Crazy for Coasters! A guide to the Roller Coasters of Walt Disney World!
If you’re a thrill ride fan, there’s nothing like a great roller coaster experience to get your heart thumping, pulse racing, and smile to quickly grow from ear to ear! Add spectacular Disney storytelling and backdrops into the mix, and you have what I would consider the ultimate theme park experience!
I love feeling the jolt of butterflies rushing through my stomach as a coaster car tips its way over the precipice of a steep drop! I love the wind running through my air and throwing my arms up to the sky while speeding over the tracks! We adrenaline junkies just can’t get enough of the rush a coaster can bring, but Disney roller coasters are typically a completely different experience than what you might find at other amusement parks. Rather than slapping together some metal tracks and sending guests screaming into the sunset, Disney incorporates a full storytelling experience into their roller coasters. It becomes an immersive, transportive experience, combining a thrilling coaster ride with epic settings and special effects.
Let’s talk some more about the roller coasters that can be found at Walt Disney World!
I suppose the best place to start would be with the newest of Disney’s coasters – Slinky Dog Dash! The Mega Coaster Play Kit track has been set up in Andy’s Backyard, and Slinky Dog has got his coils revved up to lead us on a mad dash through the hills, turns, and curves that await in Toy Story Land!
Toy Story Land is full of fun features that bring back fond memories of childhood playtime, and it’s pretty cool to be able to live out an experience you may have imagined when playing as a kid!
This family-friendly coaster sends riders on a fun-filled journey through Andy’s backyard, zooming past familiar toy friends from the movie franchise that has charmed kids of all ages.
Though it may not be Disney’s fastest roller coaster with a speed of about 40 miles per hour, I was shocked at how steep a couple of the drops felt! This roller coaster definitely doesn’t disappoint and quickly made it onto my Hollywood Studios must-do list for every trip!
Speaking of must-do attractions at Hollywood Studios, up next is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith!
In what might be one of the most immersive roller-coaster experiences, guests make their way to G-Force Records, where Aerosmith is recording some music before their concert that night. The guys in the band don’t want to just leave their fans high and dry, so they invite you to join them on a race through the streets of L.A. in a super-stretch limo. From the studio pre-show to waiting in the parking lot for your ride, much like Aerosmith’s fans, the theming and story are never left behind through this attraction!
Once you’re secured in your seat, the smooth voice of a radio D.J. warns you to be prepared for a wild ride, and before you know it, you’re off like a shot into the first inversion loop! Aerosmith’s hits make for an awesome soundtrack for your journey to the show. Even once the ride has come to a complete stop, the storytelling doesn’t abruptly end!
As you exit the super-stretch limo, you’ll notice the area is set up like an entrance to the band’s show and leads into a gift shop, set up similarly to a merchandise area in a concert venue. From the upside-down thrills of the ride itself to the smooth and immersive storyline, this is definitely one of my favorite Disney attractions!
Another Disney roller coaster ride with a fabulously executed storyline is Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain!
It’s easy to spot the massive, snow-capped mountain looming over the Asia portion of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and as you approach the queue, the story begins. You’ve made the trek to the Himalayas, and the expedition group you’ve joined has many warnings and legends to share about the mythical Yeti, who calls the mountain home. As you wind your way through the queue, which resembles a base camp and is loaded with artifacts, the lore surrounding the snow monster, and gear from past travelers, you learn more about the adventure you are embarking on, building your anticipation for the thrilling journey in store for you. Once you’ve boarded your expedition train, you begin making your way up the mountainside, and that’s when things start to go a little off-track! With your train traveling through high speeds, steep drops, backward turns, and even an encounter with the legendary Yeti within the mountain, this is truly an unforgettable coaster experience!
As Walt Disney himself was a massive train enthusiast, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are even more Disney coasters that involve train-driven adventures!
The Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland is home to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, also known as the “wildest ride in the wilderness!” Here guests of the Big Thunder Mining Company find themselves careening through the caverns of a haunted gold mine on a runaway train! The story goes that back in the 1800s, soon after gold was first discovered in the area, the trains began to speed off by themselves and were spotted twisting and turning through the tunnels of the mines and nearby ghost town.
Though Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is fun at any time of day, my favorite time to ride is at night! To me, it just adds an extra eerie feel to the atmosphere and makes the adventure seem even more exciting!
For our third train adventure, we make our way over to Fantasyland to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!
“Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to work we go” as we board the Mine Train and speed through the mountain “where a million diamonds shine!” Inspired by the enchanting sequence from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, this family-friendly coaster ride is full of fun, with hairpin turns making your mining cart seat sway back and forth as you race around the mountain. Your journey on the mine train ends with a fun glimpse into the Dwarfs’ cottage as they enjoy an evening of music and dancing with Snow White – just be sure to keep an eye out for the evil queen making her way towards the door!
Last but certainly not least, my personal favorite Disney World coaster has an out-of-this-world theme. That’s right; it’s Space Mountain!
The white spires of the otherworldly-looking mountain call to brave Tomorrowland visitors who are ready to go on a mission into the darkness of space. Once you’ve traveled through the tunnels to the boarding area, you’ll load into your 3-person vehicle and set-off for the stars!
What I love most about Space Mountain is that it takes place in almost complete darkness, so you can’t see the track. The thrill of speeding over unseen hills and twisting around mysterious turns makes for a unique and exhilarating experience. Add in the cool cosmic tones of the soundtrack and the shrieks and squeals of excitement that you hear from other riders racing on the track next to you, and you have a truly fantastic roller coaster experience!
One thing is for sure, there’s no shortage of fun to be found as a coaster enthusiast at Walt Disney World! Beyond actual roller coasters, those who love a good thrill ride can also enjoy attractions such as the Tower of Terror, Splash Mountain, Dinosaur, Test Track, or Flight of Passage, which still take guests on exciting adventures with twists, turns, drops, and darkness. Not to mention, even more, exciting coaster-style rides are on the way to Disney World! TRON Lightcycle Power Run is taking shape at the Magic Kingdom, while the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind attraction is also in construction at Epcot. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to test them out once they open and to see what new kinds of roller coasters Disney will dream up in the future!
Let me know in the comments what your favorite Disney roller coaster is!