Having just come back from Disneyland a couple of weeks ago, I thought I’d reflect on some of my favorites. I put together this list of my Top 10 Rides and Attractions at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Some of these are sentimental favorites, others are great thrill rides, but I love them all for different reasons. For listing purposes, I have split up the list into two parts, one for traditional rides, and the other into attractions/shows/entertainment. I’m sure many will disagree, but hopefully I’ve got some of your favorites here, or maybe you’ll come to appreciate a new attraction from my lists.
10. Indiana Jones Adventure – The theming of the thrilling dark ride is spot on. The queue is amazing and the story is great.
9. Casey Jr. Circus Train – I love the simplicity of this, which is one of two Dumbo rides, and how you get a great view of the canal boats and Matterhorn.
8. Storybook Land Canal Boats – Rides are always better when they’re on a boat. This slow moving trip through Monstro and around the houses and castles of many of our favorite characters is most beautiful at dusk with the twinkle lights.
7. Mr Toad’s Wild Ride – I think I move this up on the list a bit since we used to have it here in Florida, but don’t anymore. I used to love to ride it as a kid and now get to ride it again as an adult.
6. Disneyland Railroad – I love that there are different styles of seating and scenes to see while riding the train all around the park.
5. Matterhorn Bobsleds – Although this can be one of the roughest Disney rollercoasters or rides overall, I love the new upgrades to Harold. To me, this is the icon of Disneyland. It was the first thing I saw from almost a mile away on my first trip, and a trip is not complete without Matterhorn Macaroons from Jolly Holiday Bakery.
4. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree – This is one of those rides that is just dadgum fun! It is one of my must rides every trip and is the ride I tend to see the most smiles on across the board in either of the two parks. Plus it has an awesome soundtrack.
3. Radiator Springs Racers – Another must do for every trip. This one I prefer at dusk or at night. It is an amazing combination of a racing ride and a classic dark ride, with some competition thrown in for good measure. I’d love if they made a ride of similar nature in Walt Disney World.
2. Pirates of the Caribbean – A classic. That smell. Those drops. The fireflies. The song. Despite the fact I get soaked every single time, I adore this ride and love that Walt got to work on it.
1. Alice In Wonderland – If I don’t get to ride any other rides at Disneyland other than this, it will still be a great day. I think I built an emotional and sentimental attachment to this ride since my first trip. I did no research before I came to Disneyland, but had seen things and was aware of a picture I had seen of Walt riding back in the 1950s. I don’t really even like the movie, but I absolutely adore and cherish this ride. The updates were handled with care and I think mirror the spirit of the original attraction.
Honorable mention: Haunted Mansion Holiday – This is a fantastic overlay with The Nightmare Before Christmas taking over the Haunted Mansion for the last few months of the year. I could ride this over and over with the holiday version.
10. Fantasmic – The Disneyland version is far superior to the one at Hollywood Studios, in my opinion. Between the dragon and the use of the Mark Twain and Columbia, it is an awesome improvement.
9. Aladdin – I enjoy the Genie’s up to the minute changes on his jokes in this Broadway style show. Flying carpet is pretty sweet too.
8. Animation Academy – This is not just an awesome place to cool off on warm days, but now the only place on either coast where guests can learn to draw classic Disney characters for free.
7. Red Car News Boys – Part of my appreciation for this live act comes from my enjoyment of Newsies. Another is my love of the Red Car Trolley itself and Buena Vista Street in general. But much of it is attributed to the addictive earworm that is A Suitcase and a Dream.
6. Five and Dime – Yet another fun live musical group that performs outside Carthay Circle in DCA. I love their fun take on classic songs.
5. Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln – A classic attraction that combines parts from the Hall of Presidents and the American Adventure, but focuses on the 16th President and his life.
4. Enchanted Tiki Room – One of Walt’s attractions that still lives on today. The outside waiting area is so charming and beautiful at night, plus you can get dole whips quicker on the inside line usually, and the attraction has its own bathroom.
3. Mickey and the Magical Map – This show is one of my new favorites. I really enjoy the combination of projections and live performers from some of my favorite musical moments in Disney movies.
2. Disneyland Forever – I love these fireworks, but it was mostly in conjunction with the projections on Main Street, Sleeping Beauty Castle, and the Matterhorn that made this amazing. I go back and forth between preferring this or Paint the Night, but they’re both amazing. I can’t wait to watch it again by It’s A Small World.
1. Paint The Night – I am not a huge parade person usually, but this one blew me away. I stood watching this with my jaw dropped and a stupid grin on my face. The technology is incredible and the music is great.
Honorable mention: World of Color – The original version was my everything. I would watch it every night if I could. I am still astonished and appreciate the technology behind it, and I like the parts of the Celebrate show with Walt. I miss the other incarnation, but like the new one over Winter Dreams.
These are just my opinions at this moment in time, and I will admit, my own Top 10 rides list shifts around based on my mood. But as the wind blows right now, these are where they stand. Did I hit any of your favorite rides? Do you have a completely different Top 10? Leave me a note in the comments with your thoughts.