Best Attractions At Disneyland

By in Alston Stephanus, California, Disney Adventures, Disneyland, USA on July 30, 2016
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So first: big news! Alston and I are going to Shanghai Disney!! Yes, that mega park that just opened; we’re going! Our Disney Adventures continue around the world and I can’t wait to share the experience with you all!

I am especially looking forward to the new rides! The TRON Lightcycle is like a roller coaster you have to power (well, partially) and race against other teams!

Credit: Disney

Sora is bound to be jealous, because there’s a new Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Shanghai as well!  Pirates of the Caribbean Battle for the Sunken Treasure!

Set sail for seafaring fun that takes you on, over and under the deep blue in search of Davy Jones’ sunken plunder—all while crossing paths with pirates, mermaids and even the savage Kraken.

In honor of this, and to continue our magical adventures around the world, I thought I’d highlight the best attractions at the original Disneyland. Naturally these are just my opinions and such, but maybe you’ll agree?

Best Disneyland Attractions - The Nerdventurists -

Indiana Jones Adventure

I actually first discovered this ride at Tokyo Disney Sea back when I lived in Japan. That ride is based on Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, arguably the only good thing to come out of that film (and I say this as an Indiana Jones kool-aid drinking fanatic; I even did a degree in archaeology). So when I was told the ride was also at Disneyland… I got very excited. The one in Japan is great fun and I had high expectations of its Californian brother.

The rides are pretty much identical save for the trappings and decor. The one at Disneyland isn’t Crystal Skull themed and Indy doesn’t speak Japanese in it (something I oddly missed haha). But the core principle of the ride is there: get in a jeep and drive around like a moron through the jungle and ruins. It’s hilarity and a lot of fun and easily my favorite ride at the park.



Hyperspace Mountain

I wasn’t sure, at first, whether the changing of Tomorrowland essentially into Star Wars Land was a good thing. It screamed marketing all over and I felt personally offended seeing Space Mountain had been rebranded as Hyperspace Mountain. How dare you. I imagined Walt rolling around in his tube, a violently upset entrepreneur popsicle (you know he’s totally frozen right? RIGHT?! OK I’m joking… or am I?).

Best Disneyland Attractions - The Nerdventurists -

But it doesn’t take long to change one’s mind. All around I saw little girls dressed as Rey running around, I saw couples as BB8 & R2D2; the fact was, nearly everyone was in some sort of Star Wars gear. The Force Awakens had been out of theaters for awhile by that time, but it didn’t matter. Star Wars is something that is a permanent fixture in our pop culture, and this was living proof of it. My cynicism flew out the window. Of course Disney needed to change some things to move with the times, of course they needed to try and reach their target audience of children. That audience right now wanted to be Jedis, just like their parents. Besides, it was amazing to see just how many girls and ladies were rocking the Rey up-do and merch. Hot damn.

And this is why Hyperspace Mountain is on my best attractions list. The ride is mostly the same, it’s just the visuals have been changed and some Star Wars flair thrown in. You’re an X-Wing fighter pilot now and as you zip through the dark you’ll see the occasional First Order and Empire baddies coming for you. It’s good old fashioned fun with a current twist.


Best Disneyland Attractions - The Nerdventurists -

Toon Town

There’s no real rides at Toon Town, but that’s not what makes this fantastically whimsical area of the park remarkable. It’s the rolling hills, the cerulean water, and that everything looks like it’s drawn. Remember that movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I honestly thought that ‘Toon Town’ was just a construct of that film, but it seems it was actually based on… well… this!


You can have loads of fun (and we did) playing with all the cartoony aspects of Toon Town. There’s lots of things to do and goof off with, which is why I loved this area so much. It’s silly. We all need more silly in our lives.


Toon Town is also home to all the characters at Disney, where you can visit them in their houses. If you’re into that. I am not. They terrify me (long story).



Cars Land

The race track in Cars Land is epic. Not only that, the whole area is pretty rad. Bad nerd moment, I’ve never actually seen Cars. Soooo this was all new to me, and I fell in love with the retro midwest road stop vibe that was going on. Diners, 1950s music, and bright colors were abound. And it’s a good thing that the atmosphere was so interesting, because we went a bit batty in line waiting for the race track.


I really recommend surviving the wait though, because the ride was a blast and I’m a big fan of any attraction that has you competing against other guests. Especially when you win.

Which we did. Aw yeah.



California Adventure

I couldn’t decide on a fifth attraction because I was torn. Big Thunder Mountain is great fun, it always is, but it’s at every park. The Tea Cups are iconic, but again, iconic. And then I had an ‘Oh duh!’ moment. California Adventure is the secondary park to Disneyland and is all about the old school Americana boardwalk aesthetic. It’s got the wooden roller coaster, the swings, the cotton candy and popcorn galore. It’s also home of Cars Land, so while it’s kinda already been mentioned, I think it deserves its own post.

I don’t think of these are two different parks. Disneyland is a bit too small on its own and California Adventure relies heavily on Disney even though it has that Six Flags feeling as well. It’s the mix of both worlds and had a lot on offer for adults especially. While we were there the California Food & Wine Festival was happening, so there’s that for one. Also it’s a nice place to unwind as it’s remarkably less populated than The Magic Kingdom, but still has rides to offer. And good food.


So those are my five best attractions at Disneyland! What do you think? Missed something you adore? Let me know in the comments below!!

Photos by Noriko Sugiura.


DIsney Adventures - discovering all the Disney parks around the world! - The Nerdventurists -

Disney Adventures is a collaboration between The Nerdventurists and  Alston Stephanus of Alston Stephanus Accessories. Check him out on Instagram & his company!

Kristina is an ardent traveler and has been to over 48 countries and has no plans to stop. She taught English in a small fishing city in Japan for a year, volunteered on an archaeological dig on an Iron Age site in Israel, drove 10,000 miles in a 1994 Corsa from London to Ulaanbataar for charity, and accidentally fell in love with K-pop in Seoul. It’s been a wild ride.
  1. Reply

    How FUN!! I absolutely loved Disneyland and I can’t wait to follow along on your next adventure 🙂

    xo Anna Elizabeth

    1. Reply

      Thank you so much!!

  2. Great tips! We went to Tokyo Sea last year and were really disappointed but we are looking forward to going to a wedding at LA Disneyland in a few months time! I hope you enjoy the one in Shanghai!

    1. Reply

      Oh nooo, I love Tokyo Disney Sea, what didn’t you like about it? A wedding at Disney sounds like the best thing ever though, have a blast!

  3. A great list. I’d have to add Pirate of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion to that as well. Two of the classics. Makes me want to head back to the parks.

    1. Reply

      They are classic, aren’t they? Pirates ALMOST made the list, but I wanted to try and keep it unique to each park. So hard though!

  4. Reply

    Awesome list! It’s been a ridiculously long time since I’ve been to a Disney park – I’m so out of the loop! But I’m hoping to go to Tokyo Disney in the near future … ya know, in case you know someone who wouldn’t mind joining me. ^.~

    1. Reply

      Yessssss, we must! I love Tokyo Disney so much! We should hit up Harry Potter world in Osaka too!

  5. Omdays! I’ve always wanted to go, you’ve just really made me want to go EVEN MORE! So much fun x

    1. Reply

      Hehehe, go go go!

  6. Reply

    oh, men! It’s been so many years since I visited DisneyLand! 🙂 I still remember Indiana Jones and Star Wars attraction! Aix, it should be amazing to go back as a “just-a-little-less-kid” person ^^ Thanks for sharing this funny post! 😀

    1. Reply

      Thank you for reading! Yeah, I feel like going back as an adult made it even more fun 🙂

  7. Reply

    Great tips ! Toon town looks so cute ! 🙂 and I love your cute hats !

    1. Reply

      Thank you!!

  8. Reply

    Awe, I haven’t been to Toon Town in years, even thought I go to Disney 2 or so times a year! Last time I was there they were just transitioning to the Star Wars theme and I was excited. I have to add the terror or terror to the list, mostly because I love it, but the fact it is being torn down to make way for new things. It’s bitter sweet. Great list?

    I’m also dying to know if you got to eat Disney shaped Dim Sum??

    1. Reply

      Oh wow! That’s really neat you’ve sort of seen the progression. Ugh, don’t get me started on The Tower of Terror debacle, that’s heartbreaking. It’s so iconic!! They’re making it Guardians of the Galaxy themed aren’t they? Blah.

      Omg I hope so… I’ll be sure to let you know!!

  9. Reply

    Awesome! Disneyland is such a happy place (and I totally see it in you guys’ faces)! I’ve only visited the one in Tokyo though, gotta check out other cities’! =D

    1. Reply

      Hehehe, it was a fun day! And I LOVE Tokyo Disney, so unique.

  10. Reply

    Great tips. Love that you’re terrified of the Disney characters!

    1. Reply

      Happy to amuse, haha!

  11. Reply

    I would LOVE to go to Disneyland, any of it really. I missed the one in Hong Kong and I regret it so much, I wish i had gone and ignore the high price. I know iIm an adult but I’m still a kid at heart so…. Enjoy the one in Shanghai!

    1. Reply

      Awww, yeah, it’s annoying when we regret decisions. I’m sure you’ll get to one of the parks soon :)!

  12. I swear Disneyland is almost more fun for adults than kids 🙂

    1. Reply

      I think I may agree with you!

    • Anisa
    • August 4, 2016

    I am a big disney fan, so jealous you are going to the one in Shanghai! I think if I had to choose my favorite attraction it would have to be It’s a Small World.

    1. Reply

      Oh my, don’t read my haunted Disneyland post or you may change your mind :O!

  13. Reply

    I LOVE Disney so so much! I can’t wait to book a trip back to Florida some time soon. I always leave feeling like i didn’t have enough time!

    1. Reply

      Right?? There’s so much to do, and also just soaking in the atmosphere is wonderful!

    • jess
    • August 4, 2016

    Haha! I love the photo of you guys in the green car! It looks like a blast!

    1. Reply

      It was a lot of fun, hehehe

    • Mayer&Co
    • September 3, 2016

    Small world

    • neha
    • February 1, 2017

    Glad you had such a great time at the disneyland. And thanks for penning it down for us. It will help us plan ours as well. Your pictures are also very cute and a testimony of the great time you had there

  14. Pingback: A Muggle’s Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Magical Shopping! How To Dress Like a Wizard (& Witch!) – The Nerdventurists

  15. I have been to Disneyland Paris and California but never Disneyland in Cali! I think this looks even ore epic that the Paris one! You have some great pictures. Looks like a fun day!
    Kristie – you.theworld.wandering

  16. Pingback: A Muggle's Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Magical Shopping! How To Dress Like a Wizard (& Witch!) – The Nerdventurists

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