Top 11 Disney Theme Park Rides

Well yh, obviously Disney are the absolute kings when it comes to creating the perfect theme park. In recent years Universal have been snapping at their heels but when you take a step back and look at the bigger picture it's still the Mouse that reigns supreme. But, Disneyland is for babies right? It's just a bunch of silly characters and catchy music and pastel colours, surely? Well no, look a little closer at Disney attractions and you'll see stone cold proof that you don't need height and speed to create a truly exhilarating and memorable ride experience, and today I'm going to count you down through my Top 11 Disney Theme Park Rides. Please keep your hands, arms, legs and feet inside the car at all times, here we go...

Space Mountain, Magic Kingdom
Kicking off with the only coaster on my list, it's Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, and in my opinion the best of the Space Mountains. Despite all sharing the same name, the five variations of this iconic Disney coaster are all slightly different in their own way, but none feel as absolutely insane to ride as the Orlando version. It's got that seventies retro vibe that I ADORE about WDW, everything from that futuristic-at-one-point-but-not-anymore facade, carpets as you exit, weird kitschy spacemen floating around and a shit ton of neon lights. Not to mention the ride itself just feels like you're going to detach from the track and sail off into the night at any given point. No other Space Mountain gives me the rush this one does and I could ride it all day long.

Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek, Tokyo Disneyland
A more modern take on the classic Disney dark ride, Ride & Go Seek is packed with your favourite characters from Monsters, Inc. and, armed with flashlights, it's your job to head into the depths of Monstropolis and find all of the monsters! Not only is this full of nostalgia feels as it encapsulates everything we love about the classic Disney dark ride format but it's also wall to wall with all the fab Pixar humour in the film itself, plus a couple of hilarious 'wasn't-expecting-that' moments that had me dying with so much laughter that I'm sure I could have powered Monstropolis myself for a week!

Pirates of the Caribbean, Disneyland Paris
What kind of best Disney rides list would this be if I were to ignore Pirates? Controversially, my favourite incarnation of this infamous Disney classic actually lives just across the water from me over in Paris. For me the Paris version has everything generations of families have enjoyed for years: rogue pirates battling, wenches being auctioned off, THAT theme park water smell, but it feels a little more thrilling to me. It's slightly on the darker side thematically because hey, it's Europe, we're made of slightly tougher stuff, and it feels like the drops are a little more exhilarating. Plus the facade of the ruined pirate fort and queue through the old prison are clearly the best of the lot.

Splash Mountain, Disneyland
Growing up I absolutely LOVED The Song of the South, and by extension Splash Mountain has always been one of my favourite rides. Although I've only been on the Disneyland version a couple of times, it remains my favourite version for a few reasons. Firstly it's the original so there's definitely an air of nostalgia there. I know I'd never visited as a kid, but ask anyone who's been to Disneyland and they'll tell you there's certainly something in the air that just transports you back to days gone by, it just seems to ooze from the walls. Secondly, I rode this with my best friend back in 2012 with him just thinking it was a normal log flume and having NO IDEA about the singing animatronics within. Queue the first drop down into the first show room to choruses of 'How Do You Do' sang but a troop of flamboyant chickens. I've never laughed so hard on a ride and for that reason it holds a special place for me.

DINOSAUR, Animal Kingdom
Easily the most terrifying ride Disney have ever created. You want to see kids crying in terror this is pretty much guaranteed in the DINOSAUR station platform as the time machines roll back in to present day. Using the EMV dark ride system, vehicles move as though you're riding in an off terrain jeep and the sense of speed created through movement, lights and sound is incredible - you really feel like you're racing against time through a prehistoric jungle. And then there's the intense sense of peril: you're against the clock, there's an incoming meteor shower (you know, THE meteor shower that wiped out the dinos) and on top of that there are giant terrifying animatronics of dinosaurs coming at you from every damn angle. Hell, it scares the shit out of ME! Bonus points for having the best placed on-ride photo op ever.

Sinbad's Storybook Voyage, Tokyo DisneySea
I love a classic Disney dark ride as much as the next theme park enthusiast, but I love them all the more when they're unique to the park they're in. OK, Sinbad isn't a Disney story by any shot, but throw in some animatronics that look like a cross between Aladdin characters and It's A Small World dolls and have Mr. Disney Music himself Alan Menken whip up a ridiculously catchy and magical score and you'll have yourself wondering if there was ever a time when Sinbad's Storybook Voyage wasn't a part of the Disney dark ride line-up. All the makings of an excellent Disney renaissance movie but in dark ride form, what's not to love?

The Haunted Mansion, Magic Kingdom
I love every version of The Haunted Mansion the world over, but since its recent update The Haunted Mansion in Orlando really does stand out above the rest. The updated effects really breathed a new lease of life (and death, haw haw haw) into the old place and made me love this old classic all over again. The Gothic-revival facade is definitely my favourite, the interactive queue with the quirky Disney humour just emanating from every damn corner and a whole shop dedicated to Haunted Mansion themed tat, erm, hell yh! Plus the way it just sits in the corner looming over you as you wander into Liberty Square is just so damn creepy!

Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Tokyo DisneySea
Let's face it: Disney + Jules Verne = guaranteed awesomeness. Journey to the Centre of the Earth which dwells deep within the depths of the incredible Mount Prometheus is probably the most visually impressive attraction I've ever had the privilege of riding. The whole surrounding area is just so incredible, you walk around the whole thing with your jaw permanently dropped, gather yours wits enough to make your way into the queueline then repeat until you exit the ride at the other end. Steampunk epicness at it's best - steam spouting from every angle, copper mechanical bits and bobs working away everywhere you look, whimsical books penned with intriguing diagrams and ideas - and that's just the queueline theming! The ride itself is a hyped up version of the classic Disney dark ride, with cute animatronics, giant scary animatronics, speed and airtime. My only criticism is that it's over too quick!

Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, Walt Disney Studios
Given that my other two ventures into the world of trackless dark rides have been total shitfests (I'm looking at you Pooh's Hunny Hunt and Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin) I boarded my cute little trackless mouse car on Ratatouille with an err of caution, not wishing to be disappointed again. Luckily this ride is an absolute blast: fun personified and such a perfect blend of sights, sounds, smells and movement. Whenever I ride I'm really able to immerse myself into the story and really feel the speed of running around with the rats and the size of the human world around me when shrunken down to their size. It finally did what I wanted trackless technology to do, really whizz and dance around rather than slowly meander through a load of crap a la the ones I'd ridden before. Fabulous.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Disney's Hollywood Studios
I purposely decided not to put this list in any particular order because I'm an indecisive mess, but usually if people ask me what my favourite ride in the world is I'd say this. It's just about as perfect as a ride can get. From the minute you see the Hollywood Tower Hotel looming at the end of Sunset Boulevard, to the leering bellboys, to the haunting and distant ballroom sounds of Hollywood's golden age gone by - everything blends perfectly to create an expertly paced and fully immersive experience. The second you join the queue and let the overgrown hotel grounds engulf you its easy to forget that you're still in a theme park. Every little sight and sound plays a part in building the terror and mystique of what happened on that fateful night back in 1939 and when you finally make your way through the creepy boiler room and take your seat in the restored service elevator you'd be lying if you said there wasn't a slight twinge of nervousness in your gut. Plummeting thirteen stories has never felt so good!

Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull, Tokyo DisneySea
I know, I know, ANOTHER ride from Tokyo DisneySea. But you see, it really is that good! The final ride of the list, but by absolutely no means least, it's the incredible Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull. Sure, it's technically the same ride as DINOSAUR a few points back, but unless you're a nerd like me you'd never actually know that. I don't even really like Indiana Jones that much but my god, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't bouncing in my seat with adrenaline when that opening music kicks in. And the temple room, oh my god. Probably the best OMG moment on any ride anywhere in the world and it never gets old. Similarly to DINOSAUR, the sense of speed on this thing is insane and you really feel like you're fleeing from the decaying temple for your life despite never reaching more than 14mph. Insane!

There you go, that's my run down of my favourite Disney rides. Granted I've still got Hong Kong and Shanghai to tick off my list, but I think the above is proof enough that whilst they're not big on the coaster front, Disney still kick major butt when it comes to churning out the thrills!

Talk later xoxo,