Top Five Disneyland Rides Every Family Should Experience

Recently my boys and I made our first trip to Disneyland and experienced firsthand the magic that is Disney. A huge part of that magic is the rides and in the five days that we were in the park, the boys made it their mission to try all the best rides at Disneyland and California Adventure.

From classics such as the King Arthur Carousel to new favourites including Radiator Springs Racers, there is so much to choose from in both parks!

But what really impressed me was how many rides there were that families could enjoy together, even with younger children along. In our time at the park, these were our top five choices for Disneyland rides the whole family, from infants to grandparents, are sure to enjoy:

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

finding nemo submarine voyage interior

Climbing down a steep spiral staircase into a bright yellow submarine had both boys eager for the ride to begin as we took our seats in front of the portholes. As the submarine headed out into open water, fun fish, deep-sea divers and even a little girl snorkelling were all visible.

underwater scene from finding nemo submarine voyage

Then a sudden warning light and a violent shaking of the sub had us diving deeper, where the boys enjoyed seeing Nemo, Marlin, Dory and the other characters from finding Nemo frolicking and playing outside the submarine.

Haunted Mansion

disneyland haunted mansion exterior

Getting there is half the fun in the Haunted Mansion, as we entered the Portrait Chamber and prepared to sink down into the depths of the mansion. The room stretched, the pictures revealed their true nature and the stage was set for spookiness as we learned from our spectral guide that things aren’t always as they appear. Then it was time to hop into our ghostly carriage and head into the depths of the haunted house.

hitchhiking ghosts haunted mansion disneyland

The graveyard was easily my favourite part of this ride as all manner of ghouls and spirits sang the haunting anthem Grim Grinning Ghosts. Sensitive children may be a little spooked by parts of this ride but there are no serious surprises and overall it’s just good scary fun.

Peter Pan’s Flight

peter pan's flight disneyland neverland

One of the original 1955 rides, Peter Pan’s Flight remains one of the best rides at Disneyland to this day. As we hopped into the flying galleon and sailed off on our adventure, the boys and I had no problem understanding why the ride was so popular. The unique suspension design of the ride meant that we were able to experience the magic of Peter Pan not just around us but below us as well.

peter pan's flight disneyland

The highlight of the ride for me was sailing over London at night with thousands of tiny lights twinkling below us, though the boys were almost as excited by the final daring battle between Peter Pan and Captain Hook! With fun scenes for kids and a great nostalgia factor for adults, it’s an essential part of the Disneyland experience.

Pirates of the Caribbean

pirates of the carribean sign disneyland

Young and old alike can find something to love about this barge ride through the water to experience pirate adventures firsthand. With a spooky introduction from a talking Jolly Roger and a heart-pumping drop down a small waterfall, the boys and I were immersed in the pirate’s life. The first half of the ride features a ghostly pirate ship, a treasure-filled grotto and a deserted pirate’s lair with a piano that plays itself.

pirates of the carribean treasure hoard

The second half of the ride, however, is where things really get exciting. The audio-animatronic characters that populate the ride are incredibly realistic and there is always something to see and hear.

Zackary was captivated by the special effects that had him convinced bullets were flying overhead and cannonballs were falling in the water. And of course, Jack Sparrow makes an appearance here and there too!

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters

buzz lightyear disneyland

Part ride and part midway game, the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride was total fun for kids of all ages. After a briefing from a larger-than-life Buzz Lightyear, we hopped into our space cruiser and prepared to battle the evil Emperor Zurg!

buzz lightyear astro blaster score picture

Each space cruiser was equipped with two space blasters that could be used to shoot infrared lasers at targets throughout the game. The boys had so much fun shooting at targets and competing for the highest score.

But the best part was that after the ride ended, we had the opportunity to find a picture of our family completing our mission and save it for sharing with friends and family later!

All of these rides, as well as being lots of fun, have no height restrictions so even families with toddlers or young children can experience the attractions together. And the adventures and thrills of these five rides will keep older children and adults completely entertained too!

If you want your time at Disneyland to include quality family time, make sure to check out these best rides at Disneyland that you and your children will all enjoy!

73 thoughts on “Top Five Disneyland Rides Every Family Should Experience”

  1. sylvia mollison

    These look like so much fun! We took our kids to Orlando last summer and, not being big on amusement parks,I did not think I would enjoy the ride and the parks there – too crowded, too noisy, etc. I would go back in a heartbeat because the whole experience was so enjoyable! Disney does a wonderful job of keeping wait times down and making sure traffic flows through all areas of the park!

    1. That was me exactly, Sylvia! I was super excited but had no idea what to expect as far as the lines and crowds. I was so impressed by how well designed everything was to make the wait for rides just fly by!

  2. these places didn’t exist when I was a child and without children it looks like I will be missing out on these rides

      1. Exactly what I was going to say, Sylvia! I actually found it heartwarming how many couples and adults were there on their own just having fun because they loved Disney. :)

  3. We only went on one of those rides! I guess that means we need to go back soon to try out the rest! I love that every family that goes has an entirely different experience yet they are all so magical and special in their own way!

      1. Astro Blasters. Actually, we did that one twice. Once with just my little guy and I because I sent my husband back to the hotel to grab something that I forgot and then once again with my husband because he was sad that he missed it. :) We were in line to go on the submarine ride but my son ran off to chase a duck through the park. Ha! So much to see and do in Disneyland!

  4. so fun! these all look great! I love rides that the whole family can experience together, being a family of 5 we often get split up even on family rides but it’s so nice when we can go together. height restrictions can be hard when the older ones get to go and the little ones have to stay back

    1. Exactly! Benjamin was just an inch or so too short for the 40-inch rides so he and I had to miss out on a few, but there were so many great choices we could all enjoy that he didn’t get too mopey about it! Lol

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