All 37 Disneyland Rides, Ranked from Worst to Best

Hi there, it’s Chris. Disneyland in Anaheim, California is one of my favorite places in the world. Whether I’m going on one of my favorite rides, talking to the magician behind the counter at the iconic magic shop or just aimlessly walking down the middle of Main Street USA, I feel at home while I am there. Over the years I have ridden every attraction they offer and have developed a strong feeling toward every ride there. Therefore, I am clearly authorized to rank them into a list from my least to my most favorite through the park.

Now, keep in mind that these are my own opinions based on how I feel about the rides. Some rides I love because of the story telling, some for the history, some I just love how much my kids enjoy them. Also keep in mind that the rides change over the years and my opinions might change over the years. So this list is all the rides ranked as I see them right now in the year 2023. You can also check out the rides I’m referencing in our Disneyland playlist.

37) It’s a Small World (Fantasyland)

Okay, we’re starting things off with a controversial take. I know to some, this is in the top ten. This is a Disney classic by every sense of the word. Between the beautiful designs of Mary Blair to the Sherman Brothers’ iconic soundtrack, to its messaging of inclusion and peace, it should be one of my favorites. But it’s not. I’ve never gotten it. To me, it comes off as creepy and repetitive and while I see what people like about it, I don’t like it, and it’s my list, so there it is.

36) Main Street Vehicles (Main Street USA) 

This is already a pretty long list, so I’m lumping together the Horse Drawn Street Car, the Jitney, the Omnibus and the Fire Engine. All pretty much give the same experience of slowly going up and down Main Street USA. They are low on this list because I prefer walking Main Street. I like smelling the waffle cones as I pass the ice cream parlor, or stopping to watch as they make caramel turtles at the candy shop. I will say, if I broke up these vehicles individually, one would be much higher on the list, and that is the Fire Engine. As most drivers of the engine will tell you, at one time it was Walt’s favorite vehicle in the park, and he would commandeer it to get around. That bit of history and connection to the park makes it worth a ride in my opinion.

35) Pinocchio’s Daring Journey (Fantasyland)

This is a dark ride in every sense of the word. Traditionally, a dark ride is a slow moving ride that takes place entirely indoors. But this ride is also dark thematically and just… really dark. It’s hard to see anything in there until a giant Monstro shows up out of nowhere, lit by blinding strobe lights.

34) Astro Orbiter (Tomorrowland)

Just go on the Dumbo ride.

33) Snow White's Enchanted Wish (Fantasyland)

I’ve got a little confession to make, I haven’t been on this ride since they refurbished it. But I liked it better than Pinocchio before the refurbishment, so I think it’s in the right place here. It does have a lot of the darkness of Pinocchio, but I think it’s balanced out a bit and the story line is a little easier to follow.

32) Storybook Land Canal Boats (Fantasyland)

Storybook Land Canal Boats is a little guided boat ride around a bonsai garden featuring miniature buildings from many of Disney’s cartoons. It’s cute. Think the Jungle Cruise without animatronics, jokes or protection from the sun.

31) Mad Tea Party (Fantasyland)

Mad Tea Party is a classic Disneyland attraction. Its main goal is to make you dizzy. The riders are in control of how much it spins and if you ride with me, I’ll make sure you get as dizzy as possible.

30) King Arthur Carrousel (Fantasyland)

King Arthur Carrousel is a big, beautiful carousel that has direct history with Walt. It’s said that he started dreaming up Disneyland while watching his girls ride a carousel in Griffith Park. Plus, I rode a carousel on my wedding day, so this ride always gives me the feels.

29) Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (Tomorrowland)

I LOVED the original submarine ride when I was a kid. But now I wonder if my parents felt about it then how I feel about it now. It’s still kind of cool, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m in a small metal tube underwater with one entrance and exit. And if one of my kids gets scared or needs to go potty, it might be a long time before they open that one little hatch and slowly lead us one by one up that steep spiral staircase to dry land.

28) Disneyland Monorail (Tomorrowland)

One of my favorite things about the monorail is that you can use it to enter or exit the park. I love the backstory of the chief imagineer, Bob Gurr, developing this attraction by trial and error (catching trees on fire up to the day before the ride officially opened!) My only gripe is that there aren’t more stops for this iconic mode of transportation. I feel like Disney World uses this attraction to it’s fullest, while Disneyland has the monorail passing by both California Adventure and the Disney resorts/hotels without stopping at any of them.

27) Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island (Frontierland)

I did not include any walk through attractions on this list (look of that list in the future) but I feel I should mention Pirate’s Lair here because you have to ride something to get there. I like these rafts because they are piloted without the aid of a track by a Disney cast member, they take you to and from a cool place, and they serve as a ferry for all the show pieces/pyrotechnics needed to put on the nighttime show: Fantasmic. What other ride is that versatile? Well, a couple, but we’ll get to those.

26) The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Critter Country)

This is a cute ride that doesn’t often have a long line. It’s not too long, but not too short. But one of my favorite things about it is the major Easter egg hidden in it. Pooh took over the space once held by the Country Bear Jamboree show. Three of the original animatronics from that show are hidden high up in the dark on that ride. If you look up and behind you at just the right moment, you’ll see the happy faces of Max, Buff, and Melvin.

25) Chip 'n' Dale's GADGETcoaster (Mickey's Toontown)

This is a very short ride. But it’s a great way to introduce your little ones to the joys of rollercoasters. With a height requirement of just 35” it’s been the first rollercoaster experience for a lot of my kids and for that reason holds the number 25 spot on this list.

24) Peter Pan's Flight (Fantasyland)

This ride is not worth the wait. Not because the ride is bad. I love this ride. The show scenes where you fly above London are magical and gorgeous. But the line is always obscenely too long. The ride comes in a just barely—BARELY over a minute, and you are often looking at a 45-90 minute wait time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great, classic ride; but it’s one I often skip because the line is just too long.

23) Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin (Mickey's Toontown)

This ride has a great queue. I think it’s the first one on this list with excellent theming while you wait. The ride itself is like the Tea Cups mixed with the widest parts of the Winnie the Pooh ride. It’s wacky, dizzying and pretty fun if you ask me.

22) Casey Jr. Circus Train (Fantasyland)

This ride winds around the same show scenes as the Storybook Land boats. I like it better because it is quick moving, has a fun soundtrack, and you get to ride in a fun themed circus car. Plus it’s a little train and trains are always cool.

21) Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (Fantasyland)

Want a wacky ride based on an obscure cartoon short that barely anyone remembers? I thought you might. I love how wild this ride actually gets. You drive through a fireplace, through the streets of London, get hit by a train and end up in the underworld. Probably the most twisted ride at Disneyland, and I, for one, love it.

20) Alice in Wonderland (Fantasyland)

This attraction has seen some refurbishments over the years. While I usually think the addition of screens or projections to classic rides look cheesy, I actually think they added a lot of depth in this case. The track isn’t flat, and you actually end up going up into the second story of the castle, popping out for a bit of fresh air above Fantasyland before diving back into Wonderland for the second half of the ride. It’s another quirky dark ride but with a few little surprises that puts it at number 20 on this list.

19) Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (Tomorrowland)

This is a slow moving dark ride with the added bonus of being an interactive target shooting game. I love trying to get the highest score of my party. Plus, there is nothing funnier to me than a frustrated Emperor Zurg.

18) Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run (Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge)

This one plays on nostalgia. Ever since watching Star Wars, I’ve wanted to fly one of those iconic ships, and the most iconic of all is the Millennium Falcon. Waking into that cockpit for the first time is truly breathtaking for a Star Wars fan, but then it’s kind of downhill from there. Most of the time, everyone is confused about what they are supposed to be doing to help the ride along. The ride’s storyline is that you’re stealing something for a money-hungry character as he yells at you over an intercom. I wish there was some cool battle we could fly the ship into and experience something that feels a little more noble and exciting.  

17) Splash Mountain (Critter Country)

They are currently in the process of changing this ride to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, but as of right now, I’ve only ever been on the Splash Mountain version. It’s a fun log flume ride with a few exciting drops, fun music and a bunch of animatronic critters. I’m excited to see what they do with the re-theme.

16) Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes (Critter Country)

There’s something romantic about the canoes that I can’t quite put into words. I like that the guests work together to make this ride work. Everybody gets a paddle, and we all go around the island in the Rivers of America. It feels rewarding in the same sense that going camping feels rewarding.

15) Autopia (Tomorrowland)

My feelings on this ride have changed so much over the years. I went from loving it, to disliking it, to loving it again. Basically, you drive a slow, smelly car around a twisted track through Tomorrowland. When I was a kid, I loved it because I got to drive a car. After I got my real driver’s license, the ride lost all appeal. I could just go drive a not smelly, bigger, faster, more comfortable car. But then I had kids. And now sitting next to them while they feel the joy of driving a little sticky car just makes me the happiest. So yeah, depending on where you are in life, this is either a great ride or a slow uncomfortable ride through a cloud of car exhaust.

14) Sailing Ship Columbia (Frontierland)

There are three ways to take a trip around Tom Sawyer’s Island: Canoes, the Mark Twain River Boat or the Sailing Ship Columbia. What makes this version great is the history. It’s a full scale replica of the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe. You can wander below deck and see the living quarters, stores of goods and weapons, even where the cook would prepare meals. Plus, it doubles as a major set piece during the show Fantasmic.

13) Mark Twain Riverboat (Frontierland)

This ride shares a track with the Sailing Ship Columbia. This is a great place to rest for a bit. With plenty of spots to hang out on its three layers, you can take in the sights and a bit of history as you circle Tom Sawyer’s Island. I’m not sure if this is technically allowed, but it is definitely my favorite place to eat a packed lunch with my kids. Sometimes characters like Princess Tiana will ride the Mark Twain and just hang out and have a conversation with you and your family as you ride.

12) Dumbo the Flying Elephant (Fantasyland)

Okay, this one is only this high on the list because it is my son’s favorite and so far he’s chosen to sit next to me every time he’s ridden it.

11) Disneyland Railroad (Main Street USA, New Orleans Square, Mickey's Toontown, Tomorrowland)

Sometimes as a parent, you just need to sit down for a bit. I’d argue that the Disneyland Railroad is the best place to sit and rest in the whole park. You can get on it and ride it for as long as you like, and get off in one of four different spots in the park. Plus, the Grand Canyon and dinosaur diorama tunnel between the Tomorrowland station and Main Street station is pretty impressive.

10) Star Tours – The Adventures Continue (Tomorrowland)

I still remember going on this ride for the first time. A lot has changed since then, but I still get the same feelings going on it today. It’s a flight simulator ride where you are taken on an adventure through the Star Wars Universe. The ride is set up in a modular way, so you end up going to different planets and experience different combinations of adventures every time you ride it. Very fun.

9) Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway (Mickey's Toontown)

Despite its simple, cartoony theme, this ride is very technologically advanced. Using a trackless ride system combined with projection mapping and animatronics, this ride plunges you into scenes where everything starts off peacefully but quickly devolves into chaos. Anyway, it’s a super fun ride with a lot of clever sight gags.

8) Matterhorn Bobsleds (Fantasyland)

This is one of my all-time favorite rides at Disneyland. The theming is great, the history and trivia surrounding the Matterhorn is vast, and the views of the park from way up there are unmatched. I don’t care that the cars are cramped, I don’t care that it doesn’t really fit the theming of either of the lands it sits between, I don’t even care that it’s rough on the spine. It’s one of my favorites. 

7) Space Mountain (Tomorrowland)

I feel like everybody likes this ride. It’s actually a pretty tame coaster, but it uses the dark, fans, and sound effects to make you feel like you’re going faster than you really are. And even though I know all their tricks, I fall for it in such a good way every time.

6) Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Frontierland)

This was the first Disneyland ride that used computers to aid in the design process. The result is a fast, thrilling, smooth ride through a rocky terrain. The lift hills feature sight gags and beautiful theming, and the drops and turns are thrilling but calm enough for little riders to enjoy.

5) Jungle Cruise (Adventureland)

This opening day attraction features exotic plants, over 150 audio animatronic animals, and the back side of water. The natural plant life offers a chance to get out of the typical Anaheim heat and sit in a relaxing boat. Part of the fun to me is speculation whether or not we’ll get a skipper with good comedic timing. I’ve laughed so hard on this ride over the years.

4) Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge)

This is the most technologically advanced, immersive ride on this list. The story telling is such that you end up on a full-fledged adventure. You get called to help the resistance, you get on a transport vehicle which ends up in battle and gets captured, then you get out into a giant star destroyer ship, locked into a holding cell, escape get into a droid transport car and get chased around the destroyer until you enter into an escape pod and fly back to the rebel base. They use every special effect and trick in the book. It’s not just a ride, it’s a fully enveloping adventure. 

3) The Haunted Mansion (New Orleans Square)

I have to be honest, I had a hard time ordering my top five rides. They are all fantastic, and I kept going back and forth on where to place this attraction. I’ve been studying magic and illusions since childhood, and this one speaks to my little magician’s heart. It’s a beautiful mix of compelling show scenes and magic illusions. (I might write another blog soon on my favorite special effects featured in Disney rides)

2) Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye (Adventureland)

I have nothing but good things to say about this ride. It drops you right into the Indiana Jones movies before you even get on the ride. There is no other queue I can think of that is more immersive. It’s hard to not feel like you are an archeologist wondering through the twisted ruins of a forbidden temple. The ride is so vibrant with its use of special effects, lighting and story telling. It’s the perfect blend of speedy off-roading and detailed scenery.

1) Pirates of the Caribbean (New Orleans Square)

It’s hard for me to put my finger on the exact reason this is my number one ride in all of Disneyland. Well, first of all, it’s a great ride. You get a couple of exciting drops through dark caves, but most of the ride is calm, air-conditioned and lasts almost as long as the line you wait in to board it. The scenery is fantastic, the music is fun and memorable, and you can spot new details every time you ride. But I think my favorite thing about it is the connection to Disney. This was the last attraction Walt personally worked on. Nothing like this ride had ever been tried before, they were making the rules for a themed ride featuring animatronics. They were going all out and it shows. There’s a restaurant inside the ride. Let me say that again: INSIDE the RIDE! There is a whole pirate ship battling with a Spanish fort! It ends by setting an entire town on fire. And for some reason, the enduring smell of the pirates water is the most nostalgic thing I can think of.

So there you have it. My ranking for every single Disneyland ride as of 2023. Honestly, this list is ever-changing in my mind. Every time they open or refurbish something, over the years as my kids get older or my life experience changes, my whole perceptive on the park shifts and I have a newly ordered list. 

At any rate, we’ve been to many of the Disney parks over the years and have put together a playlist of vlogs featuring our adventures. These are some of our favorite videos to go back and watch again and again.

We also posted a video of our most recent trip that you can find here!


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9 Responses

  1. Well, said Chris although I’ve only been to Disney once. The Florida resort to be exact. I do have to agree on some of your opinions especially small worlds being. Long and repetitive In fact, I even. Remember, one of your vines from back in the early days. That you said it’s a small world was 17 minutes long. That’s too long for a theme park ride in general.

    1. I honestly, though, can’t remember my. Bride considering that that was. That was over 10 years ago when I left. Was there. But your list made a lot of fair points. Especially about the long waiting times on the. Early hot days. It’s hard, and it gets frustrating. Especially with some of the rides, someone like me being disabled, they might not have the. Accommodations. I am a person that requires a wheelchair All in all, Your expert critiques really. Really cool to view. And I will definitely take those into consideration whenever. Whenever I go to a theme park in the future :), thank you. Big fan from NY

  2. I went to Disneyland every summer as a child, so I, too, can relate to those nostalgic memories (Especially with turning 40, myself, in a few days). Honestly, I really agree wholeheartedly with your your list. ESPECIALLY 37 & 1!

  3. I loved reading this! I’ve never been to Disneyland, so there are some things I was unfamiliar with. I could sit with you for hours talking about this stuff! Some of these were at Disney World also, but got turned into something else. Thank you so much for sharing! I got feels from happiness to nostalgia! ❤️

  4. We are going to Disneyland for the first time next month. I’ve watched pretty much all your videos and this list will be very helpful. Thanks!

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