The 20 Best Rides at Disneyland Resort

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 What are the best rides at Disneyland Resort? From the classics in Fantasyland to the exciting new thrills of Star Wars- Galaxy’s Edge, there are so many great rides that you won’t want to miss on your next big trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. Everyone has their favorites but these rides are consistently rank as the best rides at Disneyland by Trekaroo’s Disney-obsessed members.

Don’t head to Disneyland without reading all of our Disneyland tips first!

The Best Rides at Disneyland

1. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Storm Troopers from Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance | Photo by Sharlene Earnshaw

Minimum Height Requirement: 40 inches

FastPass Enabled: No 

Single Rider: No

Disney calls Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance their most ambitious ride to date because it pushed the boundaries of technology and sets a new standard for guest immersion. We call it one of their best rides ever!

This new attraction clocks in at over 17 minutes long, and transports guests right into a Star Wars film. It begins with a holo-transmission from Rey and features a ride aboard an Intersystem Transport Ship captained by a very realistic Mon Calamari named Lieutenant Bek.

Then riders are captured by the First Order and enter a room filled with 50 Stormtroopers. They get interrogated by General Organa and Kylo Ren, placed in a cell, and freed by the Resistance- and that’s before the actual “ride” portion of the attraction actually begins!

The great thing about this experience is that it uses such cutting-edge technology to immerse guests in the Star Wars experience. It isn’t a roller coaster, but it is still thrilling.

Check out the video below for a sneak peak at the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance experience.


 

2. Radiator Springs Racers

Radiator Springs Racers in Disneyland is one of the best rides
Radiator Springs Racers | Photo by Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort

Minimum Height Requirement: 40 inches

FastPass Enabled: Yes

Single Rider: Yes

Radiator Springs Racers has been the most popular ride at Disney’s California Adventure since it opened back in 2012. This ride is beloved by everyone who rides it because it is visually stunning, features beloved characters from the Cars franchise, and is thrilling but not too thrilling to deter those who don’t like roller coasters.

My family prefers to ride this attraction during the daylight so that we can fully enjoy the red rock splendor of Radiator Springs. Make this ride a FastPass priority because lines are almost always long. Single rider is a great option for this ride if you can’t snag a FastPass. 

3. Space Mountain

Space Mountain is one of the best rides at Disneyland
Space Mountain | Photo by Sharlene Earnshaw

Minimum Height Requirement: 40 inches

FastPass Enabled: Yes

Single Rider: Yes

If my kids and I had to pick our all-time favorite ride at Disneyland, it would be Space Mountain. This roller coaster has been a park mainstay since 1975 and has been thrilling riders with its dark and speedy ride through space every since. There are no loops or big drops, but the speedy turns as the ride whips through “outer space” have made this ride a park favorite for decades.

Over the years, the ride has taken on special themes from time to time like Hyperspace Mountain in honor of Star Wars and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy during select Halloween seasons, but the original  is still something to get excited about. We love trying to make funny faces as the coaster enters the tunnel at the end of the ride and the camera’s flash catches us in all our silliness.

4. Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the best rides in Disneyland
Give Us the Key! A Famous Scene From Pirates of the Caribbean | Photo by Disney Parks

Minimum Height Requirement: None

FastPass Enabled: No

Single Rider: No

I don’t think there is a ride that I have been on more than Pirates of the Caribbean. It truly is one of the best rides at Disneyland. Great for all ages, this ride just does such a great job at storytelling and is filled with iconic scenes that us frequent parkgoers look forward to seeing each time we visit.

Keep your eye out for Jack Sparrow as you ride the ride. The first time you will spot him is just after passing by Carlos, who clearly did something to upset the pirates because he is being dunked in a well. The animals of Pirates of the Caribbean are some of my favorite characters- from the jovial pigs to the key wielding mutt to the screeching cats. “Here kitty, kitty, kitty!”

5. Soarin’ Around the World

Saorin Around the World in Disney California Adventure
Soarin’ Around the World | Photo by Disney Parks

Minimum Height Requirement: 40 inches

FastPass Enabled: Yes

Single Rider: No

When they changed Soarin’ in Disney California Adventure from a California theme to a global theme, I was pretty upset. The ride filled us California locals with so much pride because it showcased the tremendous beauty and diversity of our state. How could they possibly top it?

Well…. they did. The global theme is exciting and does a great job at sparking the desire to travel around the world in those who ride it. How can we possibly be upset about that?

Definitely make it a priority to hang glide some of the globe’s most iconic landscapes. It is fun to soar over polar bears in Greenland, the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower, and several other iconic sites. I have yet to meet a single person who doesn’t love this ride!

6. Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion Holiday
Haunted Mansion Holiday | Photo by Sharlene Earnshaw

Minimum Height Requirement: None

FastPass Enabled: Yes

Single Rider: No

Hop inside a “doom buggy” and take a cruise through the darker side of Disneyland. This attraction is part walk-through experience and part slow ride, so it is suitable for all ages. It is creepy at some points, but not really scary.

If you have little ones who might be intimidated by the haunted concept, try this ride during the Halloween and Christmas season when it has been made over to become Haunted Mansion Holiday. Jack Skellington and his pals take over the ride and it becomes less creepy and more fun. My family enjoys this seasonal version much more than the original attraction

7. Millennium Falcon- Smugglers Run

Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run
The Exterior of the Millennium Falcon | Photo by Sharlene Earnshaw

Minimum Height Requirement: 38 inches

FastPass Enabled: No

Single Rider: Yes

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to pilot the Millennium Falcon? Disney has created a replica version of the Falcon so can you finally get a chance to help pilot the most famous ship in the galaxy! 

While waiting in line for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, visitors can use the Play Disney Parks app to take on jobs for Hondo Ohnaka and prove you are ready to pilot the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy. 

 Once on the ride, each rider will be assigned one of three important roles: pilot, gunner, or engineers. Everyone has to work together to successfully complete the mission. Gunners shoot down enemy ships, engineers fix and damage that the ship acquires, and pilots fly the ship. The entire experience is intense, wildly fun, and feels insanely realistic. 

A word of caution- if you are prone to motion sickness on 3-D motion rides like Star Tours, you may find this ride getting to you as well.

Read our in-depth coverage of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

8. Incredicoaster

Incredicoaster at Disneyland Disney California Adventure is a great ride
Incredicoaster Looms Large Over Pixar Pier | Photo by Sharlene Earnshaw

Minimum Height Requirement: 48 inches

FastPass Enabled: Yes

Single Rider: Yes

Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure was transformed into Pixar Pier during the summer of 2018, and with that transformation came the Incredicoaster. While the track of this roller coast did not change (the ride was formerly know as California Screamin’), the enhancement and Incredibles theme have made this ride even more fun than it was before.

We love the launch at the beginning of this thrill ride, chasing Baby Jack-Jack through the tunnels, and whirling our way through the roller coaster’s loop (the only loop on any of the rides at the Disneyland Resort). My family’s favorite time to ride this coaster is during sunset, when the sky is aglow and the lights of the park are just started to flicker on.

9. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad | Photo by Sharlene Earnshaw

Minimum Height Requirement: 40 inches

FastPass Enabled: Yes

Single Rider: No

“Hang on to your hats and glasses, because this here is the most wild ride in the wilderness!”

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a great “first coaster” for kids who might be intimidated by attractions like Space Mountain or  Incredicoaster. The rides provides enough thrill to keep things exciting, but has some breaks in between the speedy action and doesn’t have any big drops.

The scenery and storytelling in this ride was enhanced in 2014, and the upgrades have made the ride that much more fun! Tip: when you spot the Billy goats at the top of the hill, keep your eyes on them for as long as you can when you whip around the corner. For some reason it makes the ride feel faster.

10. Guardians of the Galaxy- Mission BREAKOUT

Guardians of the Galaxy ride at Disney California Adventure
Guardians of the Galaxy–Mission: BREAKOUT! | Photo by Rob Sparacio/Disneyland Resort

Minimum Height Requirement: 40 inches

FastPass Enabled: Yes

Single Rider: No

When they changed this ride from the Tower of Terror to Guardians of the Galaxy- Mission BREAKOUT!, the atmosphere changed from creepy to just plain fun! Screams are interspersed with laughter as this ride sends guests up and down the tower at stomach fluttering speed.

Beloved characters from Guardians of the Galaxy such as Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Gamora, and Star-Lord make appearances, as do tracks from Star-Lord’s beloved 80’s mix tapes. Since this ride is entirely indoors, anytime is a good time to enjoy it. 

11. Jungle Cruise

Jungle Cruise is at Disneyland
Elephants Playing in the Water on the Jungle Cruise | Photo by Disney Parks

Minimum Height Requirement: None

FastPass Enabled: No 

Single Rider: No

I couldn’t create a list of the best rides at Disneyland without including one of the originals. Jungle Cruise has been taking passengers on cruises through the world’s rivers since 1955. Yes, it is cheesy, but that is part of the fun!

Whether you are gazing at mischievous animals or the back half of Schweitzer Falls, boat skippers will keep you entertained with jokes so bad, you can’t help but laugh. This ride is is slow moving and not scary, so everyone can enjoy it.

Did you know that some famous folks once worked the corny joke scene as Jungle Cruise boat skippers? John Lasseter, Kevin Costner, and Steve Martin have all had the honor of perfecting their public personas while working the ride. 

12.Toy Story Midway Mania

Toy Story Midway Mania is a fun ride at Disney California Adventure
Toy Story Midway Mania Cars } Photo by Flickr/Camknows

Minimum Height Requirement: None

FastPass Enabled: Yes

Single Rider: No

My kids and I were absolutely thrilled when they finally made Toy Story Mania FastPass enabled! This attraction is really fun, so the lines are often quite long. You will feel your competitive drive come out as you don 3D glasses and compete against your fellow car passengers in various carnival games.

The secret to a high score is not waste time trying to hit the low value objects. Instead, prioritize trying to knock down all the high point value objects, which are often towards the top of the screen or revealed when popping specially colored balloons.

13. Indiana Jones Adventure

Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland
Indiana Jones Adventure | Photo by Disney Parks

Minimum Height Requirement: 46 inches

FastPass Enabled: Yes

Single Rider: Yes

Indiana Jones opened my senior year of high school (yes, I am dating myself) and when it did, it was a really big deal. The ride was so cutting edge and provided big thrills without having to be on a roller coaster track. It really feels like you are riding in a jeep on a death-defying adventure!

Today, it continues to thrill riders with an immersive ride queue, lots of adventure, and plenty of suspense. Kids who scare easily or are fearful of the dark might find this ride to be a little too intense.

14. Peter Pan’s Flight

Peter Pans Flight at Disneyland
Peter Pan’s Flight | Photo by Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort

Minimum Height Requirement: None

FastPass Enabled: No

Single Rider: No

Peter Pan’s Flight is easily the most popular ride in Fantasyland. Lines get long in a hurry (thanks in part to a slow ride loading system and no FastPass), so make this one of the first rides you ride when you get to the park.

Why is Peter Pan so popular? Part of the reason might be that there is no minimum ride height or scary scenes. Another might be that Peter Pan appeals to both girls and boys because it isn’t a princess-themed movie. Honestly, I think the real reason is that riders get to fly through the sky in a pirate ship above Neverland. I mean, who doesn’t want to do that?

Here is our guide to the best Disneyland rides for toddlers and preschoolers. 

15. It’s a Small World

Its a Small World Facade
It’s a Small World Facade | Photo by Sharlene Earnshaw

Minimum Height Requirement: None

FastPass Enabled: Yes

Single Rider: No

I may get some hate mail for including this one on the list but there are few rides more iconic than It’s a Small Word at Disneyland. The exterior of the ride, with its topiary creatures and performing clock, is absolutely brilliant when lit up for the holiday season.

Yes, the song will get stuck in your head for days (and probably already is as you are reading this), but this is one of the few rides that nearly everyone can ride without intimidation. It is fun to spot Disney characters throughout the ride and you can’t deny, those singing dolls from around the world are awfully cute!

Trekaroo Tip: The FastPass kiosk for It’s a Small World is located across from the Matterhorn Bobsleds, not in front of the actual ride. 

16. Dumbo

 

Dumbo at DIsneyland
Dumbo Flying Through the Sky | Photo by Flickr hmestre

Minimum Height Requirement: None

FastPass Enabled: No 

Single Rider: No

We have all wanted to fly atop an elephant holding at feather ever since we first saw the classic Disney movie, right? Dumbo is another classic Fantasyland ride that we can’t get enough of. This ride is especially popular with infants, toddlers, and skittish children because they can see exactly what the ride is about before they get on. 

There is no FastPass for Dumbo so opt to ride early, during the parades, or after fireworks to avoid the longest lines. 

17. Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain
Splash Mountain | Photo by Sharlene Earnshaw

Minimum Height Requirement: 40 inches

FastPass Enabled: Yes

Single Rider: Yes

Every great theme park needs a great water ride, especially in sunny Southern California! Splash Mountain takes the classic log ride and transforms it into a Disney storytelling masterpiece. Yes, there is an epic drop and plenty of opportunities to get wet, but there is also a fun story of Brer Rabbit and lots of great music to enjoy along the way. 

18. Star Tours

Star Tours
Star Tours | Photo by Sharlene Earnshaw

Minimum Height Requirement: 40 inches

FastPass Enabled: Yes

Single Rider: Yes

Long before Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, there was Star Tours. This ride was epic when it first launched in Tomorrowland back in 1987, and it continues to thrill to this day. The ride has gone through some updates over the years and the technology really does immerse riders in a space adventure.

The newest incarnation of the ride, dubbed The Adventures Continue, features characters from The Phantom Menace and The Rise of Skywalker as well as classic droid friends from the original trilogy- C3PO and R2D2. There are 18 different filmed segments, resulting in 384 possible ride experiences. You never know what you are going to get! 

Riders prone to motion sickness may have issues on this ride, especially when the ship enters hyperspace. 

19. Grizzly River Run

Grizzly River Run in Disney California Adventure
Grizzly River Run | Photo by Flickr/Harshlight

Minimum Height Requirement: 42 inches

FastPass Enabled: Yes

Single Rider: No

Put on a poncho and climb on board Grizzly River Rapids, Disney California Adventure’s thrilling water ride. Expect to get soaked as you make your way through scenes reminiscent of California’s forested mountains. The drops and twists make it extra fun, especially when the ride turns at the last moment and your friend gets doused instead of you!

As one would expect, lines are longer for this ride on hot days. The ride is often shut down for repairs in January or February. 

20. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
The Entrance to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride | Photo by Sharlene Earnshaw

Minimum Height Requirement: None

FastPass Enabled: No 

Single Rider: No

One of the best rides at Disneyland for families with little ones is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Located in Fantasyland, this classic dark ride has a no height restrictions which means the whole family can ride together. Little kids love it because they think they are the ones steering the car and parents like it because this ride has a bit more energy than the others in this part of the park. 

 

About the author

Sharlene Earnshaw is Trekaroo’s Editor in Chief. She lives in sunny Orange County, CA, with her husband and 13-year-old son and daughter (twins!). She is a self-proclaimed National Park junkie and has the goal of visiting each and every one with her kids. When she isn't traveling to places like Norway, Peru, Disney World, and Hawaii with her family, she enjoys hiking, beach days, obsessively rooting for the San Francisco 49ers, and planning her brood's next trip.

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