One of the best parts of living in Orlando is seeing roller coasters in the distance while driving. There is a street here called Central Florida Parkway, and from there, you can get the most beautiful view of Mako at SeaWorld. On I-4, you can see parts of Jurassic World VelociCoaster and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. When driving on the 429 (a highway behind Disney), you can see the enormous blue building home to Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
Orlando is home to some of the best coasters ever, so if you are a coaster junkie, this is the place for you. We will break this up by theme park, and I’ll pick two coasters from each that I think are the best. In the comments below, I want to know which roller coasters are on your list.
Now Disney World isn’t known for its roller coasters. Well, maybe now they are. Disney is known for their fantastic storytelling and theming. That said, Disney has created some unique coasters using exceptional storytelling and technology. In my opinion, there are two roller coasters at Disney World that are thrilling but also highly immersive. Expedition Everest and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind are the best coasters at Disney. Don’t get me wrong, Slinky Dog Dash, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster are great attractions. There is just something about those two thrill rides that hit differently.
This thrilling roller coaster opened on April 7th, 2006. I remember being terrified in line, waiting to get on the biggest coaster I had ever done. I told everyone I would never ride it again, but here I am, riding it every chance I get. There is no other thrill ride as highly themed as Expedition Everest. I say that because the theming starts before you even enter the line.
Everest has many fun elements, like going backward in the dark and the big drop where everyone can see you hold on for dear life. Not only does this ride have fun drops it also goes 50 mph. On this coaster, you can find the one and only Disco Yeti. Every time I get off this attraction, I whisper to myself, “Wow, that was great,” even though I’ve done it a million times.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind uses some of the most fantastic technology, and the ride vehicle is just out of this world. How the ride swivels you around and glides so effortlessly is unbelievable. As you fly through space, this ride reaches 60 mph. Some of the songs on the attraction make it feel like it’s going even faster. Speaking of songs, six different songs can be experienced, and you never know which one you’ll get. As we all know, this ride is relatively new and opened on May 27th, 2022. Hence, the track is extra smooth, and most of the technology still works.
In 2023 we got a new coaster at Magic Kingdom, and I think it’s the best addition to Tomorrowland. TRON Lightcycle / Run is a unique ride that reaches speeds of 59.3 mph. This attraction is surprisingly perfect for anyone starting their thrill ride journey. I would say the intensity is in line with Thunder Mountain, but the one thing that makes it seem more intense is the outdoor portion of the coaster. I didn’t think I’d love this ride because I am not a fan of the TRON films, but after experiencing it, I concluded that guests can ride this without knowing anything about the movies.
Over the years, Universal has produced some great and not-so-great attractions. I’m looking at you, Fast and Furious Supercharged. The one thing they almost always get right is their thrill rides. They might not have an extensive storyline or be fully immersive, but they are fun.
VelociCoaster is a newer roller coaster that opened on June 10th, 2021. When this ride opened, it quickly became my favorite rollercoaster in Orlando. That ranking has since changed because Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind stole my heart and is my favorite thrill ride in Central Florida. VelociCoaster has a double launch and reaches 70 mph. This coaster is FAST. The attraction has twists, turns, and a huge drop. VelociCoaster also provides breathtaking views of the theme park. This is the most thrilling ride in Islands of Adventure.
Revenge of The Mummy on the Universal Studios Florida side, to me, is a fantastic roller coaster. This ride has a lot of theming in the queue. For example, it’s so themed that I’m usually scared while walking through the queue. Some parts of the line have dark corners that are hard to see, and lights flicker occasionally, so it gets me pretty spooked.
The ride is fun; it reminds me of Space Mountain mixed with Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. The Mummy is a high-speed, indoor attraction that does not go upside down but has a few twists and turns. Now, this ride isn’t the fastest; it only reaches 45 mph, but it’s great for guests wanting to enter the coaster world.
SeaWorld Orlando has five major coasters but seven in total. That’s a lot of coasters. SeaWorld actually just opened a brand new coaster called Pipeline. They might have a lot, but picking the best is not hard. At SeaWorld, the roller coasters aren’t highly themed but based on different animals or environments. Each of these thrill rides has an educational aspect to them.
Mako is a hypercoaster that reaches speeds of 73 mph, making it Orlando’s fastest coaster. But guess what? It’s also Orlando’s tallest roller coaster reaching heights of 200 feet. The record-breaking attraction opened on June 10th, 2016. This ride is named and themed after one of the fastest sharks in the ocean. Fun fact, Mako was my favorite roller coaster in all of Orlando until VelociCoaster opened. When I worked at SeaWorld, I used to hop on Mako during my lunch breaks; that’s how much I loved it. If you are a thrill seeker, this is the coaster for you.
Their second newest thrill ride, Ice Breaker, is an excellent coaster for older kids who want to start exploring roller coasters but aren’t quite ready for Mako or Manta. This attraction opened on February 18th, 2022. Ice Breaker is SeaWorld’s first launch coaster and features four airtime-filled launches. Guys, I recently rode this coaster; it was so much fun. I had a smile on my face the whole time while gripping the lap bar until my knuckles turned white.
This ride has a reverse launch that becomes a vertical launch. This is the steepest beyond-vertical drop in Florida. That’s one thing I love about SeaWorld Orlando; they always try to break a record when building these thrill rides. In addition to Ice Breaker, SeaWorld partnered with Alaska SeaLife Center, a dedicated research, rehabilitation, and education facility. SeaWorld hopes this new attraction will help share the organization’s mission.
Pipeline is the newest coaster at SeaWorld Orlando and is the world’s first surf coaster. The ride launches 110 feet and reaches speeds up to 60 mph. I have not had the pleasure of riding the roller coaster because I am still a little nervous, but I will be doing it soon. This ride is the seventh coaster to be built at the Coaster Capital of Orlando. It seems like SeaWorld is the best place to celebrate National Roller Coaster Day.
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What roller coaster in Orlando is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.
Hi, I'm Erica, and I write about all things Disney. Before working for The DIS, I was a theme park performer at SeaWorld, but I also performed at Disney. I have such an immense love for theme parks to the point I studied them in college.