Guide to the Scariest Rides at Disney World with Kids

What are the scariest rides at Disney World? Are there scary rides at Walt Disney Word? In this article we will share some of the scariest Disney rides for kids and adults planning a Disney vacation.

Disney World may be the most magical place on Earth, but some of the rides and attractions can be a little scary. Even those with small height requirements (I’m looking at you Tower of Terror and Dinosaur) can be really scary for kids and adults!

When planning your Disney World vacation you should take a little time to think about the scare factor for the rides and what Disney park has the scariest attractions.

While thrill seekers may not find lots of thrill rides at Disney World there are some attractions that are thrilling and exciting. Some attractions use special effects to enhance the thrills while others have big drops and are more intense.

dinosaur at animal kingdom scary disney world.
Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom can be scary for some kids.

Scariest Rides at Disney World Parks

Walt Disney World is a huge resort with 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, 30+ resorts, and a shopping and dining district. It’s theme parks have rides for all ages, but not all are as family friendly as “it’s a small world”.

Some have thrilling drops, dark adventures, and creepy encounters. Most scares may not bother kids, while others will have them frightened to ride any rides for the rest of the day.

This list should give you an idea of what rides at Disney World are scary and what you may or may not want to skip on your family vacation.

What Makes a Scary Ride at Disney World

A few factors that determine a scary ride at Disney World are thrills, dark, and creepy. All of the scary attractions are either thrilling with fast drops and speed, dark or creepy elements, or a combination of the three.

Scariest Rides at Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom has the most rides and attractions for all ages making it the best park to visit on a multi-generational trip. There are a few thrilling rides, although I think Magic Kingdom has the least scariest rides of the four parks.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain is a roller coaster that has thrilling speeds that top off at 36 mph. It has a few drops and dark elements through the mine but no sudden scares. The ride height for Big Thunder Mountain is 40 inches.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean is a dark boat ride through the waters of the Caribbean with singing and sometimes scary pirates. The first few minutes of the attraction are the scariest with a small drop in the dark and skeletons.

After that it is mostly singing pirates. There is no ride height requirement for this ride.

Space Mountain

Space Mountain is an indoor/dark roller coaster that has thrilling twists and turns, and reaches a speed of 28 mph. The darkness adds to the scare factor because you can’t tell which way you will turn next making this a thrilling attraction. The height requirement for Space Mountain is 44 inches.

Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion is a classic dark ride at the Magic Kingdom. It has lots of creepy elements and ghosts from the start of the line and through the attraction.

There is no height requirement for the Haunted Mansion but some kids may not like the creepy elements.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is not very scary, but it has some thrilling drops and twists topping off at a speed of 34 mph. It is a family roller coaster that includes animatronics through the Seven Dwarfs mine.

The evil queen makes a surprise appearance at the end but it is not very scary for most kids. The height requirement is 38 inches.

Splash Mountain

Update: Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will replace Splash Mountain in Summer 2024. This will have the same layout and drop that Splash Mountain had. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a short scary/dark area but this is yet to be announced.

Splash Mountain is a log flume water ride that has a few drops. The final drop being a 5 story drop that reaches 40 mph. The scariest part of this attraction is the drops and most of the story is not scary at all. The ride height is 40 inches.

In June of 2020 Disney Parks blog announced that Splash Mountain will be reimagined to the Princess and the Frog. Learn more here.

Tron Lightcylce Power Run

Tron will add a lot more thrills to the Magic Kingdom park. The current fast speed roller coaster attraction in Shanghai Disneyland tops out at a speed of 59 mph.

This is a short duration launch coaster that most guests enjoy but expect speed and sudden accelerations.

scary rides at disney world space mountain.
Space Mountain can have scary thrills at the Magic Kingdom.

Scariest Rides at Epcot

Epcot is known for its futuristic attractions and the World Showcase. It is also going through a large reimagining of the entire park and in a few years will look a bit different.

We love exploring the countries of the World Showcase with kids as well as experiencing some of our favorite attractions.

Test Track

Test Track allows guests to create their own test vehicle and see how it performs on a test track. There is not much scare factor here except for the final loop where vehicles reach a speed of 65 mph. Test Track has a ride height of 40 inches.

Mission: Space

Mission: Space is a space simulator. The scariest part is feeling enclosed in the space ship. Guests can choose their mission: Orange or Green.

The orange mission has a height requirement of 44 inches and provides guests with a more intense experience that includes centrifuge spins and tilts. The green mission has a height of 40 inches and is way less intense. This causes way less motion sickness.

Soarin’ Around the World

Soarin’ is a simulator experience that takes guests around the world. Guests are lifted off the ground for this attraction and may be scary for those with a fear of heights. The height requirement for Soarin’ is 40 inches.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Guardians of the Galaxy is an indoor roller coaster that is set to music and features the Guardians of the Galaxy. It is not very scary but it may be too intense of a roller coaster for some.

There is a launch sequence, spinning and backwards motions. Guests prone to motion sickness should be aware of what to expect. You can always ask a cast member at the attraction for more information about the ride.

Overall we really enjoyed the ride. The soundtrack is a great addition to the ride and we had fun riding.

test track scary at disney world.
Test Track is fast and that could be scary for small children at Epcot.

Scariest Rides at Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios has a lot of shows and entertainment but it also has a few attractions that may be scary.

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is an indoor roller coaster that has inversions and reaches a speed of 57 mph. If you are scared of roller coasters this one is not for you! The height requirement is 48 inches.

Slinky Dog Dash

Slinky Dog Dash is a family friendly roller coaster in Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios. It does reach a speed of 40 mph and has a launch portion.

This coaster looks easy with small drops, but it packs a few family fun thrills. The height requirement is 40 inches.

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is a simulator attraction that lets guests fly the Millennium Falcon. There are a few twists and turns but this attraction is not very scary. It may cause motion sickness and has a height requirement of 38 inches.

Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror is a themed drop thrill ride the finds its inspiration from The Twilight Zone. The height requirement is 40 inches making this a bit deceiving of an attractions.

The first portion of the ride is dark and has ghost scares. The final part of the ride is a drop zone in the dark. This ride can be scary for kids and I know some adults who do not like it at all.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Rise of the Resistance is a larger than life interactive attraction that makes you feel you stepped into a battle between the resistance and the dark side. Located in the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area of the park this ride is a must see!

The ride itself is a dark ride attraction that follows along a trackless path. It is not a roller coaster, but there are unexpected elements and cast members in character may be frightening to some. The height requirement is 40 inches.

rise of the resistance scary ride at disney.
Rise of the Resistance is so immersive and this can be scary for some.

Scariest Rides at Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom at Disney World has attractions and live animal exhibits. There are a few attractions that may be a bit too intense for small children.

Avatar: Flight of Passage

Flight of Passage is located in the Pandora section of Animal Kingdom. It is a flight simulator attraction where you board a Banshee and fly through Pandora.

Some children may be scared of the unexpected nature of it but the ride itself is not scary. The height requirement is 44 inches.


Dinosaur is one of those attractions you either love or hate! It is a dark ride attraction that sends guests on a mission to find a dinosaur.

Chaos ensues, and you find yourself face to face with different dinosaurs. This ride has lots of thrills and surprises. Some kids seem to love this or really dislike it! The height requirement is 40 inches.

Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain

Expedition Everest is a roller coaster inside Mt. Everest. Expedition Everest has dark and thrilling elements as guests speed through around 50 mph trying to avoid the Yeti.

This ride is high on the list for thrills. The height requirement is 44 inches.

It’s Tough to Be a Bug

It’s Tough to Be a Bug is a 3d show inside the Tree of Life. If kids are familiar with the movie they may not be frightened, but the scare elements are the dark, loud noises, and bugs “flying and stinging” you in your seat. If bugs make you squeamish this may not be for you. There is no height requirement.

Kali River Rapids

Kali River Rapids is a water raft ride. There are a few drops that may be frightening for some kids. The height requirement is 38 inches.

scary rides at disney world animal kingdom.
Flight of Passage at Animal Kingdom can be scary.

List of Scary Rides at Walt Disney World

Ranked from least scary to most scary here is our list of the scary attractions at Disney World. I want to mention that this is comparing thrilling roller coasters to creepy scares, which affect people differently.

To some kids Slinky Dog Dash is not as scary as Haunted Mansion. Use your own judgement when deciding what is best for your family.

  • Kali River Rapids
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Test Track
  • Soarin’
  • Millennium Falcon
  • Mission: Space
  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • Flight of Passage
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug
  • Splash Mountain
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
  • Space Mountain
  • Dinosaur
  • Tron Lightcycle
  • Rock ‘N” Roller Coaster
  • Tower of Terror
  • Expedition Everest

How to Prepare for Scary Rides at Disney World

There are a few things you can do to prepare for Disney scary rides. Doing these things will help you see if the attraction is a good choice for your time at the parks.

Watch on YouTube

Every ride at Disney World usually has a point of view video on YouTube. This was one of the first things we did as a family, when the kids were small, before we would ride attractions.

You know your kids best and what might scare them. I wanted to know what to expect and watching the videos helped prepare. As the kids are older we like to keep the attractions a surprise but when they were small this was really helpful.

Get Familiar with the Characters and Story

One way to make everything from meeting characters to riding attractions less scary, is to become familiar with the Disney movies and stories. We like to watch movies and read books that introduce the characters to our family. Not only does this lessen the scare factor, it makes the theme park experience come to life even more.

Don’t Rush It

My final tip is to not rush it! If you or your kids are not ready for a ride, skip it. There is so much to do at Disney World that you want to enjoy yourself, not feel pressured to ride anything.

We have skipped rides, depending on our interests at the time of our visit, and it has always worked out great. Plus when you skip an attraction you have something to look forward to for next time.

Disney World does have a few scary attractions but most are fine for kids. If a ride is too scary, Disney World has shows and entertainment options making it great for families of all ages.

Read Next: 6 First Time Disney World Tips for Families

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