Yes, Johnny Depp is gorgeous, but you can only ride Pirates of the Caribbean so many times. You’re looking for the bigger thrills! No worries, Disneyland Resort has all the excitement you need. Here’s our top six thrill rides at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park, guaranteed to have you laughing, screaming – and ready to go again!
Number six: The Matterhorn Bobsleds (DL) – Climb up the snow-covered Matterhorn peak in your bobsled, then get ready to scream all the way down, as you zip in and out of the mountain and almost collide with the Abominable Snowman who lurks inside. There are two tracks – if both are running, pick the one on the Fantasyland side which is slightly longer and has sharper curves.
Number five: Mickey’s Fun Wheel (DCA) – Yes, it’s a Ferris wheel, spinning you more than 150 feet up to the top (great view of the park) and around again. But Disney’s added a twist – some of the gondolas also slide in and out as the wheel turns, making it even more exciting, so be sure to request a moving one. If you’ve done this ride in daylight, try it again in the dark for a totally different view of the park.
Number four: Indiana Jones Adventure (DL) – The thrills on this ride are more psychological than physical – no steep drops, but all the excitement of collapsing bridges, the huge metal ball rolling towards you, and the spookiness of the Temple of the Forbidden Eye as you careen along in your (very bouncy!) off-roading vehicle. Hang on tight, keep an eye out for Indy, and prepare to be thrilled.
Number three: Space Mountain (DL) – It’s amazing how much scarier it is to ride a roller coaster in the dark – when you can’t see where you’re going, every drop feels endless. The stars shoot past you and you can hear the other riders screaming in the dark as you race through space to a breathless finish.
Number two: California Screamin’ (DCA) – You’ll know when you’re getting close to this enormous roller coaster because you can hear the riders screaming. No secrets about this one: you can see the whole track as the train swoops, drops, and takes the riders upside down through a loop-the-loop section as well. At the peak you’ll get a great view over the park – but look quickly, because this coaster moves fast!
And our number one thrill ride: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (DCA) – What makes this ride even more thrilling is that it is different every time – you know that elevator is going to drop, but the pattern changes with every ride. Just walking through the spooky hotel makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up; once you sit down in the elevator you know you are doomed! (But you’ll probably want to get right back in line when your ride of terror finishes…)
If you want to hit all six of these rides (and maybe do some more than once) you’ll need a few tips to avoid the long lines. Plus, we suggest getting the most out of your visit to the Disneyland Resort with a Two-day ticket. Here’s what to do:
· Arrive early and/or stay late. The crowds are smallest immediately after the park opens, but they also tend to decrease later in the day as people get tired and head for home. Give yourself a little break in the late afternoon – maybe a leisurely dinner in one of the restaurants on site – and then get back out to ride until park closing.
· Ride during the parades or fireworks. Many families will be lined up along the parade route or in front of the castle up to an hour before the event actually starts, meaning fewer people to line up for Indiana Jones. Check the Times Sheet (you can pick these up when you enter the park or at many locations inside) for parade times.
· Use FASTPASS! If a line is long, check to see if you can get a FASTPASS – you’ll insert your park entrance ticket into a machine, and it will spit out a ticket with a time for you to come back and enter the ride in a much shorter line. Check ONLINE for details on which rides have this option and the rules for using them.
· If you don’t mind riding with strangers, check to see if a “Single Rider Line” option is available. (California Screamin’ has this, for example). This line is usually quite short, and you’ll be moved onto the ride whenever there’s a seat to fill. You can meet up again with the rest of your friends at the exit.
· Purchase a Southern California CityPass and you’ll have a three day admission pass to Disneyland/DCA and one day passes to Universal Studios and Sea World. You’ll save over $100 on entry fees, skip ticket lines, admission cards are valid for 14 days from your first use and you can purchase it prior to your vacation online! Visit, www.citypass.com/southern-california, for more details.