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The Best Rides at Walt Disney World
1. Space Mountain (Magic Kingdom)
This classic Disney ride takes space travelers on a high-speed, indoor rollercoaster ride through space. As your rocket is set to "launch," you travel past mission control on your way to the launching pad (and, being this is an attraction built in the 70's, the mission control mannequins are dressed in the finest polyester space crew uniforms of the day). Once at the top, your rocket begins its travels through space as it twists and turns and encounters a few, albeit small, drops along the way.
Entering Space Mountain, you find yourself in a dimly lit queue that seems to go on and on and on. As you near the Space Port (loading area), you hear shrieks from the space travelers who have gone before you. Eventually, you'll reach the loading platform, and will board six-passenger rockets, seated single-file, for your journey into space.
Slowly your vehicle makes its way into a tunnel of strobe lights and colors. You're then thrust into the darkness of space via a roller coaster that dips and swerves through the galaxy, past shooting stars and glowing planets! The entire ride lasts two and a half minutes with peak speeds of 28 miles per hour.
Basically speaking, Space Mountain is a very fast, bone-rattling roller coaster in the dark!
- You must be at least 44 inches tall to ride Space Mountain.
- Portions of the video preshow, which includes health warnings, is closed captioned.
- Guests in ECVs must transfer to standard wheelchairs, then to the ride vehicles to experience Space Mountain.
- As you exit your rocket and head back outside, be sure to look at the TV monitors -- you just might see yourself!
- You exit the ride into the Tomorrowland Arcade, which is wheelchair accessible.
- There is an ATM located near the Tomorrowland Arcade.
2. Splash Mountain (Magic Kingdom)
Get ready to get wet on this Disney take on the classic log flume ride. At first this attraction seems like a slow-moving, leisurely ride as your "log" travels through scenes from the movie "Song of the South." However, it soon becomes apparent that Br'er Rabbit is in trouble as Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear follow him thought the ride. Finally, you see that Br'er Rabbit has been caught in the brier patch and things go downhill from there, literally. Your "log" (with you in it) plunges 52 ½ feet down to a watery finish and everyone winds up soaking wet!
One of the Magic Kingdom's major attractions is Splash Mountain. Based on the 1946 Walt Disney film, "Song of the South", this ride features the antics of Brer Fox and Brer Bear's attempts to catch the wily Brer Rabbit as he looks for his laughing place. Over 100 Audio-animatronic figures entertain you as your log boat winds its way through caves, swamps and bayous, and down three minor drops before climaxing with a 52 foot plunge through the briar patch after Brer Rabbit outfoxes Brer Fox. A camera captures the look of fearful delight on your faces as you enter the final plunge. These pictures are displayed at the end of the ride and are available for purchase. This water flume adventure is just under 12 minutes in length. Due to the overwhelming popularity of this ride however, the lineups to get in could be much longer than the ride itself.
On busy days long winding queues are opened, beginning outside in partial shade and leading into the cool cavern where your journey begins. While the ride is fun for guests of all ages, a height restriction of 40" is in effect. Parents may use the "switching off" option. There is a very good chance that you'll get wet so be prepared. While it may be refreshing on hot days, wet clothes can get a little chilly on cooler evenings.
3. Thunder Mountain Railroad (Magic Kingdom)
Billed as the "wildest ride in the west," Thunder Mountain is the tamest of the three "mountain" rides in the Magic Kingdom. The out of control mining train winds its way at high speeds past an avalanche to whisk riders through a wide west mining town, a dark bat cave, and in and out of the mountain.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a wonderfully themed roller-coaster with turns and dips through caverns, mountains, avalanches and floods reminiscent of the Old West.
The queue area takes you into the headquarters of the Big Thunder Mining Co. You enter converted ore cars for your journey... but wait, there is NO conductor! Too late, you are off for a 3 1/2-minute ride into the wilderness!
The theming is a Southwestern landscape, reminiscent of the windswept features found in Arizona's Monument Valley. Caves, grottos, a waterfall, big horned sheep, a spiral butte, dinosaur bones and sulfur pools are just part of the scenery you will encounter on your ride.
Speeds can reach 24-30 miles per hour so the centrifugal force as you round the turns will pull you from one side to the next.
There are no serious drops on this ride (nothing like Splash Mountain) but there are 3 good dips that can put some air between you and your seat.
4. Rock 'N' Roller Coaster (Hollywood Studios)
Aerosmith invite riders to be VIP's at their concert. The only problem is that the show beings in just a few minutes. Riders get into a stretch limo and it shoots of from 0 - 57 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds. From there, it's a super-fast journey through the freeways of LA to get to the show on time. Along with plenty of ups, downs, and loops, riders rock out to an awesome speaker system in each "limo" playing some of Aerosmith's greatest hits.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith is one of Disney's more exhilarating rides. This extreme coaster is teamed with the exciting sound of America’s legendary rock band, Aerosmith, creating a high-speed thrill ride that will literally rock ‘n’ roll guests.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, opened to guests on August 1, 1999. The indoor roller coaster features a high-speed launch of 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds, three inversions, rock-concert lighting and a specially created Aerosmith soundtrack blasting from 120 onboard speakers in each coaster train -- all firsts for a Walt Disney World attraction.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, located near The Twilight Zone Towerof Terror on Sunset Boulevard, represents yet another breakthrough in Disney theme park rides. Guests board a “limo”. When the accelerate blasts off, you're rockin' at five Gs as you head to the first upside down loop on the track. By comparison, astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle experience three Gs at liftoff.
The attraction begins with a tour of the fictional G-Force Records. Here guests encounter Aerosmith finishing up a studio recording session. They notice all of their "fans" and invite you to join them in their limo as they head to a concert. You next head to the boarding area and climb into a 24-passenger “stretch limo” and swiftly accelerate into the Hollywood night.
The enclosed experience is dimly lit while Southern California landmarks illuminate different twists and turns throughout the ride -- 365 days a year, rain or shine.
5. Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Hollywood Studio)
ind yourself in an episode of the classic TV show "The Twilight Zone." From the moment you step in to the deserted Hollywood hotel, you know something's not right. From the hotel's boiler room, riders are whisked in to a service elevator for a journey to the top of the hotel... 13 stories up. Along the way, the elevator stops on different floors to reveal scenes straight out of the Twilight Zone. Then, without warning, the elevator plunges 13 stories straight down.
Classic stars of the silver screen sought rest and relaxation at the grand Hollywood Tower Hotel during the Golden Age of Hollywood. In 1939, during a gloomy Halloween night, 5 unlucky souls were riding down the Hotel's maintenance service elevator when a violent storm struck the building… and they were never seen again. Black scorch marks still scar The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror facade where lightning left its autograph.
A ride on the "fright elevator" beyond the eerie boiler room in the hotel basement could be down, then up, or maybe down again, or up and up—every experience is different and randomly selected by the Tower itself. There's no way of knowing which direction you'll go on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
Step aboard, if you dare. You're about to discover what lies beyond the deepest, darkest corner of the imagination.
6. Expedition Everest (Animal Kingdom)
Enjoy a scenic train trek to the top of Mount Everest, that is at lest until the infamous Yeti changes the plan. As your train emerges from a cave, riders catch a glimpse of the Yeti's shadow and notice the train track ahead is ripped into two. Unable to proceed, the train starts going backwards, downhill into a dark cave and speeds over and around Mount Everest to escape the Yeti.
Expedition Everest in the Asia area of Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park is a high-altitude, high-speed, roller coaster train ride for big kids, teens and adults to the "Roof of the World," home of the inhospitable snarling beast, the Yeti, at the mountain's peak.
Climb aboard a railway car for a full-steam-ahead adventure bound for Mount Everest. Your trek across the treacherous terrain of the towering Forbidden Mountain begins with a few scenic twists and turns, then sets out on an ascent towards the summit.
From this panoramic point with amazing views across Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park, you plunge into darkness. Returning to the light, you see that the tracks have been twisted into a dead end. As the wind howls, you realize there's no place to go on this expedition—or is there?
Careening into the darkness, you might get a glimpse of the denizen of this icy domain. Nail-biting hairpin turns hurl you forward and down sudden drops on the mountain slopes in a race to escape.
But beware. There, up ahead… waiting for you… lurks the Yeti.
7. Soarin' (Epcot)
Based on the popular attraction at Disney's California Adventure, "Sorin' over California," this flight simulator takes thrill seekers on a hang glider ride over California. Flying high over the major cities, the Napa valley, the coast, orange groves (complete with orange grove smell), and eventually Disneyland, riders have the sensation of flying as the movie screen surrounds the hang glider that is suspended in mid air.
Soarin' is a multi-sensory attraction for big kids, teens and adults in Epcot theme park that simulates a peaceful hang-gliding flight over the Golden State of California.
Fasten your seat belt on the multi-passenger glider and be lifted 40 feet into the air. Swoop up and soar towards the clouds and spectacular California panoramas. An IMAX projection dome wraps 180 degrees around you, so you're engulfed by the impressive scenery.
Special cameras on airplanes and helicopters captured many of the shots and the glider moves the same way the aircraft did, so you really feel like you're flying as you glide over such awe-inspiring vistas and landmarks as :
- San Francisco
- Golden Gate Bridge
- Redwood Creek
- Napa Valley
- Lake Tahoe
- Yosemite National Park
- Anaza-Borrego Desert State Park
- San Diego
- Los Angeles
Get a bird's-eye view over a PGA West golf tournament, a skiing and snowboarding exhibition, and float above cowboys on horseback as they race through the wilderness.
Feel the wind in your hair. The air fills with the scent of orange groves, evergreens and the sea breeze. Your feet dangle free. Dip down so close to the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean, you think your toes will get wet. Then return to the sky and continue on Soarin' to a fantastic finale where fireworks burst into sensational colors around you.
8. Test Track (Epcot)
You would have to be a "crash test dummy" not to enjoy this high-speed tryout of the latest safety technology for automobiles. Riders put concept cars through their paces at the GM Epoct proving grounds. While some of the tests are not that exciting (sure, the car can handle at slow speeds a road made of "Belgium blocks" - whatever those are), it's the breaking at high speeds without the anti lock break on or the outdoor speed tests that will get your adrenalin pumping.
Test Track Attraction at Epcot theme parkis a high-speed vehicle-simulation ride in which big kids, teens and adults test their mettle in one of Disney's longest and fastest rides.
Step into the world of automotive testing as your 6-seat vehicle undergoes the safety and quality tests that General Motors performs on every prototype it manufactures.
As you begin this 5-minute, nearly one-mile auto escapade, strap yourself in, ascend steep terrain that's 3 stories high, then let loose downhill, blasting across a bumpy road and roaring through 50-degree banked curves and hair-pin turns that test suspension and brakes at speeds up to 60 miles per hour!
Zoom into the environmental chamber to endure the extreme heat and cold tests—at temperatures that are 100 degrees apart! Then, see if your vehicle will withstand corrosion when robots mist water upon it. Finally, face the challenge of avoiding a crash barrier… in the nick of time!
Learn More About Automotive Safety at Test Track Pavilion
Located within the Test Track Pavilion in the Future World area, Test Track Attraction is a wildly popular ride with a pre-ride waiting area that's loaded with auto test lab simulations, crash-test dummies and other wares of the trade. You can also view real cars in various states of production in the post-ride area.
9. Kali River Rapids (Animal Kingdom)
Join a crew of other explores and make your way down the Kali River. However, the Kali river can be torturous, and the before long, you and your boat have encountered the dreaded rapids. While you'll probably survive the rapids, you're bound to come out soaking wet.
Kali River Rapids is an adventurous river raft ride for big kids, teens and adults that journeys through the rainforest on the churning Chakranadi River in the Asia area of Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park.
Climb aboard a circular, 12-passenger raft and begin a 90-foot ascent past picturesque, lush jungle and jasmine-scented mists. Then drop into gushing geysers and drift under refreshing waterfalls.
The Kali River Rapids raft covers some choppy waters, and then there's a startling change in scenery. Hazardous debris left behind by illegal loggers litter the riverbanks. A few infernos blaze through the landscape. Scattered across your path: evidence that renegade logging companies are threatening wildlife and destroying delicate rainforests.
Escape the devastation by rushing down a 30-foot waterfall. As your raft floats under the bridge, beware the smiling faces that look down from above—you may get a soppy surprise. There are signs before boarding Kali River Rapids warning that you will get wet. You will. Maybe even soaked. Such a pleasant respite on a hot day.
10. Mission Space (Epcot)
Feel the sensation of blast off with the same technology that NASA uses to prepare their astronauts for flight. In the space vehicle, each person on the four person flight crew is assigned a task to make the mission successful. As your space craft "launches" into space, you feel the G forces push you back as your window to space shows your progress as you race toward the heavens.
Mission: SPACE, a motion simulator ride at Epcot theme park, is as close as you can get to blasting off into space without leaving Earth. This attraction for big kids, teens and adults realistically mimics what an astronaut might experience during a space flight to Mars.
Each member of your astronaut team has a challenging role in a dynamic and daring cosmic mission dodging meteors and navigating nebulae. Mission: SPACE is available in 2 versions—select the Orange Team for exhilarating and intense training or opt for the Green Team and have a less intense galactic adventure.
Pre-Show for Mission: SPACE
You are invited to train for the very first mission to Mars aboard the X-2 Deep Space Shuttle at the International Space Training Center (ISTC) on the 75th anniversary of man's first mission into space. Make your way to the Recruiting Center where you will choose a team—comprised of 4 members—for training.
Each team member will be given an on-board position with unique assignments to perform during the mission. The positions include Navigator, Pilot, Commander and Engineer. Before beginning the training exercise, trainees will watch an introductory video about the mission starring actor Gary Sinise.
The Journey to Mars
After the mission briefing, make your way inside the space capsule—sitting side by side with the other members of your team. Feel the rush of take-off as you embark on a thrill-packed training adventure through space to Mars.
During the simulation, rocket around the moon, experience a brief period of simulated hypersleep, and land on the reddened surface of Mars, before blasting back to Earth.
The outcome of your mission varies depending on how well you and your teammates perform your assignments.
Select the Orange Team or the Green Team
Mission: SPACE utilizes a multiple-arm centrifuge that spins and tilts to simulate the illusion of speed and gravitational forces. Realistic sounds from overhead and vivid video images only add to the experience of the simulation.
As an astronaut in training, you are given the choice to be a part of the Orange Team or the Green Team.
The Orange Team is a more intense training session and is the original version of the attraction, where you will experience forces up to 2.4G—more than twice the force of the Earth's gravitational pull.
The Green Team has a less intense experience. You do not feel forces up to 2.4G when choosing this option. If you are prone to motion sickness, you should opt for the Green Team.
Post-Show of Mission: SPACE
After the attraction, visit the Mission: SPACE Advanced Training Lab, an interactive play space for Guests of all ages where you can compete in Mission: SPACE Race, enjoy an arcade-style game where you can explore Mars on foot, or create video postcards that can be sent via e-mail.