Today we’ll continue our series of ranking all the attractions in a certain Disney park. A couple of weeks ago we started with California Adventure. To see that post and an introduction to the series, you can click here. For now, let’s brush up on the rules.
- No Meet & Greets. These are impossible to rank as each experience is unique. Also, I don’t particularly like them.
- No Live Shows. Nighttime shows are almost always better than rides, in my eyes. Also, big stage shows are impressive and don’t fit the profile of a typical ride. I will include 3D movies though. Basically you have to physically ride something or it has to be a show without live acting. The stuff in ToonTown that you can climb around on won’t be included here. It would have ranked pretty poorly, if you’re curious.
- These are all my opinion. Lou Mongello constantly says that “every attraction is someones favorite.” While that is corny and seems a little silly, I do think it’s true. I can’t account for other people’s memories in these rankings and will try (probably unsuccessfully) to take some of the nostalgia out of my views of these attractions. You’ll likely disagree with these rankings. Please let me know what you disagree with in the comments.
Today we continue this series in Disneyland. This park has more attractions than any in the U.S. and no shortage of greatness. As usual, I’ll add in a sentence or two about each attraction. If I happen to leave something off of the list please let me know in the comments. I’m not going to include holiday overlays of attractions, even though Disneyland offers some pretty good ones. Alright, from worst to first, here are the Disneyland attraction rankings!
35. Star Wars: Path of the Jedi – The least inspired Disneyland attraction earns it the bottom spot on this list. This show, which currently sits in the theater by Space Mountain, tells the Star Wars story in quick fashion. It’s basically a recap and not something that is really worthy of your time.
34. Gadget’s Go Coaster – Aside from number 34, I kind of like all of these attractions. Gadget’s Go Coaster is nothing too exciting, just a roller coaster for young kids in Fantasyland. This loses points for having a pretty long line even though it’s the fastest ride in Disneyland.
33. Casey Jr. Circus Train – This is a train for little kids in Fantasyland. Again, nothing too exciting here but I do like the location of the train and some of the scenery along its tracks.
32. Pinocchio’s Daring Journey – The least memorable of all the Fantasyland rides. To be honest, I’m having trouble recalling anything of significance about this attraction.
31. Tarzan’s Treehouse – I’m not sure why I included this but none of the ToonTown places that you can climb on. The treehouse looks great and is fun but it does take some effort to hike to the top and I wish it wasn’t themed to Tarzan. There’s not much memorable here either, aside from the attraction looking cool.
30. Autopia – I understand that this is classic Disneyland but there isn’t much about this attraction that is good anymore. It can appeal to little kids but Autopia takes a huge chunk of valuable land for a dated ride. Take out the nostalgia and this is one of the worst rides at Disneyland.
29. Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes – I love the idea of this, but in actuality this isn’t for most people. I think that it’s great that people can get out in canoes, realize how hard it is to paddle them, and then go back to shore. Really though, I think the canoes do add to Disneyland’s charm and make the river even more inviting. They are supposed to be, and I hope will be, back once the river reopens. I don’t think they are incredibly fun though.
28. King Arthur’s Carrousel – If you like carousels, then this is a good one. If you don’t like carousels then this is probably a little overrated.
27. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage – The submarines are a bit like the canoes, interesting as an idea but not as much fun in reality. This is more unique though and even with it being somewhat cramped in there I think it’s a must-do at least once.
26. Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough – Again, I’m not sure that this should be included but it ranks fairly high because guests get to walk through the iconic castle. The visuals aren’t amazing but the experience is fun.
25. Dumbo the Flying Elephant – A pretty lame actual ride with a pretty bad ride. This one earns points for being a classic but the updated Dumbo in Walt Disney World is easily better.
24. Astro Orbiter – It may be unpopular to have this spinner ahead of Dumbo but I think this one has a bit more character. I like that the Astro Orbiter lies in the front of Tomorrowland and offers views around the park. PSA: Don’t try to fit two adults into one of these vehicles.
23. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – This is a pretty fun dark ride but I don’t think it offers anything special. It also took the spot of Country Bear Jamboree and I might be a little bitter…
22. Mad Tea Party – A simple attraction that is a classic. This one is higher than Dumbo because of the theming around it and the overall appearance.
21. Snow White’s Scary Adventure – I really like Snow White’s Scary Adventure. It reminds me a bit of the more intense parts of Fantasmic! Having Fantasyland show that not all fantasies are just happy is what makes it interesting. While I think this dark ride shows it’s age in places, the overall story is great.
20. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters – Astro Blasters is one of the more enjoyable attractions in Disneyland. Now, I don’t really think it belongs in Tomorrowland and it’s plot is very minimal. But for its faults, this is alien-shooting fun for the entire family. Bonus points to Astro Blasters for being able to hold the laser guns in your hand instead of them being connected to the vehicle.
19. Storybook Land Canal Boats – I have a thing for slow boat rides. This one takes you past small-scale scenes from classic Disney movies as you float through a canal. The scenes are fun to look at and the attraction itself is really relaxing.
18. Disneyland Monorail – Another attraction that arguably shouldn’t be on this list, the Disneyland Monorail is full of history, convenient and a pretty fun ride. While there’s no story here, the monorail offers a bird’s-eye view into parts of the resort that you otherwise couldn’t see.
17. Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln – This is a wonderful audio-animatronic show that stands the test of time. I understand that it could be considered boring, but the advanced AA figure is impressive especially considering when this attraction debuted. The lobby that acts as a queue for the attraction is full of interesting models and paintings while the actual attraction is a beautiful ode to Honest Abe.
16. Enchanted Tiki Room – Speaking of classics, the Enchanted Tiki Room still is going strong after all these years. The songs are memorable and funny while the visuals are still impressive. Bonus points to the Disneyland version for being longer.
15. Alice in Wonderland – Maybe the most underrated attraction at Disneyland, Alice in Wonderland is a quintessential dark ride. I love the updates they have done over the years as the ride still feels fresh and looks good.
14. Star Tours – The Adventure Continues – I was initially surprised that this was so low on my list, as I’m sure that Star Tours is many people’s favorite. I think it’s a good attraction but it ranks low because I don’t get very excited about simulators. I do think the updates to the story have been great and I look forward to more of them.
13. Mark Twain Riverboat – I’m excited for when the riverboat starts moving again this summer. I think this attraction offers some of the best views in all of Disneyland and is a perfect way to relax. There is also plenty to learn on here, as it is a steam engine boat.
12. Disneyland Railroad – The railroad and the Mark Twain are similar in my eyes. The railroad ranks slightly higher because of the longer ride and it’s connection to Walt Disney. I’m excited to see its new path when it opens this summer.
11. Jungle Cruise – Another attraction that could certainly be ranked higher. The Jungle Cruise still has wonderful scenes and is a really good time. This attraction relies on what skipper you get on the trip through the worlds rivers. If you get a really good skipper then the Jungle Cruise definitely jumps a few spots.
10. it’s a small world – The most divisive attraction at Disney, it’s a small world is a beautiful attraction with a lot of heart. I think the show scenes are incredibly impressive and the outside facade is iconic. It may annoy some people, but I love it.
9. Haunted Mansion – I definitely prefer Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion but this one is a blast. The outside of Haunted Mansion ties New Orleans Square together and the inside is like the best, campy horror movie of all-time.
8. Hyperspace Mountain – For now, this is Hyperspace Mountain instead of just Space Mountain. For the record, if it was Space Mountain it would probably jump a spot or two. I do like this overlay though as it’s an easy transition to Star Wars as you travel in space.
7. Matterhorn Bobsleds – The Matterhorn is beautiful and the second icon of Disneyland (behind the castle.) The actual coaster is good fun too, taking you in and out of the mountain. The show scenes are pretty fun and make up for the track being really bumpy.
6. Peter Pan’s Flight – While the attraction might not quite be worth the long wait times, there is something incredibly Disney about flying over London. It is one of my favorite moments in all of the parks.
5. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride – Perhaps the zaniest ride of them all, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride takes guests to Hell and back to tell its wacky story. I think the attraction is funny, full of surprises and one of the most interesting in any Disney Park. Some would have this much lower but it is one of my favorites.
4. Indiana Jones Adventure – The scale of this attraction is as impressive as the ride itself. Guests hop on a car as Indy guides us through some less than ideal situations. This is a great thrill ride and a blast.
3. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – Big Thunder jumped quite a few spots when they made updates to the attraction a few years ago. Even though they were simple additions they were spot on and really enhanced the ride experience. The wildest ride in the wilderness fits perfectly in Frontierland and is firmly in the top five. PSA: Don’t try to fit 3 adults in one car.
2. Splash Mountain – Splash Mountain will probably soak you. But before and after that, you’ll be met by some of the most incredible show scenes that Disney has created. The soundtrack is fantastic, the audio-animatronic figures are funny and the finale is one of my favorite conclusions to a ride. Oh yeah, and there’s a big drop.
1. Pirates of the Caribbean – Speaking of incredible show scenes, Pirates of the Caribbean is the king of that. There’s a weird storyline (you go back in time and all that) to go with the gigantic scale that this attraction has. Pirates doesn’t have the thrill of some rides but it doesn’t need it, there is adventure in the scenes that guests see. Everything about Pirates of the Caribbean is near perfection.
Disneyland definitely isn’t lacking for good rides to go on. Frankly, from about 25 on down there are attractions that everyone should try at least once. 35 attractions (plus other entertainment) is way more than any other stateside theme park offers and that, along with the quality, is what sets Disneyland apart.
Where did I go wrong in my rankings? Let me know in the comments below! Thank you for reading Wandering in Disney.