Best and Worst Value Rides at Disneyland

What’s the best and worst value rides at Disneyland? I asked myself this question after spending four days at the Disneyland Resort and Pixar Place Hotel over spring break: what rides at Disneyland are worth waiting in line for? Which rides have the best or worst “value” or “time-value”? To figure this out I decided to look at the ratio of time spent waiting in line for a ride versus how long you’re actually on the ride for.

Note: this is only looking at Disneyland rides, not including California Adventure, and does not include shows.

Average Wait Time at Disneyland

To figure out the best and worst value rides at Disneyland, the first step we need to take is to get data for the average wait time for each ride. Queue-Times has been gathering this data from park’s official apps since 2014. Here we can find the average wait time at Disneyland per ride.

Disneyland Ride Duration

Now you might think finding the duration of rides at Disneyland would be easy but it is a little bit subjective. Do you include pre-shows or not? Often times the queue is a big part of the experience and sets the scene for the story the ride is telling. Do you only count the time the ride vehicle is moving or the entire time spent sitting down in the vehicle?

Originally I was going to use ride durations listed on TouringPlans. However, some of the listed ride times seemed suspect. 10 mins for Indiana Jones, really? Watch a POV and you’ll see the ride is less than half of that. Ultimately, I decided to use a combination of UrbanTasteBud and just clocking ride times by watching POVs on YouTube.

Best Value Rides at Disneyland

So, what are the best value rides at Disneyland? Technically, you could say the Disneyland Railroad is the best value ride. You could hop on first thing in the morning with no wait and ride it all day without getting off if you wanted to. For this reason, we are not including it in our rankings.

Best and Worst Value Rides at Disneyland

The two rides at Disneyland where you are nearly guaranteed to be on the ride longer than you will be waiting in line is the Mark Twain Riverboat and the Disneyland Monorail. Unlike the transportation system used at Walt Disney World, the Disneyland Monorail is a ride that requires a ticket. There is a station in Tomorrowland and all passengers must disembark (so you couldn’t ride it all day without getting off like the train).

It’s no surprise that eight of the top ten best “value” rides are all slow moving boat rides. Not only do they typically have long ride times but they have high capacity as well to keep the lines moving.

Worst Value Rides at Disneyland

Now, onto the Disneyland rides where you’ll most likely be saying “that wasn’t worth the wait!” Interestingly, most of the worst value rides are on this list because of two reasons: either it’s a low capacity dark ride or it is so popular it always attracts a big crowd. Indiana Jones, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, and Space Mountain are some of the most popular and beloved attractions at Disneyland. The good news is they all have the option to skip the long lines they get by utilizing Genie+/Lightning Lanes (and some have Single Rider lines too).

Best and Worst Value Rides at Disneyland

If we remove all the rides with Lightning Lane and Single Rider we’re left with basically the rides with the shortest ride durations at Disneyland. Peter Pan’s Flight is one of the most popular rides at Disneyland, everyone wants to ride it but thanks to its low capacity always has a thirty-plus minute wait for only a two-minute long ride.

The number one worst value ride at Disneyland is Chip ‘n’ Dale’s GADGETcoaster. On average, you’ll be waiting 19 minutes for a (not even ) one minute long ride.

What about Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance?

Where does Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance fall? The average wait time for Rise of the Resistance is the largest in the park currently at 71 minutes. The question is what value do you use for duration? The actual ride portion of the experience is only around four or five minutes long, which would rank it in the bottom ten for worst value. But if any ride on this list is going to include the pre-shows as part of the duration it is this one. Rise of the Resistance is more than a ride – it’s a 15 to 20 minute long experience. This would put the ride into the top fifteen best value rides.

star wars rise of the resistance at disneyland star destroyer bridge

Best and Worst Value Rides at Disneyland Final Thoughts

When we are talking about “value” in terms of rides in this article, I’m only looking at wait time versus duration. Of course, how much each individual will value a ride or experience is difference. While Dumbo and Peter Pan are short rides, they have long wait times because everyone wants to ride those classic attractions for the feeling of flight and nostalgia. While the ride portion of Rise of the Resistance would fall in the top ten worst value rides lists, most guests will tell you it is the best ride in the park overall.

Ultimately it is up to the guest to decide if the wait time is worth it, but if you have a limited amount of time at Disneyland hopefully this list will help you prioritize which rides to go on and which ones could be skipped.

Do you agree with our assessment of the best and worst value rides at Disneyland? Let us know in the comments below.