When you think thrill rides, you might not automatically think of Walt Disney World.
After all, of Orlando theme parks, Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure are better known for appealing to teenagers and adults looking for terrifyingly exhilarating attractions. Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, and Animal Kingdom Parks, meanwhile, are often thought of as a spot for more family-friendly rides.
And there is some truth to that. As a repeat Guest at both Walt Disney World and Universal’s theme parks, I can attest to enduring significantly less motion sickness at the former!
But that’s not to say there are no thrill rides at WDW. Today, we take a look at the scariest attractions in Walt Disney World – do you dare ride them?
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
How could Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios NOT be one of the scariest rides at Walt Disney World – the terror is baked right into the name!
And sure enough, this is the place to be if you’re looking for a pure, old-fashioned, scream-your-head-off thrill ride. A spooky hotel frozen in time, a party of ghosts, a mysterious elevator, and death-defying drops – what could be scarier?
Well, maybe this. When designing the ride, Imagineers decided that gravity wasn’t scary enough – so they designed a pulley system to pull the ride vehicles down even faster than the speed of gravity. You might want to hang on.
Admittedly, Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square at Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park is not quite a thrill ride.
Still, with its 999 happy haunts, Doom Buggies, séance room, and other “mildly frightening” scenes, this iconic, slow-moving attraction is designed to scare you – that is, when it’s not making you laugh!
Haunted Mansion boasts one of our favorite queues in Walt Disney World. Guests who take their time in line will be rewarded with fun interactive elements like a water-spewing crypt, musical mausoleum, and creepy tombstone that may just be keeping an eye on you.
Frequent Guests at Walt Disney World may not pay much attention to the warning signs on Park attractions. But this is one ride where you definitely want to heed the posted precautions!
The Orange Mission at Misson: SPACE in World Discovery at Disney’s EPCOT Park is about as close as most of us will get to feeling like an astronaut because it uses a spinning centrifuge that simulates the G-forces you’d actually feel launching into space.
It also has the power, however, to make you extremely miserable if you have a variety of health issues or experience motion sickness.
Thankfully, there’s a milder Green Mission available for Guests who want a space adventure minus the spinning, G-forces, and general misery.
It’s the tallest attraction in Walt Disney World, at 199.5 feet, beating out Tower of Terror for the title by mere inches.
It also reaches speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. And then there’s that terrifying section where high up in the mountains, the ride tracks peter out into nothingness before you. Oh, and the part where Guests plummet backward at dizzying speeds into complete darkness. And we haven’t even mentioned the Yeti himself yet!
It’s no surprise, then, that Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park is one of the scariest rides at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Guests who aren’t thrill-seekers will still enjoy the ride queue and wonderfully themed gift shop, which are full of artifacts collected when Imagineers journeyed to Asia to conduct research for the Park.
Note: Expedition Everest will remain closed for scheduled maintenance until mid-April 2022.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
It boasts the most thrilling start to any ride in Walt Disney World, launching Guests from 0 to 57 miles per hour in just a couple of seconds. But the thrills in Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park don’t end there!
Guests will also encounter loops, a corkscrew, and a state-of-the-art sound system that blasts Aerosmith’s hits in your ears.
There’s something about a roller coaster that takes place in the dark that is absolutely terrifying. Sure, Guests will see glowing satellites, comets, and stars as they zoom by, but you won’t be able to see where you’re going, or when a sharp turn or steep drop might be on the way.
The considerable scares in DINOSAUR at DinoLand USA in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park come from a combination of the ride itself – a jerky, jolting Time Rover careens through the dark with you hanging on for dear life – and the Audio-animatronic dinosaurs that populate the Cretaceous jungle around you, culminating in the Carnotaurus you’ll encounter (and hopefully escape from) before heading back to the present.
Oh, and we can’t forget the meteors that crash all-around your Time Rover. The Mesozoic is a scary place.
If you’re visiting Walt Disney World with small children, if you experience motion sickness, or if you don’t like thrill rides, there are dozens of attractions throughout the Parks you’ll still enjoy.
But for Guests who like a little terror in their theme park day, there are spectacularly scary rides to be found in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, and Animal Kingdom Parks.