Disney’s first mission is not courting the thrill seekers. However, Disney has done a good job in recent years of adding roller coasters and thrill rides, or at least rides that are thrilling.
From the Guardians of the Galaxy coaster in EPCOT to Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom and Rise of the Resistance in Hollywood Studios, the Disney experience now has some of the best rides in Orlando, if not the world.
But it’s important to remember that Disney is not chiefly in the thrills business. It’s in the nostalgia business, the magic business. That is especially the case in the Magic Kingdom.
At the Magic Kingdom, it’s all about meeting Mickey, seeing parades and the end of the evening fireworks. Are thrill rides part of that experience? Yes, but they are not a large part.
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How many roller coasters are at Magic Kingdom?
There are currently five rides that I would consider roller coasters at the Magic Kingdom.
So, there is not a plethora of coasters at the Magic Kingdom, but let’s take a closer look.
1. Space Mountain
For years, I’ve held a grudge against Space Mountain, one of the best thrill rides in the Magic Kingdom. As a boy, it scared me. I didn’t like the darkness, the stars or the uncomfortable ride seat that didn’t feel safe.
But it remains the king thrill ride experience among the attractions in the Magic Kingdom. Also, it’s a testament to its design that guests still flock to this ancient space ride which doesn’t even reach speeds of 27 mph but feels so much faster due to the illusion created by the lights.
You’ve got to tip your cap to the designers that it works so well all these years later. Guests must be 44 inches tall to ride.
2. TRON Lightcycle Power Run
This is a great ride despite the odd lightcycles as ride vehicles and the fact that not many people in the world care anything about Tron-related IP.
In addition, the ride is way too short in duration. But it’s sleek, modern and fun.
If you want to ride this one, make sure you know how to use Disney Genie+ to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane and use the My Disney Experience app to navigate the Virtual Queue.
The minimum height requirement for TRON is 48 inches.
3. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Big Thunder Mountains is my favorite Magic Kingdom coaster. It’s big, rumbling and of sufficient length to make it worth the wait.
If it’s my personal favorite, why is it ranked third? Despite my often inflated ego, I recognize that my opinion is not always objective fact. There are many in my life who would tell you this is a fairly recent revelation.
In other words, many Disney goers prefer the two Tomorrowland coasters. And since I have them all ranked fairly closely, I went with my perception of popular opinion.
Guests must be 40 inches tall to ride.
4. Goofy Barnstormer
Storybook Circus, Fantasyland
This coaster is surprisingly fun and adventurous considering it’s generally considered a kids’ ride.
Hosted by the Great Goofini, it’s a great way to introduce kids to coasters and thrill rides. Guests must be 35 inches tall to ride.
5. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Is it wrong that my favorite part of the train coaster is the slow part with the animatronics in the mine? The Mine Train is a decent ride. But like many of the Magic Kingdom coasters, it’s too short.
I think the ride vehicle is also uncomfortable, and the wait time and queues are massive. I’m glad it’s there because the Magic Kingdom needs more rides for teens and adults. Still, I just wish it was better.
Also, I miss the old Snow White ride with the cars bouncing along the track and the scary witch. I really wish Disney would find a way to bring that ride and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride back to the park. Guests must be 38 inches tall to ride.
Are there thrill rides at Magic Kingdom?
Yes, but not a lot. Magic Kingdom isn’t an amusement park. It’s a theme park. In addition to the five coasters, I would say Tiana’s Bayou Adventure – the former Splash Mountain – is a thrill ride with its massive drop. But it’s closed right now for its transformation.
Otherwise, I would not count Pirates of the Caribbean or the Haunted Mansion as thrill rides. So, yeah, I’d say that’s it.
If you want to be thrilled at Walt Disney World, I’d say go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios first and maybe plan to hit all four parks for the highlights.
What’s the fastest roller coaster in Disney World?
It might depend on who you ask. For example, I’ve seen TRON Lightcycle Run listed as hitting 60 mph, but in other places, it says 59 mph. The Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind Ride in EPCOT is listed at 60 mph.
But the fastest ride in Disney isn’t a coaster. The Test Track ride in EPCOT hits 65 mph.
Other fast rides include the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith at Hollywood Studios at 57 mph.
Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom hits 50 mph, even though Yeti insists it goes faster.
Slinky Dog Dash gets up to 40 mph in Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
In contrast, the boats on It’s a Small World go about a mile and a half per hour.
What are the best Magic Kingdom rides that aren’t coasters or thrill rides?
I would say the most popular rides in the Magic Kingdom are not the coasters.
You’ve got the nostalgic rides like Pirates, Jungle Cruise and Haunted Mansion that have stood the test of time. You’ve got the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh as well as the Journey of the Little Mermaid and the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride in Fantasyland.
Peter Pan’s Flight Ride always has a massive line – some of that is the way the ride vehicles load. But the fact that people are willing to wait so long for a two-minute ride speaks to how much it’s loved.
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin could probably do with a refurbishment at this point, but it’s still beloved as is the Tomorrowland Speedway.
Other rides like the Prince Charming Carousel, The Mad Tea Party, the Magic Carpets of Aladdin and to some degree the Astro Orbiter serve the purpose of giving guests something to ride without enduring the massive queues at other attractions.
What’s the most underrated ride at the Magic Kingdom?
I think it’s the PeopleMover.
In particular, I like its comfortable ride vehicle, second-floor views of the park and a nice breeze as you whisk around. Every Disney park should have a ride like the PeopleMover.
Do you have a favorite Magic Kingdom coaster? If so, let us know in the comments!