Sometimes it can be difficult to tell whether or not your kids (or you!) are ready for some of the bigger rides. On the one hand, you don’t want anyone to miss out, but it’s also no fun to be petrified of the happiest place on earth. The following is a list of the Disneyland Resort’s more intimidating rides; the tamer but still nerve-wracking are classified as “somewhat scary”, while those that are the max intensity are “very scary”. This is a guide to using the somewhat scary rides as a measure of you or your child’s readiness for the bigger ones. For a more in-depth look of the very scary rides, check out their original posts (each has a breakdown of what the rides entail, plus my review).
DISNEYLAND’S SOMEWHAT SCARY RIDES
Gadget’s Go Coaster – This is Disneyland’s smallest/tamest coaster, but it’s a coaster nonetheless. If you’re afraid of this ride, steer clear of anything fast, dark, or loud.
Haunted Mansion – Although the Haunted Mansion is not a typical haunted house, it’s still dark and ghostly. This ride is a good measure of how you will fare on rides that share its eerie vibe or darkness, with added speed and/or thrills (like Space Mountain or Snow White’s Scary Adventures).
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride – This ride is not fast, but it’s very loud and dark. Like the Haunted Mansion, Mr. Toad is a good measure of louder, faster rides in the park.
Pirates of the Caribbean – While most guests end up loving Pirates, certain elements within the ride can be frightening. Many rooms are very dark, the beginning has a drop into the caves, and the pirate skeletons and cannon fire don’t stray far from the boats. You can use Pirates as a measure for other coasters, and to test yourself on a water ride, if you’re thinking about trying Splash Mountain.
DISNEYLAND’S VERY SCARY RIDES
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Snow White’s Scary Adventures
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE’S SOMEWHAT SCARY RIDES
Goofy’s Sky School – This is California Adventure’s equivalent of Gadget’s Go Coaster. If you’re scared of Goofy, you won’t be ready for any of the other scary rides in the park.
Mickey’s Fun Wheel – The wheel has two different ride experiences: swinging cars and non-swinging cars. The non-swinging cars are only scary if you’re afraid of heights, as the wheel moves slowly and the cars are completely caged in. But the swinging cars are fast, and they are very intimidating for kids and grownups alike. You can use the wheel to test your readiness for rides with higher views, or the swinging cars to test how you’d fare on faster rides and drops.
Silly Symphony Swings – For the most part, the Silly Symphony Swings aren’t intimidating. But if you find yourself spooked by the height and rotation over the water, you may not like Soarin’ Over California or other high-flying rides in the park.
Soarin’ Around The World – Like with the Swings and Fun Wheel, the only thing scary about Soarin’ is its perceived height. Riders explore mountain tops, and zoom over world landmarks and cityscapes, so guests afraid of heights will be miserable on this ride.
CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE’S VERY SCARY RIDES
If you’re still unsure about how your child will fare on any of these rides, I have one final piece of advice. Almost every single ride can be found on YouTube, filmed by guests from a rider’s vantage point. Although this is obviously not the same as actually dropping or spinning on these rides, it will show you exactly what to expect when you visit the park. The only way to really tell what you are ready for is to try the rides out, so have fun and good luck!