So your kids are too young to truly appreciate all the epic-ness that is Stars Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? Consider yourself lucky—now you can check out the latest attractions (plus a few classics) at both Disneyland and California Adventure, while the masses flock elsewhere. With Galaxy’s Edge officially opening (as in, no reservations needed as of Jun. 24), this summer may be the best time to take your toddlers to Disney. Read on for the top 6 things you need to see and do during your trip.
1. Meet Mickey, Captain America & More
Ditch Disney's Galaxy's Edge crowds and head to California Adventure first. On your way into the park, you might just encounter some of your favorite characters like, say, Mickey Mouse, who's been known to hang out around Carthay Circle. In addition to meeting Mickey and company, you can also find some new faces around the park this summer, including Toy Story's Bo Peep, Fancy Nancy, Captain America, Black Panther and more.
Insider tip: You can always track characters' whereabouts with the Disneyland app, but another surefire way to meet your little one's ride-or-die Disney friends? Book a character meal in the park or at one of the hotels.
2. Hop on Jessie's Critter Carousel
Even the youngest of visitors can saddle up and take a spin on this recently refurbished ride. The line for the carousel is usually short (yeehaw!), the music is fun, and the backwards-facing skunks are a gas—pun not (but definitely) intended. Afterwards, the whole fam can ride together on the Pixar Pal Around (aka the giant ferris wheel), which is right nearby.
Insider tip: Opt for the non-swinging cars on the Pal Around—they have barf bags in them for a reason.
3. Rediscover Fantasyland & Sleeping Beauty's Castle
Step through the newly refurbished Sleeping Beauty's Castle (with pixie dust and all) into Fantasyland, where you can knock out a bunch of toddler-friendly rides with typically minimal wait times: Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Casey Jr. Circus Train, It's a Small World and more.
Insider's tip: The line for Peter Pan's Flight is almost always the longest of the Fantasyland rides. While it's fun and kid-friendly, it may not be worth the 40-minute wait.
4. Sing Along to "Tale of the Lion King"
Introduce kids to The Lion King by way of this all-new outdoor musical at California Adventure. A troupe of 18 performers retell the tale of Simba, Mufasa and Scar through dialogue, song, drumming and dance. It's probably been forever since you saw the original film (which came 25 years ago—yikes!), but chances are you'll still be able to sing along to tunes like "Circle of Life,” “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and “Hakuna Matata."
Insider tip: If your kid is a natural performer, grab for a spot near the front and they might just be brought on stage during one of the numbers.
5. Ride Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind
As the latest addition to California Adventure's Pixar Pier, this Inside Out-inspired ride invites you to take a spin through "headquarters" where Riley's memories are stored. And don't miss the photo op just outside the ride—you'll want to snap a pic of kiddos posed alongside Disgust and Fear (just around the bend from Sadness).
Insider tip: While you may be tempted to visit this newest ride first, there's something to be said for waiting until after dark when all of Riley's memories will be aglow just like in the film.
6. See "Disneyland Forever" Fireworks
Disney's 14-minute fireworks spectacular is back and it's a magical way to end the day—if your kids can make it that late. (Of course, after all the cotton candy and churros, that shouldn't be a problem.) The celebration features dazzling pyrotechnics and visual effects that take you from flying over London with Peter Pan to swimming under the sea with Nemo. For the best seats (in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle), claim your spot at least an hour before showtime.
Insider tip: If sitting and waiting with little ones for the fireworks extravaganza ain't gonna happen, get a Fastpass to see "World of Color" (with its own projections) at California Adventure instead. Then you can catch the fireworks immediately afterwards in the wide open space between the two parks.