Are you wondering what the scariest rides at Disneyland are? Hoping to find the most family-friendly ones? Or maybe you want to know what are the best Adult-friendly rides. This Disneyland Ride List has you covered – including an in-depth Disneyland Ride comparison chart!
For most, Disneyland is the happiest place on earth.
But often for children (and maybe even a few adults), it can turn from happiest to scariest in just a matter of minutes.
You see, there are some somewhat scary and thrilling rides at Disneyland – and they aren’t always the ones you might expect.
For instance, when Jack went for the first time a few years ago, he was TERRIFIED by by Pinnochios Daring Adventure.
However, he absolutely loved the Haunted Mansion (which, admittedly, kind of gave me the creeps).
Since we’re all about sharing ways to make Disneyland more fun for everyone, I thought I would put together a list of the scariest rides at Disneyland and California Adventure, and the ones that are fun for all ages.
First off, I’ll share my top five scariest rides (at both Disneyland and California Adventure), then my top five “everyone” rides. After that, I have created a table that shares a “scare factor” rating for each ride, my own notes on the ride, and any information you may need. You can also print off a printable version of this guide so you can take it with you on your trip!
Table of contents
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Scariest Disneyland Rides
These aren’t really in a particular order, as they are scary for different reasons.
Originally written in 2018. Updated in 2020.
This ride is just dark, fast, and has the Matterhorn pop out at you. I think it’s just overall frightening for anyone who scares easily. If someone is a little nervous about going on it, make sure they aren’t in the front seat – especially at night. I was in that seat once, and it scared me a time or two!
With that said, this is a really fun one to go on while the fireworks are going off at night! Great view.
I actually almost forgot this ride because we didn’t go on it last time…but it’s definitely up there on the scary list. Every time I have been on it, I scream like crazy. That boulder that comes toward you is a bit unnerving.
This has the highest height limit on it at Disneyland, so you don’t really have to worry about debating whether or not your younger (under about six?) children should go on it. It just has some scary parts, and it’s bumpy. I actually hit my nose on the seat in front of me when I went when I was 18, and it hurt really bad! haha.
This ride is dark and goes fast. We went during Halloween, and I heard adults saying it scared them so much during Halloween. However, Forrest and I both found it to be kind of cheesy.
However, I still wouldn’t take anyone on this ride who gets scared easily. It is rather jolty, fast, and it’s in the pitch dark. It’s kind of a cool experience though.
I really wanted Jack to go on this ride, but he was very adamant about not going on it. It’s pretty pleasant for the most part with a couple of smaller drops, but then it does get a little dark…and, of course, there is a huge drop that everyone knows about.
You can also get extremely wet, which can be distressing for some (especially for children like Jack, who can hardly handle getting their heads wet for baths).
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
I was actually surprised that Jack loved Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Tours, and the Haunted Mansion. So if your child is maybe a little more nervous about going on rides, those might be good introductory “scary” rides.
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California Adventure Scariest Rides
Guardians of the Galaxy
Formerly known at the Tower of Terror, this ride still tops my list for scariest. I actually didn’t love the Tower of Terror because it totally creeped me out.
The new Guardians of the Galaxy setup is really kind of fun – I was laughing/screaming the whole time. However, those drops really are scary! Can’t you tell in this picture?!
Grizzly River Run
I feel really bad about making Jack go on this ride. He hates getting his face wet. I kept telling him he wouldn’t get that wet (because I really didn’t think he would!), and that it wasn’t scary.
Well, imagine my horror when I realized that he and I would be the ones going backward down the drop, which also resulted in use getting completely soaked. Jack was not happy.
No one else really got that wet on our boat. Ha! So just proceed with caution with this one. It just has some bigger drops, the splashes can get big, and some parts are a little faster.
Jack says this is the scariest ride he’s ever been on. And since we didn’t really make him go on that many scary rides, he’s probably right.
I actually forgot how fast it went until we went again in October. It is a bit jerky and fast! I would say that’s the main reason it’s scary. But if you have a Car lover who is also a scaredy cat…I would just make them do it anyways. I love this ride.
Pixar’s Pal-a-Round (moving carts)
I know, I know, how could this one be scary?! It’s a Ferris wheel!
Well, I’ll let this picture speak for itself:
That was me when I was 18, and I wasn’t screaming to be funny. I was actually terrified.
The moving carts are rather scary. I’d go with the ones that don’t move if you are worried. Jack actually fell off the seat when we took him on it two years ago…yeah, I feel bad about that.
It’s also miserable if you get stuck on it in the hot sun. Trust me on this one.
I don’t think I’ve actually been on this one, but Forrest has. He said it’s fun, but it’s just a classic rollercoaster – loops, fast, etc. It tends to have a shorter line than many rides from what we’ve observed. I would just proceed with caution with this one – if your kiddo isn’t scared for fast or going upside down, it probably wouldn’t be that bad.
Best Adult Rides at Disneyland and CA
These aren’t necessarily scary (though some of them are), but rides adults will enjoy – or that Forrest and I love, at least!
Because let’s be real – some of the rides aren’t quite as fun for adults as they are for kids:
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Splash Mountain
- Space Mountain
- Big Thunder Railroad
- Jungle Cruise (I think this one is hilarious)
- Indiana Jones
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Star Tours
- Millenium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- Toy Story Midway Mania
- Guardian’s of the Galaxy
- Radiator Springs Racers
- Grizzly River Run
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Pixar’s Pal-a-Round
Best Family-Friendly Rides at Disneyland
Here are our family’s favorite rides that everyone enjoyed. There are MANY family-friendly rides at Disneyland, and I love that people of all ages can enjoy visiting the park. These are just our favorites 🙂
- it’s a small world – this was Oliver’s absolute favorite. Whenever he sees a picture, he bursts into song. It’s the cutest thing in the world. This is a nice one to sit back and enjoy the air conditioning 🙂 (DL)
- Star Tours – I was actually surprised how much Jack loved this one. (height restriction) (DL)
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster – this one can be a bit loud, but both of our boys enjoyed it. (DL)
- Monster’s Inc Sully and Mike (CA)
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant (DL)
- Soarin’ over the World (height restriction) (CA)
- Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (DL)
- Francis’ Lady Boogie (CA)
- Autotopia (DL – height restriction to drive by self)
- Toon Town (DL)
- King Arthur Carousel (DL)
- Pirates of the Caribbean (DL)
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And now, here is my full comparison chart of all the rides at Disneyland and California Adventure. You can get a printable version of this to take with you to the park by entering your email here, or in the box below:
Disneyland Scare Chart
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- The Best Tips for Visiting Disneyland During Peak Season
- The Ultimate Guide to Character Dining at Disneyland
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is currently training to be a Certified Lactation Educator. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.
Chelsea @ Life With My Littles says
My number 1 is Guardians of the Galaxy, but it combines my two fears of falling and heights, so I just can’t deal!