Best Rides for Toddlers at Animal Kingdom

Traveling to Disney with children of any age is a magical experience, but when you have toddlers in tow it can be difficult to explain to them that they are too small for some of the rides. My youngest always want to do everything their older siblings enjoy and being unable to join them can make them feel left out. Knowing where to go in Disney World to find a variety of exciting rides made just for them can be a great help as they get to experience the magic of Disney in a world that is just their size.

Where is the best place in Disney to allow toddlers to have some fun? The Animal Kingdom is the best place to go to find plenty of toddler-friendly fun rides that will fill them with joy. The Na’vi River Journey, Tricera Top Spin, and the dramatic Kilimanjaro Safari are just some of the rides toddlers can enjoy with the same excitement as their older siblings. These four have no minimum height limitations so they can be suitable for little ones of any age. For older toddlers who are over 38″ tall, there is the even more exciting Kali River Rapids.

As well as rides that fill them with anticipation, there are plenty of other attractions that toddlers can enjoy and the chance to see real, live animals in their natural environment is something they will never forget. The Animal Kingdom is a great place for them to see exotic animals they have only previously watched on the screen. In addition, of course, there is the chance for them to see some of their favorite Disney characters in between chasing the thrills of rides that seem to them daring and high-speed and soaking in all the wonderful experiences of a vacation at Disney World, Our babies are only little for a short time and a trip to the Animal Kingdom is an opportunity to capture the wonder and awe that only children can show. Keep your camera close to immortalize some of these irreplaceable moments and capture images that will help memories of these special times last forever.

Things You Can Do With Toddlers at the Animal Kingdom

Kilimanjaro Safari

Like a real safari through the plains of Africa, the Kilimanjaro Safari is an opportunity to sit back and enjoy the ride through some dramatic and stunning scenery while you look out to see animals cavorting in their natural environment. If you are lucky, some of the more curious animals even come up to the vehicles to check out their new friends. Parents will need to be careful to explain to their youngsters that touching the animals is not encouraged, as some might take an inquisitive nibble that can damage little fingers and hands. Some might say that the Kilimanjaro Safari beats any other ride in the Animal Kingdom, and little ones would definitely agree. All in all, the ride takes 20 minutes so is a good way to give little legs (and bigger ones) a rest from walking while you chill out and enjoy the view. Parents can relax too, as their toddlers stare keenly through the windows of the vehicle, eager to catch a glimpse of as many animals as they can. Not only is the Safari a fun activity, but it can also be a great educational opportunity as children learn the names of some animals they have never seen before and the information that accompanies the tour will show them some fun facts about these animals that they will never forget.

Na’vi River Journey

As well as the sights and sounds, the boat ride that makes up the Na’vi River Journey is a fun experience in itself for people and children of all ages. While you relax on a comfortable riverboat, take in the carefully crafted scenery as it meanders through a purpose-built maze of fictional characters and animals. Avatar fans will be impressed by the design of this unique world, filled with bioluminescence that makes every sight staggeringly beautiful. Adults may appreciate the design to its fullest, but the dazzling lights of the swaying luminescence is enough to widen the eyes of any young child. They feel as though they have left their world behind and jumped into the stunning rainforests of the Avatar film. As you float through this dreamlike world, surrounded on all sides by exotic plants and animals, some amazing sound effects help to transport you far from human civilization. The ride advances to bring you face to face with the Shaman of the Na’vi who will connect with Pandora through song; her powerful music makes you feel as though you too are connected to this magical, mystical world.

Tricera Top Spin

Children who like to go fast and leave the ground will appreciate Tricera Top Spin. As the name suggests, the ride is inspired by the dinosaur triceratops and is part of the Dino-Rama area. Your children will sit on a dinosaur in this carousel that will lift them off the ground as it spins gently around, letting them feel as though they are flying with a triceratops. As the ride circles, the dinosaurs lift up and down to offer little ones the feeling of some of the more daring rides their older siblings and friends enjoy.

Kali River Rapids

There is a height restriction of 38″ inches on this ride, so it may not be suitable for all the family, but those tall enough can enjoy the excitement of rushing over busy rapids and a heart-stopping 20′ drop. Best of all, the Kali River Rapids is a chance to get wet which most little ones appreciate with glee. Children and adults ride on a circular white-water raft as it travels under beautiful jungle canopy and over the fast-moving water of a ferocious river with waterfalls, geyser and plenty of twists and turns. You will get wet, and possibly soaked on this ride which can be refreshing and exciting on a hot day when everyone will dry out quickly, but you may need to be prepared with towels and possibly spare clothes for little ones who may become uncomfortable or even cold in cooler weather. Lockers are available for you to store your valuables safely in the dry and some families use ponchos to avoid wetting their clothes too much. Getting splashed is the main source of fun but the river itself is beautiful and circling over fast-moving white water will thrill your little ones as much as the drama of plunging down the steep slope. Be prepared to be asked to go on this ride numerous times, as youngsters can’t get enough of the speed and splashes of this water adventure.

Wildlife Express Train

As well as specific rides in the Animal Kingdom, the Wildlife Express Train is a chance to travel in style from Harambe in the Africa area to the interesting Rafiki’s Planet Watch. The train itself is an authentic old locomotive that takes you through some of the lesser-seen parts of Disney World where you will catch a glimpse of the conservation work that goes on to help the animal world. Children can learn about caring for animals as they go through the veterinary centre where they can see elephants and rhinos resting peacefully. A visit to Rafiki’s Planet Watch is a chance for them to learn all about animals before climbing back on board the train to return to Harambe. It is a great educational opportunity as well as the chance to enjoy an authentic traditional train ride. The train is a seasonal ride that only operates in summer months. You can still get to Rafiki’s Planet Watch on foot when the train isn’t running.

Learn About the Animals at Rafiki’s Planet Watch

The Animal Kingdom is a great opportunity for little ones to learn about animals they have never before encountered and Rafiki’s Planet Watch makes education relevant and fun. Cast members are on hand to explain the importance of conservation and share some of the work Disney has undertaken to help keep preserve our planet for future generations. Toddlers might not appreciate the explanations but one thing they will truly love is the chance to interact with the animals in a petting zoo where they can stroke and pet some gentle farm animals to their heart’s content. Rafiki’s Planet Watch is also based on one of their favorite Disney animal films, the Lion King, and songs and sights from the film will make this attraction a pleasure for children of all ages.

Play Hard at the Boneyard

For toddlers with some energy to burn, the Boneyard is a great place where parents can relax as their little ones climb, play, and dig. The Boneyard is a play area based on dinosaur excavations where little ones can run around and explore while parents sit and watch. This is a great chance to tire out over-excited toddlers who have spent a little too long staying still.

Enjoy a Show

The show It’s Tough To Be a Bug is a lively 3D animation based on the characters from A Bug’s Life that will excite little minds with its jumps and shrieks. The air-conditioned theatre is a cool environment to escape from the heat and give your toddlers the chance to recharge as they laugh along with some of their favorite insects. Other shows little ones will love include the musical of Finding Nemo and Festival of the Lion King where they can be amazed by acrobatic tricks.


Almost everywhere you go in Disney World, you will have plenty of facilities catering for toddlers and the Animal Kingdom is no different. From restaurants that offer toddler-friendly fare to toilets with specially designed little loos and changing facilities, taking children to Disney World couldn’t be easier.

Dustin Baier

Hey, I'm Dustin a Dad of 4 and married to Sweet Pea Chef for over 15 years now :) We got engaged at the Disneyland Hotel way back when and love a vacation at Disney World, Universal Studios, really anywhere with theme parks!

Recent Posts