While Disneyland might not be the first place you think of when it comes to thrill rides, the entertainment resort, located in Anaheim, California, has its fair share of intense attractions.
The popular destination contains two theme parks — Disneyland and Disney California Adventure — each of which features their own collection of serious rides. While some are known for their large turns and quick starts, others are known for their fast drops and thrill-filled theming.
We’re here to look at all the attractions and determine which are more intense than the rest. Here are how the rides at California’s Disneyland Resort stack up.
10 Gadget’s Go Coaster
This mini roller coaster, which is based on Gadget Hackwrench from Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, takes guests on quick zip. In fact, it is the shortest ride in all of Disneyland, clocking in at only 44 seconds.
Yes, it is over in the blink of an eye, but particularly if you’re sitting in the back, you’ll feel every turn.
Gadget’s Go Coaster is a good beginner ride for kids who want to work up to more intense attractions.
9 Radiator Springs Racers
Who’s ready to head to Radiator Springs?
Just because this slot car-style dark ride immerses guests in the magic of Pixar’s Cars doesn’t mean it doesn’t pack in the thrills. Though lots of the attraction involves leisurely cruising, the end of the ride has guests racing to the finish.
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The quick transportation technology used in Radiator Springs Racers is similar to that used in Epcot’s Test Track. It pushes guests into a 40 mph finale that will have your hair blowing in the wind.
8 Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
This Star Wars-themed motion simulator ride first opened in Tomorrowland in 1986. It was updated in 2011 and has been whisking guests into a galaxy far, far away ever since.
Although the attraction isn’t a roller coaster, it is still intense. Riders crowd into a theater-style vehicle that has them feeling as if they are actually on The Starspeeder 1000. When trouble arrives, the ship is then pulled into a galactic journey.
It really feels as if the theater is actually rushing through the air, and the 3D glasses only add to that effect.
7 Goofy’s Sky School
This steel wild mouse roller coaster is located at Paradise Gardens in Disney California Adventure. It is themed after the 1940 short called Goofy’s Glider in which the titular character learns to fly.
Riders board four-person vehicles and are then elevated and whisked around. Though the attraction is short, clocking in at 1:45, the tiny track and tight turns make the 27mph cruise feel rather zippy.
6 Matterhorn Bobsleds
This attraction sends riders on a brisk journey through the Swiss Alps inside of a bobsled-style ride vehicle. The ride features two intertwined tracks that contain a collection of light drops and turns.
Though Matterhorn Bobsleds isn’t the most intense of Disney thrill rides, going only 27mph and lasting just over 2 minutes, it remains exciting to riders who don’t go on roller coasters every single day. The splash at the end gives guests one final rush.
5 Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
This Frontierland roller coaster rushes guests through Bryce Canyon-inspired landscapes on the back of a runaway mine train. Speeds reach up to 35 mph and there are tons of quick drops and turns that guests will especially feel from the back of the ride vehicle.
Thunder Mountain got a facelift in 2014, receiving new tracks, trains, scenery, and special effects, though the intensity remains about the same.
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The ride is also featured in Disney parks throughout the world including the Magic Kingdom in Florida, Disneyland Paris in France, and Tokyo Disney in Japan.
4 Splash Mountain
Though Splash Mountain doesn’t whip guests around like Thunder Mountain does, the boat ride does have some crazy high drops. In fact, this overall cheery attraction takes a dark turn toward the end, plummeting guests toward a briar patch via a fast 50 ft drop. Being that riders are held in by only a single lap bar, the intense finale can feel a little freaky.
Different variations of Splash Mountain are located at the Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland.
3 Space Mountain
While this galactic attraction first opened in the Magic Kingdom in 1975, it made its way to Disneyland just a couple of years later.
The indoor coaster rushes guests through outer space. Because much of the attraction is in the dark, with only planets and stars to guide guests’ way, it feels much faster than it actually is.
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Additionally, there are lots of quick, jerky turns on the ride, being that it was created with the coaster technology available in the ‘70s. The updates have helped a little, but the thrill is still real.
It’s also worth mentioning that this attraction has gone through several variations. Right now, it’s operating as Hyperspace Mountain, which means its been temporarily Star Wars-themed and features more lasers and projections.
The classic California Screamin’ was replaced by the Incredicoaster in 2018 to coincide with the opening of Incredibles 2. Though the ride was re-themed, it’s just as intense as the original.
The coaster goes 55mph and features a freaky-fast launch that boosts riders to its top speed in 4 seconds. Additionally, there is one giant inverted loop toward the middle of the ride and a drop that is 108 ft high. If that’s not intense, we don’t know what is.
1 Guardians Of The Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror opened at Disney California Adventure in 2004. It closed in 2017 and reopened at Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout! soon after.
This accelerated drop tower dark ride has guests plummeting down an elevator-style vehicle from 130 ft. up in the air. The speeds reach up to 39mph (which is faster than free-fall) and the loud, groovy music keeps the energy levels high.
While the theming of the ride isn’t scary, plummeting quickly and randomly into total darkness throughout portions of the ride is terrifying.
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