For those of us thrill-junkies, a trip to the Disney Parks is not complete without a daily dose of adrenaline. Isn’t there just something so freeing about screaming at the top of your lungs while you plummet hundreds of feet from sky to earth? I think so! While the thrill rides at Disneyland Resort are far tamer than other SoCal theme parks (Six Flags, Knott’s, etc.), there are still plenty of rides sure to give you a major rush. Here is my list of the top ten most thrilling rides at Disneyland and California Adventure:
10. Star Tours- The Adventures Continues
Although I truly do scream my head off every time I ride Star Tours, I am ranking this thrill ride as #10 because it is a motion simulated ride. I find that no matter how advanced the technology may be, my imagination is still not fully engaged in a motion stimulated ride. That aside, Star Tours takes you on an epic journey through space. The most thrilling part of Star Tours for me is that you really never experience the same ride twice. The segments of the story are randomly combined with each adventure, creating a new plot line with each ride.
9. Indiana Jones Temple of the Forbidden Eye
Jump into your military vehicle and enjoy a turbulent, bumpy ride through the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. Indiana Jones is an overall pretty thrilling ride, but I never find myself screaming for my life. While the ride itself is esthetically breath-taking, the strapped-in seat on the vehicle’s track makes you feel awfully safe. I remember riding this ride as a child and not being too scared at all. On a separate note, I have heard a rumor before (not sure if it’s true) that the best seat in this ride is in the back-row, far right seat. Supposedly, the ride was designed so that the person sitting in this seat gets the full experience and can visualize the ride to the fullest. Try it out next time and see for yourself!
8. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Riding Big Thunder had always been a relaxing AND thrilling experience for me. Yes, I realize those two things contradict each other. However, while you are whipping around the mountain at fairly decent speeds, the views and fresh air make one feel at peace. Big Thunder has some very quick and jolting times, which up the thrill level, but for the most part it’s a fairly calm coaster. One of the most exciting parts would have to be dynamite, which goes off around you as you build towards the biggest drop in the ride. While I know the dynamite is a prop, it still always gets my heart pumping!
7. Matterhorn Bobsleds
The Matterhorn Bobsleds are definitely the most thrilling of all the classic Disneyland rides. The towering Matterhorn Mountain echo’s the screams of its riders across the entirety of the park. Although this ride has been refurbished over the years, it is still pretty old-school. A classic steel coaster, The Matterhorn doesn’t have quite the speed or build of other, newer coasters. And while the ride is still to this day incredibly popular, it is pretty “suitable for children” tame.
6. Grizzly River Run
One of the most thrilling aspects of Grizzly River Run is that you are going to get WET! There is really no way around it with this ride. Grizzly River Run is the biggest water rapids ride in the world, and it is a whole lotta fun! Apart from the large drops and wild rapids, the raft you travel in spins like mad as you splash your way down the river. If getting wet isn’t your thing, I would HIGHLY recommend wearing a poncho for this soak-fest!
5. Radiator Springs Racers
What isn’t thrilling about racing cars through the Grand Canyon!? Radiator Springs Racers is a fast-paced journey that will surely get your heart beating fast. With speeds up to 40 MPH and quick turns, bumps, and drops, you will truly feel as though you are traveling in a real racecar. This ride also brings out a fun competitive nature, wanting your car to be the one who crosses the finish line first! I could ride Radiator Springs Racers all day long!
4. Splash Mountain
Splash Mountain starts out in the most peaceful way. Here you are, strolling along a lovely little river in your cute wooden boat, and BAM! You drop for the first time, likely getting your shoes and pants soaked! But wait, you haven’t even started the real adventure and BAM! One more drop, even bigger than the first. It ends, and you feel safe, until the music turns ominous. The characters bid you goodbye, and you know the worst is coming…The big big big drop, the mother load of all drops, into a giant patch of thorns….Yeah…Splash Mountain is SUPER thrilling!
3. California Screamin’
California Screamin’ is the first roller coaster I rode in my entire life. I will never forget how nervous I was before riding it for the first time. My palms were covered in sweat and I could hardly breathe. I strapped in and listed as Neil Patrick Harris’s voice counted down for the big release. Pretty sure I didn’t stop screaming for even a second as I whipped around the track in the steel coaster. However, the second I got off the ride and my breath returned to normal, I wanted to get right back in line and go again. California Screamin’ is a GREAT way to wake up in the afternoon if you are starting to get sleepy simply from a giant bolt of adrenaline. It is the fastest ride at the Disneyland Parks and is sure to give you a major thrill!
2. Space Mountain
Space Mountain is an indoor roller coaster that takes place entirely in the pitch dark…what could be thrilling about that? This ride is ranked #2 in my book because of the element of surprise. With well-lit coasters you can visually prepare yourself for drops, turns, and loops. This is not the case with Space Mountain. You simply do not know which way you are going to go next, because you can’t see a darned thing! I ALWAYS get a Fast Pass for Space Mountain because a trip to Disneyland just is not complete without riding this incredible coaster.
1. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
I am going to be completely honest here and admit something fairly embarrassing. I have only experienced The Tower of Terror one time. Just once. That is how much it scared me to my core. I took a ride on The Tower of Terror in 2012 upon my first visit to California Adventure. (The same day I rode Screamin’ for the first time.) This ride is NOT for those who are afraid of heights/drops. Drops, to me, are the most terrifying part of any thrill ride, and this ride is the mother of all drops. Reaching dropping speeds of 30 MPH, this ride can make ANYONE scream. I fully plan on riding this ride again someday, as soon as I muster up the courage.
Have fun and embrace the fear and adrenaline, its good for you. Don’t forget to grab your fast passes and get to screaming! These ten rides are sure to impress, delight, and THRILL you at The Happiest Place on Earth!!!