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.
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).
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.
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.
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.