Disneyland, being the very first Disney theme park, has quite a few unique rides not found anywhere else. OK, some of these rides can be found in foreign Disney parks like Tokyo Disneyland or Disneyland Paris, but honestly, we really only care about Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Below are the Top 10 unique rides to Disneyland, and by unique, we mean not found at Walt Disney World.
#10: Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln – Funny thing, this ride/attraction has been around for ever, as long as I have been going to Disneyland, I don’t ever remember sitting through a show before a few years ago. It appeared at the 1964 World Fair and then was installed in Disneyland in 1965, and has gone through several changes, including the removal of Mr. Lincoln from time to time. The current version, “The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” is wonderful. While it may not entertain your little ones, I was surprised at how well it was done and how much I liked it. Way, way better than The Hall of Presidents or the The American Adventure, must more intimate, much shorter.
#9: Pinocchio’s Daring Journey – Can also be found at Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, both in Fantasyland. Fun ride through replication of the Pinocchio movie, complete with Pleasure Island and Monstro. Nothing earth shattering or super fun, but a solid family ride through that you can do several times during your stay.
#8: Mickey’s Fun Wheel – Located in California Adventure, Mickey’s Fun Wheel is one of only two of it’s kind in the world. The ride is basically a huge ferris wheel (160 feet tall!) that features fantastic views of the Disneyland Resort. The unique part of the ride (and the reason why I love it) is that 16 of the 24 gondolas are on tracks that swing in and out as the ferris wheel rotates. Now, this may not sound like much, but honestly, the first time you ride it, you think are going to fling right off of the wheel and become part of the California Adventure sidewalk below. You really need to ride in a swinging car to get the thrill of the ride. And if you can ride it with a lady who tends to scream a lot for no reason, it gets even better.
#7: Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride – Probably the one ride that bugs Disney World visitors the most, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride once existed in the Magic Kingdom, but was replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Uggh. Mr Toad can’t drive, but he is going to try anyway. Ride along with Mr Toad through the countryside, visit the docks, London streets, a pub, a courtroom and finally jail (and eventually hell). A simple ride through, but always fun as little kids and adults love pretending they are driving the car. By the way, did you know you can still find a statue of Mr. Toad in the pet cemetery of the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom.
#6: Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage – While Disney World decided to fill in their Fantasyland/Tomorrowland lagoon, Disneyland kept theirs under wraps for nearly 10 years. Originally launched as the Submarine Voyage thru liquid space in 1959, the subs toured an underwater world for nearly 40 years until they were closed in 1998. While they were a bit of an eyesore, and rumors abound about their future reincarnation (Atlantis anyone?), Disney finally found a suitable theme and relaunched the ride as Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage in 2007. Guests take a wonderful ride through the Finding Nemo adventure, including some unique use of underwater movie screens. Really a fun ride, unless you are claustrophobic, then you might want to stay away.
#5: Alice in Wonderland – One of my all time favorite rides as a child, I just loved following that pesky white rabbit down the rabbit hole. A bit more complex than your standard ride through, Alice features multiple levels and spinning cars. Funny that it has lasted 50+ years, since Walt said he regretted building it, as the Mad Tea Party next door was more popular.
#4: Storybook Land Canal Boats – If it weren’t for the dang line on this ride, it may have been higher on the list. Because of the ride vehicles, and the slowness of loading and unloading, the line often looks short, but is almost always a 45 minute or longer wait. You start out getting swallowed by Monstro, and emerge into a Lilliputian land featuring buildings and locations from many of the older animated Disney movies, including Toad Hall, the Dwarf’s cottage and King Triton’s castle. Super fun ride, not exciting in any way, but a ride you can do over and over with or without your kids. All hail Monstro!
#3: Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye – While the mechanics are similar to Dinosaur! in Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World, the Disneyland version is a much, much better ride. Indian Jones is a dark adventure ride following the ever adventurous Indian Jones who is in search of the Jewel of Power. The lost temple has been turned into a bit of a tourist attraction, and you are sent on a tour of the temple to see it’s wonders. Things go horribly wrong and Indy has to save the day (what else is new?).
#2: California Screamin’ – California Adventure’s signature ride, California Screamin’ is the world’s 6th longest roller coaster, the longest coaster with a loop and Disneyland’s only ride with an inversion. The ride starts on flat ground, and you accelerate from 0 – 60 in less than 4 seconds. The ride is set to music, is fast, and honestly, puts Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster to shame (it is nearly twice as long). Ride it if you dare.
#1: Matterhorn Bobsleds – OK, bit of a guilty pleasure here, but I love the Matterhorn, possibly the best Disney ride anywhere. It isn’t the fastest, or tallest nor does it have the best Yeti (up to debate though, you broken down Animal Kingdom yeti), but it has been around forever, is still a fun, fast ride, and holds a ton of memories for those who have been visiting Disneyland for decades. If you haven’t been on the Matterhorn, you aren’t a Disney fan. Get it done!
Disneyland has some fantastic rides unique to the parks there, if you haven’t been, you really must. There are considerably more than 10 rides I could have listed. I can’t believe I had to leave off the Casey Jr. Circus Train, though it always creeps me out a bit seeing those kids ride around in circus cage. No harm done. Enjoy Disneyland if/when you go.