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Top Disney's Animal Kingdom Thrill Rides

Looking for Thrills at Disney's Animal Kingdom? Take an Expedition to Everest.

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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.

Want to avoid the thrills? See my advice in Disney's Animal Kingdom for Wimps.

Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest
© Arthur Levine, 2006. Licensed to About.com.
  • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 6
    Fairly intense positive G-forces, backwards coaster motion, darkness.
  • Height Requirement: 44 inches
  • Location: Asia in Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • Fastpass: Yes
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.

Dinosaur

Dinosaur
Disney. Used with permission.
  • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 4
    While there are no coaster drops or inversions, 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 in Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • Fastpass: Yes
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). It's nonetheless plenty of high-tech, prehistoric fun.

Primeval Whirl

Primeval Whirl
Disney. Used with permission.
  • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 4
    A typical spinning coaster, Primeval Whirl offers the combination of coaster thrills and unpredictable spinning.
  • Location: Dinoland U.S.A in Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • Fastpass: Yes
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 a bunch of thrills.

Kali River Rapids

Kali River Rapids
Disney. Used with permission.
  • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 3
    30-foot drop, turbulent waters, soaking geysers and other water gotchas.
  • Height Requirement: 38 inches
  • Location: Asia in Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • Fastpass: Yes
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.

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