One of the hardest things you can do as a huge Disneyland fan is to only pick 10 top rides between both Disneyland and California Adventure but in this article I've done my best to do just that! Often I'm asked which rides are absolutely essential to do on a Disneyland vacation especially if a guest has only a few days to spend at the park.
First things first, if you're limited on how many days you have to spend at Disneyland then getting MaxPass is a must. This service allows you to book your FastPass return times (a way to digitally hold your spot in line) on your phone which is a huge time saver.
Feel free to add your top tens in the comments but here are my absolute top 10 rides that I tell guests you cannot miss when you visit Disneyland! All chosen to give a little bit of everything in your day from classic to thrill to water!
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1. Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean is iconic and you absolutely cannot miss this beloved dark ride featuring tales of pirate history and connections to the more recent Pirates of the Caribbean movies. You can read all about the history of this beloved attraction in our article.
2. Haunted Mansion
Another class ride in the best land in Disneyland, in my opinion, New Orleans Square. This is ride you cannot miss on your trip as you take a ride in a Doombuggy to see 999 ghosts!
3. Peter Pan
This Fantasyland ride is so popular that you can witness hordes of people walking/skipping/running to it at rope drop every morning. While I usually recommend coming back in the evening to ride, you shouldn't miss this classic attraction.
Celebrate your unbirthday with a spin on a teacup at the Mad Tea Party in Fantasyland. This ride isn't just for kids, it's so full of whimsy and classic Disneyland nostalgia that it's a must do on your trip. If spinning isn't your thing, you can hop over to the Alice in Wonderland dark ride instead which has much of that same whimsy and nostalgic feel.
5. Space Mountain
Now that we've hit some of those classic rides, it's time to consider a thrill ride on your visit too! Space Mountain is a roller coaster that takes place completely in the dark as you whiz past stars bouncing along to the best soundtrack ever. Fans of coasters will love it and so will those that aren't big coaster buffs, it's great for everyone.
6. Splash Mountain
Come take a visit to the laughing place with a ride on the fastest ride at Disneyland! You can't visit Disneyland without taking a trip on at least one water ride and Splash Mountain is the winner hands down. Even though this ride terrifies me because of my fear of heights, I love it anyways and we always get off laughing hysterically.
In all honesty, if I hadn't limited myself to only ten rides to list, I would have squeezed Matterhorn and Big Thunder Mountain on here too. You gotta get all those mountain rides in your day!
7. Rise of the Resistance
Okay, okay. I know this is a new ride but it's been hailed as one of the best rides that Disney has ever done! There's a reason there's been people arriving early everyday just to secure a boarding pass to this epic new addition to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. The ride experience itself is over 20 minutes along and transfers you between different scenes and ride vehicles which seamlessly places you in the Star Wars universe. Read our guide to find out how to get a boarding pass to this attraction.
8. Toy Story Midway Mania
Poor California Adventure, there's so many iconic rides in Disneyland that it's hard to leave much space on the list for the rides over there. But that doesn't mean they're not great! Toy Story Midway Mania is a fantastic ride because it combines the joy of Pixar with the fun of a carnival style 3d game that all guests can participate in. Read our tips to get the best score!
9. Radiator Springs Racers
The real e-ticket attraction in California Adventure is Radiator Springs Racers which you can find in Cars Land! This is hands down my favorite area in all of the park, the attention to detail is astounding. And I'm not the only one who loves this ride if FastPass is any indicator- this ride is always the first to run out of FastPass times so get yours early in the day!
Whether it's the original Soarin' Over California, which returns soon, or Soarin' Over the World… I just love this attraction. The music, the feet dangling, the smells, it's all wonderful. This is my favorite ride to start my day with in California Adventure because it just sets the tone for a magical morning.
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