Top Disney's Animal Kingdom Thrill Rides

Take an Expedition to Everest

A hybrid zoo/theme park, animals are the focus at Disney's Animal Kingdom. But there are more thrills to be had than getting up-close views of hippos, tigers, and other creatures. While it can't match the G-force madness of some of the biggest thrill machines at parks like Cedar Point, Expedition Everest is a surprisingly potent ride for a Disney park. And there are other surprising thrills nestled among the zoo exhibits at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Are you not much of a party animal when it comes to G forces? Want to avoid the thrills? See my advice in Disney's Animal Kingdom for Wimps.

  • 01 of 05

    Expedition Everest

    Expedition Everest ride at Disney World.
    ••• Disney. Used with permission.
    • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 6
      Somewhat intense positive G-forces, darkness, giant Yeti (!), coaster goes backwards.
    • Height Requirement: 44 inches
    • Location: Asia

    Coaster aficionados would consider Expedition Everest a "family" coaster. But with a top speed of 50 mph and a height of 112 feet, it is in the upper end of that category. Toss in a backwards-facing second act (in the dark no less) and some psychological thrills from the giant Yeti (who, unfortunately, hasn't moved properly in years), and ExEv is, in my estimation, among the 10 most thrilling rides in all of Walt Disney World.

    Read my review of Expedition Everest.

  • 02 of 05

    Avatar Flight of Passage

    Avatar Flight of Passage ride
    ••• Disney
    • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 4
      Simulated diving and swooping.
    • Height Requirement: 44 inches
    • Location: Pandora the World of Avatar

    Using a similar "flying theater" ride system as Soarin', riders on Flight of Passage "link" with an avatar and fly on the back of a winged banshee. It's considerably more thrilling than the comparatively laid-back Soarin', but since passengers don't actually move all that much, the thrills are more simulated and psychological than physical.

    Read more: The 10 Coolest Things to Do at Pandora the World of Avatar

  • 03 of 05


    Dinosaur ride at Disney's Animal Kingdom
    ••• Disney.
    • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 4
      There are no coaster drops or inversions, but the vehicles are fast, and the ride is action-packed with quick starts and stops and plenty of jostling. Also, many of the scenes are dark, and there are dark ride gotchas, including a dinosaur "attack."
    • Height Requirement: 40 inches
    • Location: Dinoland U.S.A

    While it uses the same innovative trackless ride system as the superb Indiana Jones Adventure at California's Disneyland, Dinosaur's thrills are comparatively muted (and its theme isn't nearly as compelling). After it first opened, Disney actually reprogrammed the ride to be less thrilling. Nonetheless, it is plenty of high-tech, prehistoric fun.

  • 04 of 05

    Primeval Whirl

    Primeval Whirl at Disney's Animal Kingdom
    ••• Disney.
    • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 4.5
      A typical spinning coaster, Primeval Whirl offers the combination of coaster thrills and unpredictable spinning.
    • Location: Dinoland U.S.A

    Since it doesn't offer much in the way of themeing or storytelling, Primeval Whirl is all about the ride experience. While it does offer some dips and spins, the ride's 43-foot height and 29-mph top speed places it squarely in the "family" coaster category. Translation: Don't expect huge doses of thrills.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Kali River Rapids

    Kali River Rapids at Disney World
    ••• Disney
    • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 3
      30-foot drop, turbulent waters, soaking geysers, and other water gotchas.
    • Height Requirement: 38 inches
    • Location: Asia

    As with most river raft rides, expect to get drenched on Kali River Rapids. Unlike most river raft rides, Disney includes a 30-foot, mildly thrilling, drop near the end of the course, along with a bit of rainforest themeing. After Disney World began regularly opening Disney's Animal Kingdom at night in 2016, the park has been offering nighttime rides aboard Kali River Rapids. That helps make the ride more mysterious and a bit more thrilling.

    Other Disney World thrills: