Top 10 Rides of Disneyland

This list is my top 10 Rides of Disneyland for older kids and adults. These rides are a mix of old world Disney imagineering, and the funnest rides in the park that you shouldn’t miss. This also means that these rides will be the more popular rides which will mean for longer wait times.

The biggest tip i can give for any ride is if you are faced with an option of a fork in the queue and is to choose the path to the right. The reason for this is that most rides allow people in wheelchairs to cut the lines of the left queue, and the time it takes to load and unload them is very time consuming.

10. Disneyland Railroad

Disneyland-RailroadThe Disneyland railroads is one of the last true steam powered trains in the country and its the first thing to greet you when you enter the park. Everything about it just brings you back in time and really makes you use all your senses if you don’t even realize it. The sounds are unmistakable with the toot of the steam engine, or the chugging of the wheels. The smell of the steam engine fill the air, and the open cabin ride lets you feel the wind in your face as you circle the park.

Its a great slow ride that makes stops in Main St. USA, New Orleans Square, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. Along the way you get narration about things your are passing by, and between Tomorrowland and Main St. USA you take a trip through time and get to see a T-rex battle a Stegosaurus in a lava field.

  • nostalgia level: 8
  • excitement level: 3
  • restrictions: none
  • wait time: 10-20 minutes
  • Fast Pass: no

Main St. Station is the easiest location to get on, while fantasyland is the hardest to.

9. Splash Mountain

splash-mountain

Warning you may get wet. Splash Mountain was the last mountain ride to be opened in 1998 which takes you on a log plume ride through the adventures of Brer Rabbit. The only remaining water based ride in the park, its has multiple drops which ends with a 53ft drop into the briar patch.

Splash Mountain shouldn’t be taken lightly and makes me nervous the entire time because i just dread a random moment when the waves may splash up against the log and get you wet. The drops come at random spots where you will least expect it which makes the ride very exciting.

  • nostalgia level: 6
  • excitement level: 10
  • restrictions: 3′ 4″ (1.02 m)
  • wait time: 20-60 minutes
  • fast pass: yes

Keep your feet as close to the sides as you can, because there is nothing worse then walking around in wet shoes

8. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

Finding-Nemo-Submarine-Voyage

The Finding Nemo submarine is a redo of the original Submarine Voyage which was one of my favorite rides even though you could see the wires spinning fish in circles and was closed in 1998 (which i got on one of the final rides the day it closed after work).  If you’re claustrophobic or feel uncomfortable being an enclosed dark space i would probably avoid this ride. Also there’s a scary scene towards the end of the ride that has lots of flashing lights with explosions sounds that will frighten young children.

The ride has you in a little yellow submarine that probably fits 30 people and starts off by taking you into the open waters to see some deep sea divers and various fish swimming around. Then as the boat passes the waterfall in dives into deeper water where the real fun begins and they turn on special sonar hydrophones so you can understand what Nemo and friends are saying.  With a clever use of underwater video screens you go through another adventure of Marlin and Dory searching for Nemo and Squirt.

  • nostalgia level: 5
  • excitement level: 6
  • restrictions: none
  • wait time: 20-40 minutes
  • fast pass: no

While waiting in line you may be able to catch a show of Jedi Training Academy held at Tomorrowland Terrace Stage

7. Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

Star-Tours--The-Adventures-Continue

What kid doesn’t like Star Wars and getting to relive great moments of all the movies is a great idea. Star Tours is a 3D space flight simulator that has 54 different possible combination ride experiences that may take you from the snowy fields of Hoth, Pod Racing on Tatooine or fighting off Boba Fett in deep space.

The entire Star Tours experience is well done from the queue all the way through the exit of the attraction. The queue has you going through a space terminal which a flight board, a StarSpeeder 1000 that C3PO and R2D2 are working on, to a couple of wisecracking robots who should be scanning luggage but would rather communicate with you. The ride is super exciting and unpredictable to the experience that you’ll have and finally as you exit the ride you get to leave to The Throne Room End Title which still gives me the chills that leads you straight into the Star Wars gift shop.

  • nostalgia level: 3
  • excitement level: 10
  • restrictions: 3′ 4″ (1.02 m)
  • wait time: 20-60 minutes
  • fast pass: yes

If you’re prone to motion sickness, ask to sit in the back row of the ride which should help out a little.

6. Peter Pan’s Flight

peter-pans-flight

I like Peter Pan’s Flight because its such a different experience compared to all the other people mover rides in Fantasyland. Once you get pass the never ending queue you board your own little flying pirate ship and get sent off into the night. You get to relive the story of Peter Pan, in the dark and most of the ride’s visuals takes place below your ship, which is a cool effect.

  • nostalgia level: 10
  • excitement level: 4
  • restrictions: none
  • wait time: 30-60 minutes
  • fast pass: no

The ride is a little creaky but i think it adds to experience, and the black lights in the ride is always fun even as an adult.

5. Space Mountain

Space-Mountain

Space Mountain is probably one of the most unique roller coasters even in its old age. Its a ride that is completely indoor and in the dark. If not for the projection of stars against the dome of the ride you would barely be able to tell which way you were going and which way you’re about to go. I used to be scared of this ride at times as a child and makes excuses not to go on it. Its funny because i was never consistent about my attitude either.

  • nostalgia level: 8
  • excitement level: 10
  • restrictions: 3′ 4″ (1.02 m)
  • wait time: 20-90 minutes
  • fast pass: yes

Be prepared for a picture at the end of the ride right when you make one of the few right turns on the ride, which can be purchased upon exit

4. Thunder Mountain

thunder-mtn

As a kid Thunder Mountain was my favorite roller coaster. I love the theming of the attraction and the ever changing tempo of the ride. Its not a non stop thrill ride, but has moments of calm right before chugging down the track as a run away train. Its a very smooth ride without all the rough bumps and turns like the Matterhorn Bobsleds, and has better scenery than Space Mountain.

  • nostalgia level: 8
  • excitement level: 10
  • restrictions: 3′ 4″ (1.02 m)
  • wait time: 15-40 minutes
  • fast pass: yes

Of all the Fast Pass rides this is the one that i don’t mind waiting in the standard queue

3. Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates-of-the-Caribbean

The Pirates of the Caribbean is one of those rides that really get you with all your senses because there’s so much going on from small waterfall drops, battle scenes, burning buildings and drunk sailors. I’m surprised that this ride didn’t scare me more growing up with the eerie darkness, and lots of skeletons at the beginning of the ride.

Throughout the years the ride has gone through some rennovations but hasn’t strayed far from the original design. I’m still disappointed that they updated the ride become more politically correct when they made the Pirates go from chasing women, to chasing waitress with food. Even as a child i understood the concept of what they were really doing, but times have changed. The second update was when they started to include characters from the movie franchise, and thankfully it doesn’t detract too much, and leaves much to the original design of the ride.

  • nostalgia level: 7
  • excitement level: 8
  • restrictions: none
  • wait time: 10-40 minutes
  • fast pass: no

Sitting in the front of the boat will most likely get you wet

2. Haunted Mansion

haunted-mansion The Haunted Mansion has a way to bring out the fun in people and it really shows even from the cast members working it. Everyone needs a little scare in their lives and the Doom buggy ride does just enough not to make a kid cry. I sure wasn’t the bravest kid growing up, but i still never really got scared of the Haunted Mansion except when the house shows you “the other way out.”

  • nostalgia level: 10
  • excitement level: 7
  • restrictions: none
  • wait time: 30-60 minutes
  • fast pass: no

Between Halloween and Christmas the ride becomes  Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion

1. Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye

Indiana-Jones-Adventure--Temple-of-the-Forbidden-Eye

Indiana Jones debut in 1995, right in the middle of my high school life so i vividly remember the first time I went on the ride. This is the one queue where I didn’t mind standing in for a long period of time because it had so much interaction throughout, and it was mostly indoors so it was a great place to escape from the heat.

The queue is part of the fun of the ride experience as it immerses you into the world of Indiana Jones. If you look on the walls of the queue there are hieroglyphic which could be translated with a Marabic decoder card which was be given to each guest upon entering. You’ll probably miss it now a days because the FastPass allows you to skip through most of the queue where you would’ve spent your time figuring out what the words on the wall said. Continuing through the queue there’s a spike room where if you pull on the bamboo stick that looks out of place it makes the room sound like its about to come down on you. Upon entering the great room you’ll see a mining expedition happening and if you pull on the rope you’ll get responses from the trapped explorer.

The ride itself was a revelation to your typical roller coaster as instead of being in a chain of linked pods, you’re strapped into a 16 seat jeep which can dip in any direction, and speed up or slow down at any time. This allows the ride experience to change on a moments notice, and the ride being a pretty dim light can really enhance the experience without actually having to travel at high speeds like a typical roller coaster.

  • nostalgia level: 4
  • excitement level: 10
  • restrictions: 3′ 4″ (1.02 m)
  • wait time: 20-90 minutes
  • fast pass: yes

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