Fantasyland is the heart of the Magic Kingdom—a truly enchanting place spread gracefully like a miniature alpine village beneath the steepled towers of Cinderella Castle. It is a perfect place for families with very young children.
Fantasyland is divided into three distinct sections. Directly behind Cinderella Castle and set on a snowcapped mountain is Beast’s Castle, part of a Beauty and the Beast–themed area. Most of this section holds dining and shopping. Outside Beast’s Castle is Belle’s Village. Nestled inside lush and beautifully decorated grounds, with gardens, meadows, and waterfalls, is Maurice’s Cottage, home of Enchanted Tales with Belle.
The far-right corner of Fantasyland—including Dumbo, The Barnstormer kiddie coaster, and the Fantasyland Train Station—is called Storybook Circus as an homage to Disney’s Dumbo film. These are low-capacity amusement park rides appropriate for younger children. Also located here is Pete’s Silly Sideshow, a character greeting venue.
The middle of Fantasyland holds the headliners, including Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The original part of Fantasyland contains classic attractions such as Peter Pan’s Flight and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. It also hosts the popular Princess Fairytale Hall meet-and-greet.
Here are our recommended rides for the very young ones:
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Making sure your kids get their fill of this tame, happy children’s ride is what mother love is all about. The 90-second ride is hardly worth the long lines, unless, of course, you’re under 7 years old. Dumbo has a play area with interactive elements. If you have a wait, you will be given a pager that will buzz when it’s your turn to ride.
Prince Charming Regal Carousel
You’ll have a long wait, but the beauty of the carousel (formerly known as Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel) captures everyone. The carousel, built in 1917, was discovered in New Jersey, where it was once part of an amusement park. It is beautifully maintained and especially magical at night when all the lights are on. Check out your children’s delighted expressions as the painted ponies go up and down.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
This attraction is sunny, upbeat, and charming without being saccharine. You ride a Hunny Pot through the pages of a huge picture book into the Hundred Acre Wood, where you encounter Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, Rabbit, Tigger, Kanga, and Roo as they contend with a blustery day. Pooh is a perfect test to assess how your very young children will react to indoor (dark) rides.
Peter Pan’s Flight
Peter Pan’s Flight is superbly designed and absolutely delightful, with a happy theme uniting some favorite Disney characters, beautiful effects, and charming music. This dark (indoor) ride takes you on a relaxing trip in a “flying pirate ship” over old London and thence to Never Land, where Peter saves Wendy from walking the plank and Captain Hook rehearses for Dancing with the Stars on the snout of the ubiquitous crocodile. There’s nothing here that will jump out at you or frighten young children. An interactive queuing area alleviates the pain of waiting in line as guests go through the Darlings’ house before boarding their ride to Never Land. Because Peter Pan’s Flight is very popular, count on long lines all day. You can meet the boy who never grew up, and at times Wendy, right next to the ride.
It’s A Small World
Small boats carry visitors on a tour around the world, with singing and dancing dolls showcasing the dress and culture of each nation. At the end of the ride, look for the panel bidding you (and your MagicBand) a personal good-bye.
Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid
Under The Sea takes riders through almost a dozen scenes retelling the story of The Little Mermaid film, with Audio-Animatronics, video effects, and a vibrant 3-D set the size of a small theater. Guests board a clamshell-shaped vehicle that runs along a continuously moving track (similar to The Haunted Mansion’s). Once you’re on board, the ride descends “under” water, past Ariel’s grotto, and to King Triton’s undersea kingdom. The most detailed animatronic is Ursula the octopus, and she’s a beauty. Other scenes hit the film’s highlights, including Ariel meeting Prince Eric, her deal with Ursula to become human, and, of course, the happy couple at the end. You can meet Ariel right next door at Ariel’s Grotto.
And if your children are interested in meeting princesses, the Princess Fairytale Hall is royalty central. Inside are two greeting venues, each holding a small reception area for two royals. Thus, there are four royals meeting and greeting at any time, and you can see two of them at once. Signs outside the entrance tell you which line leads to which royal pair and how long the wait will be. Rapunzel leads one side with Tiana, and Cinderella is joined by Elena of Avalor, Disney’s first Latina princess, on the other side.
At multiscene Beauty and the Beast experience Enchanted Tales with Belle, guests go into Maurice’s workshop, through a magic mirror, and into the Beast’s library, where the audience shares a story with Belle. Last but not least, there is Pete’s Silly Sideshow, a circus-themed character greeting area in the Storybook Circus part of Fantasyland. The characters’ costumes are distinct from the ones normally used around the parks. Characters include Goofy as The Great Goofini, Donald Duck as The Astounding Donaldo, Daisy Duck as Madame Daisy Fortuna, and Minnie Mouse as Minnie Magnifique.
For more family fun tips when visiting Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids. The guide has all you need to plan a successful visit, including Touring Plans specifically geared towards families visiting with children. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for our newsletter here.