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Orlando Florida - thrill rides

Updated on July 27, 2013

Florida thrill rides

Myself, my husband and two daughters (aged 13 and 10) visited Florida in the summer of 2009 and we had a blast. We visited again in June of 2013 when the girls were 14 and 17. I've gathered here some notes and comments on some of the best thrill rides we found.

These notes are in no particular order (apart from the order in which we experienced them!)

2009 vs 2013
2009 vs 2013
You can also see the famous Budweiser horses here!
You can also see the famous Budweiser horses here!

Busch Gardens

The best thrill rides here were

  • Montu - Egyption themed, one of the tallest and longest inverted roller coasters in the world. You will reach up to 3.85 Gs. This is a good long ride - worth the wait.
  • Kumba - this coaster is consistently voted one of the world's top roller coasters by enthusiasts. It includes 7 inversions.
  • SheiKra - we really wanted to do this one, but ran out of time! This floorless coaster takes you up 200 ft to a 90 degree vertical drop, but dangles you for 4 second over the drop before releasing you.
  • Gwazi - this is a double wooden coaster with 6 fly bys. We thought "It's a wooden roller coaster - how bad can that be!" Well it was a very fast and rough (shaky) ride. Top speeds of fly bys are circa 100 mph.

Disney's Epcot

  • Mission: SPACE - This ride simulates a 5 1/2 min space flight. You board your space craft in groups of 4 and each person is given a role and task to perform on the 'mission'. The simulator puts your through twists and turns to dodge meteors. (There are two options available for this ride, one more intense than the other!)
  • Test Track - This is a fast and fun ride. You take the role of a crash test dummy and board a test car. You are then put through a series of tests, featuring temperature, road surface, braking and speed.

Test Track
Test Track

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror - Now this IS a good one! Set in the Hollywood Tower Hotel, you enter the elevator and are raised up severl floors, only to find the doors opening and your 'car' moving out of the elevator. Your elevator car is then dangled over the side of the building and you are unceremoniously dropped up to 13 floors before being raised up again and dropped again. You can hear the synchronized screams from the participants as you line up for this one! Well worth it.
  • Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, starring Aerosmith - This is a high-speed roller coaster with an Aerosmith soundtrack. We didn't get to ride it due to lack of time but it looked like fun.

Tower of Terror
Tower of Terror


  • Manta - A new face-down, head-first roller coaster that does loops and spirals while swooshing through the air and tipping the water. Check this link out for a well written report on this ride:

  • Kraken - Themed around a mythical sea monster, this steel roller coaster is a floorless coaster. It includes speed, height, drops and spirals as it swoops you around the park and in and out of tunnels and caves.

Don't forget to visit with Shamu while in Seaworld.
Don't forget to visit with Shamu while in Seaworld.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • Expedition Everest - This steel roller coaster is themed around a trip to Mt Everest. You climb aboard a railway car which then takes you (at high speed) through many twists and turns as you make your way to the summit. Watch out for the fabled Yeti. You plunge into darkness only to emerge again into the light. When you think there is nowhere to go, you find yourself going backwards!

  • Dinosaur - This is an indoor ride that lures you onto a secret mission to recover a dinosaur from the past. This is a bumpy ride with thrills and close calls.

Expedition Everest
Expedition Everest

Disney's Blizzard Beach

  • Summit Plummet - This is the mother of all waterslides - one of the world's tallest and fastest free-fall body slides. There is a 120 ft (12 storey) near vertical drop which propels people down at speeds of 60 mph and sometimes beyond! You won't do this if you are afraid of heights!

*** Watch out for the digital read out at the end of the ride that tells you the speed you were going.

  • Teamboat springs - A family raft ride. Rafts will take up to 6 people down a very long (1,200 ft long) giant waterslide and at a good speed. Watch out for the waterfalls at the end that will wet you!

Be prepared: For both these rides you will either have to get the chair lift to the summit, or walk up many many steps.

Hold on!
Hold on!

Disney's Magic Kingdom

  • Space Mountain - This is an indoor, in-the-dark coaster. The darnkess adds to the thrills and you never know what way you will be turned next.
  • Splash Mountain - This water ride is based around cute scenes and by ways through which you float in your log boat, but don't be fooled, at the end of the ride there is a 52 1/2 ft drop (with a big splash) that you might not be expecting!

Sleeping Beauty's Castle
Sleeping Beauty's Castle

Universal Studios

  • The Simpson's Ride - This is an indoor simulator ride and is done partiularly well. The premise is that you are visiting Krustyland (a low-budget theme park). The ride simulates flying, coasting, falling and crashing.
  • Men In Black Alien Attack - Not so much a thrill ride as a fun interactive ride. You get to BE a man (or woman) in black, complete with phaser gun that you and your mates can use to compete with each other to zap the most bad guys.
  • Revenge of the Mummy - This is an indoor roller coaster with particularly good special effects. You will face mummies, fireballs (yes they ARE hot) and beetles and you career around this ride.
  • Transformers - This is a new ride for 2013. Long lines but worth the wait, very well done. It is a simulator ride with very good effects.

Beware the fireballs
Beware the fireballs

Universal Islands of Adventure

  • Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster - This rip roaring coaster is one of the best we found. It is based on the TV series and movie of the same name. When you board the coaster, you begin your 150 ft ascent upwards but are suddenly launched from zero to 40mph in 2 secs flat. Once you exit the launch tunnel, you are immediately inverted and the thrils keep coming one after another. There are 7 inversions and two underground tunnels. The ride is over 2 mins long.
  • The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman - This is a indoor ride with a combination of 3D film and a moving coaster. You wear 3D glasses and will actually feel like you are swinging through the streets. At one point, Spiderman actually lands on your car.
  • Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls - This is a flume rider with a 75 ft drop - prepare to get wet, very wet.
  • Duelling Dragons - This is actually TWO roller coasters - Fire Dragon and Ice Dragon. Each is suspended from a totally separate track. Both coasters launch siultaneously and there are three points at which they come withing 18 inches of each other. The ride is almost 2.5 mins long. Ride each one for two different experiences.
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - a favourite of young and old! This ride is absolutely brilliant. You feel like you are flying through the castle, through the grounds and the forbidden forest. There are big spiders and scary dementors but very thrilling.

Kennedy Space Center

Not exactly a theme park but the Kennedy Space Center now has a simulator ride that simulates a shuttle launch.

  • Shuttle Launch Experience - This simulator ride does a VERY good job of simulating an actual shuttle launch. After a short briefing, you enter your 'shuttle'. You are then blasted up into space and experience all the thrust and shaking that real astronauts would experience. As you breech the outer atmosphere, and the booster rockets fall away, your ride becomes smoother and you'll swear you actually experiened some real weightlessness!

While there, check out the Constellation sphere - a 9 ton granite ball that floats on water and can be rotated by hand. Weird!

To boldly go......
To boldly go......
Push! (The Constellation Sphere)
Push! (The Constellation Sphere)


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    • Kerdon profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Ireland

      I'll be going back to Florida in June of 2013 and will update this hub then.


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