[Originally published on May 7, 2014]
In part one I told you all about my five favorite ways to stuff my face at Disneyland, and I followed that up with my five favorite attractions. Here’s what most would probably consider the main event: rides! This was easily the most difficult of the three to put together but it definitely feels right to me. Enjoy!
5. Indiana Jones Adventure (Disneyland, Adventureland)
My love for Indiana Jones Adventure comes in a variety of ways. First, it’s the secret best addition to Jungle Cruise should you have the right skipper. Second, it’s one of my favorite line experiences despite its ridiculous length.. or maybe actually because of it. I have a strange affinity for blowing through that line with a Fast Pass and feeling that sensation of “Will it ever end?” And finally.. it’s an amazing ride! It’s one of those rare rides where I don’t lose the sensation on repeat trips, which is seriously impressive. Also: animatronic Harrison Ford!
4. Splash Mountain (Disneyland, Critter Country)
Splash Mountain is probably my most consistent favorite and has been since I was a little kid. The songs, the animatronics, and of course, the giant plunge at the end. It’s also, clearly, my favorite ride to take stupid pictureson. As of writing, it’s currently in its best shape since the ride originally opened. The recent refurbishment time was extra good to it and not only are all the animatronics in fantastic shape, but long dormant pieces of the ride such as Br’er Rabbit’s cart have been fully restored. Hot or cold, night or day, I always make time for Splash Mountain.
3. Radiator Springs Racers (DCA, Cars Land)
Let’s get one thing out in the open: I’m not a big fan of Cars. I’m not super fond of the films, its characters never quite hooked me and when I think about how that universe actually works it sends me into a dark corner of the magical world of Disney that I’d rather not step into. That said.. I think Cars Land is the single most impressive Disney parks experience, and Radiator Springs Racers is its shining jewel. Cars Land itself is already mind-bending in its illusionary brilliance, but Radiator Springs Racers combines all the magic of your traditional Disney dark rides with spectacular animatronics and technology, complete with a kick-ass ride strapped to the end of it. It’s the most complete Disney ride experience one could possibly have and it makes me actually want to enjoy Cars.
2. Jungle Cruise (Disneyland, Adventureland)
My love for Jungle Cruise borderlines on irrational. When paired with the right skipper I turn into a giggling mess upon every voyage into the amazon. I can’t help it. I love puns. Beyond the irresistible charm of being an original 1955 ride, Jungle Cruise is always a can’t miss of mine for being different every single time you ride it, thanks in part to the talented cast members putting their own spins on the script. If you’re thinking about visiting for the holidays, Jingle Cruise is well worth the wait.
1. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (DCA, Buena Vista Street)
The first time I rode Twilight Zone at California Adventure I was not prepared for just how incredible it truly is. I’m a huge Twilight Zone nerd and so the entire experience (which I don’t wish to spoil) caught me completely off guard and was, I believe, the catalyst for my obsession with Disneyland. The actual ride, which is similar to free-fall rides found at other amusement parks, is the least frightening part of the experience. Apparently I think its the most hilarious thing in the entire park because whenever I ride it I start laughing hysterically as soon as the first drop occurs. It’s frightening, it’s fun, it’s spooky and it’s very respectful to its original source material. It’s everything I adore about Disneyland wrapped in a package that couldn’t possibly be less Disney and I love it very much.