These Are Disney World's 10 Most Thrilling Rides

Known more for its charm, whimsy, and cuddly characters than for white-knuckle thrill rides, Walt Disney World nonetheless offers some exciting, scream-worthy coasters and other attractions. And the most thrilling ride (as well as the ninth most thrilling ride) isn't even at one of the four theme parks. 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!"

The top ten list for all of Disney World follows. You could also check out more thrills at each of the parks:

If you (or someone you know) is more of a thrill ride scaredey-cat than a warrior, you'll want to check out the great advice in my guide, Walt Disney World for Wimps.

  • 01 of 10
    Blizzard Beach
    •••  Ivan Curra/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

    At 120 feet and with speeds up to 60 mph, Summit Plummet is one of the world's tallest, fastest water slides. Even though it is not a roller coaster and not even at one of the theme parks, this ride is, arguably, the single most thrilling attraction at Disney World. Even the heartiest thrill-seekers will test their mettle on Blizzard Beach's speed slide

    Thrill Scale : 9. Insane height and speed for a water slide.

    Height Requirement: 48 inches

    Location: Blizzard Beach Water Park

  • 02 of 10
    Mission: Space entrance
    ••• Michael Gray/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0 

    The unique, groundbreaking attraction, Mission: Space, delivers sensations you have likely never experienced (unless you've been in training at NASA). Some roller coasters deliver higher positive G-forces, but it is unlikely that any ride at any other theme park or amusement park delivers G-forces at this intensity level for such a long duration. Note that if sustained G-forces sound too daunting for you or if you are prone to motion sickness on spinning rides, you can opt for the non-spinning, much less thrilling "Orange Team" Mission: Space experience. (Regardless, both versions include ride vehicles that place passengers in very tight spaces.)

    Thrill Scale: Up to 7.5. The sustained G-forces can be unnerving; the simulated liftoff and flight are very realistic; the capsule is quite confining.

    Height Requirement: 44 inches

    Location: Future World in Epcot

  • 03 of 10
    The Hollywood Tower Hotel ride
    ••• Jack Toczek/Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY 3.0  

    It's tough to say which is more thrilling aboard The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: the random, multiple, faster-than-free fall drops and rises, or the freaky few seconds that passengers endure in the elevator shaft anticipating the drops that are about to ensue. In either case: yikes!

    Thrill Scale: 7. Multiple free fall drops and launches, sensations of weightlessness, psychological thrills.

    Height Requirement: 40 inches

    Location: Sunset Boulevard in Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • 04 of 10

    Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

    The Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, entrance
    ••• © Walt Disney World  

    A launched ride, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster screams out of the station going from 0 to 57 mph in 2.8 seconds. That's plenty thrilling. It also is the only Disney world coaster to include any inversions. The classic-rock Aerosmith soundtrack adds to the thrills.

    Thrill Scale: 6.5. Fast launch, inversions, darkness.

    Height Requirement: 40 inches

    Location: Sunset Boulevard in Disney's Hollywood Studios

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom
    ••• © The Walt Disney Company
    • Thrill Scale: 6. Fairly intense positive G-forces, backwards coaster motion, darkness.
    • Height Requirement: 44 inches
    • Location: Asia in Disney's Animal Kingdom
    • Fastpass: Yes

    It is both a roller coaster and a themed dark ride. In both regards, Expedition Everest is thrilling. Passengers spend part of the ride soaring backwards through the pitch-black mountain. Now that Animal Kingdom is open later, nighttime rides on the coaster are especially wild.

  • 06 of 10

    Space Mountain

    Space mountain Magic Kingdom
    ••• Take an out-of-this-world ride on a high-speed rocket in Space Mountain at Disney's Magic Kingdom. Matt Stroshane/© Walt Disney World

    It is one of Disney's classic rides and (along with its Disneyland counterpart) probably the world's most famous indoor coaster—and one of the most famous coasters of any kind. You might be surprised to learn that Space Mountain pokes along at a top speed of only 27 mph. But because it operates in the dark, it amps up the fear of the unknown and makes the coaster seem faster and scarier.

    Thrill Scale: 5. More twists and turns than big drops. Darkness factor adds to thrills.

    Height Requirement: 44 inches

    Location: Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom

  • 07 of 10

    Splash Mountain

    Splash Mountain
    ••• Matthew Freeman/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0  

    It's a classic log flume ride (with one heckuva drop). And it's an animatronics-filled dark ride themed to the classic film, "Song of the South." You'll be charmed by the "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" post-drop finale—if you can brave the drop.

    Thrill Scale: 5. One giant splashdown.

    Height Requirement: 40 inches

    Location: Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom

  • 08 of 10

    Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

    Scenery on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride
    ••• © Walt Disney World  

    It's actually a bit faster than Space Mountain. Because it is outside, however, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad feels slower and less thrilling. It boasts three separate lift hills, which makes it one of the world's longest coasters in ride duration.

    Thrill Scale: 4.5. More twists and turns than gut-wrenching drops

    Height Requirement: 40 inches

    Location: Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Crush 'n' Gusher

    The Crush 'n' Gusher raft slide
    ••• © Walt Disney World  

    The lightly themed water coaster uses powerful jets of water to propel two-person rafts uphill. (Gravity sends riders downhill.) Crush 'n' Gusher offers three different ride experiences: the Pineapple Plunger, the Banana Blaster, and the Coconut Crusher. If you only have time to try one, the Banana Blaster offers the most thrills. (Although none of the courses are overly intimidating.)

    Thrill Scale: 4.5. Mild coaster thrills.

    Height Requirement: 48 inches

    Location: Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

  • 10 of 10

    Avatar Flight of Passage

    Avatar Flight of Passage Disney World
    ••• © Walt Disney World

    It is a "flying theater" ride like Disney's Soarin'. But unlike Epcot's fairly gentle travelogue attraction, Flight of Passage is more aggressive. The thrills are largely psychological, because riders don't physically move all that much. It may be fair to say that the Avatar ride is more exhilarating than thrilling. Flight of Passage is one of the 1​0 Coolest Things to Do at Pandora the World of Avatar.

    Thrill Scale: 4. Simulated swooping and diving.

    Height Requirement: 44 inches

    Location: Pandora the World of Avatar in Disney's Animal Kingdom