Walt Disney World is known for a wide variety of different rides and attractions – from classic rides like its a small world and Peter Pan’s Flight to heavily themed rides like the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Avatar Flight of Passage, and Rise of the Resistance. However, thrill seekers aren’t left out.
Love roller coasters? Here are the best roller coasters at Walt Disney World – rated based upon thrills and theme.
Our ratings are based upon experiences, and your experiences may vary. All opinions are my own.
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The Best Roller Coasters at Disney World Orlando: Rated
The most popular rides at Walt Disney World often have long lines. The new Genie+ is a great way to get a reservation to the “Lightning Lane” – which replaces the long-standing but now discontinued FastPass+ system.
The Genie+ is available for an additional fee, and it includes many popular attractions. However, the most popular attractions in each park are not included, and guests need to purchase the Individual Lightning Lane for those attractions. Guests without Genie+ or the Individual Lightning Lane can always access these rides by using the standard standby line, although Genie+ can definitely help you decrease wait times.
It’s a good idea to look at your preferred rides and make a plan before going on vacation to Walt Disney World. It may make sense to pay the extra cost for Genie+/Individual Lightning Lane to save time and make sure you can experience those rides.
These rides all have height requirements. If you have a smaller child who loves thrills, you may want to measure them at home to make sure they aren’t disappointed when they arrive at the theme park.
Magic Kingdom Roller Coasters
The Magic Kingdom is home to the iconic three “mountains” – Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Splash Mountain. Challenge yourself to ride all three during your vacation!
I’ve always loved Space Mountain. This space-themed, indoor coaster, dark ride is an icon. As you enter the queue, you’ll pass a variety of space-themed scenes until you finally enter the main area. At this point, it splits into two separate queues for the two tracks (both are the same).
The ride vehicle is a rocket with a front-to-back seating system – three single seats. This may be a bit scary for a child who is riding for the first time and won’t want to sit alone.
The ride itself is a traditional roller coaster, but because it’s so dark there’s a big element of surprise. You’ll ride through outer space in complete darkness. I think of this as the best thrill ride in the Magic Kingdom. Like all coasters, I prefer the front seat, but any seat is fun.
Space Mountain is an Individual Lightning Lane option, and the height requirement is 44 inches or taller.
Rating: 8 for the theme, 7 for thrills
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a mine-train-themed outdoor roller coaster, is relatively tame. While there are some drops, they are very fun and not scary. At the top of the roller coaster hills, you’ll find some of the best views of the Magic Kingdom. So don’t close your eyes, and be sure to look around.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad has a mostly covered queue area and is offered as part of the Genie+ service. The height requirement is 40 inches or taller. This was one of the first real coasters that my kids went on at Walt Disney World.
Rating: 8 for the theme, 6 for thrills
The third of the Magic Kingdom mountains is Splash Mountain. I wouldn’t necessarily categorize this log flume ride as a roller coaster, but it does, like other flumes, have a big drop at the end.
Splash Mountain will be undergoing a renovation to change its theme over to a Princess and the Frog theme. The actual ride mechanism, however, will remain the same.
I love Splash Mountain. However, you will most definitely get wet while riding it. Therefore, I’d only recommend you ride it when you are prepared to get soaked. Leave valuables behind with a family member, or in a locker.
Splash Mountain is offered as part of Genie+, and the height requirement is 40 inches or taller.
Rating: Theme n/a (pending the re-theming), 5 for thrills
I was thrilled when the Barnstormer was moved from the old Mickey’s Toontown Fair over to the new Fantasyland area (by Dumbo the Flying Elephant). I always felt this was a great first roller coaster for young children to see how they’d handle the mild drops.
It’s offered as a Genie+ option and is very popular with families with little kids. The height requirement is 35 inches or more. It’s a short ride, so I really recommend it if your kids are starting to be interested in the bigger rides.
Rating: 7 for theme, 3 for thrills
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
This newer ride at the Magic Kingdom is one of my favorites. Part roller coaster, part dark ride, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train glides through the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The new ride mechanism sways, making it a smoother ride than a traditional coaster.
Midway through the ride, your vehicle will enter the dark ride part, where you’ll see the Seven Dwarf audio-animatronics singing Heigh-Ho as they work the mine. It’s definitely a must-do.
The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is offered as part of the Individual Lightning Lane, and the height requirement is 38 inches or taller.
Rating: 9 for the theme, 6 for thrills
Although Animal Kingdom is most known for the animals that live there, it’s also home to one of my favorite roller coasters around.
In Expedition Everest, you’ll travel through the Himalayan Mountains to the base of Mount Everest. However, the Yeti has already reached the tracks and broken them, requiring riders to travel backward to escape.
In addition to going backward, this coaster travels very fast, creating a thrilling feeling that some may find a little scary. It’s a good idea to have your kids experience other roller coasters first before going on this one.
Expedition Everest is currently closed for refurbishment but is expected to reopen in April 2022. It’s offered as part of the Individual Lightning Lane. The height requirement is 44 inches or taller.
Rating: 9 for the theme, 9 for thrills
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers my favorite rides, including two roller coasters (one that I consider the best roller coaster at Walt Disney World). Older kids will especially enjoy the rides at Hollywood Studios.
Rock N Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
In this rock and roll themed roller coaster, guests jump into a stretch-limousine-styled vehicle to race to beat traffic and attend an Aerosmith concert. There’s loud music, a very fast start, and twists and turns – including several upside-down turns. Overall it’s one of the most exciting rides at Disney and is a fantastic ride experience.
When you are in the queue, you’ll notice that some guests choose to wait in order to sit in the front row. I’d recommend doing this if you have the time – the front is a much better experience.
The Rock N Roller Coaster is offered on Genie+ and has a height requirement of 48 inches or taller.
Rating: 10 for theme, 10 for thrills
Slinky Dog Dash
Slinky Dog Dash is one of the new rides at Hollywood Studios. Located in the new Toy Story Land, Slinky Dog Dash is an outdoor coaster that is so fun to ride. The whole queue is fully themed, and it’s one of the best attractions at Walt Disney World.
Slinky Dog Dash may seem very kid-friendly, but it is more thrilling than the Barnstormer at the Magic Kingdom. So I would still have your kids try the Barnstormer first.
Slinky Dog Dash is offered as part of Genie+, and I would definitely recommend getting a reservation because it’s a very popular ride and there are often long waits. The height requirement is 38 inches or taller.
Rating: 9 for the theme, 6 for thrills
Other Thrill Rides
While these aren’t roller coasters, there are other rides at Walt Disney World that offer top speeds, drops, and thrills. These include the following:
- Pirates of the Caribbean (Magic Kingdom)
- Rise of the Resistance (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)
- Test Track (Epcot)
- Avatar: Flight of Passage (Animal Kingdom)
- Tower of Terror (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)
There are also two water parks with some exciting water rides.
More Resources: Want to know more about Disney World rides? Click here to read all of our posts about Disney rides and attractions.