When the rides are so good, they have to build four other Disneyland theme parks to get everyone from around the world in on the action. When you've got your elbows out, nose in the maps, and ears secured to your head, the last thing you want to worry about is picking the best rides to plan your day around.
Thankfully, we can save you a pre-Dole Whip afternoon meltdown by revealing some of the most popular rides at Disneyland you're not going to want to miss. Popularity determinations are based on factors like historical data and guest reviews - although for many of these rides all you'll need to do is look at the lines or social media buzz to know they're favorites.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is an immersive and technologically advanced attraction that puts you smack dab in the middle of a battle between the Resistance and the First Order.
Board a transport ship, get captured by a Star Destroyer, and navigate your way to escape through the stars. Featuring multiple ride systems, advanced Audio-Animatronics figures, and immersive storytelling that makes guests feel like they're in a Star Wars film, it's no wonder it's one of the most popular rides at Disneyland.
Space Mountain first opened at Disney World in 1975 and two years later at Disneyland. Set in the dark ravages of space, it's a thrilling indoor roller coaster with numerous twists and turns that takes you on a journey through the stars. The anticipation and exhilaration of the ride make it a fan favorite.
Long before Eddie Murphy fought tooth and nail to save his family from the Haunted Mansion's curse, Disneyland's Haunted Mansion ride opened. This slow-moving dark ride is a classic, filled with ghostly gags, impressive special effects, and memorable music. The blend of spooky and funny makes it a hit with visitors of all ages.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Another classic ride that inspired a hit film franchise is Pirates of the Caribbean. This boat ride through the pirating seas is famous for its impressive animatronics, catchy theme song, and immersive set designs. Just make sure not to leave with any of the treasure in your pocket lest you get hit by the curse, too.
Tiana's Bayou Adventure Ride née Splash Mountain
Splash Mountain was a Disneyland mainstay for decades. It was known for the iconic big drop at the end. The combination of story, music, and thrilling conclusion made it a fan favorite for years. But since it was based on the Song of the South, a notorious old Disney movie filled with racist stereotypes, they gutted the ride and built Tiana's Bayou Aventure Ride in its stead.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Dip your toes into the wild wild west with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This roller coaster takes guests on a wild ride through an old mining town. The fast-paced ride combined with its historic appeal adds to its popularity.
Indiana Jones Adventure
Indiana Jones inspired a legion of archaeologists and history lovers, and the ride mixes adventure and discovery in the best way possible. A fast-paced dark ride, Indiana Jones Adventure takes guests on a thrilling escapade through a cursed temple. Fans of the films continue to flock to this ride year after year.
Star Tours: The Adventure Continues
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is one of the newest parts of the park, touting the latest in immersive technology. The Star Tours 3D motion simulator ride set in the Star Wars universe offers different experiences each time, keeping riders coming back for more.
It's a Small World
Parodied a dozen times over, It's a Small World is a true Disneyland classic. This slow-moving boat ride is less iconic today for its message of international unity and catchy theme song, and more so for the uncanny value design of the mid-century puppets. But, the charming visuals and soothing ride make it a post-lunch must.
Jungle Cruise is a guided boat tour of the world's most exotic rivers, complete with humorous commentary from the skippers. Hop onto the boat and you'll come face to face with some daring animatronic animals and pun-filled humor.
The 2021 movie Jungle Cruise, starring Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson, is directly inspired by Disneyland's Jungle Cruise ride.
You don't have to travel all the way to the Alps to stand at the Matterhorn's summit. The Matterhorn Bobsleds is a unique roller coaster that sends guests racing through the snowy mountain where a legendary Yeti resides. Its thrilling nature and impressive mountain structure make it a standout.
Peter Pan's Flight
Get airborne with Peter Pan's Flight. Join Peter Pan and the Darlings on their way to Neverland as the ride takes you soaring over scenes from the film. Its charming story and magical ambiance make it incredibly popular, despite being one of the park's older rides.
Make the Most of Your Disneyland Adventure
Stepping through the massive Disneyland gate feels as close as hopping into the wonderful world of Disney as you can get. From legacy rides that've been there since the beginning to modern franchise features full of the latest tech, Disneyland is filled with a never-ending array of attractions to enjoy. But, if you really want to make the most out of your trip to Disneyland, make sure to hit up every one of these popular rides.
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