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. IT would be so difficult to just pick your top 5 rides – everything is so amazing :-)

    Glad to see you and the boys had a blast!

  2. Stephanie Easterling

    My first time going was to Disneyland in 1969. We have been still going to both Disneyland and Disney World. My all time favorite will always be the Haunted Mansion, My kids love Buzz light Year Ride. We will be back!

  3. I enjoyed reading your Top Five Disneyland Rides Every Family Should Experience article.
    I have never been to Disneyland but it looks like fun.
    Thanks for sharing the great pictures.

  4. We just back from our first Disneyland trip as well! We did all of these too. In fact, Peter Pan was the first ride we went on cause I just HAD to go on it. We probably won’t go back for a couple years but I already can’t wait! I think I may have had more fun than the kids

    1. It was an amazing one! Those classic 1955 rides really are perfect family rides, aren’t they? Brought back so many memories of watching those movies as a child!

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