Going on vacation to one of the Disney parks is a fantastic way to spend your family vacation time. As amazing as it is, Disneyland can be a bit of a blur of lights, sounds, and over-stimulation, especially if you have little ones with you. There are so many amazing experiences and fun rides that it can be nearly impossible to choose a selection to spend your day on. Here are a full list of Disneyland rides ranked by category!
If You Like Thrills…
Thrilling, adrenaline overload inducing rides are a staple at Disneyland. It you are looking to get your heart pumping, these are some of the adventures that you absolutely cannot skip.
- Indiana Jones Adventure
Based on the Indiana Jones movie franchise, this dark ride is a fun choice that places riders in an offroad military transport vehicle and leads them through a set that looks straight out of an Indie flick. Accompanying the ride’s namesake adventurer, the riders venture through the Chamber of Destiny and breeze past both creepy and amazing projections and effects pieces that create an incredibly immersive atmosphere when combined with the hydraulic motion of the transport vehicle. I will not spoil the storyline of the ride for you but just know that it is certainly worth the wait!
- Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout!
If you are afraid of heights, this one may not be for you. Made to replace the beloved Tower of Terror, the Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout! ride is one of the most heartstopping ones in the entire park. Going to a maximum height of one hundred and thirty feet and hitting speeds of almost forty miles per hour, this simulated freefall is unpredictable yet somehow also craftily designed to keep you interested in the story while utterly terrified. Lead by Rocket Raccoon, you are part of a team working to get the rest of the Guardians crew back from a semi-evil entity known as the Collector. All in all, this ride is a super fun time for adrenaline junkies and Marvel fans alike.
- California Screamin’
This ride is the fastest in Disneyland and one of the fastest created by Disney engineers all together. Going from zero to fifty five miles per hour in four seconds flat, this ride screams off at near breakneck speeds and careens over a terrifyingly twisty path guaranteed to have your entire group shrieking. A classic rollercoaster in every iteration of the phrase, this is a super fun ride. It’s actually the only Disneyland ride that does a full inversion, too! Maybe skip the extra hot dog before boarding this one, though.
Best Rides for Toddlers
Most kids are going to be too scared of speed demon coasters and dead drops and the ones who are not are likely too short to ride the bigger attractions. These rides are some of the best in the park for toddler aged children to enjoy.
- Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Travel into the Hundred Acre Woods and take a fun adventure with Pooh and his friends as a gust of wind picks you up and carries you away. In adorable honey pot shaped seats, the ride takes you through scenes directly from the classic children’s book series featuring fan favorite characters like Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger, and more! The wait for this ride is usually pretty short and it is perfect for little ones. Some kids may be scared of the Heffalump scene but it does pass quickly and is more than made up for by the rest of the colorful, charming adventure.
- Jungle Cruise
One of the oldest rides in the park, this classic cruise dates all the way back to 1955 but somehow still holds up as a fun kid’s ride that is also interesting for the adults who tag along. Hop on board and venture deep into the jungle to see four themed areas featuring beasts of all sizes including elephants, hippos, and lions. The ride is narrated and hilarious with some colorful commentary from the super talented skipper cast members who ride along. If your kid is as fascinated with animals as mine is, they’ll definitely love this ride and be begging to go again and again.
- Disneyland Railroad
Especially perfect for those wee ones who cannot get enough of locomotives, this train ride is super fun for the whole family and actually pretty functional, too! The trains ride along riverbanks meant to simulate four of America’s rivers: the Columbia, the Mississippi, the Missouri, and the Rio Grande. You can even see Walt Disney’s recreations of the Grand Canyon and his reiteration of what he believed the dinosaurs looked like in a simulated environment. Trains arrive every five to ten minutes and allow you to hop on or off at Main Street, U.S.A, New Orleans Square, Mickey’s Toontown, and Tomorrowland, making it a rather effective way to travel around the park.
The Most Popular Rides…
These rides are the top of the line, most talked about in the park. Many people come just to get a chance to ride these amazing options! Some of the classics and fan favorites, these rides do have a bit of a longer wait typically but are well worth standing in line. Oddly enough, they are all mountain themed, which seems to be a running set up for a lot of the bigger rides in the park.
- Splash Mountain
Based on the now archived classic Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox, this ride takes you through a fantastic, colorful southern bayou as Br’er Rabbit searches for his “laughing place”. Set up as a classic log flume, the ten minute ride takes you down a simulated river past thousands of singing animals including frogs, alligators, and raccoons and ends in a massive, five story drop that leaves you soaked and ready to ride again! Lockers are provided to keep your belongings from getting soaked, which is a nice touch considering the watery fun to come.
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
Introduced in 1959, this is one of the older rides in the park and has been a classic for decades. Acting as Walt Disney’s reiteration of the Alps, a pair of toboggan style steel coaster take riders through a mountain and into the awaiting grasp of a terrifying abominable snowman. The snowman pops out several times; I will not spoil the storyline but that thing is seriously creepy. As you escape, you take a massive drop into an alpine lake, so be ready to get a little wet on this ride, too!
- Space Mountain
May people swear this ride is one of the absolute best in the park. Travel at breakneck speeds through an interstellar setting full of stars and satellites. The pitch black ride is illuminated by passing comets and asteroids who come close enough for near misses as you careen through the intense, twisting track. This one is absolutely amazing and so, so worth waiting around for.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
This fossil ridden desert cave is a roaring good time. Riders wait in line in a narrow, rocky cavern before boarding the train and taking off through a bat infested tunnel. From there, the train careens through caverns and caves as you make your way back to the station on the other end. This ride is genuinely beautiful, featuring a gorgeous setting meant to mimic the Bryce Canyons in Utah.
These rides are some of the most talked about, highly loved options from some of the best Disney movies of all time. Our childhoods were collectively brightened by these films and these rides are an amazing dose of heartwarming nostalgia. These are some of my personal favorites since I am a bit of a Disney movie fanatic. A bit of a warning, the wait for these rides can be super long but they are entirely worth it.
- Pirates of the Caribbean
This is my favorite ride of all time. Seriously, I cannot get enough of this swashbuckling adventure ride. Fun fact: the movie actually came after the ride; someone was inspired by the pirate themed coaster and created the film! First opened in 1967, the ride leads riders through a cavern full of pirate exploits. The ride has changed a bit to include movie characters but still holds all of the charm of the original version!
- Haunted Mansion
This ride is an absolute scream (see what I did there?). The ghosts that haunt the mansion are hilarious and creepy, giving the ride a family friendly atmosphere that is fun over and over again. The ghosts pull pranks and crack jokes as the ghost host leads you through the mansion and graveyard. Full of spooks and laughs, this ride is one of the best in the park.
- Peter Pan’s Flight
Take a trip through the skies of London with Peter Pan’s Flight. This ride is as magical as it gets, taking you over famous landmarks like Big Ben and Tower Bridge and into Neverland to face Captain Hook and meet amazing characters like Tinkerbell. This ride is entirely worth the long wait and truly embodies the enchantment and magic Walt Disney infused into the entire park.
- Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
A seriously underrated ride, this one has a surprisingly short wait. Venture through the classic Disney film from puppet to real boy in this surprisingly intense adventure ride. This ride is a crazy, utterly amazing ride full of lights and optical illusions that take you straight into the core of the movie and make you feel fully immersed in the heart of Pinocchio’s adventure.
- Alice in Wonderland
This trippy ride takes you into Wonderland and lets you meet the memorable cast face to face. One of the older rides in the park, Alice in Wonderland is a classic with a surprisingly short wait time. Hop in the adorable caterpillar cart and take off through the looking glass and into the maddening world of Wonderland. This ride is super fun for adults and kids alike, making it great for families and older groups, too!
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
This is arguably one of the best children’s rides in the park. Adults and kids alike hop aboard Dumbo as he learns to fly with the help of his magic feather. Seriously, you cannot go wrong bringing even the tiniest little ones on this ride. It is gentle enough to keep them feeling safe and fun enough that even grown ups love it!
These rides do not get the big time recognition that many others do but are still absolutely amazing and super fun for the whole family. Plus, since they are not as highly frequented, the wait will be relatively short, meaning you can hop on more than once with no worries!
- Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Okay, so this is one of the stranger rides in the park but is by far one of the top dark rides ever. Riders hop in a car and spin through a bunch of settings, causing crazy antics as they do. Pedestrians hop out of the way and hilarity ensues as Mr. Toad careens through the simulated city. This ride is a serious good time and all around great!
- Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
If you loved the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, this ride is for you. This very 1990s ride is super fun and strange, meshing perfectly with the absolutely bizarre movie. The ride is absolute strange and amazing; you simply cannot miss out! It seriously feels like you just wandered into the movie itself! Plus, there are quite a few Easter Eggs hidden through the track so keep your eyes peeled!
- Astro Orbiter
I have no clue why this ride is not more popular. Perfect for kids, this ride takes you up in a rocket themed seat and spins you around, giving a great view of the park and is all around a fun little ride located in Tomorrowland.
- Gadget’s Go Coaster
A kid friendly roller coaster, this one is super fun and a great way to introduce the little ones to thrill rides. This kooky coaster leads the riders through a silly course made from discarded items like combs, thread spools, and soup cans salvaged by Chip n Dale’s friend Gadget. A super short ride, this one takes less than a minute, making it great for those kids that want to ride more than once.
This fun ride lets you take control! Hop in a car and drive down a specially designed track that allows you to safely view the scenic route in a controlled setting. This one is especially popular with the older kids, because of course they want to drive! The wait is super short and the ride itself takes a bit of time and is gentle so this one is great for those after meal stretches when a thrill ride may not be the best idea.
Classics with a Disney Twist
These rides are all crazy Disney style variations on classic amusement park rides. These are super fun and unique takes on fair-style options that can be found at pretty much any park but are made special and memorable thanks to their magical twist!
- Mad Tea Party
This Disney-ifed spinning teacup ride is fun for both kids and grown ups alike. The teacup are painted in Alice in Wonderland themed patterns and a psychedelic base plate that whirls as the teacups spin along. Riders control the speed and can slow down the cup as needed to suit even the youngest riders, making it fun for speed demons and causal enjoyers!
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
Fight against the evil Zurg alongside Buzz in this space age take on a classic shooting gallery. Drive your cruiser through the course and take fire at Zurg and his minions to stop him from stealing batteries to power his next evil scheme! As you ride, you will rack up points and get to watch as your ranking moves up from Space Cadet to more prestigious roles, including the max title of Galactic Hero. This is a fun break from the typical amusement park rides and is a great time.
- King Arthur Carousel
This beautiful carousel is a classic staple that makes for amazing photo opportunities. Beneath its gorgeous retro surface, this ride actually holds an incredible bit of history. Originally used in 1922, the carousel’s former home was at the Sunnyside Beach Park in Toronto, Canada, where it ran until the site’s closure. From there, Walt Disney picked it up in 1955 and placed it in Disneyland, where it has been ever since. Fun fact: every single horse on the ride has a name, which you can find out at the City Hall at Main Street, U.S.A.
- Casey Jr. Circus Train
This rideable mini railroad is a great choice for a low hassle break from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the park. Great for even the smallest riders, the Dumbo based train takes riders through scenes from classic Disney movies and is a relaxing, enchanting take on the typical train ride. The unnarrated tour is gorgeous and a great moment for parents and little ones to take a break and bond.
Dive Into Your Favorite Film
These rides are highly story driven options that are the best immersion based ones in the park, in my opinion. If you want to feel like you are actually inside your favorite movie, you cannot go wrong with these. Plus, save for one of the trio, the lines are usually super short!
- Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
Located in Tomorrowland, this ride takes you right into the depths of Finding Nemo and lets you meet the friendly fish of the film face to face. Hop inside a submarine and be taken into a simulated ocean, viewable through the vessel’s portholes. Fun fact: Disney imagineers created over forty unique colors for the lagoon! This ride is absolutely beautiful and amazing for anyone who loves the film. Plus the wait is shockingly short.
- Star Tours: The Adventure Continues
Jump into a Starspeeder 1000 and fly into the Star Wars galaxy. Within the ride you will meet familiar faces like Kylo Ren, Boba Fett, and R2-D2, among others, including the evil Darth Vader. Fly through Jakku and other words from all of the films and experience the world of Star Wars close up and personal! This is one of my favorites; its awesome for Star Wars fans and interesting enough for little ones to still really get into it. My kiddo loved seeing R2D2 even though she has never seen the films and talked about the little robot for hours after! The line can be a bit long for this one but it is definitely worth waiting for.
- Snow White’s Scary Adventures
This ride is a genuinely creepy look at the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. A classic Disney princess film, the movie itself is a rather dark story but the ride takes it to a new level. The dark coaster takes you through the tale of Snow White, putting you right into the action. Originally, everything was from the first person perspective of Snow White herself but an updated version of the ride is more of a spectating style showcase due to some riders not understanding the concept. Either way, this ride is wicked fun and worth the relatively brief wait!
Classic Story Rides
Our final category, this duo of rides are not particularly movie based but they are absolute classics and simply cannot be skipped out on. Both have fairly long waits but are staples of any Disney vacation and are great for kids and adults alike!
- It’s A Small World
If you have heard of Disneyland, you have heard of this ride. The water based dark ride takes you through a cavern full of over three hundred intricate animatronic children in traditional clothing from around the world. The ride was created to forge a sense of unity and show that we are not really all that different after all. A beautiful concept, this ride is light, emotional, and stunning visually with a super catchy, earworm of a song playing that is guaranteed to be stuck in your head after your pass through.
- Storybook Land Canal Boats
Another leisurely paced ride, the Storybook Land Canal Boats are a great choice to relax and enjoy the true artistic power of the Disney imagineers. Travel past a ton of different classic Disney settings including the Three Little Pigs’ homes, The Sultan’s Palace from Aladdin, Prince Eric’s castle from The Little Mermaid, and a host of other amazing miniaturized staples. Recently, a trio of settings from Frozen: the Village of Arendelle, Elsa’s ice castle, and the Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post. This attraction is a cannot miss venue for Disney lovers of all ages. Fun fact: the boats of the ride are named after thirteen famous Disney women: Alice, Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Daisy, Faline, Fauna, Flora, Merryweather, Snow White, Tinkerbell, and Wendy.
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