By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here.



yourfirstvisit.net—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor



The Comprehensive Guide to Walt Disney World Rides and Attractions



By Dave Shute

DISNEY WORLD RIDES RANKED FOR LITTLE AND BIGGER KIDS

This chart (as always on this site, click it to enlarge it) ranks all attractions at Walt Disney World based on two different points of view:

  • Vertically from the eyes of pre-school kids: best loved, to be avoided, or neither;
  • Horizontally from the eyes of kids in the third grade or older, and their parents: skippable, favorites, or neither.

Groupings are based on ratings by age from a number of sources, on height restrictions, and on “scariness.”

If you have trouble interpreting it, this should help

  • The lower right shows rides and attractions everyone likely will love
  • The upper left shows ones everyone may find skippable
  • The upper right shows ones 3rd graders and older guests will likely love, but that pre-schoolers should avoid
  • The lower left shows ones pre-schoolers will love, but that every one else likely may find dull

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106 comments

1 Samantha G { 11.14.13 at 10:14 pm }

Hi, DAVE we are staying in Orlando for five days and I ‘ m wondering what parks we should go to.
I ‘m not into culture (plus I ‘m vegetarian) so Epcot is out. also the time we are gong I heard it cool so would it be a good idea to go to the water parks?? Is the spring break the most busy time to go?

2 Dave { 11.15.13 at 7:43 am }

Sam, Epcot is great fun and has as many vegetarian offerings as any two other parks. See this for building an itinerary: https://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/how-long-to-stay/other-trip-lengths/designing-your-own-walt-disney-world-itinerary/

3 Michelle { 01.15.14 at 4:07 pm }

Hi Dave,
I’ll be in WDW Oct 19 – 25 with my parents and my son, who will be almost 4. In light of my son’s age, I’m planning on a 5-day base ticket to avoid any temptation to run around from park to park. I figure MK and AK are the only parks that make sense for us at this point. I’d like to fit in as many character dining events as possible. I was thinking 3 days in MK (though likely not full days), 1 day in AK and 1 day to play it by ear. Does this make sense? Any thoughts on how we should schedule the days? I’m not sure I’m interested in the Halloween party, but maybe it’s worth looking at – what do you think? Thanks so much for all your help – your site is tremendous!

4 Dave { 01.16.14 at 7:35 am }

Hi Michelle, and thanks for the kind words!!

I’d add a morning at Hollywood Studios too. Think 2 mornings, one afternoon, and one evening at MK, and mornings at AK and HS. Day 5, return to your favorite–almost certain to be MK!

I won’t be able to make specific day suggestions until Disney’s October calendar is out–which it’ll be in about 2 months…

The Halloween party is so expensive that I’d hold on that til he’s older… 6 or older…

5 Michelle { 01.19.14 at 3:48 pm }

Thanks, Dave! If you don’t mind, I’ll follow up with you again when the October calendar comes out. I like your thought of part of a day at HS. Thanks again!

6 Dave { 01.20.14 at 6:30 am }

Of course, Michelle!

7 Cynthia Oliver { 05.06.14 at 11:54 am }

Dave, I’m planning a trip to DW and I’m trying to determine the best way to do it. We will have 4 adults and 2 children with us ages 7 and 3 both boys. Not sure where to stay since they want to do Disney and Univ. Studio and Sea World. We will only have 5 days. What would you recomend? I haven’t a clue about any of it. I have never been to DW although DL was a child hood hangout when you bought a book of A-E tickets. Was there for the opening of Pirates of the Caribean. So that kinda dates me. Thanks in advance for your assistance

8 Dave { 05.07.14 at 12:16 pm }

Cynthia, will this be your only visit, or will you return later?

9 Lucia { 06.25.14 at 10:26 pm }

Hi Dave,
We have booked our WDW stay for the last week of April 2015. We have a lot of time left, but I was planing on getting a fantasmic dinning package as one of our ADR. We have a 4 year old and I noticed you recommend avoiding it for this age, why?

10 Dave { 06.26.14 at 8:15 am }

Lucia, see this for why Fantasmic is now in the “avoid” box: https://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/10/22/kids-fear-and-walt-disney-world/

11 Renae { 11.19.14 at 9:35 pm }

I have to disagree with a few of these choices in the avoid category. My family went to disney and I had my two kids (just turned 3 & 5) with me. My 3 year old celebrated her 3rd birthday in the MK. During our trip the 3 year old went on the gran fiesta tour and loved that. She rode that about 5 times one night. She also loved Soarin’ and rode that twice, she even loved Star Tours and rode that 2 times as well. She is not a dare devil by any means of the word. She is usually a a bit of a scaredy-cat 🙂 My suggestion is to try a “test” ride with small children. If they seem like they aren’t into the more drastic rides then steer clear. However, you might be surprised about what they like.

12 Dave { 11.20.14 at 11:36 am }

Great advice, Renae, as every kid is different!

13 Marcy { 12.28.14 at 12:40 am }

hi Dave – great site! We are booking a trip with our 2-year old for about 5 days in late March 2015 (prob March 23-27). We are thinking of staying at either the Poly or Wilderness Lodge to maximise convienience and assume 2 days in MK, 1 in Epcot and 1 in AK. Our daughter is really too young to care about anything in particular so the trip is more for us I suppose – although I imagine she will enjoy some of the characters, rides and overall sites and sounds (we have been to Disneyland and she loved it). Any major tips to help plan our visit during this time?

14 Dave { 12.28.14 at 9:14 am }

Hi Marcy! Late March will be crowded and expensive. The pool at the Poly will likely still be under refurb, so consider that. My itineraries are for older kids, and longer visits, so not much help. However, there’s great stuff in my book for kids that age (at the end of Chapter 6). See https://yourfirstvisit.net/2014/11/19/the-easy-guide-to-your-first-walt-disney-world-visit-2015/

15 nicole { 06.02.15 at 6:43 pm }

Hi, may i ask why fantasmic is on the avoid lost for preschoolers? Is it just the late night?

Also, do you have any itineraries for families with preschoolers? We do plan on returning when our kids are older. If we bring our kids when they are almost 5 when do you recommend returning? I was thinking when they are 10 or 11. Thank you.

16 Dave { 06.05.15 at 7:52 am }

Nicole, Fantasmic is the story of Mickey’s victory over a bunch of villains, including huge dragons and serpents. Some little ones do fine with this, and others are really scared by it.

I don’t have pre-schooler itineraries on this site but you can find them in my book.

Eight or older would be my advice on the return date!

17 Mike { 07.29.15 at 5:59 pm }

Hello Dave, We are looking for the date the MK railroad will open in November this year after rehab. We have seen Nov. 20 and Nov 5. We see both dates posted on all the different sites. Can you help,Thanks

18 Dave { 07.30.15 at 8:54 am }

Mike, I can’t give you a definitive answer, but the sites I respect more are showing November 20.

19 Mike { 07.30.15 at 2:42 pm }

Thanks Dave. We get about 50-50 answer. We will be there starting on Nov. 8 for a week. Missed the RR 3 years in row because we always went in Oct. We shall see.

20 Kelbe { 08.07.15 at 12:13 am }

Hey Dave,
Is there a way to get this chart sent to me as a pdf? We are planning our first visit April 2016 and will have a 3rd grader and 4K as well as a 2 year old, so this chart is perfect for us. Thanks!

21 Kunmi { 12.29.15 at 11:11 am }

Hi Dave,
I just booked a honeymoon trip to orlando fl during oct 10- oct 24 2016. I’m thinking of doing a 5 day trip to different WDW theme parks. Are there any parks you’d recommend for couples specifically, and how crowded is it usually around this time of the year? Thanks!

22 Dave { 12.30.15 at 9:16 am }

Kunmi it varies so much by couple that it’s hard to say. I’d suggest reading through Chapter 6 of my book and making your park choices based on that.

For crowds then, see this.

23 Mark { 04.30.16 at 9:56 pm }

Hi Dave,
Great site, but a couple of questions. First, my anniversary is Nov 26, so if we go for the 2 wks right after that do we really NEED to use FastPass+? I’ve heard it’s a bit of a pain to use. Also, when we went to Disneyland for our 25th, it was DEAD empty. The record time in line was 10 minutes for Soarin’. No FastPasses needed, altho’ it was the old system.
Second question: the Unofficial Guide people say that crowds are lowest in Sep after Labor Day. Is it because of hurricane season that you don’t rate September higher?
Thanks.

24 Chelsea { 05.19.16 at 5:49 pm }

Hey! Love all the info on here!! As a Momma to 7 kiddos, I have a few questions to ask you. #1 is we have kiddos that will range in age (next year) from 2 to 15. If we stay for 5 days, what’s the best options for things to do, considering the ages of our kiddos (2, 4, 5, 8, 11, 14 & 15). Also, which place would be best to stay in with so many kiddos? Thank you!! ?

25 Dave { 05.20.16 at 8:05 am }

Hi Chelsea, will you have another adult with you? That both affects what kinda room you can fit, and also impacts how you would tour in the parks (e.g. split the kids between you)

26 Rich { 07.24.17 at 7:21 am }

Hi,

My plan at the moment is to stay at the Old Key West Resort for 11 night from the 16 Oct 2018. 2 adults and 4 kids(14,12,5 & 2) – we have provisionally decided to stay at OKW as it looks like it allows the most room for a larger family. Food and tickets are included. just wondering your expert thoughts on this plan so far….?

Many Thanks

27 Dave { 07.25.17 at 6:54 am }

Ric, Old Key Wets is the most roomy and spacious and home-like of the Disney options. It’s a bit distant, and the buses are a bit convoluted, so it works best if you have a car.

28 Mary { 09.08.17 at 10:16 am }

Hi Dave,
Thanks for all the hard work, this site is awesome! We are planning our trip for Jan. 1st – 6th 2018 and we’re staying at the Polynesian Resort. Now, we are a big group of 6 adults and 7 kids aging between 13 and 1 year old (there are actually two toddlers, one baby and the rest are over 8 and the 48 inch limit). I have two questions: do we need a fast pass? We figured this week would be less crowded, since school typically starts on the 2nd (we come from Europe and our calendar is slightly different), but after checking your calendar we’re not so sure anymore. And also, which rides shouldn’t the older kids miss? Thanks so much in advance!

29 Dave { 09.10.17 at 7:08 am }

Mary, the start date of low January crowds varies quite a bit. For gory details, see this. Your week will indeed be crowded, especially early.

FastPass+ is always required, no matter how “low” a week might be.

For the older kids, work with the right side of this chart, and add Flight of Passage–the chart is a little out of date…

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