Walt Disney World Thrill Rides
You watch the Disney commercials and there’s the castle, there’s the carousel, there’s the spinning elephants and there’s Mickey. YAWN! You’re thinking you’ll be in a sea of toddlers and bored out of your mind if you head to Disney World. If twirling in a tea cup isn’t “your cup of tea”, no problem, there are plenty of great attractions that will send your pulse racing.
Starting at the Magic Kingdom, think “mountains.” There are three of them to conquer including Tomorrowland’s iconic Disney ride “Space Mountain.” Picture a roller coaster in the dark and you get the idea. In the light, it’s really not much more than an oversized Wild Mouse rides that you'd find at carnivals, but turn off the lights, add some stars, planets and a soundtrack and it’s a whole other experience.
Next, head over to Frontierland and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This one takes you on a runaway train as it careens through mines and canyons. The clicking and clacking sounds make it seem as if your rickety train is out of control. This one is outdoors and takes on an extra dimension of the thrill factor when you ride it at night.
Close to Big Thunder is Splash Mountain. Be prepared to get wet, soaked or saturated. You never know how bad it will be, but that’s part of the fun. (If you want to stay dry, slip on a rain poncho.) You climb into a log and float along watching B’rer Bear and B’rer Fox trying to catch B’rer Rabbit. There are cute animals, songs and then there’s that plunge. You saw it outside, and now you’re looking at a long, dark, black summit that you’re log is about to climb. No turning back, this is it. Next thing you know, you’re at the top and hurtling down in a cascade of water. You Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah did it!
The one thing that’s weird about Splash Mountain is that it’s based on Disney's “Song of the South” movie which you can’t buy in the U.S because it’s considered “politically incorrect.” Even though it won’t seem familiar like other Disney tales, it’s still one of the best rides in Disney World.
It’s time to take the Monorail to Epcot. First stop, Test Track also known as the ride that breaks down more than a Ford Pinto. When it is running, its fantastic! You get in the car, buckle in and experience what it’s like to be a test track dummy. You go over bumpy roads, screech to a stop with and without anti-lock brakes, go through cold and hot chambers and then you burst onto the banked track where you’ll reach a speed of 60+ miles per hour. I know, big deal, the speed limit is 65 on a lot of highways but there’s something about the rate of acceleration combined with being in a convertible that’s an instant rush.
After you’ve patted your comb over back down, next door is Mission Space which takes you to Mars via the use of simulators and a centrifuge. This attraction has more than it’s share of controversy. There have been two fatalities and numerous calls for paramedics to assist the riders. The deaths have been attributed to medical conditions, but therein lies the problem. These conditions are often “hidden” and it’s not until you’re on the ride that you realize that you should have skipped this one. Take the numerous warnings seriously. Motion sickness is the biggest complaint, so much so that they provide “barf bags”. Still, many people ride it and love it. You know yourself the best. If you’re not sure how you will be able to handle the centrifuge, they now offer two versions of Space, one with the centrifuge and one without.
Not quite fitting the usual description of a “thrill ride” is “Soarin” over at the Land Pavilion. It’s not a roller coaster, you don’t flip upside down, but it’s become one of the most popular attractions in Disney World, deservedly so. There are rows of seats. You put on your seat belt and next thing you know, you’re hang gliding over California. Will you scream and clutch the hand of the person next to you? No you won’t, but you’ll have experienced one of the most incredible rides that Disney offers.
Time to hop on the boat and get to Disney Hollywood Studios. You can’t miss the Hollywood Tower Hotel and as you head towards it down Sunset Boulevard, you can hear the screams coming from the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. The theming is amazing. You wind your way through the long abandoned hotel and once you’re ushered into the study, there’s Rod Serling on the TV in glorious black and white. Next, you’re in the basement and being seated in the freight elevator. You strap yourself in and before you know it, you’re 13 floors above Hollywood Studios and going up and down and up and down and up…and down. The sequence constantly changes so it’s never the same ride twice.
As you exit, to your right is Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Think they could have come up with a longer name? This is an indoor roller coaster and the only one at Disney World that loops upside down. You get in your stretch limo and within seconds you’re zooming at 60mph. The soundtrack is blasting, you’re racing through the darkness and you’re having a screaming great time.
Another attraction that gives you some action is Star Tours. Granted it’s not in the same league as the other rides and could use some updating (Pee Wee Herman is the voice of the main character). Still, it’s a fun simulator, especially for Star Wars fans.
There’s one park left, Disney's Animal Kingdom. With its latest addition, Expedition Everest, this park has come into it's own. On Everest, you’re in pursuit of the mysterious Yeti. What starts out as a nice, gentle coaster ride suddenly changes. You’re going forward, you’re going backwards, and you’re going forward again with the Yeti getting closer. This roller coaster has the absolute best surprises.
Are you hot? Want to cool off? Climb in the raft and head down Kali River Rapids. The raft spins as you head down a series of waterfalls. You’ll probably get drenched so be prepared.
Finally, there’s Dinosaur. Here you’re sent back to prehistoric times in pursuit of a mild mannered iguanodon. Trouble is, the other dinosaurs don’t have the same temperament. Dinosaur really jerks you around. It’s very loud, very dark and there’s a very scary surprise towards the end.
That’s it; you’ve done the Disney thrill rides. Are they the fastest, tallest, loudest and scariest? No, they’re not. What sets the Disney rides apart from the others is the theming. All of the rides follow a great story. You’re rocketing through the galaxy, caught on a runaway train, being pursued by ravenous creatures, or heading to a rock concert in the world’s fastest limo. You’ll go on the attraction for the thrill factor and leave with a tale to tell. There are plenty of attractions and shows that may not meet the “thrill” criteria but are still a lot of fun for all ages. That’s what Disney's all about.
- Haunted Mansion merchandise shop coming to Magic Kingdom - The former Yankee Trader shop will become a Haunted Mansion merchandise location in the near future. The decor will be inspired by Madame Leota and will carry items from the Haunted Mansion Authentic program, such as apparel, home goods, souvenirs and more.
- Merchandise Events and Artist Appearances/Signings for August - List of authors and artists coming to the theme parks for signings and merchandise releases.
- List of characters updated for Villains Unleashed! event - Over 50 Disney villains will be taking over the park until the 13th hour!
- Beginning today, PhotoPass print packages are no longer offered table-side at character meals - This includes Chef Mickey's, 1900 Park Fare, 'Ohana, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show and Tusker House Restaurant.
- Disney Visa cardholders can book Food & Wine Festival events early - Disney Visa cardholders can book special events two days earlier than the general public - on July 29 and July 30 from 7:00am-11:00pm EST.
- Tables in Wonderland adds blackout dates for several restaurants - The Tables in Wonderland program offers Florida Residents, DVC members and Annual Passholders 20% off of all food and beverage purchases at the participating Disney restaurants.
- Information on Holiday sleigh rides at Fort Wilderness - This horse-drawn "sleigh" ride is a fun way to celebrate the season.
- Marketplace menus for Epot International Food & Wine Festival - List of menu items for the marketplaces set up around World Showcase.
- Rehab planned in November for Magic Carpets of Aladdin - The Magic Kingdom attraction will be closed 11/10 - 11/21/2014.
- Food & Wine Festival Special Dining Experiences released - Bookings for these experiences begin July 31.
- 10 Places to Wait Out a Thunderstorm at Walt Disney World
- Disney Castaway Cay Challenge added to Princess Half Marathon Weekend - Runners who are registered for any of the Disney races (5K or longer) during the Weekend have the option to complete the Disney Castaway Cay Challenge when sailing on the Disney Dream February 23-27.
- Fantasia Miniature Golf Course rehab planned off and on for the next two weeks - Gardens Course closed 7/22-7/25/2014, 7/28-8/1/2014, 8/4-8/8/2014. The Fairways will still be open.
- Blog - I Can Go The Distance: Deciding is one thing, registering is another
- Save up to 30% on a Room Only reservation at Walt Disney World! - Valid for stays most nights 10/4/14 - 11/25/14 and 11/29/14 - 12/23/14.
- 2015 WDW hotel discount released for U.S. Military - Valid for stays most nights 9/28/14 - 10/3/15.
- All 3 remaining weekends sold out for Harambe Nights - July 26, August 2 and August 9 are sold out.
- Annual passholder discount for Spice Road Table - Through 9/17/14, Annual Passholders can get a 30% discount on their bill.
- 2015 Military Ticket Discount info released - Members of the military can purchase 4-day Magic Your Way tickets with Park Hopper option for $177 each.
- Changes to reservation times for Wishes Dessert Party - Reservations are all being set for 6:00pm, no matter when Wishes is taking place. The dessert party will actually take place one hour before Wishes.
- Frozen Summer Fun Premium package is sold out for all remaining dates - This package gives guests at Frozen Summer Fun Live reserved viewing for several events.
- Wild by Design tour to be discontinued after 9/26/14 - This tour takes place at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
- Fantasy Football Convention coming to ESPN Wide World of Sports - The convention will give attendees access to ESPN talent, a live fantasy football draft and more.
- Blog - Sneak Preview of What's Coming to the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
- Dates and pricing released for ICE! at Gaylord Palms - Using two million pounds of ice, this Gaylord Palms Resort special ticket exhibit will be transformed into the North Pole.
- Blog - Disney's Magical Express Age Limit Changes: A Parent's & Teacher's Perspective
- Blog - Five Reasons Why We're Not Seeing "Planes: Fire & Rescue" in Theaters
- Blog updated - I Just Spent $20 on FastPasses! Would You? - The author has taken the tour she discussed in the blog - check out her thoughts to see if she would do this again!
- Blog - July 2014 Magic Kingdom Construction Update
- Information for Food & Wine Festival special dining experiences - book 7/31 - Premium events will be announced July 24 and can be booked on July 31 beginning at 7:00am EST. To book, call 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378).
- Princess Half Marathon fills in less than 24 hours - The Princess Half Marathon, the Princess Enchanted 10K and the Glass Slipper Challenge are sold out, filling less than 24 hours after registration opened.
- Dolphins at Epcot will be offstage through August 7 - Guests will not be able to see the dolphins at The Seas with Nemo & Friends. The Dolphins in Depth Tour will be unavailable during this time as well.
- Changes in parking due to Downtown Disney Remodel - Speeds in the area will be reduced, as well as lanes closed. Buena Vista Drive will be expanded to 10 lanes.
- Blog - Disney Responds to Disability Access Service Lawsuit
- "Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island" show cancelled at SeaWorld
- PBS plans Walt Disney biopic
- Release date set for 5th Pirates of the Caribbean film
- Man arrested at Typhoon Lagoon for molesting 4 teenage girls
- Standby line to be cut off in Anna and Elsa meet and greet
- Disney's second quarter injury report: 12-year-old boy cuts fingers on Pirates ride
- 30 years in prison for man who molested girl at SeaWorld
- Possible agreement reached between Disney and unions
- Disney's CEO Bob Iger honored as CEO of the Year by Chief Executive magazine
- Trattoria al Forno to replace Cat Cora's Kouzzina at Disney World
Today's Theme Park Hours
Epcot Future World:
Epcot World Showcase:
|9:00 - 11:00
9:00 - 9:00
11:00 - 9:00
9:00 - 10:00
9:00 - 7:00
9:00 - 8:00
9:00 - 8:00
Extra Magic Hour Evening: Hollywood Studios