It’s near impossible to top Disneyland rides. But which are the Best Disneyland Rides?
What makes Disney attractions better than your run-of-the-mill average theme park attraction is their attention to detail.
This includes all the rides in Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure Park.
Ranking these attractions was very difficult, seeing as they’re all so great. And I know that I’ve missed some off the list which you may be surprised about.
However, let’s dive right in and see what the best rides are at the Happiest Place on Earth.
20. Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland
Slide down the icy slopes of the Matterhorn in a bobsled, where you’ll have one or two close encounters with the abominable snowman.
Not only was The Matterhorn Bobsleds the first roller coaster at the Disney parks, but it was also the very first steel roller coaster in the world when it opened in 1959.
Speeding through the icy caverns is one of the most exhilarating experiences at Disneyland. I love the cool air running through my hair, seeing the scenery zoom past at lightning speed, and getting lifted off my seat down the steep drops.
It’s also a little scary. The Yeti jumps out at you when you least expect it, making your heart leap.
The reason why I put this so low on the list is the ride is it’s very, very bumpy. Throughout the entire ride, I’m going “ouch – ouch – ouch… Oh, maybe it’s okay now – OUCH!”
However, even though it is one of the oldest attractions at Disneyland, the Matterhorn Bobsleds are still very much worth experiencing.
19. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree in Disney California Adventure
Park: Disney California Adventure
Location: Cars Land
Board a wagon towed by a cute, baby tractor and swing side-to-side to Mater singing country music.
I know it sounds like a kiddy ride, but trust me when I say anyone of any age will enjoy this. Swinging around is lots of fun, especially when the carts get a lot of momentum going.
WARNING: If you go on this ride, you will be subject to country music.
18. Incredicoaster | Disney California Adventure
A roller coaster made to honor the Incredibles for their heroism. During the ride, Jack-Jack’s babysitter, Edna Mode, lets him loose, and on goes a highspeed chase with the rest of the Incredibles family trying to catch him.
The Incredicoaster is the most intense thrill ride at the resort. It has a top speed of 55 MPH, a catapult launch, a 108-foot drop, and a vertical loop – the only one you’ll find at the resort.
It also has a killer soundtrack which blasts in your ears and times perfectly with the roller coaster.
Theming wise though, there isn’t anything remarkable. The characters are just statues instead of audio-animatronics, so it’s hard to get engaged in the story.
There are also a few silly props here and there, like the Jack-Jacks on sticks towards the end of the ride.
The roller coaster itself is one of the best at Disneyland, but it’s fairly underwhelming in terms of theming. The Imagineers really could have done a better job with this. However, this is still one of my favorite rides in California Adventure Park.
The wait time for Incredicoaster tends to be pretty reasonable most of the day. However, if you are short of time you can always use the Single Ride queue. You won’t get to sit with your family and friends, but this is one of those roller coasters where you really don’t notice who happens to be sitting next to you!
17. Toy Story Midway Mania! at Disney California Adventure
An interactive 4D ride hosted by the iconic characters from Toy Story. Shoot as many targets as you can with your onboard blaster and try to score as many points as you can.
Toy Story Midway Mania only takes place in a small building, and if you think about it, there isn’t that much to the ride. Still, it’s very enjoyable – sometimes the simple rides are the best.
It’s a very competitive game, and it’s great fun going up against your family and friends.
I’m not usually a fan of 4D effects, as I think they’re usually corny, but they work very well in this ride. The water and wind effects really add to the experience.
The only gripe I have about this attraction is it’s very rough. The ride vehicles move fast over sharp turns, making you crash around in your seat.
16. Alice In Wonderland in Disneyland
Take a ride on a caterpillar and journey through Wonderland with Alice. This is your classic Disneyland dark ride, along with the likes of Peter Pan’s Flight and Pinocchio’s Daring Journey.
Alice In Wonderland is the perfect movie to base an attraction on. Who wouldn’t want to enter the strange, bizarre world of Wonderland? It’s amazing to see all those crazy characters and places in real life.
15. Peter Pan’s Flight | Disneyland
Soar over London and Neverland in a flying pirate ship with Peter Pan, then journey through the iconic scenes from the movie.
Peter Pan’s Flight has one of the best ride vehicles in Disneyland park. Instead of it running along a track on the floor, the boat hangs off the scene. Since it’s hard to see the track above, you can’t quite tell where you’re going to go next, making the experience more exciting.
This attraction also features one of the best scenes out of any of the attractions in the resort – the flight over London.
The only problem is it always has a huge wait. This is one of the best Disneyland rides for toddlers, so it seems as though it is busy at all times of day.
There’s no way to bypass the line, such as using a single rider line or Fastpass line. You have no choice but to wait for at least 40 minutes in line, and this is particularly unpleasant on a hot day as there is barely any shade in the line.
However, if you want to maximize your chances of standing waiting in a long line then visit this attraction as soon as the park opens.
14. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride | Disneyland
A wild ride in an out-of-control motorcar through London with Mr. Toad.
This is definitely the most exciting of the Fantasyland dark rides, given that it moves fast and every three seconds it feels like you’re going to crash into something.
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is a thrilling Disneyland ride for toddlers and little kids, though anyone of any age will love this ride.
Fantasyland dark rides go for either a 2D or 3D set design. This one goes for a 2D style, where they draw characters over flat surfaces.
While I love the 3D style, as they have in Peter Pan’s Flight, I prefer this, as it feels like you’ve dropped into a classic hand-drawn 2D Disney movie.
13. Soarin’ Around The World | Disney California Adventure
Strap in on a hand glider and soar all around the world. You’ll visit the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, as well as many other wonders of the world.
Most theme park attractions are fast, thrilling, but what I like about Soarin’ is it’s just a peaceful, low-key attraction. Flying over landscapes, feeling the wind go through your hair, and taking in the amazing scents they use to match the environment is such a soothing, calm experience.
This isn’t like Flight Of Passage over at Disney World. This flight simulator is slow and tame, while Flight Of Passage is much more intense.
I prefer the fast, exciting attractions, hence why they’re higher on the list. Nonetheless, this is one of Disneyland’s best.
12. Grizzly River Run | Disney California Adventure
Traverse through the rapids of Grizzly Peak, then hang on tight for the drops and hope you don’t get soaked!
There isn’t much in terms of theming, but the thrills make up for that. The drops are big and steep – plus, sometimes you spin around as you go down.
The best way to ride this attraction is to ride with a big group of friends or your family. The “gimmick” of the attraction is you never know which rider is going to get soaked next.
For example, one moment you might think another passenger is going to get sprayed by a water jet, but then the raft does a 180 and you end up being the one who gets sprayed!
It’s funny to hear people say with 100% confidence that they’re not going to get wet, then a huge wave splashes over them (usually I’m that person). This certainly is the best option on a hot day for cooling down!
11. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad | Disneyland
A runaway mine train through the desert landscapes of Big Thunder Mountain. You’ll encounter bats, explore deep dark caverns, and have a few close calls with some explosives.
This roller coaster is perfect for families. It strikes the perfect balance between being tame enough so that small children can enjoy but also having a few scary “oh my god!” moments that adults will enjoy.
It’s basically a better version of the Matterhorn – it has the thrill of speeding through a mountain without the bumpy track.
10. Mad Tea Party | Disneyland
One of the first images that come to mind when you think of Disneyland is the Mad Tea Party. It’s one of the most recognizable rides at the park.
Spinning around in the teacup with your friends and family is a must-do when you go to Disneyland.
And the best part is it always has the shortest wait at the park.
9. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters | Disneyland
Hop in a spaceship and help Buzz Lightyear save the Green Planet from the evil Emperor Zurg. Use your onboard blasters to shoot at Zurg’s minions, then at the end compare your score with an opponent and see who won.
I always love interactive rides where you take part in the story. This is like an arcade game combined with a theme park attraction.
While it’s not my favorite ride at Disneyland, I’ve definitely ridden it the most, as I always try to get a higher score. I also much prefer it to the Buzz Lightyear ride in Magic Kingdom.
The set design is very creative too. Since it’s based on the Toy Story movies, all the sets and characters are toys, making you feel like you’ve shrunk down to the size of a toy.
8. Pirates Of The Caribbean | Disneyland
A slow-moving boat ride (with a couple of drops) taking you to the Caribbean during the golden age of piracy.
You’ll journey through a haunted cave, find yourself caught in a pirate ship battle, sail through a town being raided by pirates, and much more. This is one of those classic rides at Disneyland that you really have to experience/
You will even drift past the very popular Blue Bayou Restaurant where diners can watch the boats sail slowly by as they enjoy their meal.
Now we’re getting to the really good stuff!
This is perhaps the most well-known attraction at Disneyland. Pretty much every scene is iconic.
This ride revolutionized the theme park industry. Nobody had ever seen an attraction that had so many human audio-animatronics and that had such detailed theming.
Pirates of the Caribbean was the first of its kind and led way to even better immersive dark rides, such as the Indiana Jones Adventure and Rise of the Resistance.
Even though it was made in the 60s, this attraction still holds up really well. It’s just as funny, jaw-dropping, cinematic, and immersive as it was on opening day.
7. Radiator Springs Racers | Disney California Adventure
Based on the Cars movies, go head-to-head against fellow guests in a fast car race around Radiator Springs. It has the same ride system as Test Track over in EPCOT, but in my opinion, this has a much better premise and story.
The first two-thirds, the inside portion, have some amazing audio-animatronics, the best one being Sheriff.
The highlight of the attraction is the race section where you’re put up against another car full of guests. You get really into it, cheering whenever your car gets a lead and groaning whenever the other car edges past you.
There aren’t any other Disney rides quite like it. The wait time is usually around an hour, but it’s worth the wait.
The only way to avoid the long lines is to arrive early in the park. Ideally, stay in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel so that you can get early entry to the park and go straight to Radiator Springs. You may even be able to ride twice before the park opens to the public.
6. The Haunted Mansion | Disneyland
Disneyland’s spookiest attraction, The Haunted Mansion is a dark ride in a haunted house, complete with jaw-dropping visual effects, detailed theming, as well as lots of chills and spooks.
Similar to Pirates of the Caribbean, every scene in this attraction is iconic. This is one of those Disney classic rides that you have to experience.
The level of detail in this attraction is insane. Every little part of the attraction has some spooky aspect to it, from the gargoyles on the railings in the line to the ghoulish pictures scattered over the walls.
All this detail, along with the gothic music and moody lighting create an eerie atmosphere that horror fans will crave.
It was a clever idea to make the attraction both scary and light-hearted. Many would be disappointed if a ride called The Haunted Mansion was a cute, funny ghost ride, but others would love a light-hearted traditional Disney-style cute, funny ghost ride. So what they did was make the first half scary, then the second half funny.
If you are visiting at Halloween time you are in for a different spooky experience in the Haunted Mansion. Jack Skellington and his friends take over the attraction for the Haunted Mansion Nightmare Before Christmas transformation. This version is well worth experiencing.
5. Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run | Disneyland
Finally, a chance to pilot the one and only Millennium Falcon. In this attraction, you’ll help Hondo Ohnaka steal coaxium from the First Order and deliver it to the Resistance.
Now we’re getting to the really, really, really good stuff!
The experience is as good as it can be. The cockpit is an almost exact replica from the movie. It truly feels like you’ve stepped into the Millennium Falcon. You can also hang around the lounge area with the holographic game board from the movies.
The flight simulator works surprisingly well. It’s lots of fun pushing all the buttons, firing the cannons, and piloting your way through the landscapes. The best part though is when you pull back on the lever and launch into hyperspace.
It’s the ultimate experience for Star Wars fans.
4. Space Mountain | Disneyland
A roller coaster in near pitch-black darkness through the depths of space.
When hearing someone describe this ride, it may sound like there’s not much to it. After all, it is just a roller coaster in the dark with a few special effects here and there.
But anyone who’s been on it can tell you that it’s an out-of-this-world (literally) experience.
Turning off the lights on a roller coaster is actually very effective. Since you can’t see any point of reference, you feel that you’re going much faster than you actually are. Also, you can’t see the track, so you don’t know where you’re going next, adding an extra sense of fear.
What completes this attraction and makes it one of the best is the music that plays as you ride the roller coaster. It has a sci-fi, pop music, orchestral feel to it that supplements the roller coaster perfectly.
3. Indiana Jones Adventure | Disneyland
Salah has opened a touring business in the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. But everything falls apart when guests look into the forbidden eyes of Mara, and on goes a barrage of booby traps, creepy crawlies, and other perils inspired by the Indiana Jones movies.
Hearing the description, you can probably tell why it’s up near the top of the list. A thrill ride based on a chaotic Indiana Jones temple escape is an absolute dream come true. It exceeds all expectations.
It has one of the best lines in the park. It’s all themed around an ancient temple and is one of the few lines in the park that’s actually enjoyable to wait in.
The ride itself is an Imagineering masterpiece. My favorite moment is when you go across the rickety rope bridge and stop right next to the huge statue of Mara. The set is massive and blows me away every time I ride.
It gives you a great adrenaline rush because every two seconds something – whether it’s a laser, mummy, or a snake – is coming after you. It truly feels like you’re in an Indiana Jones movie.
Then there’s the climactic boulder finale – an effect that still stuns me today, and scares daylights out of me when it gets close.
2. Guardians Of The Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! | Disney California Adventure
The Guardians of the Galaxy are being held captive by the Collector. Rocket escapes and enlists you to help him break out his friends. To do that you must board a gantry lift and take him to the power generator which is powering up the Guardians’ cells.
The catch is once the power is down, not only do the Guardians go free, so do all the monsters and aliens who were also imprisoned. And, to top it all off, once the power is down, the gantry lift goes awry…
This is the most fun I’ve ever had on a theme park attraction. I love the build-up toward the ride. As you hear more of Rocket’s plan and see some of the warning signs around, you realize something is going to go horribly wrong (in a good way).
The way they utilize the drop tower is ingenious. It’s in complete darkness, so it’s really hard to tell how high are you up the tower. You’ll think you’re most definitely at the bottom, then you suddenly drop 100 feet.
I love the sensation of flying off the seat. My favorite part is when it launches up, stops for a moment so you float up in the air, then pulls you down.
I like how you only get a few glimpses of the breakout. The doors open and you see the Guardians being overrun by aliens, explosions everywhere, and little Baby Groot dancing, completely oblivious as to what’s going on. Then after a few seconds, you drop again.
It’s a very unique ride experience – and one which is definitely worth waiting for.
The music adds so much to the ride. Each song brings a different feel to the ride. For example, “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf give a faster, adrenaline-pumping feel, while “Burning Love” by Elvis Presley gives a light-hearted feel to the ride.
I know it’s not everyone’s favorite, especially for Tower of Terror fans, but for the me the combination of the thrills, laughs, and music makes it a perfect attraction.
1. Rise Of The Resistance | Best Disneyland Ride
The First Order captures you and keeps you captive on a Star Destroyer. Fortunately, the Resistance breaks you out and sets you on your way to an escape pod.
Before long though, the alarms go off – the First Order knows you’re out! On goes a chaotic escape with Stormtroopers shooting at you from all angles, an encounter with an AT-AT, and a few close calls with Kylo Ren.
Not only is this the best theme park attraction at Disneyland, but it’s also the best in the world. No attraction is as immersive, technologically advanced, or as groundbreaking as this.
Rise of the Resistance is one of those attractions which you always wish you could ride for the first time again!
You really don’t even have to be a Star Wars fan to enjoy the best ride in Disneyland. Sure it helps, but even those who aren’t that familiar with the land far away will enjoy this amazing attraction at Galaxy’s Edge.
You’re immersed in the story from start to finish.
Theme park attractions usually don’t explain how you got to the location where the ride takes place, like how you’re suddenly in London in Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, or in space on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster.
Here, you actually take a ship up to the Star Destroyer, which is an attraction in itself.
The sets are gigantic. The hangar with the army of Stormtroopers and the view looking out into space is one most amazing sets I’ve ever seen at a theme park.
It’s Disney Imagineering at its best. It’s going to be very, very hard to top this one. Rise of the Resistance truly is the best ride in Disneyland or any Disney park.
Which do you think are the best Disneyland rides? I know some will be surprised at some ommissions such as It’s a Small World and Splash Mountain, or wonder why I didn’t choose the Jungle Cruise. Which are your favorites?
Alison Meacham is the founder of EverythingMouse Disney Blog. For over 15 years she has shared her love of Disney Parks, Disney Cruises and Universal Orlando. In over 30 years of Disney Travel she has spent countless months in Disney Parks and has sailed on over 45 cruises. A British native and now a United States resident she splits her time between California, Florida and the UK. And spends a serious amount of time sailing the seven seas. She helps over 200,000 people per month follow their Disney travel dreams.