I’ve always loved amusement and theme park rides. As a kid, I’d beg my father to take me on the most thrilling rides, and hoped that as I got older, I wouldn’t lose that love. Luckily, while I can’t really handle spinning rides anymore, I still love thrill rides. If you are like me and are planning a trip to Disneyland, check out this list of the best rides at Disneyland for adults.
Keep in mind that we believe that all of the rides at Disneyland are great for adults. While there are definitely some thrill rides that offer more excitement, some of the most nostalgic attractions can still be so much fun.
So when you visit Disneyland, be sure to visit all of the rides that you want to experience, even if they aren’t necessarily thrill rides. A ride on it’s a small world may be just as exciting to you as a ride on the Incredicoaster, especially if you are a nostalgic Disney lover.
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12 of the Best Rides At Disneyland For Adults
Walt Disney World and Disneyland resort have recently introduced the new Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane ticket add-ons. The old FastPass and MaxPass systems have been discontinued and replaced by this new system.
With Genie+, you can add this service to your daily ticket for an additional fee. You’ll have the opportunity to make reservations for many of the most popular attractions at the parks, and will be able to go through the lightning lane during your timeframe.
Three of the most popular rides – Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Star Wars Rise of the Resistance, and Radiator Springs Racers, do not offer Genie+. Instead, you’ll be able to purchase the Individual Lightning Lane. These are specific to each of these rides and can be purchased on the day of your visit.
The Best Rides for Adults at Disneyland Resort
The two Disneyland parks are adjacent to each other. So, if you have a park hopper option on your tickets, it’s easy to go between the two in one day.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, an outdoor, mine-train-themed roller coaster, has always been one of my favorites. It isn’t necessarily a scary ride, but it’s still exciting, with traditional drops and fast speeds.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is located in Frontierland and offers Genie+. The lines do get long, so this is definitely an attraction where you’ll want to get a Genie+ reservation if possible.
This classic ride is a mainstay at Disney parks. The actual ride mechanism isn’t scary at all, but the theme can be a little frightening. It takes place mostly in the dark and has spooky music and characters throughout the journey.
I feel that the Haunted Mansion is both a nostalgic and exciting ride, and I always want to experience it when I go to Disneyland. While this version is similar to the one at Walt Disney World, the exterior of the building is entirely different.
The Haunted Mansion offers Genie+. While I didn’t use it on my last trip, I wish I had, because the lines were very long. It’s located in New Orleans Square at Disneyland Park.
Indiana Jones Adventure (this ride is closed for refurbishment and will reopen in spring 2023)
One of my favorite unique rides at Disneyland is the Indiana Jones Adventure. This attraction is completely different from the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! show that is located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida. Instead, it has a similar ride mechanism to the DINOSAUR ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
It isn’t really a roller coaster but does have twists and turns. It’s an exciting attraction and is definitely fun for adults and older kids. It offers Genie+ and often has long lines.
The Matterhorn Bobsleds is often a divisive topic among Disneyland fans. It’s a classic, unique coaster, featuring the Abominable Snowman, and is a big part of the skyscape of Disneyland. However, the actual ride can be a little jerky and isn’t nearly as smooth as the other, new Disney coasters.
The Matterhorn Bobsleds offers both Genie+ and a single-rider line. We didn’t find the line to be too long during our trip, so you may just be able to use the standard standby line for your ride.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Like the Haunted Mansion, the Pirates of the Caribbean is a classic Disney ride that is always a must-do for me. I prefer this version at Disneyland because of the bigger drop and the nice indoor queue. There’s also a restaurant, Blue Bayou, located adjacent to the ride with views of the indoor part of the attraction.
Pirates of the Caribbean does offer Genie+. We didn’t use it on our last visit but ended up waiting in a rather long, partially outdoor queue. So if you have the opportunity to get Genie+, I’d recommend it. Pirates of the Caribbean is located in New Orleans Square at Disneyland Park.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance premiered shortly after the opening of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland. It’s an entirely unique attraction experience – so much more than just a ride. Running for about 15 minutes, it includes a walk-through, a motion simulator, a traditional ride, and character interactions.
Currently, you aren’t able to use a regular Genie+ for this attraction. Instead, you’ll need to purchase the Individual Lightning Lane if you want to bypass the standby line. It’s absolutely worth the extra expense if you have this ride on your agenda.
If you are a fan of Star Wars, you may also want to ride Star Tours and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, which are two Star Wars themed rides at Disneyland.
As a kid, Space Mountain was one of my favorite thrill rides. I’m happy to say that it’s still one of my favorites as an adult.
In this ride, you’ll board a “spaceship” vehicle on a launch to space. It’s a dark roller coaster, so while it doesn’t go upside down or backward, it’s still thrilling because you won’t be able to see what is next.
Unlike the version at Disney World, the Disneyland Space Mountain has a 2-person per row ride vehicle. It offers Genie+, and it’s worth getting one if you can, to avoid the line.
The Best Rides for Adults at Disney California Adventure
Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout
In 2017, Disney revealed the first Marvel-themed ride at Disneyland – Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout. While the theme changed, the ride mechanism stayed the same as the original attraction – the Tower of Terror.
While some Disney fans debate which of the two rides is best, I really have a difficult time choosing. The Guardians of the Galaxy ride is very fun and exciting, while the Tower of Terror version is spooky. I definitely think it’s one of the best rides at Disneyland for adults – although older kids will love it too.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout offers Genie+, which is a great option for saving time in line. It is a popular ride.
One of my favorite Disney rides is the Incredicoaster, a Pixar’s Incredibles-themed attraction located in Pixar Pier. The Incredicoaster is mostly outdoors with some indoor tunnels, and it takes you through a fun, upside-down adventure where you’ll chase Jack Jack around.
Although it does seem like a kid-friendly ride, this is a legitimate thrill roller coaster. It goes upside down multiple times and is very fast with big drops. It offers a single-rider line as well as Genie+. We did find that the queues were much shorter in the morning, when you may not need a Genie+ reservation to ride without a long wait.
Radiator Springs Racers
One attraction that is unique to Disneyland Resort is Radiator Springs Racers, located at Cars Land in Disney California Adventure. While it is similar to Test Track at EPCOT, it’s got an entirely new theme and feels like a completely different experience. Radiator Springs Racers isn’t too scary but does go very fast at the end.
This attraction offers both a single-rider line and an individual lightning lane. Genie+ isn’t accepted on this ride. We found that the single rider line was the best option for riding with shorter wait times, and we were able to walk right on first thing in the morning.
Soarin’, located in Grizzly Peak, is the same attraction as the version at Walt Disney World. During some times (currently during the Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival), the show switches from the newer Soarin’ Over the World to the original Soarin’ Over California.
Soarin’ isn’t scary, so it’s also a ride that kids (fitting the height requirement) will enjoy. It offers Genie+, which can be a great way to avoid the lines.
Grizzly River Run
While Southern California isn’t typically as hot as Central Florida, it can still be pretty warm. Cool down with a ride down Grizzly River. Board one of the river rafts and you’ll be sent down the rapids.
Keep in mind that you’ll definitely get wet on this ride, so you’ll want to be prepared. Genie+ is offered. You’ll find that the ride queue varies in length depending on the temperature outside.
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What is your favorite ride at Disneyland? Do you prefer Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure?
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