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A visit to virtual Disneyland

Experience Big Thunder Mountain, Jungle Cruise, and Haunted Mansion from your couch

A grid of photos of various rides at Disneyland Image: James Bareham/Polygon

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Theme parks are closed for the foreseeable future, but online theme park culture lives on. If a Disneyland attraction exists (in the time of YouTube, at least), then chances are a high-definition video ride-through, walk-through, or POV of said attraction exists, ready to be experienced from home.

Disney parks have a fairly lax policy when it comes to bringing cameras on rides to film the experience. While technically, officially not allowed, as long as filming doesn’t pose a safety hazard (which they would on Hollywood Studios’ Rock ‘N Roller coaster, which goes upside down) or use flash on dark rides like Haunted Mansion, cast members permit recording devices on most rides at Disney parks. While selfie sticks specifically are prohibited at the parks, GoPros, iPhones, and DSLR cameras are all allowed. (Which explains how one mad genius covertly directed an entire black-and-white thriller inside the parks.)

Ride-through and walk-through videos are a big part of theme park culture, showcasing many attractions and interactive areas of the park. Since almost every attraction has at least one video associated with it, one can theoretically hit all the iconic landmarks of Disneyland without every leaving the comfort of home. So behold, a virtual exploration through Disneyland, Anaheim, broken down by each individual land in the park.


Photo of the entrance to the Jungle Cruise in Disneyland, CA Photo: James Bareham/Polygon

Indiana Jones Adventure

The Indiana Jones-themed attraction opened in 1995. A dark, fast-paced ride, Indiana Jones adventure is more thrilling than the typical Disney ride experience, sharing a specific ride track technology used at only one other Disney park attraction: Animal Kingdom’s terrifying Dinosaur.

Jungle Cruise

The live-action movie of this classic Disney attraction may be postponed, but you can get your fix — with all the cheesy animal jokes! — with this ride-through video. Jungle Cruise is one of the attractions that opened with the park and evolved over the past 50 years. One noticeable change? The original Jungle Cruise skippers had real pistols and fired blanks at the animatronic hippos.

Tarzan’s Treehouse

The replica of the treehouse that Tarzan’s parents built at the beginning of the 1999 movie isn’t a ride so much as it is an experience. Luckily, walk-through videos are just as popular as ride throughs.

Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

The iconic Disney park show features a bunch of talking and singing birds. And it’s available on YouTube so you too can relieve the heavily accented birds crooning about their tropical paradise.

Critter Country

The sign for the entrance to “Critter Country,” Disneyland, CA Photo: James Bareham/Polygon

Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes

No motors or tracks on this ride! Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes is a free floating boat experience, which takes guests on a tour around the park, following the tracks of the larger Disney boats, Mark Twain River Boat, and the Sailing Ship Columbia.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

This family-friendly dark ride spins up the adventures of Winnie the Pooh. There are versions of the Winnie the Pooh attraction at Disney’s Orlando, Shanghai, and Hong Kong locations, but the Disneyland one is the only one to feature beehive ride vehicles instead of honey pots.

Splash Mountain

Based on the highly controversial Song of the South (so controversial that the movie isn’t on Disney Plus), Splash Mountain itself is a cheery ride about animated animals in a briar patch. The best part about a video version of this one is that you don’t get wet if you sit in the first row!


The entrance to “It’s a Small World” in Disneyland, CA Photo: James Bareham/Polygon

King Arthur Carousel

This carousel was actually constructed 30 years before Disneyland opened and operated in Sunnyside Beach Park in Toronto, Canada. The lead horse, named Jingles, was so popular that all the other horses were painted white.

Snow White’s Scary Adventure

One of the attractions that debuted with the park in 1955, Snow White’s Scary Adventure had one major overhaul in 1983. It was set for another in January.

Alice in Wonderland

A dark attraction based on — you guessed it! — 1951’s Alice in Wonderland (not the 2010 Tim Burton one). Unlike some of the other based-on-a-movie dark rides in Disneyland’s Fantasyland, this one is exclusive to the California location.

Casey Jr. Circus Train

A miniature railroad based on thee train from Dumbo, Casey Jr. Circus Train takes young guests on a little tour of the Storybook area of Fantasyland.

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Ride the skies on Dumbo’s back. This is one of the staples of Disney parks, the one they use in promotional material all the time.

It’s A Small World

It’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all … get all the joys of riding this multicultural ride, without the stank of old water. No promises on if you’ll be able to get the Sherman Brothers’ earworm out of your head afterward.

Mad Tea Party

Take a virtual spin on the iconic tea cups. For added effect, prop your laptop on your lap as you spin your home office chair in time to the video.

Matterhorn Bobsleds

Modelled after the mountain of the same name in the Alps, which borders the Swiss and Italian border, the Matterhorn Bobsleds borders Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

This zany ride takes you through the “Wind in the Willows” segment of Disney’s The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad — and to the depths of hell, even though that isn’t in the movie! That’s right, at one point the ride “crashes” and you “die” and get sent to hell. It’s a ride for kids!

Peter Pan’s Flight

Though this dark attraction is one of the oldest in the park, it is still one of the most popular. Is it the enduring legacy of Peter Pan as a movie? Or the fact that Peter Pan is popular amongst edgy Hot Topic teens? We may never truly know.

Pinocchio’s Daring Journey

Based on Disney’s second theatrical animated feature, Pinocchio, this ride was added to the park in 1983, when Fantasyland underwent a huge revamp.

Storybook Land Canal Boats

Take a leisurely virtual boat ride around the Storybook section of Fantasyland. Think of it as the aquatic companion to the Casey Jr. Circus Train.

Fire TV Stick 4K

  • $35

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K is an all-in-one streaming device with apps for most major streaming services, 4K streaming and a voice remote powered by Amazon’s Alexa. It’s listed at $50, but often drops down to $35 during Amazon device sales.


Photo of a steamboat on a lake in Frontierland, Disneyland, CA Photo: Chris Plante/Polygon

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

The runaway railroad ride is a staple of Frontierland across Disney parks worldwide. The red rock designs are inspired by the American Southwest. With sharp twists and turns, it’s one of the more thrilling rides in Disneyland.

Mark Twain Riverboat

Yet another riverboat ride in Disneyland. Fun fact: this boat runs on a hidden rail beneath the ride. The pilot doesn’t so much drive the boat as they serve as a lookout to make sure it doesn’t collide with the Davy Crocket boats or the rafts to the Tom Sawyer island.

Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island

This video captures some of the raft experience, but is primarily a walk through of Tom Sawyer’s island. The island itself was originally just themed after the Mark Twain novel, but in 2007 got a pirate-themed revamp due to the popularity of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Sailing Ship Columbia

A full-scale replica of the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe, the Sailing Ship Columbia takes guests on a 12-minute tour around the waters of Disneyland. It also serves as a pirate ship backdrop for the Fantasmic! nighttime show.

Main Street U.S.A.

Photo: James Bareham/Polygon

The Disney Gallery

Walkthrough video culture runs so deep, you can peruse the art gallery on Main Street U.S.A via someone’s high-res footage.

The Disneyland Story presenting Moments with Mr. Lincoln

You can now watch an animatronic Abraham Lincoln from the comfort of your own home. It’s like the Hall of Presidents in Magic Kingdom, but if the Hall of Presidents was only about Abraham Lincoln.

Main Street Cinema

This video is a little walkthrough of one of the staples of Main Street U.S.A.

Mickey’s Toontown

Statue of Mickey Mouse at the entrance of Toontown, Disneyland, CA Photo: Robert Holmes/Corbis via Getty Images

Chip ‘n Dale Treehouse

Most of the Toontown attractions tend to be walkthrough focused. This one is the treehouse residence of the mischievous chipmunk duo.

Donald’s Boat

Donald has a boat! Here it is. It’s called the Miss Daisy, which is real cute.

Gadget’s Go Coaster

One of the attractions in Toontown, Gadget’s Go Coaster is geared towards kids.

Goofy’s Playhouse

Goofy’s playhouse has a “loony!” layout, according to the official description on the Disneyland website.

New Orleans Square

A castmember dressed as Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog chats with a park guest. Photo: James Bareham/Polygon

Haunted Mansion

Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion was already closed for refurbishment back in January. The spoopy attraction features a very catchy song and once spawned an Eddie Murphy live-action movie. Each Haunted Mansion attraction across Disney parks features a different architectural design deepening on what land the attraction is located in. The Disneyland one, in New Orleans Square, evokes old Southern mansions.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean existed long before the movie trilogy (which to this day remains the only Disney movie based on a ride that’s found any critical success). Various refurbishments, including the addition of a Jack Sparrow animatronic and an update of one of the more outdated parts of the ride where women were being auctioned off, have kept the attraction fresh.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Close up of the full size Millennium Falcon in Galaxy’s Edge, Disneyland Photo: James Bareham/Polygon

Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run

The attraction that opened with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge takes place inside the iconic Millenium Falcon. It’s like one giant video game.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

The most ambitious new attraction to open its doors at Disneyland had to close them rather quickly. But check out the action-packed Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance with this ride through video (or our own much abridged version from Hollywood Studios).


The entrance to Tomorrowland in Disneyland, CA Photo: James Bareham/Polygon

Astro Orbiter

This high-flying ride is like the rocket ship equivalent of the Dumbo ride, perfect for Tomorrowland’s retro-futuristic aesthetic.


The Disney race track ride exists under different names at other Disney parks. In Magic Kingdom, it’s called Tomorrowland Speedway; in Tokyo Disneyland, it’s Grand Circuit Raceway. The concept, however, remains the same: drive car, zoom, zoom.

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters

The Buzz Lightyear attraction is an arcade-style ride where guests shoot blasters at targets. A ride-through video can’t quite capture the thrill of competing against your seatmate, but it’s still a neon-swathed blast (pun intended).

Disneyland Monorail

Disney fans love the Disney monorail. It technically goes around the whole park, but since it’s stationed in Tomorrowland, it fits here.

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

The Finding Nemo revamp of the original Submarine Voyage ride debuted in 2007 and gave the underwater attraction some Pixar characters. Refurbishing the ride was Disney Chairman Bob Iger’s first major parks project as CEO — right on the tails of his acquisition of Pixar.

Space Mountain

Space Mountain, a roller coaster which hurdles guests almost entirely in the dark, doesn’t seem like it’d make for a fun ride-through video (since it, you know, takes place in the dark of space), but you can’t have the full Tomorrowland experience without a ride on Space Mountain.

Star Tours: The Adventure Continues

Because Star Tours contains a lot of copyrighted footage, there aren’t as many ride-throughs of it floating around on YouTube as there are on other rides. This ride existed long before Galaxy’s Edge, and regularly adds new experiences as Star Wars movies have rolled out. The latest version included planets from The Rise of Skywalker.

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