Time for another installment of the Momma at Walt Disney World series, and today we are going to take a look at the play area’s around three of the Walt Disney World theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is being excluded from this post because at the time of publication, there are no play area’s remaining in the park. My fingers are crossed that they will bring something back after the major overhaul, but for now all we can do is wait and see!
As the most famous and popular park on Walt Disney World property, this park has the most play area’s to offer. They are all unique offer different levels of play, some even being used to kill time in line!
Casey Jr. Splash ’N’ Soak Station
This interactive water play area is very popular and one that you need to really watch your toddler-age children as there is no age limit. It is a great place to let them cool off and get wet, but still enjoy the magic of being in a Disney park!
A word of caution to the parents: this area is one that has many different entrances and exits, so make sure that you aren’t just letting your littles run solo. We found that even if you are watching the main area, your child can quickly go between water features to the other side and go out of sight.
Dumbo’s Circus Tent
By far our most favorite play area in any of the Walt Disney World parks! Installed during the New Fantasyland expansion of the park, this area is one that allows you to play while you are “waiting” in line for the main attraction: Dumbo the Flying Elephant. There is a large multi-story play area with ropes and slides, but then a smaller area for toddlers to play in with mini-sized slides and cars. The best part is this entire area is air-conditioned and inside, so you are out of the heat and sun of Central Florida!
One annoying part of the attraction is the pager you are given to return to the ride, it has a max play time of 5 minutes, which is never enough for kids! Almost every parent in the play area was constantly making a trip up to the counter to have them add more time as our children were not done with their play-time! During the slower times of the year, they do not use the pagers and just ask you to return to the desk when ready to ride.
This play area actually begins right at the entrance to the The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction where little one’s can go inside Winnie the Pooh’s house to see where this “tubby little cubby” lives and eats! After rounding the corner we find a garden play area where the gardening chores fall to the toddlers! Little kids can spin flowers, bang on drums made from watermelon and carrots, make some tomato’s pop, and the bee’s fly!
The second theme park we are reviewing is Epcot, or EPCOT Center for those nostalgics, and features one larger play area and two areas where little ones can run around.
Advanced Training Lab
While their parents or older kids are busy playing in the digital space missions of Mission:SPACE, the pint-sized astronauts can expend some energy on a climbing set with special rocket and planet-theme touches! This play area can be accessed without even riding the attraction or standing in line, so you can walk in at any time during the day.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion
Following your ride with Nemo you are left in a large underwater viewing area where you can let your kids wander from exhibit to exhibit. I have seen many parents following after their kids as they run to see what other fish they can find. The best part is that there is only one exit to this pavilion and to each of the “rooms” of the exhibits. While you are there you can also see Turtle Talk with Crush and shave off even more of your day and your child’s energy!
This is another location where your child can run between activities and you can just oversee their general area! I let my toddler decide where he wants to play next and follow him around. Whether he wants to play with the giant color piano on the wall or conduct instruments, he is having fun and doesn’t know he is actually still “touring” Epcot.
- Author’s note: I would like to mention that during Epcot’s international Food and Wine Festival and Flower and the International Garden Festival, Disney has constructed larger playground areas for the kids to play. Imagineers usually use the walkway between the Imagination pavilion and Canada pavilion as their place where they place these play areas. Although, all previously used ideas are subject to change.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
The newest of the parks at Walt Disney World, it also features the largest playground in the parks! I hope to see something additional when Pandora – World of AVATAR opens at this park, but know that space is limited and they have many other ideas they are working on. However, I think it would be fun to have an area where parents can let their littlest ones play around while waiting on the older siblings to ride their attractions.
This area is huge and even has a bridge across a major thoroughfare into Dinoland USA (but don’t worry, your kid’s will not be able to exit on the other side). Several large climbing structures, tunnels, ramps, and slides make this area perfect for kids of all ages! There are more advanced rope climbing areas that older kids can play in and ones your small toddlers will enjoy. The only downside is this entire structure is in the sun and offers very little shade during the hot summer months.
Ready, Set, Play
I hope you have enjoyed this quick look at some of the play areas at Walt Disney World and that it helps your little ones get some energy out. It has helped us tremendously to have a place where we can let our son be his own boss and do what he wants. We have avoided several tantrums by letting him play for 10 or 15 minutes before we ride another attraction. I know there are lots of must-do’s while visiting Walt Disney World and it is hard to take a few minutes, but I honestly think that you will have happier kids if you let them take several mini-breaks each day.
Until next time, find other blogs I have written (from pregnancy at the parks to taking an infant) and let me know if you have any questions or want to leave a comment!
(All photographs are from the authors personal collection.)
Alyssa Wiseman (also known as ajwiseman09 in the box), her husband Brandon, and toddler son, Walt, reside in central Indiana (too far from Disney). Alyssa and Brandon enjoy traveling to Disney several times a year to see what is new and enjoy classic Disney. Alyssa has authored shopDisney blogs about Disney products in and out of the parks; Pregnant at the Parks; Baby Goes to Disney; and Momma at Walt Disney World blogs. Please follow Alyssa on twitter @ajwiseman09.