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Ranking Disneyland Resort's Top Thrill Rides

by Leap on January 2, 2024 Los Angeles   Video

Ranking Disneyland Resort's Top Thrill Rides - pinterestFamilies come to the Disneyland Resort to experience the magic, experience the rides, watch the spectacular shows and catch up with their favorite Disney pals. Everything at Disneyland is geared toward families, so when we're talking about thrills, it's all relative. We’re ranking the top thrill rides at Disneyland Resort so you can find the perfect amount of excitement, whether it's for a “first-ever, finally tall enough to ride” tadpole or a veteran thrill-seeker.

Most of Disney California Adventure Park and Disneyland Park's top thrill rides are on the milder side — more euphoria-inducing than death-defying (for the latter, you'd need to travel farther north to Knott's Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain, or south to SeaWorld San Diego). There are a few thrill rides that pack a punch: Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout! has some free-fall sensation drop sequences that you’ll definitely want to do before a big meal. The Incredicoaster has a launch, big hills and is the only Disneyland coaster that goes upside down. Many others will provide a good ol' adrenaline rush — perfect for fun-loving parents and adventure-seeking kids. Today, we're talking about the top thrill rides at Disneyland Resort — specifically those hang-onto-your-hat and maybe even keep-your-eyes-closed-for-parts-of-it experiences throughout the park. Let's hop into it!

Top Thrill Rides at Disneyland Resort

13. Goofy's Sky School at Disney California Adventure Park

Top Thrill Rides at Disneyland Resort - Goofy's Sky School

Height requirement: 42 inches (107 cm) or taller

This Wild Mouse-style coaster offers plenty of squeal-inducing twists and turns, rather than giant drops. Nevertheless, it makes our list of Disneyland's top thrill rides and makes a good coaster for those who fear big hills.

12. Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland Park

Height requirement: 46 inches (117 cm) or taller

On this action-packed dark ride, guests pile into an enhanced motion vehicle and follow Dr. Jones on a fast-paced (and bumpy) quest through the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. This ride offers some of the best theming on this side of the Disneyland Resort! When in line, be sure to disobey any signs warning you not to touch the rope. You should definitely give it a tug for bonus thrills! Learn all of the secret details of this ride in our Indiana Jones Adventure post.

11. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Park

Height requirement: 40 inches (102 cm) or taller

Howdy partners! This ride promises to be the wildest in the Western wilderness! One of Disneyland's famed mountains, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad looks much more intimidating than it actually is. Themed after the Old West, it remains an enduring family coaster — and an explosive first coaster for many.

10. Grizzly River Run at Disney California Adventure Park

Top Thrill Rides at Disneyland Resort - Grizzly Peak River RunHeight requirement: 42 inches (107 cm) or taller

The tallest, fastest and longest river rapids in the world, Grizzly River Run offers a free-spinning white water rafting adventure starting from Grizzly Peak and ending in a dizzying descent. For those in your party who may not want to get wet (or may be too small to ride), there are some beautiful viewing areas near the ride to watch as rafts get drenched by geysers. Of course, ponchos help if you want to ride but do not want to risk being wet all day.

9. Star Tours – The Adventures Continue at Disneyland Park

Top Thrill Rides at Disneyland Resort - Star Tours

Height requirement: 40 inches (102 cm) or taller

Put on your 3-D flight glasses before taking off on this simulated spaceship, also known as a StarSpeeder, piloted by C-3PO (FYI: He’s not programmed to fly this thing.) and R2-D2. As you are about to launch, you might be intercepted by members of the First Order. You may learn there is a rebel spy onboard when C-3PO takes control and flies you into the farthest corners of the galaxy. Part of the thrill is that you’ll encounter different Star Wars characters and travel to different lands each time you take flight. New adventures appear from time to time, keeping this classic attraction fresh! The newest adventures that include Ahsoka Tano are here as of spring 2024, coinciding with the Season of the Force.

Top Thrill Rides at Disneyland Resort - Millennium Falcon8. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at Disneyland Park

Height requirement: 38 inches (97 cm) or taller

Stepping into the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon is frogciting enough, but then you get to actually fly that hunk of junk! You'll take on one of three jobs: pilot, gunner or engineer. And be prepared to truly take on those roles, as you'll be flying, shooting and repairing the ship throughout the ride! Thrill level can depend on which role you get. For example, the thrill level you experience may be higher as a pilot than it is as an engineer. Regardless, the pressure is on for your crew of six! Your goal is to use the Millennium Falcon to help space pirate Hondo Ohnaka obtain a valuable hyperfuel, known as coaxium, without damaging the ship. You'll launch into hyperdrive, shoot the train and surrounding enemies and even launch harpoons! If you've ridden it at least once, do a little research to find out how to hack the ship into "Chewie Mode" for some additional excitement!

7. Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland Park

Top Thrill Rides at Disneyland Resort - Matterhorn BobsledsHeight requirement: 42 inches (107 cm) or taller

The first tubular steel coaster ever constructed, Matterhorn Bobsleds has gone through several significant refurbishments over the years but remains an endearing Frog Family favorite. Made to resemble the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps, it features two intertwining tracks, a chain lift and a rip-roaring descent through its many caverns. Watch out for the Abominable Snowman (also known as the Yeti) as you make your way through the twisty track! Also, this jerky ride can be a little hard on the back. Here's our tip for the adults: Don't lean back against the seat! Instead, hold the handlebars in front of you. Press your legs to the outside of the vehicle for support, and lean slightly forward to prevent the sudden movements from affecting your back.

6. Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure Park

Height requirement: 40 inches (102 cm) or taller

One of Disneyland Resort's most popular attractions is a high-thrill joy ride through Ornamental Valley. It's also one of the best-themed attractions in all of Disney California Adventure Park, including a mischievous trip through Radiator Springs, a high-speed chase and a chance to encounter some of your favorite "Cars" characters. This ride is the most popular attraction at Disney California Adventure. Learn the best way to skip the line and other cool facts in our Radiator Springs Racers post.

5. Splash Mountain (closed and being transformed into Tiana's Bayou Adventure) at Disneyland Park

Height requirement: 40 inches (102 cm) or taller

This ride, which opens as Tiana's Bayou Adventure in 2024, has incredible theming, a big drop and a cool payoff on a hot summer day. Tiana's Bayou Adventure is expected to have the same thrill factor as Splash Mountain, which is why a ride that has not even opened yet is on this list! Say cheese for the camera as your log plummets down the mountain! Enjoy the video of our final ride on Splash Mountain one last time while we await the unveiling of the new ride.

Tiana's Bayou Adventure has a new storyline, featuring Princess Tiana and more bayou friends. Guests will be "goin' down the bayou" with Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen, Louis, Ray, Mama Odie and more favorites from "Princess and the Frog" to join a hoppin' Mardi Gras celebration. To quote Tiana, these frogs think it'll be "the bee's knees!" One thing we can rely on is the heart-thumping drop!

Top Thrill Rides at Disneyland Resort - Princess and the Frog Theme Coming

4. Space Mountain at Disneyland Park

Top Thrill Rides at Disneyland Resort - Space MountainHeight requirement: 40 inches (102 cm) or taller

It's hard to believe that Space Mountain, the second roller coaster built at Disneyland, is still a popular favorite after almost 50 years of operation! The rocketship coaster sends guests on a speedy journey through the twists and turns of deep space  — a delight for Space Mountain first-timers and veterans alike. Space Mountain has been known to morph into Hyperspace Mountain with a Star Wars theme for Season of the Force/Star Wars Month. And no, it never gets old. With a Single Rider line, riders ages 7 and up can skip the traditionally long wait.

3. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland Park

Top Thrill Rides at Disneyland Resort - Rise of the ResistanceHeight requirement: 40 inches (102 cm) or taller

This trackless dark ride does not have the speed and hills of a traditional roller coaster, but it's a thrilling adventure that really makes you feel as if you are in battle aboard a ship from a "Star Wars" movie! We don't want to give any spoilers away because the surprises add to the fun, but this ride provides some pre-ride experiences with familiar characters that truly immerse you in the story. Watch out for the First Order officers though! They mean business. There is a short drop, as well as unpredictable ride movements and plenty of surprising visual moments that give this massive ride a high ranking on the thrill scale. Wondering about the best way to access this popular ride? Our Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland post has the answers!

2. Incredicoaster at Disney California Adventure Park

Top Thrill Rides at Disneyland Resort - IncredicoasterHeight requirement: 48 inches (122 cm) or taller

The Incredicoaster on Pixar Pier is ... well ... incredible. This ride begins with Edna attempting to babysit Jack-Jack — then losing track of the super baby almost immediately! (Parenting tip: Don’t hire Edna to babysit.) But, don’t worry! Dash sets out to chase him down, taking you along for the ride and launching the coaster from 0 to 55 mph at the very start of the experience. With three themed tunnels, an exhilarating storyline and yummy smells that will get your tummy rumbling for a cookie-num-num, Incredicoaster packs a punch!

All of the characters from the "Incredibles" use their strengths during this mission ... I mean, ride. You’ll definitely be using your strength to hold on tight. The steel coaster was made to look like an old-fashioned wooden coaster and features a loop, plenty of hills and gorgeous views of Disney California Adventure Park, as well as the mountains beyond! Ride it at night for the most dramatic tunnel views.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission Breakout! at Disney California Adventure Park

Top Thrill Rides at Disneyland Resort - Guardians of the Galaxy Mission BreakoutHeight requirement: 40 inches (102 cm) or taller

It was a tough call deciding between Incredicoaster and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! when ranking the top thrill rides at Disneyland Resort. However, Guardians wins the coveted top spot for having the most thoroughly themed queue, the perfect amount of darkness, falling sensations, and a changeable storyline and soundtrack! As a bonus, this ride is even more terrifying (and heavy metal filled) once it becomes Guardians of the Galaxy — Monsters After Dark (after 5 p.m. on evenings during Halloween Time). There's something so frogciting about a ride that keeps us guessing no matter how many times we ride!

When we initially heard they were taking away The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and replacing it with a Marvel-themed ride at Disney California Adventure, we all screamed in horror (OK, Tad was definitely intrigued). We mourned the loss of an old favorite … that is until we rode the new one!

Step into Collector Tanaleer Tivan’s private collection of living beings and artifacts collected across the universe. You’ll see that he has captured the Guardians of the Galaxy, too. They aren’t happy about it, but Rocket escapes and needs your help in freeing his friends and everyone else in that “freakshow” (his words, not mine). He’ll tell you all about it before you board the Gantry Lift and give him access and security clearance. This immersive ride is frenzied fun with a rocking soundtrack, hilarious scenes and unexpected thrills. In fact, each ride offers one of six different songs.

Learn more about this ride and Avengers Campus in our Super Guide to Avengers Campus.

Planning a visit to Disneyland? Check out our touring plans for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. You'll also find tips and resources on where to stay, how to get there and what to do inside our Los Angeles Planning Guide. And don't froget to share your favorite thrill rides at Disneyland with us in the comments below!

Related: The Scoop on Disneyland Mobile Order Service

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