Some of the best amusement rides are some of the oldest. While they don’t have all the latest technology used for modern thrill rides, they provide a certain kind of charm and enjoyment for those who appreciate that they were built to last.
Some of the amusement rides below have been in continuous use for many decades, dating all the way back to the 1920s. They provide great examples of the imagination and attention to detail that went into creating these memorable rides.
Best Amusement Rides
Obviously, there’s plenty of Disney rides on this list. There’s a reason that Disney is still, well, Disney. They tend to make rides that people remember – and want to ride again. We also tried to spread the selections around a few different Disney parks.
The Wildcat at Lake Compounce
The Wildcat is one of the oldest still-running amusement rides in the country. The roller coaster first opened in 1927 and still operates at the same location at Lake Compounce, an amusement park in Connecticut. It’s also loud and rickety, just enough to give you those wooden roller coaster thrills.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
This ride at Disneyland in California opened in 1955, just three months after the park opened. The ride, a carousel with a sculpture of the flying Dumbo character from the 1941 movie for each car, is such a treasure that one of the cars has been placed in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Another classic for the kids. Opened in 1958, Cadillac Cars allow adults to drive kids around a track in a scaled-down replica of a 1910 Cadillac touring car. It’s a cool ride that kids have been enjoying for more than 60 years.
Space Mountain’s original version was opened in 1975 at Disney World in Florida. It’s an entirely indoor roller coaster that flies along a dark track with great lighting effects. For something different, ride it during the Halloween season when it has the ”ghost galaxy” effects. It’s the oldest roller coaster in Florida (a state with a lot of roller coasters).
Mark Twain Riverboat
At Disneyland in California, the Mark Twain Riverboat has been running since the first day the park opened in 1955. The boat has long provided a place for people to escape the sun and enjoy the scenery at Disneyland. That includes the natural scenery as well as some of the rides, such as Splash Mountain, and many animatronic characters.
Pirates of the Caribbean
This is the last ride that has a design overseen by Walt Disney, so it’s a must-ride for any Disney fan. It opened in 1967 just three months after Walt Disney’s death. The boat ride has some great moments, including a cannon firing on a pirate ship and a trip through a pirate village. Versions of the ride are at Disney World, Disneyland Paris and Shanghai Disneyland. And of course, you can expect to see the updates with the addition of Capt. Jack Sparrow.
It’s A Small World
You must prepare yourself for this one. This ride puts the ultimate earworm in your head. But this is a historic ride, designed by Disney for the 1964 World’s Fair. It features dolls from around the world singing a song you will not be able to get out of your head for many hours. Maybe weeks. But it’s a memorable little ride, especially for kids.
Those are seven of the most historic rides that are still operating today. They may not have all the bells and whistles of the new thrill rides, but they still are worth your time. They all accomplish what amusement rides are supposed to accomplish – allow you to relax and have fun.