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. These are my absolute top 10 rides that I tell guests you cannot miss when you visit Disneyland, which will give you a little bit of everything in your day, from classic rides to thrill and water rides.
In this article:
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland takes you on a wild journey through a cursed mining landscape from the 1850s. The impressive world-building and family-friendly nature of this coaster make it an absolute must-ride during your visit!
This Fantasyland ride is so popular that you can witness hordes of people walking, skipping, and 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. The circle over Neverland never fails to make your heart stir!
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. From the first plunge down the waterfall into the underground grotto, you’ll be captivated by the incredible world-building and music of the ride.
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 feel.
Haunted Mansion is another class ride in the best land in Disneyland, in my opinion: New Orleans Square. This is ride you can’t-miss on your trip as you take a ride in a Doombuggy to tour the Haunted Mansion and explore haunted ballrooms, a graveyard bustling with ghosts, a séance room, and more. This ride has been beloved by guests since its opening in 1969.
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.
Rise of the Resistance
I know this is a new ride, but it’s been hailed as one of the best that Disney has ever made! There’s a reason people flock every morning to this epic new addition to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The ride experience itself is over 20 minutes long and transfers you between different scenes and ride vehicles, which seamlessly immerses you in the Star Wars universe. The attraction is currently available via Individual Lightning Lane purchase or standby wait.
Toy Story Midway Mania
There are so many iconic rides in Disneyland that it’s hard to leave much space on the list for the rides over at Disney California Adventure, but that doesn’t mean there are not some great ones. 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!
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, as the attention to detail is astounding. From the engaging dark ride portion of the ride to the thrilling race at the end, Radiator Springs Racers is sure to leave a big smile on your face and is a must-ride during your visit.
Whether it’s the original Soarin’ Over California or Soarin’ Over the World, this attraction is a can’t-miss experience. The music, the feet dangling, the smells, all make for a wonderful time. This is my favorite ride to start my day with in California Adventure because it just sets the tone for a magical morning!
Disneyland Photos That Will Make You Regret Skipping a Trip This Summer
Summer is a magical time to visit Disneyland, and there are a few experiences and rides that a summer trip to the happiest place on earth would not be complete without. Take a look at our Disneyland photos that are guaranteed to inspire you to schedule a trip this summer!
Disney’s Splash Mountain Is Closing Permanently—Here’s What Will Replace It
Splash Mountain is permanently closing, and the ride will be rethemed to the The Princess and the Frog Disney animated movie. We will walk you through what to look forward to, including concept art, the storyline, new animatronics, and other details!
10 Most Thrilling Disneyland Rides You Can’t Miss
Disneyland has no shortage of rides that promise an exhilarating experience, from rollercoasters to dark rides that take you on high-stakes adventures. In our list of the 10 most thrilling rides at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, we break down our favorites that can’t be missed on your next Disneyland visit.