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Best Thrill Rides at Walt Disney World

Thrill rides at Walt Disney World. Let’s chat about them. What defines a “thrill” ride? Is it the speed, the darkness, the high energy music, the theming? I typically define a “thrill” ride as a roller coaster; a complete rush, something that catapults you into another universe for the next 2-3 minutes and whips and spins you around. If you define it similarly, stick around. 

When it comes to attractions at Walt Disney World, most people don’t think of “thrill” rides. But the parks truly do offer something for everyone and if an adrenaline rush is what you are looking for, you are in luck! 

There are a total of 9 “thrill” rides across all four parks at Walt Disney World. Today we will explore my top 5. But first, here is the full list of “thrills” for your reference:

Thrill Rides at Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom

  • Space Mountain
  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • TRON Lightcycle
  • Barnstormer
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

EPCOT

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Hollywood Studios

  • Rock n Roller Coaster
  • Slinky Dog Dash

Animal Kingdom

  • Expedition Everest

Thrill Rides: My Top 5

EPCOT

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Overview

  • Location: Epcot (World Discovery)
  • Height Requirement: 42” (107cm) or taller
  • Max Speed: 60 MPH
  • Inversions: 0
  • Duration: 3:20
  • How to ride: Virtual Queue or Individual Lightning Lane; Standby not available at this time

The newest addition to EPCOT in World Discovery, opening on May 27, 2022. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is EPCOT’s first roller coaster and Disney’s first backwards-launched roller coaster.  It is located where the old Universe of Energy could be found, which closed on August 13, 2017.  Without spoiling the show, as the story progresses throughout the queue, you find yourself in a code red situation where you will board the Starjumper for a high-speed and high-energy adventure through the galaxy to help the Guardians of the Galaxy get the comic generator back.  Some of the greatest, upbeat, classic tunes are randomly played during the attraction, everyone has their own personal favorite:

  • “September” by Earth, Wind, & Fire
  • “I Ran” by A Flock of Seagulls
  • “One Way or Another” by Blondie
  • “Disco Inferno” by The Trampps
  • “Everybody Wants To Rule the World” by Tears For Fears
  • “Conga” by Miami Sound Machine

This ride does trigger motion sickness for some. I highly recommend taking dramamine, bonine or wearing motion sickness bands during the attraction. They do help!

Space Mountain

Space Mountain

Overview

  • Location: Magic Kingdom (Tomorrowland)
  • Height Requirement: 44” (112cm) or taller
  • Max Speed: 27 MPH
  • Inversions: 0
  • Duration: 2:30
  • How to ride: Genie+, Standby Line

One of the original and classic attractions at Magic Kingdom, Space Mountain opened on January 15, 1975. It has been a staple in Tomorrowland ever since, and is not to be missed. Hop aboard and take an outta this world space adventure through the galaxy. This is a dark ride, and I mean dark, you don’t see a thing as you whip around the track. Blast off on a rip-roaring rocket into space and fly past shooting stars, celestial satellites, streaking orbs of light, wayward comets and migrant meteors. 

Just a few thoughts on Space Mountain: This attraction is old-school Disney at it’s finest and something everyone should experience at least once. However it isn’t as smooth of a coaster as you’ll find with the newer attractions, and it can be quite bumpy and rocky. I find it hurts my back as I get older, so a word of caution if you suffer from back issues. This ride is also not for those that may feel off balance and suffer from vertigo because of the darkness. And I find most little ones are scared from the dark as well.

Hollywood Studios

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

Overview

  • Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Sunset Boulevard)
  • Height Requirement: 48” (122cm) or taller
  • Max Speed: 57 MPH
  • Inversions: 3
  • Duration: 1:22
  • How to ride: Genie+, Standby Line

This is one of my very favorite roller coasters at Walt Disney World. I am obsessed with Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster! This amazing high-speed coaster has been thrilling fans since it opened in Hollywood Studios (then “MGM”) on July 29, 1999. Whip through the darkened freeways of Los Angeles in a super-stretch limo to the rockin’ tunes of Aerosmith. If you love Aerosmith and their music, this is the ride for you. Not only will you be racing past famous Hollywood landmarks, you’ll be jamming to the sweet sounds of Sweet Emotion, Love in an Elevator and Walk this Way, to name a few. This roller coaster launches at close to 60 mph and whips you into the darkness. It’s pure adrenaline and a total rush!

My pro tip on this one, as you get ready to launch, keep your head pinned back to keep it from bouncing from side to side throughout the ride. Don’t make the mistake I did the first time I rode it and ended up with a severe migraine! This coaster may also trigger vertigo in some, so take that as a word of caution for those that may suffer from that.

Animal Kingdom

Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain

Overview

  • Location: Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Asia)
  • Height Requirement: 44” (112cm) or taller
  • Max Speed: 50 MPH
  • Inversions: 0
  • Duration: 2:50
  • How to Ride: Genie+, Standby Line

Are you ready for your expedition up Everest? Wander into a Tibetan village at the base of Mount Everest and board a train to the “top of the world.” Beware: Some say a legendary snow monster lives deep in the mountain.

If you are looking for stellar theming, this is the attraction for you. The queue for Expedition Everest is like none other. You literally feel like you have stepped into a Tibetan village.  Here you’ll explore and discover artifacts and information from past expeditions of Everest and trips to Nepal. Learn about the mythical Yeti and ways to avoid and escape his wrath, before boarding your train up the mountain. This high-speed coaster launches forwards and backwards racing through the mountain in attempt to escape the Yeti. There are no inversions, but the high-speed and darkness may be too much for some. There are part of Expedition Everest that may be scary for children. This attraction features loud noises, fast drops, high speeds, dark places and frightening creature effects.


TRON Lightcycle

Overview

  • Location: Magic Kingdom (Tomorrowland)
  • Height Requirement: 48” (122cm) or taller
  • Max Speed: 59 MPH
  • Inversions: 0
  • Duration: About 2:00
  • How to ride: Virtual Queue or Individual Lightning Lane; Standby not available at this time

Opening on April 4, 2023, TRON Lightcycle is Magic Kingdom’s newest roller coaster. Speed across a world with no horizons in a high-stakes race based on the Disney sci-fi film TRON: Legacy. Climb aboard your very own Lightcycle and take off on a high-speed adventure, racing against the Grid’s most menacing Programs. Surge past your fierce opponents as you attempt to cross through 8 Energy Gates and secure your team’s victory.

TRON Lightcycle / Run is one of the fastest coasters at any Disney theme park in the world. Full disclosure, I have not ridden this yet at Walt Disney World. But Guests, young and old, love it and it’s not to be missed!

 

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Marnie Raimondo
Marnie Raimondo
Hi there! I'm Marnie, Disney blogger and writer. My passion is helping people plan magical Walt Disney World vacations. I love sharing Disney tips and advice based on my personal experiences from many, many magical trips over the years. I hope through my writing I can help you navigate your way through Disney news, the parks, dining, resorts and so much more! Happy planning!
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