After two recent visits to Disneyland California with our infant at 6 months old and 10 months old we were surprised to discover how many rides were baby-friendly – in fact, we could take our baby on over 25 rides at Disneyland!
For those of you planning your own Disneyland vacation with a baby, we’ve compiled this list of all baby-friendly rides in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure to help with your Disney planning.
Note: for the purposes of this article we are considering a baby/infant to be under 1 year old.
Baby Friendly Rides at Disneyland California
From Webslingers and Toy Story Mania in Disney California Adventure to Pirates of the Caribbean and Dumbo in Disneyland, babies can join parents on many of the most popular rides at Disneyland California.
Below is a quick summary of the rides babies can and can’t ride at Disneyland California: this is based on our experience in the park in Summer 2023 with our 10-month-old baby. I’ve included more details on each ride further down.
Disneyland California rides with baby tip: From what I understand, there are no fixed rules for babies under 1 so it can depend on the Cast Member on duty whether a baby under 12 months is permitted to ride. However, we had no issues riding everything we’ve listed with our 10 month old.
Note: on some of the rides there are specific requirements around riding with an infant e.g baby can not be in a carrier or must be forward facing if in a carrier. I’ve outlined those requirements later in the article where I’ve detailed each ride.
Baby-Friendly Rides in Disneyland Park
The following rides are in Disneyland Park:
Infants can Ride: Alice in Wonderland, Casey Jr Circus Train, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, It’s a Small World, King Arthur Carousel, Mad Tea Party, Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, Peter Pan’s Flight, Pinoccho’s Daring Journey, Storybook Land Canal Boats, Snow White’s Enchanted Wish
Infants Can’t Ride: Matterhorn Bobsleds
Infants Can Ride: Astro Orbitor, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
Infants Can’t Ride: Autopia, Hyper/Space Moutain, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
Infants Can’t Ride: Big Thunder Mountain
Infants Can Ride: Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
Infants Can’t Ride: Chip ‘n’ Dale’s GADGETcoaster
Infants Can Ride: Jungle Cruise
Infants Can’t Ride: Indiana Jones Adventure
New Orleans Square
Infants Can Ride: Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean
Infants Can Ride: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge
Infants Can’t Ride: Millieum Falcon: Smugglers Run, Star Wars Rise of the Resistance
Baby-Friendly Rides in Disney California Adventure
The following rides are in Disney California Adventure
Paradise Gardens Park
Infants Can Ride: Golden Zephyr, The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
Infants Can’t Ride: Goofy’s Sky School, Jumpin Jellyfish
Infants Can’t Ride: Grizzly River Run, Soarin’/Soarin’ Over California
Infants Can Ride: WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure
Infants Can’t Ride: Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
Infants Can’t Ride: Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, Radiator Springs Racer
Infants Can Ride: Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind, Jessie’s Critter Carousel, Pixar Pal-A-Round, Toy Story Mania
Infants Can’t Ride: Incredicoaster
Infants Can Ride: Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!
What about the rides that aren’t suitable for a baby?
Two words: Rider Switch! For rides including Incredicoaster, Guardians of the Galaxy and Radiator Springs Racer parents can ride separately while only having to brave the queue once.
How Rider Switch Works
Ask a Cast Member about rider switch when you enter the queue for the ride and they will direct you on how it works. Typically, the Cast Member will scan the ticket of the adult waiting with the non-riding child and whoever wants to ride with them (it’s usually a maximum of 3 guests in total so our two kids will ride again with the other adult).
When you exit the ride the adult waiting with the non-riding child can then access the ride through the lightning lane or via the exit depending on the ride. On most rides, you can reenter during the time stated in your rider switch pass in the app. However, on rides like Dumbo, the other rider has to be waiting at the exit to ride immediately.
Where to stay at Disneyland California with Kids
We’ve stayed in the Disneyland Resorts and many of the hotels surrounding Disneyland and we’re big fans of both. Our biggest requirement is that we are within walking distance of the parks – it makes our Disneyland days so much easier, especially with younger kids as we can pop back to the hotel easily for downtime or one of the adults can walk back in later in the evening!
Our favorites include:
Residence Inn at Anaheim Resort/Convention Center: there are two reasons we love this Residence Inn – it is an easy 10-minute walk to the parks and the rooms are apartment-style with a full kitchen and a separate bedroom and living room. Some of the suites have a separate bedroom with bunk beds (the bedroom is themed for kids) and these are suitable for up to 8 guests. There is a rooftop pool with a splash zone for kids and laundry facilities onsite. We love being able to make food (breakfast is also included) and it’s great having a separate living room to relax in at night when the kids are asleep (assuming we make it past their bedtime!)- check prices here!
Disneyland Hotel: we love all three onsite hotels but our kids’ favorite is the Disneyland hotel, mostly due to the swimming pool slides and the fact they can ride the Monorail (there is a stop close to the hotel)! Rooms are spacious and clean, it’s within easy reach of the parks and, our favourite perk, guests are granted Early Entry to the parks 30 minutes before regular opening time – check prices here!
Best Western Plus Park Place Inn – Mini Suites: the Best Western Plus Park Place Inn is about as close as you can get to Disneyland – it’s across the street from the main entrance and you can go from the hotel to the parks within a few minutes! Rooms are clean and well equipped and we easily fit our family of 5 in the 2 x double room (which had a sofa bed as well). There is a small pool, breakfast is included and the hotel is close to plenty of reasonably priced food options – check prices here!
Tips for Disneyland California rides with a baby
We have a number of tips for anyone planning to visit Disneyland California with a baby. These tips will help you enjoy your time in the park even more and make your trip a lot easier.
- Use a baby carrier in queues and on permitted rides: strollers aren’t allowed in queues so a baby carrier is fantastic for both queuing and the ride itself. It’s also great for breastfeeding on the move. The baby can remain in the carrier for many of the rides although you may be asked to switch to front-facing or, on some rides, remove them from the carrier.
- Hold on tight: a lot of the rides have jerks and drops so make sure you support the baby’s head/neck at all times.
- Keep Baby Away from the safety bar: be careful on rides with bars to keep the baby clear from the bar when it is brought down. The bars can come down quickly so make sure to keep the baby safe as it comes down. Babies must ride on the inside of the carriage and be positioned under the safety bar.
- Use Rider Switch for non-baby-friendly rides: for the rest of the rides, Rider Switch is an amazing offering that allows parents to ride separately with the second rider avoiding having to join the queue again.
- Baby Care Centers: in case you haven’t come across them, there is a baby care center in each of the parks (at the end of Main Street in Disneyland Park and next to Ghiradelli in Disney California Adventure). The baby care centers have nursing rooms, changing rooms, feeding areas with kitchen facilities and a vending machine with baby supplies.
A Detailed Guide to the Baby-Friendly Rides at Disneyland California
If you are like me and like lots of information when planning your trip to Disneyland trip, read on for a detailed description of taking a baby on some of the most popular rides:
Some of the rides are very similar so I’ve grouped them:
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
The awesome Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway takes riders aboard a runaway railway as they follow Mickey and Minnie to their picnic spot. The ride passes through waterfalls, tornados and a Daisy dance class with a twist – there are lots of spins and twists and turns on this ride so make sure to support and hold on tight to infants at all times.
Peter Pan’s Flight
The most magical ride in Fantasyland, riders board a flying pirate ship for a journey over London and Never Never Land. Make sure to keep your infant clear of the safety bar which is lowered before the ride commences.
Carriage Style Rides
Snow White’s Enchanted Wish, Pinoccho’s Daring Journey, Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, Alice in Wonderland, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, The Little Mermaid, Monsters Inc, Haunted Mansion
Riders board carriages with lap safety bars for a journey through these fairytale worlds – just be careful to keep the baby clear from the safety bar when it is brought down and be sure to support your infant throughout as the rides can be a little jerky.
It’s a Small World, Storybook Land Canal Boats/Jungle Cruise/Pirates of the Caribbean
These water-based rides are all relatively gentle although there are some things to be careful of:
- there are two climbs/drops on Pirates of the Caribbean.
- there can be quite a jerk towards the end of the rides (we really noticed this on It’s a Small World) so prepare to support an infant as the ride comes to an end.
- the Storybook Land Canal boats are regular boats that wobble as everyone gets on and off- make sure to mind your step as you board and disembark!
Disneyland California rides with baby tip: Pirates of the Caribbean and It’s a Small World are two of the longest rides at Disneyland. They both are a great opportunity for a nap or a feed!
Towering over Paradise Bay in Disney California Adventure, the Pixar Pal-A-Round is the ultimate Ferris Wheel – it’s a combination of a Ferris Wheel and, if you opt for a sliding gondola, a fun ride! Riders are treated to two loops of the Ferris Wheel – one is quite slow as it’s used to board riders but the second is a full and uninterrupted loop of the Ferris.
There is a choice between a fixed or sliding gondola – we love the sliding gondolas. They slide and sway on the Ferris Wheels rails and it adds a slight thrill element to the Ferris Wheel! We just hold our infant on our lap but it is quite jolty so you might prefer a fixed gondola
Mad Tea Party/Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
On Mad Tea Party riders board pastel oversized tea cups to whiz and spin across the platform. Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin starts off as a taxi ride through the streets of Toon Town and riders can spin their vehicle as the drive along.
Both rides have some spinning and whizzing but additional spinning is controlled by the riders in each individual teacup/taxi cab. This means you can have a relatively gentle ride if you have a baby on board.
King Arthur’s Carousel/Jessie’s Critter Carousel
The beautifully ornate King Arthur’s carousel is a popular family ride at Disneyland. If you are riding with a baby you have two choices – there are carriages where you can sit or you can ride one of the horses. If you opt for the horses, your baby must be removed from their carrier and held forward facing.
Jessie’s Critter Carousel is a Toy Story version of the traditional carousel! We sat on a bench style seat with our infant.
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Toy Story Mania, WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure
Riders board themed carriages and use their shooting (Buzz and Toy Story) and web-slinging (Spider-Man) skills as they pass through the ride.
- Toy Story Mania: this ride has some fast turns as the carriage spins around really fast at each new set of targets. Make sure to support and hold on tight to infants throughout.
- WEB SLINGERS A Spider-Man Adventure: you need both hands to participate in this ride and sling webs at the Spider bots. It’s going to be hard if you are holding an infant so use a carrier to go hands-free if the Cast Member permits.
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters: Buzz Lightyear Astor Blasters is an action-packed dark ride and our 10-month-old was mesmerised by all the vivid colors and lights!
Casey Jr Circus train
Riders board a circus train in this Dumbo-inspired ride through a miniature fairytale land. There are regular carriages and cage-style carriages with side benches and our infant sat on our lap. The train ride is pretty gentle so we ride either.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Astro Orbitor, Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind, Golden Zephyr
Riders board themed carriages which spin around as part of an aerial carousel.
I like to have my infant in a baby carrier for these rides as they fly pretty high over Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. If the Cast Member allows you to ride with the carrier you may be asked to have your child forward facing although some Cast Members may ask you to take them out of the carrier. This is dependent on the Cast Member at the ride.
- Golden Zephyr is the fastest of the aerial carousels with riders soaring high above Paradise Gardens in retro spaceships. The views of Disney California Adventure are awesome!
- On Dumbo and Astro Orbitor, each carriage has a control lever which allows riders to move the carriage up and down.
- Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind is relatively gentle with riders boarding hot air balloon style Memory Makers.
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
As the name suggests, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is an underwater submarine voyage through Nemo’s world. The submarine ride is slow and gentle although there are some steep stairs upon entry and exit to the submarine.
Disneyland California rides with baby tip: Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage lasts almost 15 minutes and the inside of the submarine is dark for most of the ride. It’s a great opportunity for a nap or a feed!
Other things to do with babies in Disneyland California
There is loads to do with a baby in Disneyland California aside from the rides. Our infant accompanied us on all of the following:
In Disneyland Park babies can attend the following:
- Disneyland Railroad: it takes 20 minutes to do a full loop of the park and there are some fab surprise sights along the way.
- Sailing Ship Columbia/Mark Twain Riverboat: both boats follow the same route on the Rivers of America around Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island and the sailing time is around 15 minutes
- Storytelling at the Royal Theatre: the charming Royal Theatre hosts unique performances of Tangled and Beauty and the Beast with starring roles for Rapunzel and Belle.
- Main Street Vehicles: horsedrawn street cars, fire engines, a 2-story bus and an open-top car make the short journey from Town Square to the Sleeping Beauty Castle
- Enchanted Tiki Room: 225 audio animatronics performers celebrate the beauty of the Pacific Islands. Watch as tropical birds and colorful flowers come to life in a 15-minute show.
- Character meet and greets: our little one met so many characters including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, the Disney Princesses and Tinkerbell. We have a full guide on where to meet the Disney Princesses in Disneyland California.
- Minnie and Friends Breakfast in the Park: we love this character breakfast hosted by Minnie Mouse at Plaza Inn. The Minnie and Friends Breakfast in the Park is perfect for a late-morning sit-down breakfast in Disneyland Park. Under 3’s are free. Our infant also joined us at the Princess Breakfast Adventures in the Grand Californian where under 3’s are also free.
- Pirate’s Lair on Toy Sawyer Island: guests are transported across the Rivers of America by a log raft to explore this secret island hideaway. My 3 and 5-year-old love Pirate’s Lair!
- Mickey’s Toontown: home to the baby-friendly Micky and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, Mickey’s Toontown is a one of our favorite spots for younger kids and infants. Check out the Micky and Minnie Fountain and the play areas. You can also order a picnic basket and blanket and have a picnic on the grass.
- Tale of the Lion King: a fantastic live theatre performance of the Lion King with amazing renditions of Hakuna Matata, Circle of Life and Can You Feel the Love Tonight.
- Parades and Fireworks/Projections: our 10month old loved the Magic Happens parade but slept through Fantasmic and the fireworks!
Disney California Adventure
In Disney California Adventure our infant joined us for:
- Animation Academy: classes run every 30 minutes and we learned tips and tricks for creating our own masterpieces of Sulley from Monsters Inc and Daisy Ducky during our 2 most recent classes.
- Disney Junior Dance Party: a hit with Disney Junior fans, my 3-year-old adores this sing/dance along.
- World of Color: another late show that our infant slept through! World of Color, an incredible mix of water-based projections, pyrotechnics and music, is unmissable in Disney California Adventure.
- Turtle Talk with Crush: an interactive show hosted by Crush, the sea turtle from finding Nemo. My 5-year-old is obsessed with the opportunity to ask Crush random questions!
- Redwood Creek Challenge Trail: a wilderness play area with climbing rocks, slides and lookout towers which is a hit with our kids. Strollers are not allowed but we were able to take our infant in her baby carrier.
- Character Meet and Greets: we met Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Chip n Dale, the Avengers superheroes and the Toy Story characters.
For more on Disneyland California, check out: