Leave a Comment
Recently, myself along with a couple of the other resident CinemaBlend Disneyland nerds attempted to rank every attraction at Disneyland. While we limited that list to the rides in that particular theme park, you really can't talk about Disneyland without taking it's sister location, Disney's California Adventure, into account as well. So now it's time to rank all the attractions there, as well.
As with our previous list, every ride is ranked on a ten-point scale, averaged between the three of us. While some tie scores are listed, if attractions receive three identical scores, an attraction may rank higher if it receives a significantly higher score from any one judge. With all of that in mind, here we go...
24. Pixar Pal-A Round/Mickey's Fun Wheel - Swinging
Average Score: 1.33
It's totally understandable that Disney would try to find a way to improve the traditional Ferris wheel concept. Unfortunately, the solution found for the Pixar Pal-A-Round (formerly Mickey's Fun Wheel) is NOT an improvement. The cars swing back and forth along tracks rather than remaining in one place. However, since the wheel keeps stopping to let people on and off, the swinging is never smooth, you get jerked around in fits and starts, and often find yourself sitting in really uncomfortable positions. There's also nothing to hold on to so it's easy to fall all over the car.
23. Heimlich's Chew Chew Train
Average Score: 2.66
If there's a ride inside Disney's California Adventure that is really only for kids, without much for adults to enjoy, it's this one. It's a slow train ride along a small area that doesn't have much in the way of scenery beyond oversized "food." It's cute, and little kids probably love it. In fact, it's probably the ride that the absolute youngest guests and most enjoy, but there just isn't much there for anybody else.
22. Jumpin' Jellyfish
Average Score: 3
Jumpin' Jellyfish is a pretty simple experience, and it's not particularly long. It goes up, and it goes down. Like the other rides in the Paradise Gardens Park area, it gives you a pretty nice view of Pixar Pier and the lagoon, and it doesn't drop as fast as Guardians of the Galaxy- Mission: Breakout, so it may have more general appeal, but it's a brief experience, so it's hard to rank it really high.
21. Goofy's Sky School
Average Score: 3.33
Roller coasters are one thing that Disney's California Adventure doesn't have a lot of, but it does have one small coaster which is given over to one one of Disney's classic characters, Goofy. Goofy's Sky School is a fairly compact coaster, which means it has a lot of tight turns in order to fit a decent track length in a small space, that might be a bit jarring for some, Jessica specifically says it makes her physically ill, but it also doesn't move too quickly, making it decent for kids looking to try out their first coaster, who can also handle some of the motion better.
20. Red Car Trolly
Average Score: 4
The Red Car Trolly honestly barely counts as an attraction, but you can ride it and so we count it. It doesn't really work as a mode of transportation, as it only covers a small piece of DCA's large footprint. It would be faster to walk, and nothing really happens when you're on it. However, it does add a lot to the aesthetic of Buena Vista Street and Hollywoodland, giving you a real feeling like you're walking through a version of Southern California that hasn't existed for decades. That gives the trolly some value, even if riding it isn't where that value can be found.
19. Francis' Ladybug Boogie
Average Score: 4
While Flik's Flyers is the DCA equivalent of Dumbo, the Ladybug Boogie is essentially a minor twist on the Mad Tea Party teacups across the way at Disneyland. You spin around in a circle while moving across on platforms that also spin around. Ladybug Boogie doesn't give you the ability to control your speed the way the teacups do, which means your friend who likes to go too fast and make you puke can't ruin the ride for you. It also spins a bit slower, which might make it less fun for some, but more fun for others.
18. Golden Zephyr
Average Score: 4.5
The Golden Zephyr is another simple ride that spins you around in a circle while up in the air. While it also doesn't give you control over your ride vehicle, it starts up much higher in the air, and by virtue of its location over the lagoon in front of Pixar Pier, it gives you a pretty good view, though by no means perfect, making it a worthy attraction to check out, even if it doesn't do anything too stunning. Be careful on a hot day, however, because the queue isn't well covered so the wait is right in the sun.
17. Pixar Pal-A Round (Mickey's Fun Wheel) - Non-Swinging
Average Score: 4.66
There's little that can go wrong with a good old-fashioned Ferris wheel when you just let the classic ride just be itself. And considering the size of the Pixar Pal-A-Round (formerly Mickey's Fun Wheel), the view from the top is impressive. While the swinging version of the wheel is a nightmare, the classic version is everything you want from the simple and elegant experience. Though, if the non-swinging cars were more open, the view would be even better from the top.
16. Turtle Talk with Crush
Average Score: 5
This is an experience geared toward little kids, but it's one everybody should check out. Turtle Talk lets kids sit in front of a massive screen and interact with the laid-back turtle from Finding Nemo. What's special about it is that kids can actually ask Crush questions and he responds directly to them. It's not canned voice cues but somebody who is really able to interact with the kids through the animated character. It's not something you'll likely care to do a lot, but it's worth doing once just to see it.
15. Jessie's Critter Carousel (King Triton's Carousel of the Sea)
Average Score: 5
Currently, the Pixar Pier carousel is closed for renovation and updating, transitioning it from the previous Little Mermaid design to one dedicated to Toy Story's Jessie, so if something drastically changes with the new Pixar theming, the ranking on this one could conceivably change, but at the end of the day, it's a carousel. It's a bit more creative in its design because it's not limited to horses, as the one at Disneyland is, but that's about all that sets it apart.
T-13. Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sully to the Rescue
Average Score: 5
One of the few simple dark rides that you can find at Disney's California Adventure, Mike and Sully to the Rescue takes you through the events of Monsters Inc. This ride gains several points, mostly for not being the terrible Superstar Limo ride that it replaced, though it loses some love for reusing several of the characters from that ride as members of the Child Detection Agency, causing terrible flashbacks for anybody who experienced the original ride in this location. The Roz character at the end that actually interacts with you as you exit is a bonus, though.
T-13. Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters
Average Score: 5
This is actually one of the newer attractions to be found at Disney's California Adventure, as it replaced Luigi's Flying Tires, an attraction that proved to be unpopular with guests. This one is a fairly simple ride that sees the ride cars dancing around a large open space to one of a handful of different songs. However, since the dance changes with the song that plays, there's some value in riding this one more than once in order to experience all the attraction has to offer.
T-11. Tuck and Roll's Drive 'Em Buggies
Average Score: 5.5
Bumper cars are a classic amusement park ride and so, of course, Disneyland Resort has its version. The Drive 'Em Buggies are part of A Bug's Land, and thus they're designed for younger kids, which is nice because they rarely are able to enjoy this sort of attraction. However, because the attraction is designed to appeal to smaller guests, the cars go awfully slow and they're not all that big, so if you're looking to cause some major collisions, this one isn't for you.
T-11. Flik's Flyers
Average Score: 5.5
This ride is essentially Dumbo the Flying Elephant, only instead of riding Dumbo around in a circle, you get to sit in an empty Chinese food container. Considering the fact that Disney's California Adventure doesn't have a Fantasyland area dedicated to attractions for the younger set, Flick's Flyers is a nice ride to have. Its arc isn't as big as Dumbo, so you don't get to see as much, but getting a bird's eye view of A Bug's Land does give you a chance to see all the creativity that went into creating the oversized area.
10. Mater's Junkyard Jamboree
Average Score: 5.66
While Mater's Junkyard Jamboree is a fairly simple ride that whips you around in circles behind one of the tractors from the Cars movies, it's the sort of simple fun that anybody can enjoy. As your tractor moves between turntables it spins left and then right, causing the trailer behind it, which you're sitting in, to spin in the opposite direction. There's a surprising amount of force behind the little ride, making it, if not quite a "thrill ride" in the traditional sense, certainly thrilling enough.
9. Silly Symphony Swings
Average Score: 6.33
Named for one of Walt Disney's classic cartoon series, the Silly Symphony Swings are another ride that lets you fly high above the water near Pixar Pier, but due to the way the ride works, swinging you out on a small seat on wires, you feel like you have less control, making it a bit more fun than the other rides in the area. Like them, however, the ride isn't very long, but the time you do have is totally worth it.
8. The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure
Average Score: 7.33
As mentioned earlier, Disney's California Adventure doesn't have many dark rides, so the couple that do exist are nice breaks from the rest of the attractions. The Little Mermaid dark ride is also one of the best in all of the Disneyland Resort. It's newer than most so the animatronics are more impressive, and the Under the Sea segment is especially fun to see so many active animatronics moving together in a way you just don't see anywhere else.
7. Grizzly River Run
Average Score: 7.66
If you like to get soaked on your theme park rides, and a lot of people do, then Grizzly River Run is for you. While it's occasionally possible to survive Splash Mountain without getting much more than your shoes wet if you're lucky, that's basically never going to happen here. You ride a massive tube down multiple rapids, occasionally spinning around in order to be sure that you're going to be in the major splash zone at some point. The only real downside to this one is that when you want it the most, when it's hot, the line is the longest.
6. World of Color
Average Score: 8
Disney Parks' nighttime shows are always special but World of Color is one of the best. The show uses water to showcase Disney animation and music in a way that's simply unparalleled. Fountains dance in time to the music and film clips are actually shown by projecting them on sheets of water vapor. While the crowds always make this one tough to get a good spot in which to see everything, it's never a disappointment.
5. Incredicoaster (California Screamin')
Average Score: 8
The roller coaster formerly known as California Screamin' recently received a re-skin to turn it into the Incredibles themed Incredicoaster. Regardless of what you call it, this is the most serious coaster at Disneyland Resort, it's the only one in either park with a loop and it's one of the longest coasters in North America. It owns the skyline of Pixar Pier and it's as much fun as it looks. If you're serious about thrill rides, then this one is hard to beat.
4. Radiator Springs Racers
Average Score: 8.33
This ride has had a long line since it opened and the size of it has never really shrunk. The reason is pretty clear. It's a lot of fun. While largely a simple car ride that takes you through elements of the first Cars movie, it's on a massive scale compared to other storybook rides, and it ends with a high-speed race through Radiator Springs that's always fun, but that you don't always win, giving you a reason to go back and try again.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout
Average Score: 9
A lot of people were upset to learn that the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was being replaced by a new ride focused around the MCU's Guardians of the Galaxy. However, for us, few rides get better than this. If you like the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, then this ride brings it all to life, not only because it includes the actors from the film, including an animatronic Rocket, but also the music that makes the movies so memorable. It may be a simple drop ride from a mechanical standpoint, but everything else that goes into it makes it so much more than that.
2. Soarin Around the World
Average Score: 9.66
The second iteration of this ride, following Soarin Over California, Soarin' around the world is a combination of large format movie and theme park ride that gives you the impression you're flying through the air over major global landmarks. It is simply beautiful. The wind blowing in your face and the scents that get piped into the room to make you feel like you're really there, wherever there happens to be, take Soarin to the next level making it hands down one of the most fun experiences at Disney's California Adventure.
1. Toy Story Midway Mania
Average Score: 10
Pixar Pier (formerly Paradise Pier) is designed to look like an old-school amusement park or carnival like you might find at Santa Monica. Midway Mania takes the classic carnival games you might find there and reimagines them as a ride where you view a 3D screen and use an actual physical pop gun to do things like pop balloons with darts or throw rings around objects. It's amazing fun and with the scoring system, it's always worth going back to take on your friends or improve your score. There's a reason all three of us gave this one a perfect score.