Walt Disney World and Disneyland are known for their beautifully themed rides. The storyline can often be as exciting and fun as the actual attraction. However, the Disney parks also offer some thrilling roller coasters, and although these also have stories, the ride experience in itself is exhilarating.
While Disneyland and Walt Disney World do have some attractions in common, there are some popular rides at Walt Disney World, like the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the Rock N Roller Coaster, Slinky Dog Dash, and Expedition Everest – that don’t have West Coast counterparts. Here are the best roller coasters at Disneyland including some of the best rides at the parks.
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The Best Roller Coasters at Disneyland
Located in Disney’s California Adventure on Pixar Pier, the Incredicoaster is a thrilling outdoor roller coaster that does a big upside-down loop. It’s the only ride at Disneyland that goes upside down, and it also goes very fast. Built initially as California Screamin’, the Incredicoaster now features the Incredibles. You’ll go on a speedy adventure as you search for Jack-Jack, who recently escaped from Edna’s watch.
The Incredicoaster offers Genie+ as well as a single rider line. We found that the lines for the Incredicoaster were relatively short in the morning, but got longer as the day went on. Although we had booked Genie+ early, we really didn’t need it. If you enjoy this ride, it may be best to head there early when you can ride more than once without a long wait.
You must be at least 48 inches to ride the Incredicoaster. There is a ride photo, and you can see your pictures as you exit the ride.
Goofy’s Sky School
Learn how to fly with Goofy, which isn’t always the most straightforward way! This mild coaster, located at Disney’s California Adventure is different from Goofy’s Barnstormer in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney WorldGoof but is still a great introductory roller coaster. It does have some sharp turns and can be exciting, but it doesn’t go too fast or upside down.
Guests must be at least 42 inches to ride. It offers both a Genie+ lightning lane as well as a single rider line. However, the standby line doesn’t usually get too long, so this may be one queue worth waiting in rather than using a Genie+ allocation on it.
I’ve been to the various versions of Space Mountain at several Disney parks, and it’s still one of my favorite classic rides. The location at Disneyland, in Tomorrowland, seems to be darker and even more thrilling. You are pretty much in complete darkness as you travel at high speeds.
Unlike Walt Disney World, the Space Mountain ride vehicle at Disneyland has 2×2 seating. I prefer that, especially when traveling with younger kids who may be riding for the first time.
Space Mountain has a height requirement of 40 inches. It’s a very dark ride, so keep that in mind for younger children who are afraid of the dark. It doesn’t have a single rider line, but it does have a lightning lane through Genie+.
Technically, Splash Mountain probably isn’t considered a roller coaster. It’s a flume ride, and you definitely will get wet. It does have some drops, including a big plunge at the end. It currently has a Song of the South theme but will be closing in future years to change into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.
Splash Mountain at Disneyland has a height requirement of 40 inches, and guests sit by themselves in a single file row of seats on the ride log. There’s a single-rider line at the location at Disneyland, and it also offers a lightning lane.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
This is probably the most classic style roller coaster-style ride at Disneyland. It’s an outdoor coaster, and while it goes fast and has big drops, it doesn’t go upside down. It’s one of my family’s favorite rides and is one we have to do every time we visit the theme parks. Because it’s not too scary, it’s a great option for kids who are just getting into riding coasters.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad has a 40-inch height requirement and also has a Genie+ lightning lane. It is popular, so you may want to go early or get a lightning lane pass for it.
The Matterhorn Bobsleds is a classic ride at Disneyland. It doesn’t have a counterpart at Walt Disney World, so you’ll have to travel to California to ride it. The Matterhorn does have a lot of jerky motions and isn’t the most comfortable on backs or necks. Despite that, we still had to ride it on our most recent trip, because it is such an iconic attraction. However, it isn’t one of the best rides – we prefer the other roller coasters.
In this ride, you’ll race down a mountain on a bobsled, trying to avoid the Abominable Snowman. Despite the mountain appearance, this ride isn’t the same as Expedition Everest in Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
The Matterhorn Bobsleds offers a lightning lane and a single rider line. All riders must be at least 42 inches to ride.
Other Thrill Rides at Disneyland
Disneyland offers other thrill rides that are not considered roller coasters. However, these rides are still lots of fun and can be very thrilling.
At Disney’s California Adventure, these include the following:
- Radiator Springs Racers, where you’ll ride in a race car around Radiator Springs in a car inspired by Disney Pixar Cars. This ride has an Individual Lightning Lane and a single rider line. It’s one of the most popular attractions, and the standby line typically has long waits.
- Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: BREAKOUT!: an elevator-style thrill ride where you drop down and fly up at random and unpredictable rates along to a movie-inspired soundtrack. This attraction offers a Genie+ lightning lane.
At Disneyland Park, these rides include:
- Star Wars Rise of the Resistance: An attraction that is more than a ride, it’s a full Star Wars experience. This new ride, located in Galaxy’s Edge, offers an individual lighting lane and is extremely popular. Purchase the individual lightning lane or arrive early in the morning to avoid the long lines.
- Indiana Jones Adventure: In this ride, similar to Dinosaur at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you’ll feel like you are riding in a vehicle in the rough terrain of the desert. It’s a unique feeling and lots of fun. The Indiana Jones Adventure offers a Genie+ lightning lane.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: While this is definitely a tamer dark ride, it does have a few more drops than its East Coast counterpart. Pirates of the Caribbean offers a Genie+ lightning lane.