21 Absolute Best Rides at Disney World Orlando, Ranked

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate and a partner of other affiliate programs including Booking.com, CJ and Tripster, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases via links found in this article.

Planning a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort can be super fun and exciting. But it can also feel overwhelming at times.

Even if you plan to visit all the theme parks, it’s impossible to do everything in one day, especially if it’s your first time in the park. Depending on the ages and interests of your party, you’ll have different goals and priorities for your trip.

Do you want to pack your Instagram feed with selfies from character meet and greets? Are you mainly in it for the snacks? Maybe you’re looking for the best rides.

So if thrill rides are the first thing on your priorities, I’ve compiled a list of the best Disney World rides the four parks have to offer.

These rides are more than just the basic carousel-style rides that you will find around other theme parks. I consider these rides to be the ones like Magic Carpets of Aladdin, TriceraTop Spin or Dumbo the Flying Elephant.

Nothing against those guys, but this list is about rides you won’t find anywhere else. So without further ado, here are some rides you may want to prioritize when planning your Disney World vacation:

Read Also: Dining in Disney Springs: The Best Desserts, Ranked


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

To see a list of current area deals, discounts and offers!

Please wait...

Thank you for signing up!

21. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure (opens 2024)

  • Park: Magic Kingdom
  • Height requirement: 44 inches

I’m speculating here since Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is expected to open in late 2024.

Still, guests will find the old Splash Mountain ride will be modernized when it reopens and will take riders on a journey along with Tiana, Naveen and Louis.

I’m anticipating the refurbished ride to be hugely popular.

peter pan flight entrance with wait time sign that says 95 minutes
Peter Pan’s Flight almost always has a long wait time (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

20. Peter Pan’s Flight

  • Park: Magic Kingdom
  • Height requirement: Any height

Peter Pan’s Flight is a ride that consistently maintains high wait times. This is likely due to its low ride capacity.

Still, it’s a fun ride that simulates flying, so it’s certainly worth the experience if you’re willing to wait or plan accordingly.

spaceship earth line entrance
The EPCOT ball’s is home to the ride Spaceship Earth (photo by Morgan Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

19. Spaceship Earth

  • Park: EPCOT
  • Height requirement: Any height

It will be difficult to visit EPCOT and not try the iconic ride that is essentially EPCOT’s mascot.

It takes riders through time where they can explore our history, covering all the way from the Stone Age to the computer age. It’s an enjoyable ride that is hard to pass up when visiting EPCOT.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Hollywood Studios Exterior
This classic is a fun, spooky thrill ride (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

18. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

  • Park: Hollywood Studios
  • Height requirement: 40 inches

This spooky ride takes you back in time to the gilded age of Hollywood to a once-glamorous hotel right inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The elevator ride features a series of sudden drops and lifts. Personally, I find it to be a pleasurable blend of exhilarating and frightening.

It’s not for everyone, though. A few years ago, we took our barely-tall-enough preschooler on Tower of Terror. He didn’t scream or cry, but when asked afterward how he liked it, he replied: “I peed a little.” 

Soarin' Around the world ride at Epcot
Soarin’ takes riders on a hang-gliding journey (photo by Morgan Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

17. Soarin’ Around the World

  • Park: EPCOT
  • Height requirement: 40 inches

Soarin’ takes you on an exciting hang-gliding journey to experience aerial views of both natural and manmade wonders around the globe.

You’ll travel to the Matterhorn in Switzerland, the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, the Taj Mahal in India and back to EPCOT in the Disney park.

Soarin’ is a crowd-pleaser for groups of varied ages and interests, which is one of the best things about the ride. My school-age kids love it and so do their grandparents. 

Mission Space at EPCOT
Mission Space offers a more intense or less intense option for your comfort level (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

16. Mission Space

  • Park: EPCOT
  • Height requirement: Green (less intense): 40 inches / Orange (more intense): 44 inches

Choose between two simulated aerospace missions on this ride that takes you out of this world. Each rider is assigned a role (commander, navigator, pilot and engineer) and will perform important duties during your flight.

The Green experience is less intense, and I highly recommend selecting this option for anyone with even slight misgivings. If it’s a piece of cake for you, you can always try out the Orange option afterward.

Above all, if you’re prone to motion sickness at all, skip this one.

For families with small children, there is a cool indoor astronaut-themed playground located at the ride exit. It’s a perfect place to hang out while waiting for the more adventurous members of your group to complete their mission. 

Space Mountain in Magic Kingdom
Space Mountain is an indoor dark roller coaster (photo by Morgan Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

15. Space Mountain

  • Park: Magic Kingdom
  • Height requirement: 44 inches

I probably would’ve rated Space Mountain higher when I was in my 20s – long before the fluid in my inner ear dried up and made me less tolerant of jerky roller coasters.

This classic ride holds a special place in my heart and it’s probably one of the most popular rides in the park, but I can’t ride it on repeat anymore. This 1975 dark ride takes you on a dizzying ride through star-studded darkness.

If you’ve been on the Disneyland version, one notable difference is the configuration of seats within the ride vehicle. This one seats three riders single file in a car with two cars connected to each other. 

Test Track at Epcot in Disney World Orlando
Test Track allows riders to design and customize a car and then put it to the test (photo by Morgan Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

14. Test Track

  • Park: EPCOT
  • Height requirement: 40 inches

As a mom of five boys who is also married to an engineer, I’ve been on Test Track more times than I can count. Riders have an opportunity to design and customize a car and then put it to the test.

Buckle up in a six-seat ride vehicle and take your car through a series of tests that measure responsiveness, capability, efficiency and power.

Spoiler alert: The power test takes you outside on a track where you’ll reach speeds of up to 65 mph, so hold on to your hat – literally.

Also, if you have very young children that aren’t tall enough, there’s a Chevy showroom that has vehicles that the little kids can climb in and explore just outside the ride exit. 

Lightning Lane at Kilimanjaro Safaris
A ride on the Kilimanjaro Safaris is a fun way to see the animals at Animal Kingdom (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

13. Kilimanjaro Safaris

  • Park: Animal Kingdom
  • Height requirement: Any height

It’s fun to see an open concept of the large area land that gives the animals more freedom than in a traditional zoo. I love watching the lions, giraffes and zebras.

This ride is perfect for everyone in the family. Be sure to ride at night when the animals are even more active.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Orlando
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a classic roller coaster (photo by Morgan Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

12. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

  • Park: Magic Kingdom
  • Height requirement: 40 inches

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a classic roller coaster located in Frontierland.

It will take you through a prospector’s camp with lots of quick climbs and drops, but no inversions. It’s a great experience.

Pro tip: Visit Tom Sawyer Island for a cool view of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This is a great coaster for families with an odd number of young children because 2-3 people are allowed to sit together in one row. 

expedition everest in animal kingdom at disney
Look for the yeti on Expedition Everest (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

11. Expedition Everest

  • Park: Animal Kingdom
  • Height requirement: 44 inches

Located in the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Expedition Everest is the park’s only roller coaster.

After winding your way through a Tibetan outpost, you’ll board a train to ascend to the top of the famous peak.

Near the summit, explorers will discover that the track has been destroyed. Hold on as you drop backwards down the track into total darkness, and keep an eye out for the fearsome beast of legend.

Animal Kingdom's Na'Vi River Journey
Na’vi River Journey is a relaxing boat ride in the immersive world of Pandora (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

10. Na’vi River Journey

  • Park: Animal Kingdom
  • Height requirement: Any height

The Na’vi River Journey isn’t my favorite ride in Animal Kingdom but it does take riders on a magical tour of Pandora. It’s a different experience than something like Kali River Rapids, which is more of your typical theme park raft ride.

Overall, the ride has a great vibe.

Seven Drawfs Mine Train
This is the perfect first coaster experience for little ones (photo by Morgan Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

 9. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

  • Park: Magic Kingdom
  • Height requirement: 38 inches

This is my top pick for first-time roller coaster experiences for kids.

It’s a relatively new ride, with a smoother ride experience. And happy music from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” will have the whole family singing along and clapping their hands.

The cars swing a bit at the end of the ride just before you exit. It’s also situated in a central location in Fantasyland, making it highly visible from several angles. If kids are nervous, they can watch the ride before they try it for themselves. 

Gusteau's Ratatouille EPCOT
Explore Gusteau’s in Paris on Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

8. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

  • Park: EPCOT
  • Height requirement: Any height

This ride – located in the France Pavilion at EPCOT – is part of Disney’s trackless trio that features motion-based technology.

It takes guests on a dark journey that features a combo of 3D and practical effects.

Overall, I really enjoy this ride.

Mickey and Minnies Runaway Railroad
The Runaway Railway is a new trackless ride (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

7. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

  • Park: Hollywood Studios
  • Height requirement: Any height

Another new trackless ride, this fantastic railway brings you inside a cartoon featuring Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and the gang. It’s creative and a lot of fun.

Also, I think the immersive experience is so much better without a track. 

Millennium Falcon at Disney World
The Star Wars expansion is one of the more recent additions to Disney World Orlando (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

6. Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run

  • Park: Hollywood Studios
  • Height requirement: 38 inches

Star Wars fans who have watched the animated series “The Clone Wars” and “Rebels” will be thrilled to see the infamous Hondo Ohnaka featured on this attraction.

Pilots, gunners and engineers will take a seat in the cockpit of Han Solo’s iconic freighter for an interactive ride. The success or failure of this risky mission depends on your crew.

Pro tip: The pilot in the front right seat will need to pull the lever to make the jump to light speed, and smaller children won’t be able to reach it. If your little Ewok insists on being a pilot, have them sit on the left. 

Read Also: 9 Best Rides at Hollywood Studios, Which Ones You Shouldn’t Miss

Rock n Roller Coaster Ride Sign Hollywood Studios
The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is a fun thrill ride (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

5. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

  • Park: Hollywood Studios
  • Height requirement: 48 inches

I have loved this coaster since I was in middle school.

Back in the year 2000, our parents decided that my sister and I were responsible enough to ride it by ourselves. I can still taste that glorious freedom.

Now my 8-year-old son loves it so much that I routinely hear him asking Alexa to shuffle songs by Aerosmith on his echo dot.

This is Disney World’s only roller coaster with inversions. There are multiple loops and a corkscrew twist that you’ll traverse as you listen to Aerosmith’s biggest hits. 

Slinky Dog Dash Coaster in Toy Story Land
Slinky Dog Dash is a newer coaster at Hollywood Studios (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

4. Slinky Dog Dash

  • Park: Hollywood Studios
  • Height requirement: 38 inches

I grew up watching “Toy Story” and its sequels. Seeing the beloved characters from the movies come to life in this expansion of Hollywood Studios and Toy Story land is nostalgic.

In fact, if you’re a geriatric millennial like me, you may remember the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids section from back in the “late 1900s” when Hollywood Studios was M.G.M. Studios.

This area of the park will hearken back to that feeling of scale. The oversized toys give visitors the feeling of being miniaturized.

Toy Story Mania! and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin are also fun, but if you have to prioritize, go with the Slinky Dog Dash.

Slinky Dog Dash is a newer roller coaster with smooth ups and downs. It’s another great choice for little kids’ first coaster. Like the Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, it’s highly visible and fun to watch. 

an avatar in the ride queue of flight of passage at disney
Avatar Flight of Passage the best ride in the Animal Kingdom park (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

3. Avatar Flight of Passage

  • Park: Animal Kingdom
  • Height requirement: 44 inches

You need not be a fan of James Cameron’s “Avatar” to appreciate this incredible ride. The wait times are almost always long, so come mentally prepared.

The cue takes you through the lab and the pre-ride briefing gives you some context for the main event. Riders will be matched with an avatar and then experience flying on the back of a Banshee through the world of Avatar.

Although getting situated on the ride can be a little awkward at first. You’ll sort of straddle the seat as though riding a bike or horse.

Next, lean forward, put on your 3D glasses and hold onto the handlebars as the restraints slide into place behind your back and legs.

Flashing lights let you know that you’ve successfully “linked” to your avatar. Then, the flight begins.

Also, be sure to notice the feeling of your Banshee breathing with your legs. 

Rise of the Resistance Storm Troopers Hollywood Studios Orlando
Rise of the Resistance is an immersive experience (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

2. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

  • Park: Hollywood Studios
  • Height requirement: 40 inches

This ride in Galaxy’s Edge is an incredible, next-level immersive experience. It’s an absolute MUST for even casual Star Wars fans, and it’s one of the most popular attractions in all of Disney World.

It begins when riders are tasked with a mission to undermine the First Order. Your simulated trip on a shuttle gets cut short when it’s pulled into a Star Destroyer’s Tractor Beam. Captives disembark into the hangar of the ship before dozens of Storm Troopers.

Behind the formation of Troopers, a gigantic Ray Shield offers a view into the abyss of outer space. The sight took my breath away.

To illustrate, my 4-year-old son tightened his grasp on my hand. He looked up at me with tears welling in his eyes and said, “Mommy, I want to go back to Earth.”

The next phase of the ride involves a harrowing escape with the aid of some familiar characters. 

line queue at cosmic rewind at disney
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is considered one of the best, if not the best, rides at Disney (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

1. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

  • Park: EPCOT
  • Height requirement: 42 inches

This amazing dark roller coaster ride is considered the best in Disney and the best in Orlando by many.

With the complicated rights agreement on Marvel characters, it’s a bit of a miracle that this ride exists at all. 

It’s important to remember that this ride is only available via the Virtual Queue or Individual Lightning Lane.

Do you have a favorite ride at Disney World Orlando, Florida? Tell us in the comments!

Photo of author


Kirby Russell

Kirby Russell is a freelance contributor for TheSmokies.com LLC – the parent company of TheSmokies.com and HeyOrlando.com.

Leave a Comment