If you’re a big Disneyland/Walt Disney World fan like I am, you probably get asked this a lot “What is your favorite attraction (ride)?” And is it just me, or it is really hard to give that ONE answer? To be honest I could list every attraction and say its my favorite… Yes even Stitch at the Magic Kingdom! Haha!
Before I continue on… Yes, I’m that guy that will call Disney “rides” attractions. :o) And in my book, not all attractions are rides. ;o)
In this post I’m going to tell you my favorite attraction at Disneyland… for each land! (That’s one of loopholes I use to give more then just one answer. I’m sure you’ll see a few of those in this post. Haha!)
Main Street, U.S.A
Main Street itself! I love walking thru the turnstile of the park, going thru the tunnel (usually the right one), and walking on to Main Street. The music playing, the smells, the colors… It just feel like home to me!
Growing up and taking our trips to Disneyland (almost) every summer, we’d head down Main Street and take a left to head over to Splash Mountain first… Until Indiana Jones Adventure opened! That was (is) the first attraction we hit in the morning. BUT, not my favorite in Adventureland. Don’t get me wrong, great attraction and I love it. Even have a lot of fun memories on that attraction. But my favorite attraction in Adventureland is Jungle Cruise! This classic is an opening day attraction. It was based on Disney’s award winning True-Life Adventure films. When it opened, in 1955, the landscape was pretty, but from pictures I’ve seen… not much of a jungle. It also had more of a serious and education tone to it. But in the early 1960’s, with the help from Marc Davis, we have a more lighthearted and funny Jungle Cruise. And after 60 years… it really looks like a jungle now!
And why is the Jungle Cruise one move my favorites? Well… I took my wife on Magic Kingdom’s Jungle Cruise in Walt Disney World for the first time. And about the 2nd joke into the cruise, she turned to me and said “I know why you like this ride so much.” :o)
My favorite attraction in Frontierland is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. From the “Imagination” of Disney Legend Tony Baxter. This attraction took over the area where Rainbow Caverns Mine Train, Rainbow Mountain Stagecoach, Conestoga Wagon’s, and the Living Desert use to be. Construction started (at Disneyland) in 1979 and opened on Sep. 2nd 1979. (A little over a year before I was born… hmm…) One thing I found interesting about Big Thunder is that it was one of the first Disney attractions to utilize CAD (Computer-Aided Design).
The detail of the whole attraction really helps make it my favorite attraction in Frontierland… And the fact that it’s “The Wildest Ride in the Wilderness”!
New Orleans Square
This is the one of the hardest lands to pick a favorite attraction for me. New Orleans Square is probably my favorite “land”. And it houses both Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.
It is okay to have a tie?! Wait, this is my list, so yes! It’s a tie! :o)
I don’t know if its because of detail that’s on these attractions, the story telling, or the history of these attractions. I’m going to have to go with a 3-way tie on this one.
The Pirates of the Caribbean is a classic. The theming is spot on! When you are on this attraction, you do not feel like you’re in Southern California. And the history of it… kind of makes me sad. Pirates was the last attraction Walt Disney himself participated in designing. It opened on March 18th, 1967, 3 months after his death. Pirates is a must do for me every day I’m at the park. And every time I ride it I think “Man, Walt never got to ride this”. Then I duck to miss the canon balls! :o) I’ll have to do a post on Pirates sometime.
The Haunted Mansion has a LONG history to it. And I also can do a post at some point about the Haunted Mansion. When Walt first dreamed up Disneyland and started some of the early sketches for the park, there was always a creepy house (mansion) in the distance. It wasn’t until 1969 that this creepy mansion showed up in Disneyland. Like I said, I could do a whole post on the Haunted Mansion. And it’s usually my go-to when I HAVE to give that one “ride” answer. Heck, I have the wallpaper tattooed on my arm! And this is the Hatbox Mouse blog. :o)
Everybody has a laughing place! And for me, that just so happens to be The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh! Just kidding it’s Splash Mountain! (Winnie the Pooh is a great attraction, just not my favorite in Critter Country.)
Like I said before, Splash use to be our first “ride” of the day, until Indiana Jones and the Temple of the 4 Hour Wait opened. (Heard that joke on the Jungle Cruise one time.) Based on the 1946 Disney classic (that is band in the U.S.) “Song of the South”, we follow Br’er Rabbit on his quest for adventure and his “laughing place”. All while trying to outwit old Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox. Again, from the mind of Disney Legend Tony Baxter. Construction started in 1988 and opened in 1989.
I just really like everything about this attraction. The details, the history, the songs… And that 50 foot drop is pretty fun too! Another Disneyland attraction I’ll have to do a post on!
Fantasyland is full of opening day attractions. And they are based off of some great movies. This is another land that is hard to pick just one attraction. No, I’m not going to do a 13-way tie. My favorite attraction in Fantasyland is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride! I always loved watching Disney’s “The Wind in the Willows”. Heck, I still like watching it! (You can find it on NetFlix.)
It’s just a good old ride that takes you on Mr. Toad’s adventure. And the only Disney attraction that take you to HELL! (All thought, Indy gets you pretty close I think. Haha!) Anyway, opening day attraction that still holds up! And one little secret I think is pretty cool, is Mr. Toad is on the “first floor” of Toad Hall. And right upstairs, on the second floor of Toad all, is Alice in Wonderland. Once you think about it, it make total since. But the way Disney does it’s magic, it actually took me reading it somewhere before I really noticed it.
Tomorrowland… Man, talk about history there! Tomorrowland has been changed more then any other land in Disneyland. If you want to know more about Tomorrowland’s history, check out the Sweep Spot Podcast. Hosts Lynn Barron and Ken Pellman do a great job covering Tomorrowland’s History in a 4 part series. Check it out!
Anyway, my favorite attraction in Tomorrowland is Space Mountain! It opened in 1977. Coaster number 2 to come to Disneyland. Another ride that was dreamed up by the man (Walt Disney) that he wouldn’t get to ride. He had the idea of a space-themed coaster after the success of the Matterhorn. But do to a number of factors, the idea was put on a shelf. Until 1975 when the Magic Kingdom got it.
It’s a roller coaster in the dark! What’s not to love…? (Other then the fact you get slammed around cause you have no idea which way the coaster is going to go.) Haha! Love the way it looks from the outside. And no, I have never been on it when it has stopped and the light had to come on. But I would love it if that happened!
Mickey’s Toontown… when I heard it was opening in 1993, I could not wait to see it. I really liked the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and who doesn’t love cartoon. Here was a land that put YOU in a cartoon.
But my favorite attraction is Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin! It’s a lot like Mr. Toad, with a different spin. (See what I did there… “spin” Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon SPIN…)
Anyway, I had heard about this as a kid and forgot about it till I read it on Wikipedia. There were plans to have a “Hollywoodland” at Disneyland. But (I guess) with the success of Magic Kingdom’s Mickey’s Birthdayland, Disney decided to do Mickey’s Toontown in Disneyland instead. Think the Roger Rabbit attraction work better in Toontown instead of Hollywoodland.
Yes, yes… one last loophole. I had a hard time placing these two attractions. First is the Disneyland Railroad. The Disneyland Railroad is a classic, hands down. It circles the park and stops at 4 stations, Main Street U.S.A., New Orleans Square, Mickey’s Toontown, and Tomorrowland. I had a hard time picking which “land” to put it with… so I just did it this way.
Nothing better then jumping on the train and going around the park when you’re nice a tires. And just for the record… yes, my favorite station for the Disneyland Railroad is New Orleans Square.
The other attraction that I had to mention, but I don’t know where to put it, is the Matterhorn. First tubular steel coaster in the world, built in 1959. It is always fun to spot when you’re getting close to Disneyland. And another attraction with a lot of cool history.
Matterhorn was built on the boarder of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. (And I like to think that with the 2 tracks on the Matterhorn, each land got one. Haha!) It wasn’t until the early 1970’s when the attraction was officially made part of Fantasyland. But because this is my list, I’m going to say it still sits on BOTH lands. And that’s way I have it with the Disneyland Railroad, as an attraction that’s in multiple lands. :o)
So there is it! My favorite attraction at Disneyland… in each land!
I actually like all the attractions! Just thought it would be fun to highlight my favorite ones in each land in Disneyland.