I am not a scary ride junkie. I’m not a big fan of roller coasters. Having said that, while visiting Disney World, I wanted to enjoy the “Disney touch” that is given to rides, making them true experiences instead of just rides. So, I rode some rides that tested my limits. Here is my take on what the scariest Disney rides involve, so you can make a decision on whether or not each ride is for you.
In order, from least scary to most:
1. Kali River Rapids (Animal Kingdom) – This is a good “thrill ride” to start with if you’re scared of thrill rides. The thrills are mild at best, with one not-major drop and a high you-will-get-wet factor.
2. Splash Mountain (Magic Kingdom) – Another water ride, but this one has a bit more punch than Kali. There are two drops; a moderate one in the middle and a big, lose-your-stomach one at the end. Again, prepare to get wet.
3. Dinosaur (Animal Kingdom) – This ride is quite bumpy and jerky. It’s not a roller coaster so you don’t get drops and high speeds though. Throughout, animatronic dinosaurs constantly stick their heads out near you. I found it more rough than scary. My six-year-old rode it, but kept her eyes shut the whole time.
4. Test Track (Epcot) – In this ride, you get into cars and which are tested for various design elements with a hill climb test, a brake test, etc. These are all pretty straightforward. There are slight moments of fear (“Will we really stop before hitting the wall?” etc), but basically tame stuff. The last portion of the ride involves a “test drive” around curves at high speeds (up to 65 mph). It’s exhilarating, but I didn’t really find it scary.
5. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Magic Kingdom) – I think this is a great “starter roller coaster”. You are on a supposedly runaway train which careens through old west ghost towns. The scenery is great and it just flies by, so keep your eyes open. There are frequent turns, but no drops. I rate this a bit scary but not bad. I found the newest Disney roller coaster, Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, to be quite similar to Big Thunder.
6. Space Mountain (Magic Kingdom) – I would call this the next step up from Big Thunder Mountain, as roller coasters go. Space Mountain is basically a roller coaster in the dark. You ride through “space” with light, stars and planets all visible at various times. It feels fast and has dips, turns, and the like, but no huge drops and no loops (interesting side note: I rode this in the stand-by line, and again in the Fast Pass line. The Fast Pass version seemed considerably wilder/more intense). I am afraid on “wild” roller coasters, and I did okay on this.
7. Mission: Space (Epcot) – This is an intense ride. It’s nothing like a roller coaster – you get into a space capsule with three others where you are “blasted off” for a mission on Mars. The ride was based on NASA astronaut training, and during it you may experience claustrophobia and motion sickness. I rode the more intense version (a milder one is available as well, which isn’t bad at all), and found the rocket launch (when the capsule is actually spinning) to be the most uncomfortable part. If you don’t like spinning rides, you may want to skip this one.
8. Expedition Everest (Animal Kingdom) – This is a roller coaster set in the Himalayas, where you are trying to avoid a “Yeti” on the loose. The coaster is fast and quickly into the ride you come up to a section of track torn up by the Yeti. You then plunge BACKWARDS through the dark mountain, before then going forward again and then BOOM! near the end the Yeti appears right above you. I found this to be a fairly scary roller coaster, yet the story behind the ride and Disney’s effects and scenery made it worth riding to me.
9. Tower of Terror (Holly wood Studios) – OK, I have to admit I was afraid to ride this one. My adventure-loving eight-year-old, however, loved it. You enter the Hollywood Hotel, get into an elevator, and quickly learn the elevator has developed problems. Then you begin a series of drops, some as large as 13 stories. All that I have heard and read confirms that this is a truly scary ride for those afraid of drops. The scenery (the window opens for a quick view at the top of the ride) and story behind the ride are fascinating, however.
10. Rockin Roller Coaster (Hollywood Studios) – I would rate this as the scariest ride at Disney World. Again, I was too chicken to ride, but my daughter loved it. The story is that you’re late to an Aerosmith concert, and the coaster is a car taking you there in a hurry. You go from 0 to 60 mph in 2 seconds, and have several loops, spins and drops before reaching your concert, all accompanied by lights and Aerosmith music.
There you have it! Enjoy your Disney trip and experience all the thrills you want, or just stick to the tamer rides. You’ll have a magical time either way. What are your opinions on any of the Disney rides? Leave a comment to help others out.