*Image Credit: Disney
It’s a common misconception that Disney attractions only cater to kids, but this is far from the truth. Sure, there are some rides that are fairly slow-moving, have a silly theme, or represent a movie/character commonly associated with younger kids, but Disney is designed for the whole family, which means that there’s something for everyone. That being said, the rides designed for younger kids are very cute and can be pretty fun.
The point is, if you’re looking for more high thrills, you’ve come to the right place (well, article). Believe it or not, but Disney has at least one roller coaster in each of the four parks (well, except Epcot, but they will soon!) The coasters are often accompanied by a second thrill ride of a different type, sometimes matching in thrill factor, sometimes being slightly less thrilling (but still enough to be considered a thrill). Allow me to break down some of the more high-thrill experiences you can find in each park:
Magic Kingdom is where most of the classic rides live, rides like Pirates of the Caribbean, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, and Mad Tea Party. These rides, while they are held in the highest respect, don’t exactly fit the category of “Thrills”. Magic Kingdom is home to four rides that can be considered thrilling: Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Also happens to be a mountain, it’s just not in the name)
One of my more-recent favorites, Space Mountain is a roller coaster simulating a Rocket blasting off into space. The ride is mostly in the dark, making your next movements a complete surprise. This one doesn’t go upside down, but there are a lot of sudden climbs and drops that make this ride a great choice for thrill-seekers.
The famous water ride that ends in a 49 foot drop, Splash Mountain is a high-priority item for thrill-seekers, especially those who don’t mind getting wet! This ride features three drops in total, the final drop boasting a lovely view of Cinderella Castle before sending you plummeting down into the Briar Patch.
Big Thunder Mountain
My absolute favorite, Big Thunder Mountain is one that always catches guests off-guard. I’ve been seated in front of/behind adults who board the ride thinking it’s a coaster for kids, and end up completely shocked by the end of it. Large drops paired with some smaller, startling drops makes for a fantastic ride!
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
The most recent coaster to be added to Magic Kingdom, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a roller coaster based on the classic (and first) Disney film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This combination dark ride and roller coaster is great, as long as you’re sitting in the right spot.
TIP: Personally, Seven Dwarfs is a bit too slow for me, but I find that sitting in the back rows of the train changes the entire experience. If you’re feeling for a faster ride, rows 6-10 are the place to go, so hope you get placed there OR ask a Cast Member nicely to be placed there. Depending on how slammed they are, they may say no, but it never hurts to try!
*Image Credit: Disney
Epcot’s Thrill Rides are often forgotten, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist! Epcot’s rides are all fairly tame – none of these are roller coasters, but they are all thrilling in their own ways!
Mission Space – Orange Mission (Mars)
Now, Mission Space has two different versions, so it’s important that you make sure the Cast Members get you into the right line. With the ride’s most recent refurbishment, not only are the two versions a different level of intensity, but they also now go to different locations. Green now takes you around an orbit of Earth, while Orange keeps the original Mars Mission intact. The Mars mission is much more intense than the Earth Orbit, so make sure that you specify that that’s the experience you want.
Test Track is a high-speed ride that takes you through the process of designing and testing your own car. After designing your own car in the line, you get to ride in a SIMcar through the testing grounds for the vehicle, reaching speeds of 65 miles/hour! All the while, monitors display your car’s score throughout the various testing zones compared with the cars of other guests in your vehicle.
Admittedly, Soarin’ can be fairly tame, unless you’re afraid of heights. In which case, it’s an adrenaline rush! Soarin’ simulates a hang glider flight around the world, visiting many famous landmarks along the way. The ride suspends you in mid-air, so your feet will dangle.
TIP: Since your feet are dangling, slippers/shoes aren’t recommended, since they will definitely fall off. Don’t let this affect your wardrobe choices though, Disney allows you to take off your shoes and leave them on the floor during the ride. Don’t worry, they’ll be in the exact same spot waiting for you when the ride is over!
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
*Image Credit: Disney
While I’m sure some of the bigger thrills are still to come with Star Wars Land on the horizon, Hollywood Studios is still home to some thrills, including two of the most famous Disney thrill rides: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is Hollywood Studios’ resident roller coaster, but what makes this coaster stand out from the rest is the fact that it’s currently the only coaster in Walt Disney World to go upside down. This ride quite literally launches you at 60 miles/hour, and that’s just the beginning of the ride!
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Tower of Terror is the famous drop ride you hear everyone talking about after their visit. On this ride, which places you in a vehicle seeming to be an old elevator shaft, you experience a 130ft free-fall drop maybe once, maybe twice, it’s completely random every time!
Slinky Dog Dash
I’ll admit, for a ride marketed as a family coaster, this one surprised me. Found in the newly-added Toy Story Land, Slinky Dog Dash combines the lifts and drops of Seven Dwarfs Mine train with around the same speed as Big Thunder Mountain to create a thrill ride that’s a little more than just a kiddie-coaster.
Fun Fact: Walt Disney World is now the only US park to have their Tower of Terror still in its original form. Both the Disney World (Florida) and Disneyland (California) versions of the ride were similar to each other in the sense that they told the same story, had a similar exterior, etc., the only real difference being the ride itself. This changed on January 3rd 2017, however, when the Disneyland version closed to become Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, the same ride but with Guardians of the Galaxy theming.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
*Image Credit: Disney
According to their website, Disney’s Animal Kingdom has a fair amount of Thrill Rides, but two of these rides stand out from the rest. These rides are Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain and recent addition Avatar Flight of Passage.
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
Animal Kingdom’s Award-Winnning roller coaster Expedition Everest takes you up a 118 ft climb into a mountain taken over by the mythical Yeti, who may or may not be destroying the tracks. Although this one does not go upside down, it does have drops, fast speeds and at one point it even goes backwards!
Avatar Flight of Passage
Opening in May of 2017 along with Pandora – The World of Avatar, Avatar Flight of Passage is arguably one of Disney’s most technologically-advanced rides so far. This ride, which Disney fans describe as a hybrid of Soarin’ and Star Tours, links you to your own avatar, allowing you to experience what it’s like to fly on a banshee.
Fun Fact: The seats on Avatar Flight of Passage are a first for Disney. In order to link to your banshee, you are required to mount a bicycle-style seat, in which you are kept in your seat by back and leg restraints. A test seat is available outside the attraction where a cast member will be able to tell you if you can fit (there have been issues with some people of a certain weight or height) and you can see how comfortable you feel in the seat.