Best Thrill Rides at Disneyland

Someone asked me yesterday why I’m such a fan of a kids park. Ummm aca-scuse me? Disneyland is definitely not a park just for kids. Disney is for everybody!

Sure, there are a number of attractions based on what are technically children’s movie (though that’s debatable too, who doesn’t love classic Disney films?). And ya, maybe there’s an emphasis on princesses and costume characters. First off – some folks love those parts (me. I do.)

But if taking pictures with a stranger dressed as Snow White isn’t exactly your thing, there’s still tons of action to be found at Disneyland.

That’s right, Disneyland actually has quite a few thrill rides. And more are on the way with the additions of Galaxy’s Edge and the Marvel themed land planned for California Adventure. (Come on’ Iron Man Coaster!) Hold on tight, cause here we go!

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Location: Disneyland, Frontierland

Thrill Rating: 5

What’s the Big Deal?: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is the rootinist tootinist ride in the wilderness! It’s a mild rollercoaster that takes you through a set of mountains and abandoned mine. No loops, and the max speed is 36 mph (google). But it still gives you a bit of a bang with deep twists and sudden drops. Bonus points for this one because you can see Galaxy’s Edge from the top and it is a primo location to catch the nighttime fireworks, if you can time it just right.

Grizzly River Run

Location: California Adventure, Grizzly Peak

Thrill Rating: 5

What’s the Big Deal?: At first look this ride could come off as an ordinary water coaster, but it’s actually one of a kind. Although, water coasters are pretty thrilling as they are. What really makes grizzly river run unique though are the ride vehicles, unlike most water coasters they’re circular. And designed to spin throughout the ride, especially when you go down a drop. Watch out! You never know who’s going to end up getting soaked.

Pixar Pal-A-Round

Location: California Adventure, Pixar Pier

Thrill Rating: 6

What’s the Big Deal?: Formerly known as Mickey’s Fun Wheel, and nicknamed by many as Mickey’s Fun Wheel of Death, the Pixar Pal-A-Round is more than just the innocent Ferris wheel it appears to be. That’s because of the unique swinging gondolas that add an extra thrill. Unlike traditional Ferris wheel gondolas, these are attached to a circular track. Which means that when the wheel moves your cart no only moves with it, it slides around it’s own track. It’s pretty terrifying, especially the first time.

Splash Mountain

Location: Disneyland, Critter Country

Thrill Rating: 6

What’s the Big Deal?: Splash Mountain is the ride you can hear people screaming on, from just about anywhere in the park. It’s deceptively thrilling, as it starts out with a fun, happy go lucky dark ride feel. But it doesn’t take too long before you realize something is a miss. And before you know it, you’re looking down a 50 foot drop.

This scream worthy ride is infamous for staged photos. Fun photos can be a great way to immortalize your trip, just be sure to ask for your own ride vehicle or check with other guests you’re sharing the ride log with.


Location: Disneyland, Fantasyland

Thrill Rating: 6

What’s the Big Deal?: Matterhorn is a roller-coaster rides filled with bumps, twists, turns, and a few surprises. The left track is notorious for being a rougher ride, but the right track is thought to be longer. There aren’t many big drops, but you will certainly get a rush when Harold the yeti creeps up on you.

Space Mountain

Location: Disneyland, Tomorrowland

Thrill Rating: 7

What’s the Big Deal?: Space Mountain is a really unique roller-coaster. It was the first indoor coaster, when it was built, and is one of the only completely dark coaster rides. Which is a HUGE part of what makes it so scary! There’s quick turns, steep drops, and a top speed of 45mph. I can’t decide which is scarier, not being able to see the track in front of you…or above you.

That’s right, because the entire ride is housed in a single building, much of the track is built intertwining. I’ll be keeping my hands firmly in place on the lap bar, thanks.


Location: California Adventure, Pixar Pier

Thrill Rating: 7

What’s the Big Deal?: The Incredicoaster until recently was known as California Screamin’ – and for good reason. It is the only ride at Disneyland resort that takes you upside down. The high-speed coaster takes you up, above the crowds, and on a whirl-wind adventure trying to track down Jack-Jack, who’s managed to escape! This ride definitely packs a punch!

MISSION: Breakout

Location: Califronia Adventure, Hollywood Land

Thrill Rating: 8

What’s the Big Deal?: If you’ve ever ridden Tower of Terror you might think you know what to expect. I thought the same thing, that MISSION: Breakout was just a change of themeing but ultimately the same ride. It’s not.

MISSION: Breakout takes you straight up, 130 feet up, before dropping you all the way to the bottom. And it continues too bounce you up and down for more than 3 minutes. What makes it even more thrilling is that there are at least 5 separate drop sequences, each synced to a different song. See how many different versions you can stand.

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