Disneyland's Best Rides

Best Rides at Disneyland California

If you want to know what are the best Disneyland rides, the list below is the answer. It's more than just one person's opinion, based on rider polls and online reviews. But it's also curated by in-person testing, and observing how long each ride's lines are.

But there are more ways to classify rides. If you're looking for the Best Disneyland rides for kids, Peter Pan's Flight and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage come out on top. Space Mountain and the Incredibles are among the best Disneyland roller coasters. And if you want to do what everyone else is doing, check the list of most popular Disneyland rides.

01 of 14

Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square
Steve/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

It took 15 years to plan this quintessential Disneyland ride, which features 999 ghosts living in a haunted "retirement home."

Disney Haunted Mansion gets gussied up for the holidays every year, its decor inspired by Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Disney Haunted Mansion is exclusive to Disneyland in California. During that time of year, it's so good that you may want to ride it twice — or more.

As great at Haunted Mansion is, find out how to have even more fun when you ride it.

02 of 14

Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean Disneyland
Adapted from mliu92/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

The Pirates of the Caribbean Ride was first conceived in 1948 but was a long time coming. It opened in 1969. You start on a quiet bayou boat ride, but suddenly you're up in the middle of a pirate raid, complete with cannons blasting and fires blazing. The scenes you'll pass include original movie props and a glittering "Treasure Cache," with more than 400,000 gold coins and set pieces.

How many animated Jack Sparrow characters are packed into this ride? Use the Pirates of the Caribbean rider guide to find out.

03 of 14

Space Mountain

Disneyland's Space Mountain
Matthew Simmons / Getty Images

Riding Space Mountain feels like flying through the universe among the stars. This indoor dark ride has been a visitor favorite since it first opened in 1977. It's a metal-railed roller coaster that's all the more fun because it's all in the dark.

Get tips for having more fun and find out about seating restrictions in the Space Mountain rider guide.

04 of 14

Star Tours

Star Tours at Disneyland
Courtesy of the Disneyland Resort

Based on the George Lucas Film Star Wars, this 1980s-vintage ride has a twenty-first-century upgrade with excellent 3-D effects. Umpteen combinations of events and outcomes — each featuring images from various of the Star Wars episodes — ensure that you can ride it repeatedly without getting bored.

Use the Star Tours rider guide to get some fun facts about the ride.

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05 of 14

Indiana Jones Adventure

Indiana Jones Adventure
© Disney/LucasFilm Ltd

This ride is almost as popular as the films that it's based on, and it has one of the best-themed entrance queues, with plenty to keep you entertained while you're waiting.

Riders play 1935 tourists en route to visit the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. Its "jungle transport" vehicles resemble military Hummers but are moving motion-simulators with onboard sound. The vehicle bounces, stutters, stops and starts, and variations make every Indiana Jones Adventure ride unique: you could potentially ride it 160,000 times and never experience the same thing twice.

You can learn how to save time waiting and what to do in the queue if you get stuck by using the Indiana Jones Adventure rider's guide.

06 of 14

Peter Pan's Flight

Boarding Peter Pan's Flight
©Betsy Malloy Photography

Peter Pan's Flight is perhaps the best Disneyland ride for kids, but lots of adults love it, too.

The vehicles are suspended from above, giving more of a feeling of flying, and they look like small sailing ships.

For all of its popularity, Peter Pan is not a FASTPASS ride. Find out how to cope with the lines and get tips for a better experience in the Peter Pan's Flight rider's guide.

07 of 14

Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain
KeithJ/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Inspired by the Disney movie "Song of the South." It follows Brer Rabbit, who leaves his Briar Patch to find his laughing place. Pursued by Brer Fox and Brer Bear, he outsmarts them for a while but is caught and put in Brer Fox's cave atop 87-foot-tall Chickapin Hill. 

The ride is a half-mile long with five drops ending in a 52-foot, 45-degree, 40-mile-per-hour plunge.

The splash at the bottom is sure to get you wet - or at least a little damp, but you can use the Splash Mountain rider's guide to find out how to keep that to a minimum.

08 of 14

Mad Tea Party

Mad Tea Party at Disneyland
tom.arthur/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

It's iconic. It's dizzy-making. For some riders, it's motion sickness inducing. And everyone loves it anyway. Those rotating teacups somehow spin a web of desire that keeps its riders coming back for more.

And few people know that you can control the spin (and the dizzy factor). You can find out how in the Mad Tea Party rider guide.

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09 of 14

Matterhorn Bobsleds

Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland
Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort

This roller coaster pulls you up to eight stories high before sending you flying down to earth past mountain scenes and the elusive Abominable Snowman.

You'll find plenty of fun facts about the ride, along with tips for shortening your waiting time in the Matterhorn Bobsleds rider guide.

10 of 14

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Riding Big Thunder Mountain
Loren Javier/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Big Thunder has been at Disneyland since the early days when Imagineers combed the desert for parts of old machinery to decorate the surroundings.

It simulates a runaway train careening through an abandoned mine complex and past scenery reminiscent of Bryce Canyon and the desert southwest, It's fun and packs more into the apparently small footprint than you might expect. 

To find out how to do the "goat trick" and get more tips for riding, use the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad rider guide.

11 of 14

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

Finding Nemo Ride at Night
©2013 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

Riders have a love or hate relationship with Finding Nemo, but if you fell in love with the film, how could you miss it?  It's an amazing piece of technological wizardry that creates an effect as enjoyable as its namesake.

But - it loads slowly and can feel a little claustrophobic.

12 of 14

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Dumbo the Flying Elephant at Disneyland
John Delorey/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Dumbo must have been many kids' first Disneyland ride, and it's so popular that they have two of them in Florida.

Those cute little elephants are photograph-worthy, and it's gentle enough for pretty much anyone to ride.

If your kid's heart is set on riding Dumbo, don't miss out. Use the rider's guide to find out when it's always closed (and more).

Continue to 13 of 14 below.
13 of 14

Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run

Artist's Concept for Star Wars Land
Disney Parks

Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run is the first ride to open in at Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland. 

On a flight simulator ride, guests actually pilot the Millennium Falcon, the fastest ship in the galaxy. They steer the vessel through space, firing the laser cannons, and are in complete control of their individual experience.

The story changes depending on the crew's actions. 

14 of 14

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Artist's Concept for Star Wars Land
Disney Parks

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is an immersive attraction that will put you in the middle of a climactic between the First Order and the Resistance and will blur the lines between fantasy and reality. It will open in 2019, but no date has yet been announced.

Plans hint that guests would be guided through long, plot-filled stories before boarding their ride vehicles. 

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