I’ve ranked the 40 best Disneyland rides and attractions so that you can decide how to prioritize your day at Disneyland Park.
There are a couple of reasons for this fun exercise. It’s a way for us to daydream about the park while it’s closed. I’ve been visiting regularly since I was in a stroller, having grown up in Orange County, and am a legacy Annual Passport holder.
TIPDon’t forget that I have plenty of advice on how to find a Disneyland tickets discount from authorized sellers.
40. Tarzan’s Treehouse
An updated version of the Swiss Family Treehouse lets guests walk through the home Tarzan which was made with shipwreck debris. At the end of Tarzan’s Treehouse is an interactive campsite play area. The tree is 80 feet tall and has over 450 branches. (Disneyland Resort)
39. Main Street Cinema
Most people pass Main Street Cinema without knowing that you can wander inside and watch a continuous screening of the classic Steamboat Willie and a handful of other vintage shorts.
38. Main Street Vehicles
From Town Square, you can take a horse-drawn trolley an Omnibus, a fire truck, or another turn-of-the-century vehicle up Main Street toward the Central Plaza. Main Street Vehicles are a serene way to travel and the crowds just move out of your way as you take in the sights.
37. Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough
Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough is where impressive dioramas spring to life with mechanical articulation and animated effects and they tell the story of Sleeping Beauty and lead to a climactic scene featuring Maleficent as a fire-breathing dragon. There are stairs involved but guests who do not wish to climb them can experience the ground-floor version of the attraction you’ll need to see a Cast Member to view.
36. Astro Orbiter
This classic spinner attraction takes on many forms in Disney parks. Board your rocket for three and spin around for 360-degree views of Tomorrowland and the park’s central plaza on Astro Orbitor. You can move your rocket up and down, if you like.
35. Gadget’s Go Coaster
At 28 seconds, this short but sweet creation of the Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers animated series offers age-appropriate thrills for little ones. Gadget’s Go Coaster is located in Mickey’s Toontown.
34. Disneyland Monorail
The zero-emission Disneyland Monorail transports guests around the resort on a single track. The entire trip takes 13 minutes and crosses 2.5 miles, passing through Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Downtown Disney along the way. In the park, you can catch it at the Tomorrowland station. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)
33. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Hop into your over-sized beehive to explore the honey-loving bear’s best scenes during The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. This Disney dark ride takes a beloved classic and fuses it with unique effects and seamless storytelling featuring Pooh, Eeyore, and Tigger.
32. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
The reimagining of the original Submarine Voyage now features an encounter with Nemo and friends. The animated effects blend together for a unique underwater ride-through experience. Your view depends on where you sit, so you might see something new each time you ride Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.
31. King Arthur Carousel
This ornate Fantasyland centerpiece is a fun reminder of the original inspiration behind Disneyland. The 85 hand-carved galloping horses swirl give riders a 360 view of the castle courtyard and other nearby Disneyland rides. King Arthur Carousel is fun for all ages. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)
30. Casey Jr. Circus Train
This fun kids train ride provides a fantastic overhead view of Storybook Land and features the Casey Junior theme song. You can sit in forward-facing seats or in one of the cage cars during Casey Jr. Circus Train.
29. Storybookland Canal Boats
The Storybook Land Canal Boats are a lovely, slow boat ride through a series of impressive miniature scenes from various Disney classics such as Arendelle from Frozen and dwarf cottages from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
28. Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
The original version of Star Tours which blasted guests to Endor was one of the best rides at Disneyland. Now, it’s been updated to included multiple destinations and over 100 storytelling combinations so that you might see something new nearly every time you ride. The updated version is in 3D and features planets and characters from all three trilogies in the Skywalker Saga. (Photo Illustration: Disney Enterprises, Inc./Lucasfilm Ltd.)
27. The Sailing Ship Columbia
This historic attraction is a replica of the first American ship to sail around the world. The Sailing Ship Columbia sails the Rivers of America across 15 minutes. Watch out for the cannon blasts and go below deck to see what ship living conditions were like in the 18th century. (Paul Hiffmeyer/ Disneyland Resort )
26. Mark Twain Riverboat
Take a steamboat along the scenic Rivers of America and experience New Orleans Square and Frontierland from a completely new perspective on the Mark Twain Riverboat. It’s a beautiful ride on a recreation of a 19th-century paddlewheel riverboat that slowly circles Tom Sawyer Island across 14 minutes. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)
25. Snow White’s Scary Adventure
Snow White’s Scary Adventure tells an abridged version of the famous tale featuring the evil Queen’s pursuit of Snow White through a haunted forest, dungeons and more. You’ll slowly ride through it all in a mine cart, but it’s the darkest of the dark Disneyland rides is more frightening than the Haunted Mansion so be mindful of young kids.
24. Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes
Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes was one of the first interactive Disneyland rides. The only way to get around the Rivers of America in these is to paddle a 35-foot-long canoe along the same course as Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia. (Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort)
23. Disneyland Railroad
Disneyland Railroad is more than a mode of transportation to and from Main Street U.S.A., New Orleans Square, Mickey’s Toontown, and Tomorrowland. It’s.a grand circle tour that takes about 18 minutes and passes by two impressive Dioramas: The Grand Canyon and the Primeval World. (Scott Brinegar/Disneyland)
22. Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
One of the original Disneyland dark rides, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey is a classic with exciting show scenes depicting peril and escape as Pinocchio, the wooden boy, tries to get back home to Geppetto.
21. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Mr. Toads Wild Ride is a true classic and a piece of opening day Disneyland history. Pay close attention as you swirl past the town and country in your open-air buggy and see if you can spot clues that explain the surprising end of the ride.
20. Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room marks the entrance to Adventureland. Inside, watch a Pacific Islands inspired show that includes singing birds and flowers, special weather effects, and chanting tikis. The performance is best enjoyed with a pineapple Dole Whip from the Tiki Juice Bar here.
19. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
Walt Disney used to impersonate one of his heroes, Abraham Lincoln, in school by reciting the Gettysburg Address to his classmates. The updated version of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln once again employs cutting edge technology for an even more lifelike performance by one of the greatest American Presidents. The show gives a brief account of the Civil War and Lincoln’s struggle to hold the nation together. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)
18. Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
This is the first interactive dark ride from Disney. It mixes the humor of Roger Rabbit with state of the art effects and the ability to spin your vehicle as it slips and slides through the story. Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin queue is also one of the most immersive and entertaining in the park. It wasn’t until the late 80’s that the queues began to receive treatments that amused and entertained guests while they waited.
17. Mad Tea Party
It’s hard to imagine a more iconic Disney ride than the Mad Tea Party. This attraction completes a large section of Fantasyland dedicated to Alice in Wonderland. Walt Disney loved the story so much he used the premise in “Alice Comedies” early in his career. The most famous scene in the film, the mad tea party, is recreated in this thrilling and dizzying spinner attraction with magical ambiance, especially at night.
16. Jungle Cruise
Based in part on the Humphry Bogart film The African Queen and Walt Disney’s True-Life Adventure documentary series, Jungle Cruise was originally the only ride in Adventureland. It’s a 7-minute ride through rivers in Asia, Africa, and South America. The jokes told by skippers (many of which are ad-libbed) are as funny as ever and the scenes are still very similar to the original version. (Photo courtesy of Disneyland Resort)
15. Peter Pan’s Flight
Peter Pan’s Flight is based on the Walt Disney movie, Peter Pan. The hanging pirate ship ride vehicles on add to the illusion of flight on this stunning dark ride that provides impressive birds-eye views of London and Neverland. The ride is an example of Imagineering’s mastery of forced perspective and has been thrilling guests of all ages since the park opened in 1955. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)
14. Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland is a whimsical dark ride in a caterpillar that is a little different than the others in that you’ll also journey outside for a scenic Fantasyland view before returning inside for a treat of a finale. The storytelling and recently improved special effects make being late for an important date worthwhile.
13. “it’s a small world”
Travel around the world without leaving California through “it’s a small world.” The boat ride sails guests through seven continents as over 300 animatronic dolls sing the famous song — united in the grand finale to show that it really is a small world. Look at the ride facade’s clock every 15 minutes to see the parade of characters emerge. Walt Disney originally created this attraction for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)
Dumbo is the most classic of Disneyland rides and has been a guest favorite since opening day. It will make you believe in magic as you raise your flying elephant up and down above Fantasyland’s fairy tale landscape.
Autopia has been putting kids (and adults) in the driver seat since the park’s 1955 opening day. Solo drivers must be 54″ or taller but you can drive at 32″ or taller when accompanied by a driver who meets the drive-alone height. Push the gas pedal to go and lift up on the same pedal to slow down the gas-powered car.
This classic bobsled mountain is more than the first steel Disneyland roller coaster. It’s the only version of the Matterhorn Bobsleds in the whole world and also the very first mountain in the park’s famous mountain range. You may have noticed that the Abominable Snowman looks different than he used to as new effects were added several years ago. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)
9. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
This interactive dark ride invites you to the world of Toy Story and Buzz Lightyear’s galactic struggle against the evil Emperor Zurg. Ride with your partner through the dark while shooting “Z” targets with blasters and warding off Zurg from his invasion of an alien planet. Use the joystick to turn your Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters car toward the targets. (I happen to be very good at this and LOVE it.)
8. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
One of the most exciting Disneyland attractions is the rip roarin’ runaway mine train on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The fun ride is modeled after Gold Rush mining trains in the 1850s that allegedly took off on their own. Riders experience three stages of fun as you climb and drop down the mountain in succession before narrowly escaping a dynamite blast. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)
7. Indiana Jones Adventure
By far one of the most accomplished Disneyland rides is the ambitious Indiana Jones Adventure that simulates so many different maneuvers as you barrel through an excavated tomb past bugs, rats, a giant snake, and poison darts, just before out rolling giant boulder just like the one from Raiders of the Lost Ark. In this adventure, you are offered a choice of wealth, youth, or the ability to see the future, but when you look at the idol of Mara in the eye he unleashes doom instead.
6. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Guests are in control inside the cockpit of the fastest ship in the galaxy during Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run — no flight experience required, of course. The attraction is the first to use real teamwork to complete a mission in a simulator with real-time response and has been a hit since Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened. Whether you succeed or fail is up to you. (Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks)
5. Space Mountain
Space Mountain is another roller coaster style Disneyland ride with an exciting space theme. Board your rocket and hurl through stars and nebulas while enduring twists and turns until you finally reach Mission Control. The darkness makes the ride feel faster than it actually is and the soundtrack by Michael Giacchino makes you want to ride over and over again. It’s a classic. (Disneyland Resort)
4. Splash Mountain
The only mountain at Disneyland based on a Disney film is Splash Mountain. You’ll board a log flume and follow Br’er Rabbit to his laughing place with “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” sung in the background by animatronic characters. At the ride’s climax, Br’er Fox tosses you into the briar patch, a plunge nearly 600 feet down. This is one of the Disneyland rides where you will get wet.
3. Haunted Mansion
Board your doom buggy for a non-gory, ghostly tour of the Haunted Mansion. You’ll pass rattling caskets, the Grand Ballroom, a chanting Madame Leota in the seance room, and a group of hitchhiking ghosts who may try to follow you out. The pre-ride segment of the attraction was unprecedented at the time of the ride’s 1969 opening and it remains a clever way to move guests through the line. The ride changes to Haunted Mansion Holiday during the Halloween and Christmas seasons. (Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort)
2. Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the longest Disneyland rides and among the most popular. Board your barge and after taking a swift dip you’ll float through three distinct segments: a bayou, the caverns, and the pirate raid. Dodge cannon fire and keep an eye out for Captain Jack Sparrow while mischievous pirates sing “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me).” (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)
1. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
The newest of the Disneyland rides is so popular that you need a hard-to-get reservation to experience it. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance starts with guests boarding a transport shuttle that is captured by a Star Destroyer and we’ll let you see the rest in person because it’s unlike any other park attraction. You’ll interact with characters (human and droid) as you help the First Order battle The Resistance and make a narrow escape.
What are your favorite Disneyland rides and attractions? Before you go, don’t forget to read my guide for finding cheap Disneyland tickets.
Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).
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