The Most Magical Place on Earth is known across the globe for its easy-going, family-friendly fun, but believe it or not, there are actually more than a few scary rides at Disney World, too. From slightly spooky dark rides to thrilling roller coasters and everything in between, you’re sure to find something that will get your heart racing at Walt Disney World.
And no, we aren’t just talking about those Disney attractions that are kinda sorta unsettling, like “it’s a small world” and Country Bear Jamboree. Sure, these opening-day originals are Magic Kingdom mainstays, but those Audio-Animatronics can be a little bit creepy sometimes. Just us?
But what are the scariest rides at Disney World? Whether you’re curious about which attractions may be too intense for the kiddos in your crew, or you’re a thrill seeker looking for an adrenaline rush, we’re here to help. Get ready for a wild ride as we take you through the most thrilling experiences Walt Disney World has to offer.
Scary Rides at Walt Disney World Ranked by Thrills
If you’re here reading this, then chances are you’re wondering, “Are any Disney World rides scary?” While Disney Parks have the reputation of being the perfect destination for a family vacation (and with good reason—there are tons of attractions designed with kids in mind), there are still some of the rides at Disney World that can be considered scary.
Daredevils of all ages will find several roller coasters and other thrill rides that offer an exhilarating experience filled with high speeds, sudden drops, twists, turns and even inversions. Alternatively, for those looking for something a bit tamer, there are also plenty of milder options, such as family-friendly dark rides with loud noises, intense special effects and more than a few surprises. Not to mention, there are also a few water attractions that let you cool off from the hot Central Florida sun and get your pulse racing at the same time.
It ultimately depends on individual preferences and what type of ride you’re looking for. If you aren’t sure if an attraction is right for you and your group, at the very least, we recommend you read the ride description before getting in line to ensure you know what kind of experience awaits you. However, the best way to determine if an attraction is too intense for you or your child is by checking out some ride-through videos before your Walt Disney World vacation begins.
Luckily, this list is a really great place to start. So, without any further ado, join us as we rank Walt Disney World’s most spine-tingling rides, from its least scary to the most heart-pounding attractions. Now, grab on tight and prepare yourself for some seriously hair-raising thrills!
17. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Opened in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park in 2014, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train remains one of the most popular attractions at Disney World. This family-friendly roller coaster whisks riders through the whimsical world of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Along the way, you’ll pass through lush forests filled with singing birds, bubbling brooks and even a diamond mine. As your cart passes over each hill, you can feel yourself soaring above it all like one of Snow White’s forest friends.
Overall, the thrill factor for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is pretty low, making it a great introductory roller coaster for younger kids (much like Slinky Dog Dash at Disney’s Hollywood Studios). With a max speed of only 34 miles per hour, it’s relatively slow, allowing guests to take in all the details from the classic story as it winds its way around sharp turns and hills. The biggest thrills come from the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train‘s 39-foot drop and, at the very end, an appearance by the Evil Queen in her witchy form, a holdover from its decidedly spookier predecessor, Snow White’s Scary Adventure.
16. Pirates of the Caribbean
Part of Adventureland in Magic Kingdom, Pirates of the Caribbean is one of Disney’s most iconic attractions. This dark boat ride takes riders on a swashbuckling adventure through pirate-infested waters, complete with appearances by Captain Jack Sparrow. As you make your way through the attraction, you find yourself in the middle of a cannon fight between pirates and soldiers before entering a village overrun with buccaneers.
The Audio-Animatronics are truly remarkable, and each figure looks incredibly lifelike as they sing sea shanties, drown their sorrows with rum or shoot off cannons. The effects throughout this ride are also very impressive. You can smell smoke in the room where the town is burning, and the scent of rum fills the air when you pass by the drunken pirate. I even once felt a puff of air ruffle my hair from one of the “cannons” whizzing overhead during the ship battle scene.
With so much to take in, it’s no wonder why Pirates of the Caribbean has been entertaining Disney World guests since 1973—it really is a timeless classic that never gets old. Aside from the general eeriness of this trip through the Caribbean, pirates fan and thrill seekers alike will be delighted with the ride’s 14-foot drop that sends boats plummeting through total darkness before splashing into the water below.
15. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Next on our list of the scariest rides at Disney World is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a classic roller coaster that has been thrilling riders since 1980. The attraction is set in an abandoned mining town haunted by angry spirits. And the town isn’t the only place that’s haunted—your runaway mine train is too.
With three separate lift hills, plenty of twists, turns and drops, as well as a top speed of 36 miles per hour, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will have you screaming with delight. The best part about this family-friendly attraction is that it caters to all levels of thrill seekers, making it another ideal roller coaster for younger riders. Alongside all these thrills, Big Thunder Mountain also comes with some truly spectacular views over Frontierland. For an especially memorable experience, plan your ride for during the Magic Kingdom fireworks and take in the glittering scene.
14. Test Track
With a max speed of 65 miles per hour, the fastest of any ride at Walt Disney World, this next attraction is more thrilling than scary. Located at Epcot, Test Track puts riders in the driver’s seat, allowing you to experience what it’s like to be a test driver. Once you’re behind the wheel of your ride vehicle, you’ll put your car through its paces, testing out its responsiveness in various conditions.
Test Track takes guests on an exhilarating journey that includes hairpin turns, banked curves, sudden stops and starts and even a simulated crash. You’ll also get to enjoy some great views of Epcot’s backstage area as you hurtle toward the finish line. The entire Test Track experience is intense but fun—the perfect ride for thrill seekers searching for their next adrenaline rush.
13. Haunted Mansion
Another opening-day original, the Haunted Mansion has been giving Magic Kingdom guests a fright since 1971. Located in Liberty Square, this classic dark ride takes riders on an eerie tour through a spooky house where 999 spirits dwell. But don’t worry, they’re mostly pretty friendly. In fact, if you like, you can even choose to move in. As your ghost host will tell you, there’s room for one more. And don’t forget about those mischievous hitchhiking ghosts—they might just follow you home.
Overall, the Haunted Mansion provides an entertaining blend of thrills and chills that will have everyone screaming (with laughter) until you reach your final destination. Sure, there are definitely some creepy parts, especially for younger kids. This is a haunted house, after all. Mostly, however, the attraction’s waltzing specters and other unsettling sights are more charming than they are scary.
12. Mission: SPACE
Set out on a voyage through outer space on Mission: SPACE, an intense, out-of-this-world experience at Epcot. This centrifugal motion simulator ride simulates what it’s like for astronauts to blast off in a rocket ship, down to the 2.5 Gs you’ll pull during launch. Throughout the attraction, you’ll be tasked with piloting your spacecraft, and it’s up to you to get your team to your destination safely.
As you might imagine, this isn’t a great attraction for folks prone to motion sickness. After all, what could be worse than getting an upset stomach during your Disney vacation? Fortunately, before you board, you can choose from two different versions of the attraction: the more intense orange mission and the centrifuge-less green mission.
11. Kali River Rapids
Part of Asia in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Kali River Rapids is an exciting river raft ride at Walt Disney World. For this thrill ride, you’ll embark on an exhilarating adventure through the lush Asian rainforest, with captivating vistas and plenty of unexpected thrills. However, as this is Animal Kingdom, you can also expect a tiny bit of edu-tainment. Sadly, loggers have taken to the land around the attraction, turning its abundant beauty into a depressing wasteland.
As soon as you launch off into the raging rapids, prepare yourself for some serious splashing. The rapids are wild and unpredictable, so hold onto your Mickey Ears. Since Kali River Rapids has been known to soak riders up to their necks, ensure you’re prepared if getting wet isn’t your thing—don some waterproof apparel or take a poncho for cover. One thing is for certain: You’re sure to leave this scary ride feeling refreshed.
10. Star Tours
Located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Star Tours is a motion simulator attraction that takes you on an exciting journey through the Star Wars universe. For this thrilling ride, you’ll set out on a sightseeing trip across the galaxy StarsSpeeder 1000. Naturally, your peaceful journey through the stars doesn’t exactly go as planned. Fortunately, with the help of C-3PO and R2-D2, you should make it back to Earth safely.
After a bumpy start, you’ll be thrown into chaos, experiencing everything from chaotic battles against Darth Vader’s TIE fighters to AT-AT Walkers before finally arriving safely at your destination. With 21 different possible scenes available (you only get to experience four per ride), you’ll want to go on Star Tours again and again. If you’re lucky, you may even get to play a part in the attraction itself as the rebel spy. So, strap yourself in for one wild galactic voyage—just don’t forget your lightsaber.
9. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Continue your journey through the Star Wars universe and the scariest rides at Disney World with Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Easily one of the most popular rides at any of the Disney World parks, Rise of the Resistance is a must for Star Wars fans and adventure seekers alike. The attraction starts off with guests boarding a transport ship before coming face to face with First Order forces, including the fearsome Kylo Ren himself.
Along with appearances by Star Wars characters, such as an army of Stormtroopers, you’ll also be treated to cutting-edge technology and an impressively expansive setting. For the ultimate thrill-seekers, this attraction is sure to get your pulse racing with its trackless ride vehicle and thrilling chase sequences. By the end of it, your heart will be racing faster than a pod racer on Tatooine.
8. Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
Next on our roundup of the scariest rides at Disney World is Expedition Everest, an exhilarating roller coaster ride located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Part of the Asia section of the park, this thrilling attraction takes riders on a white-knuckle journey through the Himalayas and into the Forbidden Mountain, where they encounter the mythical Yeti.
Expedition Everest features unexpected twists and turns that will have you gripping your seat for dear life. You’ll also experience an exciting backward section of the track that adds to the intensity of this wild ride. Another highlight of Expedition Everest is its animatronic Yeti, a massive snow monster that appears near the end of your journey. As soon as you see it come alive in front of you (and hear its intimidating roar), be sure to hold onto something tight because what follows next will take your breath away.
7. It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
This next attraction on our list of scary rides at Disney World may come as a surprise. After all, what could be frightening about a show inspired by A Bug’s Life? As it turns out, quite a bit, actually. Nestled beneath the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom Theme Park, It’s Tough to Be a Bug is an edu-taining 3D show hosted by Flik the ant about life in the insect world. While the show starts out innocent enough, it soon takes a dark turn once Hopper the grasshopper, the big bad from the film, drops in.
He obviously has some unresolved issues with humans and unleashes a horde of spiders and hornets to wreak havoc on the crowd. With spiders dropping from above, stingers poking you in the back and cockroaches crawling underneath your seat, it’s enough to make anyone scream. And trust us, they do. Having said that, as scary as parts of this show can be, especially for younger kids, the special effects are top-notch, and the comedic moments are great. You’re bound to leave charmed and, possibly, with a greater respect for the insect world.
6. Space Mountain
One of the most iconic roller coasters at the Disney World theme parks, and a can’t-miss scary ride, is Space Mountain in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom. This indoor roller coaster gives a whole new meaning to the concept of a dark ride, plunging riders into the darkness of space with sharp turns and thrilling drops that will make your heart race. Although Space Mountain itself is on the slower side, with a max speed of only 27 miles per hour, not being able to see what’s coming ups the thrill factor and makes the entire experience so much fun.
Once aboard their rocketship, riders experience three minutes of out-of-this-world thrills as they whizz through dark tunnels illuminated by stars and galaxies far away. Throughout Space Mountain, there are plenty of unexpected drops that will give even seasoned adrenaline junkies butterflies in their stomachs. By the end of your interstellar adventure, this Disney park classic is sure to leave you screaming for more.
We can’t talk about Disney scary rides and not mention DINOSAUR, arguably the most intense attraction at Animal Kingdom. DINOSAUR is an intense dark ride located in DinoLand USA, and it’s a must-see for dino lovers and thrill-ride fans alike. During the attraction, you’ll travel to the moment before that fateful meteor wiped out prehistoric life on the planet. Your mission? To rescue an Iguanodon from certain extinction.
For this high-stakes adventure, you’ll dart around in a Time Rover, avoiding dangerous obstacles like meteor showers and unexpected run-ins with predators on the prowl. (Keep an eye out for that pesky Carnotaurus.) One thing is certain: This isn’t your average family-friendly ride. With its unpredictable turns and loud noises, DINOSAUR can be quite intimidating for those who don’t do well on thrill rides. And for those prone to motion sickness, each ride vehicle is programmed so riders feel every rut in the road, making for a trip that can is more than a bit bumpy.
4. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure (Coming Late 2024!)
Ok, we’ll be honest. This next entry of scary rides at Disney World won’t technically open until later next year. However, since Splash Mountain would have certainly earned a spot on our list, then its successor, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, deserves to be here, too. Soon to call Magic Kingdom‘s Frontierland home, this log flume-style ride à la Splash Mountain will send guests soaring down an almost 53-foot drop at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour.
3. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
There’s no question that one of the most thrilling rides at Disney World is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Another indoor roller coaster, don’t confuse Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with Space Mountain. No, this intense thrill ride takes things to a whole new level with upside-down loops, twisting corkscrews and zero-gravity rolls that will leave you breathless.
The whole thing starts when your super-stretch limo (thanks, Aerosmith!) catapults you from 0 to 57 miles per hour in just 2.8 seconds. Throughout this scary ride, you’ll be screaming along to classic hits like “Walk this Way” and “Sweet Emotion” while experiencing twists, turns and three upside-down loops through the blacklit streets of Los Angeles—all within the safety of your own vehicle. Needless to say, while it isn’t the scariest ride Disney World has to offer, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is one Disney thrill ride daredevils won’t want to miss.
2. Summit Plummet
Believe it or not, one of the scariest rides at Disney World isn’t at the theme parks at all. It’s at Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park. Located at the peak of Mount Gushmore, Summit Plummet brings the thrills and chills with its near-vertical, 120-foot drop. After climbing to the top, you’ll be sent screaming at speeds close to 60 miles per hour down this freefall body slide that is one of the tallest and fastest in the world. Talk about an adrenaline rush!
It’s such a wild ride that many say it’s like jumping off a cliff without ever having to leave your seat. This extreme water ride is not for the faint of heart. Due to the design of the attraction, it also has the potential to be quite dangerous. So, be sure you listen to any directions from cast members to make sure you stay safe and sound.
1. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Last but not least on our list of scary rides at Disney World is The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios. Descending into The Twilight Zone is an experience like none other at the resort. Easily the scariest ride at Disney World, this elevator-style drop tower takes you up to the top before plunging you down in a series of free falls that are sure to make your heart skip a beat.
The thrill begins when riders step into their own private elevator car and ascend an unlucky 13 stories high above Sunset Boulevard. Finally, you’ll plummet straight down toward Earth at speeds of up to 39 miles per hour. Best of all, since the drop patterns are selected randomly by a computer, you’ll never experience the same ride twice. Scary? Yes, but also so much fun.
Well, adrenaline junkies, that concludes our list of the scariest rides at Disney World? Which of these thrilling attractions tops your list? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how you can make your exciting trip to Disney World a little more affordable with our discount Disney tickets.