Experience the Thrill: Your Complete Guide to Disney World Roller Coasters

Walt Disney World is known for its character meet and greets and bringing beloved stories to life, but did you know it is also home to thrilling roller coasters? Let’s dive into the Disney World roller coasters for the thrill seekers as well as the family-friendly options.

Walt Disney World is a premier theme park destinations among families of all ages. Theme park enthusiasts will love the attention to details at the four theme parks from the lands to explore to the attractions themselves.

There is a reason people keep returning year after year for a Disney trip.

But what about the roller coaster enthusiasts. Are there roller coasters at Disney World?

Yes! There are currently 9 roller coasters across the four theme parks. These range from family-friendly “first coaster” rides to more intense roller coasters.

In this post I want to share a full guide to the Disney World roller coasters including scare factors, height requirements, and tips for riding.

space mountain roller coaster at magic kingdom

Magic Kingdom Roller Coasters

Magic Kingdom has the most roller coasters at the Walt Disney World resort coming in at 5 roller coasters at the park.

  • The Barnstormer (Guests must be 35 inches to ride)
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Guests must be 38 inches to ride)
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Guests must be 40 inches to ride)
  • Space Mountain (Guests must be 44 inches to ride)
  • TRON Lightcycle / Run (Guests must be 48 inches to ride)

The Barnstormer

The Barnstormer is what would be considered a “kiddie coaster”. Guests take a ride with Goofy on his homemade airplane.

The Barnstormer was my kids first kiddie ride. It has small drops and reaches a speed of 25 mph. This is a great choice for a kids first roller coaster at the Magic Kingdom.

This coast is outdoors and if you have a nervous kid they can watch the ride before deciding to ride. Watching it can usually help them decide if it is a good choice for them.

Expected Wait Times: (30 minutes or less) On busy days The Barnstormer will see longer wait times. Most of the day this wait time is under 30 minutes. If you want to ride but this is not a priority save it for the last few hours of park opening. The Barnstormer is also part of Genie+.

(I go into details about Genie+, virtual queues, and Individual Lighting Lanes later in this post.)

magic kingdom roller coasters the barnstormer

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has a few small dips but it mostly has twists and turns. There is an indoor part of the ride that features the Seven Dwarfs singing as you make your way through the mine and up the lift hill.

The mine cart sways back and forth but it is not scary. It does start quickly once guests are secured in their seats but it is mostly fun. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train reaches speeds of 34 mph.

Expected Wait Times: (60 minutes or more)Expect very long lines for this attraction. The queue has an interactive element but with a ride time of 2 minutes and 30 seconds it may not feel worth it.

Guests can choose to wait in the Standby Line(regular line) or purchase an Individual Lightning Lane. If you want to ride with a short wait time and don’t want to pay, consider riding at rope drop or the last hour of the day. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is not part of Genie+.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a race through a gold-mining town aboard a runaway mine train. It is a bit more intense than The Barnstormer and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train but most people don’t find it too scary.

It is also a fairly smooth ride feature a lift-hill, small drops, and a few elements of surprise in the caves. Big Thunder Mountain reaches speeds of 36 mph.

Expected Wait Times: (45 minutes or more) Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a popular attraction at the Magic Kingdom and will have long wait times. Use Genie+ if you want to cut down on your wait time. Ride at rope drop or the last hour of park opening.

big thunder mountain roller coaster at magic kingdom

Space Mountain

Space Mountain is a more thrilling roller coaster at Magic Kingdom. It only reaches 37 mph but because it is in the dark it can feel much more thrilling.

Space Mountain is an outer space themed indoor roller coaster and has guests rocketing through space.

The twists and turns in the dark can make for a rough ride for us over 40 riders so be warned. I have always been able to ride it once per trip but the sharp turns and drops can make it a bit rough.

Expected Wait Times: (45 minutes or more) Space Mountain is a very popular ride at Magic Kingdom. Use Genie+ to ride or rope drop.

TRON Lightcylce / Run

TRON is a launch coaster than has indoor and outdoor portions. It reaches speeds of 60 mph making it the fastest roller coaster at Walt Disney World. It is also about a minute ride making it one of the shortest rides at Disney World.

Expected Wait Times: TRON does not offer a regular standby line. Guests need to secure a virtual queue time, more on that later in this post, or purchase an Individual Lighting Lane. TRON is not part of Genie+.

Epcot Roller Coasters

Epcot has one roller coaster at the park but it is a good one and very popular with the roller coaster crowd!

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (Guests must be 42 inches to ride)

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

This is a family launch coaster that rotates guests 360 degree on a fun coaster. It features a soundtrack of six different songs making each ride unique for guests.

This ride is completely indoors with projection screens during the ride. The spinning of this ride can make guests feel queasy but it is not a scary ride for most people.

Expected Wait Times: Guardians of the Galaxy does not offer a standby line. Guests can purchase an Individual Lightning Lane or secure a virtual queue ride time.

guardians of the galaxy roller coaster at epcot

Hollywood Studios Roller Coasters

Hollywood Studios has 2 roller coasters at the park. Slinky Dog Dash is geared towards all ages that meet the height requirement. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster has inversions and made not be for everyone.

  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith (Guests must be 48 inches to ride)
  • Slinky Dog Dash (Guests must be 38 inches to ride)

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster has guests boarding a super stretch limo to make it on time to a concert. This coaster is a bit rough, has inversions, and reaches speeds of 57 mph.

It is a typical “upside-down” roller coaster but it is housed entirely indoors. It is also set to an Aerosmith soundtrack, which at this point is feeling a bit dated.

Recently it has been closed for an extended refurbishment and is set to re-open in summer 2024. I will update this after our summer visit to see if any changes were made to make this ride a bit smoother.

Expected Wait Times: (45 minutes or more) This ride gets busy although my personal opinion is that you can find it at most amusement parks across the country, unless you are a big Aerosmith fan, you might not think the wait is worth it. It is included on Genie+.

Slinky Dog Dash

Slinky Dog Dash is one of the most popular rides at Hollywood Studios. Guests join Slinky in a ride around Toy Story Land.

Slinky Dog is more thrilling than it looks featuring a few drops and a launch. It is very fun and most kids enjoy this ride.

Expected Wait Times: (60 minutes or more) Slinky Dog Genie+ will sell out fast. Secure one if you would like to ride or ride at rope drop.

slinky dog dash roller coaster at hollywood studios

Animal Kingdom Roller Coasters

Animal Kingdom has one roller coaster at the park. It is inside the mountain in the Asia area of the park.

  • Expedition Everest- Legend of the Forbidden Mountain (Guests must be 44 inches to ride)

Expedition Everest-Legend of the Forbidden Mountain

Expedition Everest has drops, a launch, indoor and outdoor scenes, goes backwards and reaches speeds of 50 mph.

It is a fairly intense ride and may scare young kids. It also may not be great for those prone to motion sickness.

Expected Wait Time: (45 minutes or more) I have never waited longer than 20 minutes for this ride. I usually ride in the first couple of hours of park open or the end of the day when Animal Kingdom gets way less crowds. Guests can use Genie+ to lessen wait times

expedition everest at animal kingdom disney

Tips for Enjoying the Roller Coasters at Disney World

Genie+, Virtual Queues, Individual Lightning Lanes, and Standby Lines

There is a lot to explain when it comes to Genie+, Virtual Queues, Individual Lightning Lane and Standby Lines. I am going to break it down in the easiest way I can but you may want to dig deeper into it on the Disney World website.

First Standby Lines: These are the typical lines that anyone can wait in for an attraction.

Genie+ is the ride reservation system that you purchase for the day of your park visit. This allows you to reserve ride times for participating attractions and save time waiting in lines.

Roller Coasters that Are Included in Genie+:

  • The Barnstormer (Magic Kingdom)
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Magic Kingdom)
  • Space Mountain (Magic Kingdom)
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith (Hollywood Studios)
  • Slinky Dog Dash (Hollywood Studios)
  • Expedition Everest (Animal Kingdom)

Virtual Queues are a free reservation system that guests must reserve a boarding group to ride.

Reservations open at 7:00am day of visit on the My Disney Experience app. These sell-out within seconds so be sure to get on the app early. They also release another group at 2:00pm. Guests must be inside the park to reserve boarding group at 2:00pm.

Virtual Queue attractions do not have standby lines. Guests not securing a virtual queue may purchase an Individual Lightning Lane.

Individual Lighting Lane is a one-time paid fee to ride an attraction. Prices start around $13.00 and up per person/per ride.

Roller Coasters with Virtual Queue and Individual Lightning Lane:

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Individual Lightning Lane & Standyby)
  • TRON Lightcycle / Run (Virtual Queue & Individual Lightning Lane)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (Virtual Queue & Individual Lightning Lane)

Best Times to Ride & Rope Drop Strategy

The best times to ride popular attractions to avoid long wait times are at rope drop or late in the evening.

Rope drop is entering the park when the park opens and cast members “drop the rope”. To do this arrive 30 minutes before park open and be among the first people let into the park.

Guests not wanting to wake up early can try riding the most popular attractions near closing time. You can enter a ride a minute before closing time when visiting the parks.

best rides at magic kingdom seven dwarfs
We have used rope drop for short wait times at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

Rider Swap, Child Watch, and Single Rider Line

Rider Swap and Child Watch are ways parents can ride the roller coasters even if they have kids too young to ride.

One group will ride while the other waits with a younger child or child that doesn’t want to ride. Then you can switch and not have to wait in the long line.

Ask a cast member at the entrance of the ride to assist. All roller coasters at Disney World offer Rider Switch. Learn more here.

Single Rider line is when guests fill in the empty seats on different attractions. This will split your party up but can be a way to skip long lines.

Currently Expedition Everest and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster are the only roller coasters offering single rider line.

Motion Sickness and Safety Tips

As with any rides it is important to stay safe. Keep arms and legs inside the ride vehicles and secure all your belongings.

If you are prone to motion sickness be prepared by purchasing something ahead of time. You can also talk to a cast member and they can help you at one of the health services locations.

My Opinion on the Roller Coasters at Walt Disney World

I wanted to add my opinion on how to navigate the roller coasters at Walt Disney World. My kids have always been fine with roller coasters.

They have grown up going on the rides and once they reached the height requirements they started riding them.

This is not always the case for all kids. I have traveled with families that are more cautious when it comes to the roller coasters, so while I do not believe the kid-friendly coasters are scary for kids, they may be for your kids.

Use your best judgement when deciding if a ride is suited for your family. You know your kids best. It may help to watch the POV of rides on YouTube but the ones indoors may look dark and scarier than they actually are.

Overall the Disney World roller coasters can be a great addition to your day at the parks. They are just enough thrills for most and we always include them in our day.

Suggested for You: Best Rides at Magic Kingdom Disney World

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