I’ve always loved theme park rides. As a kid, I always loved thrill rides, especially roller coasters. Once I had babies and visited Walt Disney World, I wistfully looked at the coasters. My husband and I would take turns visiting the thrill rides as single riders and with rider switch, so we could still ride them even though the kids couldn’t.
Now that I have teenagers and often visit Walt Disney World on adult trips, I can ride whichever attractions I want. Whether you are looking for one or two Disney World rides for a family vacation with small children, or are going on an adult trip to Walt Disney World, here are the best rides at Disney World for adults.
Disclosure: We’ve received complimentary and discounted trips Walt Disney World trips in the past, and have also paid our own way. This post contains affiliate links and a purchase/click-through on one of these links may result in a commission paid to us. All opinions are my own.
The Best Rides at Disney World for Adults
While this post contains the best rides at Disney World for adults, all of the WDW rides can be great for adults. I love (almost) all the rides at Walt Disney World, even when visiting with friends.
Classic attractions and iconic rides like it’s a small world are must-rides for me, on every visit. So you should really experience any ride you want. Note that for this post, we are focused on theme park rides and not the rides at the water parks.
While the Magic Kingdom is often thought of as the most kid-friendly theme park at Walt Disney World, it still has lots of great rides for adults. It can definitely be a unique experience to visit as an adult because you’ll be able to have a completely different experience. The Magic Kingdom is always a good time.
The Haunted Mansion isn’t necessarily a thrill ride. The actual ride mechanism is very gentle, with no big drops or spins. The realistic theme, however, is what makes it great for adults and not as good for young children.
It isn’t extremely scary, but you’ll probably want to avoid it with young kids. It’s a very spooky and dark ride and is very realistic. As an adult, it’s a must-ride for me, because of the nostalgia. It can be a busy ride during most of the year but is especially popular around Halloween.
Space Mountain is a fun rollercoaster located in the Tomorrowland part of the park. It’s the original rollercoaster I remember riding on as a child, and it’s still one of my favorites. It’s really a classic ride at Walt Disney World.
Space Mountain is an entirely indoor coaster, and it’s very dark inside. Although it doesn’t go backward or upside down, the darkness makes it impossible to anticipate what will happen next.
Space Mountain at Walt Disney World has a single-row ride vehicle, so you won’t be able to sit next to anyone. In the past, during the Halloween events of the year, Space Mountain has been transformed with a seasonal overlay.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Big Thunder Mountain in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom isn’t the scariest ride at Walt Disney World. But, this mostly outdoor, mine train-themed coaster (not to be confused with the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train), is so much fun.
There are two separate lines/tracks, and the line splits as you get to the end. Riders are seated side by side, and while it’s not a scary coaster, it does have some thrills. Be sure to keep your eyes open to get some great views of the park when you are at the top of the hills. These views are one of the reasons I prefer to ride it in the evening.
Epcot is probably best known as the home of the World Showcase, but it also has some really great rides for adults. Many think of Epcot as more of an adult park, so while you are visiting, be sure to check out some of these attractions.
Once you enter the main ride area of Test Track, you’ll be able to build and test your own SIM car. The ride takes you through several different indoor testing stations, but outside is where the fun begins. There, you’ll test the speed of your car, and will dash around the side of the building in one of the fastest movements at Walt Disney World.
Test Track isn’t a coaster, but the top speeds will definitely give you a thrill. This ride also has a single rider line if you want to bypass the main queue. It’s almost always faster to go through the single rider line.
Soarin’ is one of the milder rides on this list. The height requirement is 40 inches, so many kids ride this one. It does have some motion simulation, so it could be challenging if you are afraid of heights or get very motion sick.
Soarin’ is one of those rides that I could experience over and over again, and I do like to go on it every time I visit Walt Disney World. While I did prefer the Soarin’ Over California version (perhaps it’s just the nostalgia), the current Soarin’ Over the World is really fun also. It does generally have a long wait but is worth it.
While I do love rides, Mission Space is one of the very few that I haven’t experienced. That’s because I get motion sick with spinning rides. If you do have a strong vestibular system and want to try it, there are two different versions to consider.
The orange version is the original, and is much more intensive, with some spinning motions. The newer, green version has a lower height requirement and is milder. If you are at all prone to motion sickness, I’d recommend the green version.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
This brand-new ride at Epcot is now one of the most popular. It’s more than a roller coaster, it’s a full experience, with twists and turns all set to an exciting soundtrack. Currently, you’ll have to get a virtual queue reservation or pay for an individual lightning lane if you want to ride, as there is no standby line.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has my favorite rides – there are so many there now that I could easily spend 2-3 days there on my vacations. Because I don’t usually have that much time, I focus on my few favorite rides.
While there are a few thrill rides at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there are also some great family-friendly rides, especially in Toy Story Land (Slinky Dog Dash and Toy Story Mania are among the best attractions at Hollywood Studios). Definitely plan to spend time there during your Disney trip, whether you are visiting with young kids, older kids, or no kids at all.
Rock N Roller Coaster
The Rock N Roller Coaster is my all-time favorite ride at Walt Disney World. This thrill-filled roller coaster has loud Aerosmith music, super-fast speeds, big drops, and upside-down loops.
As you enter the pre-show, you’ll visit Aerosmith in their recording studio. After a few minutes, however, their manager enters and lets them know they are late to get to their LA concert. Luckily, Aerosmith invites you to go along, on a stretch-limo-inspired ride vehicle.
Between the music and the speeds, it really is a thrill. This ride also offers a single-rider line. I prefer to ride first thing in the morning before the lines get long.
Tower of Terror
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is one of the best-themed rides at Walt Disney World. Enter the hotel, and you’ll learn about the family who was in the elevator when lightning struck. From the costumed cast members who play along as creepy hotel staff to the cobweb-filled hotel interior, it really does feel like an abandoned luxury hotel.
The actual ride itself is a haunted elevator that lurches up and speeds down with no warning. It’s loads of fun, and usually seems to end too quickly!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
While Disney’s Animal Kingdom is often thought of as a park filled with animal exhibits, there is so much more. Of course, there is the Kilimanjaro Safaris, a ride that actually takes you to see these animals, but there are some fun rides for adults as well.
On this Himalayan Mountains-themed ride, you’ll travel on a coaster through mountain peaks. Unfortunately, a yeti has broken the train tracks, causing the coaster to speed backward. It’s an extremely fast, fun thrill ride, and is definitely worth the line.
Although it doesn’t go upside down like the Rock N Roller Coaster, Expedition Everest is definitely one of the more thrilling rides at Walt Disney World. It’s definitely not great for little kids, because the backward motion is very fast. There is a single-rider line for this attraction, which can be a great way to save time.
Avatar Flight of Passage
One of the newer rides at Walt Disney World is Avatar Flight of Passage, located in Pandora, the World of Avatar. It’s a beautiful motion simulator ride that really makes you feel like you are flying through Pandora.
When I first went on this ride, I was so impressed with how immersive it is. It’s a popular ride, with long lines. The queue can be intimidating, with long wait times but it really is worth riding. Older kids will also really love it.
What is your favorite ride at Disney World for adults?