Where To Take Little Kids While You Wait At Walt Disney World – Ultimate List With Maps!

Are you planning a trip to Walt Disney World with young kids? Will you have to balance entertaining small ones while big ones ride rides?  I’m sharing my favorite toddler and preschooler friendly spots in all 4 WDW parks in this post! Be sure you save or screen shot the maps for each one, too!

We just wrapped up an epic family vacation at Walt Disney World with kids ages 2, 5, 8, and 10. Not everyone was tall enough to ride all the rides. Not everyone wanted to ride the same rides. It’s a challenge when you’ve got to divide and conquer, but it’s not terrible if you know where to go while you wait.

My husband and I would take turns and split up with the bigs waiting in the ride line, and the littles who needed to be entertained while they waited. Even when we had FastPasses, we could expect to wait 20-30 minutes for our riders to exit some rides.

Of course, we tried to time this during stroller nap time. And if that was the case and I only had the 2 year old with me, I’d find a shady spot and enjoy the relative silence. When he was awake, though, he wanted OUT. And if I had another kid with me, we were certainly not going to enjoy any kind of silence just sitting and waiting.

So we hit up the following spots in each park while we passed the time:

Magic Kingdom

Rides: Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain

  • There is a play area to the right of the entrance to Splash Mountain. It’s right near a bathroom, has plenty of seating nearby, and it’s pretty easy to keep an eye on runners without having to helicopter them.

Ride: Space Mountain

  • We spent a lot of time getting energy out at the space in front of the Tomorrowland stage. In the past, this has been home to a dance party that our then 1 year old loved. This year, there didn’t seem to be anything happening on the stage, but that meant that space was left wide open for running and playing with his Buzz Lightyear bubble blower.

    There is a little bit of seating, but you definitely have to be ready to chase a runner since there’s no fencing or barricade to keep them from running into the crowds. You could also take them onto the PeopleMover while you wait if the line isn’t too long (generally it doesn’t seem to be). It’s our 2 year old’s FAVORITE.If your little will sit still for it, and you have the budget and the desire, there’s a face painting spot near the Tomorrowland stage, too.

Rides: Barnstormer, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Dumbo

  • Anyone can ride Dumbo as long as littles are seated with adults, but did you know you don’t have to ride Dumbo to get inside and play under Dumbo’s Big Top? It’s an indoor, climate controlled play space that’s 90% contained, and it’s glorious! I’ve nursed babies here, I’ve sat and enjoyed coffee in peace while big kids played, and I’ve brought them here to entertain them while we wait for riders.

     

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    If you do plan to ride Dumbo, they will give you a buzzer, like you get at a restaurant, and when it goes off, it’s time to jump in line. Never waste a Fast Pass on Dumbo if your kids will want to play in the tent!

  • If it’s hot out and you are cool with your kid getting wet, you can also take them to Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station right outside the Dumbo ride.  As of today, it’s closed for renovations, but should be open by the end of March, 2019.

    Screenshot or save this map to your phone for quick reference in the park!

Epcot

Ride: Mission Space

  • After you say goodbye to your riders entering the line, walk to the left and head into the exit. You’ll walk into a gift shop, and on the other side of that is an area with video simulations for big kids and kids-at-heart, and then you’ll see a play area, complete with climbing tunnels, to the right. This climate controlled area is an awesome space to step out of the heat. I’ve found a quiet corner to nurse babies here a few times. The playground has spots for toddlers and bigger kids. And there is only one way in and out so if you have a runner, you can just park yourself there.

Ride: Test Track

  • This is one of those lines that is long even if you have a Fast Pass, so settle in. No worries, though, the BEST new play area in Epcot just opened within steps of the ride. To the left of the MouseGear entrance, you’ll find what is now a Ralph Breaks The Internet themed outdoor playground. It’s fully enclosed (except for the entrance) with quite a bit of seating for adults. I’m told the theming will change, but this playground is a permanent fixture.

Ride: Soarin

  • Soarin is inside The Land pavilion, and you can certainly let your littles run around the waiting area there, but it’s not very entertaining. If you’d like to stay inside the pavilion, check out the wait time for the ride Living with the Land. It’s about a 20 minute ride, and the wait has always been next to nothing while we’ve been there.
  • If you would rather not sit and hold them, head over to The Seas with Nemo & Friends and take the escalator to the 2nd floor. There’s an incredible aquarium that they can walk through with windows right at eye level.
  • There is a splash pad at Epcot between Future World and the World Showcase. Just be sure your child has a change of clothes before you let them discover this.

    Screenshot or save this map to your phone for quick reference in the park!


Hollywood Studios

Ride: Tower Of Terror and Rock & Rollercoaster

  • Hollywood Studios is lacking in dedicated play spaces for kids at the moment, so here it’s all about finding places littles have space to safely get their sillies out. The open space in front of the TOT exit may seem like a good spot at first glance, but I’ve found it’s a nightmare. There are stairs that my danger baby insists trying to go up and down, and there’s a pathway that’s also a designated smoking spot that he is determined to explore. So if I can’t convince him to stay in his stroller and enjoy a snack at this spot, I take him to the open area in front of Rock & Rollercoaster.There’s still a lot of foot traffic in and out of here so it’s not a place you can let runners run free, but you can usually find an empty spot off to the side and let them play with a toy or enjoy a snack. If you’re feeling festive, there’s a face painting spot here!

Related: Budget For This Extra On Your Walt Disney World Vacation

Ride: Star Tours

  • We rode this ride A LOT so I have a few options that worked well for us. The SciFi Drive-In Theater restaurant is adjacent to this ride, and there’s a car out front that entertained the toddler for maybe 5 minutes each time. He climbed in and out and pretended to drive and honk a horn. It was never entertainment enough for an entire ride cycle though.
  • There’s a courtyard in front of the Muppet Experience and a dead end road to the side of it (for now) with a Star Wars backdrop that will stop your runner from running off. Both are decent places to let them get their energy out.
  • I actually found the best solution for us was to take my 2 year old across the park (it’s not a big park) to the Animation Courtyard and into the Star Wars Launch Bay. I was able to nurse him in the quiet Han Solo museum and then we got in line to meet BB-8 and Pluto was right outside. We timed it perfectly to meet the rest of the fam on their way to Toy Story Land once they exited Star Tours.

Rides: Slinky Dog Dash & Alien Swirling Saucers

Toy Story Land would have been the BEST PLACE for a playground, right? Sigh. Sadly, there isn’t one, and with height restrictions on two of the three rides (Alien Swirling Saucers is only 32”), if you’re traveling with a little little, you’ll have to find something else to do with them while you wait.

  • Our 2 year old was OBSESSED with the Green Army Men, and they were out and about nearly the whole time we were in TSL, each time we visited. He even got to bounce a Pixar ball with them! This was plenty of entertainment for him for one ride cycle.
  • If you can manage to get a FP for Toy Story Mania for the same time your other riders will be on the height restricted rides, it’s an easy enough ride to manage littles on your own and the FP line seems to move pretty swiftly. You could also hop in line to meet Woody & Jessie or Buzz if you think you have the patience for that.
  • If none of that is working and you need a place with a little more space to run and perhaps a dance party, head out of TSL and just after you exit, to the right, will be the old Pixar Place alley which is currently home to An Incredible Celebration. If you’re into cookies or bribing your kids with cookies, you gotta get a Jack Jack’s Num Num cookie while you’re there.

    Screenshot or save this map to your phone for quick reference in the park!

Animal Kingdom

Rides: Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, Primeval Whirl, Flight Of Passage

  • Animal Kingdom, in my opinion, has THE BEST play area for littles- The Boneyard. It’s HUGE and there’s something there for kids big and small. We just really love Dinoland U.S.A. as a whole, especially now that Donald’s Dino-Bash is going on. There are lots of character interactions throughout the day, and a dance party later in the afternoon that lasts through the night.
    Another cool thing about Dinoland is it’s not a bad place to hang no matter what ride you’re waiting for riders to get off of. You can all meet back up in the center of the park on Discovery Island.

You might also like: 6 Stunning Photos You Would Never Guess Were Taken And Edited With A Phone

  • There is also the Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party, which lasts a good portion of the day, on Discovery Island.
  • The Muziki Drums across from the Harambe Market are a family favorite for us, too.
  • Pandora has winding trails and tons of beautiful foliage to look at, especially at night. You might also catch the Pandora drums that play throughout the day. Fair warning: this can be a stressful place to let runners out of strollers. The combination of foot traffic and all the trails can make it easy to lose sight of an excited kiddo.

Screenshot or save this map to your phone for quick reference in the park!

I hope this helps you on your upcoming Walt Disney World trip! I’ll be writing more about taking babies and toddlers to Disney here soon, so be sure you’re subscribed and following me on Facebook and Instagram for updates. For videos about family travel, be sure you subscribe to our travel and lifestyle channel Happy Loud Life. 

Click here to read more tips and tricks for Walt Disney World.

And if you love my photos and want to know how you can take and edit pix of your family at Disney World with just your phone and a few cheap apps, be sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter to find out when my next ebook- Picture Play At Disney World- goes on sale! 

If you found this helpful, I’d love if you’d pin it to your Pinterest board!


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27 Comments

  1. I stopped following you . This post was why.

    I followed you for years through pregnancy, infants, toddlers. You had a family and we’re relateable. You were normal. You had postpartum troubles. We were all you. You were all of us. Then it changed.

    Then you figured out you could make money being an influencer on the internet. Everything was links to buy stuff promoters paid you to share. Everything was money money. You blasted someone for calling you out online a while back. How upsetting to see you publicly shame someone because they disagreed with you. You put yourself out to the world. You wanted this.

    Now you make your living on knowing how to balance a photo (kind of) on your phone? I mean, good on you for preying on people like that. You saw a need and filled it I suppose. That’s on them for buying it, not you. You just saw fish in a barrel and made out ok.

    But you don’t know Disney. At all. You bought some annual passes (not gonna cover the money you blew on that for 5 passes with apparently such a tight budget) and went a handful of times. Disney is a big market of followers potentially. I get it. You want in. You made some poorly thought out maps with your newfound “experience” but you didn’t think about one thing- Disney is well covered by much smarter and more experienced posters than you. Your advice is child’s play for people who love this place. You aren’t going to say something 2000 better blogs haven’t already well covered. You ain’t getting reposted and reliked to shoot yourself up to some pinnacle of Disney knowledge with kids. Internet got you covered. Your advice is bad, frankly. You figured out the baby care centers? Oh. Cool.

    Stick to what you know. Good luck to you and yours. I truly enjoyed and respected you and your blog for years. I hope you find your path again. I truly do.

    • YIKES. Pretty sure the last thing any mom needs is this kind of unwarranted criticism and judgment. If you have followed Jill for years I would think you know her better than to bash so needlessly. She has always honestly shared her CURRENT life experience. Right now, that happens to be RV life and working within that parameter. She is not a Disney blogger and she knows that. We all know there is tons of Disney content out there and to be honest some of us appreciate hearing opinions from people we trust so I personally appreciate her efforts to share what she has learned. She has been nothing but transparent her entire blogging journey. I can’t believe you can even write such an ugly, nasty post and presume that your “honesty” is helpful or that it could do anything other than wound and demoralize.

    • Well obviously you have something you are going though if you have the audacity to leave this sort of comment on someone “you followed for years.” If the content is a such a waste of your time why did you bother to write an awful 5 paragraph response on one of her posts. You clearly have no respect or have actually enjoyed her content over the years if you would be so negative and hateful for no apparent reason. Please have more thought before you decide to type something like this to someone. I hope you find the help you so desperately need.

    • Sounds like someone may have a Disney blog and is jealous of Baby Rabie success. There are millions of pages for all kinds of topics – there is no need to come on here and tell her that hers isn’t good enough. Would you go on someone’s cooking page and tell them to stay in their lane because there are already cooking pages? What about mom blogs ? Plenty of those too. So who cares if she wants to do some Disney stuff. The positive comments are far outweighing the negative.

    • I’ve followed and known Jill for years and at the end of the day this blog has ALWAYS been her job. Whether you knew it then or not. Content creators face some of the toughest markets. And at the end of the day, you just sound bitter and jealous.

      My mom taught me something you should learn too… if you don’t have anything NICE to say… fuck off. Don’t say anything at all. You look like an asshole. #Facts

    • Thank you for giving me the idea to pin this post and share it on my social media. I’m about supporting moms and all women and believe there is space for all of us. And I appreciate the perspective of a mom who isn’t an “expert” because all those “Disney experts” out there have intimidated and overwhelmed me on the idea of going to Disney World so much that I really could care less if my family ever goes.

      And I am super thankful for the Picture Play eBook. I have a brand new nephew and have used the skills from the book to edit them into keepsakes that now live on their walls instead of too-dark photos on a phone.

    • In the words of a beloved Disney Queen herself… let it go. Let it go girl, move on. Instead of spending the minutes or hours it took to post that, play with your kid, talk to your partner, or take a hot bath and relax.

      Baby Rabies-you lived a dream with your kids! Thanks for creating content for us to follow and use! Get it girl!

    • First of all, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: bloggers usually want to make money. DUH DUH DUUUUUUH.

      Were you unaware? Or did you really think that people like Jill spend hours and hours writing and editing pictures without hoping they’ll get paid for it? That’s naïveté on your part, or ignorance, and by the tone of your comment I’ll place my bet on ignorance.

      Also? No one cares why this post sent you over the edge and caused your departure from the Baby Rabies world. Least of all Jill who knows there are lots and lots and LOTS of trolls like you just waiting to attack when an opportunity presents itself.

      It’s incredibly sad that you only follow or read blogs that represent a lifestyle similar to your own. Hence the ignorance, I guess.

      Your faux hope that Jill “finds her way” (she never lost her way, you just gained a sense of wicked envy) shows your true colors.

      As someone that is a Florida native and has owned annual passes for years, I thought her post was great. And for someone that seems to claim expert status on all things Disney, don’t you know you can do monthly payments for the passes? The more you know, lady.

      I don’t have a huge following on instagram and my blogs never took off because I didn’t invest the time. But Jill has always remembered me. And when I tagged her after the birth of my fourth child, she commented on my post. With tens of thousands of followers, she didn’t have to do that. She didn’t even have to recognize that I had tagged her. But she did because that’s the kind of woman Jill is.

      To shame someone for trying to monetize something they’re good at is all about you, not Jill. Maybe your blog never took off and it sucked and no one read it, so you’re envious she’s seen such success. To let that envy morph into the kind of entitlement required to leave such a hateful and ill-informed comment? That’s a next level lack of self-awareness. Likely the same lack of self-awareness that allowed you to believe your own crappy blog would blow up.

      I sincerely hope you find a therapist that can help you process your misdirected anger and jealousy. I truly do.

  2. I have followed you for five years. In those five years I have adopted two children and gone to Disney with one. I am so stressed to take two. To not give them equally a magic time, and ruin someone’s Disney experience. I am so happy you’re releasing content like this, and that I’m able to watch someone go with four years and make that look manageable.

  3. Katie Fields on

    I agree somewhat with the previous commenter. I stopped following, stopped caring. Everything was so plotted, everything you posted felt like you were trying so hard to find the next “thing” that could make you money while you all traveled. Which, as a reader who was so excited for your family and couldn’t wait to see all the states and how homeschooling worked, found disappointment at your many, many Disney posts. Or a spiel on how to take pictures better on your phone. A complaint about money, a story about Wallace, sell your book. You want to grow from a baby blogger, but pick your direction.

    You had all this time to talk about your curriculum. The challenges of homeschool, of balancing older kids and toddlers, of living on the road. You went on and on about visiting all 50 states, and then rushed through states to go back to Disney. You’ve lost me as a reader and follower on SM.

    • If you don’t like her content, why are you still reading and spending your precious time commenting? Clearly there are plenty of readers who do appreciate her sharing her personal experience with her family and what they’ve found to be helpful hints. Clearly she needs to find a way to work and provide while they’re on the road. If it’s not what you would do, wel, we all choose to live our lives in the way that is best for us. If you don’t like what she has to say, just unfollow and keep it to yourself. There’s no need to pile on and be negative. I’m sure you don’t want people insulting the way you choose to suppport your family.

    • Do you follow me on Happy Loud Life? I’ve covered a lot of that on YouTube- a place I’ve netted less than zero dollars. I had to stop telling that story so I could write the ebook so I could feed my family. I’ve shared all that content you wanted to hear about on IG too, another place I’ve netted less than zero dollars but continued to share what I found when I could. You think I’m not trying to find a direction?? This business changes daily. That’s not an exaggeration. One day you could be solely living off ads from YouTube, the next you can’t pay your bills because of the “Momo challenge” and a predator ring caused advertisers to pull money from YT. The crazy thing is that for the first time in a long time I actually feel like I do have a direction. I love sharing phone photography tips with parents. I want to do more of that. If you’d like a free copy of my ebook so you can see for yourself the passion and the hard work I poured into it, I’m happy to send you one. Email me. Not kidding.

    • Also? Please tell me, if you had a once in a lifetime chance to spend a month at Disneyworld with your kids, you wouldn’t do it?? Really? We saw a whole lot in the last year and then we just got tired. We needed a break. We lived in RV parks that cost us nothing when we weren’t at Fort Wilderness , which was a total of two weeks. We made most of our meals in our RV. Our annual passes were already budgeted for long ago last year when we planned to come to WDW for a week and get the dining plan. Can you believe that we only paid a bit more for the APs when we dropped the dining plan? And when we go back at the end of the year or early next Jan, the tickets are already paid for. And I can take Lowell for his 6th birthday this summer (I took K and L for their 6th birthdays on a mom and me Disney trip) and the tickets are paid for. And Scott and I can take a relatively inexpensive anniversary trip there in October because the tickets are already paid for. And guess what? MOAR Disney content! So fair warning. If that all is going to bother you, I guess it’s great that you don’t come back.

    • Pick your direction? So now bloggers have to ONLY write content in ONE area?

      If you’re interested in homeschool travel blogs, GO FIND THEM. Don’t bash a blogger simply because they didn’t take the direction of their blog where you wanted it to go. Do you not see how self-involved that is?

      To shame someone for trying to support their family and not writing about what YOU wanted them to write about is the definition of entitlement. Also? A tad delusional.

  4. I can’t understand how anyone thinks it’s okay to come into someone else’s space and say these things. This blog and Jill’s SM pages are her home. She’s inviting you to be here. If you don’t want to be, you don’t get to give a speech about what she’s doing wrong and how dare she do things to feed her family and find some joy. Just don’t come in! Being a blog reader does not give you the right to control the blogger. You don’t get to be “disappointed” because of change. I’m glad you have found a direction you enjoy, Jill, and I hope you don’t let unfollows get you down.

  5. I’ve been to Disney more times than I can count, and twice now with a kid and found this super helpful! Ill be back again this year and I’m definitely already thinking ahead to where we can go during the “big kid” rides. Also I did not know the tip about riding dumbo and enjoying the play place in there! Thanks for the post, I grabbed a screen shot of the MK map!

    Did you cover using the “baby swap” to your advantage? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts/strategies on that. It stresses me out to think about it!

  6. If you want to unfollow, then unfollow. No need to try and make her feel bad about herself and her blog. It’s so easy to spew hate and ugliness from behind the safety of a keyboard. I know their life does not reflect a lot of her readers right now, but it’s her life. Not yours. They have to make money somehow, just like everyone else. Who cares if it comes from her blog or ads or ebook or whatever. We need to stop being offended by everything. Just because someone believes different things or does different things, who cares. I really don’t believe it’s affecting our life so much that we have to be rude and mean about it. We can be offended but still be nice.

  7. I’m a big Disney fan and have taken my kids three times in the last five years. And I CANNOT stand most of the Disney bloggers and podcasters. They are quite pompous and are constantly trying to outdo each other with “insider tips.” Jill, your content feels accessible and earnest to someone who can’t go every weekend and who will never stay in the high-end resorts. And like previous commenters have chimed in— I trust you because I’ve followed your blog since you lived in DC!! Keep up the good work and brush off the insecure trolls because you are offering something useful!

  8. What an awesome piece of content! I can’t believe the haters here-they need to eff off, FAR away. Our family is headed back to Disney next year and there will definitely be rides our son isn’t tall enough for. He’s going to need some places to run off steam too, because like Wallace, he’s a danger baby! So I’ve taken screenshots of these maps to make our experience easier. Thanks for ALL you write about Jill. For what it’s worth, those of us who aren’t complete assholes understand that you need to support your family and if that means you’re doing all kinds of different odd jobs, then MORE POWER TO YOU! Your ebook is amazing, your blog is amazing, your roadschool journey is amazing, and your Disney content is my favorite of all! Keep it up, mama-you’re a rockstar!

  9. Jaime Morgan on

    Jill, I think you are great. You are an amazing mom, an accomplished businesswoman, a devoted wife and all-around wonderful person. Keep being true to yourself. That comes through in every single piece of content you create. I had the privilege to work with you at MDA many moons ago and have been admiring you from afar ever since. You do you. Many of us are behind you cheering you on. With so much respect, Jaime

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