By now, we've been in enough theme parks to know that sometimes little ones are frightened by the darnedest things. No, we're not talking scary thrills. We're talking creepy queues, scary on-ride characters and things that go bump in the night! Sometimes just being in the dark is enough to scare the little ones. Disneyland has its share of scary rides, and today we're looking at the ones with the highest scare factor!
Now by all means what scares one tadpole may not scare another, and sometimes you just can't predict what's going to terrorize your own! That's why Leap and I do a bit of ride research before we head to a new park. We try to identify any rides that might scare Lily and then watch the ride videos together. When we get to the park, we remind her that we watched the video, and that it's not as scary as it looks. Oddly enough, one of the best ways we've found to help Lily get through a scary ride is just to have her shut her eyes. Have your own tip for handling scary rides? Share in comments below. Now, without further ado, here is our MONSTER list of Disneyland scary rides!
Pirates of the Caribbean® Attraction at Disneyland Park
The queue alone used to scary Lily. Entering the darkened chambers and knowing that a pirate could be around any turn was almost too much. The boat ride itself has its share of potential scares with skeletons, loud cannons and gunfire, and creepy animatronic pirates.
Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park
Oftentimes, when you are expecting the little ones to be scared, they aren't scared at all. This was the case with Haunted Mansion. I was fully expecting it to scare the living daylights out of Lily, but surprisingly, the Doom Buggy ride around the mansion with its roaming ghosts didn't frighten her one bit.
Star Tours - The Adventures Continue Attraction at Disneyland Park
With more than 50 story combinations, no two visits to Star Tours will be the same, and you never know which villainous characters you might encounter on your space flight. Because of the dark, confined space this is one of those rides where Lily made sure to hold my hand tightly!
It’s Tough to be a Bug! at Disney California Adventure Park
OK, it's not a ride, but It's Tough to Be a Bug! has a pretty big scare factor. It's a terrific show, but just like the movie, there are a few moments that can be just a bit too intense for your own little bugs, especially if they're afraid of spiders or stinging bees!
Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout! at Disney California Adventure Park
With the re-imagining of Twilight Zone Tower of Terror into Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout! there is higher terror factor than ever! There are now randomized sequences of drops plus that drop tower and terrifying queue. I'm not sure we'll ever get Lily on this one, because the theming absolutely succeeds at conveying the terror of this ride!
Snow White's Scary Adventures at Disneyland Park
The story of Snow White and the Evil Queen come to life in this dark ride that is one of the few remaining original Disneyland attractions. This ride is sure to terrify, starting with the queue, which has guests enter the Evil Queen's castle. Of course, the queen appears on the ride itself, as well as a menacing forest and more of her castle.
Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland Park
Children familiar with the Indiana Jones films may not find it quite as menacing, but there are so many creepy crawlies (and bigger menaces!) on this enhanced motion vehicle dark ride that many tadpoles — and grownups! — may find this it a little too intense.
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland Park
For little ones, every dark ride can be scary simply because of the darkness. The subject matter in Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is scary enough — a wild ride that ends in Hell — complete with small devils, a menacing demon and an oversized dragon!
Pinocchio's Daring Journey at Disneyland Park
Another dark ride with scare potential, Pinocchio's Daring Journey opens with Pinocchio being held in a cage by the evil puppeteer Strombolli. Riders follow along on this daring journey that includes visits to a carnival with creepy clowns and joker, and watching your friends turn into donkeys.
Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin at Disneyland Park
Despite how it looks from the outside and its setting in Mickey's Toontown with the other "kiddie" rides, there is a fright factor on Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin, thanks to a queue of dark, narrow alleyways.
Alice in Wonderland at Disneyland Park
While the fantastical story of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has always been the stuff of nightmares, this dark ride is mostly tame. Little ones might have issues with the Queen of Hearts, shouting, "off with their heads!"
Fantasmic! at Disneyland Park
While he loves it now that he's older, Tad wasn't so fond of Fantasmic! the first time he saw it. Between the villains projected onto the screen and the loud noises and overall special effects, he was cowering behind Leap!
What scared the daylights out of you or your child at Disneyland? Share your scariest Disneyland rides plus any tips you have for handling them in comments below!