There are a few rides at Disneyland that are so popular and well-known that many guests prioritize those over the rest! Rides such as Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain are all fantastic major attractions to tackle in your visit. But there are also quite a few underrated rides at Disneyland that are often overlooked in the whirlwind typical day. Here are my top ten favorite underrated rides at Disneyland that you should not miss!
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1. Storybook Land Canal Boats
Our journey through our list of underrated rides at Disneyland begins in Fantasyland which is home to some of our most classic rides. Storybook Land Canal Boats is an open air boat tour of mini sized homes and villages from classic Disney movies. These 12-person boats glide through Storybook Land while your boat's guide tells you the tale behind each little hand-built cottages, towns, and palaces. The attention to detail in this land is pure Disney magic and a magical experience for all ages.
Try riding this underrated ride at Disneyland in the evening! When you ride at night the land will be filled with twinkling lights and you will see plenty of sleeping ducks on your journey through this magical mini land.
2. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is one of the original 1955 Opening Day “dark ride” attractions in Fantasyland and is unique to the Disneyland Resort. The ride is based on the Wind in the Willows scenes from the Disney film: The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.
The ride takes guests through Toad Hall in a two person buggy incorporating all the elements of a wild dark ride which includes a trip to Hell! Yes, you read that right. This ride is so unique and classic- it should not be missed! Don't worry, I don't think most kids catch on to that part of the ride. My son still hasn't put two and two together even after years of visits.
Fun fact: in the 1950's entertainment for children was more focused on the scary thrills and you can see those themes present in some of the dark rides in Fantasyland. Fantasyland is full of underrated rides at Disneyland- make sure you don't miss them!
3. Pinocchio's Daring Journey
Pinocchio's Daring Journey is another classic Fantasyland dark ride that is often overlooked by guests as they hurry past on their way to Peter Pan. This dark ride has been in Disneyland since the late 1970's and tells the tale of Pinocchio through winding twists and turns in a woodcarver's cart.
This ride and movie features the song “When Wish Upon a Star” which has become the unofficial theme song of the Walt Disney Company.
4. Snow White's Scary Adventures
This is another classic that was another 1955 Opening Day “dark ride” attraction in Fantasyland. The version we have now has changed somewhat from the original one in 1955. In the 1980's, Disneyland updated the ride to include more Snow White since the original was built to show the experience from her point of view… which meant she wasn't largely present in the first version.
This ride is called Snow White's Scary Adventures for a reason! In fact, the Disneyland website even offers a disclaimer, “The ride includes some dark, spooky scenes that may be frightening for young children—including dungeons, skeletons, haunted trees, unexpected transformations and a menacing evil Queen.”
But this classic should not be missed as one of your top underrated rides at Disneyland! The spooky elements of the ride just make that happy ending even more satisfying.
5. Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room
As we leave Fantasyland on our hunt for underrated rides at Disneyland, our next stop isn't so much a ride but an experience. Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room was the first attraction to feature Audio-Animatronics technology and was one of Walt Disney's favorite creations.
This enchanting room features a menagerie of exotic singing birds, flowers, and Tiki statues. They all come to life inside the room for a choreographed performance.
Grab a Dole Whip before you enter and use this attraction as a way to cool off in the busy afternoons. Make sure to use mobile ordering for your Dole Whip to avoid the long lines!
6. Mark Twain Riverboat
The Mark Twain Riverboat is an authentic reproduction of the riverboats that used to take people up and down the Mississippi River. It features a working steam engine that converts the water from the Rivers of America into steam that powers the large paddle. The boat features four decks including the pilothouse, the promenade deck, the sun deck, and the main deck.
Guests can enjoy a ride around the Rivers of America and see waterfalls, rustic cabins, a Native American village, and more. Walt Disney named this boat after the author Mark Twain, the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, his favorite author and hero.
Take a trip on the Mark Twain Riverboat in the afternoon to get a break from the hustle and bustle of the parks. Or take your chance at trying to pilot the Mark Twain Riverboat! Go there first thing in the morning and try to be first in line to ride. Ask the captain nicely if you can steer! Some lucky guests will be taken to the steering wheel and offered their chance to steer this iconic boat making it a great experience for underrated rides at Disneyland.
7. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a classic dark ride located in Critter Country. This is a much newer version of a dark ride compared to the classics of Fantasyland but it is still worth a look.
This dark ride takes guests on a whimsical adventure on a beehive featuring Winnie the Pooh and all his friends. One great thing about this ride is due to its location back near Splash Mountain, it rarely has a long wait. On busy days we always like to head over to this ride since we know it will rarely have a long wait.
8. Disneyland Railroad
The Disneyland Railroad can often be one of the underrated rides at Disneyland since most guests don't consider it much of a ride! But the Disneyland Railroad is more than transportation between different areas of the park. If you ride the train all the way through Disneyland you will experience a nice travel to the past featuring animatronic dinosaurs, the Grand Canyon, and more!
Walt Disney had a great love for trains and you can see that dedication to his love in the classic features of the Disneyland Railroad. Enjoy great vantage points of the park and appreciate the beauty that Walt Disney dedicated his life to.
Fun fact: the trains are all named after American locomotive legends including C.K. Holliday, E.P. Ripley, Ernest Marsh, and Fred Gurley. The one exception is Ward Kimball, named after the Disney Animator that inspired Walt Disney's passion for trains and was a legend in Disney Animator history working on famous films like Pinocchio, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella.
9. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is one of the top underrated rides at Disneyland… even though it's not technically a ride but an attraction. You can find Mr. Lincoln near the front of Disneyland on Main Street, U.S.A. The show features an updated audio-animatronic of President Lincoln as he tells stories of the past and his visions for the future. The attraction begins with a show about President Lincoln's Life and then follows by President Lincoln taking the stage to deliver highlights from his greatest speeches.
Walt Disney was greatly inspired by Abraham Lincoln and you can see that inspiration in this great attraction. The first version of the Lincoln audio-animatronic debuted in 1964 at the New York World Fair and was so realistic that it was ‘alarming.'
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is a great place to cool down in the afternoons on warm days to take a break from the sun and busy atmosphere of the parks.
10. Disneyland Monorail
The Disneyland Monorail makes our list of underrated rides at Disneyland due to the great views of the park it offers and the deep roots in Disney history it holds. The high speed monorail will fly over Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, over Grizzly Peak, Buena Vista street, and Hollywood Land in California Adventure.
There are two stations for the monorail in Disneyland: Tomorrowland and the Downtown Disney district. Guests can skip the main entrance to Disneyland by using the monorail to travel straight to Tomorrowland. The trains run about every 10 minutes although on hot days it might not be running.
The history of the Disneyland Monorail is what makes it so unique as it was the first transportation system of its kind in America. The monorail is a Disney icon and it's worth a trip around the parks.
One way to incorporate a Disneyland Monorail experience into your day is to use it to travel to Downtown Disney to enjoy a character breakfast at one of the Disney property hotels and then using it to skip back to the parks!
Ready to Enjoy Underrated Rides at Disneyland?
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- Discount Disneyland Ticket Guide
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- Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Guide
- Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway
- Guide to Parades at Disneyland