As 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. Use this guide to determine which rides are best for your thrill level—each one below is ranked on a thrill scale of 0-10, with 0 meaning "wimpy" and 10 meaning "yikes!"
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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.
Thrill Scale: 6. Somewhat intense positive G-forces, darkness, giant Yeti (!), and the coaster goes backwards.
Height Requirement: 44 inches
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Avatar Flight of Passage
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.
Thrill Scale: 4. Simulated diving and swooping.
Height Requirement: 44 inches
Location: Pandora the World of Avatar
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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.
Thrill Scale: 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
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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.
Thrill Scale: 4.5. A typical spinning coaster, Primeval Whirl offers the combination of coaster thrills and unpredictable spinning.
Height Requirement: 48 inches
Location: Dinoland U.S.AContinue to 5 of 5 below.
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Kali River Rapids
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.
Thrill Scale: 3. 30-foot drop, turbulent waters, soaking geysers, and other water gotchas.
Height Requirement: 38 inches