Disneyland Roller Coasters
Which are the best Disneyland Roller Coasters? Disneyland Resort isn’t exactly known as being the roller coaster capital of the world.
However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have some remarkable roller coasters.
One thing that sets them apart from other roller coasters is their high level of theming.
For Disneyland Roller Coasters, it’s not so much about the thrills, but more telling a story and trying to immerse the riders into a different world. Disney just does this better than anyone else.
Here are all of the Disneyland and California Adventure Roller Coasters ranked from worst to best. When I talk about Disneyland I also include Disney’s California Adventure Park. You will find roller coasters here which are in both parks.
Keep in mind that I won’t just be ranking them based purely on how thrilling they are, but in addition, I’ll be looking at the theming and story elements – those things that just make it unique to Disney.
Goofy’s Sky School
- Max speed: 27 MPH.
- Height: 55’
- Minimum height requirement: 3’ 6”
The best part of Goofy’s Sky School is the story. It plays out like a cartoon with lots of billboards featuring gags where Goofy teaches you how to fly an airplane.
The drops and tight turns on this ride make this wild mouse style coaster tons of fun.
However, like a lot of Paradise Park and Pixar Pier, it all just feels like a generic carnival with Disney branding slapped on to it.While there are a few billboards with gags on them, there isn’t much when it comes to theming. Most of it is an ugly looking steel roller coaster.
Also, it can be really rough. It’s bumpy and sometimes it goes way too fast around the sharp turns.
There are some parts where you really feel like you are going to bang your head against a low railing. Of course, no one has, and Disney wouldn’t let a roller coaster run if it wasn’t safe. Still, I’ve been on the ride a thousand times, and that part still scares me.
There is a Fastpass available for Goofy’s Sky School, but the wait is usually pretty low so you probably wouldn’t have to get one. Besides, while it is a good attraction, I wouldn’t say it’s really Fastpass worthy. I’d use that Fastpass for other attractions like Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! or Soarin’.
- Max speed: 27 MPH
- Height: 147’
- Minimum height requirement: 3’ 6”
People are usually split on this one – one half loves it, while the other dislikes it. The best part of the Matterhorn Bobsleds is the theming.
It’s impressive how the Imagineers managed to make an artificial mountain look so realistic. Particularly when you realize that Matterhorn Bobsleds was opened in 1959.
As you speed through the mountain it’s amazing to see how much detail they put into it. Speeding through the mountain, of course, is a very exhilarating experience as well. Especially when you have a close encounter with its inhabitant – the Yeti.
However, what turns people away, including me, is it’s too bumpy. You get thrown around a lot and it’s really, really uncomfortable. It actually hurts a little.
Again though, lots of people really love the Matterhorn Bobsleds, so it is probably worth trying it once. Just don’t go on if you have back problems…
Gadget’s Go Coaster
- Max speed: 22 MPH
- Height: 28’
- Minimum height requirement: 2’ 11”
Gadget’s Go Coaster is just a short kiddy coaster, but at least it’s not really rough like the last two. Again, the theming on this roller coaster is very good. I really love the cartoon setting and how colorful it all is.
It’s also a great starter roller coaster for little kids who don’t feel ready enough to tackle some of the bigger ones.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Max speed: 36 MPH
- Height: 104’
- Minimum height requirement: 3’4”
Perfect for both adults and kids. It’s not too intense for kids, but neither is it too dull for adults.
The best parts are when you get lifted off your seat and get a bit of air-time.
The theming in the Big Thunder Mountain ride is absolutely amazing. It really feels like you’ve been transported to the Old West.
- Max speed: 55 MPH
- Height: 120’
- Minimum Height Requirement: 4’0”
Thrill-seekers will adore the Incredicoaster. It has catapult launch, a 108-foot drop, and a vertical loop – the only one to be seen at the Disneyland Resort.
Plus, there is a really great soundtrack by the same composer of The Incredibles movie, Michael Giacchino, that plays while you’re speeding along the track, adding much to the experience.
The story is a lot of fun too. It centers around the Incredibles trying to catch Jack-Jack when his powers go out of control. At one point, he even ends up setting the tunnel on fire.
The one problem with the attraction is that instead of using animatronics for the characters they use statues. It looks a bit bizarre because you can hear them saying things, but their mouths aren’t moving.
Still, The Incredicoaster is one of the very best Disney roller coasters for thrill-seekers.
- Max Speed: 35 MPH
- Height: 76’
- Minimum Height Requirement: 3’ 4”
It’s one of those things where when you hear someone describe it, it doesn’t actually sound great, but once you experience it, you find it to be absolutely amazing.
Space Mountain is essentially a roller coaster that takes place in almost pitch-black darkness. It is meant to feel like you’re traveling fast through space, projecting stars on the walls as well as asteroids and galaxies.
What’s so thrilling about Disneyland’s Space Mountain is that even though it actually isn’t that fast, it feels fast with all the stars zooming past your face and the fans blowing wind at your face (I never said this was an “accurate” representation of space).
This one also has a soundtrack by Michael Giachinno, which adds another dimension to the experience.
Space Mountain has great theming, great music, great thrills. Therefore it’s a Disneyland Roller Coaster you don’t want to miss.
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.