Have you been planning a Disneyland trip or maybe thinking about taking a trip to Disneyland? This list if for YOU! Here is a list of the best rides at Disneyland! They are not in order of importance, since that may be different for everyone. Good luck and have some fun on your trip planning!
1. Matterhorn Bobsleds. To be honest, this tall white peaked mountain (modeled after Switzerland’s real Matterhorn mountain) sits so high and is located in the center of the park so you can’t miss it! Our family likes to play the “who sees it first game?” when we travel down Ball Rd. towards the Happiest Place on Earth. Each bobsled seats six and climbs 80 feet high. There are twists and turns, and icy caves and waterfalls. Be sure to keep an eye out for a yeti or two! Diva Tip: During the more crowded times, there are two queues: a Fantasyland side and a Tomorrowland side. The Fantasyland side offers a slightly longer ride and more curves. Lately, I have noticed one line around the mountain, which then divides once you enter the “chalet.” The ride is not a super coaster, but it is jerky and those with health issues or motion sickness need to consider sitting out. You can read reviews of the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride here and here.
2. Peter Pan’s Flight. This 3 minute ride takes your through Neverland on a mini galleon. What makes it special is the re-telling of the Peter Pan story, especially the room where guests “fly” over the twinkling lights of the city over such sites as Big Ben. While the ride is short, it is quite enjoyable and one of the few remaining original rides open on Disneyland’s opening day in 1955 (though it did undergo some changes in 1983). Diva Tip: The line for Peter Pan is almost always around 45 minutes- and longer on crowded days. There is no fastpass. This is one of the rides you head to first once the rope drops! Check out a review of this ride here.
3. Indiana Jones Adventure. Sure, it’s fast. But the theming here (even the queue!) is not to be missed. Once you get strapped into your jeep, you are off on a wild and crazy adventure, even going through some of the more memorable scenes from the Indiana Jones movie franchise. What makes this ride unique is that every time you ride, your experience may be different because it is an enhanced motion vehicle (think Dinosaur at Walt Disney World). Diva Tip: Motion sickness folks beware! I have found some success sitting in the middle of the vehicle instead of on the ends.
4. Pirates of the Caribbean. Younger readers may find it hard to believe that the ride came before the successful movie franchise, but some of us remember this ride without the movie tie ins- when it was simply a ride where guests can get a glimpse into the gallivanting lives of pirates. The movie tie ins are quite fun now, as you can spot Captain Jack Sparrow in several scenes, but what makes this ride fun is the water. There are two little drops in the ride and you may get wet! This is not a fast ride, however, and guests of all ages will enjoy riding on the boats. Diva Tip: I used to carry my littlest diva and devo in baby carriers throughout the park and on rides such as this. They usually fell asleep because it was dark and cool! Some toddlers and younger children, however, may not appreciate the darkness of the ride. You know your children! You can read my review of this ride here.
5. The Haunted Mansion. This ride is simply one of the best attractions at Disneyland. From the moment guests spot the beautiful and haunted white house behind iron gates, this ride is special. The queue has some special surprises if you look around. The story is simple: there are 999 happy haunts that inhabit the Haunted Mansion. Guests are seated in “doom buggies” on a slow moving omni-mover ride. The buggies take you through different rooms of the house. It is quite delightful, though younger guests may be put off by the dark and “ghosts.” Diva Tip: The end of September through the first week of January or so, the Haunted Mansion in transformed into the Haunted Mansion Holiday. Jack Skellington and his friends from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas take over the ride. It is full of bright colors and lively music and many guests find it even more enjoyable than the original ride. If you are looking for more information about the Haunted Mansion, check out our review. There is also a review of the Haunted Mansion Holiday.
6. Splash Mountain. Have a zip-a-dee-doo-dah day on this fun water ride that beckons park goers on the hottest of Southern California days. There’s three dips and of course that massive five story water flume that is sure to cool you down. The ride is based on the movie The Song of the South and the music and characters are both endearing. Be sure to get a fastpass because this is one more most popular rides in the park! Diva Tip: Don’t avoid the ride if it a cooler day and you are afraid of getting wet. Grab a parka and enjoy! One of my favorite family photos was taken of D’land Diva hubby and I alone in a log with our parkas on in thirty plus degree weather.
7. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Originally this ride was called Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland and was a tame, fun little ride through natural western habitats. No longer a calm ride, BTMR prides itself as a runaway mine train. Guests will dip in and out of caverns, encounter flash floods and landslides…and experience a haunted mine town. Diva Tip: For some fun, try out the “goat trick.” This famous trick can be done by waiting until you get to the lift with the goat, then keep your eye on the goat as you go down and curve on the railroad. Check out a review of this ride here.
8. Space Mountain. This is one of the four “mountain” ride in the park and it is an indoor roller coaster ride. What makes this ride so special is the dark factor. You never know where you are going next! The ride opened in 1977 and has undergone several changes over the years, the most recent of which is the transformation during the Halloween season to “Ghost Galaxy” where this a change in music and scenery (which features haunting projections). Space Mountain takes guests on a rocket experience which begins in mission control. From there, guests can expect a ton of flashing lights (those sensitive to flashing lights should be cautious) and lifts, twists and curves. If you are motion sick sensitive, this may be a ride you want to sit out on. Diva Tip: You will want to get a fastpass for this ride as it is very popular.
9. Star Tours the Adventure Continues. And, speaking of motion sick sensitive…the queen bee of motion sick sensitive rides is Star Tours. It is also one awesome ride! Guests load onto a “star speeder” to experience a 3D motion simulated flight. The newly updated ride features the possibility of over 50 different ride combinations so it is possible to go on this ride multiple times and never have the same experience! Diva Tip: If you have young children under 40 inches tall, ask about rider switch.
10. The Jungle Cruise. This is no thrill ride- there are no loops, sharp curves or terrifying drops, but there is a lot of fun. This river boat ride takes guests through the wilds of “the jungle.” Along the five day and seven night cruise (their joke) guests are treated to the sites of bathing elephants, apes going crazy and a lost tour group who find themselves in a rather precarious position. The ride is fun for the whole family and perhaps the best part is your skipper. Your skipper, or tour guide, will entertain you with fun “facts” about your cruise. The jokes are quite silly and what our family likes to call “Muppet humor.” Diva Tip: As you exit the ride, ask for a Jungle Cruise map. These cute maps are a souvenir from your journey and free! Check out my review of the Jungle Cruise ride here.