Things to Do Travel

Travel: Top 5 Best Rides at Disneyland & California Adventure

Best Rides Disneyland California Adventure

This summer my brother surprised his son with a birthday trip to Disneyland where the whole family came along too. I’d been to Disneyland nearly 10 years ago and Mike and I had been to Disney World together just a few years ago, but this would be our first trip with little ones (niece and nephew). 

We went on some rides with the kids and some rides on our own, and below is my list of Top 5 Best Rides at both Disneyland and California Adventure (as per our tastes), plus a few honourable mentions. You can also check out my round-up of best fun foods to try at Disneyland California Adventure too!

Top 5 Best Rides at Disneyland & California Adventure

1. California Screamin’ (Rollercoaster)

Disneyland California Adventure - Paradise Pier - Amusement Park Rides - California Screamer
The California Screamin’ is an awesome rollercoaster at Paradise Pier California Adventure!

One of my favourite parts about going to amusement parks is that Mike’s comfort zone is pushed just a little bit further each time. When I first met him, he was afraid of going on any high height or speedy ride. During this trip, he was able to go on the California Screamin’ rollercoaster at California Adventure (which includes an upside down portion) AND he loved it so much, we went twice in that same day! It also helped that for some reason the stand-by entrance wait was only 5 minutes both times (what!) so we really lucked out when we went. 

This rollercoaster takes you up almost 120 feet and then plunges you all over Paradise Pier. It’s the longest and fastest roller coaster at Disneyland and also the funnest. The loop-de-loop and whirlwind start makes it look a bit scary but it isn’t! This is a must ride at Disney California Adventure! 

Must be at least 48″ to ride. 

2. Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout (formerly Tower of Terror)

Disneyland California Adventure - Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout - Amusement Park Rides
The new Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout ride (formerly Tower of Terror) at Disney California Adventure.

No one in our party had been on the Tower of Terror ride before and now we can’t (at Disneyland anyway) because it’s been turned into the new Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: BREAKOUT! ride. The premise: The Collector has collected the Guardians of the Galaxy and you’re able to go glimpse them in public for the very first time at his fortress in California Adventure! One snag: Rocket the Raccoon has been waiting for you to arrive and help him break out his friends. 

This ride takes you to the top and bottom of the fortress (or the “up and down ride” as my niece and nephew call it) with your screams set to the sweet soundtrack of Star Lord’s awesome mixtape. This elevator lift ride will have you flying off your seat (literally) and wanting to come back for more (which we did! This was another ride we rode twice). Totally awesome. 

Must be at least 40″ to ride. 

(Though probably not recommended for most kiddies. My niece is 40″ and 4-years-old and this was definitely not for her… lol) 

Bonus: Depending on the timing of your ride, you might luck out and meet Groot right after you exit! Eep. I love him. 

Disneyland California Adventure - Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout - Amusement Park Rides Groot
Bonus: after Mission: Breakout, meet Groot!

3. Radiator Springs Racers 

Disneyland California Adventure - Cars Land - Amusement Park Rides
Head over to Cars Land for their awesome Radiator Springs Racers ride.

I haven’t seen any of the Cars movies but the Radiator Springs Racers ride at Disney California Adventure raced right up to the top of my favourite rides. Pile into these cars for a journey through Ornament Valley before racing side-by-side with another car! You’ll race over hills, straightaway paths and around sharp turns – all set to the super picturesque Cadillac Range Mountains.  

Disneyland California Adventure - Cars Land - Amusement Park Rides
Beauty setting for the Radiator Springs Racers ride at Car Land!

The wind will blow your hair back and you’re sure to feel butterflies on the Radiator Springs Racers ride (up and down the valley hills creates some nice small drops!) I love this ride not only for the thrill and the really excellent animatronic talking cars, but also because of the beautiful race setting and big, open blue sky. 

Must be at least 40″ to ride. 

4. Toy Story Midway Mania

Disneyland California Adventure - Paradise Pier - Amusement Park Rides - California Screamer Toy Story
Paradise Pier’s Toy Story Midway Mania and California Screamer.

I’ve played the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin ride over on the Disney side of the park (and at Disney World) before and thought it was sort of fun. I didn’t realize it’s WAY more fun older brother ride, Toy Story Midway Mania, was just across the way at California Adventure. In Toy Story Midway Mania you hop on this mid-way inspired carnival car where you use a launcher to aim at different targets in a bunch of carnival-themed games. You’ll throw eggs, toss darts, break plates, do a ring toss (on Toy Story 3-eyed green aliens) and blast a bull’s eye. 

It’s so much fun and you can see exactly where your target is hitting (unlike with the Buzz ride). 

All sizes, all ages can ride. 

5. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Rollercoaster)

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Disneyland Frontier Land Ride Amusement Park
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Ride! Photo Credit: Ruth Hartnup (Flickr CC by 2.0)

So, in reviewing my Top 4 rides I’m noticing that they’re all located in the California Adventure park side of Disney. I’d say the more ‘adult’ and thrilling rides are definitely on this side but one of the more thrilling rides on the Disney side (in Frontier Land) is the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad! This rollercoaster-style ride takes you through a haunted mine on a speeding, runaway mine train. This ride is pretty wild – as you go up, down and around canyons and caves. Tall people, keep your head ducked because some parts of the ride look like they have low clearance!! 

Must be at least 40″ to ride. 

Honourable Mentions

It’s worth making note of these 3 other rides including: 

Mickey’s Fun Wheel 

Disneyland California Adventure - Mickeys Fun Wheel Ferris Wheel - Amusement Park Rides
Mickey’s Fun Wheel (non-swinging) is a great family-friendly ride!

Mickey’s Fun Wheel on Paradise Pier California Adventure is a great ferris wheel that gives you the option of something wild or relaxing. Choose the swinging or non-swinging cart to decide what type of ride you want. The swinging carts seem like it would be a huge mistake (LOL!) We went with the kids on the non-swinging cart that gave us some fantastic views of the whole park (up 150 feet high) and at a really relaxed pace that was a nice break in between all the Disney parks crowds and madness. It would be nice to go during the day and night – for different views of the park! 

All sizes, all ages can ride. 

Space Mountain

Space Mountain was my favourite ride at Disney over 10 years ago and today is still one of the best rides on the Disneyland side of the park. Located in Tomorrowland, Space Mountain is a high-speed rollercoaster (speeding rocket) that will take you across the galaxy. You’ll fly by bright lights, stars, comets and the remote blackness of the universe, all set to fairly frenetic music. It’s definitely one of the fastest, most thrilling rides on the Disney side of the park. 

Must be at least 40″ to ride. 

Slash Mountain

You gotta love Splash Mountain for its 5-story, dramatic plunge at the end of the ride. My only complaint – needs even more splashes! As far as thrilling water rides at Disney go though, this is one of your few options (the other being the Grizzly River Run in California Adventure which we didn’t get a chance to try!) 

Must be at least 40″ to ride.

Soarin’

We didn’t get to try the virtual reality ride Soarin’ – which takes you on a high-flying ride around the world – but I know based on our thirst for thrills and general enjoyment of virtual rides, that Soarin’ would’ve been on our list had we gone. This ride simulates you hang-gliding across some of the most scenic, awe-inspiring views of the world. Our friend Kristina, who lives in Anaheim and hung out with us for a portion of our Disney days, also highly recommended Soarin’. 

Must be at least 40″ to ride. 

For the Really Kid-Friendly Rides

Be sure to check out Toontown (in Disney) and A Bug’s Land (in California Adventure) for various kiddy rides.

General Tips for Tackling Rides at Disney

Figure out your FASTPASS system! You can get Fastpasses to skip the line for most of the rides at Disney but a certain period of time must pass before you can get another Fastpass.

You can get a FASTPASS for a ride about every 2 hours, so if done correctly – you should be getting a FASTPASS for one ride, getting in line for another ride, going for the ride in your first FASTPASS before getting another FASTPASS for more rides. 

If you’re bringing kids, I get the appeal of having little ones enjoying the magic of Disney but from an efficient-rides perspective, bringing a kid who is at least 7 years old is your best bet because they don’t need to be supervised by a parent, so you can take advantage of the often shorter Single Rider line! 

So that wraps up my list of best rides on our Disneyland adventure! There’s obviously a lot of rides at Disney, and it would seriously be impossible to do in just one day. We had a 3-day Park Hopper pass which I would highly recommend. With at least 3 days (and it really felt like 3 full days), we still weren’t able to try all the rides but I think we made a good dent (and went back for multiple trips on the rides we especially loved). Our taste in ‘best rides’ is also of course going to be different than others’ tastes. My friend Catherine was shocked I didn’t include Indiana Jones or Pirates of the Caribbean on my list! Both also very good rides. 

Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what your favourite Disney rides are! 

Linda Hoang is an Edmonton blogger who writes about food, travel, lifestyle/events and pets. She's also a social media/digital specialist with a journalism background. Linda is in love with her city and loves exploring and promoting Edmonton and other places she visits with her husband Mike. Linda is also the founder of the Edmonton International Cat Festival (and has 2 cats herself, along with 2 dogs).

Previous Post
July 11, 2017
Next Post
July 11, 2017

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Instagram

  • Feeling the love. πŸ’• Thank you to my beautiful family & friends for celebrating my birthweek (πŸ˜‰) with me. I am not thrilled about getting older but I am thrilled about any opportunity to spend time with some of my favourite people. πŸ™πŸ» Especially my best friend @mikethyking!!!πŸ’—
.
.
.
.
.
#lindorkfest #yeg #edmonton #exploreedmonton #birthday #birthdayballoon #idontknowaboutyoubutimfeeling22 #birthdayweek #birthdayoutfit #celebratelife
  • Cheers to:
My birthday week 🍹
Fresh mint from my backyard 🌱
And 30+ years of @JimmyTheGreek.JTG! 
Enter to win a trip for two to Greece. ✈️ All you have to do is raise a glass to #JimmyTheGreek30! 🍸 Share a photo of your toast on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag and you're qualified! Winner announced August 7. Check out more details at jimmythegreek.com/contest 🀞🏻 #sponsored 🀞🏻
.
.
.
.
.
#yeg #yegfood #mojito #exploreedmonton #edmontonfood #cheers #raiseaglass #jimmythegreek #mint #lindorkfest #homemademojito #patiodrinks
  • Eep. πŸ’• For my birthday, @mikethyking commissioned this cartoon portrait of our family and it is PERFECT!! 🐢🐢🐱🐱 Thank you @mikeanthony84 for capturing the personalities of our family so well πŸ™πŸ» from @mikethyking's love of pizza through his shirt, to Artie's goofiness and Thor's regalness. 😌 Even my leg pop and the pet collars are perfect!! 😻 I had wanted an illustrated family portrait for some time and had been looking for the perfect artist / style. When I discovered Mike Anthony (who is local too!!) I had his work on my "wish list" for a long time and am thrilled to hang this in our home now! ❀️ I highly recommend @mikeanthony84's work if you're looking for a portrait like this! Thank you Mike + Mike!!πŸ€— .
.
.
.
.
#yeg #yegdesign #yegdesigner #yegarts #cartoon #portrait #illustration #customportrait #furfamily #yegdogs #yegcats #yegpets #edmonton @oliveandartie
  • Can weekday brunch be a thing? πŸ˜‹ Thanks @xix19 for yesterday's lovely birthday brunch! The chicken & egg waffles with sriracha aioli, wasabi slaw, whisky maple syrup, and poached egg is a stellar dish as is their bao benny! (Baos... so hot right now). A few more #lindorkfest meals to go! πŸ˜πŸ’•
.
.
.
.
.
#yegfood #yeg #exploreedmonton #edmontonfood #eggwaffle #chickenandwaffles #brunch #xixnineteen
  • Loved my Bucatini Carbonara from the new-ish @vaticanocucina! 😍Pancetta, Italian sausage, pecorino and delicious handmade pasta at a great price. πŸ‘ŒπŸ» Only critique is it could've been creamier but still very tasty! 
Last night's group had mixed feelings overall about the dishes we tried though - yays and nays. I'm in the yay camp for the pasta specifically. ☺️ And am always excited for more Italian options in the city!
Try it and let me know what you think. πŸ€—
.
.
.
.
.
#yegfood #yeg #exploreedmonton #vaticanocucina #pasta #bucatini #carbonara #italianfood #handmadepasta #lindorkfest #foodlovers
  • * * * G I V E A W A Y * * *
My must-have food at #KDAYS is the Spiral Spud chips with cheese and bacon! (NOT to be confused with Wiggle Chips lol). πŸ₯” πŸ₯“ πŸ§€ 
Check out some new midway food I helped judge today in my IG Stories and enter to win a pair of K-Days gate admission tickets:
1. Leave a comment telling me your favourite midway/carnival food.
2. Tag a friend to spread the word! 
I'll pick a random winner by Monday from all entries on my Twitter, IG and FB. K-Days runs until July 30! 🎑 Good luck and happy summer! ☺️
***** UPDATE *****
I was able to pick winners across all three platforms! πŸ™ŒπŸ» Congrats @smileconquer - winner of a pair of #KDAYS tickets! And thanks all who shared their fav midway treats! .
.
.
.
.
#yeg #yegfood #exploreedmonton #summer #festivalseason #kdaysyeg #chips #midwayfood #carnivalfood #edmonton
  • MOM AND DAD ARE BACK FROM VACATION! 🍜🍜🍜 Satisfy your pho craving at @kingnoodlehouse:
Wednesday to Sundays 
10 am - 7:30 pm
10615 97 Street
(#yegchinatown)
#cashonly πŸ€‘
Because soup - especially my mom's soup - is great in hot summer months too. πŸ™ŒπŸ»
.
.
.
.
.
#yegfood #yeg #exploreedmonton #edmonton #pho #vietnamesefood #kingnoodlehouse #soup #souperb
  • The infinity pool and mountain view πŸ” at the Sparkling Hill Resort in B.C. is one of my favourite hotel features! Now imagine getting this pool and view for free. πŸ€‘ That’s just some of the perks you get as a @hotelsdotcom #TempCaptain! Great rewards like free hotel stays. The #hotelsdotcom #CaptainObvious summer contest ends next week (July 25). Enter for a chance to become a Temporary Captain by submitting a quick video. Script & instructions: www.tempcaptain.com. And learn more about Sparking Hill Resort at the link in my bio! #sponsored ☺️
.
.
.
.
.
#travel #wanderlust #captainobvious #freebies #hotels #yeg #edmonton #contest #travelgram #wewhotravel #instatravel  #britishcolumbia #sparklinghill
  • 🌾🌾🌾 Today's grey day has me thinking of this bright canola field we visited during our day trip to #Lacombe + #RedDeer over the weekend! Highlights from the trip (and what I'd recommend you do in the area!) over on the blog soon!🌾🌾🌾
.
.
.
.
.
#yeg #explorealberta #edmonton #exploreedmonton #canolafields #canola #countryside #weekend #alberta #travelalberta
  • Tonight I went on a spontaneous #yegfood dessert crawl with @britl (as research for an upcoming blog post! 😍) It was so much fun! And the strawberry #bingsu from the new-ish @hanjanyeg is AMAZING! Shaved ice & condensed milk dessert. So delicious! We also snuck in a non-dessert with their jaeyuk bokkum spicy pork belly, kimchi and rice. Loooooved it! Will be back to #HanjanYEG so soon.🀀
.
.
.
.
.
#yeg #yegfood #exploreedmonton #edmonton #strawberry #strawberrybingsu #πŸ“ #🍧 #koreanfood #koreandessert #dessert #summer
  • That feel when you first break into your noodle bowl. πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™ŒπŸ»πŸ™πŸ» The Liang-Pi hand pulled cold noodles with sesame sauce from the new-ish @tangbistro is really good guys. 🀀 Tried it today with mom & dad (who are back from holidays and reopening @kingnoodlehouse this Wednesday!) Happy Saturday!πŸ’•
.
.
.
.
.
#yeg #yegfood #exploreedmonton #tangbistro #handpulled #noodles #noodlegram #coldnoodles #chinesefood #lunch #oldstrathcona #whyteave #noodledream
  • I had so much fun building #terrariums tonight with @littlmissandrea and her #bridalparty crew! Watch my IG Story for simple steps to making your own #terrarium!🌱☺️
.
.
.
.
.
#yakebythelake #succulent #succulentsofinstagram #edmonton #yeg #exploreedmonton #fishbowl #summer #backyardparty #girlfriends #bridalparty #succulentlove #diy #diyterrarium #diyterrarium

LINDORK