There are times on vacation when you know that your kids just need to wear themselves out. Maybe they’re hyped on with all of the stimuli in the parks. Maybe they’re been eating sugar all morning. Whatever it is, these are my top
five seven TWELVE places for children to burn energy in the PARKS.
I’m going to lump Hollywood Studios together all at once. It’s lacking right now. The places we used to rely on don’t exist anymore (Streets of America, Animation Building, and Honey I Shrunk the Kids). Right now, there are two places where I feel you can let your children be a little more free and that’s Launch Bay and Animation Courtyard. At Launch Bay, they can run around (not crazily) as they check out some of the items on display. Animation Courtyard is actually right outside Launch Bay and they pretty much share the same stroller parking. Here, your kids can meet several Disney Junior characters. You park your stroller and then visit each character, one at a time. When you’re done you can check out the Disney Junior Live on Stage show. This is my favorite show for little ones because you sit on the floor. There are benches located on the perimeter in case you can’t sit on the floor. During this show, the audience is encouraged to participate and even jump up and dance at times. Perfect for little ones who can’t sit still through a traditional stage show.
The Boneyard: The Boneyard is located in Dinoland and has both sand and slides. This can be a great space for little ones to run free, especially if older members of your group are riding Dinosaur and you need something to occupy those who aren’t riding it. Three things to note here. One, between the sand and the slides, this can get hot. Two, I feel like this area is designed for slightly older children. At ages four and below, my children are not able to do the slides independently. Three, if you plan to play here make sure to head to Restaurantosaurus beforehand and gets a kids meal. They are served in green buckets and are great to use in the Boneyard.
Discovery Island Trails: Located near the Tree of Life, this area is rarely crowded and is full with lush vegetation. It’s a great place to let your kids out of their strollers and run around. I specifically plan to visit this part en route from Tusker House (or Africa) to meet Mickey and Minnie.
Maharajah Jungle Trek and Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail: Crowds pay a factor here, but even on moderately crowded days I like to let me kids out of the stroller here. These areas are the most ‘zoo like’ of the whole park and my kids are totally used to zoos so they’re fine walking on their own here. Obviously, my husband and myself are right here with them, but it’s a good chance for them to check out the sights on their own.
Splash Pad: So I don’t know the official name for this, but there’s a small splash pad between the Fountain of Nations and World Showcase. It’s small, but might a good quick stop.
Kidcot: Every nation had Kidstop stops where children can decorate a Duffy Bear and get their name signed in the language of the stop. Before I had kids I thought these stops were pointless, but this is seriously one of the highlights of my children’s vacation each time. These stops are also good if mom needs to nurse a baby or if dad wants to go grab a drink.
Mission Space: At the exit of Mission Space, there’s a play area for little ones. It’s not massive, but it’s definitely more than adequate if you need a place to burn some energy. Plus, it’s air conditioned!
Honorable Mention- Flower and Garden Fest Playgrounds: During Flower and Garden Festival, there are playgrounds set up with some pretty elaborate equipment. Check them out first before you let your kids roam free as some are designed with older kids in mind, but last time we were there, there was one pretty close to Test Track which ended up being our go to spot when the adults were riding Test Track.
Dumbo: When you go to ride Dumbo, you have the option of visiting their indoor play zone. They give you a pager and you get to play while you wait. Now that they’ve doubled the attraction, it’s my experience that there’s never really a huge line, but you can still check out the play zone. It has an area in the middle geared toward little ones and some more advanced areas for older children.
Casey Junior Splash Station: In Storybook Circus, there’s a really well themed splash pad. You really can’t miss it. Little ones can run crazy here. If you’re here in the summer, it won’t take long for them to dry afterwards, but if you’re here when it’s more mild, there is a restroom located adjacent to the train station.
Laughing Place: Underneath Splash Mountain you’ll find a small play area that’s amazing for little ones. Things are simple here, but this is a great stop if you have older family members riding Big Thunder Mountain or Splash Mountain. There are also large restrooms nearby as well as the Frontierland train station.
Tom Sawyer Island: This is hands down, my favorite spot for little ones to burn energy at Disney parks. You arrive on the island via boat and once you disembark, you’re free to do as you choose. There are paths, bridges, and caves to explore. There are a few things to note here. Strollers are not allowed so I definitely recommend babywearing. Restrooms are located near the boat doc and also in the Fort. The island opens late and closes early so check the times guide before heading here. Aunt Polly’s is a former quick service dining location that still occasionally opens in super peak seasons.