A three-year-old’s guide to Disneyland

Preschooler and toddler tips for Disneyland & California Adventure

Disneyland is a magical place. Happiest place on earth, right? For a three-year old it can be all kinds of wonderful — and overwhelming. We just returned from a fun family trip to Anaheim with our preschooler and his two big brothers. I offer you a few tips from my own experience and a few friends who guided my travels.

Favorite rides and attractions for a small person

Just being pushed through the park is a terrific sensory experience. Sawyer saw giant characters — most of which he did not recognize — being friendly and inviting. If you ask him, he’ll tell you he loved every minute of it. Here are a few of his favorite attractions:


Preschoolers guide to Disneyland & California Adventure

  • The monorail runs from near the Disneyland Hotel in Downtown Disney right into the park at Tomorrowland and riding it was a big hit. If you ask nicely, you might even be able to ride up front. Strollers must be collapsed.
  • Once you’re in Tomorrowland, drive small cars around Autopia, check out Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, and fly the Astro Orbiter (just like the Dumbo ride with a different skin).
  • In Toon Town, Sawyer loved running around all over. It’s a great place to explore and climb on the giant play structures. Our kids and adults loved poking around Mickey’s House, though we bailed on waiting in the line to actually meet him. Gadget’s Go Coaster was just on the edge of Sawyer’s comfort zone.
  • It’s a small world, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and Dumbo the Flying Elephant were big hits for us in Fantasyland.
  • The Disney railroad makes 4 stops along the perimeter of the park. It can serve as a fun ride or transportation to get back to the main gate. We took the train when our big brothers were on a roller coaster. Stroller ramps are at all stations except the main gate.

California Adventure


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