40. Astro Orbitor
Do you like Dumbo, but always wished it was just FASTER and HIGHER and HAD A LONGER LINE? Then do we have the ride for you! Astro-Orbitor lacks a unique ride concept from even its neighboring land, is harder to fit two people in, feels less secure, lacks the nostalgia points, and usually has a longer wait, but hey, higher and faster, right? Points for an actually solid view of this side of the park from the highest point in the arc, though, especially during evening parades.
39. Monsters Inc: Mike and Sulley to the Rescue
To be fair, this ranking is as much about wasted potential as it is a critique of the ride. When Disney tore out two soundstages to make room for this new ride, everyone assumed it was going to be … erm, a monster. Maybe an indoor coaster based on the door chase? What if it’s about chasing Boo through a bunch of doors to get her home? How about a scare floor experience? And in the end we got… a classic dark ride retelling of the movie. It’s well done for what it is–the interactive Roz at the end is always a hoot–but it always feels like it could have been so much more.
38. Gadget’s Go Coaster
This is the only ride where my first criticism is that it’s just too short. Gadget’s might last a minute, if that, but it’s such a fun minute. It’s the rare kiddie coaster that’s still a lot of fun for adults, as long as they remember not to blink and miss the ride while they’re on it. Tucked back in the far corner of Toontown, Gadget doesn’t get the love she deserves.
Okay, this is one of the first low rankings it’s okay to feel dirty about. It’s a classic Disney dark ride, and it holds up 60+ years later. However, there are some truly traumatizing moments a little too well-rendered, and even the story itself doesn’t hold up to some of its Fantasyland dark ride neighbors–or even one at the park across the plaza.
36. Pixar Pal-a-Round
First things first: It’s gonna be a cold day in hell when I stop calling this Mickey’s Fun Wheel–especially while it still bears his face. But unlike some of its neighbors, which are barely-glammed-up carnival knockoffs, this Ferris wheel holds way, way up. A 160-foot giant, the real fun is in the sliding and swinging gondolas–though there are stationary gondolas for those less interested in that particular sense of adventure. A nice 9-minute experience for kids and adults alike.
35. King Arthur’s Carrousel
This Fantasyland centerpiece is a classic, and would deserve extra points on any list for being based on the Griffith Park carousel that inspired Walt Disney to build the park in the first place, as well as for its iconic mount, Jingles, decorated in honor of Mary Poppins and dedicated to Julie Andrews herself at the time of the 50th anniversary in 2005. But it IS still just a carousel, and Disney has gone above and beyond such rides time and time again.
34. Mark Twain Riverboat
The Mark Twain is a lovely, relaxing ride around the Rivers of America, and its longest-running option to do so–open from 10 am to 5:45 every day on the Rivers when Fantasmic is running, sometimes until as late as 9 pm on non-show days. Sometimes you’ll catch Tiana wandering aboard for a really unique character experience, sometimes you’ll just get nice views and an 18 minute ride on a shady bench, and if you’re really lucky and ask a cast member nicely, maybe they’ll let you pilot the boat for a minute for a cool Disney moment. Again, bonus points for being home to a truly great Fantasmic! segment, and minus points for short hours and complicated boarding with the Columbia.
33. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Another classic dark-ride homage, the ride’s unique use of track to make you feel as though you’re buffeted by blustery breezes and excellent use of projections in a couple of spots almost make up for the drug trip that is the Heffalump and Woozle room. Eagle-eyed guests can spot some former denizens of the Country Bear Jamboree that resided here from 1972 to 2001. It’s a nice laid-back dark ride to run while you wait for your friends to get off Splash Mountain, or while you wait for Pooh and his friends to return to the character greeting spot just outside.
32. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
What’s great about Astro Blasters is that the lines never seem to be too long, and if you have Disney’s new MaxPass system on your phone, the next Fastpass time is never too far away. And it’s always fun to shoot your way through a ride! But the arrival of Midway Mania in 2010 has made Buzz feel and look… pretty dated, actually. And it winds up feeling a little mediocre in a land that skews to extremes–both good and bad–on the Disney ride scale.