous hippos, and the spray of a friendly elephant wallowing in the river.
Meanwhile, our bigger Nerds will be amused by witty narration and eye-rolling gags that somehow never feel old despite hearing them a thousand times.
You might be looking at another long wait here, but it’s a 10+ minute ride that always leaves you feeling happy and refreshed.
5. Mad Tea Party
While this isn’t our personal favorite, our Little Nerds could never visit the park without at least a few spins around the Mad Tea Party.
Perhaps our grown-up stomachs can’t handle the requisite level of spinning. But for kids, what could be more fun than spinning, and spinning, and spinning – all while having control of the wheel!
The iconic song on this ride is sufficient on its own to make us feel like we’ve arrived at the park, even when just hearing it in the background.
The simple truth is that no visit to Disneyland would be complete without taking the kids for a few spins in a teacup.