Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Team Favorites--Thrill Rides

The view from the top of Tower of Terror.  Look quickly!

Amy:  I am a thrill ride junkie.  I have yet to find one I won't queue up for.  What I love about the Walt Disney World thrill rides is the combination of a well-developed storyline with a 'take your breath away' experience.  

Tower of Terror is impeccably themed.  From the time you enter the area, everything feeds into the story of this once-grand hotel.  From the small signs naming the varieties of the trees to the personal possessions in the lobby, you can sense the energy that once filled the space and the eerie stillness that has now taken hold.   I'd love to go on a tour of all the details in this attraction.  I tend to linger where I can to take it all in.  And on the thrill side, you can't beat the multiple drop sequence!  

Space Mountain was one of my early coaster experiences.  I love that you ride in the dark and can't really see what you are in for until it's too late.  It's got plenty of speed and drops that always surprise.  The long walkway in the cool darkness builds the excitement and is a great transition from the heat of the Florida sun.  I'm a little disappointed that the peek into Space Mountain is now gone from the TTA.  It was fun to see in a bit from the tame ride.

Expedition Everest's Fastpass line makes me a little sad.  This has to be one of the most detailed queues ever and most people just blow right past it.  Walk just a smidgen slower through this area and take in the displays around you and let the story build.  And then... Everest is a fast-moving, "I dare you to keep your hands up" ride.  I love the section where you go backward.  Such a well-themed and exciting ride, too bad the yeti doesn't move anymore.  But I think lots of people miss him anyway--it's hard to see even a huge creature when you have your eyes closed and you are holding on for dear life.

Thank you, Imagineers, for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and its inversions.  That is all.

I have to give an honorable mention to Splash Mountain.  It's a fabulous attraction that is well themed to its story.  I just don't like walking around in wet pants so it's a must do every 5 years for me.

Splash Mountain

DisneyDad:  When Space Mountain opened in 1975, I got my wife on to ride it - ONCE! It took twenty years to get her to ride again.  She's due to ride it again in 2015.  For her, once every twenty years is enough.  One thrill ride she does enjoy is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom.  Disney describes it as a "mild but wild" coaster.  It may be tamer than the other "mountain" rides but this is no kiddie ride.  You are warned to "hold on to your hat" as you enter the gold mine ore trains that run through the town of Tumbleweed.  It provides some "air time" as well as a nice spiral as you make your way from the mountain to the town.  Lookout for a few animals around town and Cousin Ed in his long-johns sitting in a bathtub after the flood.

Expedition Everest:  Even the photo ops are well-themed!
Ridge:  Thrill rides.  

Well, what to say about thrill rides at Disney?  The most obvious are the roller coasters: Space Mountain, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and Expedition Everest.  Space Mountain is the classic ride at Disney: fast, dark and fun.  Part of the fun of this one is the queue's build up.  A dark cool tunnel underground with ominous sounds and lighting.  Once on the ride, more dark, more ominous sounds and a ride that drops you into the darkness for the duration of our journey. 

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster is just a new and smoother take on the dark rides at Disney.  It isn't creepy or ominous inside at all, unless you are unsettled by the music industry.  The ride is faster and smoother than Space Mountain.  Think fighter jet vs. biplane or rock and roll vs. Gregorian chant.  OK, that last one is a bit harsh but you get the point. 

Expedition Everest is an outstanding mix of these two rides.  Fast and in the dark with the feeling of an old coaster in terms of ride smoothness or as one might expect an escape from a mountain yeti would be.  The queue is a great part of this ride walking through the mountain shop or the museum showing the aftermath of dealing with the elusive yeti.  Fun times. 

There lots more rides that can be called thrill rides.  Tower of Terror, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Universe of Energy, Mission Space... Yeah one of those things is not like the others.  Attractions are thrilling for lots of reasons, speed, lighting, education factors...no on that last one? Well then just overall experience, if it gets your heart pumping then it's thrilling.

What is your favorite thrill ride at Walt Disney World?  We definitely didn't include them all.  Anyone for Test Track or Mission Space?  Or maybe Barnstormer?


  1. My absolute favourite ride out of all the parks not just at wdw but in Florida, is The Tower of Terror. As Amy says above, it's not just a ride, it's an entire experience. It's one of the few times I actually like to queue because it is so atmospheric. And the ride itself? I'm always cheeky and ask the CM if we can sit at the front. It's the only ride in all of wdw we always do at least twice the day we're there as no 2 rides are the same. And it's so amazing at nightime. I also love the gift shop. And my ToT pin is one of my best.

  2. I am a complete thrill ride chicken. But I refuse to let my kids see that because I don't want them to be afraid of the rides just because I am. So on our last trip, my husband, in front of the kids, asked if I were going on Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. My son then asks if it is scary. At this point my husband received somewhat of a dirty look and he gave me a smirk back. He knew what he doing! :-) So, I agreed to ride. Let's just say I had a death grip on the shoulder straps and I think possibly I did not breathe the entire ride! But I must admit when I finally opened my eyes it was pretty neat, though I definitely will not be going on it again. When we came to the area where they have the pictures to purchase, let's just say I have never laughed so hard as when I saw our picture. I was still shaking from the ride and when my husband (who was laughing hysterically himself) said we had to buy the picture, I wouldn't let him, though now I wish I had. Anyways, my son asked again if it was scary when I came out and I told it wasn't, it was just fast. When he is tall enough, he can accompany my husband and I can avoid having to ride it again!


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