5 of the Most Thrilling Attractions at Walt Disney World
This week, Tron: Lightcycle//Run opens at Walt Disney World in the Magic Kingdom. It’s a stunning new rollercoaster attraction that takes Guests inside The Grid. It has a gorgeous LED canopy that makes it a sleek, beautiful new addition to the park, and will be the perfect treat for Guests anxious for a little thrill.
Located near Space Mountain in Tomorrowland, the coaster hits a top speed of 59 mph, making it the fastest coaster in all of Walt Disney World. At those speeds, it’s a pretty quick experience, lasting about two minutes from the time you board until you step back off of your lightcycle. With that kind of intensity, it’s no wonder that Guests must be a minimum of 48 inches to ride.
When the attraction opens, it will be virtual queue only, and you can bet that spots will fill up fast. But if you don’t manage to secure a loading group, don’t worry! There are still plenty of other thrilling attractions at the parks to satisfy your taste for danger.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
If you’re looking to make your heart skip a beat, there’s no better place to start than The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Inspired by Rod Serling’s classic television series, the attraction takes you inside the Hollywood Tower Hotel to experience the mysteries of the 5th dimension.
What exactly does that mean? Well, we don’t want to give away all of the secrets, but we can say this: You’ll experience a simulated free fall from 13 stories high, at a speed of 39 mph. While the attraction itself juts 199 feet into the sky, don’t worry. Your drop is only 130 feet. So…that’s something?
However, you should probably know that despite its enormous height, the Tower of Terror is not the tallest attraction in Walt Disney World. That honor goes to our next entry.
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
Located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain is the single tallest attraction in all of Walt Disney World. By a mere six inches. The snow-capped, rugged mountain stands 199 feet and six inches tall, making it a whole half a foot taller than the Tower of Terror.
Contrary to popular belief, the coaster does not take Guests on a trip to Mt. Everest but rather takes place on the neighboring “Forbidden Mountain,” which is home to the fearsome yeti, who doesn’t seem too thrilled to have visitors.
Your vehicle races along at 50 mph, and plummets down an 80-foot drop. And you’ll have to do some of the ride backward. If that isn’t scary enough, you’ll encounter that yeti we mentioned, and he’s a true beast. Standing 25 feet tall, with “skin” that measures a whopping 1,000 square feet, he’s an intimidating sight.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
One of the newest additions to Walt Disney World, the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind roller coaster opened in May of 2022. Of course, referring to it as a roller coaster seems akin to referring to Moby Dick as a book about a big fish.
The attraction begins in the queue, taking Guests through the Wonders of Xandar pavilion before they encounter an unhappy Celestial who steals a “Cosmic Generator.” We’ll leave a few surprises but suffice it to say that this is bad news for the galaxy, and its faithful Guardians are called upon to save the day once again.
Like Expedition Everest, Cosmic Rewind blasts along at 60 mph. Adding to the wild sense of adventure (and disorientation), the ride vehicles can rotate, and the experience begins with a backward launch. The experience is the longest fully enclosed roller coaster at any Disney park, and one of the longest in the world. And you’ll have a fantastic soundtrack accompanying you. Songs like “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire, “Disco Inferno” by the Trammps, and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears, play inside your ride vehicle.
Space Mountain isn’t the fastest roller coaster in the Magic Kingdom. In fact, it only goes two miles per hour faster than the Barnstormer, which is easily the tamest roller coaster in all of Walt Disney World. But Space Mountain has some tricks up its sleeve that make it seem like a much more intense experience than its lowly 27 mph might lead you to expect.
For one thing, the ride takes place in almost complete darkness. Without much frame of reference, it is hard to tell just how fast you’re going. You also have no way of anticipating the sharp turns or drops when they occur, which just ratchets up the tension.
The track layout is similar to a classic mouser roller coaster, which means plenty of switchbacks that will jostle you about. The attraction also hits 3.7 Gs. So, despite the relative slowness of the coaster, you still feel it pretty intensely.
As the weather warms back up, it’s important not to forget about Walt Disney World’s water parks. Now, for some folks, a trip to the lazy river is about as intense as you want to get. There’s not much better than drifting down Cross Country Creek while soaking up some sun. But for folks who like to get a little crazy, don’t worry. Summit Plummet has you covered.
Reaching a dizzying height of 120 feet, Summit Plummet is the seventh tallest waterslide in the world (though it falls well short of the world record, which belongs to Brazil’s titanic 164-foot tall Kilimanjaro). The speeds you’ll reach while rocketing downward are largely determined by your relative size, but as a general rule, children will reach around 50 mph, while adults will likely hit 60 mph.
The slide sits atop Mount Gushmore, and Guests can either walk up or take a “ski lift” to the top. While it’s not quite a 90-degree drop, it’s pretty darn close. And a clever optical illusion makes it look as though riders are about to launch off the end of a ski jump as they shoot downward. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.