Both Disneyland and California Adventure have plenty of attractions from traditional carousels to thrilling roller-coasters. While I could talk about nearly all of them (since I’ve ridden most) I’ll highlight my must-rides when I visit the Disneyland Resort.
My first stops in Disneyland are usually Star Tours and Space Mountain since they tend to run out of FastPasses before other rides. I particularly enjoy Space Mountain during Halloween. As a big Star Wars fan, I’ve always loved Star Tours but when they revamped it several years ago it took the attraction to a whole new level. There are several possibilities for each portion of the ride so that you rarely get the same experience twice. Now, it is revealed that one of the passengers is actually a rebel spy! While I always hope to be the rebel spy I haven’t been so lucky yet. But I’ll continue to ride until I’m given the recognition.
Another favorite in Tomorrowland is Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. This interactive ride transports you to the Gamma Quadrant to battle the evil Emperor Zurg by shooting targets. If you want to maximize your score, look here to find out the different point values of each target shape. Many don’t realize the shapes differ in value! In California Adventure, Toy Story Midway Mania! is a similar ride where you compete in a shooting gallery-type setting. Here, you travel to different challenges from breaking plates to popping balloons in this 3-D adventure.
Next-door is the most thrilling roller-coaster at the resort, California Screamin’. It is the only ride that takes you upside down. As you speed above Paradise Pier you can catch great views of the park. I love roller-coasters so this is a personal favorite, but can be a little much for those that get motion sick. If you’re looking for speed on a tamer course, you have to try Radiator Springs Racers in the new Cars Land. This one runs out of FastPasses very early in the day, so it needs to be your top priority if you’re trying to avoid lines. After taking a drive through Radiator Springs with your favorite Cars characters, you race through the scenic Cadillac Range Mountains. It is really a beautiful and exciting new addition.
Hands down my favorite ride in either park has to be The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. This is largely because I’m a huge fan of The Twilight Zone TV series, but also because I love the weightlessness during free-fall. While there are FastPasses, the line moves fairly quickly so they aren’t usually necessary. Once you enter the lobby of the eerie Hollywood Tower Hotel, you are ushered into a library to view a video introduction to the attraction. What sets Disney apart from all other amusement parks is their ability to make each ride into its own world that you’re transported into from the moment you get in line. In the library there are small artifacts from episodes of the ride’s namesake series and even a letter addressed to Rod Serling (the show creator). It’s these details that put Disney above the rest. As you exit the library you find yourself in a dingy boiler room to board your service elevator taking you directly to, The Twilight Zone.
There are many other attractions and I’d love to answer any questions in the comments below. I’m not affiliated with Disney in any way, but I’m a huge fan with plenty of experience and knowledge I’m happy to share!