Disneyland Attractions: Worth Your Time or Waste of Time?


Photo used with permission from Wikipedia Commons

Guests enter Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA.

Ever since its inception over 65 years ago, Disneyland has been a staple of American culture that has continued to expand and flourish well into the new millennium. A stroll through the resort today will reveal anything from opening-day attractions to brand new rides and everything in between. But—you may be asking—are all of them up to the standard of quality I expect from The Walt Disney Company? No, but fear not. The list I have compiled before you will answer any and all questions you have about the park’s most popular attractions.

Space Mountain
Starting with a classic, this building is perhaps the most iconic structure in the park other than the castle. While the aesthetic of Tomorrowland may scream “the future of yesterday,” this ride stands out and the attention it receives is not unwarranted. You would expect rides this old to be grisly and painfully outdated, but Imagineers have done their best to modernize the attraction, and their efforts do not go unnoticed. As for the coaster itself, the sharp turns and high speeds all while in the dark make for a highly thrilling experience, with the accompaniment of a catchy soundtrack being the cherry on top. This ride is a must do.

Another oldie but goodie, the snow-covered peak of the Matterhorn stands tall over Fantasyland. Opened all the way back in 1959, the ride is incredible in terms of its layout and overall appearance. However, its age becomes quite evident once you go for a ride. Sure, the views are scenic and the yeti is always fun to see, but the constant jerking along a rustic steel track takes a toll on your spine. Keep a chiropractor on standby if you’re over the age of 12. However, this ride is still a fun one.

Splash Mountain
Currently, the ride is slated for reopening when Disneyland reopens, but this ride doesn’t have much time left. It was announced in June of last year that Splash Mountain would undergo a rebrand based on the 2009 film, The Princess and the Frog. But for right now, the ride continues to stand tall in Critter Country. As for the ride itself, it’s spectacular. The story is great, the songs are catchy, the final drop is exciting, and who doesn’t love a good water ride? Only time will tell the fate of this ride, but as for right now, ride it when you can.

Big Thunder Mountain
Of all of the “mountain” attractions, this one is by far the worst. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible, but it’s not great either. The ride doesn’t start off great, with potentially the loudest sound I’ve ever heard coming from the chain lift. Imagine 100 people lined up all scratching their nails on a chalkboard, and this is somehow worse. After that terrible experience, the ride is fairly tame for a roller coaster. I know Disney isn’t known for having the most electrifying coasters, but this one is just a little mild for my tastes. Obviously I still ride it every time, but it’s lower on my list of favorites.

Haunted Mansion
This ride is by no means a thrill ride, yet it is arguably the most thrilling of all. Right in the heart of New Orleans Square is one of the oldest and best attractions in the park. The ride starts out with everyone gathered in a seemingly stretching room with a ghost host. After the spooky pre-show, those brave enough to proceed board “doom buggies” and begin the ride. The visuals and special effects are on point and the ghost host’s narration makes the Haunted Mansion a must do.

Disneyland is unlike most amusement parks in that it’s heavily focused on theming rather than thrills, but this ride is the closest Disneyland gets to the likes of Hershey Park and King’s Dominion. Formerly California Screamin’, this ride is Disneyland’s only looping coaster. The rebrand of Paradise Pier to Pixar Pier meant that California Screamin’ needed a rebrand, and no better Pixar property represents high speeds and action than The Incredibles. This coaster is a fun one.