Rides are a big part of the Disneyland experience, and as a big fan of rollercoasters and thrill rides, I knew I wanted to go on everything. It was a bit more difficult, however, trying to work out what the children could/would want to go on, when we didn’t know much about the ride. This led to one of them panicking right near the front when she heard the video say that it contained a 360 loop. Therefore, i figured I would write some brief information and a little review about all the rides we went on, to help those who are thinking of going.
To help give some context, we rode a lot of the rides with Georgia (11), Ben (9) and Charlie (5). Ben is a thrill seeker, whereas, although she is older, Georgia isn’t a huge fan of rollercoasters. Hopefully this will help gauge whether your child will enjoy a ride or it’s best to give it a miss.
One giant tip I would give, is to download the Disneyland Paris App. Being able to see waiting times really helped us prioritise rides and plan our day better.
In no particular order!
Disneyland Railroad – This was the very first thing we did and boy was the line long! That said, it was a great way to start the trip as it was something that was suitable for everyone in our group, and it allowed us to see the whole park. Well, almost the whole park, as awkwardly it broke down right near the end! You can only fit 9 people in a carriage which was a shame for our group of ten (well, 9 + a baby), but there are some interesting things to see along the way, and everyone really enjoyed it.
Verdict: Suitable for everyone, laid back fun.
Big Thunder Mountain – This was one of the longest queues, however, it was also a whole lot of fun. You get on the train on the mainland but immediately go under the water and end up on an island in the middle of a river! It’s themed around mining and there are a lot of great touches along the way, including animatronic animals and ambient sound effects. There is a lot of sharp turns, and poor Steven really jumped at the loud ‘dynamite’ noises, so watch out for that! Georgia seemed to really enjoy it (despite the screaming suggesting otherwise!), so if your child is good with coasters, it’s a fun, fast thrill without any loops or upside-down moments.
Verdict: Fast and furious but a rootin’ tootin’ good time!
Pirates of the Caribbean – I was recommended this as ‘the best ride’, and theatrically, it was pretty amazing, but ride-wise, I wasn’t overly excited. I wouldn’t say it’s a water ride as such, as there were maybe a few drops of water that entered the boat, however, it is a sort of boat-ride. The scenery, sounds, and animatronics were incredible – even as someone who hasn’t seen the films I was impressed. Although it’s a steady ride, I’m not sure how family friendly it would be if your little one is scared by the dark, or sudden movements. Overall, it was a lot of fun, but don’t expect much of a splashing!
Verdict: Theatrically wonderful, if a little dry.
Swiss Family Treehouse – A rare attraction that we managed to do with the entire family. The premise is that, through a lot of climbing, you explore the home of the Swiss Family Robinson. I can’t imagine that a lot of children are as familiar with this story as some of the older generations, but the fact that people lived in a tree is universally pretty cool. When you stop and look at the craftsmanship and the logistics of the attraction, it adds a whole other layer of awesomeness to it. It’s not exactly thrilling, but it is really interesting and nice walking break from screaming on rollercoasters.
Verdict: Treetop Family Fun.
Pirates Beach – At some point, you have to have a bit of a break from queuing and running from ride to ride, and Pirates Beach is ideal for this. Children will love the pirate-themed play area whilst parents can happily look on and rest their feet. That said, there isn’t a huge amount of seating inside the play area itself so be aware of that.
Verdict: Great for a rest and good old fashioned play
Alice’s Curious Labyrinth – I love the original Alice in Wonderland so I was quite excited by this! I did expect a bit more randomness than there was. It was an interesting maze with quite a few cool animatronics, I was just hoping for some optical illusions or something I think. It also ruins the effect slightly when it’s packed full of people and you’re all following each other like cattle! The house at the end is pretty cool, but again, there’s not a huge amount to see and it was very crowded.
Verdict: A little disappointing but family friendly.
Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast – I loved this! The theming was great, the ride was a decent length, (most importantly) I was good at it! You’re in a carriage with laser guns, to shoot at targets, and the ability to control the spinning of your carriage to best hit the bad guys. It’s glow in the dark and animated and really a whole lot of fun. Although set in space, it’s not at all scary and so will suit the youngest of space ranger (provided they reach the minimum height of course!) and being able to control the turning means you don’t have to get dizzy if that’s not your thing!
Verdict: Baddie-blasting fun for all!
Orbitron – I took Charlie on this ride one evening and it was actually really cool. You get to control how high the rocket goes (thankfully for me, Charlie didn’t want to go right to the top!), and when it’s dark, you can see all the lights of the park and it’s beautiful! The queue was unnecessarily long, however when Charlie got off the ride with the world’s biggest grin and shouted ‘That was AWESOME!’, I totally forgot about the wait! It’s a little scary that you’re sat with the smaller one in front and just one lap belt, but obviously it’s completely safe. I would definitely try to go of an evening, because the views are amazing.
Verdict – Lovely ride and lovelier views.
Space Mountain – This was the very first ride we went on and it was a lot of fun. Georgia panicked as we got further in the queue as she heard the video say there would be loop-de-loops and ended up not going on it, but Ben loved it. You get thrown around incredibly fast, and there are some amazing light (and darkness!) effects that immerse you in the whole experience.
Verdict: Fast and furious and super disorientating!
Walt Disney Studios:
Crush’s Coaster – We queued forever for this ride! The line was never less than an hour but it was a must-do on all of our lists! The theming is pretty cool and the whole experience is amazing. That said, Charlie did not enjoy this one bit, and neither did Georgia. (Daredevil Ben of course loved it!) They both ended crying by the end and even I have to admit it doesn’t really seem very family friendly. You’re in a round cart which spins pretty constantly and moves really fast! Add to that the fact that it’s pretty dark at times, with UV effects and it’s no wonder poor Charlie was clinging to my hand! I absolutely loved it, or I would have had I not been worrying about the poor distressed child on my left. I feel like this ride is pitched as pretty family-friendly from the choice of film (although to be fair on the brochure it is listed as a thrill ride) but I would really think hard before getting on it with little ones.
Verdict: Worth the wait for an immersive thrill-ride BUT not so great for younger children.
Cars Race Rally – All 3 of the older children, Steven & myself went on this ride and it was pretty fun. You sit in a car (from the imaginatively titled movie ‘Cars’) whilst you spin, as if doing donuts, and faster than expected, on a platform, ‘narrowly missing’ the other cars. The mechanics between swapping directions was fascinating to me, and even though I knew that we were not going to bump into another car, I did brace myself… every time. It’s a different ride to a lot of the others, but all of us enjoyed it and it was definitely more fun than scary.
Verdict: Enjoyable for all (unless you’re easily dizzy!)
Art of Disney Animation – Steven and I decided to have a look around this one afternoon and it was a really nice, relaxing experience. When you enter the first theatre, you are shown a video of a whole load of Disney film clips, and it was actually pretty emotional! You then move on to the next theatre, put on headphones that speak your language and watch a film about how sidekicks are created. The whole time we were at the park, I couldn’t find a single thing that had Mulan on it. Not a key ring, or fridge magnet or anything! She only saved China for goodness sake! Thankfully, Disney just about redeemed themselves by featuring Mushu as their character for this section and telling the story of how he became to be the dragon he is today. It was really funny and interesting and definitely something different to do. There were also drawing classes and other activities but we didn’t fancy waiting in the queue to show off our awful scribbles!
Verdict: Something a bit different and really interesting, suitable for all.
Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquee de Remy – This was the longest line in the park, every single day. We decided the last day to finally wait it out. Myself and Steven were lucky enough to get into the single rider line, which meant waiting about 10 minutes, whilst the others had to wait over an hour to be able to ride together. I was sat with a lovely French couple, third-wheeling so hard! That said, as far as rides go, it wasn’t the worst to be sat on your own. Had it been a fast, scary roller coaster, I would have felt embarrassed by my terrified screams, whereas this was pleasant enough just to smile along.
It’s a 3D, immersive ride whilst sat inside a rat. You’re given the impression that you are tiny as everything around you is a full-sized kitchen. There are 4D effects, and even the smallest movement by your rat-cart feels thousand times bigger thanks to the projections and props around you. It is a really great family ride, though not necessarily one you’ll want to go on more than once – especially with the wait time!
Verdict: Good, fun and something a little different that everyone can appreciate and enjoy.
RC Racer – The theming of ToyStory land was INCREDIBLE! Everything from bins and bollards, to lights and queuing was ‘made out of’ toys and you really felt like you were somewhere entirely different. The queue for RC Racer was like a Scalectrix track and there was so much to see you didn’t really mind queuing. This ride had a pretty familiar premise, with a ToyStory twist. You’re sat in RC, and there’s just one piece of track, curving up either side which you go higher and faster on each time. At some points you are looking directly down and it’s pretty terrifying. I was however, pretty disappointed at how short the ride was. I felt that it could have been at least a little longer. If you’re scared of heights, clearly this ride isn’t for you, but Ben really enjoyed it.
Verdict: Short and sweet and pretty darn high!
Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop – Again, the queueing for this was enjoyable, (as enjoyable as queuing can be!) especially with the video ‘orders’ playing, in different languages, explaining the ride and your ‘mission’ as soldiers. Annoyingly, the boys ended up on the ride before us, as someone took mine & Georgia’s spot. Essentially, strapped to a parachute, you go up and down vertically. I personally didn’t feel very secure in the harness, although of course I know I was. Despite it really not being the scariest ride we’d been on by a long shot, it was one I felt most nervous on. Georgia, however, really liked it, so I must conclude that it is pretty family friendly and I was just being a wimp.
Verdict: Pretty basic, but with exciting views
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – I’d heard a lot about this ride and so it was very high on my must-do list. I wasn’t really sure what to expect and I think that really added to the spooky effect they are going for. The waiting is a bit of a pain, especially when you’re inside and the anticipation adds to the nerves! I spent a lot of the time in the queue asking ‘So you promise no one is going to jump out at me or grab me?!’. I’m a big fan of scary rides but not if they involve live actors! I was promised that it would be okay and thankfully it was okay! The concept is interesting. You start off in a dark room, watching a black and white TV explain the story of the haunted elevator. Then you’re led for more queuing before a creepy bellhop introduces themselves and takes you into the lift. There are a lot of theatrics leading up to third beginning and it’s very unnerving, especially when the actor is speaking French and you’re not sure what they’re saying but by the looks of those around you, you don’t want to! The restraints are only a lap belt and there are handles to the side of your seats. The mechanics of the ride itself is just like one of those vertical drop rides you see in most fairgrounds. The thrill comes from what you see… I won’t give too much away but if you’re scared of heights, definitely give it a miss! I ended up going on it twice!
Verdict: Creepy and terrifying fun! Not for the easily scared
Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic – This was a nice family thing that we all managed to do together. You’re on a tram that takes you on a short ride to see some props and sets from films. Some parts were a little dull, especially when you’ve never heard of the film! However, the special effects section was a lot of fun (albeit a bit of a fright!) and it was a nice way to rest wary legs.
Verdict – Relaxed and suitable for everyone
Armageddon – Les Effets Speciaux – I have to confess, I’ve never seen Armageddon. I do get the premise and that was enough to enjoy this experience. I am incredibly jumpy and anxious when it comes to not knowing what is going to happen, so this did involve a lot of clutching of poor Steven’s hand rather tightly. It was, however, pretty cool. After a short talk about special effects, you go onto the ‘set’, and various things happen around you whilst you react to them. It’s interesting to see how things are done, and depending on where you end up standing, you get a different experience. There were families with children in it and some of them seemed fine, whilst others were a bit shaken. Although physically there doesn’t seem to be a reason children couldn’t go in, I know that myself as a child (and as an adult if I’m honest!) would have night terrors about the world ending and so this would have made for a lot of sleepless nights!
Verdict – Movie magic, but not for the anxious
Moteurs… Action! Extreme Stunt Show – I love a good stunt show! This was a nice way to spend an afternoon and I even got a little Star Struck when Lightning McQueen showed up. The presenters were likeable and there were some really great stunts, and audience participation. I felt that it was over quite quickly, but it was nice not to feel as though we’d lost out on a lot of time for other things. This is loud and has the potential to make you jump, so some children might not enjoy it a lot, but all of our family did.
Verdict – Fast cars and cool stunts that would be hard not to enjoy.
Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster Avec Aerosmith – I think it’s hilarious that out of all the bands in all the world, Aerosmith have a ride here! The wait wasn’t too bad once we got inside as there were cases of merchandise and signed guitars etc to look at. When you’re closer to the ride, you can see the carts speed off which really adds to the experience. It’s an indoor coaster, with lighting and constant Aerosmith music playing (except for the second time we rode it, where it was in silence which was very weird!) and really is a lot of fun. Again, we took Ben on this with us, and although he enjoyed it, he did feel a little sick afterwards (we had been on a lot of rides!). It can be difficult to tell if your child (or yourself) is going to enjoy a ride when you can’t actually see it in action, but I would compare this to Space Mountain. If they’re okay with one, they should be fine with the other too.
Verdict – Genuinely fun rollercoaster, with music and lights.
That covers all the rides I managed to get on! Considering we went right in the middle of the summer holidays, the queues could have been a lot worse really, and they were mostly worth the ride. I think all the children stepped out of their comfort zones at times with some of the attractions which was pretty great!
Hopefully this will help you if you’re planning a Disney Land trip (lucky thing!) – let me know in the comments below if you agree or disagree with any of my opinions of the rides and which was your favourite?!
Click here to watch the Disneyland video I made whilst there!
Or here to read my Disneyland DIYs!