As the most visited theme park resort on the planet, Walt Disney World has some of the world's most popular rides. From Space Mountain to Expedition Everest to the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, Disney's roller coasters are among parkdom's most celebrated. Get ready for your next trip to Florida's Mouse House and gauge the thrills that await you.
Ranked from 0 for the mildest to 10 as the ultimate scream machine, even Disney’s most intense coaster isn’t as hair-raising as some of the crazy mega-coasters at other theme parks like Six Flags. But there’s something for everyone at Disney World.
If you're not much of a thrill seeker, check out what rides you might want to avoid.
For younger guests who don't meet the height requirements of the Magic Kingdom's bigger coasters and for more timid visitors who aren't quite ready to tackle the bigger thrills those coasters deliver, the Barnstormer makes a great entry-level ride. Even thrill warriors can enjoy this fun, if brief, junior coaster. If you want to overcome your coaster fears, you could give the Barnstormer a whirl as the first step of an immersion program.
The Barnstormer gets a 2.5 ranking for some mild drops, twists, and turns. The height requirement is 35 inches, and you can find the ride in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train features a pivoting coaster car design that allows the cars to swing to and fro. It does have some startling animated characters in the show portion of the attraction. It's fast and thrilling, but not too fast. It's a great step up from The Barnstormer and a good gateway ride for young kids eager to experience coaster thrills.
With a top speed of 34 miles per hour, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ranks a 4 for thrills. The height requirement is 38 inches. The attraction has a bunch of cool features that make this ride worth the wait. You can find Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom.
Like Rock 'n' Roller Coaster (listed below), Slinky Dog Dash is a launched coaster. But it is considerably less intimidating than the Aerosmith screamer. Still, the two launches will grab anyone’s attention and deliver some thrills–albeit on the relatively mild side. As with the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, it's a great gateway coaster for younger visitors or adults who are challenged by higher potency rides.
Slinky Dog Dash also has a low height requirement of 38 inches, making it accessible to young children. It ranks a 4.25 for thrills and is located in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
One of Disney World's famed "mountains," Big Thunder Mountain Railroad goes 9 miles per hour faster than its Tomorrowland counterpart, Space Mountain. Because it is outdoors and not shrouded in darkness, however, Thunder Mountain feels slower. It features three separate lift hills—that's a lot of click-clack-clicking—and offers one of the longest rides of any roller coasters (about three minutes long). An instant classic, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad remains a perennial Magic Kingdom favorite.
Thunder Mountain garners a 4.5 on the thrill-o-meter, but it has more twists and turns than big drops. The height requirement is 40 inches. It can be found in Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom.
Along with the other Space Mountain rides at sister Disney parks, it is among the most famous of all coasters and certainly the most famous indoor roller coaster. Space Mountain is also one of the most enduring and popular of all Disney World attractions. This iconic ride hits a relatively wimpy top speed of 27 mph, but the darkness and the effects (which are getting a bit cheesy by today's standards) make it seem more thrilling.
Space Mountain is a 5, thanks to more twists and turns than big drops, and the darkness factor adds to the thrill. The height requirement is 44 inches. It can be found in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom.
Along with Rock 'n' Roller Coaster (listed below), Expedition Everest is among the 10 most thrilling rides at Disney World. For a portion of the ride, passengers race backward through the mountain in the dark. Unfortunately, the huge animatronic Yeti inside the mountain that used to swipe at passing riders broke down soon after the attraction opened and has not been repaired.
Expedition Everest gets a 6 for its fairly intense positive G-forces, backward coaster motion, and portions of darkness. The height requirement is 44 inches. It can be found in Asia in the Animal Kingdom.
Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
There are no huge drops, soaring airtime moments, or nosebleed heights. But the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster does feature a 0-to-57-miles per hour launch in 2.8 seconds. It includes inversions, but it's hard to tell right-side-up from upside-down in the darkened show building. The pulsating onboard audio from Aerosmith contributes to the thrills.
Rock 'n' Roller Coaster gets a 6.5 for its fast launch, inversions, and portions of darkness. The height requirement is 48 inches, and it can be found in the Sunset Boulevard section of the Hollywood Studios.
Planned to open in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2021, the Tron attraction will be an E-Ticket ride extraordinaire. Based on Tron Lightcycle Power Run at Shanghai Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom ride promises to be the most thrilling coaster at Disney World and possibly its best. Based on Disney’s Tron si-fi films, the attraction will place passengers on motorbike-like vehicles and blast them into the video game world of the Grid. We experienced the original attraction in China and found it exhilarating. That ride gets a 6.5 for its intense launch and speed; at nearly 60 mph, it is the fastest coaster at any Disney park.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Now under construction at Epcot, the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction will be a highly themed “story coaster” according to Disney. The story, of course, will be based on the popular Marvel band of intergalactic misfits. Among its features, it will include coaster vehicles that will be able to pivot and direct passengers to the focal points of the show scenes. Disney says that it will also be one of the world’s longest indoor coasters. Like Tron, it will open in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2021, The thrill level for GotG is to be determined.