If you ask me what are the best Disney World rides? I would have to say, “for which age?” If you have read any of my other Disney posts, you know I am a huge advocate for taking kids of all ages to Walt Disney World. I firmly believe Disney is an EXPERIENCE, not just a destination, and there is something for every age and stage in life.
And not just rides. There are magical Disney experiences beyond rides, many of which are perfect for the preschool to school-age set.
There are pixie-dusted shows and experiences that bring Disney magic to life, and even educate kids, that are well worth the price of admission. And let's not forget the experiential activities in the theme parks and hotels!
Starting at the preschool age, you could come to Walt Disney World year after year and enjoy a completely new Walt Disney World vacation. Here are my recommendations for the best Disney World rides for preschool to school-aged kids.
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The Best Disney World Rides For Preschool To School-Aged Kids
While I firmly believe there is no “perfect age” to visit Walt Disney World, preschool to school-age kids are at a great stage for much of what Disney has to offer.
Able to ride any of the “no height requirement” rides popular for toddlers and babies, as well as tall enough to try some roller coasters and shows, there so many ways this age group can enjoy Disney World.
In addition to all of the “no height requirement” rides available for toddlers and babies, here are my favorite rides and experiences for the preschool to school-aged kids.
Why Disney World Is Great For Preschool To School Aged Kids
They Meet Height Requirements At Walt Disney World
At this age, from about three to 12 years old, preschool through school-age kids are now tall enough to ride new attractions. They may also be ready for some of the fantastic starter roller coasters in the theme parks.
They Can Enjoy Educational Activities
Disney Resort Hotels often have educational and fun activities for kids. This is especially true at Animal Kingdom Lodge and The Kidani Village, which overlook the savannah near Animal Kingdom park.
They Can Learn About World Cultures And Try New Foods
Kids this age can embrace the education experiences at Epcot, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and they can sit for some of the longer shows. The Epcot World Showcase is a great place to introduce your children to world cultures and foods from different countries! It is one of our family's favorite things to do in all of Walt Disney World.
They Can Enjoy Interactive Activities
Lastly, kids this age will have the interest and attention span for some of the fun, interactive scavenger hunt activities through the theme parks. Download the Play Disney Parks app to see what magic awaits you.
One of our favorites is Agent P's World Showcase Adventure in Epcot, which has recently closed. But it is reported to soon be replaced with a similar experience themed after Disney's Duck Tails (whoo-oo.)
First trip to Disney or need some expert tips? Check out my Walt Disney Resort For Beginners: A Complete Guide To Plan A Disney Vacation for my ultimate planning tips!
Best Disney World Rides (and Experiences) At Magic Kingdom Park For Preschool To School-Age Kids
In addition to all of the best Disney World rides in Magic Kingdom Park for toddlers that are good for ALL AGES, preschool to school-age kids would also love these attractions:
Enchanted Tales With Belle
An interactive experience that feels like you stepped right into the Beast's castle from Beauty and The Beast, this storytime experience is a must-do for any Belle fan!
A 12-minute magical and musical 3D show, this fun experience takes you into a bit of Fantasia combined with Disney tunes, with the added mischief of Donald Duck.
A Pirate's Adventure
An interactive adventure looking for treasure in Adventureland is a preschool or school-aged pirate's dream come true!
Sorcerers Of The Magic Kingdom
This interactive scavenger hunt where kids can cast spells and find hidden portals throughout Magic Kingdom Park.
An oldie, but goodie, this is a great ride for any space cadet who doesn't mind a high-flying circle ride!
One of my favorite rides from my childhood, this ride through a semi-scary haunted house with the cutest ghosts you've ever seen is great for kids ready for this experience.
Any Cars fan would love to feel like they are on the speedway with this fun car driving ride for kids 32″ and taller!
A great junior roller coaster ride with the great Goofini, this is a great starter roller coaster for kids 35″ and taller.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
For kids ages 40″ and taller who are ready for a bit more of a higher speed adventure, this is a great family roller coaster experience.
Photo credit: Renato Mitra/Unsplash stock image
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Another fantastic junior roller coaster ride on the mine train from the Seven Dwarfs, this one is great thematic fun that will have your kids singing “hi ho” the rest of the day.
Another Disney classic and a rite of passage for most kids, this fun roller coaster in the dark is suitable for kids 44″ and taller.
Another big roller coaster for kids 40″ and taller, this log ride with a sizeable drop is great for elementary age kids and up who are ready for this splash-heavy water roller coaster.
Check out my post for more of the best Disney World rides for all ages.
Best Disney World Rides (and Experiences) At Epcot For Preschool To School-Age Kids
In addition to all of the best Disney World rides in Epcot for toddlers that are good for ALL AGES, preschool to school-age kids would also love these attractions:
Epcot's World Showcase
Every country in Epcot's World Showcase is great for kids to explore. Through experiences, movies, shops, and restaurants, as well as the Kidcot Fun Stop, this is great to introduce kids to world cultures.
Kidcot Fun Stop
This is an amazing way for kids to meet Cast Members from other countries and learn a little about World Cultures. Kids go around the world to the countries in Epcot's World Showcase to a designated spot and collect a card or memento from each country they are visiting.
Turtle Talk With Crush
Everyone's favorite “dude” turtle interacts with “little dudes” in this fun experience under the sea.
Advanced Training Lab
Space cadets will love this interactive experience to prepare for a mission to Mars in a high-tech play area featuring space-themed games!
Journey Into Imagination With Figment
Kids will love this ride into the Imagination labs with Figment, the little playful dragon.
Mission Space (Green Mission)
For astronauts 40″ and above, this kid-friendly version (meaning it doesn't spin) will put kids in the driver's seat to blast off to outer space! Kids 44″ and taller can try the Orange Mission, but for anyone that gets motion sickness, the Green Mission is the option to choose.
It's not Lightning McQueen, but this fun experience allows guests 40″ and taller to create your own car by touch screen while you wait for your turn to hit the track!
Another magical experience for kids 40″ and taller allows you to soar high above the wonders of the world and experience the sights, sounds and smells along the way.
Best Rides (and Experiences) At Animal Kingdom For Preschool To School-Age Kids
Preschool-age to school-age kids can enjoy all of the best rides and animal attractions at Animal Kingdom for toddlers that are also good for ALL AGES. And, they will also love these attractions:
There are quite a few enjoyable stage shows in Disney's Animal Kingdom. Our favorites include:
- Festival of the Lion King
- Finding Nemo – The Musical
- Donald's Dino-Bash this age group will enjoy!
An interactive experience kids will love as they follow in the footsteps of Russell from the Disney movie “Up” as they earn adventure badges around the park.
See The Best Disney World Rides For Toddlers for additional rides and experiences with no height requirement that preschoolers and school-age kids will also enjoy!
Avatar Flight of Passage
For kids 44″ and taller, kids climb onboard their own banshee for a 3D experience over Pandora's landscape.
Kids 40″ and taller will enjoy this ride back in time. Become a paleontologist and try to rescue a dinosaur before the meteor strikes.
It's Tough To Be A Bug
Little ones interested in nature will enjoy this 3D experience into a bug's world. Feel the sights, sounds, and smells of life as a bug! *Note that it is dark inside the theater. Kids afraid of the dark or creepy crawlies may not love this experience.
Kali River Rapids
Kids 38″ and taller will love getting wet on this white water adventure through Asian river rapids!
Best Rides (and Experiences) At Hollywood Studios For Preschool To School-Age Kids
Preschool and school-age kids can enjoy the very best Disney World rides for toddlers, AND add these attractions too!
There are several stage-shows preschoolers and school-age kids will love. My favorites include:
- Beauty and The Beast
- Disney Junior Dance Party
- For The First Time In Forever Frozen Singalong
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- Jedi Training
- Voyage Of The Little Mermaid
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
What 38″ or taller Star Wars fan wouldn't love the chance to drive the Millennium Falcon on this interactive mission!
This 3D space adventure takes guests 40″ and taller on a galactic journey to legendary places from Star Wars.
Star Wars Datapad
An interactive adventure on the Play Disney Parks app, this experience is great fun for all Star Wars super fans!
Star Wars Rise Of The Resistance
You might be part of the resistance but Star Wars fans can't resist this super cool experience! If you are 40″or taller, you can battle against the First Order on this exciting ride.
Tower Of Terror
My eight-year-old twins were the perfect age to try this oldie but goodie through the Twilight Zone elevator drop! Guests 40″ or taller are ready for this ride if they are okay with stomach jumping thrill ride!
Slinky Dog Dash
For kids 38″ or taller, this junior roller coaster takes you on a ride with slinky, over Andy's backyard.
Final Thought On The Best Rides For Preschool To School-Age Kids
I always say that my kids literally grow WITH Disney. As they grow physically and developmentally, there are new experiences to be had at each age and stage.
Not only can preschool and school-age kids learn things at Walt Disney World. They also experience all of the pixie dust and magic that is Disney.