You’re going to Disney! Yay!
First stop: the Magic Kingdom.
There can be a lot of planning that goes into your day at the Magic kingdom, so let’s start with something simple: rides. Yet, before we can even begin deciding which rides are best we need a little background information. Let’s hypothetically say for this trip, you are planning to go with your family, this includes your two-year old son. It’s his first time going to the Magic Kingdom. What ride is going to be the perfect first ride?
The options are plentiful at the Magic Kingdom, but you know you want something timeless. Something that will create great pictures and memories to look back on. You also want something that isn’t going to scare your little one! (Not that most rides at the Magic Kingdom will scare your little, but some can!)
Enter: Dumbo the Flying the Elephant!
Dumbo the Flying Elephant is the perfect first ride for your preschool aged Disney goer. It also happens to be one of the timeless classics at the Magic Kingdom. Before you go ahead and make Dumbo your preschooler’s first ride, let’s give you a heads up of what to expect.
No Height Requirement
There is no height requirement for Dumbo the Flying Elephant. This makes it perfect for a first ride experience. My oldest son rode Dumbo when he was 12 months, then again at 18 months, three-years-old and four-years-old. Anyone can come and enjoy Dumbo!! For safety’s sake, be sure to have your little ones sit on the inside of the ride. There is a lap belt that is used on the ride, but if you keep your little on the inside (towards the center of the ride), they will be farther away from the entry and exit point of the ride.
Open Air Ride
Dumbo the Flying Elephant is located in the new Fantasyland area of the Magic Kingdom. It encompasses two flying Dumbo rides (an expansion from the original on ride) and a big tent area with a playground style waiting area. The ride portion of Dumbo is out in the open area of Florida sunshine. By contrast, many of the other rides at the Magic Kingdom are ‘dark rides’ and take place inside buildings. Both styles of rides have advantages (hello, air conditioning!), but the ‘dark rides’ can sometimes be a little scary for the preschool crowd. Due to the darkness of some indoor rides, preschoolers can often become anxious, not knowing what to expect as the ride progresses. With Dumbo, due to it being in the open air, what you see is what you get. There are no mysteries! This can come as a comfort to your little one who is experience their very first ride.
Fastpass+ vs. Stand-by Line
Dumbo the Flying Elephant provides a Fastpass+ option. If you buy your Magic Kingdom tickets in advance you are able to load this option in your myDisney experience. You are also able to get Fastpasses in the park, but the times available for certain rides might be limited (or gone completely). The Fastpass+ is a good option if you have other plans or events quickly occurring after you ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant. The pass will expedite your waiting time. You get on, fly and are off to enjoy more things!
Let’s say you plan to use your Fastpass+ tickets on other rides or you just aren’t able to score one for Dumbo. I’d say you might have accidentally hit the jackpot! Dumbo the Flying Elephant has an amazing stand-by line. It is probably one of the best stand-by lines for little ones in the Magic Kingdom due to its unique setup.
Once you enter the line and head into the ‘big tent’ you’ll reach a point in line where you are given a ‘pager’. The ‘pager’ acts as a placeholder for your spot in line. Instead of standing with a cranky two-year old who just wants to ride Dumbo and not stay still, the ‘pager’ gives you the opportunity to play under the big-top. This means you don’t have to wait in a super long line!
Inside the big-top is an awesome play area geared towards both little and bigger kids. Slides, climbing areas and lots of circus themed areas to explore help keep your kiddos busy until your pager goes off. The pager buzzing signals that it’s your turn to fly! The hardest part might be getting your kid away from the play area. We may or may not have had some tears in the past…
Disclaimer: There is still a small line before you get on Dumbo after the play area and often before you get to the play area, but the wait time is cut down drastically.
Dumbo has Personal Controls
Once securely fastened inside the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride, you or your little one have the option to control Dumbo’s flying height in the sky. You are able to raise your Dumbo up or down to your desire. If you are unsure how your little one is going to respond to the height, you can always leave your Dumbo at the rides starting height. Just don’t mess with the control and your Dumbo will just stay a little elevated above the water below.
Alternatively, you can give your child 100% control over the height controls to ensure they are at the height they want. Take flight and soar!
Dumbo Comes in a Variety of Colors
My son is obsessed with the color blue. It’s been his favorite for years and anything that involves the color is instantly cooler in his book. There happens to be a Dumbo with a blue ‘outfit’ on the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride. This obviously makes Dumbo pretty sweet in my preschooler’s book.
The problem? Just because you see a color Dumbo you’re dying to ride, you might not necessarily get it. When you are finally about to board Dumbo, you start by walking towards all the Dumbos at the same time as the other guests. Someone else, who happens to be in line ahead of you, might have their heart set on that blue Dumbo too. If they get there first and you know your son or daughter is going to be crushed, be sure to have a back-up plan. I like to prep my son the best I can to ensure we don’t have a pre-Dumbo ride meltdown. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. At least you can be ahead of the game and know it might be coming!
Stand Alone Dumbo Provides Photo Solution
I can’t be the only one who loves taking pictures of my family having fun at Walt Disney World. I especially love the photos that capture Disney ‘firsts’ such as a first ride. Therefore, some of my absolute favorites are of my oldest son riding Dumbo. Honestly though, getting the perfect shot can be a little tricky.
As a spectator standing on the ground it is often hard to get a shot of your little one riding Dumbo as it rises high into the sky. You either get the underside of Dumbo or are dealing with super bright light as you shoot towards the Florida sunshine. The perfect shot might result or you might have a blown out image. The later isn’t very helpful in preserving the memories…
As a passenger riding with your little one, you’re able to grab a few cute selfies. These are nice, but might not capture the look you are going for. Let’s say there are three people in your party, two of which are adults. Have the other adult take your little one and you make sure to ride in the Dumbo in front of them. This way you can potentially raise your Dumbo a little higher than their Dumbo and get a shot that includes their face.
Alternatively, if you are in the Dumbo behind your little one you might only get a photo featuring Dumbo’s behind and the top of your little’s head. It’s a different angle, but, again, probably not the image you’re going for.
If after your little one rides, you just aren’t satisfied with your photographs, don’t fret! There is a stand alone, non-moving Dumbo between the two rides that is the perfect spot for some Dumbo ride photos. It might not be a picture of your little one actually riding Dumbo, but it will perfectly include all of Dumbo and your little one.
There ya go, folks! You are all set for the best possible first ride experience with your little one on Dumbo! Bring on the flying elephant!!