Disney is to Orlando as casinos are to Las Vegas or Hollywood is to Los Angeles. A visit to Walt Disney World with the 4 different theme parks Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom are definitely part of a vacation in Orlando. But which of these parks is best for a 2-year-old toddler? Disney’s main park, the Magic Kingdom, definitely has the most attractions and rides without an age restriction. The Magic Kingdom ist therefore the best theme park in Orlando for a visit with small children.
Table of contents
Our Airbnb accommodation in Orlando
The choice of accommodations in Orlando is huge! Booking.com alone has listings for more than 2,300 hotels, from small budget hotels to 5-star luxury hotels like the Walt Disney World Swan or the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort.
We chose a large apartment via Airbnb in Kissimmee this time. The apartment at Storey Lake Resort (location in Google Maps) is super centrally located, parking is of course free and the theme parks of Disney, SeaWorld or Universal are only about 15 minutes away by car. Everything is very new, modern and with a great view of the small lake. The Storey Lake facility’s community amenities (pool, lazy river, fitness center) can all be shared free of charge. Several large supermarkets such as Publix, Walmart or even an Aldi are within 5 minutes.
We have felt totally comfortable in this apartment and have incl. Cleaning fee, service fee and occupancy taxes 200 EUR per night paid.
The Walt Disney World Resort
If you’ve never been to Orlando, you may not realize how vast the world of Disney is here. Walt Disney World Resort includes four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom), two water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon), more than 30 hotels, several golf courses, a camping resort and the Disney Springs shopping center. This makes Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando the largest leisure complex in the world in terms of area.
Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando opened in 1971, making it Disney’s second oldest theme park after the “original park” in Anaheim, California (1955). There are now 4 more parks in Tokyo (1983), Paris (1992), Hong Kong (2005) and Shanghai (2016). After Disneyland in California became a huge success since it opened, investors quickly bought up all the surrounding properties. This made it almost impossible to expand Disneyland in Anaheim. Walt Disney was therefore looking for a second location in order to build an even larger Disneyland and also to be able to constantly expand it.
The choice ultimately fell on Florida, and Disney bought up land in the Orlando area cheaply in the early 1960s. Today, the site covers an area of 11,330 hectares. Maps of all parks & attractions at Walt Disney World Resort can be found here.
Which Disney Park with toddler (2 years)?
No matter what trip reports or testimonials you read, everyone agrees that the Magic Kingdom is the best Disney park in Orlando for toddlers. The Magic Kingdom has 24 rides for young children, but not every ride is approved for all ages.
Without age restriction
are officially, among others, the following rides:
All other rides require either a minimum height or a certain age:
However, one should keep in mind that although an attraction like the Haunted Mansion is generally without age restriction for children, it is of course still not suitable for every child due to the darkness, the volume and the scary effects. At least we did not do this with our 2 year old daughter. We also found the ride on “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” rather unpleasant due to the jerky movements and turns of the cars. Therefore, it is best to find out in advance what you want to see together with your children in the Magic Kingdom and what is suitable for which age at all.
Of course, regardless of the many rides, the park offers so much more that is exciting for the little ones to see, such as the Disney Parade, meeting the Disney characters, or various shows like the Country Bear Jamboree. Below is our personal experience from our visit to the Magic Kingdom in Orlando.
The Magic Kingdom theme park in Orlando
The Magic Kingdom opened in 1971 as the first theme park at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and is modeled after Disneyland in California. It is divided into six themed lands: the “Main Street”, the “Fantasyland”, the “Adventureland”, the “Frontierland”, the visionary “Tomorrowland” and the “Liberty Square”. With nearly 20.96 million visitors, the park was the most visited amusement park in the world in 2019!
Admission, Parking & Food
We paid $126 per adult for the day ticket to the Magic Kingdom through the official website. Children under 3 years are free of charge. It’s also always worth taking a look at Attraction Tickets deals, especially if you’re looking for cheap combo deals for multiple days or multiple parks.
In addition to the entrance fee, there is the cost of parking. Per car, you pay $25 for regular parking and up to $50 per day for preferred parking (closer to the entrance) at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom. Here, “in-and-out” applies, i.e. you only pay parking fees once per day and can then drive in and out as often as you like. The parking lot of the Magic Kingdom is really huge and you should remember well where you parked your car. From the parking lot, a free streetcar leaves every few minutes to the “Transportation Center”. From here, you can take the monorail or ferry to the entrance of the Magic Kingdom.
Magic Kingdom in one day?
If you’re only at Magic Kingdom Park for one day (like we were), you usually don’t make it to see all the attractions and rides. There are simply too many of them, and in addition there are sometimes long waiting times of more than 60 minutes. Therefore, you should ideally take at least 2 days to visit the park. And if you want to visit Disney’s other parks as well, it might even be worth getting a multi-day ticket that allows you to visit the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios over several days.
The Cinderella Castle
It is the central element and the most beautiful building in the entire theme park: the fairy-tale Cinderella Castle. The fairy-tale castle in the middle of the amusement park is 56 meters high and has 27 different towers. Various fictional and real castles around the world, such as Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, Craigievar Castle in Scotland or Château d’Ussé in France, served as models for the construction. Incidentally, a trick from scenery construction known as “forced perspective” makes the castle appear larger than it actually is. At higher elevations, the proportions of architectural elements such as stones, windows and doors become much smaller compared to the foundation, so that the castle appears much higher than its actual height.
Festival of Fantasy Parade
The Festival of Fantasy Parade at the Magic Kingdom is a large parade featuring characters and songs from popular Disney movies that has been held at 3 p.m. daily at the Magic Kingdom along Main Street since 2014. On the various floats you can see many Disney characters, such as the Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, the Snow Queen, Pinocchio, the 7 Dwarfs, Peter Pan, Rapunzel and of course all the inhabitants of Duckburg like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy or Donald Duck.
All areas along the parade route where you are allowed to stand are marked on the ground. Here you should secure a good place in time, because the parade is of course one of the highlights in the Magic Kingdom and it is accordingly very crowded. We had secured a good spot right on Main Street about 30 minutes before the start and could see everything beautifully from there. A video of the complete parade is available on YouTube.
It’s a small world
It’s a small world can also be called “The happiest cruise ever.” In small boats you travel on a 10-minute journey through all 7 continents and see over 300 dancing children’s puppets from different nations, who sing the eponymous title song “It’s a small world” about friendship and mutual understanding.
“It’s a small world” was originally developed by Disney for the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair. Under the personal supervision of Walt Disney and in support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the attraction was a huge success. After the World’s Fair, the attraction was moved to Disneyland Park in California, where it opened on May 28, 1966. Due to its great popularity, “Small World” has been replicated in many Disney theme parks around the world.
For our little daughter, this ride was the best at the Magic Kingdom! Therefore, we drove it even 2 times 🙂 The trip with the small boats is very quiet, you have enough time to look at everything and there is something to see and discover everywhere. The music (an absolute earworm!) also fits wonderfully into the different worlds. The entire ride can be found here on YouTube.
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin is a ride based on the 1992 movie Aladdin. You sit in a car with up to four people and float around the center section of the attraction for several laps (90 seconds). If you sit in the front row, you can use a control stick to determine for yourself how high you fly with your magic carpet. So you can decide for yourself whether you would rather fly high or stay close to the ground.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
We were actually especially looking forward to the Winnie the Pooh ride at the Magic Kingdom because our daughter is a big fan of Winnie, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore. With a small car for 4 people, you ride on rails through several regions of the Hundred Acre Wood and the world of Winnie the Pooh. However, we found the ride of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh to be very rough with lots of twists and turns, so you couldn’t fully concentrate on the scenarios at all. Therefore, we were even a little disappointed in the end. You can also watch the complete ride on YouTube.
Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid
At this attraction, based on the Disney animated film “The Little Mermaid” you travel under the sea on a giant, colorful clam shell. The approximately 7-minute ride through the world of Arielle the mermaid and her sea friends is definitely good for toddlers. You can find a video here.
Peter Pan’s Flight
We would have liked to do the flight with Peter Pan in the Magic Kingdom, but the waiting time was more than 60 minutes throughout the day. Since we were only at the Magic Kingdom for one day, it was just too long for us. Therefore, unfortunately, we could not do this attraction. Some impressions of the ride are available on YouTube.
Pirates of the Caribbean
The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction is also probably suitable for small children, but was unfortunately closed during our visit. Therefore, we can unfortunately not say anything about this. However, you can watch a video of the entire trip on YouTube here.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
The attraction Dumbo the Flying Elephant we unfortunately did not make it in time, but is similar in nature to ‘The Magic Carpets of Aladdin’. A video of what the ride with Dumbo looks like can be found here on YouTube.
There are other rides at the Magic Kingdom that you can do with toddlers, but unfortunately we didn’t get to do them during our visit. These include Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Mad Tea Party, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel and The Haunted Mansion ghost train.
What you shouldn’t miss at the Magic Kingdom is the fireworks show every evening. Here is – unless the weather does not allow it – virtually every day New Year’s Eve 🙂
Fireworks are at 8pm in the fall and winter, and usually at 9pm in the spring and summer. The best way to find out the exact times is to use the free My Disney Experience app. Along with the Fantasy Parade, the fireworks are the highlight of the Magic Kingdom.
In order to get a good spot here and have an optimal view of the fireworks, you should look for a suitable spot on Mainstreet or directly in front of the castle at least 60 to 90 minutes before the time! Since we had previously visited the attractions “Journey of the Little Mermaid” and for the 2nd time “It’s a small World” (had liked our daughter so much), we were only finished shortly before the fireworks and then tried to find a free place for the fireworks. However, all the good areas are already closed at this point due to overcrowding, so we really had trouble finding a suitable spot with our stroller. Every conceivable spot in the park where you can stand and watch the fireworks is marked on the ground and was full. Outside of these markings you are not allowed to stop, which is meticulously controlled by the park staff. Thus, shortly before or during the fireworks, it is almost impossible to get a good free seat with a view of the castle.
We ended up standing near the Main Street entrance. This is not ideal and very far away, but unfortunately it was not possible otherwise. The fireworks are really very impressive. The Cinderella Castle and all the buildings on Main Street will come to life with magical effects, there will be a big light and laser show, classic and newly interpreted Disney songs will play and everything will be crowned with a gigantic fireworks display over the castle. Truly magical. A nice video of the complete fireworks display at the Magic Kingdom can be found here.
When the fireworks are over after about 15 minutes, almost all visitors rush out of the park at the same time. Since we were already right at the exit, we were fortunately outside before the masses.
By the time we took the monorail and streetcar back to the parking lot and then to our lodging in Kissimmee, it was just after 10pm. That was a really long, but also beautiful day at Magic Kingdom Orlando ❤
All travelogues of our Florida round trip (2022)Sun, beaches, palm trees, sightseeing, beautiful hotels, pools and the fun of Sea World, Walt Disney & Co.... we were really looking forward to this vacation in Florida. We planed a beautiful itinerary for our almost 3 week trip through the Sunshine State, with places we mostly didn't know yet. In the following travel reports we will tell you about our experiences in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers Beach, Fort Myers, Tampa and Orlando.
➥ Miami Beach » Arrival, Route, Rental Car & Hotel in Miami Beach
➥ Miami » Our Top 10 Sights & Attractions
➥ Fort Lauderdale » Sights, Beach & Attractions
➥ Fort Myers » Fort Myers Beach, Downtown & Lovers Key State Park
➥ Sanibel Island » Sanibel Island, Captiva Island & Cayo Costa State Park
➥ Tampa » Top Sights & the best Attractions
➥ Tampa » Theme Park Busch Gardens & Adventure Island
➥ Orlando » Theme Park SeaWorld & Water Park Aquatica
➥ Orlando » Magic Kingdom Theme Park (Disney) with toddler