Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom Park

An Adrenaline Junkie’s Guide to Disney World Roller Coasters

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If you’re anything like me, you can’t visit The Most Magical Place on Earth and not go on each of Walt Disney World’s thrill rides, and that includes roller coasters. In fact, as much as I love screaming my head off on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror or cruising along at 65 miles per hour on Test Track, nothing beats the heart-pumping excitement of Disney World roller coasters like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind or even the milder Space Mountain.

Yes, I am an unabashed roller coaster enthusiast, a shameless adrenaline junkie. (Within reason—I went bungee jumping once in China, and that was enough for me.) Luckily, while Disney Parks aren’t exactly known for their pulse-racing thrill rides, there are still more than enough roller coasters at Walt Disney World to give me my adrenaline fix. So, pull down on your lap bars and hold on tight as we explore some of Disney’s most exciting attractions.

Slinky Dog Dash at night in Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Everything You Need to Know About Roller Coasters at the Walt Disney World Resort

Before we get into the best roller coasters Disney World has to offer, let’s break down the basics of these pixie-dusted thrill rides.

How many roller coasters are at Walt Disney World?

Walt Disney World is currently home to eight roller coasters. However, that number will soon jump to nine once TRON Lightcycle / Run officially opens at Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park on April 4, 2023. Up until a few years ago, there was also another coaster at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park called Primeval Whirl. Sadly, the quirky Wild Mouse-style roller coaster closed back in July 2020 after years of mixed reviews. Though certainly not the most innovative of Disney’s coasters, Primeval Whirl was a charming, dino-fied take on the carnival-esque attractions that once filled old-fashioned roadside amusement parks.

Which Disney World theme park has the most roller coasters?

Believe it or not, Magic Kingdom is the Disney World park with the most roller coasters, boasting five of the resort’s soon-to-be nine coasters. They include Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, The Barnstormer and the upcoming TRON Lightcycle / Run. Giving Magic Kingdom a run for its money for the best Disney park for roller coasters is Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which touts both the family-friendly Slinky Dog Dash and the exhilarating Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith.

Although they might not have as many roller coasters as the other Disney Parks, Epcot and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park are still well worth a visit for thrill seekers. The former lays claim to another new coaster, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, while the latter features what is, for many, the best roller coaster of the bunch when it comes to both thrills and theming, Expedition Everest.

What is the fastest roller coaster at Disney World?

While they can’t quite compete with the high-octane speeds reached by roller coasters at other theme parks in Orlando (the Jurassic World-inspired VelociCoaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure tops out at 70 miles per hour and Mako at SeaWorld clocks a max speed of 73 miles per hour), several Disney roller coasters are no slouches either.

The fastest roller coaster at Disney World by just a hair is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, with a top speed of 60 miles per hour, followed closely by the new TRON Lightcycle / Run at 59 miles per hour. (Disney hasn’t shared the ride’s exact top speed, so this is just a guess based on its predecessor, TRON Lightcycle Power Run, at Shanghai Disneyland.) Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is the next-fastest Disney coaster at 57 miles per hour.

Neon Blue and Green Tron Amusement Interior Magic Kingdom

Here’s where all the Disney World roller coasters stand in terms of top speed:

  • The Barnstormer – 25 mph
  • Space Mountain – 27 mph
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – 34 mph
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – 36 mph
  • Slinky Dog Dash – 40 mph
  • Expedition Everest – 50 mph
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster – 57 mph
  • TRON Lightcycle / Run – 59 mph
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – 60 mph

What is the most thrilling coaster at Disney World?

So, what’s the scariest roller coaster Walt Disney World has to offer? Although it might not be the fastest coaster at Disney’s Central Florida theme parks, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith definitely has them all beat when it comes to sheer thrills. Featuring a high-speed launch, three inversions and a darkened room lit only by blacklight-illuminated signs, this thrilling ride is sure to get your adrenaline pumping.

Other Disney World attractions that are big on thrills include:

  • TRON Lightcycle / Run – motorcycle-like ride vehicles and an exciting launch
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – 360-degree rotating ride vehicles and the highest top speed of any Disney World coaster
  • Expedition Everest – 80-foot drop and a section of the track that runs backward

Rock n Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios

What is the best kid’s coaster at Disney World?

Is there an aspiring thrill seeker in your life? Then you’re in luck because several roller coasters on our list are great starter coasters that are sure to give them a taste of the adrenaline rush without being too intimidating. With its slow speed, short ride time and just enough twists and turns, The Barnstormer in Storybook Circus at Magic Kingdom is the epitome of a kiddie coaster.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Slinky Dog Dash and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad bump up the thrill factor a bit with higher speeds, more exciting maneuvers and, in the case of Slinky Dog, two fun launches. And don’t judge Space Mountain by its relatively slow top speed. Thanks to the coaster’s tight corners and surprising drops through almost complete darkness, it might be too much for some young kids. If your adrenaline junkie in the making can handle Space Mountain, then they’re ready to graduate to Disney World’s bigger thrill rides.

Can you take your bags on coasters at Walt Disney World?

With the exception of the new TRON Lightcycle / Run, which requires you to stash your stuff in a locker before you ride (small items like cellphones, sunglasses or wallets will fit in a small compartment on your ride vehicle), guests are free to bring their bags with them on Disney World roller coasters. Despite its three inversions, this even includes Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Thanks, physics!

The Barnstormer kiddie coaster in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park

Best Roller Coasters at Walt Disney World Ranked by Thrills

So, now that we’ve got all the details out of the way, what are the best roller coasters at Walt Disney World? Since much of what makes Disney attractions so great comes down to personal preference, whether it be things like theming, characters or inventiveness, I opted to rank each roller coaster simply by how thrilling they are. You know, the fun stuff like max speed, g-force and track design.

Additionally, though there are technically only eight roller coasters at the Walt Disney World Resort right now, since the opening of the new TRON ride is just around the corner, TRON Lightcycle / Run definitely deserves a spot on this list. Fortunately, as I had the opportunity to ride the original TRON Lightcycle Power Run in Shanghai Disneyland a few years ago, I have a pretty good idea of what to expect. And trust me when I say you’re going to love it. Ok, let’s get to it!

9. The Barnstormer in Magic Kingdom

Join Goofy as The Great Goofini in his homemade stunt plane as he dazzles guests with daring aerial tricks on The Barnstormer. Located in the Storybook Circus part of Fantasyland, this junior coaster is about as mild as it gets when it comes to thrills and speed, offering only a few easy twists and turns at a max of 25 miles per hour. Over and done with in less than a minute, the entire ride length clocks in at a mere 53 seconds, making it the worst roller coaster at Disney for anyone except little kids.

Height Restriction: 35 inches (89cm) or taller

Max Speed: 25 mph

Duration: 53 seconds

Lightning Lane Access: Genie+

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction sign

8. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Magic Kingdom

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to the diamond mines we go on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Part of New Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom, this family-friendly thrill ride combines the excitement of a roller coaster with the immersive story elements of a dark ride, including whimsical scenery, impressive 3D Audio-Animatronics of the dwarfs and an appearance by the original Disney Princess herself, Snow White. Along with the attraction’s 39-foot drop, the most heart-pumping part of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is its unique coaster vehicles: mine carts that rock back and forth as you careen along the track.

Height Restriction: 38 inches (97cm) or taller

Max Speed: 34 mph

Duration: 2 minutes and 50 seconds

Lightning Lane Access: Individual Lightning Lane Entry

Jessie and Rex near Slinky Dog Dash in Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios

7. Slinky Dog Dash in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Jump in Slinky Dog’s coils and set out for a lively romp around Toy Story Land on Slinky Dog Dash. As the story goes for this charming thrill ride, Andy put the track together in his backyard with a Dash & Dodge Mega Coaster Kit. (Keep an eye out for the box in the attraction’s queue.) Then, with the help of some carefully drawn plans and a bit of elbow grease, he decided to spruce it up a bit and wrap his Slinky Dog around the train that came with it.

Between the playful, toy-littered setting, a relatively high top speed of 40 miles per hour and the track’s design, this animated roller coaster is a hit with thrill seekers of all ages. Sure, there aren’t really any G-forces to speak of. However, Slinky Dog Dash is the only Disney World roller coaster with two launches. Add in a couple of airtime hills, and this is one Hollywood Studios coaster that both kids and adults won’t want to miss.

Height Restriction: 38 inches (97cm) or taller

Max Speed: 40 mph

Duration: 2 minutes

Lightning Lane Access: Genie+

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom Park

6. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Magic Kingdom

Climb aboard a haunted mine train bound for the ghost town of Tumbleweed on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland. One of the iconic Magic Kingdom mountains, this rickety roller coaster is a true Disney World classic. Though on the slower side of things, several sharp turns and some fun drops make this the wildest ride in the wilderness. In fact, though Big Thunder Mountain Railroad might seem mild-mannered, the attraction actually pulls 2.5 Gs. It also happens to be the longest roller coaster Disney World has to offer, clocking in at an almost three-and-a-half-minute ride.

This Disney roller coaster is so popular that it can be found at four different Disney Parks around the world, along with its furry, four-hooved star, Billy the Disney Goat. At Disneyland, he’s also the central figure of something called the Goat Trick, which is meant to fool your inner ear into thinking you’re experiencing more g-forces than you actually are.

Although Billy is too close to the ground in Magic Kingdom for that bit of goat trickery to work, you can give it a go with one of the ride’s bighorn sheep. Simply wait for the coaster’s second chain lift and look up toward the right for a bighorn sheep standing atop a bit of rock. Then, as you descend, stare the sheep down until you can’t see him anymore. This works especially well when sitting in the three back rows of the mine train.

Height Restriction: 40 inches (102cm) or taller

Max Speed: 36 mph

Duration: 3 minutes and 25 seconds

Lightning Lane Access: Genie+

Tomorrowland Speedway in front of Space Mountain in Magic Kingdom Park

5. Space Mountain in Magic Kingdom

To experience a piece of theme park history, don’t miss Space Mountain in Tomorrowland. Opened way back in 1975, the out-of-this-world roller coaster is a Magic Kingdom mainstay and one of the best attractions at Disney World. For your stellar adventure, you’ll hop in a rocketship and blast off into the inky blackness of outer space, with only a few shooting stars to light your way. Though Space Mountain is one of the slowest Disney World roller coasters, the hairpin turns and surprise drops of this dark ride help you pull a respectable 3.7 Gs.

Height Restriction: 44 inches (112cm) or taller

Max Speed: 27 mph

Duration: 2 minutes and 30 seconds

Lightning Lane Access: Genie+

Expedition Everest in Asia at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park

4. Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Legend has it that the mythical Yeti lives in the snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas, and on Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, you may just come face to face with him yourself. This thrill ride sends you soaring high above Walt Disney World, which makes for some incredible bird’s-eye views of the resort below.

However, Expedition Everest isn’t just the highest roller coaster at Disney World. It’s also the tallest attraction at each of the resort’s Disney theme parks, towering above Animal Kingdom at 199 feet tall. Intrepid explorers also experience the longest drop of any Disney coaster, an exhilarating 80 feet. Toss in a “broken track” that sends you plummeting backward, as well as 3 Gs of force and some of the most immersive theming of any Disney World attraction, and Expedition Everest is one roller coaster ride you definitely shouldn’t skip.

Height Restriction: 44 inches (112cm) or taller

Max Speed: 50 mph (30 mph max speed backward)

Duration: 2 minutes and 50 seconds

Lightning Lane Access: Genie+

Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind at Epcot with Spaceship Earth in the background

3. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in Epcot

Get ready for an intergalactic adventure like none other on Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. With coaster vehicles that rotate 360 degrees, giving you a front-row seat to the Marvel action at all times, and a soundtrack worthy of Star-Lord, this superpowered roller coaster is sure to leave you feeling like you’re part of the team.

While Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind isn’t a dark ride per se, you do spend much of the ride enveloped in the nothingness of outer space. And although there is a backward launch, a top speed of 60 miles per hour and some moments that pull up to 2 Gs, the silky smoothness of this steel coaster makes you feel more like you’re cruising through the cosmos rather than racing down a track at a breakneck pace.

As the newest attraction to open at Epcot and the only roller coaster in the theme park, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind easily pulls some of the biggest crowds. Worse yet, your only options to ride are either a virtual queue or Individual Lightning Lane access. So, be sure to plan your day accordingly.

Height Restriction: 42 inches (107cm) or taller

Max Speed: 60 mph

Duration: 3 minutes and 20 seconds

Lightning Lane Access: Individual Lightning Lane Entry

Roller coaster with blue building

2. TRON Lightcycle / Run (Opening April 4, 2023) in Magic Kingdom

Leap onboard your very own lightcycle and set out on a high-stakes race across the digital realm on TRON Lightcycle / Run. Tucked between Tomorrowland Speedway and Space Mountain in Tomorrowland, this futuristic attraction promises to be one of the best roller coasters in all of Disney World. Featuring motorcycle-style ride vehicles, an exhilarating launch and a suspected 4 Gs of force and max speed of 59 miles per hour, TRON Lightcycle / Run will easily be the most thrilling ride in the entire theme park.

The attraction is based on the similarly named TRON Lightcycle Power Run from the Shanghai Disneyland Resort. And as the Magic Kingdom version is anticipated to be a duplicate of the original, wannabe Programs can likely expect ultra-modern aesthetics, a techno-heavy soundtrack and dazzling technology to match. Like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, TRON Lightcycle / Run can only be experienced with either Individual Lightning Lane entry or by joining a virtual queue. So, be sure to plan ahead or risk being disappointed.

Height Restriction: 48 inches (122cm) or taller

Max Speed: 59 mph

Duration: 2 minutes

Lightning Lane Access: Individual Lightning Lane Entry

Rock n Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios

1. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Fortune has smiled upon you, and you’ve somehow managed to score backstage passes to the Aerosmith concert from the band themself. The only problem is the show is just about to start, and traffic is out of control. Luckily, there’s a super-speedy super-stretch limo with your name on waiting to take you there for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith.

Located at the end of Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood Studios, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is easily the best roller coaster Disney World has to offer when it comes to the thrill level. At the ride’s launch, your limo goes from zero to the top speed of 57 miles per hour in a mere 2.8 seconds. From there, you’re in for three inversions, including a corkscrew and a sea serpent, and 5 Gs of force—all set to a rocking Aerosmith soundtrack. Do we wish the ride length were longer? Absolutely. However, for adrenaline junkies, it still tops the list of the best roller coasters at any Disney World park.

Height Restriction: 48 inches (122cm) or taller

Max Speed: 57 mph

Duration: 1 minute and 22 seconds

Lightning Lane Access: Genie+

Tips for Getting Your Adrenaline Fix on Disney World Roller Coasters

Ready to check out the best roller coasters at Disney World? Don’t miss these helpful hints.

Up the Thrill Factor by Requesting a Specific Seat

To make your ride experience even more thrilling, request a seat in a specific part of the coaster. For example, some folks swear by the very first ride vehicle. This is an especially great spot on attractions like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster or TRON Lightcycle / Run, as it gives you a front-row view of the action. If it’s more intensity you’re after, however, then try to get a seat at the very back of the coaster. Since you’re at the back of the bus, so to speak, the front of the roller coaster will pull you along, speeding up your ride and making any turns or drops more pronounced.

Limo in dark alley attraction

Skip the Line by Taking Advantage of Lightning Lanes or Riding Early or Late in the Day

Thrill rides are some of the most popular attractions at Disney World. As a result, you need to put some planning into your day if you don’t want to be stuck with an incredibly long wait. The cheapest way to do this is by riding either early, preferably as close to rope drop as possible, or late in the day when the lines tend to be shorter.

For folks staying at one of the Disney World resorts, this also means taking advantage of Early Theme Park Entry or Extended Evening Hours. However, bear in mind that this only works for rides with standby lines. In other words, attractions with virtual queues or Individual Lightning Lane access only, like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind or TRON Lightcycle / Run, typically aren’t open during Early Park Entry or Extended Evening Hours.

Of course, if you’d rather skip most of the planning and just pay to jump the line, Disney Genie+ or Individual Lighting Lane entry is also an option. Just remember that the costs do add up quickly, especially if you’re traveling with kids or wanting to experience several Individual Lightning Lane attractions.

Turn Your Kiddo Into a Pint-sized Adrenaline Junkie With Our Disney Roller Coaster Ranking

Do you have a budding thrill seeker on your hands? Ease them into the pulse-racing fun of roller coasters by following our ranking. First, start out small with The Barnstormer, assess their reaction and work your way up. And whatever you do, even if you think your kiddo can handle the thrill, don’t try to cheat the height requirement. Those restrictions are in place for their safety, not to rain on kids’ and parents’ parades.

Use Rider Switch if Your Little One Is Too Small or Scared

Speaking of height restrictions, every single roller coaster on our list has one. While this can feel like a pain, it’s actually a good thing because it means that the ride also has something else: the option to use Rider Switch (AKA Parent Switch or Rider Swap). This free service allows parents or guardians to trade places while the other waits back with the too-small child. As a result, no one has to miss out on the thrill ride run—except for your little one, of course.

Expedition Everest in Asia at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Alright, thrill seekers, that brings our guide to the best roller coasters at Walt Disney World to an end. We hope we got your heart racing and gave you some helpful hints for making your next trip to Disney World as exciting as possible. Which coaster at The Most Magical Place on Earth is your favorite? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how you can save some cash and make Lightning Lane entry more affordable with our discount Disney World tickets.