9 Disneyland Rides for Seniors You Will Love

The Little Mermaid” by HarshLight licensed under CC BY 2.0

Disneyland is a place that families and young children love to visit.  But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of awesome Disneyland rides for seniors to enjoy, as well.  So in this article, I’m going to provide you with my list on the top rides that senior citizens will have a tremendous time experiencing at Disney.

The Best Disneyland Rides for Seniors (TLDR)

If you are struggling to determine what attractions would be fun and safe for you (or your elder parent) to enjoy as a senior citizen, here are my top ride selections:

  • Mark Twain Riverboat
  • It’s a Small World 
  • The Little Mermaid
  • King Arthur’s Carousel 
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Pixar Pal-A-Round
  • Disneyland Railroad 
  • Emotional Whirlwind 

Additionally, for senior citizens who find themselves not enjoying the idea of participating in any rides at all, I have included an Honorable Mention dedicated to the Animation Academy building.  This is a great option for seniors who wish to remain safely planted with two feet on steady ground!

Mark Twain Riverboat

The Mark Twain Riverboat in Disneyland
Mark Twain Riverboat” by HarshLight licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Mark Twain Riverboat in Disneyland is a perfect attraction for senior citizens. The slow and leisurely ride down the Rivers of America provides a relaxing experience that allows seniors to take in the sights and sounds of the ride at a comfortable pace. The boat is spacious and provides ample seating, making it incredibly easy for seniors to find a comfortable spot to enjoy the ride. 

The boat also offers beautiful views of a few smaller sections of the park, with many iconic attractions (such as the Matterhorn) being visible from the river. For seniors who may not be able to handle the faster rides or extended periods of walking around the park, the Mark Twain Riverboat offers a delightful alternative that still provides a fun and memorable experience. It’s a great way for seniors to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the park and enjoy a peaceful journey on the water.

This attraction is completely wheelchair accessible and seniors will not need to transfer out of their wheelchair to participate in this attraction. There are stairs that lead up to the upper levels of the ride vehicle where Tiana will often meet guests, however this is not a required portion of the experience and the wheelchair accessible deck is very large and spacious, with tables in the front of the boat did provide a gorgeous view!

It’s a Small World

it’s a small world” by Sam Howzit licensed under CC BY 2.0

It’s a Small World is another great boat themed attraction for seniors in Disneyland. This classic ride takes guests on a gentle ride through different countries and cultures, showcasing a variety of colorful scenes and animatronic figures. The ride is slow-paced, making it extremely easy for seniors to take in all the details and enjoy the music and singing (although I must admit it can get stuck in your head extremely easily). 

The ride also offers a sense of nostalgia for many seniors who may have visited the park as children, making it a sentimental experience to really round off your trip with a senior! The attraction is also indoors, providing a break from the potentially harsh and miserable outdoor elements and a cool, Air-conditioned respite on hot days. 

I am pleased to report that this attraction is completely wheelchair accessible and actually has more than one boat that is geared to accommodate a wheelchair! There are also no height requirements for this attraction, and if your senior isn’t in a wheelchair but still has a few mobility issues, the boats are fairly easy to step in and out of due to their stability and how the ride vehicles are put together! 

Overall this is a great option for seniors who are not at their physical peak and who want a great nostalgia boost!

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid ride in Disneyland California Adventure is a perfect attraction for seniors due to its gentle and calming nature. The ride is a slow-moving, gentle journey through the story of Ariel and her underwater world. The ride is also completely indoors, providing a break from the sun and heat which can be especially important for older adults who may struggle with heat sensitivity. 

The ride vehicles are comfortable and spacious, and the ride itself is not too long, making it a perfect option for seniors who may not want to spend too much time in one place or on one attraction! 

Additionally, the ride is located in California Adventure, which tends to be less crowded than Disneyland, making it a more enjoyable experience for seniors who may prefer a quieter environment. I have never seen this ride with a wait time is longer than about 15 minutes, so it’s also a great option for seniors who do not enjoy standing in long lines! 

This attraction is another one of the rides on our list that allows you to bring your wheelchair onto the attraction which makes it a great option for seniors with mobility issues and assistive devices! Often times, if there are no other wheelchair users waiting in line for the attraction cast members may even allow seniors to circle through the ride more than once! This is one of my favorite things to do on a hot day!

King Arthur’s Carousel

This is another one of my personal favorite attractions in the Disneyland resort! King Arthur’s Carousel is a timeless attraction that is perfect for senior citizens. The ride is a classic that has been around for decades and an attraction that has been enjoyed by generations of Disneyland visitors. Therefore, this is another nostalgic attraction for seniors who have been visiting the Disney Parks since they were young themselves. 

The carousel is a slow-moving ride that offers a gentle and calming experience. The attraction features several colors of horses that are beautifully crafted and are easy to mount, providing a comfortable and safe ride for seniors. The music that is played on the ride is also soothing and helps to create a relaxing atmosphere without overstimulating seniors who may struggle with sensory overload. 

This particular attraction is another one that happens to be located in Fantasyland, which is known for its whimsical and magical atmosphere making it an enjoyable experience for seniors who want to immerse themselves in the Disney magic. The carousel is also a short ride, making it another wonderful option for seniors who may not want to spend too much time on a ride. 

This ride is completely wheelchair accessible and typically does not have a long wait time, making it a great option for seniors who struggle with standing in one place for an extended period of time. The attraction is outdoors so it can get pretty toasty, but it does have a cover on it which provides wonderful shade from the sun during extremely hot days.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean” by HarshLight licensed under CC BY 2.0

Pirates of the Caribbean is an iconic Disneyland attraction that is absolutely perfect for seniors. The ride is a mostly slow-moving boat ride that takes visitors on a journey through a pirate-infested Caribbean island (there is one small drop in the attraction that seniors should be aware of, but when compared to most of the larger rides it is quite tame).

The ride is designed to be immersive, with highly detailed sets and animatronic figures that bring the pirate world to life. Johnny Depp, who plays Captain Jack Sparrow in the movie franchise with the same name has also been known to make an appearance as his character within the ride! The ride is also set in a dark environment, which is great for seniors who may have sensitive eyes or are easily affected by bright lights. 

This attraction is unfortunately not wheelchair accessible, however there are transfer access vehicles available for seniors who find themselves needing access to a vehicle that may be easier for them to board and disembark at the beginning and end of the rides respectively! While transferring into and out of the ride vehicle may be challenging, it is a fairly easy transfer and cast members are always willing to help in any way possible!

Pixar Pal-A-Round Non-Swinging Gondolas

The Pixar Pal-A-Round in Disneyland is without a doubt one of the most iconic attractions in the park, and this particular attraction offers a unique and thrilling experience for visitors of all ages. However, for seniors, the non-swinging gondolas on the wheel are the perfect choice. 

Unlike the swinging gondolas, the non-swinging option offers a more stable and comfortable ride, which is ideal for seniors who may have mobility or balance issues, or seniors who struggle with motion sickness and sensory overload. 

The gondolas are also equipped with comfortable seats that really make this particular attraction an enjoyable and safe experience. The ride is slow-moving, allowing visitors to take their time and enjoy the scenery without feeling rushed or overwhelmed. 

This is particularly important for seniors who may need extra time to take in their surroundings or may have difficulty navigating through crowded areas. Additionally, the sense of nostalgia and history associated with the wheel can make it a particularly meaningful experience for seniors who have visited Disneyland in the past.

Please keep in mind, this attraction frequently closes early to accommodate nighttime shows! Both gondola options are wheelchair accessible and can accommodate parties of up to five although if you have a wheelchair user in your party, I would highly recommend going on the non-swinging gondolas.

Disneyland Railroad

The Disneyland Railroad is a must-see attraction that has been entertaining visitors for decades upon decades. This classic ride is particularly well-suited for seniors, who may prefer a more relaxed and comfortable way to take in the sights and sounds of the park or for those who are not capable of walking throughout the entire ready of the resort. 

The train offers a scenic tour of Disneyland, with stops in New Orleans Square, Mickey’s Toontown, Tomorrowland, and Main Street, USA. Seniors can enjoy the ride from the comfort of their seats, with plenty of legroom and space to stretch out.

This is one of my absolute favorite attractions because you can stay on the train as long as you would like, making this a great option if you need somewhere shaded to sit down while also still enjoying the magic of the parks!

This attraction is wheelchair accessible with the exception of the Main Street, USA station at this particular stop does not have a ramp for guests with mobility issues! This is a great attraction for seniors who are easily overstimulated and who need a break from those long miserable hours of walking in the sun surrounded by large amounts of people!

Emotional Whirlwind

Closing off our list today, Inside Out: Emotional Whirlwind is a fun and exciting ride located in Disney California Adventure that is perfect for seniors looking for a fun but not too intense experience. Based on the popular Pixar movie, Inside Out, this ride takes visitors on a whimsical journey through the mind of an 11-year-old girl named Riley. 

The ride is gentle and slow-moving, making it ideal for seniors who may not be able to handle more intense rides. The colorful and imaginative surroundings are sure to put a smile on any senior’s face, and the ride’s playful music and sound effects add to the overall enjoyment. This is a super calm and enjoyable attraction that doesn’t cause seniors a whole lot of stress but still provides enjoyment and contributes to a wonderful day in the parks!

This attraction is unfortunately not wheelchair accessible, however transfers into and out of the ride vehicle are extremely simple and easy to manage for seniors and younger folks with disabilities alike! This is one of my favorite attractions and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a calm and enjoyable attraction!

Honorable Mention

Animation Academy

The Animation Academy located in Disney California Adventure Park is an excellent option for seniors who may not be fans of participating in any of the rides that the park has to offer. The building offers an interactive experience that allows visitors to learn about the art of animation and even draw their own Disney character, as well as the opportunity to meet characters from Frozen among other experiences offered within the building

The drawing classes are led by skilled artists who provide step-by-step guidance, making it accessible for people of all artistic abilities. This experience is not only fun and educational but also provides a chance for seniors to sit down, relax and take a break from the bustling park environment.

The Animation Academy is a great way for seniors to engage with the Disney brand in a way that is different from the typical rides, and the resulting artwork can serve as a special souvenir of their trip to Disneyland.

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