We move along in our attraction rankings to the classic Disneyland Park. To read all of our attraction rankings posts, click here. Before we get to Disneyland’s rides, here are a few rules that I follow to make these entirely subjective rankings. Rules are obviously important.
- 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 ToonTown houses and stuff 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. 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 amazing ones. Alright, from worst to first, here are the Disneyland attraction rankings!
36. Gadget’s Go Coaster – Honestly, I kind of like all of these attractions. Gadget’s Go Coaster is nothing too exciting, just a roller coaster for young kids in ToonTown. This loses points for having a pretty long line even though it’s the shortest ride in Disneyland. You don’t have to worry about skipping this one anymore as Toontown has closed down for a year to be reimagined, that includes this small coaster.
35. 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. It is better than it’s Disney World counterpart though.
34. Dumbo the Flying Elephant – Dumbo is certainly a Disney classic but this version is overrated. The line is hot and usually fairly long and it’s all for a spinner. I understand why this might be a must-do for some but it is not all that enjoyable hence the low ranking here.
33. King Arthur’s Carousel – If you like carousels, then this is a good one. If you don’t like carousels then this isn’t worth your time. If you have no strong opinion about carousels then you are like everybody else in the world, congratulations!
32. 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.
31. Tarzan’s Treehouse – I’m not sure why I included this but none of the ToonTown places that you can climb on. The tree house looks great but I wish it wasn’t themed to Tarzan. There’s not much memorable here either, aside from the impressive views from the top.
30. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage – The submarines are interesting as an idea but not as much fun in reality. This is unique though and even with it being somewhat cramped in there I think everyone should try it at least once.
29. 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 memorable.
28. 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.
27. 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.
26. 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.
25. Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes – I love the idea of this, but in reality 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. I thoroughly enjoy a ride on the canoes but I’m not sure most people do.
24. 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.
23. Pinocchio’s Daring Journey – The least memorable of all the Fantasyland rides. Pinocchio’s never has a long line so it’s worth going on and there are some very endearing moments.
22. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – This is a pretty fun dark ride that always looks slightly better than you remember. On the other hand, it took the spot of Country Bear Jamboree and I might be a little bitter…
21. 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.
20. Snow White’s Enchanted Wish – I was fully prepared to be disappointed in the changes to Snow White. I loved the dark side of the old attraction. To my surprise, the changes made didn’t hurt the ride really at all. Some of the scenes added are quite beautiful. While I’m not sure the plot is improved, it’s easy to tell that some care was taken with the changes. For now it stays in the same spot as Snow White’s Scary Adventure was.
19. 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 wonderful models and paintings while the actual attraction is a beautiful ode to Honest Abe.
18. 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.
17. 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 like the variation in scenes and it’s always fun to see the new ones.
16. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run – One of Disneyland’s newest attraction (in Galaxy’s Edge) showcases the future of ride technology, adding an interactive element to an adventure ride. Piloting the Falcon is an amazing experience for Star Wars fans but the ride stands on its own right even if you know little about the franchise. I’d like to see them mix up the story and add scenes here.
15. Mark Twain Riverboat/Sailing Ship Columbia – One of my favorite peaceful experiences in any Disney Park is riding the Mark Twain right around sunset. The boat ride around Rivers of America is serene and gorgeous. I think the changes made to the river actually have improved the boat ride. The Columbia is also worth a ride!
14. 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, encompassing the zaniness of its source material.
13. 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.
12. Jungle Cruise – Another attraction that could certainly be ranked higher. The Jungle Cruise has wonderful scenes and is one of the most quotable attractions in a Disney Park. 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.
11. 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.
10. 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.
9. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride – Perhaps the zaniest ride of them all, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride takes guests to Hell and back. 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 a favorite.
8. 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.
7. Space Mountain – Disneyland is home to the strongest top-8 (you could stretch it to 10 or 15) attractions in the whole world. Space Mountain could be number one on many people’s lists and I wouldn’t blame them at all. It’s an iconic attraction with a marvelous soundtrack.
6. Haunted Mansion – I 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. The Nightmare Before Christmas overlay is fantastic and would rank higher on this list.
5. 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 are well worth the back ache that the bumpy track will give you.
4. 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.
3. Rise of the Resistance – Disneyland’s top ten attractions are so hard to rank that I’ve been trying to figure out where to put Rise of the Resistance for nearly a year. Today, I settled on third place but tomorrow it could be sixth or first. This Star Wars attraction is a modern marvel combining the latest technology with immersive story from the start of the queue to stepping off the ride.
2. Splash Mountain – Splash Mountain will probably soak you. But before and after that, you’ll be met by some of the most incredible ride 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 every scene 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. 36 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.
How would your Disneyland attraction rankings differ? Let us know, along with any other questions you might have, in the comments below. Planning a trip to Disneyland? Check out our Planning Guide here. If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!