“Disney for Grown Ups” is an examination of adult entertainment, attractions and distraction. This installment highlights the Disneyland Classics; those Attractions that adults have loved since they themselves were kids (See also Disney’s Most Romantic Spots and Walt Disney World of Adult Beverages):
1 Pirates of the Caribbean – New Orleans Square
Who doesn’t love this ride? An excellent, if contradictory combination of relaxing and exciting. Pirates is an inseparable element of Disney history and Disney memories. The irresistible and catchy “Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho” melody is just what you need to chase the theme from “it’s a small world” out of your head. Despite the questionable notion to modernize with animatronic Johnny Depps, Pirates remains a timeless, universally adored classic.
2 Matterhorn Bobsleds – Fantasyland
Disneyland’s signature attraction; tied with Space Mountain for the can’t-miss ride of the Universe. The Matterhorn has defined a day at Disneyland for generations. Being the first one in your car to spot the Matterhorn from the freeway. The speed walk from the park entrance to get to the Matterhorn before anyone else. The Swiss yodeling in the queue. The Spanish version of the “Remain seated please” announcement (permancer sentados pro favor). The seating arrangement that was either wonderful or overly intimate depending upon your relationship with your riding companion. Even the tooth-rattling descent through and down the mountain. Vacation and life shaping elements, every one.
3 Space Mountain – Tomorrowland
A ride too good to miss, and one of a very few for which you will wait in line. Even if you aren’t organized or fortunate enough to get a FASTPASS® , you will stand in the heat and claustrophobic hallways for Space Mountain. Except for the ruinous Red Hot Chili Peppers experiment, Space Mountain may stand as Disneyland’s #1 timeless classic. Blasphemy to Matterhorn disciples, sure, but since on this ride you sit beside your companion rather than behind them, you run much less risk of losing a tooth or limb.
4 Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride – Fantasyland
Unflatteringly known as the kiddie rides, the movie adaptation attractions of Fantasyland are the park’s begrudging adult favorites. It is oftentimes a blessing to be at the park with children for the built-in excuse to hit these hard-to-admit beloved rides. Peter Pan’s Flight is the debatable best of the lot, though the line is so consistently long it has fallen off many adult to-do lists. Next door, Mr. Toad’s boasts a reliably shorter line, for an equally memorable attraction. Warning: Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride concludes with a collision with a train and descent into the fiery netherworld. Children experiencing this for the first time may take this hard if not properly prepared by their inattentive parents. Assure them they are not actually piloting the vehicle, for the emotional effects can be significant and lasting.
5 Splash Mountain – Critter Country
Before we get letters, we understand that this ride is arguably too new to be considered a Classic. Based upon how well it is made, and how entertaining Splash Mountain is, it warrants consideration on any “Best of” list. Long time Disney enthusiasts will remember the now defunct America Sings attraction. Well, Splash Mountain abounds with the characters from that sorely under appreciated and missed Disney Classic. And don’t you love a ride where one of your party gets soaked while the others remain relatively unscathed? Priceless.
Honorable Mention – Mad Tea Party – Fantasyland
Familiarly known as the “Tea Cups,” there is considerable debate whether this is qualifies as a favored Disney attraction since it is so widely despised. Families are divided, philosophically and physically, as some can’t miss it, while others, of a more motion-sensitive inclination won’t go near it. This ride has been in the park since the beginning, thus warrants mention here.