The Barnstormer at Disney World, located in the Storybook Circus section ofFantasyland, is one of the Magic Kingdom’s most charming family roller coasters. This kid-friendly ride zips around at just 28 mph, taking guests on an exciting simulated crop dusting trip above the circus grounds. With its bright red barn façade and surrounding circus theming, The Barnstormer provides a whimsical, imaginative experience from the moment you see it.
Though it only lasts about 60 seconds, the ride offers delightful thrills for kids and a dose of nostalgia for adults who remember its predecessor, The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm. In this comprehensive review, we’ll cover everything you need to know about The Barnstormer: from ride details and history to the experience itself and tips for riders. Whether you’re planning your first family trip or looking to relive childhood memories, this is your guide to fully appreciating this Fantasyland classic.
Location:The Barnstormer is located in Fantasyland behind Mickey’s PhilharMagic, nestled next to the Storybook Circus area. The bright red façade is eye-catching and easy to spot from the central hub of the park.
Height and Age Requirements:Riders must be at least 35 inches tall to ride. The Barnstormer is appropriate for all ages, but very small children under 3 years old are not permitted. Check out our Disney World height requirement guide!
Ride Duration:The total ride experience lasts just over 60 seconds from the moment the train dispatches. With two trains running the course, The Barnstormer can handle around 1,200 riders per hour.
Queue Wait Times:Being one of the few roller coasters suitable for small kids, The Barnstormer sees medium to long standby waits. Average waits range from 25–45 minutes. Peak wait times can stretch past 60 minutes.
Lightning Lane and Genie+:The Barnstormer is available as an Individual Lightning Lane purchase for $9-15 per person, per ride. It is not typically included as a Genie+ selection.
Rider Switch:Rider Switch is available, so one parent can wait with a non-riding child while the other parent rides, then switch without having to wait in the standby line again.
Early Theme Park Entry:During Early Entry hours, The Barnstormer is one of the few operating Fantasyland rides. Wait times first thing in the morning are usually less than 20 minutes.
History and Design
The backstory of The Barnstormer casts riders as daredevil pilots soaring through a stunt air show. The surrounding Storybook Circus theming presents the ride as part of The Great Goofini’s circus troupe. According to Disney lore, The Great Goofini was a circus stunt pilot in the 1930s who performed death-defying aerial maneuvers above crowds. One of his stunts involved spectacular crop dusting flights through farm country, zipping around weather vanes and windmills. Riders experience Goofini’s legendary barnstorming act firsthand on this family coaster.
Architecture and Landscaping
The Barnstormer was built on the former site of The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm, a smaller roller coaster with a farm theme. When New Fantasyland was constructed in 2012, the ride was rethemed and rebuilt from the ground up to match the new Storybook Circus aesthetic. The bright red barn façade with white trim now houses the interior queue as well as indoor sections of the coaster track. Surrounding landscaping features crops like corn and cotton, farm equipment, and props related to stunt piloting. A tall, central red windmill provides a focal landmark.
John Michael Hansen as Designer
John Michael Hansen, a long-time Disney Imagineer, led design for The Barnstormer overhaul. His credits also include famous attractions like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain. The detailed backstory and immersive environment surrounding The Barnstormer bear his trademark storytelling style.
The ride queue winds through the first floor and up to the second floor of the large red barn façade. Guests enter through doors marked with a stunt pilot insignia. Inside, display cases feature memorabilia from The Great Goofini’s barnstorming days. Vintage posters advertise aerial shows and stunt acts. Overhead, model airplanes hang from the rafters as if frozen mid-flight. At the second floor loading station, guests board one of two bright red roller coaster trains themed as crop duster planes with six rows of seats. Large fans and industrial lights line the surrounding walls, enhancing the stunt pilot aesthetic.
Riders file into one of the 12-passenger roller coaster trains, filling all six rows of seats. A ride attendant checks the lap restraint on each rider for a secure fit. For smaller children, they may press the restraint buckle inward for a tighter lock. Attendants give a thumbs up before dispatching the train.
The ride begins slowly ascending a 49-foot chain lift hill lined with hanging airplane warning signs. At the top, the train dips down briefly, then makes a swift turn to the left. Another swooping downhill turn leads into the first of two helices circling a tall red windmill. The train zips around the windmill clockwise once, then counterclockwise a second time at 28 mph. As it exits the second helix, the train passes perilously close to a small water tower before hitting the magnetic brakes.
A quick right turn leads to the final brake run back into the station. The on-ride audio plays barnyard sounds and the revving drone of an airplane engine throughout the experience. During the helixes, riders feel laterally pressed against the side of the car as it whips tightly around the windmill. The ride provides a thrilling sample of roller coaster sensations without being too intense for kids and families.
As the train returns to the station, upbeat circus music plays, welcoming riders back. The lap restraints automatically release after a momentary stop. Riders then file out of their rows and down the exit ramp. The station team diligently checks restraints and seat belts to swiftly load the next group.
Tips for Riders
For a smoother ride, ask the attendant for seats in the middle of the train. The rear cars tend to whip more sharply around turns.
Keep loose items like phones securely stowed, since the train flips upside down at one point. Consider leaving loose articles with a non-rider or in a locker.
The ride photo snaps during the second helix. Smile big as you round the windmill!
During fireworks shows, The Barnstormer may offer a limited-time night ride opportunity with the lights on. Don’t miss this unique, rare experience if available!
While it only lasts a minute, The Barnstormer packs delightful theming and exciting roller coaster thrills into a family-friendly ride. Zip around the Storybook Circus on Goofini’s stunt plane through imaginatively themed crops and around a towering windmill. Feel like a daring barnstormer pilot braving hairpin turns and inverted loops! With appeal for young children as well as nostalgic adults, The Barnstormer offers smiles across generations. No visit to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is complete without this charming, classic Fantasyland coaster.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – This popular roller coaster is located nearby in Frontierland.
Astro Orbiter – This rocket ride towers above Tomorrowland, providing views of the park.
Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station – An interactive play area themed to the Storybook Circus train.
Walt Disney World Railroad – The park trains have a station in Fantasyland near The Barnstormer.
Barnstormer Ride Review
The Final Word
The Barnstormer offers smiles across generations. With its imaginative backstory, immersive theming, and family-friendly thrills, this charming coaster encapsulates the timeless magic of Fantasyland. So pull those goggles down and get ready to take flight on a jolly barnstorming adventure above Storybook Circus!