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15 Scariest Rides at Disneyland (+ Tips for Riding Them!)

Pixar Pier with Incredicoaster and Pixar Pal-A-Round

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Sure, Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth. And most people think of it as a kid-friendly paradise. But Disneyland still has some scary rides, and here is our list of the scariest rides at Disneyland to help you decide if they are right for your kiddos (or for you!).

We’re going to break all of these rides down, but just to give you the summary, here are the scariest Disneyland ride plus a quick summary of what makes it scary.

(And remember, Disneyland Resort has two parks: Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure Park!)

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout — Free-fall drops, scary show elements
  2. Incredicoaster — Fast roller coaster, quick launch, and an inversion
  3. Pixar Pal-A-Round (Swinging) — Unpredictable, swinging drops on a Ferris Wheel
  4. Space Mountain — Roller coaster in the dark
  5. Grizzly River Run — Drops and spins
  6. Indiana Jones Adventure — Intense movement, darkness, and scary show elements
  7. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance — Scary show elements, darkness, small drop
  8. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad — Fast coaster, scary show elements
  9. Matterhorn Bobsleds — Darkness, drops, scary show elements
  10. Goofy’s Sky School — Intense turns, drops
  11. Pirates of the Caribbean — Darkness, intense show elements, drops
  12. Pinocchio’s Daring Journey — Darkness, creepy show elements
  13. Haunted Mansion — Darkness, ghosts and creepiness
  14. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride — Darkness, intense show elements
  15. Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin — Darkness, intense show elements, spinning

Want to know more details about what makes these rides scary? Then keep reading!

Disneyland Resources!

Scariest Rides at Disneyland

Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout

Exterior of Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout

Okay, let’s start with what I consider to be the scariest ride at Disneyland: Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout.

When it comes to rides, I think people fall into two categories: people who like drops and people who hate them. I am someone who hates them, so I won’t touch this ride with a 10-foot pole.

If you’ve been to Disney World, then this is very similar to Tower of Terror. In fact, it used to be a Tower of Terror ride until it was rethemed for the Guardians of the Galaxy.

In this ride you’ll join Rocket as he rescues the rest of the Guardians from the Collector. The actual theming and story of the ride is more fun than scary, but the seemingly random free-fall drops on this one have it at the top of my scariest rides in Disneyland list.

Also note that during the fall and Halloween celebrations at Disneyland, this ride transforms to Monsters After Dark in the afternoons and evenings. This is an even scarier version of the ride, with more intense show elements.

Location: Disney’s California Adventure Park
Scary elements: Free-fall drops, intense action scenes
Height requirement: 40 inches

Incredicoaster

The Indredicoaster is such a fun coaster and it’s the only roller coaster in Disneyland with an inversion.

This roller coaster is themed after the Incredibles, as the family has to chase Jack Jack and catch him before he causes too much destruction. It starts off with a quick launch uphill that goes from 0 to 55 mph in four seconds (as Dash “runs” next to you over the water).

Honestly, if you like coasters, you’ll probably find this one totally fine. There aren’t many intense drops and it’s mostly just fun. But it goes on our scariest ride list because it is Disneyland’s most intense coaster and the upside-down loop may be too much for some people.

Location: Disney’s California Adventure Park
Scary elements: Fast launch, upside-down loop, drops
Height requirement: 48 inches

Pixar Pal-A-Round (Swinging)

Cars on the Pixar Pal-A-Round

The Pixar Pal-A-Round is the large Ferris wheel at California Adventure’s Pixar Pier. (In previous versions of the park it has been called Mickey’s Fun Wheel and Sun Wheel.)

And one version of this ride is not scary at all (unless you’re afraid of heights). It’s just a traditional Ferris wheel in an enclosed gondola that offers amazing views of the park.

BUT there is also a swinging version, which is truly terrifying. Here, the cars are on a track, and as the wheel turns, you will drop and swing to different parts of the wheel, all carried by gravity. One of the things that makes this so scary is there is no predictability.

Lots of people call this the “Death Wheel” because of how scary it is. And you’ll here people screaming their lungs out as their gondolas drop.

Which is why I always choose the non-swinging version of this ride.

Location: Disney’s California Adventure Park
Scary elements: Unpredictable drops and swinging
Height requirement: Any height (which seems strange to me?)

Space Mountain

While I am not at all a fan of Space Mountain at Disney World, I actually love it at Disneyland!

Space Mountain is an indoor coaster that is very very dark. It’s fast and fun, but there aren’t a lot of big scary drops, which is nice. I also like that unlike at Disney World (which has 1 person rows), Disneyland’s Space Mountain cars fit two people to a row, which means if you have a kiddo who is a little nervous, they can ride next to you.

It’s also A LOT smoother than Disney World’s version. SO while this is still one of the scarier rides at Disneyland (I mean, it’s a roller coaster in the dark), I generally think it is more fun than it is scary, at least if you like coasters.

Location: Disneyland Park
Scary elements: Fast coaster, some drops, darkness
Height requirement: 40 inches

Grizzly River Run

Grizzly River Run is a whitewater adventure, and it really is so fun! But it’s also scary for a couple reasons. First of all, you never know who is going to get wet. The raft is a round boat where passengers face each other, and it spins around unpredictably as you go. So you never know who is going to end up getting pushed under a waterfall or splashed in a drop.

And this is the other reason this ride is on the scariest rides at Disneyland list: the drops. The drops vary in height, but the biggest one at the end is a 20-foot drop. And what makes this scarier is that sometimes you go down it while spinning. (Like really, I just closed my eyes and screamed. But it was so fun!)

Location: Disney’s California Adventure
Scary elements: Drops, spinning, unpredictably getting soaked
Height requirement: 42 inches

Indiana Jones Adventure

Entrance to Indiana Jones Adventure

This is my absolute favorite ride at Disneyland! It’s a intense adventure ride, where you ride in a Jeep-like vehicle through the temple with Indiana Jones. It’s bouncy and fast and just an absolute blast.

But of course, there are also scary elements like the speed, a giant snake, spiders on the wall, a wobbly bridge, and all kinds of other danger elements. Oh, and there’s that whole boulder-that-threatens-to-smash-you thing.

One thing that I think is interesting about this ride is that there can be different ride speeds. I haven’t seen this confirmed by Disney, but lots of people have noticed that this ride can run fast or slow. I’ve been on it and it’s been super fast, and I’ve been on it when it’s been a little slower. (And no, it wasn’t based on my seat because I rode it in the same seat on the same day and got two different speeds.)

All that to say, the faster the better in my opinion. But if you have kiddos who are scared of fast and dark rides, this might be one to skip with them.

Location: Disneyland Park
Scary elements: Darkness, speed, scary situations, snakes and spiders
Height requirement: 46 inches

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Storm Trooper Room in Star Wars Rise of the Resistance

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is SUCH an amazing ride and it truly makes you feel like you are immersed in a Star Wars movie.

It really puts you in the middle of the story, as you board a transport ship and are captured by the First Order. Then, you are led to a holding cell, where the Resistance comes to rescue you and you get on droid driven cars to find a way to escape.

This is a trackless ride, and each car will have a slightly different experience and perspective on the ride. And while it’s fast and intense, it’s super smooth.

Of course, the scare factor can be pretty big here, especially for younger kids. After all, Kylo Ren is looking for you, Storm Troopers are shooting at you, and there is a small drop at the end when you escape via an escape pod (it’s not too intense, but it may surprise you).

Location: Disneyland Park
Scary elements: Intense situations, the “bad guys” being after you, small drop, speed
Height requirement: 40 inches

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Train

If you have a kiddo who has graduated from smaller roller coasters like Chip and Dale’s Gadget Coaster, then Big Thunder Mountain might be the next step up for them.

This is a fast and fun coaster with some twists and turns, but the drops aren’t too intense and of course there aren’t any inversions.

The show elements can be a bit scary on this one though, so know your kid. The uphill sections have you go through what can seem like dangerous situations (like a mine about to be blown up by dynamite or a noisy bat cave). But mostly this roller coaster is just fast and fun.

Location: Disneyland Park
Scary elements: Speed, drops, intense show elements
Height requirement: 40 inches

Matterhorn Bobsleds

Exterior of Matterhorn Bobsleds

Ok yes, this is a coaster. And yes there is some darkness and a truly scary looking yeti. But honestly the scariest thing about this ride may be what it will do to your back.

The Matterhorn Bobsleds are an opening day attraction for Disneyland, so it’s an old-school roller coaster without a lot of frills. The storyline is that you are bobsledding down the mountain, and there are actually two different tracks for this one that have slightly different experiences.

There aren’t a ton of drops (and the ones that it does have are small). But there are some scary moments with the yeti.

But because this is such an old coaster, it’s not exactly…smooth. Plus, the cars can be a little hard to get into. This one will bounce you around a good amount, and if you have any kind of back problem, I’d recommend skipping it.

Location: Disneyland Park
Scary elements: Darkness, scary yeti
Height requirement: 42 inches

Disneyland Resources!

Goofy’s Sky School

Goofy’s Sky School is a wild mouse roller coaster with a storyline that has Goofy teaching you how to fly….and not very well.

The ride has single cars (no trains) and the turns don’t have a bank. So as you go around each twist high up in the sky, you kind of get the sense that you are about the fling off the edge. That’s what makes it the scary, but there are two mild drops as well.

It’s not too intense though, and this may be a good coaster for kids that aren’t ready for big drops or inversions.

Location: Disney’s California Adventure Park
Scary elements: Intense turns, mild drops
Height requirement: 42 inches

Pirates of the Caribbean

Inside Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean is a classic Disneyland attraction. But young kids might find it slightly scary. There are small drops, loud noises, and pirates that could be frightening.

If you’ve been on it at Disney World but not Disneyland, you may be surprised to learn that this ride is pretty different from the version across the country. Disneyland’s Pirates has two drops, while Disney World just has one. Disneyland’s version is also significantly longer, with a float through the bayou before you see the pirates and more scenes.

Location: Disneyland Park
Scary elements: Darkness, simulated cannon dire, drops, pirates
Height requirement: Any height

Pinocchio’s Daring Journey

Exterior of Pinocchio's Daring Journey

Pinocchio’s Daring Journey is a slow dark ride in Fantasyland. So on paper, you might not think it should be scary. But to me, what puts it on our scariest rides list is just how dark and creepy it is.

While most of Disneyland’s dark rides have a magic and almost joyful element to them, Pinocchio seems almost disturbing in its theming. Sure, at the end the Blue Fairy comes and it’s all happy. But most of the ride has you following Pinocchio through his misadventures to Pleasure Island, being held prisoner, and his run in with the whale. And even with the happy ending, it’s hard to get all the creepiness out of her your head.

Location: Disneyland Park
Scary elements: Creepy scenes, darkness
Height requirement: Any height

Haunted Mansion

Disneyland Haunted Mansion Exterior

Haunted Mansion is a slow, dark ride through a haunted house. And while yes, there are some scary elements here, this is a Disney-fied haunted house. Nothing is going to jump out at you or truly frighten you. Honestly, the pre-show in the Stretching Room is the scariest thing about Haunted Mansion.

This ride is kind of broken up into two halves. For the first half, you ride through the haunted house and see all the ghosts assembling. There are creepy elements here (like the piano playing itself or the casket lid that raises), but it’s nothing too intense.

Then, for the second half, you enter the graveyard where the music turns a bit more cheerful as all the ghosts are basically gathering for a ghost party. It’s still dark, but it has a bit more of a lighthearted feel as the ghosts sing to you.

Most kids should be able to handle this one, but if you have a kid who is specially afraid of ghosts, it might be one to skip.

Location: Disneyland Park
Scary elements: Ghosts, creepy theming, darkness
Height requirement: Any height

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is another Disneyland classic. It also used to be at Disney World, but was replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. So I’m so glad we can still ride it at Disneyland!

Based off Mr. Toad from Wind in the Willows (a great book by the way!) and the Disney film adaptation, this dark slow ride follows Mr. Toad’s adventures. He get obsessed with fast cars and finds himself in trouble. To be honest, the storyline here is kind of wild. He goes to the bar, goes to court for what we presume is drunk driving and a car accident, and then ends up in hell?

Most of this will go over kids’ heads, and none of it is super scary (although there are some loud noises). And the hell scene, while outlandish for adults, could be scary for kids.

Location: Disneyland Park
Scary elements: Darkness, creepy scenes
Height requirement: Any height

Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin

Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin is based on the Who Framed Roger Rabbit? You join Roger Rabbit in a taxi to try to catch some conniving weasels.

This isn’t too scary of a ride, but there is A LOT going on in this ride, so it can definitely feel overstimulating. There are some loud noises, lots too look at, and to top it all off your car spins. Theoretically you control the spinning, but it sometimes doesn’t feel like it because it can be hard to control.

Location: Disneyland Park
Scary elements: Darkness, loud noises, spinning
Height requirement: Any height

What about Splash Mountain?

If Splash Mountain was still open, it would definitely be on our scariest rides at Disneyland list! But, Splash Mountain has permanently closed to make way for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, opening in 2024.

Once Tiana’s new ride is open, I’m sure it will still make the list though, because it is using the same track as Splash Mountain and therefore will still have that same terrifying drop at the end.

Other Possible Scary Rides at Disneyland

While the rides here don’t make our scariest list, here are some elements in other rides you might want to be aware of if you have kids who are particularly sensitive to being afraid. (Or adults who may get motion sick on certain rides.)

Chip and Dale's Gadget Coaster
Chip and Dale’s Gadget Coaster

Disneyland

  • Alice in Wonderland — Darkness
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters — Darkness, laser gun noises
  • Finding New Submarine Voyages — Tight, enclosed spaces
  • Chip and Dale’s Gadget Coaster — Small drops
  • Mad Tea Party — Spinning
  • Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh — Darkness
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run — Motion simulation, intense show elements
  • Peter Pan’s Flight — Darkness
  • Snow White’s Enchanted Wish — Darkness
  • Star Tours — Motion simulation, intense show elements

Disney’s California Adventure

  • Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters — Spinning
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree — Spinning
  • Monsters, Inc. Mike and Sulley to the Rescue — Darkness
  • Radiator Springs Racers — Darkness, ends with a fast car race
  • Soarin’ — Motion simulation, drop sensations
  • WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure — Spiderbots (spider robots), intense super hero situations

Tips for Riding the Scariest Rides at Disneyland

Want to ride some of these scary rides, but need some help? Here are some tips to make them a little less scary!

  • Watch videos before you go. YouTube is full of ride POVs (point-of-views) so you’ll know what to expect.
  • Sit at the front of roller coasters. The front of coasters tend to be less intense.
  • Look around you. If you feel yourself getting too sucked into a ride, try to look around at other elements of the ride or get really familiar with the ride vehicle you’re in.
  • Close your eyes. If all else fails, close your eyes.
  • Skip the Haunted Mansion Stretching Room. The pre-show of Haunted Mansion is maybe scarier than the ride itself, so if you have kids who might be afraid you can ask a cast member if you can skip it.

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