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Disney World Roller Coasters

Mild to thrilling: There's a Ride for You

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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, the Disney World 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.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

© Arthur Levine.
  • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 4
  • Top speed: Not available, but likely around 30 mph.
  • Location: Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom
  • FastPass+ availability: Yes
  • Height requirement: 38 inches (97cm)
  • Top Magic Kingdom Thrill Rides

It features a prototype pivoting coaster car design that allows the cars to seeing to and fro. It also features some startling animated characters in the show portion of the attraction. It's fast and thrilling, but not too fast. It's a great gateway ride for young kids eager to experience coaster thrills.

Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest
© Arthur Levine, 2006. Licensed to About.com.

As a roller coaster, Expedition Everest is just OK. And as a themed dark ride, the attraction would be just OK without the coaster elements. But the combination of the coaster, which is integral to the ride's story, and the attraction's lavish, immersive environment, creates another Disney E-ticket must-ride and a welcome addition to Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Space Mountain

Space Mountain
Disney. Used with permission.

Perhaps the most famous indoor roller coaster (along with its namesake rides at other Disney parks), Space Mountain offers more psychological than kinetic thrills. Riders are often surprised to learn that the legendary ride reaches a relatively puny top speed of 27 mph. It's the effects, the darkness, and the element of surprise that make it seem faster. A 2009 makeover made the coaster experience even darker (although it did not improve the somewhat bumpy ride).

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Disney. Used with permission.

With a top speed of 36 mph, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is 9 mph faster than Space Mountain. Without the indoor coaster's canopy of darkness, however, Thunder Mountain somehow feels slower. The mine train coaster's three separate lift hills--that's a lot of click-clack-clicking--as well as its Old West themeing and effects are unusual features. An instant classic, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad remains a perennial Magic Kingdom favorite.

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster
Disney. Used with permission.

While there are no huge butterflies-in-your-belly drops or soaring heights, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster does feature an attention-grabbing 0-to-57-mph launch in 2.8 seconds. The "limousine" trains immediately enter an inversion, but it's heard to tell upside down from up in the darkened ride building. The Aerosmith themeing, including pulsating onboard audio tracks from the bad boys of Boston, adds to the thrills.

Primeval Whirl

A typical spinning coaster, similar to many found at amusement parks and fairs, the ride does not offer much in the way of storytelling. It offers a few dips and spins, but the ride's 29-mph top speed and 43-foot height places it firmly in the "family" coaster category. In other words: not a lot of thrills.

The Barnstormer at Goofy's Wiseacre Farm

Walt Disney World.

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 enjoy Disney's fun, if brief, junior coaster. Coaster wimps who want to overcome their fears could give The Barnstormer a whirl as the first step of an immersion program.

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