The SCARIEST (and Least Scary) Rides at Disneyland

According to Disney legend, the origins of Disneyland can be traced back to Walt himself sitting on a bench watching his daughters ride the Griffith Park Carousel and thinking that there should be a place where parents and their children could have fun together.


While the real story of the park’s origin is a bit more complicated than that, Walt and the Imagineers who’ve followed him have made a concerted effort to make sure that the Disneyland Resort always has something for everyone, including scary rides… and not-so-scary rides. Today, we’ll be looking at five examples of each.

The Scariest Rides in Disneyland

The Matterhorn

Disneyland’s groundbreaking tubular steel coaster within a mountain has been the park’s most scary attraction — in multiple ways — since it first opened in 1959.


First there’s the obvious: The ride is a twisting, coaster-like experience that weaves in-and-out of a concrete mountain at high speeds and — since the 1970s — has included a close encounter with a yeti. Second, the attraction is terrifying to anyone whose ever had even the slightest bit of back pain, as the ride vehicle’s jostling combined with design of the seats could necessitates a trip to the chiropractor.

Pixar Pal-Around

To some, the Pixar-Pal-Around may look like simple Ferris wheel. However, it’s actually what’s known as an electronic or sliding wheel.

You can use your Redemption Pass on the Pixar Pal-around if you would like to be terrified!

While 16 of its 24 gondolas are stationary, the other 8 slide back and fourth on internal rails, providing an experience that’s terrifying and nauseating for many guests.


For many, Soarin’s is a serene experience. However, for those afraid of heights, the experience is scary as can be. Think about it, sitting in a giant erector set hanging 50 feet above the ground held in by nothing but a seatbelt, legs dangling freely as the structure sways, dips, and drops along with a film would be horrifying if heights weren’t your thing.

Goofy’s Sky School

On the surface, Goofy’s Sky School likely elicits a scoff for being on this list. After all, it’s “just” a small wild mouse coaster. However, anyone who has experienced the hairpin turns at the top level, each of which feels like it’s going to fling riders into downtown Anaheim, knows better than that.

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

While the storyline of the subs isn’t all that scary, the ride vehicles are the issue. They’re tiny and claustrophobic, with guests on top of each other. Combine that with the fact that guests are underwater inside of them — yes, the vehicles aren’t actually submarines, but the cabin with guests is under the water line — and it’s ripe for a claustrophobic freak-out.

The Least Scary Rides in Disneyland

Mad Tea Party

The Mad Tea Party — AKA the Tea Cups — could conceivably be scary to those who don’t like spinning IF riders weren’t in total control of their spinning. Since they are, the ride is as wild or tame as guests prefer, making it one of the least scary/most fun attractions in either Disneyland or California Adventure.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

There’s arguably no more iconic Disneyland ride experience than riding in a Dumbo car. The attraction, an aerial carousel, is neither high enough nor fast enough to scare most riders, and instead provides a smooth and memorable ride for guests of all ages.

‘it’s a small world’

Let’s face it, outside of the ride’s iconic theme song possibly getting stuck in your head, there’s nothing scary about ‘it’s a small world’. The iconic boat ride’s theme of peaceful unity among the children of the world has delighted millions since it debuted at the 1964 New York World’s fair, and lives up to its billing as the “happiest cruise that ever sailed.”

“it’s a small world”

Peter Pan’s Flight

Of all the so-called Disneyland dark rides, there’s perhaps none more beloved than Peter Pan’s Flight — certainly that’s what wait times would lead you to believe anyway. Pan offers a magical experience for children and adults alike, providing a journey to Neverland in a flying pirate ship. Every element of the ride — even those that could be terrifying like flying high above London and coming face to face with pirates and a crocodile — are presented with such whimsy that there’s nothing scary about them.

Storybook Land Canal Boats

One of Disneyland’s oldest attractions — it was actually initially planned for the original Mickey Mouse Park concept that predated Disneyland, and is one of the remaining opening day attractions left in Walt’s original park — the Storybook Land Canal Boats are also one of the park’s most tranquil and serene attractions. As a simple slow boat ride through miniature environments themed after many of Disney’s animated films, the ride is as charming as charming can be and still enthralls guests despite its lack of thrills and scares.

The Storybook Land Canal Boats have been a Disneyland staple since 1955. [The Walt Disney Company]
That’s our look at the scariest and least-scary rides in Disneyland! Follow All Ears for more Disneyland info!

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Do you agree with our picks for the Disneyland’s scariest — and least scary — rides and attractions? Let us know in the comments below.

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