Most people don’t associate Walt Disney World with scary rides. There definitely are some scary rides at Walt Disney World, however — from dark rides that may frighten kids (like the Pirates of the Caribbean) to thrill rides with big drops. Whether you are looking to find out which rides to avoid with sensitive kids, or are a thrill seeker yourself, this guide to the scariest rides at Disney World should help. We’ve listed some rides that may be thought of as scary, but aren’t really, as well.
I am a former member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel and have been on some complimentary press trips at Walt Disney World, but all opinions are my own.
The Scariest Rides at Disney World
I include Mission: SPACE (an Epcot Attraction) on this list because it’s the one ride I won’t go anywhere near. I hate spinning and anything that may make me dizzy, so I avoid Mission:SPACE so I won’t ruin my day.
This Epcot ride actually features two version – the orange version is the most intense option. It’s has a height requirement of 44 inches and taller, and spins and tilts. The green version has a lower height requirement, and slowly moves with no spinning. I’d recommend starting with the green version if you have any concerns.
It doesn’t go upside down, but the backwards movement of Expedition Everest will temporarily disorient you. I’d talked to people who actually thought they went upside down, even though they didn’t. This roller coaster is so much fun, especially if you are able to ride it at night when it’s dark outside.
The audio animatronic Yeti that used to pop out at guests doesn’t function properly anymore, but it still does roar in a way that may frighten those that don’t expect it. If your kids are used to roller coasts, and fit the height requirement, this one shouldn’t be too scary for them.
Rock n Roller Coaster
My favorite of the rides at Walt Disney World, this is arguably the most thrill-inducing ride in the parks. The Rock n Roller Coaster is a dark ride that goes from 0 to 57 mph in mere seconds. While 57 doesn’t seem that fast, it feels incredibly intense when it happens so quickly.
The theme of the ride – a stretch limo speeding you to the LA Aerosmith concert – isn’t scary at all. But the fast launch, the upside-down loops, and the darkness, but be frightening for some kids (and adults).
This Magic Kingdom icon is a relatively tame roller coaster, despite its reputation. Unlike its Disneyland Paris counterpart, Space Mountain doesn’t have any upside down loops. But it is incredibly dark inside the ride, which makes it scary for some. The ride vehicle fits one person in front of another, which means you won’t be able to sit next to your child.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
This may be the scariest ride in all of Walt Disney World. The theming of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is one of the best of the parks, and you truly will feel like you’ve stepped foot into the Twilight Zone.
The actual ride itself plunges down and then sails up at such a quick pace and in a random order, so you’ll have no idea what’s coming next. You may just leave your stomach at a different floor than the rest of your body! The cast members operating this Hollywood Studios attraction act as creepy as can be, adding to the theme.
If you are thinking of scary rides, the Haunted Mansion may be at the top of your list. Designed to be scary, this ride goes well beyond the traditional haunted house. The actual movement of the ride isn’t scary, but the scenes definitely are. While tweens and teens probably won’t be scared, younger kids may be.
Pirates of the Caribbean
One of the most classic Walt Disney World rides, the Pirates of the Caribbean may be a bit frightening for younger kids. You’ll board a large boat, and sail through some of the most iconic scenes of any ride. There is a scene with a cannon fight, with some scary, loud noises.
Adults, teens, and tweens probably won’t be scared at all, but younger kids may be. While the actual ride isn’t scary, it would be the scenes that would be the most frightening.
When it’s hot outside, Splash Mountain can be the most refreshing ride at the parks (along with Kali River Rapids in Animal Kingdom). But is it scary? The actual theme of the ride, along with the fun songs you’ll hear and the audio animatronics you’ll see, are so much fun and upbeat.
There is a big drop at the end of the ride, like traditional flume rides at other theme parks and amusement parks. So, some kids may be a bit scared by that. Otherwise, the ride is fun and a great way to cool down in the Florida heat.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
After the Barnstormer, I think Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a good introductory roller coaster for kids. The mine theme isn’t too scary, and the roller coaster doesn’t have any crazy drops (although it is still lots of fun).
For younger kids (that meet the height requirement), you may want to start your roller coaster experiment with the Barnstormer. Then, if your child enjoys that experience, move on to the Sen Dwarfs Mine Train, and then Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
The newest ride at the Magic Kingdom, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, is a combination roller coaster and dark ride. In my opinion, it really isn’t scary at all, and kids will likely love it. The one scary element is at the end, where the evil queen is peeking in on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. These pieces are from the original “Snow White’s Scary Adventure”, which really was a scary ride.
The Voyage of the Little Mermaid
This live action/puppet attraction features the story of the Little Mermaid. When my daughter was little, she loved Disney princesses so we brought her to this attraction. However, the Ursula part of the show was terrifying to her, and she hated it.
Test Track isn’t a scary ride, but it is surprisingly the fastest at all of Walt Disney World. If your child is sensitive to speak, it’s important that you know that the last part of the ride is very fast.
What is your favorite scariest ride at Disney World?