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5 Best Theme Parks For Toddlers in California | Easily Explained

Here's the honest truth:

It’s difficult traveling with toddlers, no matter where you’re going.

However there are certain things you can do that will make it much easier for you.

In this page, we'll go over the best theme park for toddlers in California, why they're the best and below that, we'll have our best tips to use when theme-parking with toddlers.

Table of Contents

  1. Disneyland
  2. Disney's California Adventure
  3. Knott's Berry Farm
  4. Six Flags Magic Mountain
  5. San Diego Zoo

1. Disneyland

Disneyland is the winner for toddlers in California, and it's not even close.

toddler with stuffed animal at disneyland

Meeting Characters

They'll be able to meet their favorite Disney characters through meet-and-greet and enjoy the different scenery and sounds as they travel around the park.

Some characters that they'll be able to meet include Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and many more. 

toddler with disney princess

Attractions For Toddlers

Dumbo the Flying Elephant®

The first thing that you'll notice when talking about this ride is that this was the 'first ride' ever for a lot of people.

You and your kiddos will be able to hop inside the Dumbo themed cart and enjoy a relaxing ride that goes in circles, but up and down as well while going in that circle.

It's a very relaxing ride and a great way to introduce toddlers to rides in general.

Disneyland Railroad

One of the oldest rides at the Disneyland park, also happens to be one of the best for kiddos.

The 18 minute Disneyland Railroad is the perfect ride for children to sightsee the park, and even see Dinosaurs as you pass Tomorrowland.

It's a great change of pace for both parents and children to get off of their feet, and feel a great cold breeze, while still being adventurous.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Not many rides in the world can consistently get toddlers to smile more than this Winnie the Pooh ride.

Toddlers will see some of their favorite characters including:

  • Eeyore
  • Piglet
  • and Tigger

Walking Around the Park

Besides the shows and rides available, there's just so much to see, hear, and experience.

Disneyland is one of the most beautiful parks in the world, and they ensure that guests (especially toddlers) have plenty to see in every inch of the park.

Additionally, Star Wars Galaxy's Edge is another area that at minimum you must walk around to immerse yourself and the kiddos in the different planet.

You'll want to make sure that you're familiar with our Best Disneyland Tips For Toddlers, to ensure that you arrive to the park extremely prepared, and maximize your time.

2. Disney's California Adventure

Conveniently located across from Disneyland, California Adventure is another fantastic park for toddlers.

Pixar Pier

Pixar Pier has a boardwalk feel to it and contains some of the most popular areas in the park including :

Toy Story Boardwalk, Pixar Promenade, Inside Out Headquarters, and Incredibles Park.

pixar pier california adventure

If your kids love any type of Pixar movie, they're in luck.

Not only is the area themed after the ultra-popular movies such as Toy Story & Cars, but your favorite characters will be walking around the park.

Some of these characters include:

  • Buzz Lightyear
  • Woody
  • Rex


Similarly to Disneyland, there's so much to see at every part of the park, but perhaps none more famous than the giant ferris wheel.

This famous ferris wheel's official name is Mickey's Fun Wheel Ride.

california adventure ferris wheel

This 160 ft tall ferris wheel ride resembles a carnival ride from a distance away, but the closer to the ride that you get, the more you realize it's much more than that, as  

Cars Land

Visitors will find themselves near the famous Route 66, and the can't-miss Radiator Springs Racer ride.

Soarin' Around the World

If your kiddo is at least 40" tall, they'll be able to experience one of the coolest rides at the park.

This flight motion simulator will take riders high into the air showcasing the beauties of the world.

Guests will begin in the Swiss Alps, travel above the Pyramids of Egypt, and even see the Wall of China!

This ride is so impressive due to the fact that it actually feels as if you're traveling the different parts of the world, while seeing it with an unreal view.

3. Knott's Berry Farm

Although Knott's is notorious for their thrilling rides for teenagers and adults, Knott's actually has many rides for toddlers as well.


Some of the best rides at the park include Flying Ace and Camp Bus.

Flying Ace

Kids will be able to sit inside of a quality airplane and 'take-off' up and down in circular motions.

This is one the most popular attractions for kids.


Jump in the mini school bus that moves both circular clockwise and counter-clockwise motions, as your kids have the time of their lives.

Camp Snoopy

Camp Snoopy is an area specifically designed for kids and families to have maximum fun.

knotts camp snoopy

Featuring 40 total attractions including 10 roller coasters and 2 water slides, kids that aren't tall enough for the 'normal' rides at Knott's can have their own fun in their own area.

knotts kids rides

This is an extremely popular area with kids and families and you'll even catch Snoopy and friends walking around the area to say hi.

4. Six Flags Magic Mountain

Similarly to Knott's, Six Flags Magic Mountain also has amazing rides for toddlers that allow them to feel included and have a thrill of their own.

Bugs Bunny World

They also have their own play area specifically designed for kids to have maximum fun, known as Bugs Bunny World.

If you arrive at the park early, the first place that you should take them is Bugs Bunny World. 

This children's play area that features 12 rides specifically tailored for kids and families, a theater, shops, and even a restaurant.



A true mini-roller coaster ride that features a climb, a (small) drop, 180 degree turns, and even a sudden stop before making the second lap.

This mini coaster is perfect for future thrill-seekers, who are not tall enough to ride the real coasters yet.

Riders will pass by a gas station, and a desert area full of cactuses as they speed their way through the track.

Two riders can fit in each car, and there are 6 cars per ride.


This is easily one of the most popular rides for kids, as it brings along tons of joy and laughter.

sylvesters bounce and pounce

This 20 foot tower ride only goes up and down, but while going up/down kids will feel Sylvester pouncing above them, which will cause them to immediately bounce.

This is a little on the 'rougher' side of kid rides, so if your child is the adventurous type, this is a must-do.

Kids are able to hold on to the lap bar, or if they're feeling courageous they can put their hands straight up into the air!

5. San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is one of the best places to take the kids during your visit in Southern California.

rhino san diego zoo

It's a large & clean zoo with more types of animals than we can count.

In a span of over several hours, you'll be able to walk around the park, get on a safari tour, and the best part of all of this is that it is all educational.

The kids will quickly begin asking a million questions as they learn more about the animals, as well as their environments.


A little known fact about the San Diego Zoo is that it has rides and a 4D movie theater as well.

Balboa Park Miniature Train

This miniature train is an all time classic and perfect for families to ride together.

Built in 1948, this 4 minute ride takes visitors through 4 acres of Balboa Park.

This train ride is located just outside of the exit of the zoo.

Something else that makes it a unique ride is that there are less than 50 operating ones of this kind remaining.

It's just an overall great ride that kids and parents can enjoy together.

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