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Disneyland Article
5 Rides To Go To First When The Park Opens
Abigail Stevens
When Disneyland in Anaheim first opens its gates every day at eight in the morning, there are a few rides visitors should make a beeline for if they don't want to be standing in line for hours. Since it debuted in 1955, Disneyland has boasted many popular rides and other experiences that capture the magic of the company's extensive list of films and shows, primarily of the fantasy and adventure genres. Some of the rides that have been there since the beginning remain incredibly popular and are sure to have long lines every day of the year.

On the other hand, new franchises have led the Disney Imagineering team to design new rides based on these popular stories. Every day at Disneyland is a game of making the most of one's time; the Disney app provides visitors with wait times for all the attractions from anywhere in the park, while Lightning Lane entry passes are also available for purchase (and Disneyland does have free Wi-Fi). Nonethless, having a sense of what rides are most likely to have a long wait and where they are will help Disney tourists plan their day strategically.

5 Peter Pan's Flight

Located In Fantasyland

Peter Pan's Flight's status as a staple attraction of Disneyland has endured throughout its almost 70 years in operation.

Peter's Pan Flight is an original Disneyland ride, present when the park first opened and redesigned in 1983. It is based on the characters and settings of Disney's 1953 animated adaptation of J. M. Barrie's story. The slower but decent pace and small drops from the safety of a pirate ship make it a great ride for all ages. Additionally, some of the designs within the ride are simply breathtaking, such as the blacked-out, star-dotted sky when visitors fly over and around Neverland.

Peter Pan's Flight is a good first ride because it is as close to the entrance as one can get. Fantasyland is generally a good place to start because it is home to classic rides such as the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. After going through the main gates, visitors need only walk straight down Main Street (at a brisk pace) and go through Sleeping Beauty's Castle to get to Fantasyland, where Peter Pan is the first ride on the right.

However, even running, there is likely to be a wait when visitors get there. Peter Pan's Flight's status as a staple attraction of Disneyland has endured throughout its almost 70 years in operation. It also has wider appeal because it is geared at kids and there is no height requirement. While the queue of pirate ship vehicles moves fast, the staff can only let two or three people on the ride at a time. Additionally, guests of the Disneyland hotels get to enter the park 30 minutes early and may also have Peter Pan in mind as their first stop.

4 Matterhorn Bobsleds

Located In Fantasyland

Matterhorn Bobsleds opened in 1959 and was the first roller coaster at Disneyland. The ride is inspired by its real-life counterpart; Walt Disney traveled to Switzerland to film Third Man on the Mountain and set out to create a fantastical version of the landmark. Visitors board a bobsled of six people and are brought to the top of the mountain, before making a high-speed, twisting descent, occasionally encountering the Abominable Snowman — who can be heard roaring at other parts of the ride.

Disneyland's Matterhorn is 100 times smaller than the real mountain, and the snowfall is heavier on the north-facing side, just like it is in real life. Matterhorn Bobsleds is also located in Fantasyland, and it is possible to get there relatively quickly from the front gates. When visitors reach Sleeping Beauty's Castle, they should take the pathway off to the right instead of going through the castle's archway. The recreation of the Matterhorn mountain will be visible from this location in the park, so finding it should be no trouble.

Despite having a height requirement of 42'', Matterhorn Bobsleds has one of the most consistent waits in the park, which can reach a couple of hours. It is ideally positioned in the line of sight of the entry, so people who want to prioritize their favorite roller coasters can dash there. Even then, the single-person wide sleds only seat six people and there are only two tracks. Disneyland.disney.go.com notes that the staff may choose to only have one track in operation during slower periods. After enjoying Matterhorn Bobsleds, visitors are ideally located to go on more rides in Fantasyland or venture into Tomorrowland.

3 Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Located In Frontierland

The runaway train roller coaster known as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad became a signature attraction of Disneyland in 1979. Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland was the forerunner of this ride, although this was a much slower train ride where the main entertainment was animatronic animals and forest facades. Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland operated in Disneyland from 1960 to 1977, when it was closed to make way for the rising demand for more high-speed rides. Some elements of Thunder Mountain appear to be derived from this previous attraction.

While there are some additional paths to navigate, Frontierland also branches off Main Street and is easy to access. While visitors will find Tomorrowland to the right, Frontierland is to the left. Frontierland is also located next to other subsections of the park, including Adventureland, New Orleans Square, and Critter Country. These areas include famous rides such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and Tiana's Bayou Adventure (previously Splash Mountain; opening date unconfirmed at the time of writing).

Thunder Mountain typically does not have the biggest turnout of all the attractions in Disneyland Park, but it does have the potential to get busy. People who are hoping for a shorter wait for other nearby rides might end up at Thunder Mountain. It is a classic roller coaster with an interesting design and is unsurprisingly popular. However, if visitors go there first, the wait will probably be short as everyone else will be trying for another ride. Furthermore, Thunder Mountain is not inspired by any particular Disney movie, but Disney is now working on a Big Thunder Mountain movie.

2 Indiana Jones Adventure

Located In Adventureland

The Indiana Jones Adventure ride has a notoriously long wait. The ride's construction is somewhat deceiving since most of the line is concealed from view within the mountain itself. Yet determined visitors endure this wait year after year to get on the unique roller coaster. The vehicles are styled as jeeps and everyone is in for a bumpy ride, encountering terrors such as snakes, traps, and the famous boulder that Indy successfully avoids at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Disneyland's Indiana Jones attraction opened in 1995, long predating Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm. Disney Imagineering and Lucasfilm also negotiated rights and collaborated on other attractions, such as Star Tours in Tomorrowland. Indiana Jones Adventure might not have the broadest appeal since it is darker and louder, therefore more likely to frighten children. However, the wait time for the ride remains high, likely due to a limited number of vehicles and passengers per vehicle.

Indiana Jones Adventure is also more difficult to get to than the Fantasyland rides, since it is tucked back into the corner of Adventureland, wedged between Jungle Cruise and New Orleans Square. To get there, take a sharp left at the first pathway off of Main Street and walk past Jungle Cruise and Tarzan's Tree House. Visitors should consult a map to be completely sure of where they are going if they want to get to Indiana Jones first. However, after this long wait, New Orleans Square is an ideal place for breakfast, serving Mickey Mouse-shaped beignets.

1 Rise Of The Resistance

Located At Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Galaxy's Edge is perhaps more interactive than anywhere else in Disneyland, including workshops for designing lightsabers and droids. The rides themselves comprise different narrative experiences.

Since it opened in 2019, replacing Big Thunder Ranch, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge has been one of the most popular spots in Disneyland. The design and construction are truly spectacular, including a life-size Millennium Falcon. Connections to the expanding Star Wars canon appear in Galaxy's Edge, like nods to Darth Vader and Thrawn's shared backstory. The flagship ride Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run could easily have a wait time of more than two hours. The new and even better ride, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, is the same situation.

Galaxy's Edge is perhaps more interactive than anywhere else in Disneyland, including workshops for designing lightsabers and droids. The rides themselves comprise different narrative experiences. For instance, Smuggler's Run puts visitors in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, with everyone having a different task, such as piloting, operating the ship's guns, and lifting goods. Alternatively, in Rise of the Resistance, visitors board ''Resistance transports'' (and later get off them) and go on an adventure to escape the First Order, accompanied by Finn, Rey, and BB-8. They also run across Kylo Ren and General Hux.

The potentially hours-long wait time is daunting, especially since Galaxy's Edge is at the back of the park. However, while the rest of the park opens at eight, Star Wars Land opens at nine, giving visitors more time to get there. There is still an early entry for some guests. After enjoying the rides, Galaxy's Edge has many interesting businesses to explore, including Oga's Cantina. The Star Wars rides pose the biggest challenge when it comes to achieving a decent wait time. However, with a little bit of research, going on popular rides throughout Disneyland Park will hopefully not be too exhausting.

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