Disney theme parks, like Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida, have something for everyone. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker looking for the most stomach-churning roller coaster or prefer a much tamer experience, there are so many choices it’s difficult to figure out where to start.
It helps to know what other Disney fans think of what’s on offer, so we’ve compiled a list of the best Disney theme park attractions, based on fan reviews and ratings.
25. Slinky Dog Dash
— Allison (@WDWMinnieBar) November 7, 2019
Walt Disney World’s Slinky Dog Dash, located in Toy Story Land (where else?) takes you on a ride through Andy’s backyard. This popular ride is faster than it looks, with lots of drops and curves, as shown in Twitter user and diehard Disney fan @WDWMinnieBar’s video below. Look out for Buzz, Woody, Bo Peep and the rest of the gang!
24. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
If you seek diamonds & gems, look no further! The Dwarfs invite you aboard a thrilling mine train ride at Magic Kingdom Park. So, bring that Heigh-Ho spirit and you’re off on a swinging adventure through the Enchanted Forest. https://t.co/9UKl68Fxba #DisneyMagicMoments pic.twitter.com/5TL6ru4MvI
— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) July 1, 2020
Magic Kingdom’s Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a roller coaster ride inspired by the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is one of the park’s most popular attractions. One of the highlights is the show scene.
“These audio-animatronics are modern beauties that move with incredible fluidity and look exactly like you’d expect audio-animatronics from an animated film to look,” wrote Tom Bricker on Disney Tourist Blog. Bricker also describes the detail, storytelling, pacing and scenic beauty of the attraction as “top notch.”
23. Frozen Ever After
Located at Disney World’s Epcot, Frozen Ever After is a must for all fans of Anna, Elsa, Olaf, and the rest of the Frozen crew, and of course, it’s accompanied by songs from the hit movie franchise. It’s a slow-moving boat ride — but be prepared to be splashed during the backward and forward plunges down short waterfalls. According to one reviewer on AllEars.net, it’s among the best dark-ride attractions in all of Disney World.
22. Kilimanjaro Safaris
If you can’t go on a real safari, Animal Kingdom’s Kilimanjaro Safaris is the next best thing. This tour of Animal Kingdom’s sprawling savanna lets guests get up close to lions, crocodiles, elephants, giraffes and more, with expert commentary from the driver to enhance the experience.
“Kilimanjaro Safaris is quite possibly the best ride in all of Animal Kingdom,” wrote one reviewer on WDWMagic.com.
21. Dumbo The Flying Elephant
Another cute and classic Disney attraction, Dumbo the Flying Elephant is for adults just as much as kids.
“No matter what age this ride makes us all kids again,” wrote one reviewer on WDWMagic.com.
Sure, it’s not as exhilarating as some of the other rides, but it’s so iconic, no visit to Fantasyland is complete without a turn on a flying elephant.
20. Alice In Wonderland
In Disneyland’s Fantasyland, you can find Alice in Wonderland, one of the park’s best-loved attractions, and one of the oldest (it opened in 1958, three years after the official opening of Disneyland). This enchanting dark ride takes guests through a number of scenes to tell the story of “Alice in Wonderland,” with familiar characters like Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts from Disney’s animated version, making an appearance.
19. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
It took until March 2020, but Mickey and Minnie finally got their own ride at Disney World (and it’s coming to Disneyland in 2023). Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway delivers cutting-edge trackless technology and new animation of classic characters in this all-ages attraction.
“While the ride is thrilling because it’s packed with surprises and unexpected movements that will have kids squealing with joy, it’s not fast or scary,” wrote devoted Disney fan and Disney theme park reporter Brooke McDonald. “And, with no height requirement, absolutely everyone can ride it.”
18. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
Disneyland’s Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters is a dark omnimover ride aimed at the most competitive guests. You use an arcade-style blaster to hit both moving and nonmoving targets in an attempt to save the galaxy from the evil emperor Zurg (but in actual fact, your aim will simply be to get a higher score than your partner or friend).
17. Toy Story Mania
Where interactive theme park attractions are concerned, Magic Kingdom’s Toy Story Mania is hard to beat. Don a pair of 3D glasses, jump into a spinning ride vehicle, and compete against the others in your vehicle in a series of games featuring all your favorite characters from “Toy Story.” A game-play experience that appeals to all ages, wrapped up in a highly addictive package, this is one attraction you’ll want to go back to again and again.
16. Soarin’ Around The World
Soarin’ Around the World, which replaced Walt Disney World’s and Disneyland’s Soarin’ Over California in 2016, is a breathtaking fan favorite. The indoor ride takes guests on an aerial tour of some of the world’s most-famous landmarks, from the Great Wall of China to Sydney Harbor.
“I highly recommend this ride,” Braden wrote on AllEars.net. “It feels like you are flying. One of the best experiences ever.”
15. Jungle Cruise
— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) March 10, 2020
Some Disney rides are popular not because they offer adventure or thrills, but for having a good story. Jungle Cruise, a boat ride through the wild and wonderful scenery of Asia, Africa and South America, complete with plenty of animatronic wildlife, is known for its comedic value. Yes, your skipper will navigate you through dangerous waters, but it’s the witty commentary you’ll remember.
14. Expedition Everest
Everest has always promised adventure for those brave enough to embark up its white capped slopes. But, something looms in the shadows. Maybe on your expedition you’ll finally spot that elusive Yeti. #DisneyMagicMoments ✨ https://t.co/GzudXdJSG9 pic.twitter.com/9HR86PIEh4
— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) May 13, 2020
The only roller coaster at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is Expedition Everest, and it’s the closest most people will get to the world’s tallest mountain. Based on the myth of the terrifying yeti, it’s a super-fast adventure with a backward drop through the dark interior of the mountain. Easy WDW describes it as “one of the most intense thrill rides at Disney World.”
13. It’s A Small World
Now you can experience #DisneyMagicMoments at home, like taking an exclusive “sail-through” of 'it's a small world' attractions around the world and more! ⛵✨https://t.co/cp5XaWNETh pic.twitter.com/kT2iExfbib
— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) April 6, 2020
If you need a break from the crowds and the noise at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, It’s a Small World offers the perfect, magical escape. Created as a tribute to the United Nations’ International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for the 1964 New York Fair, the sweet scenes of children playing around the world will stay in your mind (and your heart) long after the ride is over. The theme song, written by Robert and Richard Sherman, is unforgettable as well.
12. Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios is home to Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, a 3D flight simulator attraction. It opened in 2011 (replacing the original Star Tours attraction, which opened at Disneyland in 1987 and was replicated at Hollywood Studios in 1989) and offers scenes from the complete “Star Wars” saga. Guests take their seats on the Starspeeder 3000 simulator and strap in for a series of dips, climbs and twists — without ever getting off the ground, of course.
Tripsavvy deemed it one of the most impressive Disney rides, claiming it “will knock your socks off more with its highly impressive 3D imagery, random sequence generator, and other cool effects than with its thrills. But the motion-simulated free fall, hyper-speed and other sensations are thrilling in their own right.”
11. The Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror
A classic Disney attraction, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is a terrifying, stomach-churning free-fall elevator ride. It’s based on “The Twilight Zone” television series and set in a 1930s hotel harking back to Hollywood’s halcyon days. The ride runs on a random software program, meaning every ride is unique — if you’re brave enough to go back.
“This is one of Disney’s best rides and among the best rides at any theme park,” wrote Arthur Levine on Tripsavvy.
10. Guardians Of The Galaxy — Mission BREAKOUT!
Tripsavvy deems Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission BREAKOUT! the most thrilling Disney ride, stating that “its multiple drops and rises make for one unsettling and thrilling experience.” While the concept may be similar to the Tower of Terror rides found at other Disney parks around the world, the theming and music give it a definite edge over its competitors. If you’re a “Guardians of the Galaxy” fan, you’ll get a buzz seeing Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket, Drax and Groot trapped in electrified glass cases, hanging perilously over an abyss.
9. Avatar: Flight Of Passage
A relatively new addition to Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, Avatar: Flight of Passage opened in 2017 to rave reviews. The immersive 3D thrill ride mimics the experience of “Avatar” protagonist, Jake Sully, in the 2009 movie.
“Flight of Passage was the best Disney ride I’ve ever been on — and I’ve been visiting these parks since before I can remember,” wrote Kim Renfro on Insider.
8. Peter Pan’s Flight
Peter Pan’s Flight is a rail-suspended dark ride with a version at every Disney park around the world with the exception of Hong Kong Disneyland. It may be known for having one of the longest wait times, but fans know it’s worth every minute.
If you want to know what it feels like to fly, Peter Pan’s Flight might be as close as you can get. Because the ride vehicle is suspended beneath the track, you have the feeling of “flying” as you travel over various scenes from the animated classic, including London at night.
7. Radiator Springs Racers
Get ready to rev those engines, APs, 'cause we have a holiday surprise just for you! On November 12-13 only, from 8:30pm-9:30pm, take a ride on Radiator Springs Racers after Disney California Adventure park has closed! Must be inside park prior to closing. Valid AP required. pic.twitter.com/cdGzFfVHqR
— Disneyland AP (@DisneylandAP) November 8, 2019
Radiator Springs Racers, part racing thrill ride, part dark ride, opened at Disneyland in 2012. This one gets top marks for being a fun, family-friendly ride with an edge. “It’s the perfect combination of slow and meandering ride, dark ride and thrill ride,” wrote a reviewer on AllEars.net. “It’s not 100% predictable, as the race has a random finish.”
Walt Disney World’s Test Track, which utilizes the same ride system but with different theming, also gets great reviews. “I loved the experience of the Test Track. IT IS SO AWESOME!!!” wrote 9-year-old Benicio on Car and Driver.
6. Indiana Jones Adventure
Disneyland’s Indiana Jones Adventure is a fast, turbulent trip in passenger “jeeps” through the lost temple, packed with all sorts of creatures you probably don’t want to get too close to, like snakes, skeletons, spiders and rats.
According to AllEars.net, each “jeep” is a motion simulator capable of a huge range of movements. In fact, there are almost 160,000 possible combinations, which means no two journeys are the same.
5. Star Wars: Rise Of The Resistance
Rise of the Resistance, Disney’s long-awaited centerpiece attraction at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, opened in Orlando in December 2019 and in Disneyland a few weeks later. Theme park reporter Brooke Geiger McDonald described it as “Disney’s most epic ride ever.”
“Disney promised that Rise of the Resistance would be the most ambitious, immersive, and technologically advanced attraction ever created,” wrote McDonald. “I rode it four times, but it only took one to confirm that the nearly 20-minute experience delivers on all of these promises.”
4. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
We’re bringing the wildest ride in the wilderness right to you. Now hold on to them hats and glasses as you plunge over, under and around these mighty bluffs and buttes. You may even learn a thing or two about this famous Disney mountain. #DisneyMagicMoments. pic.twitter.com/EPH2xhhHmZ
— Walt Disney World (@WaltDisneyWorld) April 15, 2020
Frontierland’s mine train roller coaster, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a classic family-friendly coaster. It gets an average rating of 9.38 out of 10 on AllEars.net, with reviewers loving the theming, details, and twists and turns.
“We make sure to ride this every visit. It’s not too extreme so even my husband that doesn’t like roller coasters loves it,” wrote Barbs13.
3. Haunted Mansion
Disney’s first Haunted Mansion attraction opened to Disneyland guests in 1969, and it was such a hit that Florida’s Magic Kingdom followed suit in 1971. To draw guests into the story, designers used filmmaking principles, such as a three-act structure and tension building right up to the finale when a hitchhiking ghost ends up in the Doom Buggy with guests. Disney Tourist Blog gives it a rating of 10 out of 10, and Arthur Levine on Tripsavvy describes it as “[m]ore silly than scary, the ride is dark, loud … and haunted!”
2. Space Mountain
Undoubtedly one of the most popular theme park attractions in the world, Tomorrowland’s Space Mountain opened in the Magic Kingdom in 1975, and at Disneyland in 1977. It’s almost completely dark, with “stars” barely illuminating the track, meaning you don’t know when the turns and drops are coming. This makes it feel a lot faster than the maximum speed of 28.7 mph (35 mph at Disneyland).
“Space Mountain is thrilling, but it isn’t so intense that you can’t enjoy the entire experience,” wrote Stephen Porter on Disney Information Station. “There are no loops or corkscrews, so it plays to this perfect balance where it is intense enough to be exhilarating, but not so intense that it becomes terrifying.”
1. Pirates Of The Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean is an iconic Disney ride with a version at all Disney parks except Hong Kong Disneyland. This slow, dark boat ride originally opened at Disneyland on March 18, 1967 in New Orleans Square and it remains a memorable adventure on the high seas. The 14.5-minute ride has a 52-foot waterfall, and a reverse waterfall at the very end.
“Pirates of the Caribbean may be the quintessential theme park attraction,” wrote Arthur Levine on Tripsavvy. “It is a masterful blend of fanciful storytelling and high-tech wizardry — but as is the case with the best attractions, the latter never overshadows the former.”