From classic Disneyland rides like Dumbo the Flying Elephant to new favorites like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, there's something for everyone at this California theme park.

By Carlye Wisel
April 28, 2020
Credit: Mariah Tyler

There’s so much to take in at the first-ever Disney park that it can be pretty overwhelming. Whether you’re not sure which ride to grab a FastPass for first or you simply want to know the current standings of your favorites, we’ve pitted all 29 rides against each other for the ultimate ranking of Disneyland rides. (All forms of transportation — Disneyland Railroad and Monorail included — were omitted, so you can get to the fun as fast as possible.)

You can’t do it all in one day, so use this guide to make sure you experience the very best rides at Disneyland during your next trip to the park.

29. Storybook Land Canal Boats

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It’s worth riding once for the joy of passing through Monstro the whale’s mouth, but beyond that, this slow-paced drift past shrunken-down versions of fairy tale settings feels somewhat trapped in time.

28.  Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

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Though the ride was retrofitted to a decades-old Tomorrowland attraction, actually being submerged while taking in the story of "Finding Nemo" is more transportive than you may expect. The low-key underwater journey is made enjoyable thanks to individual porthole-style windows, allowing everyone to have the very best seat on the sub, even if the vehicle can feel somewhat claustrophobic.

27. Casey Jr. Circus Train

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The most entertaining part of this homage to "Dumbo's" circus transport is the adorable train itself, whose seats are inside wild animal cages and gilded cars. Huffing and puffing over hills, it provides a remarkably slow journey, proven to be more enjoyable from the walkways of Fantasyland than actually on board.

26. Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin

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The mechanics of this spinning "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"-themed ride are well-regarded, but the other-era animation and plot lines are likely to be lost on most guests who ride it. Cartoonish and deeply ‘90s, it feels more like an attempt at a Disneyland ride than actually being one.

25. Astro Orbitor

Plagued by too-small rocket pods and reliably lengthy sun-soaked waits, at a minimum, it’s dizzying; at it’s best, it barely provides a slight view of the castle. With its stunning orb-topped tower providing a stately entrance to Tomorrowland, this one truly is best enjoyed from the ground.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler

Plagued by too-small rocket pods and reliably lengthy, sun-soaked waits, at a minimum, it’s dizzying; at it’s best, it barely provides a view of the castle. With its stunning orb-topped tower providing a stately entrance to Tomorrowland, this one truly is best enjoyed from the ground.

24. Pinocchio’s Daring Journey

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Built as an homage to the classic animated film, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey remains a bit too intense for children and dull for those all grown up. It’s a fine ride, in the end, but deeply average when compared to the rest of what Disneyland has to offer.

23. King Arthur Carrousel

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This stately attraction’s low ranking is only testament to Disneyland's prowess, a park imagined by Walt while sitting outside a similar ride. Elsewhere, a carousel with white horses would shine like a rare gem, but amidst the park’s other unique and beloved options, it's somewhat forgettable.

22. Gadget’s Go Coaster

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There’s only so much you can do with a kid’s coaster, but the theming on this one is great: oversized and colorful, like the surrounding ToonTown. Attention-grabbing with its massive soup cans and thread spools, the only complaint is that Chip ‘n Dale’s ride doesn’t last longer — which isn’t much of a complaint at all.

21. Snow White’s Scary Adventures

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The ride is intended to be from Snow White’s perspective, but when guests didn’t understand that at first, she was later inserted into the ride — making the pitch-black journey with random appearances by the witch pointlessly scary. With frightful crows cackling and no real resolution at the end, it simply doesn’t deliver on any of the beloved portions of the classic Disney film. A forthcoming refurbishment could change all of that, but only time will tell.

20. Dumbo the Flying Elephant 

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At its core, it's the same as Astro Orbitor, but Dumbo’s whimsy and enlightening backstory give it a ratings boost. The blue elephant floating across the sky is deeply iconic, but the nostalgia alone isn’t enough to make this roundabout worth riding — and enduring its lengthy wait — without children.

19. Alice in Wonderland  

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Brilliantly executed and nearly better than the original movie, this ride through Alice’s trip down the rabbit hole is solidly entertaining, yet one of its most enjoyable parts — popping outside the ride before heading back in — only serves as a reminder of more exciting rides you could be on instead. (That is, if you don’t still find the Queen’s section to be downright scary.)

18. The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh

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Hidden so far back in the park, this dark ride has its high points — particularly Pooh’s dream-state encounters with Heffalumps and Woozles — but it's so lackluster it almost makes guests question if it’s worth the walk. When the treats sold in the adjacent gift shop are the real attraction and there’s rarely a line, it’s clear this one it’s nobody’s first choice.

17. Autopia

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This Disneyland classic is newly refreshed, courtesy of a futuristic overlay and updated design that came with its recent Honda sponsorship. Zooming through the park in tiny cars is undoubtedly thrilling for kids, but not the same for adults who just endured freeway traffic to get to the park. Still, with its secluded trails, lovable signage and Matterhorn views, Autopia remains a gem.

16. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters

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Though guests in this blacklight shooting gallery are intended to work as Buzz’s recruits to bring down Evil Emperor Zurg, it’s moreso a gleeful competition between passengers, gaining points from hitting targets while twirling two-seat vehicles around with a joystick. Become a high-scoring Galactic Hero and you too could rack up a number that nearly goes to infinity and beyond.

15. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

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Whether you adore the subdued inappropriateness of the subject matter — beers twirling through the air, for example — or simply want to visit each time so Disney keeps it intact, Mr. Toad is legendary for more than being one of the better dark rides on Disneyland property. Sure, the cutout characters and painted decor feel oddly temporary, but that’s not important; the fact that guests can enjoy this still-standing attraction is.

14.  Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run

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Between the stunning 110 foot-long recreation of the most famous hunk of junk in the galaxy and a painstakingly reconstructed interior that’s identical right down to the iconic holochess table, there’s plenty here to thrill both early trilogy obsessives and their more recent counterparts. Select passengers can even thrust the Millennium Falcon into hyperdrive — easily every Star Wars fan’s life-long dream — but, with a mission that’s somewhat muddied by a confusing storyline, the motion simulator plays more like a wild arcade box than a journey into the depths of space.

13.  Star Tours — The Adventures Continue

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The redux of Disneyland’s original motion simulator remains one of the park’s more exciting attractions, thanks to its immersive 3D effects and an up-close visit from C-3PO himself. By utilizing a sequence of random events, the ride is different every time, providing simulated jaunts to Jakku, Hoth, Crait, and Kef Bir that offer an action-packed counterpart to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge while satisfying fans’ love for the entire series of films.

12. Peter Pan’s Flight

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There’s a reason the line to board Peter Pan’s Flight is perennially long — it’s as classic as you can get. Flying over the lights of London is pure magic for young ones, but remains delightfully entertaining for older guests, too. Its overhead ride system makes the presence of the Darlings and Captain Hook feel undeniably real, with lighting gags and appearances by Tinker Bell only enhancing the magic.

11. Jungle Cruise

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It’s not just sailing through lush landscapes and the backside of waterfalls that keeps guests coming back for more. Jungle Cruise is truly the only attraction that relies more on Disneyland’s charismatic cast members than the mechanics of the ride, making it that much more enthralling.

10. It’s A Small World 

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Though the never-ending jingle can be overwhelming to some, It’s A Small World is nonetheless a delightful ride indeed. International cultures represented amidst happy-faced dolls, eye-popping colors, and literal pounds of glitter are made all the better come Christmastime, when the boat journey through the nations undertakes an explosion of holiday glee.

9. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

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This rough and tumble ride over a southwestern mountainscape is a joyous trip the whole family can enjoy. With its dark caverns, intricate mining camps, and inexplicable dinosaur bones, gold mining has never been so much fun.

8. Space Mountain

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Tomorrowland’s best adventure takes guests on an other-worldly trip to the stars at rapid speeds. The pitch-black indoor coaster is a fan favorite for its sudden drops, hairpin turns and out-of-this-galaxy theming, providing thrills in tune with its whirring soundtrack.

7. Mad Tea Party 

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Whirling around on this "Alice in Wonderland"-themed spinning ride can be as quintessential to a Disneyland trip as enjoying a churro.  Though it appears at other Disney parks throughout the world, all others pale in comparison to this open-air rendition. Effervescent as could be with a with a too-cute color scheme, it remains as good on Instagram as it is in person.

6. Matterhorn Bobsleds

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Walt Disney’s rendition of the famed Alps peak — which here comes with a pair of toboggan-style steel coasters — has been enthralling guests since it  was introduced in 1959.  The recent addition of a red-eyed Abominable Snowman enhances the journey, but its true charm comes in its dated touches with herky-jerky turns and often unexpected splashings.

5. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

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The future of Disney attractions is here, and it’s absolutely magnificent. This state-of-the-art attraction blows open the entire concept of a theme park ride and instead offers a galactic adventure replete with ships, stormtroopers, and a Star Destroyer that sees passengers joining the Resistance, encountering First Order troops, and attempting to escape the grasp of Kylo Ren. A stunning accomplishment that truly brings the film franchise to life, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance remains a behemoth that’s both massive in scale and achievement. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself speechless after your first time on board — and desperate to get right back on again.

4. Haunted Mansion

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Both humorous and haunting, the ghost host-led tour of the property's happy haunts holds one of the more cult-like followings among fans, with good reason. Offering an ideal blend of whimsical characters and macabre delights, Haunted Mansion is made even better by its can’t-miss The Nightmare Before Christmas seasonal overlay.

3. Pirates of the Caribbean

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There is perhaps no ride more illustrative of Disneyland's growth than Pirates of the Caribbean. The seaside trip through pirate dalliances has expanded from a daring boat ride with a catchy soundtrack to the source material for a multibillion-dollar blockbuster movie franchise. Whether or not Johnny Depp is integral to the attraction is moot point; to this day, it remains as steadfastly original as when it first blew audiences away in 1967.

2. Indiana Jones Adventure

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Equal parts exciting and immersive, Indiana Jones Adventure shows just what Disney is capable of when flexing their creative muscles. If the fire explosions, collapsing bridge, and rolling boulder weren’t enough to feel realistic, the jostling all-terrain transport vehicle puts guests shoulder-to-shoulder with the action. Channeling the most treacherous parts of Dr. Jones’ journey with every turn, it’s hands-down the most thrilling ride on property, made all the better with its interactive temple queue.

1. Splash Mountain

Credit: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland

Clocking in at ten minutes long, Disneyland’s take on the classic log flume is well worth the wait. Sure, the source material for the Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox characters is buried in the Disney archives for good reason, but the ride itself remains thrilling and iconic. Rich with story, rife with anticipation, and home to the best on-ride photo in the park, it truly has everything — including a complimentary shower, if you’re lucky enough to get soaked to the bone.