Disneyland Don’ts: What Not To Ride

We may earn money or other compensation from the companies or products mentioned in this post.

I love Disneyland, but even being the fan that I am, I still have a short list of things that could be better and have created this what not to ride guide to help you decide what to skip. Call me a party pooper, but I always manage to have a blast at Disneyland . . . there are just a few things I choose to avoid.What not to ride Disneyland

Remember this is all meant in good fun. If there’s something here you love, definitely go for it. You’ll see I update this article every once in a while and even change my mind on occasion. Here’s my “What Not To Ride” confession in no particular order.

What Not to Ride: Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage


When does this thing not have a huge line? After you get in line, thinking it doesn’t look too bad, you find out even a short line takes forever and then you get to cram in to this tiny space with a bunch of stinky strangers, put your face into the germ filled window and look at underwater scenes all while breathing the same recycled air for 10+ minutes. Sounds delightful. 


Finding Nemo


Poor Nemo is just gonna have to remain lost, because after another ride on the submarines summer of 2015, I’m keeping Nemo on the what not to ride list.

Do you love Nemo, Dory and all things under the sea? Dress up the family in coordinating Finding Dory and Finding Nemo outfits, then take a family photo in front of the Finding Nemo lagoon, complete with the “mine, mine, mine” birds in the background.

Be sure to snag the best Disneyland discount tickets around from our partner, Get Away Today before heading over to Disneyland Resort

Plus, enjoy an extra $10 off when booking a hotel stay of two nights or more along with your discount Disneyland tickets! Use promo code Happiest10 at checkout.

Disneyland vacation promo code

What Not to Ride: King Arthur Carrousel

I don’t mind riding the carrousel, and there are times when it comes in handy (like during Rider Switch). But generally, my rule is to not do things at Disneyland that we could easily do somewhere else. However, if you’re a big Mary Poppins or Julie Andrews fan, you must take the chance to ride on her very own horse, Jingles.


King Arthur Carrousel Disneyland


I even let Jingles take a selfie with my phone because I love Julie Andrews and Mary Poppins that much. But know you will have to race to score a ride on Jingles, as many people love this horse just as much as you do!


What Not to Ride: (or do) Parades

I used to be totally anti-parades. To me, it means prime riding time! But, it can serve as a well earned break. I now regularly make time in my schedule to watch Disneyland parades, seriously no one does it better!


frozen disney parade


Read all about the Disneyland parades here, plus get free seating strategies! Now I even splurge for reserved seats at popular parades and shows, my mind has certainly been changed here.


What Not to Ride: Autopia

Anyone else have trouble turning the wheel on that dang car? I wonder if I got a lemon because it took all my might just to move the wheel a teeny bit. The last time I went on it, I vowed not to ride again until my kids could drive me.


Disneyland's What Not to Ride list. What you can skip to fit in more fun at Disneyland.

And guess what, my son is now tall enough to drive so we tried it again. He’s actually plenty tall to drive but still had a hard time reaching the pedal, so I did the gas while he did the steering. Verdict? Still not the best and certainly not worth waiting over 5 minutes to ride. If you choose to hit the road, be sure to bring your patience like any good SoCal driver ;).

What Not to Ride: (or do) Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island

This was one of my favorite places to visit when I was a kid. And sadly, I have deprived my children of this secret island. They don’t even know it exists! If I loved it so much, why do I keep my kids away? I am so afraid they’ll get lost! I remember running around and my dad struggling to keep an eye on me. I’d be in one cave, out another and all dirty and dusty at the end. Have things changed? Do my kids deserve a chance to explore Tom Sawyer Island?

Update: I have since taken my kids to Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island. It’s hot and there are no snack or drink carts there. I guess Tom Sawyer lived without churros?
Fantasmic reserved space along Rivers of America
It’s fun to visit here and there, but it is hot. Did I say that already? I recommend visiting early in the day to avoid the heat. You can also get a good view of the island from Mark Twain Riverboat which is a fun place to take a break and take in the sights.

What Not to Ride: Casey Jr. Circus Train

It’s all about being a kid at Disneyland, but the caged animal thing isn’t my favorite. While I can work those Mickey ears without a problem, I feel way too goofy when I am hunched over riding around on the circus animal train.


What not to Ride: What you can skip on your next Disneyland trip.

Now that my kids are into the bigger rides, it’s easy to skip. And if you’re not into riding this train, there are tons of distractions nearby. On the plus side, Casey Jr. is a great alternative to the Story Book Canal Boats because you get similar views from this ride with a shorter wait time and quicker ride time.

A few other “What Not To Ride” Rides

Main Street Vehicles (unless it’s your 5th day at Disneyland and you simply need a break) and Disneyland Railroad (unless you have a tired hubby, because you woke him at 5:30am to open the park and this is all he can manage to stay sane).

Main Street Vehicles


That’s the end? I know what you’re thinking, “What about those creepy dolls singing the same song over and over again?”  Or the fairytale rides that are supposed to be fun but instead make my little ones cry?
its a small world disneyland
We all have our favorites and not-so-favorites. So let’s take a poll in the comments section. Tell us what rides are on your “What Not To Ride” list. And in case you’re wondering if I even really like Disneyland at all after my What Not to Ride rant, check out my What to Ride First series for all my favorite things!

32 thoughts on “Disneyland Don’ts: What Not To Ride

  • Gina

    I love Tom Sawyer Island for little ones. It isn’t usually crowded so they can just run and play. I usually stand on one side of the island and someone else on the other side. No matter where our child (now 5 year old) pops out someone is there to see. When my daughter was 1 1/2 we took her out there. She ran laps around that island. She was so excited to not have to be in the stroller, having someone holding her hand or the leash attached to her backpack. Our last trip there our son was almost 2 and he thought it was the best “running away” from his auntie giggling. Definitely a place I can worry a little less while they run some energy off.

  • Tina

    I love taking the train…gets me off my feet for a rest…always take the train to New Orleans square…our first stop and favorite land at Disneyland parks…plus….I don’t get shoved and stepped on while everyone else is racing to adventureland. Then we hit pirates, haunted mansion and splash mountain. By then we are ready for lunch. I am not a fan of Tomorrowland….leave me in New Orleans square with the babies! Btw…they have updated the train ride as well as the Matterhorn…Matterhorn is still rickety, one ride per vacation is all I can do. But I love what they did with the yeti.

  • MandiAnn

    I actually prefer to skip the Matterhorn. It’s so rickety and kills my neck and back. If it was smoother, I’d be all over it. I haven’t done the Sub since I was a kid but it is on my list of things to do next time I’m back in the park.

    • Matterhorn is borderline for me. I have to mentally prep myself for the violent twists and turns. I agree, wish it were smoother. And I’d definitely do the subs if it has been that long. I do them once in a blue moon myself :).

  • Katie

    I got stuck on Nemo for 5 extra minutes with my newborn and I swear I almost had a panic attack. The only thing that kept me together was a kid chatting along next to me.

    Never ever again.

  • Keiley

    As the ultimate Disney fan I think every ride has something unique and magical to offer, I can’t think of one ride that I would say no to.

    • Way to go Keiley! Love the magic you bring. If you can’t name one you wouldn’t ride, what would you say is your favorite on this list that in your opinion should be removed from the what not to ride list?

    • I agree, Cailah. An adorable ride but it’s not one I need to experience often. Plus, we always seem to miss it because it closes when parade routes are set up until long after parades end. Good call!

  • Nicole

    Oh how I wish Country Bear Jamboree was still there. That was always one of my favorites when I was a kid. I would have really liked to take my girls to see it too.

    And I totally agree with everything you said about that Nemo ride. We always skip that.

    • Country Bear Jamboree! So classic! I think that’s one thing that keeps pulling us back, we want our kids to experience all the things we loved when we were little. Glad you got my back on Nemo. 🙂

      • Claire Thomas

        I used to love the Nemo ride, but they have made it more entertaining since this article was written…so I would still ride it now.

        • Hi Claire! I update all our articles on a continuous basis. I agree that Nemo can be entertaining. The thing I dislike most about it is the small space and that it’s quite long which can be both a positive and a negative depending on the company and time of day lol! Thanks for your input :).

  • Melody

    What not to ride @ Disneyland: Flying dumbo, spinning tea cups, The mad hatter ride=whiplash! Too rough for elderly & young children! Have they offered meals/food for Gluten Free intolerance people yet? I had a tough time finding food I could eat. Had to leave the park to eat. Back in 2001

    • Hey Melody! Those spinning rides aren’t for everyone that’s for sure. But yes, tons more options for gluten free. You can check out all their menus online in advance and when you’re there, speak to any greeter at restaurants to let them know you’re looking for gluten free options. You’ll be quite surprised I’m sure. I’ll add this to my to-do list as well and be sure to keep you posted when I have an article about gluten free eating at Disneyland.

  • KB

    Walt adored trains. I feel like he would be heartbroken if gueats viewed them as a “skip” because they were such an integral part of his original idea for the park. I love riding them and get filled with such a sense of excitement at circling the park in its entirety. I feel the same way about IASW. That ride holds a special place in so many hearts because of its significance to the park’s history and Walt’s legacy. I would never EVER skip this ride on a trip to Disneyland. In fact, I often ride it twice. What a beautiful message for children to embrace and such a fun ride with a new experience each time! I’ve been on it over 50 times since I was a child and I still notice something new and creative each ride. Certain aspects of the park are just so darn special, and these two attractions are at the top of the list.

    • I love your insight and appreciate the comment. There truly is something at Disneyland for everyone. Have you had a chance to visit the Carolwood Barn at Griffith Park in Los Angeles? It’s the barn from Walt’s old home where he spent his time creating the railroad that ran through his backyard. Wonderful Disney artifacts there. I’ll be writing a piece about that later this year. Again, thanks for the comment. I always appreciate hearing from readers.

  • Ciara

    I’m not a huge Winnie the Pooh fan but me and my 3 year old liked it, actually I think it was one of her favorites. Disneyland is such a different experience when u take preschoolers, lol, first time in my life I went to Disneyland and not go on pirates ????

    • I love that Winnie the Pooh often doesn’t have a wait. That’s the good thing about that ride with a little one. But missing Pirates? That’s tough! It’s almost like you didn’t go to Disneyland if you don’t go on Pirates, lol. Thanks for sharing Ciara and be sure to check out our Toddlers at Disneyland post, maybe you can share some things you’ve learned with us there too!

  • Snow White is on my do not ride list. I remember getting off with my daughter on her first ride through it and at the end she said “that’s it?”. We love anything princess but that ride is underwhelming.

    • I thought you were going to say she was crying after getting off, Snow White is a bit scary! Those Fantasyland dark rides are short, especially when you wait 30+ minutes for Peter Pan and it’s over in the blink of an eye.

  • It's a small world – I know this appears to be millions of peoples favourite ride but for me and my family it was definitely one of the worst and we'd never want to go on it again!

  • For some reason, reader Megan's comment got deleted after I already approved it. Since the comment is still in my inbox…Megan said, For me? The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction. Sorry, I normally think Pooh Bear is just swell, but that attraction makes me so sad! They nixed Country Bear Jamboree Playhouse (which was a pretty unique and cute show, if I do say so!) for THIS?? The only cool thing in that entire attraction is that you can still see the mounted heads of Buff, Melvin, and Max if you know the right place to look while riding through Pooh. The sour icing on this bitter cake is the cheesy flat cut-out "artwork" at the end…just some mediocre painted scenes of Pooh and pals (minus Eeyore, what's that all about??). So there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.