The Best of Walt Disney World for Grade School Kids

by on August 29, 2017 5 Comments

Filed under: Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, kids, Magic Kingdom, Trip Planning, Walt Disney World (FL)

Welcome back to Part 3 of my blog series – The Best of Walt Disney World! In case you missed it, over the next several weeks, I’ll be sharing with you the top picks in attractions for various groups of travelers visiting the Walt Disney World theme parks. So far we’ve discussed favorites for babies and preschoolers. Next up are those fun-loving pirates and princesses, grade school kids (ages 6-12). When checking out the list, keep in mind each attraction that made the cut scored at least four stars by the grade school kids surveyed. Come on, everybody, here we go!

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

©Disney

The Best of Magic Kingdom for Grade School Kids

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Location: Frontierland
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Drops, Fast
4 ½ Stars

Don’t let the name fool you; this is definitely more roller coaster than railroad. Take a ride in a runaway mine cart at speeds up to 35 mph through an old mining town. More Details

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin

Location: Tomorrowland
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Spinning, Dark, Slow
4 ½ Stars

Climb aboard and take aim as you help Buzz Lightyear save the universe from the evil Emperor Zurg. Ride along on this slow-moving attraction where you control the spinning as you shoot your laser and score points. More Details

Dumbo The Flying Elephant

Location: Fantasyland
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Spinning, Slow
4 Stars

Soar high over Fantasyland in your own Dumbo The Flying Elephant. You control the height with a lever inside your ride vehicle. This attraction offers a unique circus-themed play area for young kids to enjoy while waiting their turn to ride. More Details

Enchanted Tales with Belle

Location: Fantasyland
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Entertainment
4 ½ Stars

Join Belle for a captivating interactive story time where children in the audience are selected to take part in the retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in an elaborately themed attraction. More Details

Mad Tea Party

Location: Fantasyland
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Spinning
4 ½ Stars

A classic spinning teacup ride where spinning the center wheel in your cup increases your speed. More Details

Mickey’s PhilharMagic

Location: Fantasyland
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Entertainment
4 ½ Stars

Lose yourself in this enchanting 3D musical masterpiece featuring favorite Disney characters and songs from animated classics. More Details

Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor

Location: Tomorrowland
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Entertainment
4 ½ Stars

The monsters of Monstropolis need laughter to power their city and they are after yours in this hilarious interactive show. More Details

Peter Pan’s Flight

Location: Fantasyland
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Small Drops, Slow, Dark
4 ½ Stars

A true Disney classic. Climb aboard a magical pirate ship and fly high over London with Peter Pan on your way to Never Land. Unique to this attraction, your pirate ship is suspended in the air from a guide rail to allow for a more authentic flying sensation. More Details

Pirates of the Caribbean

Location: Adventureland
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Small Drops, Dark, Slow
4 ½ Stars

Climb aboard and set sail on a voyage past exquisitely themed scenes of pirates’ adventures from the blockbuster movie franchise. More Details

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

Location: Fantasyland
FastPass+: No
Thrill: Spinning, Slow
4 ½ Stars

A traditional merry-go-round made even better with that special Disney touch; especially beautiful at night. More Details

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Location: Fantasyland
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Drops, Fast
4 ½ Stars

Climb aboard your mine train and get ready for an adorable ride filled with small thrills and beautiful details as you adventure along with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. More Details

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Location: Main Street, U.S.A., Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Liberty Square
FastPass+: No
Thrill: Experience
4 ½ Stars

An enchanting interactive game where you use spell cards at magic portals to defeat Disney villains. Kids and gamers alike love this experience, especially because they can collect and keep the spell cards. More Details

Space Mountain

Location: Tomorrowland
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Big Drops, Dark, Fast
Height Restriction: 40″ or taller to ride
4 ½ Stars

Take off on a high-speed rocket (roller coaster) in darkness while feasting your eyes on magnificent views of far-off galaxies and comets. More Details

Splash Mountain

Location: Frontierland
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Big Drops, Water
4 ½ Stars

Journey on a 10-minute anything but traditional log flume ride, with enchanting music (including “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah”) and characters from the Disney movie Song of the South. You will get wet! More Details

The Barnstormer

Location: Fantasyland
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Small Drops, Fast
Height Restriction: 35″ or taller to ride
4 Stars

Join the Great Goofini for a ride on a mini roller coaster beginner riders are sure to enjoy. More Details

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin

Location: Adventureland
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Spinning, Slow
4 ½ Stars

Take a ride on a high-flying magic carpet where you control the height and tilt. Be sure to watch out for those spitting camels or you might get wet! More Details

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Location: Fantasyland
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Small Drops, Slow, Dark
4 Stars

Take an adorable and colorful ride in a “hunny” pot through the Hundred Acre Wood where you can watch the antics of Winnie the Pooh and his friends Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Owl, Rabbit, Kanga, and Roo. More Details

Tom Sawyer Island

Location: Frontierland
FastPass+: No
Thrill: Experience
4 ½ Stars

Journey across the Rivers of America by raft to explore an island filled with adventure. This place is a kid’s paradise with places to run, play, and inspect. More Details

Tomorrowland Speedway

Location: Tomorrowland
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Slow, Loud
Height Restriction: 32″ or taller to ride, 54″ or taller to drive alone
4 ½ Stars

Drive (on a guide rail) your own gas-powered car on a winding track through Tomorrowland. More Details

Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover

Location: Tomorrowland
FastPass+: No
Thrill: Slow, Dark
4 Stars

Take a relaxing ride on this smooth tram of the future that provides fantastic views of Tomorrowland and Cinderella Castle; especially beautiful at night. More Details

Under The Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid

Location: Fantasyland
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Slow, Dark
4 ½ Stars

Climb aboard your own giant clam shell as you journey under the seas with Ariel and the gang. More Details

Walt Disney World Railroad

Location: Main Street, U.S.A., Frontierland, Fantasyland
Fastpass+: No
Thrill: Slow
4 Stars

Enjoy beautiful views while riding the rails on a vintage steam-powered train during a 1.5-mile full loop around Magic Kingdom. More Details

Test Track

©Disney

The Best of Epcot for Grade School Kids

Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure

Location: Future World
FastPass+: No
Thrill: Entertainment
4 ½ Stars

Become a member of the team in a quest to stop the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz. More Details

Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival

Location: Future World
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Entertainment
4 ½ Stars

Enjoy this lively and entertaining 3D experience that includes three animated Disney short films. More Details

Frozen Ever After

Location: World Showcase Norway Pavilion
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Small Drops, Slow, Dark
4 ½ Stars

Set sail on an adventure through the fictional land of Arendelle complete with your favorite Frozen characters and songs from the animated blockbuster hit. More Details

Mission: SPACE (Green)

Location: Future World
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Small Drops, Dark
Height Restriction: 40″ or taller to ride (44″ to ride without booster seat)
4 ½ Stars

Climb into an authentic shuttle simulator for a ride through earth’s orbit enjoying fantastic views of our globe. More Details

Soarin’

Location: Future World
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Small Drops, Slow, Dark
Height Restriction: 40″ or taller to ride
4 ½ Stars

Fly high in the skies taking in beautiful landscapes from around the world in this hang-gliding simulator ride. More Details

Spaceship Earth

Location: Future World
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Slow, Dark
4 ½ Stars

Travel through time to relive the story of communication from the beginning of recorded history until today. More Details

Test Track

Location: Future World
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Small Drops, Dark, Fast
Height Restriction: 40″ or taller to ride
4 ½ Stars

Create your own virtual concept car and then put it through the paces against other people’s creations on the test track. More Details

The Seas with Nemo & Friends

Location: Future World
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Slow, Dark
4 Stars

Take a ride in a clam-mobile as you explore the ocean looking for Nemo with your favorite characters from Finding Nemo. More Details

Turtle Talk with Crush

Location: Future World
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Entertainment
4 ½ Stars

Adults and kids alike will be entranced by this interactive marvel where young dudes and dudettes can have a hilarious improvised conversation with the sweetest turtle around, Crush. More Details

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

©Disney

The Best of Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Grade School Kids

Beauty and the Beast – Live On Stage

Location: Sunset Boulevard
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Entertainment
4 ½ Stars

Watch this enchanting retelling of the classic film Beauty and the Beast filled with delightful music and dancing. More Details

For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration

Location: Echo Lake
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Entertainment
4 ½ Stars

A retelling of Frozen by the royal historians of Arendelle complete with Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, songs, stories, sing-alongs, and even snow. More Details

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!

Location: Echo Lake
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Entertainment
4 ½ Stars

An incredible stunt show that demonstrates and explains how some of the Indiana Jones movie magic was made. More Details

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple

Location: Echo Lake
FastPass+: No
Thrill: Experience
4 ½ Stars

Kids ages 4 – 12 years old volunteer to train as a Jedi and then try to defeat the Dark Side. More Details

Muppet*Vision 3D

Location: Streets of America
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Entertainment
4 Stars

Join the Muppets for this delightful and hilarious 3D feature filled with fun and surprises sure to be a hit with the entire family. More Details

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

Location: Sunset Boulevard
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Big Drops, Loud, Dark, Fast
Height Restriction: 48″ or taller to ride
4 ½ Stars

Take off to a rock concert in your stretch limo going 60 mph in the blink of an eye and speed along through the darkness to pounding Aerosmith music. More Details

Star Tours: The Adventure Continues

Location: Echo Lake
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Small Drops, Dark, Loud
Height Restriction: 40″ or taller to ride
4 ½ Stars

Blast off on an exciting 3D motion-simulated journey into the world of Star Wars. More Details

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Location: Sunset Boulevard
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Big Drops, Dark
Height Restriction: 40″ or taller to ride
4 Stars

Embark on a tour of the Hollywood Hotel and into the haunted elevator that plummets 13 stories. More Details

Toy Story Midway Mania!

Location: Pixar Place
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Spinning
4 ½ Stars

Climb aboard and try your hand at simulated 3D midway games with the Toy Story gang. More Details

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Location: Animation Courtyard
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Entertainment
4 Stars

Watch this captivating show filled with vibrant puppets, special effects, live performers, and musical favorites from The Little Mermaid. More Details

Expedition Everest

©Disney

The Best of Disney’s Animal Kingdom for Grade School Kids

Avatar Flight of Passage

Location: Pandora – The World of Avatar
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Drops
Height Restriction: 44″ or taller to ride
4 ½ Stars

Board a banshee for a one-of-a-kind extraordinary flight soaring high above the moon’s magnificent landscape. More Details

Expedition Everest

Location: Asia
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Big Drops, Dark, Fast
Height Restriction: 44″ or taller to ride
4 ½ Stars

Climb aboard your train for an exhilarating ride through the Himalayan Mountains. More Details

Festival of the Lion King

Location: Africa
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Entertainment
4 ½ Stars

This 30-minute extravaganza combines puppetry, acrobatics, and music to tell the moving story of The Lion King. More Details

Finding Nemo – The Musical

Location: Dinoland U.S.A.
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Entertainment
4 ½ Stars

This Broadway-caliber production is an impressive combination of music, puppets, lighting, colors, and special effects that together tell the story of Nemo. More Details

Flights of Wonder

Location: Asia
FastPass+: No
Thrill: Entertainment
4 ½ Stars

A trainer demonstrates the incredible talents of several exotic birds. Keep in mind that some of these fine-feathered friends swoop into the audience. More Details

Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

Location: Africa
FastPass+: No
Thrill: Experience
4 Stars

A tranquil pathway where you observe animals such as gorillas and meerkat. More Details

Kali River Rapids

Location: Africa
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Small Drops, Spinning, Water
Height Restriction: 38″ or taller to ride
4 ½ Stars

Climb aboard your raft for an incredibly wet and wild ride down the river and through the lush jungle. More Details

Kilimanjaro Safaris

Location: Africa
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Slow, Bumpy
4 ½ Stars

The park’s best-known attraction, and it will not disappoint. Climb aboard an open-air safari vehicle for an 18-minute journey through the savanna where you can spot exotic creatures like hippos, elephants, giraffes, and lions in gorgeous natural settings. These animals are the real deal; no Audio-Animatronics here. More Details

Na’vi River Journey

Location: Pandora – The World of Avatar
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Dark, Slow
4 ½ Stars

Enjoy a gentle, dark boat ride along a mysterious river through the bioluminescent rainforest of Pandora. More Details

Primeval Whirl

Location: Dinoland U.S.A.
FastPass+: Yes
Thrill: Drops, Spinning, Fast
Height Restriction: 48″ or taller to ride
4 ½ Stars

Hop on this fast and wild spinning dinosaur-themed roller coaster. More Details

The Boneyard

Location: Dinoland U.S.A.
FastPass+: No
Thrill: Experience
4 ½ Stars

Let young adventurers take some time to explore this combination dig site and playground, where children can climb, slide, and dig for fossils. More Details

Wilderness Explorers

Location: Discovery Island
FastPass+: No
Thrill: Experience
4 ½ Stars

Travel around the park earning Wildlife Explorer Badges (stickers) just like Russell from Up. More Details

Well, there you have it folks. I hope you’ve enjoyed Part 3 of The Best of Walt Disney World series. Look for Part 4 – The Best of Walt Disney World for Teens coming soon!

Other Posts In This Series:

Have you traveled to Walt Disney World with a grade school age child? Do you agree with this list? Have any additions or subtractions? Please leave a comment; we would love to hear from you!

Posted on August 29, 2017

5 Responses to “The Best of Walt Disney World for Grade School Kids”

  • I really don’t understand why this is for “girls”. If you had a list for babies and preschoolers (not boy preschoolers/girl preschoolers), then why separate it by sex for the next age level? All of these attractions listed would be good for either boys or girls. I find this very odd.

    • Hi Katie – Great question! At this grade school age there are a lot of attractions that will work for both girls and boys, but there are some that we find are preferred more by each gender. For example, my grade school age boys generally liked to avoid anything princess related and opted for attractions that included more hands on experiences or thrills. Hope this helps! 🙂

  • Kristi — I appreciate the work you put into this, but two quick comments.

    1. It would have been useful to hear more on why you think each ride is particularly good for elementary school girls rather than just a stock description.

    2. It also might be useful to hear what you think ISN’T good for girls.

    Finally, I’d just warn in general terms against gender assumptions. Our ten-year-old got really mad at the Cinderella castle breakfast when they tried to give her a wand when the boys were getting swords. She felt — and rightly, I think — that kids should be given the choice. I think it’s important to encourage that kind of thinking, which is why I was glad to see Space Mountain and Expedition Everest (and other thrill rides) on your list.

    Thanks again for this — we look forward to more in the series!

    • Hi CJB – Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments, I genuinely appreciate the feedback. I completely agree with you about gender assumptions that is why you’ll find a wide variety of attractions listed on both the girls’ and boys’ lists and exactly why I avoided listing what ISN’T good for girls altogether. In my opinion, there aren’t any attractions that aren’t good for girls, there are just attractions, that when surveyed, school age girls generally rate higher than others. With that in mind, there is a lot of variety on this list, so whether the little girl in your life enjoys princesses, pirates, Jedis, prefers entertaining shows or big thrills, hopefully there should be something listed here for all to enjoy. 🙂

      • Hello Again Katie and CJB – You commented and we listened! Thanks to your fantastic feedback, we had our trusty stats droids here are TouringPlans crunch some more numbers, and as it turns out, there isn’t a significant difference in ratings on attractions between grade school boys and girls. With that in mind, I’ve updated the post to include all attractions for this age group into one larger article rather than breaking it into two. As always, we appreciate and welcome your thoughts and suggestions! 🙂