Everyone has their favorite Disneyland rides, and I guess I am no exception. So depending on who you talk with, the list of “Top 10 Rides” is very likely to vary a great deal. After all each of us will have a different set of circumstances that influences their Top 10 list. It may be their memory of that favorite childhood ride, or the first time they visited the Parks and rode an attraction at a large family gathering. So I will share with you what I think are the absolute best rides at Disneyland and the California Adventure Park, based on the rides ability to take you to the edge of your seat, take your breath away, or take you into another world. Rides that give you an experience that you can’t find anywhere else, a ride that is totally unforgettable. So here is my list.
1. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom:
This is by far one of the best rides you’ll find anywhere. It begins when you first enter the ride, you’ll wind you way through thick jungle growth, past symbols of a lost ancient society, to the entrance of a grand temple. From there you walk through what feels like an endless underground corridor.
When you reach the bottom of the Temple, your adventure really begins as you board an old car and explore the depths of the Temple. It’s a rough ride through a dangerous underground world of fire and lava, wobbly suspension bridges, snakes and poison darts, and every sort of calamity that could befall an adventurous soul. It is one of my personal favorite Disneyland attractions.
2. Soaring Over California:
Soaring over California is one of those rides that tricks the mind by overwhelming your senses. From the moment you board your hang glider and lift off, to the end of the ride, you’ll be immersed into the audio and visual effects of the ride. Along with all that is happening in front of you, you’ll be surrounded by subtle aromas that help bring the sights on the screen to life. And the views are amazing. The average person will never get to see sights like this anywhere else on earth. For this reason alone, this ride is a “must do,” so be brave, strap in, and lift off on an incredible flight over California that ends at our favorite place in the world, flying right over Disneylands Main Street USA to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.
The ride may scare some people that have a fear of heights, but for the best experience I recommend cart # 1, it will give the rider the clearest views without the distraction of feet hanging down from other carts.
3. California Screamin’
California Screamin’ is by far one of the coolest roller coasters anywhere. It’s not one of those coasters designed to make you wish you had never entered the ride, but instead it is fashioned after the traditional coasters you’ll might have found on the beach a few years back. This coaster, with the tubular steel tracks is one of the smoothest rides I have ever experienced. The launch sets the tone for the entire ride as it propels you from a standing start to over 50 miles an hour in just 4 seconds. The launch is similar to the launch of an airplane off the deck of an air craft carrier. It is exhilarating and it will make you scream. At the top of the coaster is a 108 foot drop that will take your breath away, as you look nearly straight down the other side, accelerating once again to enter the one and only inversion on the ride. For my family this is one of those rides that you do over and over again, it’s just great fun for all ages.
4. Tower of Terror
The Tower of Terror name says it all. This attraction will take you back in time and surround you with a run down abandoned musty Hotel that has a haunting past. The guest is given the story in the library of the Hotel, just before they are led through back corridors to enter a service elevator, from that moment on you are in another place and time, and relive the experience of 5 people that rode the elevator on the night that lightning struck the Hotel allowing the elevator car to drop. Only this elevator drops and climbs back to the top and drops again and again. It will take your breath away, and instead of taking you to the edge of your seat, your seat will lift off the chair as you fall 13 floors. Lots of people love this ride, and ride it over and over because each time the ride changes a little and you will never have the same ride twice.
The ride is one that I don’t ride anymore, once was enough for me. But I must confess the idea of falling in an elevator 13 floors is not one of the things I look forward to, but I’m sure someday I will again.
5. Pirates of the Caribbean:
“Yo Ho – Yo Ho a Pirates life for me”.
This attraction is one of the most immersive rides at Disneyland. As you begin the ride you will slowly move through the Louisiana Bayou to a water drop and then another that will take you to an underground grotto, filled with the remnants of the Pirate life. As that familiar song plays in the background, you’ll cruise past scenes of shipwrecks and treasure and pirate bones. Finally arriving back to the days of swashbuckling pirates as they pillage and loot a village and it residents. The whole experience is one that will make you forget that you are actually underground, some of the areas are massive in scale. This ride will require you to ride it many times , just to see all that’s there.
6. Space Mountain:
Space mountain is another favorite of mine, the experience is exhilarating, the music awesome, and the ride is in total darkness except for the light given off by stars and solar systems that whiz by at breakneck speeds. The whole thing is amazing, something you won’t find anywhere else. So put on your spacesuit and get ready to launch on a mission in space. I found this video that show the ride with the lights on and had to share. I had know idea what the ride looked like till I saw this, I think I’ll keep my arms in from now on.
7. Haunted Mansion
The Haunted Mansion is another of the top 10 rides at Disneyland because the entire attraction is a feast for the eyes. As you approach the Mansion your presented with beautiful gardens and surroundings that transport you back to a grand southern style mansion that houses many secrets , as well as 999 happy haunts or ghost. Disney imagineers have left nothing out of this attraction, literally filling every nook and cranny with something for your eyes. Its great fun and not scary at all and I especially love the Holiday makeover done for halloween and Christmas. The mansion is filled with ghost at every turn, providing the onlookers with an endless supply of surprises.
8. Matterhorn Bobsleds
The first ride I ever rode at Disneyland when I as just a kid of 9. This ride has become our family’s Disneyland Tradition, when we first arrive at the Park we make our way over to The Matterhorn and ride it before we do anything else. As a kid I was amazed at the mountain and the roller coaster it contained, it just seemed so large to me. The Matterhorn Bobsleds were the first tubular steel coaster in America, and provides a fast run down the slopes past the Yeti and crystal covered caverns and provides some nice views around the park, for those who can take their eyes of the track ahead. It gets rough at times, with the twist and turns, and ends in a splash at the bottom. It’s not that this ride is so all immersive but it is an icon of Disneyland. You knew you were getting close to the park when you spotted the mountain top from the highway, which is when my excitement and anticipation would begin. I can still remember riding the Skyway gondolas that used to go through the mountain and watching the bobsleds race by in all directions.
Heres a look back to the old Skyway.
9. Grizzly River Run
The Grizzly River Run at Disney’s California Adventure Park is a wet and wild ride through white water rapids and water fall drops, ending in an area filled with geysers. The entire area is made to look like a mountain wilderness, a place where you would find only the most adventurous travelers. The setting is beautiful and there are many place for photos, There are several water falls, and turns in the river, so take a walk around and explore with your camera. You will get wet on this ride, sometimes very wet. It’s a good idea to take a zip lock sandwich bag for your wallet or camera, anything you don’t want wet put in the bag. It’s also a good idea to ride this ride on a day that will be warm, and ride it early so you will dry off before lunch.
9.5 Jungle Cruise:
The Jungle Cruise is another of those rides that are a Disneyland tradition. One of the early rides created with Walt’s influence. When on this ride it’s hard to believe that it’s in the middle of anything but the jungle. The vegetation hides almost all of the surrounding leaving you in the remote jungles of the world. The skippers on these voyages are allowed to perform a little humor along they way, and I believe many have a following of fans riding along.
It’s all great deal of fun, especially for the little ones that may not understand audio animatronics, they will believe that it’s all real, and it is.
10. Slash Mountain
Ok so thats like really 11 rides, but you have to admit that it’s hard to leave some rides out of the top ten rides at Disneyland. Even when it adds up to more than 10, I just couldn’t leave out Splash Mountain. It is a great ride, you will get wet at least a little, and you’ll leave singing the song, zip-a-dee-do-dah zip-a-dee-yea, for the rest of the day. The entire area around Splash Mountain helps to immerse you into the world of Brar Rabbit and all the gang. Just see for yourself. Its great fun for the whole family.
This ride is themed around the characters from Song of the South, an old Disney Movie that some are afraid would offend some folks, and has not been released her in the states for a long time. It is possible to find a copy from time to time. I will tell you that for me Uncle Remus was a magical man, because he was just like my great grandfather who could also talk to the birds. I’ve been trying to do that ever since, but haven’t been able to match their skills
If you would like to chime in and share your favorite top 10 Disneyland rides, leave a comment we would love to hear your thoughts too!