There are well over 30 Rides and a Whole Host of Attractions a Disneyland. Far more than at most theme parks. The good news is this gives the huge crowds something to do at all times, but it can be a real assault on the sensors and you can be completely spoiled for choice. What to head towards and what is and isn’t worth the queue times. It is very easy to almost freeze and end up not really seeing the best the park has to offer.
As such we put together a Definitive Ride Guide for Disneyland California, a Full list of all Disneyland Park Rides and Attractions to help you plan out your day and get the best out of your visit to Disney land California.
To get on the most amount of rides possible you need to make the best use of the Genie+ system. Click our Genie+ guide here to find out everything you need to know.
Disney California Adventure Park Ride Guide
If you are heading to Disney’s California Adventure we have a separate Ride guide for this park here. DCA Park is a more adult-themed park with bigger, badder rides and fewer simple dark rides. We love both parks and find the best way to visit is a Park Hopper Ticket.
Using Our Disneyland California Ride Guide
For each land, we are going to point out the different rides in that area. Most have got their own detailed page giving you more information about each ride. Some are pretty basic family rides and not really worth a full page so we deal with them here.
This Guide covers EVERY ride available in the Park, chances are, unless its exceptionally quiet or you really work Genie+ exceptionally hard you won’t have time to ride everything, there are over 30 rides at Disneyland California along with the many other attractions, character meets, food and drink stands and just amazing things to see. As such we have compiled our list of the Top 10 Rides at Disneyland to give you a “Must-ride” list for those rides you just can’t miss out on.
- Top 10 Disneyland Rides
- Top 10 Disney California Adventure Rides
- Top 10 Disneyland AND California Adventure Park Hopper Rides
There are also attractions in each area, these are not rides but more things to see and do. If something is worth seeing we will point it out. There are also a lot of Character meet and greets available and while some a random there are lots of regular set pieces and we will point these out too.
Disneyland, California Lands:
STAR WARS: Galaxy’s Edge
A Galaxy’s Edge has been Disney’s big project for a good few years now: to the point very little has really happened with regard to new rides, or new areas for several years as they plowed full speed ahead with building a fully realized galactic outpost in the park. After Disney acquired the Star Wars franchise, it made sense to build a new land for Star Wars and Disney fans alike to visit. The area consists of 2 main rides: Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Rise of Resistance.
When I was 7 the thought of piloting the Millenium Falcon would put me in a dizzy spin, now far too many years later, it still does. And the Smugglers run does just that, well for two of the six ride occupants anyway. This interactive adventure takes riders aboard the Falcon and out into the Galaxy on their very own mission where your actions actually affect, loosely, the outcome of the mission – Our Rating 4.5 – Read More…
The Headline Ride at Galaxy’s Edge, Rise Of the Resistance is Dsineys Show Piece attraction. 18 Minutes long and Transporting you to an Orbiting Star Destroyer, The ride is incredibly immersive and features cutting-edge technology. This is Disney at its absolute best. Unthinkably Brilliant Imagineering and bleeding-edge tech combine to build one of the most compelling and intricate experiences imaginable! – Our Rating 5/5 – Read More…
Main Street, USA
This replica of a classic old-time main street is the first place you will pass as you head into Disneyland. There is not much here in terms of rides but it’s the hub of the park and the location for many of the park’s shows and attractions.
The Disney Railroad is a Narrow gauge railroad that circles the park providing panoramic views, transportation, and pleasant ride to the 4 corners of the park. As a means of transport, it’s pretty rubbish. It can easily take 15-20 mins to get aboard which in most cases is enough time to walk to where ever you are going. That is not really the point, however, and the Railroad is more geared toward pleasure rides. It is a heritage railroad using real steam locomotives and is basically Walt’s fantasy train set brought to life.
The Seating uses a stadium design so everyone gets a great view as the train steams around the park. It’s well worth setting aside a bit of time to enjoy something that brought Walt so much joy and really take in the park.
Miniature Vintage Vehicles offering rides down the Main Street USA Disneyland – Read More
Mickey’s Soundsational Parade
Main Street Cinema
Adventure land only occupies a small area of the park as far as the concourse goes but the ride areas inhabit a big chunk of the park where the Imagineers have constructed a full living breathing Jungle. There are only two rides here but both are big hitters, along with some interesting attractions and good food stalls including the Tiki Juice bar/Dole Stand, where you can get the world-famous Dole Whip!
Fantastic theming and a fun ride through a typical Indiana Adventure make this ride one of our favorites at Disneyland – Our Rating – 4.2 – Read more… UPDATE: Indiana Jones Adventure ride will close on January 9th. 2023 for refurbishments with no exact date to re-open (Official Disney website currently says Spring 2023)
The World Famous Jungle Cruise mixes a pleasant journey around a convincing jungle habitat with some pretty hilarious ride commentary making this one for the whole family – Our Rating – 3.8 – Read more…
Enchanted Tiki Rooms
A trip back to the old west, or so the area proclaims. Apart from being the home to the Big Thunder Mountain Railway and having a few old-time Midway games (the shooting gallery is great fun!) the theme is a little weak on this one. It’s really an area that you walk through to get to other places or attractions.
That’s not to say the rides and attractions here are to be ignored, not at all, it’s that they are the reason to visit the area rather than the area itself.
The biggest Coaster in Disneyland and the most thrilling. This runaway mine train is really fun but it is not the scariest ride out there, but that was never the aim – Our Rating – 4.1 – Read More…
Mark Twain Riverboat
A highly detailed, fantastically preserved, and fully functional steam-powered riverboat. The boat is open to ride as she sails along the Rivers of America around Tom Sawyer Island. This attraction has been delighting visitors since the Park Opened and has been replicated in most other Disney parks around the world. It’s a quaint throwback to the park’s original vision and well worth taking some time out to relax about this incredible boat.
Sailing Ship Columbia
Another Replica Ship that lets visitors board and set sail on a mini Voyage around the “Rivers of America”. This time the ship is the 18th Century Sailing Ship Columbia Rediviva, The First American Ship to Sail around the world. The Replica’s journey is somewhat more limited as it takes its guests on a short 12-minute sail around Tom Sawyer Island. However, the Ship does not always sail when the park is quiet and on such days you can still board and take a look around and check out the small Maritime Museum.
Frontierland Shootin Exposition
New Orleans Square
New Orleans is known for several things but the stand-out attraction is the food. With its French influence, the City is probably the foodie capital of America! So it’s no surprise to find some of the park’s best eateries in New Orleans Square.
Other than that it’s all Pirates and Ghosts; as New Orleans is well renowned as the Gateway for most of the Pirates smuggling into the United States in the past.
Classic Disney Magic at its best. Unsophisticated, but delightfully immersive the old-school Hollywood tricks of the light bring the house alive with ghosts and ghouls in a wonderfully victorian way – Our Rating – 4.0 – Read More… UPDATE: closed from Jan 30th to remove holiday overlay. Re-open date TBC.
Ultra Detailed journey through the golden age of pirating and the inspiration foe the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise Our Rating – 4.1 – Read More…
Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
A small section of the park located up in the top right of the park as far from the entrance as possible (Prior to the arrival of Galaxy’s edge that is) This wooded area of the park avoids some of the biggest crowds but does not have too much going for it in terms of rides and attractions. The Big hitter is Splash Mountain, but The Many Adventure of Winnie the pooh, along with the chance to meet Pooh himself along with Tigger and friends is the big draw for those who want to meet the characters from Hundred Acre Wood.
Disney’s highly rated and excellently fun Log Flume Ride. The theme is a little obscure but fun and the ride itself is an excellent flume and a great way to cool down on a hot day Our Rating – 4.0 – Read More… UPDATE: Splash Mountain is undergoing a transformation. The ride will open in late 2024 as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, an attraction inspired by The Princess and the Frog.
A Bizzare and Trippy ride into the world of Winnie the Pooh!
Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes
Something a bit unexpected at a theme park, the Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes is a trip in a real free-floating canoe, powered only by the muscles of the occupants, yep, you are expected to paddle. The Canoes hold 20 Guests and 3 Crew, who are perfectly capable of powering the boat themselves, but that would be cruel! The trip around Swayer island follows a similar route to the Mark Twain and the Columbia, but unlike the large ships that run on submerged tracks, the Canoes are free-floating.
Kids really love getting out on the water in a real Canoe and it’s quite a change from the rides and roller coasters that all follow set patterns to get out and do something yourself, albeit guided. Life Jackets are available, although to our knowledge no one has ever ended up in the water, and required for younger kids.
The Heart of the Park! After arriving from Main Street and admiring the Castle from the Central concourse where Mickey and Walt take Pride Of place. The next stop is Fantasyland, where all your dreams come true! And maybe the odd nightmare too!
This is the home to all the quintessentially Disney rides and attractions, where you can walk through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Ride a Flying Elephant, Take a trip to Neverland or Wonderland, Journey under the sea to the Great Barrier Reef, or just meet, or even become a Disney Princess.
Geographically it’s a bit all over the place but the heart of the land is centered to the north of the Castle with a huge cluster of kids’ rides. This is where anyone with younger kids will spend a lot of their time.
Disney’s first-ever rollercoaster and the reason Walt allowed more and more Thrill rides into the parks. This ride really is where things started to change for the parks, so take a ride on a piece of history, but don’t expect too much compared to modern thrill rides! Our Rating – 3.3 – Read More…
A Wonderful Flying Adventure over the Streets of London and Neverland. Disney Imagineering at its BEST Our Rating – 4.0 – Read More…
The Quintessential Disney Ride. Iconic Beautiful and fun for all ages. Our Rating – 5 – Read More…
A horrifying journey around the world accompanied by the most played and possibly the most annoying song in the world! Our Rating – 3.4 – Read More…
NOTE: The It’s a Small World ride is usually closed for approx 10 days from the second week in January to remove the Holiday overlay.
Alice In Wonderland
Journey into wonderland on this fun if a little trippy kids ride. Externally the ride looks pretty weak but the internal Dark ride is actually really well put together, featuring all the characters you would expect to find in wonderland, all brought to life with some really good engineering and technology. While this is definitely one for the kids, adults will still find it quite enjoyable. This might not be the first you list of Disneyland rides but it’s well worth checking out if you have a few minutes to spare.
King Arthur Carousel
An Old School Carousel that is loved by all ages. Built in 1922 for a Beachpark in Toronto, The Carousel was brought to the park for opening day and has remained ever since. The theme is King Arthur and the horses are all Knights Noble Steeds. There are Chariots for disabled guests and parents can ride alongside small children so no one misses out. It is a bit of what you see is what you get, but this is a charming piece of yesteryear!
Mad Tea Party
Tea Cup rides have been the heart of theme parks for years and blur the line between boring kids’ rides and fun adult rides. Often the first thrill ride we experience as we grow from toddlers to tweens. While they still operate in nearly all theme parks they have been given elaborate themes and makeovers and no longer resemble the teacups that gave the rides their names. Disney being Disney, they have retained the original essence of the ride and you still swirl and twirl around in oversized teacups from the Mad Hatter’s tea party.
Unfortunately, the breaks have been put on the ride in modern times whereas in yesteryear you could really get these cups spinning in a quite dangerous fashion, but they are still good fun and a surefire way to lose your lunch!
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
An open-day attraction, this ride is a Disneyland classic! Ride through Toad Hall and beyond, including the English countryside, the City of London, a courtroom, a prison, and even hell itself! It is a wild ride indeed! The Ride is pretty basic, but clever use of light, sound, moving scenery, and forced perspective make for a pretty thrilling ride. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but it is great fun. We are not sure what young kids would make of it as it’s pretty dark really, and this could be quite intimidating to sensitive kids.
Snow White’s Scary Adventures
Best Ridden at night. The exterior of the ride has a spooky appearance that feels scariest once the light has faded. Inside, the adventure starts off with a tour of Snow White’s house complete with the Seven Dwarfs up to their mischief. Things then Turn Dark as the Evil Queen enacts her plan to become the Fairest. This involves feeding a poisoned apple to Snow White and crushing the dwarfs under a large boulder, in the end, the plot is foiled and they all live happily ever after.
Storybook Land Canal Boats
A relaxing canal boat cruise around miniature sets taken from Disney Animated films. Once aboard the boats, you are given a guide who narrated the tour letting you know what you are seeing. The sets are very intricate and accompanied by scores from the movies they represent. A whole host of films are represented including, Aladin, The Little Mermaid, Frozen, Snow White, Cinderella, Pinocchio, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and More.
It is not the most thrilling ride, but the relaxing nature means it’s a great break from the madness of the park and the detail and landscaping of the scenes are excellent.
Casey Jr. Circus Train
Walt Really loved trains and as such one full-sized model railway was not enough for Disneyland, he needed a second miniature one too. Themed around the Train from Dumbo, the miniature railway takes a tour of the miniature scenes seen on the Story Book Land Canal Boats. The ride is faster-paced and has no narration, but the added attraction of trains is a big draw for some kids.
Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
Another Old School Dark Ride for kids, this time we follow Pinocchio as he escapes the clutches of the evil Stromboli Puppet Master. The Ride is pretty long with a ton of really nice detail in the set and scenes but it’s very much a “look and see” type of ride and not our favorite of this type in the park.
Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk-through
Tomorrowland was always Walt’s Baby, while he loved nostalgia and fantasy, his eyes were always on the future and he wanted to give guests to Disneyland a chance to experience that future! Over the years Tomorrowland has needed to be updated as tomorrow became yesterday, and this will continue as nothing in the area is particularly futuristic anymore. It is a wonderful look at how our grandparents view the future though. It is also home to some of the best rides in the park.
Indoor Dark Roller Coaster with a Space Theme, Headline Attraction, and a great ride – Our Rating – 4.4 – Read More…
Nowadays Autopia seems a very odd concept. It is essentially a vision of future transport! In the future, we will all drive our cars on large multi-lane highways known as Freeways, but you don’t need to wait for the future, you can drive a freeway right here, Today! As we said pretty odd, but when the ride was built as a 1955 opening day attraction Freeways really were a thing of the future. Today, they are nearing a thing of the past and who knows in few decades maybe the ride can be re-branded as a “how things used to be” ride while we all zip to work in our personal drones or Hyperloops?
Anyway, like a lot of the Disney classic rides, this one survives mainly on nostalgia and a strong desire to not change Disneyland too much. However the cars are very slow and the steering is largely symbolic so you really are just driving along a freeway, slowly, in traffic…we did that on the way.
Indoor Dark Ride with interactive Shooting Element and Toy Story Theme – Our Rating – 3 – Read More…
Fun Underwater adventure in Partially submerged Submarine themed around everyone’s favorite Finding Nemo – Our Rating – 3.2 – Read More…
3D Motion Simulator set in the Star Wars Universe – Our Rating – 4.3 – Read More…
Essentially a more grownup version of Dumbo the Flying Elephant. The Ride is a simply swirling Carousel with each arm individually height controlled. The Ride is bigger and Faster than Dumbo and from the top, you get great views of the park and the castle.
Star Wars Launch Bay
Mickeys Toon Town
Mickeys Toon town is a fun area aimed mostly at kids up in the far north of the park. As the area is out of the way it was a little quieter than the crazy lands more central to the park. However, after a lengthy closure, Toon Town is set to reopen in March 2023. The reimagined Toon Town will include Mickey and Minnie Houses, Donalds Boat, and Goofy’s house where you can once again step into where the characters live. Mickey and Minnies Runaway Railway will also open on January 27th, 2023 to kick off Disney’s 100-year celebrations.
Mickey and Minnies Runaway Railway: opened on January 27th as part of the 100 Years of Disney Celebrations. Mickey and Minnies Runaway Railroad has a base lightning lane price of $20. There is no stand-by queue for this newly opened ride, it works on a virtual queue system only. Virtual Queues open at 7 am and 1 pm daily and you need to have a reservation for the park to apply for the virtual queue place. This can be done via your APP. If you miss out on this, your only option to ride is to purchase an Individual Lightning lane for $20 each. The ride only opened on 27th January so we are yet to find out how it works in real life. But you can find out more about the virtual queue system HERE
Gadgets Go Coaster
Gadgets Go Coaster is a fun Family coaster themed on the Chip en Dales Cartoon. Do not expect too much as the coaster is very child-friendly but it’s a smooth ride with some fast feeling turns as you enter the spiral dives. If your kids want to ride rollercoasters but are not quite up to the Mountain rides in the park this is a great stepping stone.
Roger Rabbits Car Toon Spin
Roger Rabbits Car Toon Spin is returning in March 2023 when Toon Town reopens! The classic beloved ride is a really fun experience. The dark ride is certainly very zany, as you career through the sets and scenes based on the roger rabbit film. The unique part of the ride is the cars themselves can spin around the track independently controlled by the Steering wheel. This adds a different and fun element to the ride making the whole experience pretty whacky as you would expect from a roger rabbit ride.
Mickeys House and Meet Mickey
Goofy’s How to Play Yard
Parades and Firework Shows – Coming Soon
Magic Happens Parade is due to return on February 24th, 2023
Have Your Say
Got something to say about our Disneyland Ride Guide? Just ire away in the comments below, or maybe you have a question regarding a particular ride? Again just leave us a comment and we will get right back to you.